I hope that some unsure LDS girls don’t feel pressured to go on a mission, like that they’re going to be less of a member if they don’t go. For the men, it’s a priesthood responsibility. For women, it’s something they do if it feels right and they want to serve (the Prophet himself said so). In my opinion, it just isn’t right for people to think less of a woman for not having served a mission.
Here I am, 23 and single, and I haven’t served one. That doesn’t mean that my testimony is weak; the Gospel is everything to me and I try my best to live it every, single day. Due to circumstances and seeking my own path through Heavenly Father’s will, I choose to serve in different ways.
Already, after the announcement of the missionary age change I’ve seen all kinds of comments on Facebook and Tumblr along the lines of “I hope that girls will stop thinking of a mission as something to do if they don’t get married” or “Now guys are gonna start demanding RM’s!”. This really scares me because I don’t want to be judged for my decision to not serve a formal mission.
Disclaimer, though, I think that the age change is absolutely fantastic and I completely support it. I know that it’s inspired of God and that it’s going to do a lot of good in the world and a lot more women are going to get to serve who may not have had the opportunity if they had to wait longer. The only thing I’m worried about is the stigma that it is probably going to cause within LDS culture against girls who haven’t served missions.