The name of the policy which eliminates a large population of desirous young men from serving a mission was really unfortunate. “Raising The Bar” implies that these young men do not measure up.
Repentant young men who have been involved with serious sexual transgressions during their teens are by and large denied the opportunity to serve. So, also, are young men with medical conditions which require significant treatment or medications.
As a result of this program, there have been tens of thousands of young men who have not served. The missionary force dropped from the high 60,000’s to the low 50,000’s and has remained there. Those who have been excluded who wanted to serve have quite often felt judged and alienated as a result. Many have either left activity or left the church altogether. They form a body numbering now in excess of 100,000, and as they marry, have children, and raise their posterity outside the church they will eventually number in the millions.
Calling this program “Raising The Bar” has essentially precluded a change. You can’t “Lower The Bar” without seeming foolish, or to invite ‘ner do well’s.
I’ve seen what this program has done to young men who wanted to serve, and who would have been allowed to serve before the program was announced. I’ve tried to overcome their sense of rejection by the church, and have succeeded in only one case. The others have essentially all told me that the church had rejected them and therefore they intended to stay away.