Just an hour after Pres. Monson announced that Mormon men could start their missions at the age of 18 and Mormon women could start their missions at the age of 19, an 18-year-old young woman from our ward posted on Facebook saying that her entire life plan has changed.
It makes sense. If you are an 18-year-old young woman and you have to wait three years to go on a mission, you probably consider it far enough away that you can go to college and push away planning for your mission. But if the mission is less than a year away, everything changes.
I always found the one-year wait for young men rather awkward. They graduate from college and go to a semester or two of college, and then they go away for two years, and then they come back to the same college? Leaving at 18 seems to make much more sense to me.
The response of some Mormon feminists was very positive, and I was happy to see that. I agree 100 percent with theseresponses:
“I am overjoyed,” LDS writer and religion scholar Joanna Brooks said through tears. “This changes the narrative for young Mormon women in pretty fundamental ways. It uncouples church service from the expectation of marriage and motherhood and teaches young women they should take responsibility for knowing their faith.”
Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl, said she would have gone on a mission at age 19.
“It will change the Young Women’s program for us,” Brooks, who serves in her San Diego LDS Young Women’s Presidency, said in a phone interview. “It says to all of us it’s time to serve shoulder to shoulder.”
Neylan McBaine, founder of the Mormon Women Project, said that the change symbolizes “equal opportunity to gain both cultural and spiritual educations, serve in our external communities, and put those experiences ahead of a rush to marriage.”
All in all, this decision seems a very wise one and very appropriate for the time in which we are living.
What are your reactions? Do you know teens who are changing their plans?