It’s been several years since Mormon Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced a lowering in the age that young single adults can serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Used to be that women served at 21 years and up, and young men served at age 19 and up. Now young women can enter the “mission field” at age 19 and young men can serve at age 18.
It was expected that there would be a surge in the number of full-time Mormon missionaries, and then that the number would decrease and level out. That’s not what has happened. The number did surge to over 80,000 but never went down. At the April General Conference of the Church, it was announced that there were still 85,147 Mormon missionaries at the end of 2014.
There has also been an increase of retired members serving around the world. While most young adult Mormons serve proselyting missions, retired people may help with member-leader support, humanitarian aid, maintaining various historical sites, public relations, health, etc. There are also over 15,000 “service” missionaries who serve part-time from home. Many of these service missionaries are retired people who have not the health or finances to leave home but still want to donate their time. Some help with proselyting efforts or support congregations with their church experience. Others served in office capacities, or help at welfare centers, or family history centers. The only Mormon missionaries who receive a financial stipend are Mission Presidents, who preside over the missions of the Church for three years.
All Mormon missionaries pay their own living expenses, although the Church pays for transportation, and all leave whatever they had going on at home. For young missionaries, that means work, school, sports, family, romance, hobbies, popular music, and often familiar foods and culture and language. Mission presidents leave their careers behind. Some can resume once returning home, but others can’t. Serving a mission is a great sacrifice with huge spiritual benefits.
Missionaries Look More Vervy Now
Another thing that’s trending for Mormon missionaries is fashion. Guys are encouraged to buy some bright ties, and girls are encouraged to wear bright colors. Mormon missionaries make higher covenants in the temple before they go, and because of that, wear “temple garments” under their clothing, making modest dress mandatory, but fashion designers are popping up everywhere making gorgeous modest clothing. There are articles about many of them on LDS.net. Take a look.