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In some areas, white shirts mean something TOTALLY different. My husband served in Korea and he said a lot of people saw his white face in a suit and tie and thought he was FBI. Yep, all the kids of Brazil thought we were FBI/CIA so we played along. Fun stuff. Woulda been nice to omit the tie while out on the streets in that heat. In Southern Texas we were regularly mistaken for border patrol and/or immigration agents. We would turn the corner and many people would run and hide. They’ve always had something like this in certain missions. Now it’s just added to the handbook and moving to more missions where they are having issues. For the most part it will stay the same. Some areas wearing ties have caused problems and safety concerns. The color shirt I don’t know much about. I feel it’s a positive distinguishing feature however in some missions overseas I could see it making them a target. It’s also a cultural thing. Like I know in Japan, the elders aren’t allowed to wear black suits because people will confuse them for the mob. I hope it does! My personal opinion is that I prefer white shirt+ tie rather than no tie, but I know that Church officials know what they are talking about! I can think of two additional reasons…
young men in suits are seen as wealthy leading to a safety issues like getting robbed or mugged, especially in economically depressed countries. Also, the cost is suits can be prohibitive for elders in some countries. they’ve been doing this for years already in multiple countries. Since it was going well, they decided to allow all Area Presidencies to make decisions about this.