The Spirit of Prophecy is what makes our Church different from all others. This explains why some new practices and policies catch us by surprise. The Lord knows what is coming before it happens and He therefore inspires our Leaders to prepare the people for that. Time will confirm that all those changes were inspired. Meanwhile, we have to show our faith and patiently wait for the blessings that will result from such.
My personal opinion is that this goes hand-in-hand with the shift in the Aaronic prieshood ordinations to January of the year the young me reach a certain age. For instance, one of my grandsons turned 12 this past December 19th and was duly ordained a Deacon. This year he'll turn 13. He will turn 14 in December, 2020 (next year), but can officially be ordained a Teacher in January of that year, almost a full year ahead of the previous rules. Essentially he'll spend a year less time as a Deacon. But from then on the math works out so that he'll still serve two years as Teacher and then as Priest. Young men from this year on will serve two years in each priesthood office, but will leave Primary a year earlier.
Just guessing, the Lord perhaps wants these young men to start official priesthood training a year earlier because of the responsibilities that will be given to them. They're a chose generation for sure.
Some missionaries come from families that are not actively involved in church and worship activities, and some come from families who are not members of the church. This change will be beneficial to those who may have felt they were not sacrificing, but instead being "punished" by not being able to communicate regularly with those they love.
Helicopter Parents? The gap between parents and children today has never been farther apart as mothers spend all their time on technology and send their kids away to "school" at earlier ages--low involvement/borderline neglect is super trendy (ever heard of free-range parenting). Sure there are prying and controlling parents who invade their adult children's lives, but these parents are usually trying to make up for a neglectful childhood. Those that kept close tabs on their little ones in the first place won't end up frantic like this trying to correct their mistakes. But even if they do, it's only once a week people--not everyday! Remember the mission president/church headquarters has far more power to micromanage and limit missionaries' choices than parents do--we should welcome moves that indicate trust and move away from a monk-like lifestyle and more imitate the freedom senior missionaries get. The church expected the PROSELYTING missionary force to be at 100,000 by 2019 instead we're closing MTCs (see Salt Lake Tribune archives, Holland predicts 100,000)--they needed to motivate more missionaries to serve.
As stated in the beginning of this article: "Most Latter-day Saints seem to be welcoming the change." (I'm assuming here that they mean members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) Since most members are just fine with this, why does anyone feel it is valuable to draw attention to naysayers? Once again, a Prophet has spoken and, once again, there are a few who are whining. No news here.
My first thoughts about this were that we now have many of our missionaries who are so prepared and willing to do this great work that they can be trusted to communicate directly with their families and this will not interfere with their missions.
When I served in Japan 50 years ago, it would have been impossible to do this. Now that the technology is here, why not? Missionaries are called to develop love and compassion toward the people they teach. Why shouldn't they be able to do the same for their own families? Many missionaries can influence a patent or sibling in their faith. They can demonstrate their greater maturity and faithfulness. They are not hermits like some Catholic monks, but are called to be out among the people sharing Christ's gospel. They can do that with Church members in the places they teach. And can do it with their own families., who are often making sacrifices to support them.
When serving in downtown SLC 32 years ago, my comp and I went on splits one Sunday. She, and her companionion for the day, went to this particular ward made up of mostly elderly people. She later told me that When they got to the chapel entrance one of the elderly greeters at the door said to her “ Sister what are you doing here? When I was on my mission we weren’t allowed to go to church!”
And some think a phone call home every week is a problem.
For the record my last companion was seriously homesick so I let her call home a few times as I felt the law needed some bending with the spirit. I don’t regret that as it kept her in the field when it was hard for her. I think this new policy will be a great benefit to our missionaries and their families. I know how hard it is on parents not to talk with their missionary kids too.
I rejoice in the many changes that have come about in the last several months. I have a strong testimony that President Russell M. Nelson is a Prophet of God. This testimony is why I accept the change to allow missionary to communicate with their parents more frequently. Personally I have often wondered why, with the current technology, that they were not allowed this privilege.
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