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SettingDogStar

Mission Length Change (A Conference Rumor thread)

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I have a lot of thoughts on this subject and how amazing it would be. However I've been hearing rumors of the length of missions be altered like they did in 1982. I know these rumors have always been floating around, like 2 hour church was for decades, and every year they resurface in some form or another. This year I've been reading more about how some have supposedly received mission calls saying things like "the duration of your mission will be given during April General Conference" or something to that effect. 

Maybe it's not good but I'm a huge fan of healthy speculation about stuff like this.

Anyone hear anything similar? Even in rumor?

And what do you think a change like this would look like? Would you like it or dislike it?

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1yr - 18mo service/baptizing missions, local options, and lowering women's mission age to 18. 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, blueglass said:

1yr - 18mo service/baptizing missions, local options, and lowering women's mission age to 18. 

 

I would totally agree with that. Especially if they offered options to choose when they wanted to come home. Of course that could cause some issues with others judging those who chose to only do an 18 month mission, though I think this would pass eventually. I would love if there was legitimate local options for serving full-time missions but being nearby to family and supportive friends. 

I don't know if anyone agrees but I always feel like many people look down on those that serve service missions and less then actual missionaries, which is not really true. If the Church could combine service/full-time/mini-missions into one cohesive mission program and make them all legitimate and truly fulfilling options that would be amazing.

 

Oh and heavily revising the "white bible" as well, but that's a whole other discussion haha

Edited by SettingDogStar

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I mentioned this before but i can see them having sisters in foreign speaking countries serve for 21 or 24 months, some countries the language is exceedingly difficult and after being in the MTC for however long and waiting for a blasted visa you could only be in the country for  not as long as you would need to be to learn the language

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3 hours ago, blueglass said:

1yr - 18mo service/baptizing missions, local options, and lowering women's mission age to 18. 

 

I've heard the 18 month rumor although I hope they don't do it. That'd be a disaster (and was last time they did it). I can certainly see more equality by allowing women to go at 18.

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14 hours ago, SettingDogStar said:

 This year I've been reading more about how some have supposedly received mission calls saying things like "the duration of your mission will be given during April General Conference" or something to that effect. 

 

Is this kind of like all the people at the last conference who were saying they would be told the location of their mission during general conference and then absolutely nothing was announced?

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Rumors swirl of changes to LDS missions at conference as millennials come home early

 "A study shows that more missionaries from the LDS Church are coming home early from planned missionary service.
One of the big questions is: why?
A full 70 percent of those who return do so because of physical or mental health, not because of transgressions, as many expect, according to a survey, titled, "Return with Trauma: Understanding the Experiences of Early Returned Missionaries." It found six in ten of those surveyed said their home congregations were unfriendly or indifferent to their early return, with half reporting poor treatment from church leaders.
Women return home 35 percent of the time, men 29 percent. Janna Riess said this surprised her since women outstrip men on nearly every measure of belief and practice, such as church attendance, paying tithing and in testimony questions.
"What is clear is that early returns are on the rise for both men and women, which is something that Mormon culture needs to learn to deal with in a more loving and responsible way," she wrote.
She also addressed the rumors that the church will change mission requirements, offering alternatives to women's 18 months of service and men's 24 months.
""I can understand the wisdom behind it if it does turn out to be true," Riess wrote of the rumor."

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Rumors swirl of changes to LDS missions at conference as millennials come home early

 "A study shows that more missionaries from the LDS Church are coming home early from planned missionary service.
One of the big questions is: why?
A full 70 percent of those who return do so because of physical or mental health, not because of transgressions, as many expect, according to a survey, titled, "Return with Trauma: Understanding the Experiences of Early Returned Missionaries." It found six in ten of those surveyed said their home congregations were unfriendly or indifferent to their early return, with half reporting poor treatment from church leaders.
Women return home 35 percent of the time, men 29 percent. Janna Riess said this surprised her since women outstrip men on nearly every measure of belief and practice, such as church attendance, paying tithing and in testimony questions.
"What is clear is that early returns are on the rise for both men and women, which is something that Mormon culture needs to learn to deal with in a more loving and responsible way," she wrote.
She also addressed the rumors that the church will change mission requirements, offering alternatives to women's 18 months of service and men's 24 months.
""I can understand the wisdom behind it if it does turn out to be true," Riess wrote of the rumor."

I read on reddit that several are now reading the Gospel Topics Essays in the field. Could that be a reason why? There was a poster on there that had read on there and now struggling, but has now deleted his post. He didn't come back early but has been going over the essays. I told him about this board because he was struggling on who to talk to. He had a girlfriend and was afraid to tell her what was going on. He wondered if he would be okay to say some of what was bothering him on a board like this and I told him that there were many on here that have discussed every wart in the church and that this board would be helpful. So we'll see if he ventures over here. I believe he really wants to stay in the church, he started out trying to convert back the exmormon redditors. 

Edited by Tacenda

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11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I've heard the 18 month rumor although I hope they don't do it. That'd be a disaster (and was last time they did it). I can certainly see more equality by allowing women to go at 18.

Disaster? I was an 18 month missionary so my point of view is probably different, but for me it was no disaster. To begin with, I may not have gone if it weren't 18 months and I was not even considering it before the change. It changed back right before the end of my mission (I had a month to go) and in my opinion the arguments against 18 month missions were baseless. Just my experience.

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25 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I read on reddit that several are now reading the Gospel Topics Essays in the field. Could that be a reason why? There was a poster on there that had read on there and now struggling, but has now deleted his post. He didn't come back early but has been going over the essays. I told him about this board because he was struggling on who to talk to. He had a girlfriend and was afraid to tell her what was going on. He wondered if he would be okay to say some of what was bothering him on a board like this and I told him that there were many on here that have discussed every wart in the church and that this board would be helpful. So we'll see if he ventures over here. I believe he really wants to stay in the church, he started out trying to convert back the exmormon redditors. 

So are you saying missionaries should not read the essays? That they should not be exposed to truth from a and "authorized" reliable source? I think when the essays were first published, which was before all missionaries now in the field were there, it was a shock to some to find out things like Joseph Smith was a polygamist.  I had a son on a mission at the time (nothing in the essays was news to him) and his mission president ended up having a special conference to address concerns. The biggest concern: all their lives, Primary, SS, Seminary, etc., they were either not taught the stuff like JS was a polygamist or were taught the opposite - the he was not. From what I understand,  current missionaries are exposed to the essays in the MTC if they have not been before.

To the OP, I have heard the rumors and I'd welcome some changes.

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16 minutes ago, Boanerges said:

Disaster? I was an 18 month missionary so my point of view is probably different, but for me it was no disaster. To begin with, I may not have gone if it weren't 18 months and I was not even considering it before the change. It changed back right before the end of my mission (I had a month to go) and in my opinion the arguments against 18 month missions were baseless. Just my experience.

The baptisms per missionary dropped significantly during that era which is a large reason why they reversed it. (As I suspect they may do, or at least adjust, the 18 year old missionary age which had a similar albeit worse effect) The reason Hinckley did it (Kimball was incapacitated at the time) was primarily due to cost. I should add that the counterargument is that there was a decrease in converts per missionary due to "low hanging fruit" all being picked from when the Church went international in a dramatic fashion in the 60's.

convertspermissionary.png

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

The baptisms per missionary dropped significantly during that era which is a large reason why they reversed it. (As I suspect they may do, or at least adjust, the 18 year old missionary age which had a similar albeit worse effect) The reason Hinckley did it (Kimball was incapacitated at the time) was primarily due to cost. I should add that the counterargument is that there was a decrease in converts per missionary due to "low hanging fruit" all being picked from when the Church went international in a dramatic fashion in the 60's.

convertspermissionary.png

 

 

 

There are probably a lot of things that factor into this trend.  The church focusing on more retention instead of just baptisms, and cleaning up the more egregious baptism practices of the past certainly would contribute.  Overall socioeconomic conditions and cultural changes around the world are also influencing factors.  

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18 hours ago, Duncan said:

I mentioned this before but i can see them having sisters in foreign speaking countries serve for 21 or 24 months, some countries the language is exceedingly difficult and after being in the MTC for however long and waiting for a blasted visa you could only be in the country for  not as long as you would need to be to learn the language

my mother served for 24mo in Guatemala in 1975'.  I suppose in the future more local missions will be predominant, rather than exporting the gospel from Utah or Idaho to latin america or africa, Latin america and africa will support their own missionaries regionally. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

There are probably a lot of things that factor into this trend.  The church focusing on more retention instead of just baptisms, and cleaning up the more egregious baptism practices of the past certainly would contribute.  

No more "basketball baptisms".  In the late 1960's, in my German mission was  200 missionaries, 100 converts  a year.

Edited by cdowis

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I am old enough to remember when missionary service was 2 1/2 years.  Back then the missionary farewells were big deals with special programs printed with a photo of the missionary on the front and a big open house after the Sacrament meeting, which was completely focused on the one serving the mission.

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6 hours ago, Boanerges said:

So are you saying missionaries should not read the essays? That they should not be exposed to truth from a and "authorized" reliable source? I think when the essays were first published, which was before all missionaries now in the field were there, it was a shock to some to find out things like Joseph Smith was a polygamist.  I had a son on a mission at the time (nothing in the essays was news to him) and his mission president ended up having a special conference to address concerns. The biggest concern: all their lives, Primary, SS, Seminary, etc., they were either not taught the stuff like JS was a polygamist or were taught the opposite - the he was not. From what I understand,  current missionaries are exposed to the essays in the MTC if they have not been before.

To the OP, I have heard the rumors and I'd welcome some changes.

Last year they I heard the rumors about "your mission location will be announced at next conference" and nothing materialized. However with as many changes as President Nelson has made it wouldn't surprise me if they created some kind of new options available. 

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6 hours ago, Boanerges said:

Disaster? I was an 18 month missionary so my point of view is probably different, but for me it was no disaster. To begin with, I may not have gone if it weren't 18 months and I was not even considering it before the change. It changed back right before the end of my mission (I had a month to go) and in my opinion the arguments against 18 month missions were baseless. Just my experience.

I think having it both options would be useful, but needs to be a solid commitment as there could be big logistic problems if all the people who had decided to stay 24 took off at 18, maybe it could work out if only a few changed and numbers were about equal.

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It will take 1/3 more male missionaries to equal the service time of the current number.of male missionaries.

For example, 3 current male missionaries will serve a total of 72 months.

72/18 = 4

For every 3 current male missionaries, 4 will be needed to do the same service time if the missions are reduced to 18 months.

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23 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The baptisms per missionary dropped significantly during that era which is a large reason why they reversed it. (As I suspect they may do, or at least adjust, the 18 year old missionary age which had a similar albeit worse effect) The reason Hinckley did it (Kimball was incapacitated at the time) was primarily due to cost. I should add that the counterargument is that there was a decrease in converts per missionary due to "low hanging fruit" all being picked from when the Church went international in a dramatic fashion in the 60's.

convertspermissionary.png

 

 

 

I'm surprised that a drop in baptisms per missionary would cause the church to change the mission length policy.  It seems pretty logical to me that if you have a missionary serve less time, he/she will have less baptisms.  If the time went from 24 months to 18 months, then I would expect a 25% drop in baptisms per missionary.  If memory serves, the 18 month mission was in the early 80's, and there is less than a 25% drop from the peak of just under 8.  

 

Obviously this chart doesn't show the number of missionaries in the field, so if the 18 month mission made it so there were more missionaries in the field (that is, more served because an 18 month term was ok while a 24 month term was not) then the number of baptisms per missionary would have gone down more than one might expect per my reasoning above.  

 

I expect changes in missionary service length have more to do with societal expectations and the church reacting to those expectations.  

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Posted (edited)
On 3/14/2019 at 11:31 AM, clarkgoble said:

The baptisms per missionary dropped significantly during that era which is a large reason why they reversed it. (As I suspect they may do, or at least adjust, the 18 year old missionary age which had a similar albeit worse effect) The reason Hinckley did it (Kimball was incapacitated at the time) was primarily due to cost. I should add that the counterargument is that there was a decrease in converts per missionary due to "low hanging fruit" all being picked from when the Church went international in a dramatic fashion in the 60's.

convertspermissionary.png

 

 

 

OK, I served 1984-1985 (Feb-Sept). Clearly on your graph there was a dip then and an uptick following the return to two years. After that (18 month missions ended in 1984) there was another drop (1986 in your graph) and then there was an even bigger downward trend (90-92) and a continued downward trend after that - we're nowhere near what levels were then. I'm not seeing a cause and effect here.

I served a foreign mission where baptisms were and are rare. Some missionaries went home without any (even in two years), I was fortunate enough to have had three.

Edited by Boanerges
Additional info added

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21 hours ago, Calm said:

I think having it both options would be useful, but needs to be a solid commitment as there could be big logistic problems if all the people who had decided to stay 24 took off at 18, maybe it could work out if only a few changed and numbers were about equal.

There definitely was some judging of those who chose to leave as opposed to extend. Not so much for me because my flight reservations, dinner with the president, etc. were already set. My comp did choose to extend but there was another elder in my zone who was leaving a month after me and chose not to extend. I'll just leave it at the was some judgmentalism. So, yes, there would be some logistical issues and likely some judging. But I might point out that several of the major changes of the past year have had some more minor precursors, and the change in application procedure earlier this year could be a precursor to such a change and/or a change to more service oriented missions. 

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I finally figured out how to be an effective missionary at 21 months out. Before that I was an abrasive git. Then I regressed after I went home as you may have noticed.

This will be especially hard on missions that require extensive language training.

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41 minutes ago, Boanerges said:

OK, I served 1984-1985 (Feb-Sept). Clearly on your graph there was a dip then and an uptick following the return to two years. After that (18 month missions ended in 1984) there was another drop (1986 in your graph) and then there was an even bigger downward trend (90-92) and a continued downward trend after that - we're nowhere near what levels were then. I'm not seeing a cause and effect here.

I served a foreign mission where baptisms were and are rare. Some missionaries went home without any (even in two years), I was fortunate enough to have had three.

I was in Louisiana '87 - '89 and when I got out there were still some 18 mo folks. We were in a baptizing peak then. However the problem was that it usually took quite a few months to really figure out what was going on. Likewise non-English speaking often just got the language down sufficient then had only a few months of effective work. In places like Europe where baptisms were rare this wasn't as big of an effect. In other places though it had more of an effect. That's likely why the rate drops only slightly due to the bias of low baptizing missions.

What I suspect they might do is allow more short term missions. However much like the drop to 18 year olds going on missions I think this will have a negative effect on baptisms. Now again, to anticipate objections, that doesn't mean it is the wrong thing to do in the least. Missions have many functions and consequences besides conversions of others.

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On 3/14/2019 at 9:16 AM, Boanerges said:

So are you saying missionaries should not read the essays? That they should not be exposed to truth from a and "authorized" reliable source? I think when the essays were first published, which was before all missionaries now in the field were there, it was a shock to some to find out things like Joseph Smith was a polygamist.  I had a son on a mission at the time (nothing in the essays was news to him) and his mission president ended up having a special conference to address concerns. The biggest concern: all their lives, Primary, SS, Seminary, etc., they were either not taught the stuff like JS was a polygamist or were taught the opposite - the he was not. From what I understand,  current missionaries are exposed to the essays in the MTC if they have not been before.

To the OP, I have heard the rumors and I'd welcome some changes.

I guess they need to read them to be prepared to answer them in the mission field. I guess it will take some time for the truth to become the normal. 

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