President Monson Announces Two New Temples, New Age Requirement for Missionaries
“May we listen attentively to the messages which will be presented during the next two days, that we may feel the Spirit of the Lord and gain the knowledge He would desire for us.” —President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Following are remarks by President Thomas S. Monson on Saturday morning, Oct. 6, as he opened the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of the Church.
How good it is, my brothers and sisters, to welcome you to the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Since we met six months ago, three new temples have been dedicated, and one temple has been rededicated. In May it was my privilege to dedicate the beautiful Kansas City Missouri Temple and to attend the cultural celebration associated with it. I will mention that celebration in greater detail in my remarks tomorrow morning.
In June President Dieter F. Uchtdorf dedicated the long-awaited temple in Manaus, Brazil, and in early September President Henry B. Eyring rededicated the newly refurbished temple in Buenos Aires [Argentina], a temple which I had the privilege to dedicate nearly 27 years ago. Just two weeks ago President Boyd K. Packer dedicated the lovely Brigham City Temple in the hometown where he was born and raised.
As I have indicated previously, no Church-built facility is more important than a temple, and we are pleased to have 139 temples in operation throughout the world, with 27 more announced or under construction. We are grateful for these sacred edifices and the blessings they bring into our lives.
This morning, I am pleased to announce two additional temples, which in coming months and years will be built in the following locations: Tucson, Arizona, and Arequipa, Peru.
Details concerning these temples will be provided in the future as necessary permits and approvals are obtained.
Brothers and Sisters, I turn to another matter, mainly missionary service. For some time the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have allowed young men from certain countries to serve at the age of 18 when they are worthy, able and have graduated from high school and have expressed a sincere desire to serve. This has been a country-specific policy that has allowed thousands of young men to serve honorable missions and also fulfill required military obligations and educational opportunities. Our experience with these 18-year-old missionaries has been positive. Their mission presidents report they are obedient, faithful, mature and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions.
Their faithfulness, obedience, and maturity have caused us to desire the same opportunity for earlier missionary calls for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come. I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the opportunity of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of the age 19.
I am not suggesting that all young men will or should serve at this earlier age. Rather based on individual circumstances, as well as upon determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
As we prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service we have also given consideration to the age at which young women might serve. Today, I'm pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty, and we encourage all young men who are worthy and physically able and mentally capable respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries and we welcome their service.
We continue to need many more senior couples. As your circumstances allow, as you are eligible for retirement, and as your health permits, I encourage you to make yourselves available for full-time missionary service. Both husband and wife will have great joy as together they serve our Father's children.
Now my brothers and sisters, may we listen attentively to the messages which will be presented during the next two days, that we may feel the Spirit of the Lord and gain the knowledge He would desire for us. That this may be our experience, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.