Missions and Universities

David Aubril is a regular guest author at BCC. He is a French teacher who is fond of didactics, literature, UNIX systems and free diving (with no order of preference). He follows with great interest the contemporary debates on Gospel and Church matters, but from afar, from “the other side of the water”, as Pascal says.

There was recently a study about the benefits young women can get from their mission : “Lifelong benefits may await those Latter-day Saint women who opt to serve a religious mission during their college years, a new study from Utah State University’s Utah Women & Leadership Project suggests” (The Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 9, 2023). I was pretty sure that it would come up as an argument in support of missions in the April General Conference. 

I remain skeptical, though, about these conclusions. As the study indicates : “With time away from school, there is an increased risk that students will simply not return to college after completing a gap experience. However, our research on female students at BYU suggests this may be a minimal concern in Utah” (Utah Women & Leadership Project, Research & Policy Brief, February 2023). But the relation between mission and university can be far more complex in other parts of the world. Here, in France, for example, public universities are very inexpensive and offer often high-quality superior education. But there are few places, and therefore the selection is severe. If your file isn’t good enough, if you’re not in good timing, if you get off track, it’s over. 

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