Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Mormon missionary applications explode 471%; half are women
Religion » Lower age limits trigger a 471% jump in prospective proselytizers.
First Published Oct 22 2012 08:25 pm • Last Updated Oct 24 2012 09:19 am

LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland predicted that lowering the age limits for young Mormon missionaries would trigger a "dramatic" uptick in their numbers.

Turns out, dramatic was an understatement. Try a 471 percent jump in applications — so far.

At a glance

Mormon missions by the numbers

281,312 » Number of LDS converts in 2011

58,000 » Number of full-time Mormon missionaries

24,000 » Number of missionaries at Provo Missionary Training Center in a year

2,700 » Average number of missionaries at Provo’s MTC at any one time

347 » Number of LDS missions worldwide

80 » Percentage of missionaries trained at Provo’s MTC, the faith’s largest

15 » Number of MTCs worldwide

Source: lds.org

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Just two weeks since LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced that young men could go on full-time missions at age 18 (down from 19) and young women could go at 19 (down from 21), the Utah-based faith has seen applications skyrocket from an average of 700 a week to 4,000 a week.

"Slightly more than half of the applicants are women," LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter said Monday in a news release.

That represents a massive shift. Typically, women make up fewer than a fifth of the LDS missionary force, which currently stands at more than 58,000 worldwide.

At a news conference after the historic change, Holland said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was gearing up immediately to accommodate a larger missionary force — reducing by a third the time missionaries spend in training centers and hiring additional staff to manage the budding proselytizers’ language skills.

"The Lord is hastening this work," Holland said, "and he needs more and more willing missionaries."

Six days later, LDS officials announced that the church was rethinking the expansion of its flagship Provo Missionary Training Center, including a nine-story building that neighbors had opposed.

Ultimately, Mormon leaders hope more missionaries will translate into more converts. Indeed, that may happen.

Matt Martinich, who tracks LDS growth, has analyzed the ratio of missionaries to converts. In the past 33 years, he found each missionary has baptized — on average — six converts, though that number has dipped to five during the past decade.

story continues below
story continues below

The church reported 281,312 converts last year. If it sustains the current ratio of one missionary for every five converts a year, Martinich said, there would be 300,000 such baptisms when the number of missionaries reaches 60,000; 350,000 if the number of missionaries reaches 70,000; and 400,000 if the proselytizing force reaches 80,000.

This missionary age adjustment could generate as many as 15,000 more young elders and 7,500 more sisters in the first year, Martinich said in a report at cumorah.com. "There were reports from members and missionaries in Eastern Europe that an international LDS Church leader reported that the number of missionaries serving would reach 90,000 as a result of lowering the minimum age for missionary service."

Trotter cautioned against projecting any increases.

"These are early numbers," he said, "and it is difficult to say exactly where we will be over the coming months."


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.