Lowering of missionary age expected to lead to thousands more women serving Mormon missions

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Thousands of young Mormons have altered their plans and signed up for missions to take advantage of the lowered minimum age for missionaries.

In October, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dropped the minimum age for missionaries to 19 from 21 for women, and to 18 from 19 for men.

The church says applications for new missions are up two-fold since the announcement. About half of all new applications have come from women. Previously, only 15 percent of missionaries were women.

Church leaders and outside scholars believe this could be a landmark moment that leads to thousands more women serving missions in the coming years. By being able to go earlier, it's expected that more women will be able to serve.