When I was a child, I remember looking forward to conference only in hopes that they would announce something life-changing over the pulpit like; "God has revealed the end of the world will happen next August. Get ready." or, "All saints are commanded to migrate to New Zealand." Something like that. Such an announcement obviously never came, but that didn't stop me from getting my hopes up every six months.
Last conference there was quite a big announcement. I was delighted with the news that the Provo Tabernacle would be rebuilt into a Temple, making Provo the first city in the world to have two Temples. Even though it was a very exciting announcement, I found myself over that stage in my life. Instead, I look forward to conference for (gasp) the talks.
So the announcement that was made Saturday morning came as a shock. My reaction went something like this:
Prophet Thomas S Monson: "I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19."
Me: "Huh. How exciting. That's great."
Prophet Thomas S Monson: "...We have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve."
Me: "Gasp! Oh my gosh! Be quite! Listen! LISTEN!"
Prophet Thomas S Monson: "Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21."
Me: "WHAT?! Oh wow! Did you hear that?! Did you hear?! Nineteen! Nineteen! Two years earlier! How wonderful! Oh! That is so great! Oh my goodness. Oh wow. Oh my goodness.Ash! Did you hear?! You can go two years earlier! You'll be back before you're twenty-one! That is amazing! Oh, that is so great!"
It was a great moment; The moment in conference I had been looking forward to as a child.
Later, as I thought about the impacts that change would have, I was awed by what a wonderful change this is, in so many ways, for so many reasons. And then I had a sobering thought: This will really date me. This announcement is equal to the changes of making church a three hour block meeting on Sundays, instead of spread out through the whole week. Or that missions would be limited to two years instead of two and a half or three. Someday I will be asked if I went on a mission when I was nineteen, and I would have to explain that when I was nineteen, the age limit was twenty-one. And then whomever I tell that to will gasp and their eyes will get really big and they'll say: Wow! You are SO OLD!" Just like I did to those people who went to church over the course of a week, or served a three-year mission. Ah, well. I suppose it's poetic justice. And well worth it.