Deciding to serve a mission can be one of the biggest decisions in a young Latter-day Saint woman’s life, and this decision can alter her life trajectory in profound ways. Missionary service is a long-standing tradition among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a spiritually, mentally, and physically demanding experience. Most missionaries are motivated to serve because of deeply held religious beliefs, personal inspiration leading them to feel called to their work, and unselfish desires to serve others and make positive contributions. These are excellent motivations, and for many young women, they are decisive.
At the same time, it is worth exploring how serving a mission can impact a woman’s life. As the Church of Jesus Christ President Russell M. Nelson explains, “Good inspiration is based upon good information.” With that in mind, we recently wrote a research brief to distill for women facing this decision some of the ways missions often affect the missionary after the experience is over. While we know that the calculus behind the decision to serve a mission should not boil down to only considering tangible benefits and costs to a missionary, we believe it may be helpful for women to know more about how missions impact their futures as they consider this important decision.
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