2007 American Idol runner-up David Archuleta has announced that he is taking a break from recording music to serve a two year mission for The Church of Jesus of The Latter Day Saints.
Archuleta made the announcement during a Christmas performance Monday night in Salt Lake City, Utah. Archuleta was born in Miami, Fl., but raised in Salt Lake City. In an emotional speech, Archuleta promised he’s not quitting music, but feels a strong call to serve the church.
“It’s not because someone told me that I’m supposed to do it, and not because I no longer want to do music, but because it’s the feeling that I’ve felt I need to do this with my life,” Archuleta proclaimed.
At one point during the speech, Archuleta appeared to break down in tears as he explained his unique calling to serve.
“It’s the feeling that has allowed me to have the opportunities that I’ve had, the challenges that I’ve overcome and the blessings too,” Archuleta told his fans. “I’ve learned to trust that feeling, and I’ve learned that I need to answer when it calls.”
He said these were the reasons he knows this is what he needs to do with his life as the crowd screamed and gave him a standing ovation.
Archuleta, 20, says the mission will begin next year and last two years. He hasn’t announced where he will do his mission. It is common for Mormons to proselytize abroad after high school or during college. Statistics show that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has over 50,000 members doing missions worldwide. Of that, 75 percent are men between ages 19 and 21, according to sources.
At age 16, Archuleta became one of the youngest contestants on American Idol. Since finishing second to David Cook, Archuleta released three albums, including his self-titled project, David Archuleta, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2010, he performed with the Grammy-winning Mormon Tabernacle Choir at their annual Christmas concert.
Missionaries volunteer for the missions, but they must be selected by program officials in Salt Lake City, according to sources. Missionaries are not paid and have to cover their own expenses.