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Friday, October 12, 2012

Mission Age Announcement Friday: Girls Who Choose Not to Go

Dear Readers,

While it's typically several months (sometimes a year or more) before an email I receive gets posted on "Dear Bro Jo", so many of you have thoughts feelings and questions related to the "Church Lowers Mission Service Age" announcement that I've decided to dedicate the next few Fridays to just that topic.

I look forward to your emails, questions, and our discussion of how this wonderful and amazing new course will change (if it does) our LDS dating culture and how it affects your lives.

Hope you enjoy the emails!

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey there!

My question is regarding the news that girls can serve missions at age 19 instead of 21. Bet ya haven't gotten many emails on that topic in the past few days...

I am super excited that girls can serve missions at age 19!

I think it's a fantastic step for missionary work and I'm so excited for all of my friends who are making the decision to serve.

I'm 19, and I'm not making plans to go on a mission. I've thought it through a lot and, although there wouldn't be anything wrong with me going, I just don't feel like it's something I need to do. Maybe I'll feel differently in a couple of years, maybe I won't, but as of now I am not making plans for it. And I don't have to, right?

I know it's officially still optional for girls, but with tons of girls suddenly about to go, I'm feeling guilty for not going. Missionary work is good, so if if I have the ability to go, should I?

If I don't, am I being selfish?

And (this is the part where I worry about what other people think and I know it's petty but it still bothers me because it just does) if the new "expectation" becomes that single 19 year old girls should go on missions, am I going to be looked down on for not going?

Also, I've heard a lot about how excited boys are that there will be lots of young RM girls now, because it will be like a whole new "caliber" of girl.

Oh boy.

Obviously, I've always been hoping for a high caliber guy, but will any be interested?

Thanks for reading about my silly worries.

 - Miss Hesitant

 Dear Miss,

 Yeah . . . I've gotten a "few" letters . . . HA!

Not a problem. That's why I'm here.

Guy or girl, regardless of age, if someone doesn't feel like they should go on a mission, then I don't think they should go. One's heart and mind needs to be in the right place to be of Good Service. IMHO.

The difference, of course, is that guys are Commanded to go (not just "expected"), and girls are not.

Will people "judge" you for not going? Of course they will.

Should you let that bother you? Heck no.

Look, people are going to have opinions about what you do or don't do with your life regardless of what decisions you make. Go or Don't Go, people will not be minding their own business about your life and your decisions.

That's their problem, not yours.

Choosing not to go for a boy may mean that his heart is not where it should be (you may call that "selfish"), for a girl it doesn't mean anything. Of course, making that "judgement" means you'd be just like everyone else that you don't want to form opinions about you . . .

Some guys have desires to marry Return Missionary Sisters just as many girls hope to marry a Return Missionary. And there are several good reasons to make that choice.

Will that change or increase?

Hard to tell at this point.

But know this: anyone who would have married you but chooses not to when he finds out that you didn't serve a mission isn't the Good Guy you thought he was, and certainly isn't good enough for you.

And here's a thought: I've been wondering how our dating culture will change when 20-21 year old RM boys start coming home and there's fewer 19-21 year old girls to date because they're gone.

You and the other sisters who stay home may find yourselves with lots of dates!

 - Bro Jo


Amberlie said...

Wasn't the announcement great?! I'm so grateful that the Lord has seen fit to call more young people out to the field, and that the work is GOING FORTH!!!! What an exciting time to live through!!!

I had no plans to serve a mission until I heard President Monson get up and start speaking, so it was quite a shocker to all my family when I announced, "I'm going on a mission, guys!!" It was because I had an amazing spiritual experience during the annoncement, and afterwards while praying about my decision to go on a mission that I'm going!!

However, I've got a lovely roommate from college (she's sweet, intelligent, funny, and one of the people I look up to spiritually in my life) who's not going! I'm not worried about it. I know she's still an AWESOME person, and any guy would be L-U-C-K-Y to even talk to her!! And the best part is that she's doing what the Lord's asked her to do--which was to not go on a mission, but rather focus on getting an education and preparing for marriage.

You do whatever the Lord wants you to do, and you really can't go wrong! Pray to receive a sure answer that you can fall back on when times are hard, and then follow whatever guidance He gives you (and He will give you an answer...eventually ;) )

No matter what you decide to do, you're all beautiful and awesome! (Any guy who fails to realize that isn't worth the effort on your part!) Best of wishes sisters!!

Christopher Cunningham said...

With this new announcement, I'm beginning to see some thoughts from sisters that remind me of some of the things I used to hear from my friends when we were deciding to go on missions. They would say "I'm not going on a mission" because "I don't feel like I'm ready to serve," or because "it just doesn't feel right," etc. Their promptings weren't wrong, they weren't ready to serve so it wouldn't have felt right, but they still served eventually when they were twenty and twenty one. Missions are a great blessing, and a miraculous service. But just because you feel like you shouldn't serve one right now, doesn't mean you should decide to never serve one ever. The letter writer does wisely mention this for herself. Choosing to not serve a mission now does not guarantee you'll get married in a year. Keep an open mind, you may have something you need to learn in a class this year that will prove crucial as you preach the gospel later.

Laura said...

I loved how President Monson said that the age change is not "mandatory", and that not everybody *should* leave for a mission at these new ages. It is simply an option now.

I also love how in the previous conference, President Uchtdorf gave a talk on the topic of judgement. In relation to gossip, wrongful judging and criticizing, etc, he told us to "stop it". Don't you just love how that talk was conveniently given the conference before a major change was put into place? :)

I, too, am of missionary age. I'm 21, and have been considering it prayerfully, and though I have some time before I would even be able to leave on a mission due to my life and schedule, I am not feeling like it is necessarily for me yet. That may change. But that in no way makes me any less marriage or temple worthy. :) Same goes to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm 17 and I've been dreaming of a mission since primary. The announcement made me super excited, because it seems so close and real now! I'm even more anxious to serve and more focused on getting prepared. But a lot of girls in my ward who weren't planning on missions still aren't and I totally understand. I've always felt it something I needed to do, but not every young woman feels that. Hopefully when the hype dies down the girls who have elected not to serve won't feel so judged. We ladies have the option to choose and the different age doesn't change that. Good luck Miss Hesitant! It will all work out I know :)