Wednesday, September 11, 2013

August Update of Callings Posted to YouTube

To date, I have viewed more than 1,700 future missionaries opening their calls on YouTube.  Some share the special moment with friends and family; others limit the moment to family.  Some cry and some scream, a few laugh.  Many cannot properly read their call as their eye jumps to where they will serve.  A large number do not know how to pronounce the name of their missions or the language in which they will preach the gospel.  They are a choice generation that has listened to the prophet’s voice and serve God and their fellow men.  They are excited to serve.
13 August sisters vs elders
The graph, “Mission Calls Posted to YouTube,” runs from November 2011 until August 2013 and displays the number of Sisters and Elders posting their calls to YouTube.  The number of posts increased dramatically beginning in November after President Monson announced in the October Conference that the ages of service had been lowered from 21 to 19 for Sisters and 19 to 18 for Elders until the peak in the surge in May 2013 when 220 future missionaries posted their class.  The number has fallen rapidly since that time to 71 in August 2013 but that relatively modest announcement number is well ahead of the 18 calls posted to YouTube the previous year.  In August 34 men and 37 women posted their calls.  It was the second consecutive month in which the videos from women exceeded those of men. 

13 August Sisters
13 August Elders
The second graph, “Mission Calls to Sisters,” is a comparison of the number of YouTube posts prior to and after President Monson’s announcement.  Thirty-seven women posted their calls this August compared to four the previous year.  The graph, “Mission Calls to Elders,” portrays a similar trend.  The number of calls from men reached 34 in August compared to 14 the previous year.  It is likely that the year-to-year comparison of posts exaggerates the size of the increase in calls to both women and men; enthusiasm in participating in the largest increase in the missionary force in two generations probably contributes to the increase in posted calls as well.  The extraordinary phase of the surge has ended.  Beginning in November, I will add a third line to these graphs, that will compare year two of the surge with year one and the previous year.  I will also make some estimate of the enduring impact of the announcement.  Will the missionary force fall back to 60,000, will the number of Sisters called approach the number of Elders, and will allowing men to serve at 18 rather than 19 yield a larger percentage of men serving missions.  If the YouTube posts are representative of the calls received Church wide, the estimates will provide insights.
13 August Calls by Region
The graph, “Three Month Moving Average of Mission Assignments,” shows that calls issued to the United States fell from the July high 44.8% to 38.4%.  Calls issued to other regions, with the exception of Oceania, all increased from July to August.  Some students of the surge believe that the large number of calls would eventually lead to a larger percentage of missionaries serving in the United States.  The higher peak of calls to the United States this year over last supports that theory but barely.  Last summer, the percentage of missionaries called to serve in the United States peak in June at 42.1%, only 2.7% less than this year’s July peak.  September’s data may fill in a few gaps of knowledge.  In other posts, I will attempt to measure the impact of the missionary surge in increased membership, operating units and activity.  I am enjoying the ride. 

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