At a concert in Salt Lake City last week, pop star David Archuleta of American Idol fame made an unexpected and emotional announcement. After a couple of years of skirting questions about it, he revealed that he will indeed serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though he hasn't made public where he will be sent.
Mr. Archuleta will join more than 52,000 Mormon missionaries serving in 340 missions, or geographic areas, world-wide. Eighty percent of them are young men who begin serving at age 19. The remainder are mostly young women age 21 and older, along with a small number of retired couples. It is estimated that roughly a third of eligible young Mormon men elect to serve missions.