The First Presidency announces two changes to lessen the financial burdens on church members. First, church headquarters henceforth pays for all the costs of meetinghouse construction. This relieves local members of the requirement to finance their construction in addition to paying tithing. Second, the service of male missionaries is reduced from 24 months to 18 months. "It is anticipated that this shortened term will make it possible for many to go who cannot go under present [financial circumstances]," counselor Gordon B. Hinckley explains. "This will extend the opportunity for missionary service to an enlarged body of our young men." Instead the annual number of new missionaries levels off. The annual convert baptisms decline more than 7 percent each year rather than increasing by the same proportion as before.
[The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database ( http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase )]]