“Why is there so much pressure on young men to go on a mission? Isn’t it a personal decision?” New Era, Jan. 2012, 36
The personal decision each young man must make is whether or not he will fulfill his priesthood duty to serve a mission. As President Thomas S. Monson has said: “Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary” (“As We Meet Together Again,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 5–6).
Preparing for a mission is part of a young man’s Aaronic Priesthood experience. It is his duty, and he should feel the appropriate weight of that duty. Of course, he should not serve a mission simply because it is expected or because he feels pressure; he should serve because he desires to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
But as he prays about serving a mission, he should also remember that by receiving the priesthood, he has already accepted the sacred responsibility to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ” (D&C 20:59), including by serving as a full-time missionary. If young men are not able to serve because of poor health or a disability, they are honorably excused.