As a Mormon feminist, I have recently been struggling in my quest to see women that are influential and important in the church. As I prepared for General Conference this weekend, a bi-annual meeting where the leadership of the church speak, the prayer in my heart was that I would see examples of women given authority in the church. Prayer answered.
Yesterday in General Conference, the prophet of the church, President Thomas S. Monson, announced that the age for young women to qualify to serve as missionaries would change from 21 to 19 (official press release here). By doing so, the church openly acknowledged the important role that women play in the building of Zion which was cause for celebration for women worldwide! There was a woman who tweeted me saying:
There are some remarkable changes we can look forward to from this marvelous change.
- Young women can begin temple preparation independently of preparing for marriage.
- This will create opportunities for young women in the church to cultivate greater strength and deeper testimonies which will improve the church’s retention rate and pave the way for their future and that of their families.
- Serving a mission no longer needs to be in opposition with getting married or starting a career. You can do it all if you want to.
- More young women will be able to attend the temple sooner which will help strengthen home and families.
- This will change what is taught and how they are taught in Young Women.
- We will lose less girls to inactivity in the challenging transition from Young Women to Relief Society.
- We will have a generation of young women in the church who recognize that they are important to the building of Zion.
When my sister was 21, she was trying to decide whether or not she would serve a mission. This was right around the time that Prop 8 went down and she went inactive. How things would have been different for her if she’d been able to serve a mission at 19.
While this won’t change the past, it will certainly influence the future. My little sister posted on Facebook this weekend that she could be on a mission in 9 months!
Change is coming. I can feel it in my bones.