“Do young men have to serve a mission as soon as they turn 18? And are young women more strongly encouraged to serve a mission now that they can go at 19?” Liahona, Jan. 2014, 59
When President Thomas S. Monson announced the change in the age of eligibility for missionary service, he said, “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 a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.”1 Consider your physical and emotional health, financial preparation, and spiritual preparation. You can counsel with parents and priesthood leaders about these things when deciding about the right time to serve.
Regarding young women, President Monson said, “Young women … 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.”2