Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fun with ages

So we have an April general conference coming up soon, and i for one am quite looking forward to the statistical report, to see what the full-time missionary numbers look like after the ages to qualify for a full-time mission were lowered in the past October general conference.

I figure we’re going to see a notable increase, if only because you’re getting close to a couple years’ worth of new full-time missionaries all at once.* I’m hoping that we get some sort of idea of the increase in male and female full-time missionaries separately, actually, ’cause that would give us an early idea of whether any stigma connected to women serving as full-time missionaries† is disappearing.

But that’s not what i really came to talk about today.

I came to talk about the practicalities connected with the fact that we now have female full-time missionaries entering the mission field who are nineteen (i.e., put in their application as early as they possibly could once the new age limit was announced), twenty, and twenty-one (i.e., they weren’t affected by the age limit announcement ’cause they’d already reached or very nearly reached the previous age limit).††

I’m thinking that the women who are currently entering service as full-time missionaries at twenty-one can have some fun with this in a year. Then they’ll be twenty-two and clearly didn’t start their mission service at age nineteen, but nineteen-year-old women will be starting up as full-time missionaries—which gives the now-twenty-two-year-olds a chance to say things like, “Well, yeah, i would’ve gone on a mission when i was younger like you, but i had to get that whole, you know, gang thing cleared up first.”

* Though i suspect that a chunk of that increase will come in over the coming summer, as people put in their applications for calls beginning during college summer breaks. Probably not as big of an issue for the men, since their age was only lowered by a single year, but quite possibly for women who might want to time things so that their missions start at the beginning of summer break and end prior to the spring semester** in a year and a half.

** For Brigham Young University, read winter semester. I’ve written what i’ve written to reflect normal school calendars, not theirs.

† Yes, in some corners of the church, there is a stigma connected with female full-time missionaries. The technical term for this attitude is, i believe, idiocy.

†† And, of course, some who are older—but just for simplicity, i’ll leave those aside.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

According to a general authority who spoke to the youth and their parents in four stakes in our area a few months ago... they expect the numbers of males serving to drop back to previous levels in a year or two with maybe only a tiny increase. On the other hand, they expect the number of sisters serving to increase dramatically and stay that way. Permanently. He also said that mission presidents have said more sisters would be the best thing for their missions for many reasons.