Changing Missionary Age: Pros and Cons from a Feminist Perspective
This morning during General Conference we learned that a new policy is in place for age of missionary service. Men can now go at 18 and women can now go at 19. What are the implications of such a change in policy? Longtime Mormon feminist Kay G has some ideas of possible pros and cons of the change.
- A small step toward more equal view of women in the church
- If the new policy does produce marriages between missionaries serving together, it will be a good thing that wife/husband will have shared a formative experience and had comparable opportunities for religious/spiritual
experience. (Every missionary companion I had (plus me) married a fellow missionary and those I’m still in touch with have good marriages). Corollary, thinking 40 years down the road, wouldn’t it be nice if both spouses spoke the language if called to serve in a foreign country?
- A fairly big difference toward encouraging women to serve.
- Men may come to view women as more equal/similar in experience and see them more as partners?
- Many men change their interest/major after a mission, going in a different direction than they thought at 18. Good for women to have this maturing time too.
- No gap in church programming for either gender – but plenty of returned missionaries of both sexes do a lot of changing in attitudes and beliefs post mission.
- Young women can fulfill their dream of getting married before 21 AND serve a mission, so even more pressure on both women and men to marry young.