The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirms that following a surge in the number of missionaries serving, the numbers have subsided.
In an interview, Elder Brent H. Nielson, executive director of the Missionary Department and a member of the Seventy, explained that following the age change announcement in 2012, the missionary force hit a record high of 89,000 men, women and senior couples serving.
“As that surge passed, we’re now down to around 75,000 missionaries, which is where we think we’ll stay for a period of time as that gradually increases,” Nielson stated.
Nielson also explained that when President Thomas S. Monson announced that young men could now start their service at 18, and young women at 19, the Church saw an increase not only in the number of young men wanting to serve, but also in the number of young women.
Currently, sisters make up nearly 30 percent of the missionary force. Nielson expressed his gratitude for all missionaries, but particularly the sisters choosing to serve.
“I don’t ever want to downplay our elders because they’re amazing, but these sister missionaries are really quite incredible,” Nielson said. “We are so grateful to have the large numbers that have come. In every mission now we have what’s called sister training leaders. And they’re called to supervise a number of sisters in the mission. They’re part of the mission leadership council. So every month when the mission president meets with the leaders, those sisters are there.”
The Church has expanded the number of missions to 419. Come July 2016, the Church will create two more missions in Africa, bringing the total number of missions worldwide to 421.
Watch the video interview, shared above, to hear more about the missionaries of the Church.