Missionaries at 19, or “Coach, put me in”

Join me and thousands (millions?) of other Mormon girls who are thrilled at this change but can’t help but think how it might have been. 

I have liked many of the reactions to the change on the blogosphere.  I have liked that people have celebrated–while recognizeing that things are not equal, the problems not solved–but still celebrating.

Consider this article. 

I recognize the sadness you feel—it’s a hunger you may have never known how to even name:  the profound hunger to be useful.  Mormonism is a pragmatic faith tradition, and there is no higher honor than being useful to the work.  Sweet is the work.  And some Mormon women, we go our whole lives and never feel that we’ve really been useful in all the ways we could have been—might, mind, strength, and all that.  The hunger, it runs deep.

And this one. 

Allowing women to go on missions at 19 has been a Mormon feminist talking point for decades (and it’s one of the suggestions on the newish All Are Alike unto God), so the announcement seemed to give off a sense of closure for the collective Mo fem consciousness – and also for my individual self. When I was younger, I expended an exorbitant amount of angst over this issue. Knowing that I’d gotten what I wanted, after I actually wanted it, precipitated the most bizarre jumble of reactions. Relief. Excitement. Nostalgia. Even disorientation.

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