Many Mormons say they were stunned when Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced last month that the church was immediately lowering the age requirements for missionary service to 18 for men and 19 for women. While the change has significant implications for men, for Mormon women it could rewrite the narratives of their lives.
The classic picture of Mormon missionaries is a pair of young men in white shirts and thin ties. But now, what might appear to outsiders to be a subtle change in church policy has prompted thousands of young Mormon women to sign up to serve as missionaries as well.
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