SALT LAKE CITY - The LDS Church has announced a change in the way its missions are organized, which includes giving sister missionaries a greater leadership role.
In a weekend release, the church said it is making adjustments in the ways its 405 missions are organized to better utilize the skills and abilities of all missionaries in training and leadership.
Missions will now feature a Mission Leadership Council, made up of both men and women. The councils will consist of the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders, which is a newly created role.
The sister training role has been created as the church expands its number of missionaries, especially female missionaries. Sister training leaders will be responsible for the training and welfare of female missionaries assigned to them, church officials said.
Church President Thomas S. Monson announced a change in the age requirements for male missionaries to 18 years of age last year and 19 for women. Previously it had been 19 years of age for males and 21 years of age for females.
"We are very excited about the new Mission Leadership Council and this role for sister missionaries," said Elder David F. Evans executive director of the Missionary Department.
The announced mission changes come at a time some within the church have suggested women should have a more dominate role, including one grass roots organization, Ordain Women, which is calling on women to hold the priesthood. Church leaders maintained the importance of men and women having different roles during the conference session Saturday.