SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The number of Mormon missionaries has surpassed 75,000 worldwide, driven by the church’s decision to lower the minimum age for ambassadors of the Utah-based faith.
KSL reports the number of proselytizing missionaries has increased by 28 percent from about 58,000 a year ago.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expects the number to swell to 85,000 by year’s end.
Last October, the church decided men could begin serving at 18, instead of 19, and women at 19, instead of 21.
Church scholars say the unprecedented number of missionaries gives Mormons an opportunity to bring in a higher number of converts, and perhaps more importantly, do a better job of keeping current members active.
Men serve for two years, and women, 18 months.