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The priesthood ban was lifted during Kimball's presidency and since 1978 there has been no restrictions to missionary service that are based on race or ethnicity.
After application to the church and the requisite approval, prospective missionaries receive a "call to serve"—an official notification of their location assignment—through the mail from the President of the Church.
Women who would like to serve a mission must meet the same standards of worthiness and be at least 19 years old.
Women generally serve as missionaries for 18 months.
This expectation is based in part on the New Testament passage "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matt. The minimum age had previously been age 19 in most countries until October 6, 2012, when church president Thomas S.
In addition to spiritual preparedness, church bishops are instructed to ensure that prospective missionaries are physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of full-time missionary work.
In the same speech where he called for "every young man" to fill a mission, Kimball added, "we realize that while all men definitely should, all men are not prepared to teach the gospel abroad." Apart from general issues of worthiness and ability, there are a number of specific situations that will disqualify a person from becoming a full-time missionary for the LDS Church.
Those excluded include those who would have to leave dependent children in the care of someone else; young couples who are still of childbearing age; those who are in debt and have not made arrangements to meet these obligations; those who are on legal probation or parole; couples with serious unresolved marital problems; those who are HIV-positive; and those who have been convicted of sexual abuse.
With the usual starting age of 18–20, a mission provides a clear event or marker for the traditional age of adulthood, but is not necessary for continuance in church membership.
Young men between the ages of 18 and 25 who meet standards of worthiness are strongly encouraged to consider a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission.