Help out the ward clerk and the Strengthening the Members Committee answer these questions by submitting information in the box below.
Are the new member numbers down? What proof is there that the missionary program isn't working? Are there reliable statistics that more people are leaving the church under Monson than under Hinckley?
I believe these assertions are true, but I'd like to have some backup for talking purposes with my tbm family and friends. thanks!
I don't think they are tanking. - by Dagny
First of all, they have a breeding rate slightly higher than the secular population. That alone gives them a survival edge.
Where I live, they are so thick you can see 4(!!) ward steeples standing on one corner by my house.
Also, I think it has established itself as the American grown hard working clean family church (except to those who know better) to the public at large. I don't think it will grow fast but it has become a culture as well as a religion that isn't going away, IMO.
It might become more regional then they expected, but I think it will adapt to whatever it needs to do to survive. After all, truth is not an issue because they make things up as they go (not unique to Mormons).
Also consider the financial situation. We have given religions tax breaks that give them a huge advantage compared to real businesses (I say the Mormon church is mainly a business masquerading as a religion). The LDS church has invested in the best land all over the world. They control a lot of assets. Even if there were NO members of the church in the pews the money that makes money should keep the thing perpetuating itself indefinitely.
A sort of fear of tanking drives a lot of its actions - by cludgie
The church's obsession with money and control is a way of preparing for the day when not as many people belong and the derision has stacked up a bit more. At that point they could always point to their moneybags as proof (to them) that they're true; possession of large amounts of money is very important to Americans, and carries with it its own credibility. And even if the membership were to walk away en masse, the church would still be a powerful corporate entity. So in spite of how the membership dynamics eventually pan out, I think that the church will never really "tank."
They will be and already have been a lot less influential their own members who I think will eventually be too weary to care much. Also, it's quite possible that the church will be forced to bend a bit more in future to appear more mainstream. Hey, it's happened, man.
It's not going to tank it's going to - by duh
It's going to morph into a full-blown business/social group.
A hundred years from now the Book of Mormon won't even be printed.
In the "mission field" within the U.S. there is very little growth. - by Bonnie
Every ward I have lived in over the last 30 years (maintain contacts in all of these wards) have been stagnant for the last 15 years. Growth in Europe is negative.
Some growth in South and Central America. So much to show for 50,000 missionaries.
Bishop's introduction to a sacrament meeting in the year 2109 - by Don Bagley
Brothers and sisters and transgenders, we are gathered here today to speak of increase. Temple taxes and mandatory donations have been down three precentile over the last conference period. This is unsatisfactory to the memory of the Christ, Joseph. I urge you to donate more credits this quarter than last.
Blessings are for people who want increase and therefore give increase. My husband told me that he was willing to bump up his donation by thirty percent. As your Bishop, I declare that I, too, will bump up my offerings by the same amount. Praise the Lord Joseph, and let us begin our sacrament.
Tanking is too strong a word - by Mormonkey
I think the church is tanking. Or maybe tanking is too strong a word. I think it's in decline, the numbers are still positive and if we could freeze these numbers year after year, they would continue to grow, but at a snails pace.
But the numbers are declining and the brethren know it. People having their names removed are growing every year, they are no longer hitting the 300k mark on convert baptisms and most of the convert baptisms don't stick around very long.
The church still has babies, but not as much as they used to.
Sure they still have money, but under the economic downturn, they aren't getting as much as before and a lot of their capital is tied up in real estate ventures and other non-liquid assets.
If this continues, they are in trouble and they know it. It seems that they know it and they are a little desperate.
That's not to say that they may figure something out and turn things around, but right now it is not a good time for the church. They are in decline, maybe not tanking, but in decline.
The golden age of the church was like 1970-1994, then the internet hit and since 81' Hinckley has been running the church and doing all sorts of things that have made it worse.
The church won't come crashing down like I would like it to, but it will decay from within slowly.
I'm just hoping the decline will pick up momentum and start decaying faster
Genie is out of the bottle - by Cognitive Dissentness
Just like the unsinkable 'Titanic' because the flood gates have been opened, and because the legendary 'genie' is out of the bottle, if the human race has any hope, it's a progressive certainty that things will happen eventually. Just when is subject to the willful stubbornness of those who ignore the facts.
I do think there will be a lot of 'changes' that will occur and certain 'morphing' into mainstream before it happens, but usually truth usually wins out. I just hope it'll hurry and happen so I can see it during my lifetime... not likely... unless someone's able to REALLY get it into the media some of the egregious deceptions they've tried to hide for so long.
Not Tanking, But Surely In Trouble - by Anon Squared
The Church will be around a very, very long time. It has huge sums of money and a big revenue stream, both corporate and charitable (tithing). It has a core of believers and a much larger body of people who are culturally committed.
But for a faith that expected to spread around the world and become a major force in global religion, present trends must be disappointing. The Church is shrinking in Europe and much of Asia. Its growth in poor and under-educated countries remains strong, but those people do not bring in much tithing and cannot be expected to provide international leadership anytime soon. (A cynic would say that this will happen as soon as they turn "white and delightsome.")
The biggest problem, however, is inside the heartland. Just look at the bishops and stake presidents. Rather than including lots of men in their 30s and early 40s, the bulk of the local leadership is now in their 60s and 70s. The younger crowd simply is not as committed as its fathers were. Meanwhile, young women are fleeing Relief Society and the Church in droves; and young men no longer feel compelled to go on missions or to stay there once they have signed up. In other words, the "heart" of the religion is shrinking.
So what happens? The Church continues to grow, at least superficially for a long time. True believers slowly decrease in the heartland, and the balance shifts towards the developing world. But the defection rate there is high, and ultimately those people too will get internet access. So I'd expect the rate of conversions worldwide eventually to peak and then start to fall. By that point the Church will be a small, quirky but rich community that amuses but does not attract much attention from broader society.
Sorry this is a little longwinded, but - by The Truth Hurts
Because I am living in close proximity to and am completely relying financially on TBM (True Believing Mormon), I still have to go to church quite often (something that is going to change once I finally become independent – however, I do not want to risk my future at this point for this “church,” so I have to put on a TBM façade every Sunday until I graduate college. BTW this would drive me INSANE if RfM didn’t exist). Something that I have noticed recently aside from raw membership numbers and apart from activity rates is the attitudes of the people who attend every Sunday. Being BIC (born in church), I have seen first-handedly the attitudes of members over the past 20 some years, and these attitudes have started changing drastically in recent years.
The people during my youth and even around the time I went on my mission were often very happy to help others, and when the bishop would ask in elders’ quorum if some people would volunteer to do something at a specified time during the week, hands used to shoot up rather quickly. However, this has started changing recently; almost nobody raises their hands anymore in my same ward, and members have even begun complaining that missionaries are too persistent in their efforts to gain member referrals. People in sacrament meeting are even more bored than ever, and because of the technological advances in cellular telephones, I see many people playing games or texting during church. (Maybe one day this will evolve into people reading RfM in sacrament meeting!!)
Some of the factors that I think are contributing to these shifts in attitude (I am basing my facts on what I hear TBMs complaining about) are:
The amount of money it costs to go on a mission went up considerably a few years ago. However, the church claims that there are still not enough missionary funds, so the missionaries in my stake boundaries have had to start living in members’ homes. Many of these “Elders” (who are really still immature kids) create horrible messes in the members’ homes, tracking mud into their houses, leaving the refrigerator door open for food to spoil, and doing all kinds of irresponsible stuff. Even some of the most TBM families have gotten fed up with this recently it would seem. They talk of the missionaries coming as if they were the plague.
The church making another cost-cutting decision to shift the basic janitorial duties of cleaning chapels and temples to the members has had a great effect on many members. Although many of them pretend they don’t mind, I guarantee that nobody is complacent with this one. Although prices of goods and services rise over time, so do salaries, and so the tithing that members are paying shouldn’t be affected by these economical changes (unless the change was from less members paying a full tithe).
Boring. Church has always been boring, and will continue to be so. Even those TBMs that claim that they feel the spirit at GC are bored out of their minds. This last priesthood GC, just looking around me I was able to see that about 30% of the people in the room were sleeping (usually the middle-aged-and-older crowd), and a large portion of the youth and younger adult members (12~35 or so) were doing anything but listening to the GAs (messing with cells, taking half-hour bathroom breaks, talking with friends, etc).
Having said that, I unfortunately do not think that TSCC will go away any time soon. For the immediate future, I just see it becoming much less of an influence on the lives of its members. I think that people might stop paying their tithing or putting up with the added responsibilities the church tries to pile on them, as many already have, but continue to attend church out of habit/fear.
One last note – the JMTC (Japanese Missionary Training Center, located in Tokyo) is apparently scheduled to shut down later this year – for good. All Japanese missionaries will have to start attending the MTC in Provo. I think that this is pretty good evidence that while the church might be growing through babies, it is not seeing the convert rates it once had. The church’s history is out, science is out, and boring religion is not what people are looking for nowadays.
I saw those changes, too. - by Mother Who Knows
The Mormon cult will be divided once again. When I was growing up, it was divided between the liberal Mormons (The majority in outside states) and the conservative Mormons (mostly in Utah). Some of the ideas we thought were invented by "cranks" and fanatics, are now mainstream.
I think the new dominance of the fanatics will bring about a resurgence of liberal, or New Order Mormons. You know, the "cafeteria Mormons" the Name-Only Mormons (NOM's).
When the Billion Dollar City Creek Mall was announced, two couples and a single man I know immediately stopped paying tithing. They are all out of the cult now.
About half of my children's Mormon friends left the cult shortly after they were married. They enjoy the freedom of being their own family and living away from home, they need the tithing money, they want to have fewer kids, maybe none. The wives have to have careers nowadays, to make ends meet. Many young couples reject the superficial, competetive, mercenary, and indulgent aspects of their parents' Mormon society. They won't strive for the ridiculously huge castle-house, the SUV's, plastic surgery, overspending and debt, that was too important to their parents.
I think the Mormon religion is not geared for the new generation. Young people, single and married, ages 20 to 35 is the group that is leaving the fastest. I see more young people wanting to be physically fit (jogging and playing on Sundays, watching their sports on Sundays) concerned about the environment, maybe looking for the acceptance and approval that their TBM parents were instructed to not give them. (Dallin Oaks had nothing new to say--the Mormons have been treating people this way from the beginning.) The bottom line is, these young people will put their family FIRST. Unless the church adapts to this lifestyle immediately, the young people will leave in droves.
These young people spend a lot of time on the internet, and they all have access at work and at home. They can get answers in 5 minutes, that took me 30 years to find, and in 5 more minutes, twitter the answers to all their friends. Time is speeding up.
Anyway, I know I will live to see the day that the LDS Church must announce that their City Creek Mall is going bankrupt! I can't wait to hear the spin they put on this one. They will probably say that due to the economic crisis and the desperate need of many church members, that they are going to cut back, and put the money to better use. Instead of building a fancy mall, they are going to donate a billion dollars to the, say, Disaster Relief Fund, The Perpetual Education Fund, Hygiene Kits To Africa Fund, or some other worthy cause whose assets are hidden--and they don't have to PROVE where the money really goes! What a magnanimous gesture! SLC will get a couple of big highrise apt buildings with temple views, surrounded by two strip malls, a Harmon's, a Blockbuster (porn for those not staying at the Marriott) some restaurants open Sunday and selling booze, a movie theater and State liquor store, and the amazing gravel and cement "City Creek Park" open space for seagulls, crickets, children and rats, and "donated" to the city by the church.
The Mormon church demolished its city! It is also demolishing its history, and some of its doctrine. I agree that the cult will implode from within.
Oh, and I haven't even touched on what's going to happen when the LDS church backs Mitt Romney again....
(Of course, the Corporation of the President will remain profitable for as long as the US Government stands. Look at all the land and businesses they own.)
These numbers were taken from the Deseret Morning News LDS Church Almanac - by Mnemonic
The rate of growth of the LDS Church has been falling since it peaked in 1989. The last few years the rate of growth has been less than 2.5% per year but take a closer look at the numbers since 2003. In 2003 the rate of growth dropped by 0.5% and hasn't increased. Does anyone know what happened in 2003 that could explain this drop?
The DNA of Lamanite Issue - by Bonnie
The DNA issues with the Book of Mormon became much more visible around 2002. That was also the year that Living Hope Ministries developed the easily understandable "DNA vs. The Book of Mormon" video. Simon Southerton became more visible and Tom Murphy's dissertation was creating increased internet chatter concerning the problems with the Book of Mormon.
The DNA issue is readily understandable by the average person in the street. Of the myriad problems with the Book of Mormon it is one of the most easily explained in a few short sentences. Because most people have such a short attention span the DNA issue is more likely to reach through the haze of apologetics and capture a TBM's attention.
I think you will see the numbers for 2009 fall a bit. by Heathjh
I think alot of people got out after prop8.
Cultural Change - by Anon Squared
I think Mother Who Knows and Truth Hurts are touching on a critical point. The culture has changed a lot, and the willingness to participate fully has declined. I have no insights into the numbers of converts, except to point out that converts in the developing world are worth a lot less in terms of retention and tithing than members in the United States. So even a growth rate of 3% per annum could imply a net loss for the Church if the bulk of the growth comes from Africa or Latin America.
Another indication that the Church is worried is the offensive against apostates. There have been several lessons condemning those who leave the faith in recent months, and Oaks' and Holland's recent speeches suggest a certain panic. That is significant. Finally, the sudden decision to dump the manuals on the prophets is also important. Why would they make such a sudden and expensive decision if they were not worried?
There is a LOT of anecdotal evidence that the Church is weakening, if certainly not going away.
The Internet Issue - by AxelDC
The church's growth rate was cut from 7% in the 1980s and early 1990s to around 3% in 1996-7, about the same time that the Internet became prevalent. The numbers of baptisms per missionary dropped in half, which implies that potential converts were turned off by what they found on the Internet.
Since then, they have had a steady reduction in missionaries and their growth rate has hovered around 2%. Besides the decline in new converts, the average family size shrank from 5 to 3 kids in the last generation.
Since the church's other stats are vague and difficult to parse, we can only speculate based on attendance figures, which are between 30-40% of nominal members. One can surmise that they are not tanking, but the rapid growth of previous decades has slowed to a very small trickle of about 1% new active members a year.
A church in trouble - by Simon in Oz
Here is the proof the church is in serious trouble. Look at the church published growth rates for the last 6 years.
The average total growth in members is about 2.4% globally.
Of the 2.4% total growth only about 35-40% are active. The real growth rate for the church (active members) is actually 0.96%
The global population growth rate is about 1.1 to 1.2% and the active Mormon growth rate is 0.96%.
That's a church in trouble.
I was in the church for 23 years - by charles, buddhist punk
I have heard on a regular basis [usually around General Conference time] how the church was growing by leaps and bounds, and read stats published in Ensign. But even as a staunch TBM I found it sad that my ward or branch had the same attendees we'd always had in the last 10 years. Any new faces that showed up turned out to be transferees and transients. New converts would attend for about 3 months and then drop out, never to be heard of again [smart people, they could tell right away they were amongst losers].
Being TBM, I reasoned [if you could call it that] with myself that those stats were for countries other than our own, or that the converts were to be found in the poorer parts of town [poverty = poor in spirit and therefore more receptive to the gospel, ya know], or that people just kept moving around a lot. Yes, this was the extent of my TBM mind's ability to rationalize away internal inconsistencies.
so I think there's your proof. the official stats do not match actual, visual reality. and someone else mentioned how people are wising up, they get irritated by the idea that they have to pay for the privilege of cleaning up the chapel, helping LDS do stuff for free, cook for someone, etc. where was the love? gone, gone...
Tables, Plots and speculation - by Jesus Smith
Taking the numbers given by Mnemonic, and the point made in the article linked by elee, with quote:
" More than 80% of LDS convert baptisms occur outside North America, yet only about 25% of international converts remain active in the church a year after their baptism. "
And given that the conversion rate reflects almost entirely international growth...
And estimating the inactivity rates, starting with a generous 50% in 1990, to about 66% in 2008 (a change of 9% decrease per year), which is a good estimate given that the membership of record has doubled over the same period.
I applied these numbers in the following table: Membership Table
and plotted this over the years: Membership Plots
And here is a closeup of the inactive membership, showing decline in and after 2004.
TSCC (The So Called Church) is reporting record membership that does not reflect what is really going on. Stagnate or even negative activity growth.
I'd guess the church is starting to sink.
More number speculation and the World According to Tom - by Jesus Smith
Okay, put on your imagination hat, and conjure up the nightmare that the church is true. I know, I know, don't scream.
Just play along for a moment.
Now let's take these numbers--around 4.5M active members right now--the highest ever there's been in the world's "one true religion". That's 4.5M out of 6B people.
This would mean that roughly 99.93% of the earth's current population has rejected, never accepted (or remains ignorant of) the "proper path".
And this at a time in history when there are more members than probably any other time of the earth's history. So we can safely assume that at best 0.1-0.2% of the world’s historical population (currently estimated around 100 billion) will have heard and accepted the "true, revealed gospel".
Given (I assume most accept) that no loving God would condemn 99.8% of his children the loss of his plan for them, the bulk of "missionary work" is likely happening in the next life (spirit world), which is an LDS teaching. And given that it is in the spirit world where nearly everyone will actually be tested whether they accept the above tenets (atonement, only true gospel, prophets, etc)...
...It would seem this life is not a test about accepting Mormonism, lest 99.8% be condemned. That test is in the next life.
Okay, turn off your nightmare.
Good. Now I ask: what the hell is this life for according to Mormons?
Even Mormons caught in this small fraction of a percent would be wise to question the importance of their own membership card.
The teens of today are different then when I was a teen - by 6 iron
Teens today don't respect authority like the baby boom generation did. Those attracted to church are those that like the church being a surrogate parent. Kids today have no use for following or respecting authority. They have been catered to and given what they want, and a completely controlling church is not in their lifestyle. I think thee may use the church as a social network, but thats about it.
And the internet is everywhere, and kids as young as 4 know how to use it. The church cannot hide all the negative info anymore. Those days are gone, and unless they come up with a strategy to deal with that, people will research and leave. And the church has shifted from being much of a social organization, to be a boring drag. Members do most things out of duty, even social things. I know in my own life, now that I've stopped attending, how much importance I've placed on sports and socializing with my sports buddies. I play badmitton and golf religiously and it is something I look forward to and get exersize and socialize and get better when I play. Church has absolutely nothing to offer for an adult man, except duty and control and guilt and bore "dumb". Who said that church has to be boring, the music has to be boring, that guilt and control and harping at you to do stuff for the church has to be 99% of church and 1% fun or empowering? As tough as life is sometimes, church always seems tougher. Pay this, have prying interviews now, sit for 3 hours, cancel any activity that costs money, clean the building.
When the cult is run by old out of touch men, all you get is boring control, and members will just get fed up with it all. If Jesus drank wine, so can I. I want to pick my own underwear. It is too friggin hot to wear an undershirt. Wearing a bra over an undershirt is weird. I want to see my wife wear sexy underthings. Women want to wear more attractive underwear. I want to go golfing and not feel guilty for doing so rather than cleaning th building on Saturday(which I've done). I get burned out with all the expected requests to pay tithing, go to the temple, drive hear and there, attend this and that, do this and that, sit here and there. And even if you try do it all, someone isn't pleased with your efforts, weather yourself, your leaders(too many to list), your wife, your kids, your parents. The teens of today will not put up with it like we did.
The mormons have been at 1.4% of the population since 1990. The U.S, had 248MM in 1990 and now has 302MM for a total gain of about 54MM. Since the LDS percentage hasn't changed then you are looking at 54MM * 1.4% for the total # of new members at about 750000 over 20 years. I don't know how many of these were BIC people but I suspect with all the extra large Mormon families then probably most of this number are NOT converts. Hardly one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S.
Go NO religion!!!
Also interesting to note that - by Easy_Rider
1.4% of 302million is 4,228,000.
Yet the church reports U.S. membership approaching 6million.
Either large numbers are on their rolls who when given the chance would not report themselves as Mormon(no doubt) or their just making shit up (good possibility).
"Hardly one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S." by Stray Mutt
But they are growing slowly (in numbers if not percentage) while others are shrinking.
What the study shows is the increasing irrelevance of being one of the big denominations. Nondenominational churches are the fastest growing sector. So, so what if the LDS church is the fifth or fourth largest Christian denomination (according to their own numbers)? Those who don't belong to any denomination outnumber them.
If you do the math - by anon
You will find that the growth in US LDS absolute numbers that enables them to maintain their percentage share is almost wholly due to the high rate of breeding by LDS families.
At best, the missionary program in the US is doing no more than replace those who leave the church each year.
I went to lunch last Friday at a fast food place by my work. The place was packed and the only available seat was next to two missionaries, who were enjoying their lunch. I asked if the seat next to them was taken, one of them said "No, go right ahead", to which I replied, "thank you Elder". Because I said Elder, they asked if I was a member. I said yes, which is true, I've been inactive for years but haven't resigned yet.
We then started a little small talk like where were they from, etc. I asked how the "work" was going here. They looked discouraged and said not good. No one's interesested in listening to them. And those few that they do teach a first discussion to, end up googling "mormonism" after they leave, which as you can guess makes a second discussion all but impossible.
The senior companion, who only has a couple months left on his mission, then admits to me that he hasn't had a single baptism. I couldn't believe it. I kept saying things like "No way! Really zero baptisms?" Then I felt bad, because it seemed like I was rubbing it into this poor Elders face. I apologized and said that I wasn't trying to make him feel bad, I was just surprised that it was so tough here. I tried to make him feel better by saying if someone wants to join the church, any church, it all depends on that person and what's going on in that persons life, not how obedient the missionary is. I know he's probably getting the guilt trip layed on him by the MP and visiting GA's.
Ok, now to the point of my post. He did say that zero baptisms was fairly common in this mission and other US missions. BTW I live in the Portland, OR Mission. Now I don't know if he was saying that to make himself feel better or if it's true. I knew zero baptism missions were common in Europe but not in the US. I don't know if Portland is tougher then other areas of the country or not. Anyone know more about this? Is the US starting to get as bad a Europe for baptisms, or was this just a "bad missionary"?
P.S. I did eventually tell them I was inactive and I didn't believe in the church anymore, but they really didn't care. The junior comp wants to go to school to study what I'm doing for a career. So he just kept asking me all about the career and the schooling for it. This is what we actually talked about most of the time.
Despite all the noise being made by various Christian evangelicals and political organizations, more people are increasingly disengaging from religion. Some have abandoned religion all together, others have just given up on organized religion and belong to no church.
It's true that the CoJCoLDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is one of the faster growing DENOMINATIONS, but monolithic, centralized denominations are becoming increasingly irrelevant. The big movement in US religion is toward independent, nondenominational churches--local churches--or churches that are part of very loose affiliations but are otherwise autonomous. So it's like Mormons bragging they have the fastestest growing bus line while most people drive their own vehicle.
There are some reports that say the CoJCoLDS is the fifth or fourth largest denomination in the US.--of those that have a single, central governing entity. For example, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans are each divided into different groups, sort of like LDS, RLDS and FLDS. But the CoJCoLDS is a very distant 4th or 5th, with there being about 70 million Catholics and 40 million Southern Baptists in the US, compared the (at best) 5 million Mormons.
The reality is that Mormonism is still pretty much a Utah religion. Mormons as a percentage of population drops off rapidly once outside the MoZone, becoming essentially invisible east of the Rockies. Overall, Mormons are less than 2% of US population. That means 98% of Americans AREN'T LDS, and 98% is damn close to 100%.
Published stats are BS and here is why - Mr X
Read this disclaimer is on the lds.org stats page:
"The Church makes no statistical comparisons with other churches and makes no claim to be the fastest-growing Christian denomination despite frequent news media comments to that effect. Such comparisons rarely take account of a multiplicity of complex factors, including activity rates and death rates, the methodology used in registering or counting members and what factors constitute membership. Growth rates also vary significantly across the world."
The real "multiplicity of complex factors" - Mr X again
1. "Lost sheep" are counted as members until age 110. In the USA, they sometimes can keep track of inactives and know when they die. But in most countries, inactive people are totally lost for years and decades. Thus as time goes by and the inactive rates ratchet up, a higher percentage of the bogus "total members" number are people who are either dead or have had nothing to do with the church for many years or decades.
2. Years ago, they saw a disappointing growth rate, and decided to add "children of record" to the members number instead of waiting until baptism at age 8. This trick temporarily gave a boost to the bogus growth rate, and now a sizeable number of "members" are little kids.
3. If you analyze annual stats published, the numbers don't add up for many years of the past 20 years. This gives us 100% certainty that some of the published numbers of the past are totally bogus.
4. LDS death rates published are way below expected rates. Are the faithful saints just not dying, and living longer? NO, this just means their info is so pathetic, you can't trust any number published.
5. Many people suspect that they are not properly removing "name removals" from the published total members. If the name removal phenomenom "rolls forth like a rock" then in some future year, membership might actually decline, but they will almost certainly "cook the books" to show church growth when the decline and fall of the LDS empire is in full swing.
6. In some countries, inactives probably outnumber actives 10 to 1 or even more. As more and more countries encounter this situation, the "total members" number becomes more and more meaningless - and really becomes a big joke to those "in the know".
7. The "quickie baptism" method is still widely used around the world. This results in new converts attending only a few times and often going totally inactive within a few weeks or months. They could change this by simply requiring investigators to attend meetings at least 10 Sundays and grilling them before baptism to make sure they understand the commitment to fork over 10% of future earnings to LDS INC. They'll never do that because that would result in a dramatic drop in baptisms around the world, and the missionary program is all about: a. indoctrinate the missionary into lifetime dedication, and b. produce phony stats so the missionaries have some sense of accomplishment in places where conversions are nearly impossible.
8. The rate of baptism per missionary is way down from past years. If you could somehow throw out the bogus "quickie baptism converts" who are totally inactive leas than 3 months after baptism, then the number of conversions around the world is totally pathetic. With widespread internet availability of the future, tomorrow's convert will either be third world destitute, or mentally unstable (if living in a civilized place). Another source of converts is what I call "social convert". This would be the converts from part-member families - for example, an LDS wife gives mind-blowing sex to her husband, and he gives in to pressure and joins the church, just to keep the wife happy and since they already have kids and are committed as a family any way. But the dude probably doesn't buy into all the religious BS at meetings like the brainwashed fools who have been members for life.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.....
The number of congregations is telling - Cooper
12,560,869 members / 20,084 congregations = 625 members per congregation. This is grossly inflated above weekly attendance.
Around the world average attendance is optimistically 175 per congregation.
Therefore 20,084 * 175 = 3,514,700
The average is probably more toward 150 or less if branches are factored in.
It is also interesting that they are mainstreaming by referring to them as congregations rather than wards and branches.
Therefore 20,084 * 150 = 3,012,600
Newsroom says "I don't know that we teach that..." - Reinventing Grace
If Gordo can pull the "I don't know that we teach that" trick on doctrine, I guess the newsroom can pull it on Gordo's teachings.
"It is a fact that we lose some—far too many. Every organization of which I am aware does so. But I am satisfied that we retain and keep active a higher percentage of our members than does any other major church of which I know."
GBH, Spring Conference 2004
Gordo's statistical analysis - Mr X
GBH's statement: "But I am satisfied that we retain and keep active a higher percentage of our members than does any other major church of which I know."
This statement is total BS
If any college freshman with half a brain did a research project and researched actual data, they would find that the activity rate of new LDS converts is pathetically low, and the LDS activity rate in general is very low.
GBH is going by "feelings" when he makes statistical announcements.
What a group of conmen the GA's are!!
One indication of low activity rates - síóg
With a claim of membership in excess of 12 and a half million, you'd expect to see higher enrollment in seminary and institute than 360K each.
I think this one is really interesting - Ex-Useful Idiot
why would the number of seminary students and institute students be almost exactly the same?
Think about it: to enroll in institute you have to walk your butt over to the institute building and actually enroll yourself. How many marginally active college kids would do that? Hell, even as a totally active RM I didn't always take institute classes because I was so busy taking REAL classes and working!
The kids that are in seminary, on the other hand, have not all signed up voluntarily. 4 years from now how many of those kids will even be in college (not everybody goes) and how many of those will actually take the initiative to sign-up for institute?
I would expect that the seminary number would be WAY bigger than the institute number. It looks to me like they don't have as many teens right now as they did just a few years ago. That could partly be due to birth rates but it certainly isn't something you'd expect to see in a thriving and growing church and it isn't a good sign for the future of the church.
Institute students are mostly regular members - former teacher
Not college students. Institute classes are usually organized and held near colleges, but the classes are advertized in ward bullitens and regular members, esp. women who realize they know nothing about the gospel, in spite of years of ss and rs, clamor to attend. Many stakes and wards it is the "in" thing to do.
I taught it before. Out of all the students in the class maybe 5% were full time college students, if that.
New chapels - GBH claims 400/yr (Apr 2003 gen conf) - Mr X
In 2003, Hinckley claims 400 chapels/yr, but the number could be lower in 2007 because they have overbuilt in some areas. If you go down near the bottom, you'll see the 2003 claim.
In 1991, GBH claimed 520 chapels/yr and also made the misleading statistical remark about new converts being "sufficient to constitute 110 new stakes of Zion". Of course, this is total BS since so many people are inactive.
In 2003, GBH doesn't mention new stakes since modern activity rates are so low that stakes have only increased from 2,581 to 2,701 in the past 5 years (through end of 2005).
You don't have to read many of Hinckley's conference reports to realize that he's full of baloney and has been reporting false information for decades. As has been documented by Steve Benson, Hinckley issued many false reports about the health of Prez Benson when he was seriously ill.
APRIL 1991 CONFERENCE - Gordon B. Hinckley:
On a previous occasion, in October of 1985 in our general priesthood meeting, I endeavored to give a report on the state of the Church, posing a series of questions and then endeavoring to answer them. I did a similar thing in a regional conference not long ago, and I thought I might do something of the same thing this evening.
I am grateful that the report I have to make is encouraging and uplifting. I have endeavored to see that it is reliable in every respect, because I know that I have a very serious responsibility of accountability to you, my brethren of the priesthood, as well as to the Lord whose church this is. And so, again, I intend to pose a few questions and then endeavor to answer them as truthfully and frankly as I know how.
My first question is one that we get all over the Church, wherever we go. That question is “How is President Benson?” I am pleased to report that President Benson is reasonably well for his age. He is now ninety-one. He has lived a life of vigorous activity, filled with heavy responsibility and its attendant stress. The years have taken some toll. He arises and dresses each day, and on some days attends our meetings. It is a delight to have him with us. He was with us this morning, and I am sure the entire Church who saw him appreciated that. He is the prophet of the Lord, put in that place under the divine will of our Father in Heaven for the accomplishment of His eternal purposes. There are serious limitations on what he can do, as might well be expected. But I assure you, my brethren, that nothing of substantial consequence is done without his knowledge and concurrence. I am his counselor, as is President Monson. We have a responsibility to see that the work moves forward. I think we understand the parameters of our callings, and we endeavor to remain within these. With you, we sing with sincerity, “We ever pray for thee, our prophet dear.”
Question 2: “How is the Church doing?” The Church is doing very well. We are far from that state of perfection for which we work, but we are trying—and we are making substantial progress. We are growing consistently and remarkably. I note that the 1991 World Book Yearbook shows there are now only six other religious bodies in the United States larger than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
More importantly, there is growing faith and faithfulness among the Latter-day Saints. I am encouraged by what I see. Things are getting consistently better. We have wards and stakes where sacrament meeting attendance runs in the 60-, 70-, and even 80-percent range. I think there is nothing like it in any other organization of substantial size of which I know. I have served as a stake or general officer of this church for more than half a century, and I am confident that never, during all of that time, has a larger percentage of our people been actively engaged in Church responsibility. I submit that this is one of the great success stories of all time. The credit does not belong to us. It is the Lord’s success, for this is His work, and we rejoice with Him in that which has been accomplished.
Question 3: “What is happening with reference to missionary work?” The work continues to expand. It has become a truly tremendous undertaking in fulfillment of the commandment of the Lord, a commandment we are faithfully trying to observe. As of the end of the year, as you heard Brother Watson report this morning, there were 43,651 full-time missionaries under call throughout the world. We now have 256 missions worldwide, of which 28 were created in 1990. It is contemplated that 12 more will be created in 1991. We find it necessary to add substantially to the facilities at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
Question 4: “Are we able to construct buildings enough to accommodate the growth of the Church?” Approximately 330,000 converts came into the Church during 1990. This number is sufficient to constitute 110 new stakes of Zion, each with a membership of 3,000. There were more converts in 1990 alone than all of the members of the Church presently residing in the state of Arizona or in the state of Idaho. As you might well expect, we are faced with a constant and pressing need for new facilities.
Five hundred and twenty new chapels were dedicated in 1990. It is interesting to note that 330 of the 520 were constructed in countries outside of the United States and Canada. All of this, I submit, bears witness of the remarkable and wonderful expansion of the Church in many nations of the earth. To me it is a constantly unfolding miracle that we have been able to construct new facilities to accommodate this growth.
APRIL 2003 CONFERENCE - Gordon B. Hinckley
But with all the troubles with which we are confronted, I am pleased to report that the work of the Church moves forward. We continue to grow across the world. Our missionary work goes on without serious impediment. Converts continue to come into the Church, and our numbers are constantly being increased. Paralleling this activity is the need to solidly integrate all of those who are baptized as converts. We call upon every member of the Church to reach out to new converts, to put your arms around them and make them feel at home. Bless them with your friendship. Encourage them with your faith. See that there are no losses among them. Every man, woman, or child worthy of baptism is worthy of a secure and friendly situation in which to grow in the Church and its many activities.
Our sacrament meeting attendance gradually edges up. There is room for improvement, and I urge you to work at it constantly. Even so, I do not know of another church with as high a percentage of consistent attendance at its meetings.
I am pleased to report that we are able to go forward with the building of chapels. We are constructing about 400 new chapels a year to accommodate the growth in the membership of the Church. This is a significant and wonderful thing for which we are deeply grateful. We are also continuing to build temples across the earth and are pleased to report an increase in temple activity. This very important work, in behalf of the living and the dead, is a fundamental part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Gordo claims "increase in temple activity" in 2003 - Mr X
Probably major league BS
Since LDS INC stopped reporting the number of baptisms for the dead and endowment sessions many years ago, Hicnkley has the freedom to make any crazy claim, and the real statistical numbers remain secret and confidential.
I'll bet the rate of temple activity sucks. Despite new McTemples all over the world, most active members cringe at the thought of going to the temple very often. Young people - middle school up through college - are mostly apathetic about the whole temple thing.
Hinckley is really full of it and I'll bet he'll have more big time BS from the pulpit at the next conference in a week or so.
Eventually, in 5 or 10 or 20 years, some future "prophet" might have to come clean and admit that published numbers are totally bogus, and a "reality check" is in order. Even then, they will sugar coat the bad news.
Stats for Britain - considering there are 6 million people in London alone - Brigantia
These figures really bring the church into perspective here. A local Member of Parliament could win or lose by as many votes.
At Stake Conference last week they brought in an IN-N-OUT truck along with a Golden Spoon truck and offered free burgers and frozen yogurt to everybody that came to the adult session on Saturday.
They even started the meeting and people were still eating their yogurt during the talks. Of course there were more people at the adult meeting than ever before. Whatever it takes to increase attendance.
FWIW..I think they should offer free burgers at every meeting.
This tactic is two thousand years old - by Concrete Zipper Biblical Admin
Jesus did it with loaves and fishes, and multitudes came to hear him speak.
Last night our ward clerk stopped by and told me and my wife that attendance in sacrament meeting yesterday was the lowest on record for our ward. I also noticed this when there was no need to open the overflow –it’s always opened right after they finish passing the sacrament. My ward is located in a fairly affluent part of Sandy, well on the east bench. It’s an area that I always thought was strong Mormon.
While I’m a newer member of our ward (6 yrs compared to 20+ for some), I have noticed numbers tapering off bit by bit each year. For the first 2 years I lived here I was EQP and was hounded by everyone to get home teaching under control, get more people to church, reactivate the world and focus on perspective elders in the ward. All they seemed to care about wwas numbers -just like the mission. I never really did any of that. In fact, because I was new in the ward I really didn’t feel like it was my responsibility to reactivate a bunch of old people I didn’t know. Now that I’m out of the calling I can see why they were so overly concerned with getting people back to church.
Anyone else seeing this trend? Tell me where you live –not specific just general area. I have heard that numbers are dwindling more and more each year. I’d suspect that on the west side of the valley things are solid due to all the young families with kids. Where I live it’s nothing but empty nesters and retired folks, with a few younger families like myself here and there.
On my last trip to Utard to visit my parents, I decided to pop over to the Barnes & Nobel in Sandy while my parents and wife put their time in for the cult. Let me tell you -- I was amazed by the number of suits-and-white-shirts roaming the shelves. They weren't "shopping" in the regular sense either. I notice they were taking up all available seating in the place as they read books/mags/etc instead of church attendance. One guy I passed had his duty to god pin on his lapel and I pointed and asked: "Duty to God?" -- the guy basically went red as a beet (hey, I was in "Beet-digger territory) -- I believe I had stired up a bit of righteous guilt in the guy (I think I could make a good GA -- I enjoy inspiring guilt). I imagine a good chunk of priesthood authority was wasted on magazines that Sunday morning.
And that was during the 1990s, still "high-growth" years for LDS Inc. I'd love to know what the 2001-2011 comparison will reveal.
LDS Inc reports its present Manitoba membership at 4,200 and change. The 2001 census had a self-reported figure of 1,700. That'd be a 40% activity rate (at best). Sounds about right.
Also, Grand Forks, ND, which had 2 wards back in the 1970s, now only has 1. Bismarck, where there is a mctemple, has only one ward. Only 2 cities in the whole state have 2 wards - Fargo and Minot.
I think LDS Inc is in slight shrinkage mode (or negative growth, if you prefer) over all, and has been for a few years now. LDS Inc can hide that for quite a while, by simply keeping wards open even when they fall below minimum staffing levels, rather than closing/combining wards. But they can only play that game for so long....
My wife’s SP recently announced the creation of a new young adult ward in the stake. With tears flowing from his eyes he explained that the church is losing its youth in record numbers and that his stake is not immune. He went on to announce that the Lord has inspired him to create this young adult ward so that the young people can be saved. He explained that membership records of every youth 18-30 living within the stake boundaries would be moved to this new ward. He called upon the remaining faithful youth to call upon their wayward friends and reactivate them back into the church.
I found this candid admission very interesting. “The church is losing its youth in record numbers” Hmmm maybe the internet is winning the war as more and more youth are discovering that Moronism, I mean Mormonism, has become more and more meaningless in the lives of today's young adults.
The Internet is KILLING the Cult of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Spin! by My Kids Too
My kids do everything off the Internet, my boy recently bought a car on the east coast and sold his old one on the west coast! Music, clothes, homework, friends - it's all in the cyberworld now. And so is philosophy and religion!
When I was in the mission field we had almost complete control of the info our investigators received - maybe they looked at the encyclopedia or asked questions at work, but we were in control and they trusted us. But TODAY, who would want to try and teach Cyberkids? In seconds they can be on an "Anti-Conversion" site and print out pages of questions for their missionaries to answer!
Suddenly the missionaries know LESS about their OWN CHURCH than some random strangers!
It's CYBERDEATH for The Cult of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Spin!
My son had been reading "anti" stuff for 2 years online. - by Cindy
When DH told our son that we no longer believed (Thanks to the info found on this board after a google search), he told me he had been reading stuff online for 2 years.
Right before I found out the truth, I was visiting another ward and I was commenting on the small numbers of young people. An older lady from the stake relief society said that our area (deep south) is losing young people in droves.
This from George Orwell's "1984" sums it all up:
"But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that is contained in a direct lie.
Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For example, the Ministry of Plenty's forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at one-hundred-and-forty-five million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled.
In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than one-hundred-and-forty-five millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot.
And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain."
For the October 2006 Ensign, the Church published this graphic depicting Church growth:
Now, follow along with me on the analysis of this graphic:
1. All of the values are actually sitting on top of an additional 15 pixel-high shadow. This adds about 2/3 of a million members to each column.
2. Now I said "about 2/3 of a million" because it turns out the interpixel distance between lines varies. I got out a graphics program, blew up the image and got the y-value in pixels of each line counting down from the top. (Where they appear as doubled lines in the graphic, I chose the brighter row of pixels.)
Then I calculated the differences, as follows:
The average (not including the shadow height) is 22.3. The interlinear difference between the 11 and 12 million lines is 16.4% greater than the average. That means that the height in that section of the graph was stretched by about 1/6 to hide the falling off in the last few years in Church growth.
The changes are subtle but clearly demonstrate manipulation for the purpose of quelling member questions.
|2006||12560869||23.5 - normalized properly by taking it to the 10/6 power.|
The percentage growth figure for 2006 is much lower than in recent decades, is below the growth figures for the depression and World War II and is only higher than the figure for the Mormon reformation of the 1850's.
It's amazing what you can hide in a plot of "exponential" growth, especially when you cheat. Good catch.
It was probably over 25 years old when they decided to just eliminate it and go back to just one "Tacoma Stake" in the entire Tacoma, WA area, which is kinda bizzare, since the population of the area has vastly increased in the past 25 years, while the "Tacoma Stake" withered on the vine, shriveled up and was in danger of dying. The "South Tacoma Stake" had been stagnant for decades, but at least it wasn't dying, so they "consolidated" the two stakes, which amounted to disolving one stake and going back to just one.
Things had been so stagnant in Tacoma for so long that the members I know who are used to seeing the glass as half full, saw this as an exciting change. The delusion is deep, but as long as they believe the PRopoganda coming out of the COB, they will remain in denial and see themselves as fullfilling the prophecies of Isaiah and taking over the world and paving the way for Christ's immanent 2nd coming. (never mind the fact that we can't get missionaries into the entire middle east, or that they've never set foot in the most populous country in the world, which is a prerequisit for Christ's return according to LDS theology.)
Of myself and my eight siblings, all B.I.C. and raised by devout parents, five of us are entirely out, one disbelieves but attends due to his marriage situation, and three are T.B.M., one of which gets financial assistance from the church.
Six of my nine girlfriends of the last fifteen years are out. Five of the six exmo's were faithful members at the time we dated (in the beginning anyway, grin). One of them recently left, along with her husband. They have three kids, all B.I.C., who will now grow up in a post Mormon household.
Another of the aforementioned girlfriends has five siblings. Four of them have left the church, leaving only one T.B.M. sib. More significantly perhaps, both her mother and her scientist father, are now out.
I am a Utah native. I live in the corridor. My core circle of friends is now comprised of all ex-Mormons. Many of my long time friends who were once faithful defenders of the faith are now out. These people I'm mentioning did not leave due to sin or the desire thereof. They had strong testimonies and deep conviction, but at some point, the bullshit just finally burst the bubble. These aren't marginal members leaving. These are intelligent, professional, core members leaving. The intriguing thing to me is the suddenness and depth of their apostasies. It is as if a switch is thrown, and once they see outside the box, there simply is no going back in. Certainly it is an accelerating trend. I believe we have probably crossed that point when Mormons who have left the church are influencing more people away from Mormonism than faithful Mormons are attracting converts. That of course is mere speculation.
On another note: I'm not plugged into the popular culture much, but even from the sidelines it seems like Mormonism is popping up a lot in the main line media feeds these days, between off the cuff jabs at Mormon culture in movie scripts, to Mormon characters in movies and plays, and it seems like the tone tends to be on the mocking side.
I'm sure some of you saw it, and there was probably even a thread about it on this board, but Andrew Sullivan blogged about the Mormon garment on Slate, and even posted a photograph of models wearing them in all their glory. He later removed the photo, but retained a link to another blog which kept the photo up. The Mormons of course, took offense.
I just take a lot of joy in finding myself able to have expanded conversations with these people about much broader topics, and with the former boundaries thrown down. It is wonderful, marvelous.
Brazil is a cluster as well. I left my mission in 2002 and the baptism rate was down to 20-30 baptisms per month. I can say that in my mission, Sao Paulo East, Mormonism has reached a saturation point.
It got so bad that we had to start being "creative" with our numbers. They wanted numbers, numbers, and more numbers, so we gave them the numbers they wanted. We would teach a principle of a discussion in a contact and count it as a discussion. We got guilt trips that people weren't getting baptized due to disobedience to dumb rules and playing with little factories.
There's no net membership growth in the urban areas anymore. You have to go to the backwaters of Brazil to get any significant baptisms and even then you have little or no net growth.
TSCC (The So Called Church) claims 800,000 members, yet only 200,000 self identify themselves as Mormons.
I had one area with 1200 people on the ward list and 30-40 people in church on Sundays. There was 5 exmo bishops, lol.
This summer Lynn A. Mickelsen visited my parents ward. He was visiting a friend of his and came to church not in an official visit but as a visitor. He of course sat on the stand and volunteered to do a G&A session during Sunday school.
Elder Mickelsen was one of the most laid back General Authorities I have ever met in the church. He was a very likable guy. He was also halfway honest and said things I have never ever heard a top church leader say.
Elder Mickelsen said the main job of a Seventy is to regulate the church. He went into some examples of how the church in different areas gets off track and how keeping it in line is a constant struggle. He said one ward in California had the Aronic Priesthood wear special uniforms to pass the sacrement. How another ward signaled the sacrement was done by playing a little ditty on the organ.
He said the people and leaders in the church are well meaning but some get carried away. He gave the example of stake patriarchs going to far in the blessings like telling the recipient they will be General Authoritys in the future. He said we all can get too carried away trying to do a good thing to where we are no longer in harmony with the lord.
He also told the story of how some of his collegues in Salt Lake looked real depressed one day. It turns out they just came from a meeting where Gordon B. Hinckley chewed everyone out for the church's low growth numbers. He said right now the church loses almost as many members as it brings in. He said the biggest growth factor was having babies in the church.
He also said the second comming wasn't going to be anytime soon. There's too much work to be done.
Most of the sheep in Sunday School said they really felt the spirit and blah blah blah. What brainwashed fools! Here we had a GA sayings the church is losing members like a sieve, you partriarch may not be inspired, and all the last days hype of the 1980's is gone. Jesus ain't comming anytime some because Mormonism hasn't conquered the earth yet.
These people still worshipped the dude because he was a GA and basqued in their group think worship. The guy could have said anything and they still would have lapped it up like a thrirsty kitten.
SCARY! I had more respect for Elder Mickelsen than the members of the ward. He at least was laying it down halfway truthfully. Hope he doesn't get in trouble if Gordo reads this. LOL!
I have a brother-in-law who is bishop in a Salt Lake City area ward. We were golfing yesterday and in some of the discussion we had I made the comment that the church seems to be shrinking. He said it is and that's why Salt Lake has been jumping all over the stake presidents to focus on the hometeaching program more than ever. It's no longer about missionary work, it's about retaining or reactivating members (another good reason to have you records removed if you haven't).
My brother in law said in his ward, they don't have the high priests nor the elders who are willing to fullfill all of their home teaching duties. He also said he has an alarming number of members telling him they are losing their testimonys and the younger couples want his permission on getting a divorce.
So it sounds like the Mormon popsicle is melting and Salt Lake just guilt trips the local members that they aren't doing their home teaching and that is why the church losing members.
I think many members go to their bishop hoping he will get mad and think they aren't worthy of church callings. I think many members are starting to crack, they want the pressure off their back. They go to the bishop and say they don't believe in it and they think the bishop is going to go, well if that's how you feel, don't come to church then. It's kind of like when I was on my mission and wanted to be sent home for being sick. In a way, the members are getting to be like Klinger on MASH where they want the bishop to give them a Section 8. LOL!
Well, telling the church leaders you have you your doubts will only bring their attention on you more, and unless you've committed a huge sin like embezzling church funds, they aren't going to boot you out but assign the best home teachers to you and give you a calling that will keep you in line.
The members want to be kicked out of the church because they seem to lack the fortitude to leave. They tell the truth to the bishop hoping he will get angry and take all the church duties away from these people. Then they can spin it and blame their exit from the church on the bishop. It's a face saving thing. Subconciousely, they don't want to be the ones who bolted from the church because they didn't believe it. Nope, they want to say the bishop being out of line is why they are no longer in the ward.
In short, people more than ever want out of the church pressure cooker. A small minority leave and are honest about why they left. The majority want to blame someone for their exit. I think the reason is they fear what their friends and family will think if they tottaly come clean and say they don't believe it.
Mormon families will tolerate a family member not going to church because they have dissagreements with the bishop but they are intolerable on family members who flat out say, "Mormonism is all bullshit!"
What's going on now is the members are rebelling and going to their bishop saying,"I'm losing my testimony." What they are really saying is they want out of the Mormon pressure cooker and they want to be released from their calling.
These people are searching for the safest way out subconciousely. They are starting to crack.
From June 2000 to August 2002, I was a ward clerk in the Olympus Cove area in Salt Lake City. The membership in the two stakes in olympus Cove started dropping rapidly about 25 years ago from normal demographic shift as the kids who grew up in the first houses of the new subdivisions up here began to leave home.
The two stakes (as of the time I was fired from the ward clerk job) had dropped to a combined total membership of less than three thousand. The SPs and the Bishops are having a very tough time staffing their stakes and wards. In one instance, the 6th and 7th wards combined their primaries, yw and ym programs so they could have enough people to staff and have classes. In 2002 the 7th ward had a total membership of only 258 with an average age of 63 and only ten members under 25.
For along time there have been many members up here wanting to consolidate the two stakes and make big enough wards to operate effectively. To no avail: the church will not consolidate here and eliminate units.
In Feb of 2002 Henry Eyring showed up at Stake Conference and had a revelation for us in the Priesthood leadership meeting. He prophesied to us in the name of the Lord that it would be wrong to consolidate because the church in this area was going to grow back up to its 1980 numbers in the next 5-8 years. But, true to form it was one of those "contingent" prophecies.
So when it "comes to pass" that in 2006 the two Olympus stakes are still shrinking, it won't be because Henry's Prophecy was horse shit. It will be because the people here were not "faithful" enough, didn't provide the mishies with enough referals, didn't search around when houses in our neighborhoods came up for sale to find mormons to buy them. Or maybe it will be because all the mishies assigned to this area were masturbating too much. I'm sure you all know the drill.
The Montgomery, Alabama stake was created in 1975. The two branches which had existed there since 1955 became two wards, meeting in the stake center. Around 1990, the church built another chapel and created a third ward in the inner city with the intention of attracting thousands of formerly accursed Canaanites to the now-not-racist one true church. A few dozen blacks joined, and a few became contributors, but most of them soon went inactive, as do most converts everywhere.
So after years of struggling to make the small ward survive, the boundaries were realigned, and the three wards in the city of some 200k population were combined back to its original two. So you've got this humongous stake center with only one ward meeting in it, and another large new-style chapel with only one ward. The city still has the same number of LDS units it had in 1955, the year I was born. And let's keep in mind that over this 30-year period, the Montgomery area has exploded in population and economic progress.
Also, Prattville, which is a few miles northwest of Montgomery, and has been a boomtown for at least 40 years, still has the one ward that was created there in 1975. Even though a whole generation has passed for the ward's children to grow up and make the ward increase, it isn't growing. Either the children are growing up and moving away, or they're leaving the church.
The church claims a tottal of 26,670 congregational units. This would be the grand total of all wards and branches in the church. In the Mormon Corridor a large ward is 500 members but many wards are only 300 members. Branches are considerably less.
This being the case, all of the 26,670 congregational units would have to have close to 500 members in them to get the total worldwide church membership it claims. Basically, the church is saying every ward and branch has as many people as a large ward in Orem, Utah does. Dream on!
UK Situation by Grey Matter
I'm not aware of a single ward in the UK witha membership of 300. A large ward in the UK would have about 150 members. A typical branch may have 20 members.
That means that the other wards and branches in the world must have >300 members per ward/branch.
Actually, what it really means is, the cult lies about it's membership stats.
Japan Situation by anonymous
Most large cities (over one million population) in Japan have a ward or two in them. Each ward has probably around 600-700 names on the list, but you only get about 50-60 people showing up each week. That's makes home teaching really tough.
I remember when Elder xxxxx came by for stake conference and he chastized the elderly retired guys for not home teaching 30 families a month. He basically called them out during the meeting and told them that they had free time now to do the lord's work.
Interpolation by ed
From my days in Bishoprics and Branch Presidencies I would have to say that at least 30% of the members the church carries on it's records identify themselves with other or no faiths. Amother 10% leave their names on the records but really have no attachment to the church. Another 10% belong to the church but maintain a personal religion that is only peripheral to LDS.
The church probably has the typical 40% attendence rate. A large number are children who attend because of the parents. Some adults attend for reasons other than a devotion to the faith.
I have looked for a table of membership stats online that goes back to the 19th Century and haven't been able to find one.
Anyway, lacking a table, I went to LDS.org and created one of my own from the conference reports that goes back to 1973. I found a few interesting things.
Church membership has grown about 370% since 1973, from 3.3 million to 12.3 million. But lots of statistics have not shared that positive growth.
Children of record being baptized went from 48k in 1973 to 99k in 2004. That is only double, not keeping up with the pace of the growth of membership.
One would expect (and the church would hope) that as wards and branches were added, the number of members per unit would either stay about the same or drop (due to higher activity levels). But right now there are 460 members per unit, highest in the period I studied. In 1980, the figure was 368.
One would thing (and the church would hope) that the number of members per missionary would stay around the same. But in 1977 (the first year the church reported the number of missionaries in the conference report), there were 157 members per missionary. In 2004 that number was up to 240, the highest on my table.
The number of missionaries is at its lowest level since 1995.
Converts per missionary dipped below 5 in 2000 and hasn't been over 5 since. It had never been below five in the years that both membership and missionaries were reported. There was a high of 8.03 in 1989.
Back in the 1970's and early 1980's the church would report the number of priesthood holders. In 1979, the church reported 1,094,000 priesthood holders, an increase of 107,000 over the previous year. The next year, 1980, they reported 1,083,000 priesthood holders and proclaimed it an increase of 42,000 over the previous year. Somebody must have caught their math error and let them know, because that was the last time they announced the amount of increase over the last year. They stopped reporting priesthood numbers completely with the 1986 report.
To sum up, the church membership statistics show dramatic growth over the last three decades, but also a distinct shift toward high inactivity levels and unproductive missionary efforts.
The fishiest stats are the membership numbers - 06/27/2005 - by Stray Mutt
There are only two legitimate ways for the church to grow:
1) children of record being baptized at 8 years old
2) converts over 8 years old
Meanwhile, church membership can decrease through:
So the increase in membership from one year to the next should be the total of the first two minus the total of the second two. That means the increase each year should always be something less than the sum of the first two -- even if the church doesn't report the numbers for deaths or excommunications/resignations. Even given the near-impossibility of a year passing with no members dying or being removed from the church, the increase can never be more than the sum of the first two.
Simple math, right?
But there are several years where the increase in membership is more than the sum of child and convert baptisms -- sometimes radically more. Clearly, someone is fiddling with the numbers.
In 1989 there was the biggest membership jump ever, yet the baptism numbers don't support it. One theory is that the church redefined "member" to include children of record. But that doesn't explain the anomalies since then.
They obviously "cook the books" - 06/27/2005 - by Preston Bissell
Among the many stats that they don't report are the numbers leaving/excommunicated, number of living temple endowments, or *anything* that has to do with $$$$. As you say, they have stopped reporting the number of PH ordinations. That figure, along with living temple endowments, would be the best indicator of "activity". Obviously, both figures are down, or else they would still be reporting them. I suspect that they also continue to report those of us who have resigned in the total church figures.
You will also note that growth in the # of stakes and wards, which is pretty hard to fake, doesn't keep pace with the reported # of convert baptisms. IOW, you really can't trust *any* stats that come from the Great and Spacious COB. The closest thing you will find to reliable stats can be found at www.cumorah.com The guy who maintains that site is a TBM, but he's about as honest and objective as guy as you can find in Mormondom.
|Years||Wards & Branches||Members||Members/Ward, Branch|
Note the increasing number of members per congregation over the years. Why is it that in 1980 the number of members who filled an average congregation was 368, yet in 2004 the number of members to fill the average congregation jumped to 460 – a 25% increase over 24 years?
Where did the room come from to absorb these extra members? True, the church could be making Wards and Branches more “member-dense“, but the more likely explanation is that this room has been generated by: (1) an increasing number of inactive members or, (2) members leaving the church but being kept on the rolls or, (3) a combination of these two.
Fatter Stakes also. See below.
21% increase in the number of people per stake over the last 24 years.
I'll verify the CA decline...
I'm in Sacramento area - grew up in Bay area. They are scrambling with reorganizing boundaries, etc to make it appear that there is no decline, but there really is.
We moved away from this area for 3 years and when we got back they had "reorganized ward boundaries and our ward is so tiny they can't fill the callings needed.
They have combined stakes in Bay area and I know of at least 3 wards that have been dissolved/rearranged into other wards just in my Mom's stake - they always re-name the wards or stakes so that they can claim that they have created a new one instead of dissolving one. LOL! It's a great PR ploy - makes the members think the church is growing when it's not.
CA is really rough for younger people to afford to live here. The younger generation is not replacing the older ones in the church. This could be playing a major part in it - finances. I know we sure have had a hard time getting on our feet here. Thankfully we're solid homeowners now. - Jennyfoo
Struggling in Our Nation's Capitol
For years the Morg didn't even have missionaries in the District of Columbia at all because it is has an overwhelming black majority (black men couldn't hold the priesthood). A few decades and modern revalations ago, they said they were going to take over D.C. by storm. So far, there are only a few small branches in the District and they are rather pathetic. Turnover is VERY high among "converts" to the Mormon church in D.C. The missionaries still avoid large sections of the city (either because of "homosexual problems" or crime).
The only "growth" is in the outersuburbs. The oldest wards in the innersuburban rings within the counties Arlington (VA), Alexandria (VA), Montgomery (MD) and Prince George's (MD) are stuggling. Mormon-syle people are being forced further and further out as immigrant communities move in and housing prices go up. The Morg is building new buildings in further out in Virgina and Maryland, but the old buildings typically only service one ward and one branch and they struggle with attendance problems. The big increase in hispanic population has helped increase conversions a bit, but these branches suck the life out of the stakes that have to support them.
Convert retention is an enormous issue in the National Capitol area. Less than 10 percent of converts are active two years after baptism. I don't know of any traditional families that have converted. It is usually individuals with a lot of temporal needs. They come at first and drop away after a few months. The new push is to reactive people, and then get them to the temple.
The Washington, D.C. temple used to be the pride of the East Coast. Very busy and robust. With the new mini temples in the east, the Washington temple is actually struggling. Endowment sessions get cancelled all the time. Wards temple nights are sparsely attended (if at all in many instances). One area authority called temple attendance the area's worst problem.
I don't know about all of the D.C. metro area, but our ward is a Little Piece of Zion. Most of the active people in my ward moved here from Utah/Idaho or have family in Utah/Idaho. So even in the Nation's Capitol, Mormonism is still a Utah religion. - WashingtonExmo
My observation in New Mexico When you say decline or stagnant does it means low growth or decline compared to state population?
I live in NM and many UT, CO, ID and AZ people are moving to Albuquerque. In fact MorgCorp has seen an upswing in membership in NM due to the economy and employment rates compared to other states. We have new LDS buildings, wards and our own McTemple but this isn't due to "NEW" members or converts. It's because all of those D*mn Morgbots are moving here. If the membership growth here was compared to the population increase of state and city then the rate would probably show New Mexico was declining in Mormon membership and baptisms. The ratio of MorgBots to normal people is actually dropping. - Didymus
Indian reservation missions here were just closed
There were no baptisms whatsoever, and there was no leadership to handle the handful of Lamanite members still left. - New Mexico Too
Report from Florida
We recently moved from San Diego to Florida. I was in 3 wards over the last 7 years and all of them were really struggling. The one ward we lived in that did okay was also very affluent. But on any given sunday most of the people attending were folks on vacation just going to sacrament.
Our last ward there was the most pathetic. We tried to organize an event and only 10 people bothered to show up. Even my TBM (true believing Mormon) hubby at the time was puzzled.
As for Florida, we don't attend here. I do have to drive by the church each day and on sunday it seems to be well attended. I believe it only has one ward though.
Southern CA declining wards
I had moved from a very affluent young family Ward in San Diego to an middle class blue collar Ward in East San Diego. I couldn't believe it was so small besides the fact that I had nothing in common with the other members because the only people that seemed to go were seniors. In speaking with other friends who have moved from my hometown, the concensus is the same. Less people are going. With fewer members, whomever is active and able bodied gets stuck with not one or two demanding callings, but three or four plus regular visiting/home teaching of several people. Much easier to go inactive than take on that kind of workload. Also, once inactive, you don't have to pay tithing and I know by where I live, most of us can barely pay to put gas in our cars. - Kamali
Report from western Portland, OR area
We've been here 10.5 years and have seen one split of our ward (about 4 years ago when I was in the bishopric). During this time, a new stake was created and I think it probable that another one is in the offing (our stake and the one next to it each has 11 units). I can think of four new buildings built during this time (one stake center) and ground has been broken for what is supposed to be another stake center. Sounds like a poster-child for the work rolling forth, no?
But where are all the new members coming from? Out of state (and, in the past anyway, often to work for my employer, the largest single one in the county). From what I've been able to see, the baptismal rate is pathetic and retention of the few converts (virtually no families) is almost non-existent.
So the new buildings are simply to spread the load out a bit (reducing a building from 3 or 4 units to 2 units) and to create a cushion for the hoped-for increase to accompany the on-going construction of new homes. One of my co-workers is the bishop of a ward in an older, established area. That ward isn't growing at all - shrinking a little, in fact.
So, from my perspective, it seems like church growth is mostly a shell-game.
Local Morg movement to Loudoun County, VA (Wash. D.C. area)
Although I am out of the Morg, I am in boundries of the Ashburn, VA stake. Most of the people here are from, or have families in the Mormon corridor with many high level Morg connections from that region. A lot of young families, and very, very, yuppie.
In fact, the whole Ashburn stake is growing by leaps and bounds and there will be a ward split this Sunday. No converts to speak of, the whole stake is rather an inbred, ethnic Mormon ghetto. - Skybolt
New York City Metropolitan Area
Church growth here is ZERO.
Bergen County NJ with a population of over 900,000 people just across the Hudson River from Manhattan.....wealthy and expensive. MORG has 3 small wards. No growth in 30 years. I passed the one chapel recently.....built in the early 1960's. It was very dated and almost looked abandonded. Grass the overgrown and the shrubs were unkept.
Just to the north in Orange County, New York. Fastest growing county in New York State...two small wards. The chapels are tiny and I hear poorly attended. No converts to speak of.
The MORG brags about growth in Manhattan, especially in Harlem. They are building one small chapel in Harlem. With a population of literally millions of people within a few miles...this is nothing to brag about. - StMatthew
Here in Manhattan
Church growth here in Manhattan is very interesting. We have a few converts in our ward, lower Manhattan, but most tend to be single-parent families. But the main driver for growth is people moving from Utah to come here, most of the time temporarily. Now we have a temple here and everyone is all in a dither about it. I have no idea in the world what has possessed the Church to build a chapel in Harlem, and, mind you this is no "small chapel". It's four or five stories. (I have now idea how they plan on using the building.)
There are also plans to buy/build a new chapel on the Upper East Side as well. We recently moved to our new building on 14th Street last year. I have no idea what is happening out in the other boroughs, but I do know that the Bronx still is not a Stake. There are a lot of Latinos in Queens and Brooklyn, so I think that there is some marginal growth there. - fill
My local ward in Seoul is one of the very first wards established in this country.
We meet in one of the very first LDS stake centers built on the Asian continent. Old, but still a nice, large building with all the amenities of a stake center in the states.
We have over 500 members on the records.
Sacrament meeting attendance last week: 26 adults, not counting two full-time mishies. And one of those 26 was me, a full-blown apostate attending because my wife asked me to.
There have been zero convert baptisms in this ward the four years I've been here.
Only one ward meets in this building because there is no need to share the facilities. There just aren't any other members around to use it.
Same thing for the Seoul temple. It's full to capacity on Friday nights, but go any other day of the week and it's either closed completely or the temple mishies are doing the ordinances themselves.
And it's not a long drive. It's right in the middle of downtown Seoul with bus stops and subways stops conveniently located nearby. You can see the Mormoni statue in the distance from over the rooftops of one of Seoul's well-known shopping/hanging-out districts.
It's right there, but people aren't going.
According to my local mishies, who visit me periodically to get me to come back, there are only 30 or so convert baptisms in Korea per month these days. Less than 400 per year for a country of 47 million people. And of course, as is the case with the Philipines, most of these are 15 year old girls who go inactive as soon as the mishies leave the area.
The church is shriveling away here like a cloud on a hot day in the desert.
Isn't is wonderful?
After years of observation, I believe that the true destruction of the Mormon church will come from the same force that is hurting other fraternal organizations, APATHY.
The Lions Club, Rotary Club, Elks Club, IOOF, VFW, Masons and other organizations have seen a decline in membership as the current members get older and are not replaced.
The same trend is happening in the Mormon church. Though "growing" in size by conversion and births, the true test of vitality is attendance and participation. You notice the new charge from the leadership of the Mormon church is activation and fellowshipping. Even Gordy has spent valuable pulpit time talking about how it doesn't serve the Mormon god to "baptize" new members who soon go inactive. Other signs of implosion is the lack of volunteers in Mormon church directed activities such as "ward parties", "cannery assignments", "temple attendance" and other time wasters. More and more members are finding excuses why they cannot participate in these "Mormon" activities.
Most telling of the apathy is that the members are not supporting directed activities needed by the Mormon church to function. The evil part of the assignments is that most are made to help the Mormon church from having to hire full time employees. Things like janitors, secretaries, researchers, etc. is full time work that is for the benefit of the Mormon church only and not the World. Just look at the number of "Service Missions" posted in the foyer of the chapel and you will notice that they are all to support the Mormon church daily administrative functions.
No, the modern Mormon doesn't have time to support such nonsense. They would rather give of their money than their time.
Thus the implosion continues.
I think you all have too much time on your hands. If you hate the church so much why do you spend all of your time talking about it? Why don't you just go find a new church and spend time uplifting your new faith instead of bashing on a perfectly fine religion? I had a roommate who was "Catholic" and guess what, she only went to church twice a year (Christmas and Easter). But she still claimed to be Catholic. Just because people are less active than others doesn't mean they should not be included in the total population of that religion. It would be quite hard to get a number for the "die hard" mormons in the world. What would be your criteria to get an acurrate number? Furthermore you would have to get that criteria for all other religions to get a true count. Don't act like LDS people are the only ones misrepresenting their numbers. I know a lot of other people from other faiths that are not "die hard" members of their faith but they would still check off the appropriate box! on the census form.
These graphs of LDS membership distribution sure helps put things in perspective.
About half of all Mormons -- 5.5 million -- live in the United States, where they represent about 2% of the population.
Five countries -- the US, Mexico (1 million), Brazil (809,000), Chile (520,000) and Philippines (496,000) -- represent 70% of church membership.
In Mexico, Mormons are about .98% of the population. In Brazil, about 0.5%. In Chile, about 3.3%. In Philippines, about 0.6%.
The top 20 countries (the top 5 plus Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, UK, Canada, Equador, Colombia, Bolivia, Japan, Venezuela, Honduras, Australia, New Zealand, El Salvador and Uruguay) represent 89% of church membership.
The remaining 11% of church membership is spread out across 225 other countries.
30 years ago there were about 4 billion people on the planet and 3.5 million Mormons on the books. That works out to about 0.08%
Now there are about 6.3 billion people and 12 million members, which is about 0.2%.
So, at least on paper, the church's little slice of the pie has gotten bigger.
Fastest growing denominations in US? Not the Mormons!!
At a measly 8% relative growth rate over the past decade, Mormon 'growth' in the US is vastly outstripped by Catholics (+11%), Presbyterians (+12%), Episcopalian/Anglican (+13%), Pentacostals (+38%), Churches of Christ (+47%), Assemblies of God (+68%), and Congregationalist/United Church of Christ (+130%).
And while the Seventh Day Adventists have fewer US members than Mormons, internationally their numbers have recently passed the LDS members, making 7DAdventism the "largest home-grown American religion", not Mormonism. (Incidentally, 7thDay-Adventism was founded later than LDS, so given that they've now surpassed Mormon memberhsip numbers, that makes them a faster growing church than Mormonism.) - 09/12/2004 - by Langdon
I have been intrigued with questions about the number of church members around the world, and also provided links to census material that shows a large discrepancy between the number of members claimed by the church and those that profess to be so.
This got me started thinking about the church here in the UK. As of this afternoon the church claims on its website that there are 178,920 members of the church in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).
We had our ten yearly census in 2001. The question regarding religious affiliation was voluntary. Below is a link to a PDF sample of the census form.
As you can see there are a number of tick boxes, including "christian" which is the second one, or at the bottom there is "other" with a space to write in the specific denomination.
The results show that out of a population of 58,789,194 there were 42,079,417 who considered themselves to be christian, 178,837 who were "other" and 13,626,299 who were "No Religion / Religion not stated". The link is below.
I emailed the census people and asked them if there was a more detailed breakdown of the "other" figure which people then filled in voluntarily. I was told that this information was available. The reason it was a voluntary question was because it had been specially commissioned to be included in the census, and as such wasn't included on the website when they presented all the other data. There was no problem with me having the data, i just had to agree to certain conditions before it could be sent out. A copy of these conditions are here.
I emailed back to accept the conditions and just after lunch today i received an Excel spreadsheet with the information on it.
Now remember the number claimed by the church is 178,920. The number of people in this country that indicated they were members of the church was 12,722.
There are a number of observations I could make. I have to say up front that I think there are more active members than this, i.e. that attend on a regular basis. One of the big problems that the church faces in this country is being perceived by and large as some American cult (and we scratch our head and wonder how people could think that!)
Some members of the church may have wanted to specifically identify themselves as "Christian" by ticking that box. To balance that, quite a number of Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, etc. also skipped the "christian" box and specifically identified themselves by their denomination.
Being TBM (true believing Mormon) at the time, my (frustratingly still TBM) wife and i wanted to do our bit to bring the church out of obscurity and darkness by indicating that we were LDS on the form.
And as for the Obi-Wan Kenobi reference in the subject line? In the months before the census there was an email that went round telling people that if more than 10,000 people identified themselves as being a "Jedi Knight" on the census then the government would be "forced to accept" it as an "official" religion.
It was complete bollocks of course, but how many of my fellow countrymen, and women, so indicated? 390,127. Thats right folks, we have thirty times more Jedi Knights in the UK than LDS!
Note of interest/caution. The number of 390,127 is larger than the figure given as the total listed as having ticked the "other" box (178,837). I think from the looks of the numbers that they took the people who indicated a christian denomination in the "other" section and just added them to the christian total, and did same for others, e.g. "Jewish". As Jedi clearly isn't a real religion they prob put this with the "No Religion / Religion not stated" total. This is speculation and i have emailed them to clarify this.
May the force be with you.
They're lying about Brazil, too. The 2000 census shows some 199K people self-identified as Mormons, while the Church claims 867K. Check the following link to see for yourself. (pertinent data on page 2) http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/estatistica/populacao/censo2000/populacao/religiao_Censo2000.pdf
I've posted most of this info here before, but since the Church seems to put out the same BS frequently it is worth posting again.
The PR hacks at headquarters are trotting out the tired old story about Spanish speaking Mormons.
Quoting from the article:
Once a predominantly U.S.-centered religious institution, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become international. Of its 12 million members worldwide, more than half -- 6.4 million -- live outside the United States, the majority in Spanish-speaking countries.
I went to the Church's website and got population stats for all the Spanish speaking countries. Taking their numbers at face value I got a total of 3,328,723 members they claim to have in South America, Central America, Mexico and Spain.
The two with the highest claimed Mormon populations are Mexico and Chile, with 952,950 and 527,900 respectively.
These also happen to be the only two countries in Latin America that have Mormon as a category in the religion portion of their national censuses.
The Mexican census(see link below) shows that some 205,229 Mexicans over the age of 5 claimed Mormon in the census; 21.5% of the Church's number.
The Chilean census(see link below) paints a similar picture. Some 103,735 Chileans over the age of 15 claimed Mormon as their religious preference. As the Church counts everyone over 8 as a member we can probably add 10,000 the the count and make it an even 113,000 and not be too far off. Again, that yields 21.4% of the Church's number.
Keep in mind this is not the percentage of active members, but merely people who consider themselves to be Mormon. It stands to reason that active members consider themselves to be LDS, but also added in there are inactives who for whatever reason think of themselves, for census purposes, as Mormons.
I think these numbers are the upper limit for percentages of baptisms that consider themselves LDS. Mexico and Chile have each produced more mission presidents and general authorities than other Spanish-speaking countries. Mexico has the most temples outside of the US. That would seem to indicate the Church is stronger there than in countries like Uruguay or Paraguay.
So I'm being generous when I apply the 21.5% rule to the Church's numbers to calculate a total number of Spanish speaking people who consider themselves to be Mormons; truth be told if we include countries like Nicaragua and Costa Rica the number would be lower still.
21.5% of 3,328,723 gives us 715,675 Spanish speaking Mormons who consider themselves such. Remember that the next time someone in your ward starts popping off about more members speaking Spanish than English--if that is indeed true they're in worse shape than they think.
Think of all the man-years given to preaching the gospel in Latin America. Think of the tons of intestinal parasites endured by thousands of misshies. The money spent by them and their parents. The years of sleepless nights endured by their mothers while their kids lived in hovels, drinking polluted water and getting shot at. For what? After 80 years of presence in South America and over 120 years in Mexico not even one million people consider themselves LDS. So much for the gospel filling the whole earth.
In fact, the referenced article paints a grimmer picture. They speak of 144,000 Spanish speaking Mormons in the US and some 428 congregations. That yields an average of 299 members per unit. Quoting from the story as it appeared in the Dallas Morning News, "...the 45 people in attendance nodded in agreement."
Those of you who went to missions down there can figure it out actual activity rates fairly easily. I am very familiar with Chile as my in-laws live there. The Church claims 527,900 members in 713 units. That works out 741 members per unit. The most I ever saw at Church was 100, and that was at one of the oldest most affluent wards in all of South America. I typically saw 50-70 active members in a ward. That would seem to indicate an activity rate of 10-13%.
My brother went to Costa Rica; claimed membership of 32,563 with 76 congregations for an average of 428 members per congregation. He never saw more than 40 active members in a ward or branch.
It almost seems that kids who want to serve their fellow man and grow the Church in Latin America would be better off signing up for the Peace Corps and going to Church every week while there. They could help provide badly needed leadership and lead by example.
Here's a little tidbit I found on the growth of the church in Latin America. A recently returned missionary (now on BYU's football team) told a reporter about the growth of the church in Nicaragua.
"In the whole country, there are only two stakes and about 45,000 members.”
Assuming between 3-5,000 active members per stake, that translates to between 6-11% activity rate. So, there are between 6,000-10,000 active Mormons in a country with a population of approximately 5,000,000. The percentage of active Mormons in Nicaragua is somewhere between .12% and .2% of the population in general.
That stone cut out of the mountain without hands sure is taking its time as it fills the whole earth, huh? Isn't it wonderful? Isn't it marvelous?
I don't think Chile is that different from other developing countries where the Church experienced tremendous growth.
If you look at the Chilean census of 2002 you'll see clearly where the problem comes in: there are only 14,000 self-identified Mormon males between the ages of 30 and 44, and only 7,089 between the ages of 45 and 59. There are 682 wards, 168 branches, and 111 stakes.
That means local leadership at the stake and ward level alone takes up nearly 15% of self-described LDS males between the ages of 30 and 59. This is before we start calling EQ presidencies, mission leaders, gospel doctrine teachers, etc....And we are also assuming that all these men are active and hold the Melchizedek priesthood. If even 10% of them don't then nearly 20% of those who are active and hold the priesthood are involved in bishoprics, stake presidencies and high councils, and branch and district presidencies.
Given the socioeconomic realities in Chile this is just not enough people to create and sustain vibrant Church units.
Figures you published about the number of Mormons and Mormon converts (which were probably provided by the church) are misleading, for several reasons. The Mormon church (unlike many other denominations) does not make public the number of people who resign their memberships or who simply stop participating. The church claims 800 converts per day; but - according to unofficial inside sources - at least 250 Mormons per day are resigning their membership, and an additional equal number are estimated to be leaving without taking any kind of official action (meaning that they are still counted by the church as "members").
A Mormon sociologist (Armand Mauss) has estimated that of new converts in North America, 50% are no longer participating a year later. The figure he gives for other areas is 75%. The low retention rate is quite understandable in light of the fact that Mormon missionaries pressure investigators to commit to baptism after only a few weeks of indoctrination, before they have an opportunity to learn the negative aspects of Mormonism.
My TBM (True Believing Mormon) brother shows up for a visit and drags me to Saturday night General Conference Priesthood Meeting. We arrive about 20 seconds early and see the satellite count down. There are about about a dozen others in attendance: The temple presidency (3) geezers, mishies (4), 2 hardballs from the EQ, two hopelessly single singles and the retired Stake Patriarch.
Where is everyone he asks? I rub it in. I point out who is conspicuously absent: The Stake President who lives in our ward, the entire Bishopric including various clerks, the entire High Priest and Elder's Q. Presidencies although hardball number one could soon be called to fill a vacancy there, 4 or 5 members of the High Council from our ward, the entire Young Men's Presidency and the entire Aaronic priesthood for that matter, the ward mission leader, and various other officers as now constituted.
He looks at me and says: You live in a different world. I respond you don't live in the real world out there in Utah.
Now I didn't play entirely fair. He was under the impression that this was a Stake Meeting and not one ward. And I did sit up front so he didn't see a couple dozen more sneak in late.
By the end of the meeting the Stake President had arrived about 1 hour late, one Bishop's counselor, two High Priests, one of the High Counsel and teenage son, and total attendance was about 30-40 or so. Not bad.
The bad news breaks, and the Board of Directors calls an emergency meeting in the Upper Room of the Temple. Sitting around the table, the following responses are heard from the Board members, all present and accounted for:
Boyd K. Packer - "I knew this would happen when they started playing with their little factories."
L. Tom Perry - "I really don't know what to say without a teleprompter. But, if you want, I can go out and smile a lot."
David B. Haight - "Zzzzzzzzzzz . . . Huh? What? Did I miss something?"
Neal A. Maxwell - "This imploding is a foreboding of our lives corroding, as our connection with perfection cascades into tangles of misdirection, as we sense the power of the divine and sublime unfolding yet exploding, much like a mosiac of floating tiles upon a tumultuous ocean of devolving devotion filled with commotion, locomotion and of false hopes for perpetual promotion, thus seeing and being seized upon, supercalifragilisticexpeealidocious . . ."
Russell M. Nelson -"Don't look at me, Brethren. I'm may be a doctor but I can't fix a system that's rotten to the core."
Dallin H. Oaks - "Legally speaking, we have here what appears to be a no-win situation. That said, my reading of the statutes of the Utah state constitution--combined with a close examination of the case for Book of Mormon historicity--does allow, in a strict but technically defensible sense, for the burning down of the Salt Lake Tribune, on the grounds that it constitutes a public nuisance; i.e., a threat to the peace and tranquility necessary for the survival of our revealed form of iron-fisted theocracy."
M. Russell Ballard - "Well, boys, this can't be good for stock prices. I could use a beer."
Joseph B. Wirthlin - "Holy crap."
Richard G. Scott - "I solemnly testify that these are numbers too sacred to speak of here."
Robert D. Hales - "Maybe if I rub my CTR ring, a genie will appear and help us."
Jeffrey R. Holland - "We used to have the same problem when I was president at the Y. It all has to do with too many members living off-campus."
Henry B. Eyring - "When I was the Church Commissioner of Education, we would just ignore bad numbers that didn't add up, like poor Seminary attendance. So, I know that if we close our eyes and think happy, bland thoughts, this will all go away."
James E. Faust - "What will this mean for my planned trip to visit the Bahama branch of the Church?"
Thomas S. Monson - "I'm reminded of a story . . . "
Gordon B. Hinckley - "Marvelous. This is just friggin' marvelous. Get Larry King on the phone."
Let see, LDS church increases at a rate of membership of about 1000 per day so even if 150 leave per day, that is still a net increase of 850 per day. That is still pretty good. - 02/06/2004 - anon
Comment on 2/6/2004 -anon
The problem with that 1000 a day conversion rate is that the long term retention is about 5%. So the way I calculate it:
1. The church gets 50 new active members daily,
2. It looses about 950 newly inactive members daily,
3. And only 150 of those names are taken off the roll daily.
This explains why our ward roster is 30 pages thick and we get about 50 people to Sacrament meeting. Home teaching routes approach 16 per active person (800 divided by 50) which translates into >32 per companionship. If you go out every day you might make all your monthly visits, but you won't reactivate anyone.
The missionaries get exactly what they pray for, baptisms. They seldom get actual conversions who go on to be productive contributing members. The growth of the church is stagnant and the members are groaning under the enormous and ever increasing burden of trying to deal with the hordes of inactives who do not want to be bothered. The leaders are pretending all is well in Zion because they don't know what else to do, like be honest and confront a real problem for once.
But you know what? It doesn't matter. Popularity was never a measure of what is true. - 02/12/2004 - anon
I had just got done telling my TBM friend all about how only 25% of the 11 million members in the Church even are "Active". And how only half of those few have ever been endowed, and how only half of those endowed even have a current temple recommend and how only half of those that have a current temple recommend even go to the temple regularly (min. 1x a month). That takes the 11 million down to only 250,000 who actually are following what the Church DEMANDS -- which is to go to the temple, make death-penalty-like covenants and attend the the temple faithfully.
Well........obviously she outright refused to believe what I said until she heard it from the STAKE dude's mouth today in sacrament. I couldn't believe my ears that they were telling the members these grave statistics. I know it was in effort to get more people to feel guilty and go to the temple as well as (as he mentioned, pay more tithing, pay more fast offerings, etc) Sound familiar, eh? More money.
Anyways, waht do you think that those faithful on the pews are thinking right now to have heard that "Only 50% of those ever endowed hold a recommend" I guess that might not be enough to bring the point home since they didn't get the overall # of how few are even active, and how fewer are endowed, but got that only 50% of endowed have a current TR, but missed getting that even fewer go regularly. All of which are obvious logically, but the members don't ever look for glaring signs that their church isn't growing let alone, that no one is doing what they are supposed to do as faithful LDS members.
Weird -- so many people blindly "follow the prophet" or atleast say they do, but yet they don't go to the temple. (Ofcourse, I know a few that say they got scared and don't want to ever go back. I bet that's alot of those 50% that are MIA)
In 2001 & 2002 the church converted 49,000 people in the Philippines, but only 1000 of those people 'remained active'.
I guarantee you that the church still counts all 49,000 as members when they claim they are 'one of the world's fastest growing churches'
Response to 11/15/2003 by xtbm
Fascinating comparison. You have made one very serious calculation error. You used statistics quoted by the church in General Conference for 1990 & 2001. But those reports are made in May of 1990/2001 and they give 1989/2000 data.
So you are comparing membership numbers from the church in 1989 with membership numbers from the CUNY survey in 1990. Same error in 2001. In a rapidly growing church this difference in one year could generate enormous discrepancies.
Before you panic lets think about this:
Total members in 1989 (stat report 1990) 7.76 m
Total members in 1990 (stat report 1991) 8.12 m
Total members in 2000 (stat report 2001) 11.4 m
Total members in 2001 (stat report 2002) 11.7 m
(To be totally anal we need to find out what time of the year the survey was done and pro- rate it between these numbers but lets not go that far.)
So that gives us an additional 300,000 or more total members in the church statistics in both years. Divide them down as you have previously here-to-for done and that still gives you something significantly more (you do the math) than 100,000 adult members according to the church. And that means that YOUR POINT IS EVEN STRONGER!!! and that the number of missing Mormons is at least 100,000 higher than you calculated, well over a million for 2001.
With liars, critics and clowns like this bunch, no wonder the Mormon church comes out smelling like a skunk instead of something worse.
AW MAWN, IT'S TOO HARD YA KNOW
From the land of reggae (Jamaica). The Morg (slang for Mormon Church) has failed to establish a new collective (Stake) there. Last week, (I think 06 Dec 2003) Elder H. Aldridge Gillespie was in Jamaica to create the first Stake. Instead, during the meeting he stood up and said "We had hoped to progress in establishing the first Stake in Jamaica, but that will not happen..."
Well, it looks like Jamaica is not ready to be assimilated into the Morg collective.
I was not there, but people I know were. We don't talk about the LDS church anymore. All I know is they were there, excited about the prospect (having ties to the island), and came back upset that the announcement about "no stake" was made in public to the members who were anticipating the creation of their 1st stake.
There was a link on SLDrone's post on growth to an "American Religious Identification Survey". This survey looked at the religious affiliation of adults in the US in 1990 and in 2001. I've seen this survey before, but I never sat down and put some numbers to it. I did so tonight and came out with some interesting information. Here's the link to the survey:
Be aware, of two things. First, this survey only asked US adults their religious affiliation, not necessarily their membership or their activity rate. So, this won't be useful in determining actual resignations, but it will be useful in giving us 'directional' information (as my old boss used to say).
Second, I did this relatively quickly and I didn't have time to do a lot of research and verify (from multiple sources) all the numbers. I also made a couple of assumptions, so if anyone notices any 'faulty logic', let me know and I'll revise the numbers.
Total number of 'missing' members increased by 656,312 (207%) over the 11 years or almost 60,000 per year. How many of these have officially resigned? Who knows?!?! But keep in mind that this is only in the US! International membership is roughly equal to the US and the attrition rate is probably higher (no facts off hand to back it up, but just an assumption based on what I've read in the past), so you could conservatively double that number to 120,000+ annually to account for the worldwide membership.
The big defectors seem to be in the 30-64 age range (matches my own personal experience). This group only had a 4% increase in ELEVEN YEARS according to the survey!
Any other noticable trends?
Another noticeable trend - by Sophia
I notice that the fastest growth rate was among people over 65. I am guessing that that reflects an increase in longevity.
The church is probably getting older, on average. It would be interesting to see some current birth rate information. It is my understanding that Mormons, like others, are marrying later and having fewer children, but I would like to see some hard stats on that. If there are fewer babies, and older people are increasing in number at the highest rate of any group, then the church is getting older.
I'm not sure that means anything. Just an observation.
Our stake just created a new ward by splitting ours, and dissolving a dead one. The net effect is same number of wards, with long-term effect still TBD.
In typical fashion, the stake officials focused only on balancing # of MP holders. The dissolved ward had no youth, and so our previously healthy ward had its YM/YW program split 50/50. The kids are complaining that they no longer have effective mass for enjoyable activities.
Still to early to say what the effect on "metrics of holiness" will be. Our avg sac meeting attendance seems to hover around 150, in a ward with 470 nominal members. This is just slightly lower than previous to the consolidation.
Stake avg home teaching "numbers" are around 40%, while our ward, prior to the split, was usually above that. No real sense yet of how we're doing, since it's still too early to tell, but my gut feel is that we have dropped below the stake average.
My gut reaction on hearing the announcement of the consolidation was that we were taking on a cancer in terms of the number of inactives, losing youth, and doubling the geographic square mileage of our ward.
My parents spoke at the Kingwood Stake Conference, and my mother wrote me in her weekly letter, that the Houston temple is running at only 42% capacity! This was mentioned at the Stake Conference,just as the new temple presidency started that same week, the last week of October. I thought that this figure would interest all here, in regards to the already known fact of low temple attendance. Did you all hear or read about the Samoan temple burning down, it was being remodeled. I don't mention the above to be disrespectful, but just to show the direction Mormonism is going. Thanks, again.
I concur with EnglishSue below. I'm from Croydon, south of London. My ward (Croydon 2nd) had about ninety regular attendees every sacrament meeting in 1988. Shortly before I left to serve my mission in 1989, we were merged with the Caterham branch and renamed Selsdon Ward. It was the largest ward in the stake, with some 130 people attending Sacrament Meeting every Sunday. Throughout my mission, I got regular letters from ward members telling me how many new members were joining -- I remember my bishop writing to me saying that they were having a new baptism pretty much every week. Two years later, when I returned from my mission, normal attendance was EIGHTY, with just a couple of new faces -- all of them recent converts.
Also, during my mission in the brand-new France Bordeaux mission (my companion and I were the second and third missionaries to be sent to the new mission), I also tried to institute a Lost Sheep program, and got from the bishops and branch presidents membership lists. In every case, there were hundreds of names (in the case of Perpignan, over a thousand) with, at most, (Perpignan again) seventy attending regularly and, at worst (La Rochelle) twelve. In La Rochelle, we found there was a good reason why one 'less-active member' wasn't attending any more -- he was dead! I know this because we found his grave in the public cemetery. Very pretty it was too, and distinctly Roman Catholic in style.
I am on an email list from the Philippines Missions where I slaved myself for the Morg 33 years ago. Here is what I got today:
"Over the last two years, the rapid growth in church membership for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines has declined with the missionary focus largely on retention and reactivation.
Out of the 49,000 converts who joined the church in 2001 and 2002, only 1,000 remain active," said Dave Brinsfield, former senior missionary for the Manila Philippines mission.
Dark Sparks calculates that at a 2% activity rate. Woo Hoo! The fastest growing church in the world!
My wife got back yesterday from visiting her relatives in Chile. We were discussing this same thing--I made her promise she would 'return and report'.
Seems the big push to close stakes and consolidate units came from the local members, and that some of the more outspoken ones gave Holland a good blast when he asked for their input when he first arrived. That they were tired of multiple callings, division of barely functioning wards, and being made to care for the baptisms of careless misshies. Not to mention being coerced into feeding the little bastards, sometimes once a week.
She said the active members in her home stake--the whole stake--are really just the same ones who were active in her ward when she left 17 years ago. And that many were tired of the load the church has put on them to support their growth on paper.
The famed Perpetual Education Fund has done some good. But it is not a grant, it is a loan that is repaid at interest. And the loan is through a local bank, not directly from the church. But those who take one have to take an additional church calling as well--a young man in her ward who has one has to visit 'inactive'--in all reality never active--youth who are of seminary age and try to drag them back to church..
And Holland hasn't been seen in her part of Santiago for some time. Her words in Spanish were 'nadie ha visto al guatón ese'--nobody has seen the fat guy....
"During the decade of the 1990s, many rapidly-growing churches, including the Adventists, Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God, and numerous Pentecostal groups, reported accelerating growth trends throughout the decade, while The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced persistent trends of decelerating growth. In fact, the LDS Church is one of the few Christian groups with a large missionary program to experience declining growth rates in spite of widening opportunities."
I live in the suburbs of a large city in the Eastern half of the USA. I rode in the support van (with my girl friend) for a large Varsity Scout troop not attached to any particular church in the July Fourth parade. The route was about 3-4 miles and took about 2 hours to travel.
The entire route was lined with people, mostly young families with a few children, mostly decent folks with jobs, a few minorities represented at about the same proportion as live in the area. The newspaper said that attendance at the parade was several hundred thousand. I saw a total of 3 active Mormon families and there are about a dozen who live in the area.
I was impressed with the general goodness and decency of most of the throngs of these people. I realized better than I ever have before why America is such a strong nation; we have so many good people living in this country. I realized that almost all of them at the parade live within the boundaries of our ward. What perplexed me most was why we have been unable to convert a single decent intact family in this area in spite of intense missionary effort in the past decade and beyond. We have a dozen missionaries and a heavy emphasis on missionary work at church. It is one thing to sit in church and talk about missionary work. It is quite another to slowly drive through crowds and crowds of good folks, waving at them and wondering why not a single one of them has accepted the gospel message.
I asked my Baptist girl friend, who I have brought to church a few times and had the missionaries teach, what she thought about this question. She replied; what have you Mormons got to offer them? I responded; the restored true gospel of Jesus Christ, the saving ordinances of the temple, opportunities to serve one another in the ward.
She responded with a withering series of questions:
1. Is your music any good? That is the first thing they hear when they walk in the front door.
2. Are your sermons well prepared, insightful and inspiring? Are your "preachers" well trained and good speakers? Do they have anything to say?
3. Are your classes informative, relevant and lively? Are there many different options and an exciting cirriculum?
4. Does your primary really touch the children and do they enjoy going? Are the adults who work with children trained, aware of and willing to deal with abuse issues and do they have CPR training and criminal background checks?
5. Are your teenage youth programs excellent and fun and yet teach the youth to stay out of trouble. Do your youth bring their friends from other churches to your activities without outside prodding?
6. Do you provide summer camps in even one of a variety of areas that might actually attract young people from other congregations?
7. Do you have anything for the additional enrichment of the adult members or do you just expect the active adults to give and give and give some more?
8. Do you support a Scout troop for either boys or girls that is so good that it draws mostly people who are not members of your congregation?
9. Does your ward do anything for the community? Like sports programs, or private schools, or music and dance instruction, or a community center, or organize any support groups or organize any other specific volunteer programs?
10. Does your ward do things that are likely to run people off and irritate them, like a constant emphasis on guilt and shame, always asking for more and not giving anything back?
11. How much is your ward into control? Does it try to dictate everything all the time? Does it treat its adults like children? Does it allow people to be less than perfect and yet help them do better and explore their own paths of spirituality?
12. Do you really care, as a community, about all the other people who are never going to join your church or are they all just going to hell so why bother? (Hiding behind a remote history of persecution is a crutch that allows you Mormons to do this).
13. Is the entire focus of your church to just get every possible person to join it so they can suck everything out of them? Is there anything of substance beyond just belonging and trapping others into the scheme to get yet additional others involved?
I had to admit that our ward was not doing very good. In fact we suck in most areas and we don't do anything in the others. We just can not compete with any of the other churches like this and we don't even try. She told me; then why would anyone want to join your church? Or even consider an honest investigation of it? No one with any sense would join with you Mormons, from what I've seen, unless God hit them up the side of the head with a board. And for some reason God is not going around with a board and smacking people into Mormonism. That is not God's style.
I went to church with her today and I can see exactly what she means. They can answer a resounding yes to almost every one of those questions she posed. I would advise all TBM Mormons to never set your foot into another church with your eyes opened even once, or you will see how ersatz and hollow we are. I can't imagine what my Bishop will have to say when I tell him of my recent thoughts and experiences. I don't know what to do now.
Reading some of the posts here recently regarding the implosion of the Morg made me remember something Charles Didier told us during mission conference.
During my mission in Brazil we had to spend every Thursday "buscando membros perdidos", or, wasting an entire day trying to find inactive members to see if they still lived at the address on their church records.
Charles Didier was the area president at the time. He told us that during any given week, church headquarters in Sao Paulo would get the same number of lost member records as they did convert baptisms... i.e. a net growth of zero. This was in 1985.
Another interesting thing happened during one of my post-mission visits to Brazil. Six or seven years after my mission I ran into a former companion of mine who now lived in the area where we served and was a Bishop. He said he'd be lucky to get 75 people to sacrament meeting in a ward that had over 900 members. Ouch.
My brother is an Stake President on the east coast, and we very rarely talk about the church as part of our agreement. However, last weekend I flew back to see his one son graduate from college and his daughter from high school.
On the way back from the airport he made this comment, “It is people like you that are making my life terrible.” I asked “what people”? He said all these people who are resigning from the church and ones that I have to hold “Courts of Love” for.
His comment was that he receives about 25 resignation letters a month. Over half are from people who have never attended in the area, the rest from inactives. They are holding on an average of one Court of Love each week.
He asked why do people resign in such great numbers? I tried to explain that is was the only way to get peace and quiet from the church. He explained that under the new directives that each person or family that submits their resignation letter must be visited by a Home Teacher or be interviewed by the bishop before they can be released.
I asked why. He stated that the church wanted to know why they are losing so many members. I asked are they going to do anything about once they find out? I love this comment. "Well that will be up to Gordon B Hinckley. Then he went on to say that since they don’t have enough Home Teachers to handle all of these, sometimes it is taking up to 4 months to get them processed.
I gave him an idea of just approving them and send them a letter. He said “I can’t. That would be against church policy". About that time we arrived at his house and the conversation ended.
He can’t understand why people are leaving in such numbers. His stake is down 25% since last year and the inactivity rate is about 40-50%. Now that is according to him. So much for the fastest growing church.
Utah itself seems to be becoming less and less Mormon. The LDS church claims that 70% of the state is LDS, but the county I live in, Davis county, shows something else. Granted, Hill AFB is nearby, but still.
According to officials at my old high school, the amount of LDS students is shrinking all over the county. My graduating class, back in 2001, was said to be about 50% LDS, counting the people who ate drank, and made merry on the weekends and cannot be classified as active Mormons. A trend that my principal reported is that all over the county the amount of Mormon students in the public schools was going down.
This can also be seen by the many, many Protestant and Catholic churches that seem to be growing in abundance, as well as the growing amount of Wiccans, Buddhists, and Muslims in the area.
Also, there are reports of people, some I know, who were devout Mormons that decided to come out of the closet and got thrown on the street by their paranoid parents.
I've been looking forward to the stats in the Stockholders Meeting er, I mean General Conference for several weeks. Looks like the church lost 5 stakes and added 23 districts and has the lowest growth percentage in over two decades! In all of 2002 the church added a whopping 59 wards/branches. How can TBM's (true believing mormons) believe that this is the fastest growing church? Not even close! The growth truly is slowing down. I predict (and I can predict as well as the CEO) that the growth rate in the US will slow to zero within 15-20 years and then the membership will begin to decline. The church has hit it's high note. TBMs believe that radio/TV came for the use of the church. They also believe that the internet also is here to help the church grow. I believe that the internet is what will kill the Great Whore of all the earth. The US membership will decline because of it. As more people become internet savvy in other countries and spread the truth, the membership in those countries will eventually decline as well.
The truth is out there - and it will set you free.
Oaks addressed a Priesthood Leadership session in the Lethbridge Sportplex and he said emphatically that the church was losing more people than it was gaining. He prefaced this remark with a comment that what he was about to say was for the ears of those assembled and not for public discourse or publication. Many people were stunned by this frank admission and later engaged in mental gymnastics trying to rationalize the failure of the members/church in this.
I attended as the EQP (Elder's Quorum President) at the time. It was the priesthood session of a multi-stake regional conference for Southern Alberta. I don't recall the exact date but will do a little research to try and determine it. It was probably about 8-9 years ago and Oaks was the visiting apostle at the time. It is significant that this was already a problem even that far back. Today at least some people are aware of this problem but you have to realize how big of a shock this was to the faithful in pre-internet days.
Of course Oaks was a newer member of the 12 then and likely a little more free with this kind of statistic. He is probably a little more cautious with that kind of info nowadays, keeping his cards closer to his vest.
Yes it did happen. I was there and heard it with my own ears.
A few years ago I went to LDS.com and put all the info from the yearly statistical reports in a spreadsheet. They can be found in the May issues of the Ensign which go back to 1973.
One of the stats that is reported is the number of "children of record" baptized each year. I believe the Church defines "children of record" as kids born to members who are on the books.
I ran a calculation where I took the number of "children of record" baptized in a given year and divided that by the number of church members 8 years previous (when most of those kids were born) to see what kind of trend I could see.
My eyes nearly popped out of my head.
In 1981 (the first year the calculation can be made because the Church has been reporting this since 1973) the number of "children of record" who were being baptized expressed as a percentage of total church head count the year they were born was 2.8% It has declined from that high for each consecutive year to an all time low in 2001 of 0.8%
That means that less than a third of the families in the Church are actually baptizing their kids, compared to 1981.
This is a clear and unmistakable trend that really shows how badly the Church is leaking members. If a family can't be bothered to baptize their kid into the One True Church, that family is indeed inactive.
I read a comment posted by Tufus dated July 2002 regarding "The Lost Sheep Program." I went on a mission to Manchester England from 1992-1994 where my mission piloted this program. We were personally trained for the program by Apostle Ballard and Elder Pinnock. They gave us boxes upon boxes of print outs with names of "Lost Sheep."
We were instructed to look for these lost sheep in our tracting and at the same time offer to share a gospel message. A few areas had only a hand full of names, but most areas had hundreds of names. The mission (only 4 or 5 stakes) was given at least 3,000 to 4,000 "Lost Sheep" names to locate.
As missionaries, we also included in our weekly numbers how many "lost sheep" had been found and/or reactivated. If a lost sheep was located and contacted, we were instructed to invite them back to church and baptize their families. If the lost sheep asked for their name to be removed from the records, we were supposed to ignore the request. This was straight from the mouths of the General Authorities that would come and train us on the new program. Incidentally, Elder Ballard preferred to call this program "The Plan of Happiness".
Quite a bit of information about the "Lost Sheep" was included on the lists. It appeared that most of the lost sheep were baptized from the 1960's to the 1980's. In the 60's, missionaries would set up baseball games and baptize many neighborhood kids - hence, they have since been dubbed the "baseball baptisms".
The mission baptized a lot of people while I was on my mission - I baptized about 80 myself. From what I know, not one of them is active in the LDS Church.
I was a member of the Preston England Stake when you were on your mission. The old members were not very happy about all the baptisms knowing that they would leave when the missionaries did. You're right most of them didn't stick around long but some did and a few moved to the States and as far as I know are still TBM (True Believing Mormons). There are still hundreds of members on the lists with only a few who attend church. One of my friends was a 'baseball baptism' (a bit before my time) and was TBM until a few years ago.
I served a mission in Peru from 97-99. I have lots of firsthand info with this
In the seventies and eighties, the church experienced huge growth in Peru. Some of the baptisms were real, some were fake. One young man I met in Moshoqueque, for example, was baptized after a soccer game. The missionaries offered him a cool bath after getting all sweaty in the game.
The church in that time was only concerned with numbers. The more people that were baptized the better. Wards and stakes and branches divided rapidly as soon as the minimum number requirements were met. Before you knew it, you had lots of wards and branches with the minimum number of members and leaders.
Financial hardships hit the members. MANY MANY (I cannot overemphasize this) bishops were excomunicated for stealing tithing funds. This really hit the leadership pool.
Another complication is that to be a bishop you must be married in the temple. In northern Peru, the closest temple is in Lima, a grueling, expensive, 12-hour bus ride away.
It has come to the point there that if you are married in the temple you are qualified to be a bishop. Many terrible bishops (men that were great at driving other people inactive for their zealous behavior) were in place because there was literally nobody else who qualified for the position.
Nowadays, there are wards and branches that have 300+ baptized members on the roles but only 6-15 active attendees every Sunday. Missionaries would often give the sacrament meeting talk, bless the sacrament, teach the sunday school lesson and priesthood meeting lessons.
The reason there are so many branches as opposed to wards is that the leadership requirements to make a ward are much stricter than those for a branch. Leadership is so sparse that in several wards and branches that I attended, excommunicated former bishops were asked by the current leadership to teach lessons, offer prayers, or give talks. There just wasn't anyone else who could do it.
I always got upset whenever the Ensign ran those "Oh, the church is so strong in South America" articles. I knew it was hiding the truth.
1) Why do so many go inactive?
There are lots of different reasons why baptized people go inactive there.
The primary reason is that their missionary is transferred. A lasting friendship really develops between the elders/sisters and the investigators. In the Chiclayo mission, we baptized more single mothers than any other demographic. I think this is because the single mothers were looking for a good, stable male figure in their life both for themselves and for their children. Missionaries are generally well-dressed, respectful, and are devoted to a good cause (god and their religion). Plus, the elders are willing to spend long amounts of time with investigators during the teaching process. And of course, the missionaries are extra-nice to investigators because they want them to get baptized (Some elders in my mission gave away brooms, trash cans, etc. to get their investigators to commit to baptism). Inevitably, the missionary will be transferred. And many many many converts stop attending church within a couple of weeks of the missionary's reassignment. The great majority of them never come back. All of the people I baptized do not attend church anymore.
Many new members are insulted or offended by the veteran members. When a new convert joins the church, they are often unaware of all the "normal" things members of the church do. The new men may attend sacrament meeting without a white shirt and tie, the women may come without a dress, etc. Many of them will do this because they simply can't afford to buy new clothes and haven't been baptized long enough to save the necessary money. Sure enough, some member of the ward will take it upon themselves to castigate the new guy for not getting with the program. The new guy will feel ashamed and never come back. Some bishops and branch presidents, in the spirit of getting their members to be more obedient to the church, were infamous for driving their wards to inactivity. (One bishop in Chiclayo was so dense he thought the "keys" of the priesthood were the actual physical keys to the chapel.)
The members never really "found out the church wasn't true." I don't know why, but the concept of a "true" church as opposed to a "false" one never really sank in for a lot of people. Maybe it's the Peruvian culture or the huge influence of the Catholic church. I think the fundamentalist black/white, God/Satan, true/false view of religion is unique to United States culture. Also, there isn't nearly as much "anti" literature in Spanish like there is in English.
Family pressures are another big factor. Some LDS converts still had their babies baptized in the Catholic church to please relatives. Family traditions and unity are huge in Peru, so it's not easy to join a new religion and suddenly have everyone talking poorly about you and your new faith.
2) Why is it hard to attend the temple?
You hit on most of the main problems. Tithing is the single most difficult issue for all members of the church in Peru. People can hardly buy bread for their children, let alone donate 10% of their income to their church. The poverty there is staggering. Imagine living in a house made of cardboard and newspaper or having to wait in line for three hours to get fresh water. They simply don't have any extra money. Like I mentioned earlier, many many bishops were excommunicated for dipping into tithing funds.
Because the members don't pay tithes, the church doesn't build more temples. The members closest to the temple in my mission had a 12 hour bus ride. Outlying provinces could tack on another 4 hours to the trip-- each way! Imagine having to ride 16 hours in a bus each way to do endowment sessions... or to get married! Many wards or stakes will have an annual "Caravan to the Temple." They rent a bus to take them to Lima and spend all day doing endowment and sealing sessions.
Also, going to the temple as a first-generation member can be even stranger than for those that were born in the covenant. Many of those that make it to the temple have no idea what the garments are before they are endowed. One member in the Las Americas ward taught his primary-aged children the signs and tokens after being endowed. I can imagine the look of surprise the missionaries had when those kids gave them the "sure sign of the nail."
The December 29, 2002 Salt Lake Tribune article, "2002 Utahn of the Year Gordon B. Hinckley,"
repeats the oft-quoted myth that the LDS Church is "the world's fastest-growing
church." Though this may have once been true, it is no longer the case among
even Christian churches.
LDS researcher David Stewart comprehensively addresses LDS Church growth in a paper located at www.cumorah.com/report.html from which I take the following statistics and quotes: "[The] . . . LDS Church ranks 23rd among the 149 participating denominations in overall U.S. growth rate . . . " and further, worldwide, "The Assemblies of God are growing at approximately 10 percent per year, or over three times the growth rate of the LDS Church, while the Seventh-day Adventists report growth two to three times LDS rates at 5.6-8 percent per year."
In fact, LDS Church growth rates have declined from 5 percent to less than 3 percent since the late 1980s. Additionally, the LDS Church does not adjust its membership tallies to reflect those who no longer identify themselves as members, or who are no longer actively participating. Were it to do so, its membership would drop by an estimated 65 percent to approximately 4 million participating members.
It is clear that the LDS Church is not the world's fastest-growing religion.
Mary Ann and I left the Church in 1993. Three out of our four children were baptized members when we did so. There was some anxiety felt by our kids when we left the Church. They feared that if they left with us, they would be ostracized by their friends, condemned, isolated and judged. In other words, they were somewhat hesitant to immediately bail from a system of life and social support that was the only network they knew.
So, Mary Ann and I decided to ease them out gradually. We allowed them to stay in the Church for a year after we left, although we did not take them to Church--and they did not go. During that time, we concentrated on building and strengthening our relationships with them, underscoring that our family was their safety net and pulling together around them.
There was, unfortunately, some negative reaction toward our children from some in their Mormon peer groups, who warned that now that we, the parents, had abandoned the faith (and assuming our children would, too), our kids would be left with no moral compass to guide them through life and would fall into all kinds of nefarious activities and lifestyles.
Nonetheless, after a year, our baptized children were ready to leave the confines of the Mormon fold. During the period of the previous year, they had discovered who their true friends were, realized that they had our love and support at home, and felt confident and happy enough in "the outside world" to make the formal transition out of a cult system of control and condemnation into a world of acceptance, personal freedom, broader humanity and self-actualization.
As their parents and legal guardians, we wrote letters for each of them, in their behalf and with their input, directing the Church to take their names off the rolls. They, with us, signed those letters.
It was a deliberate and careful process in which our first priority was to protect the psychological well-being of our children. Today, our family is doing fine (with all four kids living at home, as several of them are going to local colleges and universities, working and trying to save money for school by avoiding rent). We face all the same thrills, chills and occasional spills of raising children in the real world. But we would never go back, for all the Jello in Utah.
Mary Ann has written, I feel, very eloquently and movingly on this experience of coming out with our children from the Morg, as well as on other personal aspects of our lives that were affected--and how we coped with it all.
You can go to Ex-Mormon Updates and click on her remarks, where they are archived They are written in a way and with a sense of sensitivity and realism, I think, that might be helpful and healing for others in similar situations with their own children. They certainly have been as much for us. Peace.
This is what the Seventh Day Adventist lists as statistics on their website for year end 2001:
2000 year end 11,687,229
(6488) other adjustments
2001 year end membership 12,320,834
year end 2001 congregations 51,086
year end 2000 congregations 48,987
net increase in congregations 2,099
Here is what the Mormon Church is reporting according to their church news and 2003 church almanac
2000 year end 11,068,861
convert baptisms 292,612
children of record 69,522
2001 year end membership 11,394,518
year end 2000 wards/branches 25,921
year end 2001 wards/branches 26,084
net increase in wards/branches 163
The 36,477 is less than what the SDA is reporting for deaths. Considering that both churches are about the same size it looks like the LDS does not adjust for people who have dropped their membership. Also look at the dismal number of new wards/branches the LDS has for 2001. The year 2002 is looking even worse for the Morg. Only 18 new stakes through December 20, 2002, according to the Church News and 16 stakes dissolved through October 1, 2002 according to the 2003 Church Almanac. The LDS will be lucky to break even. What would one expect for all the time and money the average member puts into the LDS the only thing they get is a lousey temple recommend which allows them to dress up in a Pillsbury doughboy outfit and recite a rote ceremony borrowed from the Masons.
There is an excellent, comprehensive report on church membership demographics at: http://www.cumorah.com/report.html I, was pleasantly surprised by the bleak statistics.
The stake president in one of my former stakes (Walnut Creek) has decided to consolidate 3 wards into 2 wards. This stake was considered to be a vital and healthy stake with many faithful members. This move is not a popular one. The ward that is disappearing was the wealthiest ward, the "country club" ward. The SP is from this particular ward, so it took guts to dissolve the unit.
I'm sure that this is not an isolated incident. I've posted before about consolidation of wards and stakes in the midwest, but this is the first first-hand example I have seen here in California, tho I've heard of other stakes "disappearing". The mormon church is real trouble, folks.
I am not at all surprised to see so many stakes dissolved in Chile. I would guess that 80% or more of the membership down there is on paper only. The mission I served in was not as successful as those in Santiago (we had only around 100 baptisms a month, compared to their 1,000 or so), but we found it impossible to retain the few baptisms we had. While hearing of the outrageous conversion success of our colleagues in the capital city, I had no doubt that those baptisms were essentially a hoax perpetuated by desperate 20-year-olds vying for A.P. Chile is has been so incredibly saturated with the Mormon message, and the conversions there have been so half-hearted, that I'm completely convinced that the membership there can only shrink from now on.
The most interesting statistic I think is how many attend Sacrament Meeting but not Sunday School/Priesthood Meeting. I think this number is well over 50% in my ward and includes the Bishopric. Pretty cynical (sin-ical?) for the Bishopric to think that Sunday School is almost never worth attending. And don't give me that "they are too busy excuse." I am a busy person too, what I do is important and we all have the same 24 hours in each day. How we spend it is mostly a matter of our priorities.
These are people who are committed enough to pay the price in time and effort to show up to church but who then find what is offered there on a week by week basis so bad that they either sit in the foyer and gossip or leave early. Some exceptions due to work schedules, family gatherings, etc., are expected. But 50%?
Another related statistic is how many show up late for Sacrament Meeting and how many leave early? How many pinch a small child to make it squawk so they can take it out? How many, who do attend these other meetings, prolongue their conversation in the foyer or wander around on the lawn and make every passive effort to minimize exposure time to "instruction?"
September 11, 2002
There are three kinds of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics.
Then, in a class all by itself, is the line of total bullshit the Morg feeds us. I've compiled LDS membership data made available to the public every year at general conference (source: www.lds.org), and it's clear that the numbers are being fudged.
Whether it's incompetence on the part of ward/stake clerks or a deliberate wagging of the dog by the big boys in SLC, who knows. I suspect it's some of both. In defense of the ward and stake clerks, though, my guess is that most of them are trying to do the best job they can, but all they're given when they receive their assignments is a manual written by old men in Salt Lake and getting told to pray.
Not only do the numbers not add up, but the categories the Church reports on has changed over the years, too. I think what they're doing now is counting children, regardless of age, as members, and then re-counting them again when they're baptized at 8 years old. I’m not 100% sure this is what they’re doing, but that’s the best guess I can come up with given the available data and trends.
The "increase in children of record" has been reported every year since 1997, after not having been reported since 1989. Also, the amount of baptisms of eight-year-olds was reported every year until (and I know this will surprise you) 1997. Before and including 1989, both statistics were reported. This is clearly an instance of the statisticians wagging the dog. IMO, the stats being reported keep changing simply because the Church is trying to hide its declining numbers. Less children are being baptized, less children are being born, and the number of converts annually has hovered around 300,000 (give or take approximately 10%) since about 1989, yet in that same time span total LDS Church membership has grown from about 7.3 million 11.4 million, if you accept what the Church reports at face value. :)
So, the percentage of total membership at the end of the year who were new converts during that year has declined rapidly. All else being equal, as the Church grows and its missionary force increases in size, shouldn't the amount of annual converts grow, too?
Ah, but all else is NOT equal. In 1989, there were 318,940 converts and 39,739 full-time missionaries on December 31. In 2000, there were 273,973 converts and 60,784 full-time missionaries on December 31. So clearly missionary “effectiveness” is going down – but why? Keep in mind that about half of new converts (at least in areas of the church where I grew up) go inactive within the first year.
Interestingly enough, one year later on December 31, 2001, there were only 60,850 full-time missionaries in the field. With Church membership allegedly growing so much, shouldn't there be more prospective missionaries? Ah, but Mr. Hinckley has found a way to get around this - they've decided to "make it tougher" for people to qualify for mission worthiness. Theoretically that might mean less, but more effective missionaries, but clearly the numbers say otherwise.
Why should the Church have to lie about its numbers? I think we all know the answer to that one... I wonder how much their spin doctors are getting paid.
Note that in 1999, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1981, 1979, and 1975 there was a negative member loss. (Theoretically, membership increase during the year is equal to convert baptisms plus baptisms of children, minus "member loss" which is comprised of deaths, excommunications, and voluntary name removal.)
This means that during those years there were fewer new members (converts plus children) than there was total membership increase. Clearly this defies all logic, since there should always be a positive member loss because there will always be some people throughout the course of the year who die, are excommunicated, or choose to have their names removed. Where did these “extra members” come from?
Also, the Loss per 1000 should remain relatively stable, since it represents the fraction of total membership that is lost each year due to death, excommunication, and name removal. Death rates do not fluctuate significantly from year to year. The only sources, then, for fluctuation of "Loss per 1000" would be due to changes in the amount of members who are excommunicated or have their names voluntarily removed annually. This begs the question of why these rates would fluctuate so wildly - so wildly that, again, logic is defied.
Publishing the amount of annual excommunications and name removals would certainly help to clarify this ambiguity. The Church did publish death rates from 1973 to 1983, so the rate of excommunication and name removal can be easily calculated by comparing the death rate and the member loss rate, since the member loss would equal deaths + excommunications and voluntary name removals. We can clearly see that this calculated statistic varies so widely that it is highly unlikely it would be accurate – but its calculation is based on “accurate” data provided by the Church! There is also no way of knowing whether this is accurate, though, since the LDS Church refuses to provide this data. The death rates from 1984 onward were not published, but there is no reason to believe that the Church’s death rate would vary significantly from that of the U.S. and global death rates.
Another interesting thing to note is the precision of data provided. From 1977 to 1991, membership was rounded to the nearest 1,000 or 10,000, while during the same time period children baptisms were rounded to the nearest 1,000. Convert baptisms were rounded to the nearest 1,000 from 1978 to 1982. In every other year in all categories, the reported statistics were not rounded. This clearly shows that the Church had the ability to do a more accurate numbering of its people, but instead chose to use the less accurate method of fewer significant digits.
Furthermore, while the annual increase in membership hovered around 300,000 (give or take ten percent) from 1989 to 2001, the rate of increase in new units has dropped off. In mathematical terms, this shows that the number of members per unit (wards, branches, and stakes) is increasing. The Church would only increase the number of members per unit for a specific reason, most likely to keep its units functioning due to increased inactivity of its members. The church creates or collapses units to keep its active membership in those units at a relatively stable level.
Also note the change in categories reported and when those changes took place. It seems that a change in which categories get reported is made when there has been a steady decrease over time in a particular category. Since 1997, only the “increase in children of record” has been reported; from 1992 to 1996, only eight-year old baptisms were reported, and in years prior to and including 1991, both eight-year-old baptisms and increase in children of record were reported categories. Moreover, the Church does not specifically define who counts as a member and who doesn’t. It is unclear whether children, regardless of age (over or under 8) or actual baptismal status, are being counted or not. Additionally, over time, the Church has significantly decreased the statistics it reports on. In the early seventies, the statistical report was quite lengthy. In the past few years, however, the statistical report was very much condensed.
What do the numbers say? What is really going on? What are they hiding?
October 17, 2002 It is also very interesting to note how in some years, certain categories are very specific in their numbers, but others do not have many significant digits. Clearly, there has always been the capability to have an accurate count, so why haven’t they? However, the LDS Church continually redefines its own standards, so that makes it even harder for anyone else to know whom they’re counting in what categories.
For instance, there was a time when it appears as though only people who were actually baptized were being included in membership numbers. Now, however, it looks as though any children of members (whether they’re new, TBM, or haven’t gone in 10 years) are being counted as members, regardless of their age or baptismal and/or blessing status. It’s sickening to think, for instance that my 20-month-old niece is probably counted as a member, even though she’s rarely, if ever, even been in a church, nor have either of her parents in several years.
I need to look up the average death rates in Census and other records and compare that with member loss. That would be an interesting way to attempt to infer the number of excommunications and name removals there are annually.
If anyone would like to see that actual numbers, please email me at email@example.com and I would be more than happy to pass them along to you. The great apostasy is picking up speed – isn’t it great? ?
I contacted the Single Adults leader in this area (CA)when I moved and was told that there were 800 single older adults here in this county. At the many firesides I attended, more often than not, roughly 20 people would show up, possibly 4 of them men. - 09/06/2002 - anon
As a missionary in Brazil, I was the district leader in a growing branch with 2 Elders and 2 Sister missionaries. The sisters were teaching a guy who had gone to church once and had accepted baptism and I was in charge of the baptismal interview. The branch president and zone leader were really pushing for this guy to get baptized. I found him unworthy (still smoking) and wanted him to go to church at least twice before baptism and found his testimony weak (he couldn't even read so he had no testimony of the BOM). Finally, I said no. I told the ZL that this guy would go inactive for sure. The ZL approved him for baptism because we needed male baptisms. Sure enough, he was baptized (the ZL did the interview) and he never went to church again and was never confirmed. I wish I had been wrong. I remain a True Believing Mormon but this story still makes me sad. - 08/11/2002 - anon
I'm a stake clerk in a city where eight years ago we had divided two stakes into three stakes in preparation for "prophesied growth". That growth didn't occur. In fact, we continued to lose members due to "ethnic change" in our area (blacks and Hispanics displacing whites). We recently (a year ago) reversed that action and redivided three stakes back into two stakes. Several wards were in trouble having little or no leadership so they had to be combined as well. It appears this may be stabilized the situation for the time being.
No one has mentioned the "Lost Sheep" program instituted by the church a couple of years ago. Thousands of membership tracking sheets were distributed through the stakes to the wards. Our stake processed about 400. These sheets came from the church membership department and each represented a "lost sheep", someone for whom there was a membership record but no current address. Our stake was the last known address for these people. We were asked to inquire of neighbors, older members of the ward, relatives, or anyone else to get a lead on where these people might be. It was a pretty much a futile effort as the trail was so cold. We found scant information on 2 or 3 in the stake. If this program was worldwide, there must be close to a million "lost sheep". And these represent just those that have been turned in by ward clerks tired of having them on the ward records.
What was called the "Activity and Inactivity" study done for the Church, with
Stan Albrecht as the lead investigator ("Consequential Dimension"), found some
very interesting things, and happily most of these findings have been published
in sociology journals. Data from this study are among the strongest we have,
from a scientific point of view.
Strikingly, of every 100 people born in the Church, only 22% remain active throughout their lives. That means 78% are inactive for a year or more at some time. Most, 44%, return to activity, while 34% remain inactive. When President Hinckley emphasizes activation and retention, he obviously understands how vital it is that we keep our members active and strong.
Those who become inactive usually do so during the teenage and young adult years. Those who return usually do so during young adulthood.
Lifestyle issues, which usually involves some degree of disobedience to commandments, are major reasons why people drop into inactivity, but members give many different reasons for their inactivity. Lack of social integration into the ward is also a major cause of inactivity.
If young Latter-day Saints grow up in a religious home in which many gospel principles are practiced, 44% will remain active their whole lives. I find that figure amazingly low and quite discouraging-if the parents are doing everything they can, there is still over a 50% chance their children will become inactive for a year or more. On the other hand, of the young Latter-day Saints who grow up in an inactive home, 13% of them will remain active. That figure is much higher than I would have guessed. There are some people who do marvelously well even with poor parental examples.
Another major finding of the activity/inactivity study was the relationship between education and religiosity (Albrecht & Heaton). In their report of this study, Stan Albrecht and Tim Heaton first showed that for the American people as a whole, people with a grade school or high school education are more likely to be religious than those with a college education. For LDS people, the opposite is true. For men, the more education they receive, the more likely they are to attend church and to be religious in other ways. The same is generally true for women, except that women with a graduate school education are slightly less likely to attend church than those with a college education. On other dimensions of religiosity, the trend is not as apparent. I can only show a little of this research. On the dimension of gospel study, men with higher education are likely to study more. For LDS women, those with the least education spend the most time in gospel study, a truly non-intuitive finding.
The authors say [quote] "having a calling is a key link between education and attendance," [end quote] and that the lay character of priesthood organization leads to the greater activity of well-educated men. The serious concern, here, is that the Church does not do as well in providing success experiences and encouraging the activity of men with a lesser degree of education.
I am currently waiting for my official exit letter from the church...however I have resided in Waco, Tx for the past 13 years, and at this time, there are only 2 wards, the same 2 wards have existed for 25 years...absolutely no growth, emotionally, spiritually, or physically as for as LDS...other non Mormon churches are growing in abundance..To be frank, I think it is because the wards are very cliquish. There are "in groups" and the "out groups"...so sad...But i do remember 6 years ago the than RS president circled the number 16 on the black board, and told us this is the number of women in the ward who requested their names be removed from the rolls of the church... In this area a bishop has served 3 times, and another 4.
It seems obvious to me that the church is in big trouble & it is getting worse.
When they cut out janitorial employees for ward/stake houses and temples, you know they are sending a loud message.
I heard that ward and stake budgets were cut back every year for several years now. (Anyone know for sure?)
I have heard that bonuses were not handed out to church employees last year. Raises were not given out. (Anyone know for sure about this also?)
They have had to hire at least two more people to process the resignation letters.
Tithing is down, which has a huge trickle down effect. Investments are not making it. (Mine either!) You can tell when they are having problems as the leaders will start talking about the importance of tithing in every meeting!!!
The members are having smaller families, fewer are remaining active members, fewer of the missionary age ones are going on missions, the seniors cannot make up the slack, even though people are living longer now. Even when they do go on missions, very few convert baptisms result and when they do, they drop out within a year.
The only core left for Mormonism is the generational Mormons and they will eventually die out. My guess is that the next generation will produce only about 10% TBM's.
The church statistics show that the church membership has been stagnant for about 10 years.
They have been building temples at an fast rate, now unable to keep them in use. I heard that the temple president and wife from LA area were making the rounds a couple of years ago, crying in Sacrament mtg. about how the temple is not being used.
I know from personal experience they are making calls to retired people (any temple recommend holder will do) over 100 miles away to be temple workers. They do not care if the wife is a member or not, they just need bodies and desperately.
I noticed that the schedule has been getting shortened each years. Number of LA Temple sessions are down about 10% or more.
I heard that they are so desperate for people to go to the temple they will accept any partial tithing and give out the temple recommend. Have a problem with WofW, well, brother, work on it, go to the temple anyhow.
I went through a stake directory recently and could find no new members in five years or more. Also looked like the same 35% to 50% are still not attending. They combined two of the wards (several years ago) because there was not enough temple recommend holding male leadership or enough youth to sustain a ward.
And So It Goes!
I was the Elders Quorum secretary less than 3 months ago.
The list of Elders was over 100 names and we had between 5-10 show up every Sunday.
This was not counting the full time missionaries. Half the time, we didn't even see the counselors to the president and the teachers were never
prepared for their lessons. It was always a sad sight to see so many people not
show up to church, and the ones who did show up, bail out after
sacrament. - 05/31/2002 - from Ganesh
From the April 1980 Ensign under Statistical Profile, I found some interesting projections. (old Ensigns are at www.lds.org).
In 1980, they were projecting numbers out to 1990 and 2000.
Projection - 190 in 1980 to 460 in 2000
Reality - only 333 missions at 12-31-01. And the number of missionaries actually declining. Foreign missionaries signing up is lower than desired (hence the new perpetual education fund - available primarily to foreign RMs). USA missionaries on the decline (perhaps due to lower birth rate - LDS women not the prolific rabbits of past generations)
Projection - 1,190 in 1980 to 3,600 in 2000
Reality - only 2,607 stakes at 12-31-01. And they only added 102 over the past 4 years. At that rate they'll be lucky to reach 3,600 by the year 2040. And true solid growth of committed members is probably slowing even further!!
According to the statistics I dug up, TCOJCOLDS is projected to be 40 YEARS BEHIND SCHEDULE in forming the 3,600th stake!!!
In 1980, they thought it would take 20 years to reach 3,600 stakes. In reality it looks like it will take over 50 years!! And if the decline to the rotting foundation of LDS Inc sets in quicker than expected, they may never see 3,600 stakes this century!!!!! Or ever in history!!!!!!
Projection - 9,550 in 1980 to 29,000 in 2000
Reality - 26,084 Wards/Branches at 12-31-01. They fell short. But keep a few things in mind. Much of the church growth over the past 20 years has been in poor, uneducated third world type countries. Inactivity rates are very high. Of necessity they form smaller wards. And some "branches" probably consist of 10 active members with 100 or more inactive. Even in the USA, wards typically consist of fewer active members today than 20 years ago.
Projection - 4.6 million in 1980 to 11.1 million in 2000
Reality - 11.3 million at 12-31-01. They are close to schedule here. But it's bogus as hell. Inactivity rates are skyrocketing in many places around the world. Of the 5 million in the USA, maybe only 3 million active. Of the 6 million out of the USA, maybe only 1 or 1.5 million active with many on the verge of dropping out at any given time. This is a tiny portion of the world's 6 billion and not growing fast at all. (less than 1 active Mormon per 1,000 human beings)
Melchizedek PH holders
565,000 in 1980
????? They won't tell us in 2000 !!!!!!
This statistic became secret !!!!!!!
Who knows - maybe there's about the same as 20 years ago. The vast majority of foreign male converts drop out long before getting the higher of Joe Smith's imaginary priesthoods.
In 1980, they projected church membership in 2000 at 11.1 million and wards/branches at 29,000, considering the logical number of members per unit. Note that this number was 383. If activity rates decline, then the ideal head count per unit must rise. This is exactly what happened. In 12/01 there were 433 members per unit, an increase of 13%. We can conclude that inactivity rates have increased by about 13%. This is probably an underestimate, though, because LDS growth has been concentrated recently in places where the church is new, meaning that there's a large number of new branches. This would suggest a lower number of members per unit. But we actually see the opposite.
The ONLY way to account for lagging stake creation and yet have achieved the membership total is that a good chunk of the membership is inactive and/or the church cannot account for its membership (dead, no address, etc.) and/or I think we are all seeing this ... the Church is NOT subtracting the number of those who request name removal. More than likely it is a combination of all three. You can't create a stake if nobody shows up on Sundays to lead and/or attend the meetings!!!
Cuxhaven is a fishing town on the North Sea in north-western Germany. Population in the mid 1960's was probably ~ 50,000.
The local branch had about 100 members with maybe 15 active. There was one Elder, the branch pres., and one aaronic priesthood holder, the branch pres' son.
In ensuing years the branch pres died, his son was made an elder and then branch pres. Shortly thereafter the new branch pres had an extramarital affair and leaves the church. A few months ago the remaining missionaries were pulled out and the branch meeting house closed.
I don't know the present membership total but with no priesthood leaders, no meeting house, and no missionaries, and with most of the members I knew now dead, it appears that Cuxhaven is headed for the dust bin of Mormon history.
There have been missionaries in Cuxhaven for most of the past 100+ years. I busted my buns there for eleven grueling months, and now there's nothing to show for it. In a way I'm glad!
I'm a convert. I was active for 20 odd years. Very active (my sins notwithstanding). Now I am for all intents and purposes inactive. Served a mission as a single member convert...and had my eyes opened. A lot of the baptisms were young girls between the ages of 15-25. I personally never heard of a an elder getting in trouble with one of his baptisms. And in all the while I was serving only one elder ever got sent home. Many baptisms went inactive almost immediately. Mine included I regret to say. Yet the emphasis continued to, as I put it in a letter to my MP, 'baptize, baptize, baptize!' Nothing wrong with baptizing mind you...so long as they stuck with it. Honestly I could tell right away if someone was going to stick or not.
The result of this over baptizing was a) for the immediate moment it looks good on the records; but b) you create a tremendous backlog of inactive members. We had a 'concern' program and in each district one of the elders served as a 'concern coordinator.' (Ordinarily we had apts. of four to six elders. The most 'worthy' was the DL. Whatever was left was the CC. This established a hierarchy amongst the elders and one knew his place and future in the mission immediately simply by whether or not his first companion was a DL or a CC. Mine was a CC.)
Every companionship had a list of about 4-5 'concern' members which we were to visit each week. Our MP thought this would be a boon to baptism since, because these were new members and filled with the Spirit, they would be referring their friends and neighbors. Sorry, Prez. There were two chances of that happening--slim and none.
What's my point? We were baptizing on evidence of testimony NOT on fruit meet for repentance. Having the DL sign off on your baptisms is something akin to the fox guarding the hen house. The local leadership should sign off on baptisms as they are the ones who have to deal with these inactives after they join the church. Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen though.
But there is a slightly more insidious side to the high number of inactives. (Insidious might be too strong a word. I'll search for another.) With massive inactives amongst the baptisms that leaves the dyed-in-the-wool BIC born-and-raised-in-the-church as still, to this day, the main source of the strength of the Church. It's working...for now.
You can not judge the growth or lack of growth of the Mormon church by the number of new stakes created each year. The good old boys in Salt Lake could artificially combine every two stakes into one and cut the number of Stakes in half tomorrow. They might have some stakes with over twenty wards and others with under five wards. Alternatively they could cut the size of a ward down and decrease the number of wards required to form a stake and double the number of stakes in one day. How big stakes and wards are is partially a local decision about whether they want people to serve in more stake callings (many small stakes), or to serve in more ward callings or to have fewer callings.
By the way, for the skeptic who thinks the numbers on the table below are made up, you can verify them on the church's official website at www.lds.org/ and click on gospel library then church magazine. Then type in the search box "statistical report." (spelling statistical is the hard part.) It gives you the membership data for each year, published in the May Ensign conference report, in a rather odd order and you might have to search for specific years, like "statistical report 1986" to get all the data for the last 30 years. You will see that at times the total number of stakes jumps up and at other times they grow slowly as they are doing now.
All those formula with p values tell you is whether data is variable due to randomness or whether you can be confident that the changes are real. And you'd have to be mighty thick between the ears not to know that a drop from 142 to 39 is more than just a statistical accident. The statistical tests do not imply how or why the changes in the numbers might occur. Hell, some of them stakes might be translated up into heaven with the city of Enoch for all we know.
If you look carefully and compare year to year figures beyond the first entry (number of stakes) you will find some very interesting things about the membership data. Like sometimes the total jump in church membership for one year is almost a couple hundred thousand greater than the sum of the number of baptisms of children of record added to the sum of new converts and that doesn't include subtracting out number of deaths and excommunications. One is forced to conclude that large numbers of RESURRECTIONS must be quietly adding to the total membership of the church!
My take on it is that all of the yearly published membership data is grossly (at least 20%) inaccurate, possibly contrived and can not be trusted because it doesn't add up. I suspect widespread incompetent ward clerks and bean counters at headquarters are more responsible than any massive conspiracy from the higher levels.
Bottom line is we really don't know that much about church membership and growth. If we can't trust the simple numbers given to us at conference to be accurate, then how can we be expected to believe the more complex ethical, theological and spiritual messages?
I know a little bit about the Iowa City Iowa Stake creation. That was simply an artificial move of creating a bunch of little branches in small towns so that Davenport and Cedar Rapids looked like they were ready for a new stake. It is actually a joke. If this is how they are going about building stakes they are going to weaken the church even more because stakes soak up so many people for leadership. - 09/30/2001 - Tired, from the recovery bulletin board
Rather than use a Urim and Thummum to translate this statistical formula, you may just click here to see the graph image: New Stake 1995 to 2001
data: year and stakes
t = -7.1134, df = 5, p-value = 0.0008513
alternative hypothesis: true correlation is not equal to 0
As you can see, the data show very good predictive value corr= -0.95. A 1 or -1 would be perfect correlation, a 0 would be no correlation. The p value is also highly signficant. In other words, you can have a very high degree of confidence that these results are not a fluke.
|New Stakes Created||Year|
|26 (estimate for 2001)||2001|
I'm not an expert on stats, I just play with it.
Praising the entrepreneurial spirit of two ex-Mormons and their web site the brethren are publicly pleading for the masses to download their own temple recommends and the "Come On Down!" to the holy temples.
The brethren however are warning the public to learn from the brethren's own mistakes and to do no proxy work for Jewish people. The Mormon Church has narrowly avoided two major lawsuits brought on by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League over the Mormon's practice of baptizing Holocaust victims for the dead.
There are currently two locations on the internet where you can print off a temple recommend. We look forward to seeing you in the temple.
Mormonism For Dummies
Richard Packham's Web Site
09/20/2000 - anon from Southern California
As a matter of fact the "great divide" 3 wards from 2 is falling apart. Many people are moving out of 2nd and 5th ward to my ward 4th ward the biggest of the three. 1st ward is losing a lot of people. Time will tell to see what happens.
No new buildings, no stakes dividing, no growth here. It is easier to convert and attempt to keep them than re-activate inactives. It is real interesting to watch.
I believe (as opposed to knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt) that the morg is hanging all hopes of survival, growth and of "being special and unique in the world" on its "Magic Wand", "Ace up the sleeve", "trump card" - the temple. They are desperately trying to retain converts and get them to the temple so that the converts will "stick with the program." The morg is building McTemples in hope of hooking in more adherents.
I believe that this effort will fail in the long run. Here is some evidence which was forwarded to me by a "closet exmo" currently serving in priesthood leadership in California. More about the inside tactics the morg leadership uses to prod and poke the faithful into action will follow in later posts.
Elder John B. Dickson, First Counselor in Area Presidency (notes taken from his speech)
To see the face of God, we must have these ordinances. Temple attendance as the Los Angeles temple has dropped nearly 50% since 1989. Even if you factor in the San Diego temple, attendance is still dropping. Just since 1993, we've gone from 194,111 to 164,457 deceased endowments.
What would be a reasonable goal for 1998? (The group agreed upon 200,000.) This breaks down to 50,000 deceased endowments each quarter. We have 75 stakes in our temple district. If each recommend holder did just one more endowment more than last year, we would be there easily.
How are we going to get there?
1. Bishops inform stake presidency about those who have
let their recommends lapse, stake presidency should
2. Get a good ward temple committee together and get them involved in temple trips.
3. Call more ordinance workers in each stake - they become cheer leaders for temple work. The wards with the highest number of temple workers have the highest temple statistics, in general.
4. We must get converts and less active members to the temple for baptisms. If a new convert can do temple baptisms within a couple months after baptism, retention goes from 40% to 80%.
5. Take a friend or two each time you go to the temple.
6. Do multiple sessions when you go to the temple.
7. Family history center temple trips with family names.
8. Do an endowment each time you go to the temple for a sealing.
9. Stake and ward temple excursions.
10. Increase home teaching - this is essential! If home teaching increases, temple attendance will increase.
11. Stake Presidency Personal Priesthood Interview with bishops need to happen each month until temple attendance and home teaching improve. Home teaching needs to be in the 80% range.
President Glen Walker, Temple President
Too many people only come to the temple once. We have done temple work for only 0.02% of those who have lived on the earth. If we don't get our people to the temple then we are no better than any other denomination.
Within 6 months after the church stopped tracking temple attendance by stake, temple attendance dropped 12%. In the next few months, the number of sealings and own endowments dropped 18%. Temple baptism nights for new converts have been expanded and will be further expanded, if necessary. Stake Presidencies should give members a goal card for temple attendance at temple recommend interviews.
My reactions to this temple training meeting.
If the temple is so wonderful, why does it take cattle prodding, coercion and manipulation to get people to go the first time and keep on going? When will lay priesthood leaders get completely fed up with full time General Authority church employee types telling them that are failing miserably in their callings even though the lay leaders are working full time, supporting their families and spending 20 plus hours a week in church work. When will members consider it a violation of confidentiality and privacy invasion for their bishop to "fink" on them to the stake president when they let their temple recommend lapse. If going to heaven or the Celestial Kingdom is based upon free agency and choice why all the heavy handed tactics to get people there?
I say cut all the hoopla and just have Hinckley do the proxy work for just one man and one woman representing all of human kind and call this "insane work" done. Let people spend their time doing something real like serving in their local communities.
My source for this temple attendance data says that he currently has seen no perceptible change in temple attendance figures, in spite of this supposed push by the brethren. I hope to verify this some how by other sources because accuracy is important here.
Answer: None that I am aware of. Just rushing through new members to the temple after one year. The push is to push them through. One set of missionaries was assigned to go and search out the YSA inactives in the mission. At least here in (a southern California city).
-7/15/2000 - Simon
Just before I left the church, they introduced a new item into convert baptismal services. When the Bishop welcomed the convert into the church the last thing he was to do before sitting down was to mention the temple and testify of its blessings. Immediately after the closing prayer, a mature couple in the ward assigned to family history and temple work, was to greet the convert and arrange a time when they could come into their home and teach them about the temple. Their sole aim was to commit the convert to go to a MacTemple in a years time.
Even as a Bishop I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable about the behind the scenes planning and scheming that goes on. The most irritating thing was the fact that the church had produced carefully worded dialogue to help commit the convert to feel a need to learn about the temple and to go there ASAP.
06/06/2000 - anon
Every three months your Bishop and Stake President submit a report to 47 East South Temple that includes the following:
1. Total members
2. Average sacrament meeting attendance
3. Total families
4. Families visited by home teachers
5. Total Melchizedek Priesthood holders
6. Melchizedek Priesthood holders not attending any priesthood meeting
7. Total prospective elders
8. Prospective elders not attending any priesthood meeting
9. Total women
10. Women not attending any Relief Society meeting
11. Women contacted by visiting teachers
12. Total adults in their first year of membership
13. Adults n their first year of membership not attending any priesthood or Relief Society meeting
14. Men in their first year of membership who have not yet received the priesthood
15. Total endowed adults
16. Endowed adults without a temple recommend
17. Total young men
18. Young men not attending any priesthood meeting
19. Total young women
20. Young women not attending any Young Women Sunday meeting
21. Total children ages 3 through 11 years
22. Children on line 21 not attending any Primary meeting
23. Total children ages 0 months through 2 years.
Quarterly report submitted to Lucifer, Cain and Ed Decker by the angels in heaven "silent notes taking"
1. Total members sneaking out after sacrament meeting instead of attending whole meeting block
2. Total parents getting their kids to bear a testimony thus avoiding the ordeal themselves
3. Total lies to Bishop during personal interviews
4. Total members who lie about their temple attendance
5. Total members who just pretend to believe
6. Total members who admit to dis-belief
7. Total members who we have totally fooled into believing
8. Total endowed members making love at least monthly without their garments on
9. Total endowed members making love a least monthly with someone other than their legal and lawfully wedded spouse either with or without garments on
10. Total subscriptions to Church magazines
11. Total magazines recycled or donated to Deseret Industries without being read
12. Total members demanding that the bishop pay their rent and buy their groceries
13. Total members on Prozac
14. Total members on Zoloft
15. Total members on Welbutrin
16. Total members on Lithium
17. Total members on Viagra
18. Total members who do not close their eyes during the church prayers
19. Total adult youth leaders molesting those under the age of 18
20. Total Relief Society leaders pretending to let the male members govern the ward
21. Total Gospel Doctrine teachers smiling while deviating from the lesson manual and doing their own thing
22. Total male members spending 20 hours or more a week doing church work in order to avoid their wives and children
23. Total number of couples whose most significant time together is sitting next to each other in Ward Correlation
04/09/2000 - Vangelis
I have traveled widely in the country where I reside, Australia, and have often had callings that allow me access to membership information. Believe me when I say that all is definitely not well in Zion! membership in many areas is stagnant, retention and attendance is atrocious. Many converts are never seen again after a few weeks and attendance in many sacrament meetings hovers around 30-40%
03/08/2000 - anonymous ward clerk East coast USA
My ward in the eastern US has over 1000 names on the roster. We have several move in each week and we seldom see them at church. We assume that many on our list have moved out but we lack the personnel to chase them all down.
Sacrament Meeting attendance runs around 200, and total Sunday School attendance is 80 to 90 each week. That means about half the congregation leaves after one meeting.
The Elders Quorum is lucky to break 20 and a couple years back when we had a real hard-core Elders Quorum President that laid the law down on Home teaching, the attendance dropped to under 10 on many weeks. There are not more than 10 men in the Elder's quorum who are serious enough about home teaching to actually go out and do it regularly.
It has been more than a decade since the Quorum has made more than 50 Home teaching visits each month although the Quorum Presidency may visit perhaps another dozen each week. The High Priests do only a little better. The ward has at least 30 baptisms each year and some years back peaked at 90 baptisms a year.
Retention at one year is under 10%. Temple attendance is hard to gauge but on ward temple night we might get 20 to 30 out. General conference is listened to in the chapel at about the same time as church and so Sunday session attendance is similar to sacrament meeting attendance because most people generally forget that it is conference and show up anyway.
I've never been to a Sat conference session but I suspect attendance is well under 100 and probably under 50. Our ward does not have a magazine rep and does nothing to promote the Ensign. Judging from some remarks that are made in meetings, I doubt that anyone reads the Ensign much at all. We have problems keeping the various positions staffed and go through primary presidents, Elder's quorum presidents, YM/YW presidents, Sunday School presidents, etc. at the rate of 3 or 4 a year. "Lesser" callings such as teachers are generally only half-staffed and the presidencies often fill in or combine classes etc.
I was told by the financial clerk that the annual tithing paid is almost 2 million dollars from our struggling ward and our ward budget is about 11 thousand dollars. I am told that our ward is the strongest of the five in our Stake and about 40% of the stake officers are drawn from it along with a few other key people to serve in other wards. In spite of all of this a core group of devoted members, probably 20-30 families max are managing to raise up the next generation and every once in awhile we are blessed with a really good convert. So the church is growing and increasing in strength, admittedly not as fast as those PR boys in SLC claim. That's the grim truth. I am the ward clerk.
01/19/2000 - Lisa
When I was Relief Society secretary about 2 years ago, the number of sisters in my ward was around 175. Total Relief Society attendance hovered around 30. Attendance to Sacrament for that ward was kept a very close eye on, because we were hoping to get a building upgrade. At the time I moved out of the ward, we were trying to break total attendance of 200 for three months in a row. That was out of a ward membership of 453, I believe. The interesting thing is that for Sacrament especially, every week we had many members from other wards attending. We lived in a very popular tourist area. So in any given week our own ward members in attendance ran about 150.
More recently (approx. 6 months ago) , in another ward I was in, Relief Society attendance was approximately 20-25 women -- again out of about 170 female members. Hope this helps!
Growth of the Church - (as appeared on lds.org March 27, 2007)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized in a small log cabin in upstate New York in 1830.
It took 117 years — until 1947 — for the Church to grow from the initial six members to one million. Missionaries were a feature of the Church from its earliest days, fanning out to Native American lands, to Canada and, in 1837, beyond the North American continent to England. Not long after, missionaries were working on the European continent and as far away as India and the Pacific Islands.
The two-million-member mark was reached just 16 years later, in 1963, and the three-million mark in eight years more. This accelerating growth pattern has continued with about a million new members now being added every three years or less. Growth consists both of convert baptisms and natural growth through the birth of children.
Church membership today is approaching 13 million.
The consequences of this rapid and sustained growth are seen in many places in the world where the Church operates. Congregations that are grouped into geographical areas known as wards are periodically divided as they become too large to administer, or to worship in a chapel or meetinghouse all at once. New buildings are being completed virtually every day of the year in order to house growing membership.
According to the National Council of Churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the second-fastest-growing church in the United States. However, despite its increasing numbers, the Church cautions against overemphasis on growth statistics. The Church makes no statistical comparisons with other churches and makes no claim to be the fastest-growing Christian denomination despite frequent news media comments to that effect. Such comparisons rarely take account of a multiplicity of complex factors, including activity rates and death rates, the methodology used in registering or counting members and what factors constitute membership. Growth rates also vary significantly across the world. Additionally, many other factors contribute to the strength of the Church, most especially the devotion and commitment of its members.
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