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LDS youth welcomes lowering of missionary age

By By Jamie Ostroff, Reporter
Published On: Oct 08 2012 05:03:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 08 2012 08:03:26 PM CDT

As LDS students head back to school after conference weekend, one topic is dominating conversation in the classroom.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

As LDS students head back to school after conference weekend, one topic is dominating conversation in the classroom.

President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced during the semiannual general conference that men and women can serve their missions at a younger age.

Men can serve at age 18, instead of 19. Women can now serve at age 19, instead of 21.

"It felt in my heart like, 'Yeah. This is the right thing to do,'" said one Idaho Falls seminary student during a class discussion of Monson's announcement.

Female students are especially thrilled about the change.

High school senior Lizzy Christensen said it makes her more likely to go on a mission.

"If I graduated, I'd still be 18 and have a year to go to college," Christensen said.  "I think it would be nice because it would give me a taste of what college was like and decide if I want to stay there or if I want to go."

"They can just go a little bit after high school," said another senior, Camille Hargis. "They're not just, like, sitting in limbo wondering, 'Should I go to school? Should I wait?' So it gives them a better opportunity to go (on a mission)."

The young men agree that getting to serve their mission fresh out of high school is simply a better use of their time.

"For some boys, it's just like a year that they just kind of sit around, anyway," said senior Andrew Follett.

"It'll be nice to be able to go on my mission right as I graduate and get back in time to be able to get ready for college," said Jack Wise, a high school freshman.

Seminary principal Matt Williams said it will be challenging to get more students ready to serve at a younger age, but he doesn't seem to mind.

"I'm just excited for the young people," Williams said. "It's an opportunity that will change their lives forever."

The admissions director at Brigham Young University-Idaho said the university is still trying to figure out exactly how the changes will impact its enrollment and that changes will be made to accommodate younger students going on missions.

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