Times have changed: Opening of LDS missionary calls a celebratory event

My mission call came on a routine autumn weekday in 1981. I wasn’t expecting it. It was only six days since the final interview with my stake president, and it was time for midterm exams at BYU.

My mom pulled the letter from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints out from under the microwave oven after a friend left.

“I thought he’d never leave,” she said.

I grabbed the letter, signed by then-LDS President Spencer W. Kimball, went halfway down the hall and ripped it open. I skimmed the text looking for any geographical reference until I found the words “England London mission.”

After telling my mom, I called family and friends to tell them.

That was about it.

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