Mormon Church Lowers Age for Women Missionaries

In more local news -- it was a surprising announcement for tens of thousands of local LDS members.

Just this week -- they learned a change would allow followers to serve on a mission younger than ever allowed before.

Men can now serve at age-18 instead of 19.
But the bigger change came for women -- now allowed to serve at age 19 instead of 21.
KEPR spoke to a young woman who's thrilled about her new opportunity.
It's not hard to tell how Kiersten Hopkins feels about the news.

KIERSTEN: "i was really excited. Like, I'm pretty sure like I had a little spazz party," said hopeful missionary Kiersten Hopkins.

This high schooler and aspiring pianist is already planning her mission to Brazil.
She eventually wants to graduate college and get married -- but heading to the field can come before that.

"Mission was kind of a second priority - but now it's more in the first priority," added Hopkins.

She's got a couple years to prepare.
But several other young women in the Tri-Cities have already asked bishops for mission applications since the news broke Saturday.

"Young women who have the desire to serve, may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19 instead of age 21," announced LDS President Monson.

"Now we'll have far more mothers who have been on mission and been prepared to teach the next rising generation," said Kennewick Stake President Richard Meyer.

Meyer says the last church-wide revelation was in the mid-90's -- proclaiming the LDS position on marriage and families.

How does the Mormon Church get their news breaks? They say the Heavenly Father gives revelation to the Prophet. Who - after receiving counsel, gives information to the people.

When I asked local officials about the reasoning behind the age change, they couldn't say exactly.

"I felt great about 19 and 21. Now, I feel great about 18 and 21. Why it happened, I don't know," said Washington Kennewick Mission President Leonard Greer.

The local mission did tell us they estimate there will be double the number of female missionaries from our region next year.

And very soon, that delegation is likely to include Kiersten.

"It was kind of a huge responsibility on us, but I'm excited," explained Hopkins.

It's estimated more than 20-thousand people are part of the L-D-S church across the Tri-Cities.
Going on a mission is a key part of the church's outreach plan.
Service is for two years -- and the church picks the location.