In the fall of 2012, the LDS Church lowered the minimum age requirements for missionaries. Now, young men can begin a two-year mission at the age of eighteen and young women can begin an eighteen-month mission at the age of nineteen. This change has dramatically increased the number of missionaries serving worldwide.
Young men and women are not required to go on a mission, but they receive strong encouragement to serve as a means to show loyalty and commitment to the LDS faith. “In fulfillment of [Great Commission], able young men in the Church have a duty to prepare spiritually, physically, and emotionally to serve as full-time missionaries.” (True to the Faith, p. 105) The calling of every missionary is to teach the LDS plan of salvation so all spirit children in this mortal life can receive the true gospel and know how to pass their time of testing on this earth. The motivation for most Mormons to serve on a mission is to improve their testimony or strengthen their faith.
Missionary work is strongly encouraged among all LDS members. Not only are they encouraged to seek out neighbors and friends to share the Mormon gospel, but more importantly, they are to set a good example and display their happiness as a means to showcase their faith. “The most powerful missionary message you can send is your own example of living a happy Latter-day Saint life.” (True to the Faith, p. 105)