This video was produced by Cynthia Cruz

Five years ago, in October 2012, President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement that missionaries could enter the mission field at the age of 18 for young men and 19 for young women.

Courtesy Photo

“We are pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service at 19, instead of age 21… they make … valuable contributions as missionaries and we welcome their service,” President Monson said, according to

This brought a lot of excitement to the Latter-day Saint community, especially for young women because of the possibility of serving.

“I was going to wait until I was 21 — I was not really committed to anything,” said Monique Reher, a junior studying public health. “I filled out my papers as fast as I could and I was gone.”

Reher said she felt that if the age change did not happen she might not have had the opportunity to serve a mission.

“It definitely pushed me to go on a mission when the age changed,” Reher said.

William Riggins, a faculty member in the religion department, said he was a stake president at BYU-Idaho at the time of the age change.

“I had the opportunity of interviewing and recommending hundreds of our BYU-I students for missionary service,” Riggins said.

He said that the Lord is hastening his work. He currently teaches two Missionary Prep classes and said he feels grateful for the preparation young men and women are striving to achieve before they enter the mission field.

Riggins said the age change was a challenge and a blessing all at once but is and continues to be a blessing to the entire church.