Beliefs Culture Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Worldwide, only 25 percent of young single Mormons are active in the LDS Church

alan-wilkins-ysa-briefing

On Sunday morning, the YouTube channel “Mormon Leaks” posted more than a dozen videos taken behind closed doors between 2007 and 2012, showing the LDS Church’s top leadership in discussion on issues ranging from cybersecurity to homosexuality to the 2008 economic crisis.

Other people have already covered this story thoroughly and well (see here and here to understand elements of the videos; and here for the Church’s response). I’m not going to comment on the videos as a whole, except to say that while I am generally an “information wants to be free” kind of person, I oppose the underhanded nature of these videos’ release. It is unfair to have videos of our private conversations released to the world for public consumption without our permission. That’s true for anyone, not just church leaders. That’s just basic.

However, those videos are now out there in the world, and if there’s a silver lining to that it’s that at least one of them reveals helpful information about the Church’s challenges today.

The November 12, 2008 briefing titled, “In Which They Fret over the Young Single Adults,” intersects directly with the issues I’m addressing in my research on Mormon Millennials, so naturally I was keenly interested. Note that this information is now seven years out of date, and if we have learned anything from previous surveys about Mormon retention, it’s that things have only gotten worse over the last decade, so understand that these figures may in fact present a too-rosy picture of the present situation, at least in the United States.

The information presented at this meeting was straightforward and well-researched. I encourage you to watch the whole briefing if you are interested in the question of the next generation of Latter-day Saints and whether/why they are leaving the Church, but here are some key facts as presented to the Brethren by Alan Wilkins, a BYU professor and former mission president:

ysa-activity-rates

  • The current activity rate for Young Single Adults is 30% in North America and 20% internationally, with an overall worldwide activity rate of about 25%.
  • Of those who are inactive, many are people the local bishops have never heard of and have no way of contacting.
  • The Church’s internal research shows that most young members who leave do so before age 20.
  • Mormons are a little older now when they get married; according to Wilkins, “the average age for members of the church who marry outside of the temple is 27 for men and 25 for women. When they marry in the temple, it’s 24 for men and 23 for women. Those are numbers, averages, that have been increasing over the last couple of decades, and so they cause significant concern. The principle concern is that delaying marriage in an era of high immorality—more, increasing access to pornography—constitutes significant, very high risk for our YSAs. What we’ve noticed is that church activity begins to decline in the teenage years and continues to decline into the twenties.”
  • Church activity for singles is much lower than for married people of the same age, who are twice as likely to remain active. Drawing upon social science research by Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University, Wilkins concludes that across religions, “young single adults don’t feel as welcome. They don’t feel as needed. They’re not given positions and opportunities to serve as much, and they don’t feel that their interests and needs are being addressed.”
  • Only 6% of international members have married in the temple by age 30, “and that’s been declining over the last couple of decades. The implication of that for us is significant. It’s beyond what’s happening with the YSAs and becomes an issue of the establishment of the Church as a multigenerational institution. The elements that would be required to have a multigenerational church include, first, retaining our young people throughout their youth and YSAhood, having them marry in the temple, and then having them have children. Each of those three areas shows declining rates in the last couple of decades. We’re having declining activity, we’re having declining marriages in the temple, and the fertility rates are decreasing.”
  • Around the world, there are only 70 active single men for every 100 single women. Many of these single women are better educated than their male LDS counterparts.
  • 85% of YSAs around the world “are not in YSA wards, and are often invisible to church leaders.”
  • Of the minority of single adults who remain active, statistically, very few hold positions of significant authority in conventional/family wards, like as a member of a bishopric or an auxiliary president.

After Wilkins’s presentation ends around the 15-minute mark, the rest of the 50-minute meeting is the Brethren considering what to do. Actually, I found this part even more depressing than the inactivity statistics themselves.

For one thing, while then-Relief Society president Julie Beck is present at the meeting, she doesn’t speak until two and a half minutes from the end, when Elder Boyd K. Packer says, “President Beck, we should hear a mother’s point of view.”

Despite his use of the title “President,” the invitation has the pro forma feel of indulging the one woman in attendance – especially since he closes the meeting immediately after her remarks and no one appears to take her ideas seriously. (For the record, Pres. Beck challenged the whole paradigm of having singles wards, which she said “drain the lifeblood” of conventional wards internationally and aren’t all that successful in promoting marriage in the first place. But no one at the meeting seemed to be listening.)

The other reason I found the back-and-forth depressing is that it seemed clear that the Brethren were promoting bureaucratic solutions to the problem (let’s improve the way we keep our records, let’s plug YSAs into the church’s mission by sending them on service projects we decide upon) rather than actually listening to what they have to say about why they are not interested in attending.

Also, they seemed bent on treating the YSAs in the same way the Church treats youth. This is evident in the structure under consideration: There’s to be a stake YSA committee and a ward YSA committee, and grown-ups with certain leadership callings are expected to serve on them—a member of the bishopric, a member of the RS presidency, etc. And then “some young single adults” will also be on each committee, but they frankly feel more like afterthoughts than vital members, let alone leaders. The feel of this is that they are not seen as grown-ups.

ward-ysa-committee

What’s strange about this solution is that Dr. Wilkins’s presentation was clear that the data consistently show that “if we don’t use them, we’ll lose them.” Singles, he said, will thrive in real leadership callings where they are given actual responsibility to set the course for something—not merely follow direction as the least important members of a committee that is supposed to serve their needs.

In other words, the proposed solution feels patronizing. We are treating YSAs in their 20s and 30s like teenagers who need adult supervision. This came home clearly during the Q&A when this comment was made:

“I wonder if the trend that we see emerging at the YSA age doesn’t start much, much earlier. And we should, must, do what’s been recommended . . . but if we watch the pattern among the Aaronic priesthood, that pattern of loss simply carries through into the YSA effort.

I’m curious as to whether or not we couldn’t go back further and start addressing the needs of YSAs in terms of their service in the church instead of being entertained in the church. In terms of significant callings in Aaronic priesthood with the responsibility that goes with it—not to the exclusion of activities, but something really substantive—and start to develop a new trend, a trend that says to a very young man, ‘This is precious.’

I really do believe, brethren, that the opportunity for young people who bear—young men, for example, who bear the Aaronic priesthood—in terms of substantive service and contribution to the kingdom [there] is far more than we are tapping. And the pattern they become used to is simply a pattern, an expectation, that continues into their YSA life. They’re used to being entertained. They’re used to being given things. They’re used to staying on the sideline while others do things. And when they’re YSAs, that’s where they end up.” [Note: retaining women and girls is not mentioned here at all.]

So the idea is that single adults just want to have fun, that they’re only interested in entertainment. Really? Where are we getting this?

Then Elder Packer chimes in with this:

“The one word that’s been missing in all of this is family. It hasn’t been said once. [It had, actually.] I wish you’d go back and analyze everything you’ve done and intrude the family into the middle of it, and see what’s happening there. The original jurisdiction until they’re married is in the parental home, in the family.

We spend a lot of time on what they do, as compared to trying to figure out what they are. And if you do some real skull practice on that . . . and also where’s the family fit into all this. This activity we have, running in all directions, and where’s Dad and Mom?”

Again, this makes it sound like single adults are overgrown children, still in need of their parents’ direct supervision.

I hope that in the intervening eight years, there has been more listening and less programming of our single adults in the Church. (There has, at least, been a very slight improvement in having a few women present at some high-level church meetings.) If we’re serious about retaining our young adults, we need to be serious about treating them like young adults, not like children we’re trying to marry off so they can join the land of the grown-ups.


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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

50 Comments

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  • Yep, the LDS leadership recognizes the perils of living in the real world, and make an effort to discuss and mitigate those perils. . .

  • “So the idea is that single adults just want to have fun, that they’re only interested in entertainment. Really? Where are we getting this?” It must be the wildly entertaining three hour meeting block on Sundays. It’s practically a Lollapalooza of the Spirit.

    There is a definite issue with treating single adults as children, and it was frustrating to hear the recommendations try to do away with this, but the leadership stuck in that paradigm. My new VT is a YSA who is 26. She finally chose to quit the singles ward (she called it being a drop out) because she said everyone there is just waiting for their life to begin. Well, as I see it, everyone’s life HAS begun. We are living our lives! She’s an engineer. She wants to participate and serve in the ward. Seeing her as an overgrown child is not likely to endear her to the ward or the church.

  • The brethren showed their mindset involving the same solutions that do not work. What I found interesting is how uninspired the leaders were, how little Christ centered it all seemed. It was all about keeping YSA active in Church and not in how can we help these people improve their lives and be closer to Christ. I was also disapointed how they started the whole blame game that just seemed superficial.

  • ” rather than actually listening to what they have to say about why they are not interested in attending”

    This sounds like a lead in to the usual and casual and all-too-regular suggestions that the Church needs to change fundamentally to interest people. I thought the community of the Church was to help people to change themselves, to recognize sin, needs for continual repentance, to hold pride in check, to inspire them to seek grace and Christ-like attributes in their lives, which bring peace, confidence, and joy.

    Church is a place to worship, to learn, to be sustained in our faith and hopes; it is not singularly in place to provide affirming feelings of worth or value or importance. Certainly the opportunities to serve can provide that for many, but where is personal responsibility (and why neutralize parents, who, whether the YSA lives independently, near or far, are still a force and hold residual stewardships, as well as love) in the YSAs to find affirming uplifting worthwhile service of themselves? While there is plenty to do at Church and within the Church (when did the role of visiting and home teaching as a primary ‘feed my sheep’ opportunity disappear?) what about the mountain of needs outside, or peripheral to what goes on on Sundays?

    The Brethren are rightly concerned, about a lot of things. Doctrine comes from on high, and is taught top-down. Fulfillment, personal salvation, faith promoting involvement comes from the individual heart, and through resolve and tenacity. No one but the newest of converts should be requiring spoon feeding.

  • This is great news! Religious organizations continue to decline in membership, and in their ability to control their members. Hopefully, spiritual development will become disassociated from doctrine and theology and mean spirited, controlling old men, will have to find something else to do.

  • I was curious about what appears to be two conflicting data points. Early the presenter informs that 20% of YSA are active and later states “85% of YSAs around the world are not in YSA wards, and are often invisible to church leaders.” If 85% are invisible to church leaders, then the activity rate would be much lower than the 20% reported. Am I missing something?

  • I find it depressing too, that the brethren focus on the men and don’t say a word about the women. This is the problem of a patriarchy where, looking through their male lens, they see and focus on males almost exclusively. In 1988, Elder Hinckley admitted that the young women had been neglected and gave as the reason that the brethren “…are prone to put emphasis on programs for the boys.” And why is that? Because the governing body of the church is made up ol men who see life from their male perspective. Women are at risk of being overlooked, invisible and marginalized.

  • Thank you for sharing this video. Even if it doesn’t help anyone else just know that settled everything for me. These meetings they have are not the meetings they make decisions in, they are just getting information and some discussion, but later they will come to a point where the inspiration is there, but each decision they make takes time and effort, research and study, before they are ever ready to decide something or sometimes even receive the inspiration they need.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  • Clayton Christensen said last year at the “of one body” symposium in NYC that only 8% of YSA men 18 – 30 are active in church and 17% of single women. He based his comments on informal surveys he conducted in the North America NE area back when he was serving as a seventy 02′ – 09′. I highly recommend Kinnaman’s book, “You lost me” which synthesizes research gathered through the Barna research group largely through interviews. As a stat for fall 2016 in our congregation in the NW (2 of 19, 10%) YSA men and (2 of 31, 6%) of YSA women have attended church in the last 6-mo. Also graduates from seminary in our stake have fallen steadily year by year from 32 in 2008 to 24 in 2010, to 16 in 2012, 9 in 2014 and just recently in June 2016 only 4 graduated from HS seminary. The YSA branch also closed down as only 5 were attending of 700+ on the rolls. Going back 6 or 7 years ago they had 50 – 70 attending the singles branch.

  • the reason YSA are leaving including other adults is because the church ask a lot of people to many callings and church services are way to long. I just go to church for my wife.

  • The video is off topic from this post. It was when he was called into the first presidency and he described how a group of men raised in a culture of conformity came to agreement. Well, yea! Then he had the nerve to call it a miracle. That is most certainly not a miracle. There are BILLIONS of sincere people who do not accept mormonism and yet they are still sincere.

  • 85% not attending YSA wards means means 15% are. I would assume that means the other 5% of 20% activity) are active in non-YSA (family) wards. These may be “often invisible” because they are rarely considered for church leadership positions, may not often attend ward activities outside Sunday (because they mainly geared towards kids, teenagers, or married adults), and also aren’t invited often to personal get-togethers by other ward members because families tend to bond with other families instead of singles.

  • Wow. Trying to combat a suggestion about listening to people by misconstruing words instead of really listening to them. Way to defend being out of touch.

  • I spent 10 years in various singles wards… I have seen a lot and done a lot. The singles wards on University Campuses tend to fair the best. If an newly graduated 18 year old takes the step to attend that first Sunday, they typically stay active or at least semi-active, and all are given callings and leadership roles. For the most part they are treated as adults capable of leadership and doing great things. I have watched non-LDS University wards flourish and grow into multiple wards and into Student Stakes. Local non-university affiliated Wards are a different story. The biggest and hardest transition for YSA’s is from home to adulthood. My local YSA ward did fairly well when under Stake Leadership when at graudation your records were moved into the YSA ward, you were extended leadership callings, and even the young men could serve in the Bishop Ric. Great care and effort was made to encourage and invite graduating YSA’s to attend not just by adults, but the YSA’s currently attending. We saw a lot of reactivation work during that time that was successful and many struggling YM ultimately decide to serve missions. Marriages tended to happen in waves, but they happened regularly. Then the devestation happened….. Under new a New Stake President (who was highly authortarian with his own children) came in and put a slap-down on all of it. He restricted YSA access to the ward to only YSA’s who were not living in their parents home and all YSA records were retained in their family wards until the bishop granted permission for the YSA to attend the YSA ward. Many leadership positions were assumed by adults or assigned adult ‘mentors’. Attendence dropped dramatically, SO MANY YSA’s were lost in that transition from HS graduation to independant life. It was so painful to watch. It killed me. Then there was area-wide issues. Despite the fact that there were 5 YSA wards in the city- each operating under their own unique stake. Salt Lake refused to create a YSA Stake. This ment coordinating multi-ward/ regional activities very cumbersome and difficult. Regional ‘YSA’ councils were ineffective. Eventually with the development of an Institute Program, the Institute Presidency and Council by defacto became the primary coordinators- which worked well- until Salt Lake stepped in and said we couldn’t do that anymore.. because we were functioning like a Stake Activities group. On a regional level, what used to be well coordinated and very successful in furthering YSA goals and needs was smacked down. Lucky for me as things started their downward spiral, I was getting married… but my heart hurts for my younger siblings and all the other YSA’s that have and are missing out on what used to be very sucessful… but crashed by others in “Authority”.

  • So– I guess my point is.. YSA wards and Stakes CAN BE very successful at meeting YSA needs.. it’s all in the implementation and attitude.

  • I spent 10 years in various singles wards… I have seen a lot and done a lot. The singles wards on University Campuses tend to fair the best. If an newly graduated 18 year old takes the step to attend that first Sunday, they typically stay active or at least semi-active, and all are given callings and leadership roles. For the most part they are treated as adults capable of leadership and doing great things. I have watched non-LDS University wards flourish and grow into multiple wards and into Student Stakes. Local non-university affiliated Wards are a different story. The biggest and hardest transition for YSA’s is from home to adulthood. My local YSA ward did fairly well when under Stake Leadership when at graudation your records were moved into the YSA ward, you were extended leadership callings, and even the young men could serve in the Bishop Ric. Great care and effort was made to encourage and invite graduating YSA’s to attend not just by adults, but the YSA’s currently attending. We saw a lot of reactivation work during that time that was successful and many struggling YM ultimately decide to serve missions. Marriages tended to happen in waves, but they happened regularly. Then the devestation happened….. Under new a New Stake President (who was highly authortarian with his own children) came in and put a slap-down on all of it. He restricted YSA access to the ward to only YSA’s who were not living in their parents home and all YSA records were retained in their family wards until the bishop granted permission for the YSA to attend the YSA ward. Many leadership positions were assumed by adults or assigned adult ‘mentors’. Attendence dropped dramatically, SO MANY YSA’s were lost in that transition from HS graduation to independant life. It was so painful to watch. It killed me. Then there was area-wide issues. Despite the fact that there were 5 YSA wards in the city- each operating under their own unique stake. Salt Lake refused to create a YSA Stake. This ment coordinating multi-ward/ regional activities very cumbersome and difficult. Regional ‘YSA’ councils were ineffective. Eventually with the development of an Institute Program, the Institute Presidency and Council by defacto became the primary coordinators- which worked well- until Salt Lake stepped in and said we couldn’t do that anymore.. because we were functioning like a Stake Activities group. On a regional level, what used to be well coordinated and very successful in furthering YSA goals and needs was smacked down. Lucky for me as things started their downward spiral, I was getting married… but my heart hurts for my younger siblings and all the other YSA’s that have and are missing out on what used to be very sucessful… but crashed by others in “Authority”.

  • What is the Church to do, in your wisdom and vast experience? Surely revoking free agency is not on the list of changes you and yours would like to see, so what do you propose?

    I don’t think guitars and tambourines are in the works.

    Limits on lengths of talks, say, to 3-5 minutes each? Drive-thru Sacrament? Better internet in meetinghouses?

    Tithing waivers,say, to 2%?

    Hamster habit-trails into the temples so non-member families can listen to or observe sealings, while not being “in” the temple?

    More bathrooms for the gender confused?

    An overhaul of all materials redacting lesson material that might offend those who don’t want to be poked over reminders that we all sin, that infer or carry gender-identifying pronouns, patriarchy, or God-instituted family?

    An over-haul of doctrine, based on democratic or popular vote, that would seek to make permissible and to prop up those feelings, urges to do that, which are contrary to God’s moral teachings and laws?

    Mandates that every organization presidency must include one under-2_ yr old, but waivers from home teaching responsibilities, or any calling-related meetings/training/campouts that would impinge on evening education coursework, secondary jobs, or hang-out time that are often necessarily the focus and time constraints of young adults’s lives as they start out?

    No church meetings on Sunday starting at any hour that would disallow an 8-hour sleep period as a safe space measure to protect those who won’t sacrifice social time on Saturday night/ Sunday morning?

    Relief Society presidents required to sit on the rostrum, away from their families, in every meeting?

    Did I miss some of the wants that would make it more appealing for YSAs to participate, to show gratitude to their Heavenly Father, to fulfill and structure their lives in keeping with commandments as old as Moses, and to join in the community of faith?

  • So I’m assuming as you further research Jana, that the church has no real place for you or those of your ilk. Old white rich guys on a power trip run the behemoth that is the CotPotCoJCoLDS. ” The principle concern is that delaying marriage in an era of high immorality” The only immoral thing is pushing young people whose only experience in the world was being on their missions to marry after years of celibacy is immoral and wrong. If they wonder why the dripping sound now is starting to sound like incontinence, this may provide some answers. Millennial Mormons aren’t as stupid as the Q12 would like to believe. Count on more and more callings to positions of faux authority if you don’t start breeding and making money for the corp Not that that will stop the callings..

  • Ironically and pathetically you never have to fear that a video of the wannabe Profits talking about building preschools that aren’t madrasas for the church will ever surface, women don’t need battered women’s shelter’s in Utah because they are all happily married to a priesthood holder, and screw homeless housing, we let Jesus take care of them. If the church wonders why the kids are running away in droves. Check your greed and overstuffed egos at the door old men.

  • If you think the captain of the Titanic was inspired or Hitler was, this is the church for you.

  • I’m not sure that 25 percent is good or bad. What are the participation rates in other faiths?

  • Your sarcasm has been an incredibly valuable addition to the discussion and in no way demonstrates a willful effort to ignore a very obvious problem with the LDS church.

  • Not true. I have been a member of two Relief Society presidencies and one Stake Relief Society presidency. I sat in a ward counsel meeting where the Young Women’s President asked for funds equal to the Young Men’s. The bishop pounded his fist on the desk and shouted at the president saying that the budget was set. It wasn’t going to change and he didn’t want to hear another word about it! For nine years women were banned from praying in Sacrament Meetings because they didn’t have the Priesthood. Women only recently began praying in General Conference (180+ years) because of a write-in campaign orchestrated by women. If women don’t watch out for themselves, they can be and sometimes are overlooked..

  • I haven’t watched the videos because I agree that it is distasteful to take and share footage of private briefings.

    But with regards to the moment you transcribed with President Beck, I think it is very typical of the way LDS men in leadership tend to treat women. Women are not welcome to speak until called upon by a presiding male officer. When that male officer did decide to call on her, he asked for a specific type of feedback, “a mother’s point of view” indicating that he wanted her to talk in a certain way. Instead, she spoke as an administrator and brought up an administrative issue, not a parenting issue. So she was ignored.

  • I am active, married, a full tithe-payer, and …uh… we’ll say not young. So asking me what I want won’t won’t give you the answer to why so many YSA’s are inactive and how we can help bring them back to the fold.
    The subject for the next Church leadership meeting might be “Why do we preach meekness, humility, and avoiding unrighteous judgment, but so many are dismissive, judgmental, and clearly cocky about their own knowledge and wit when they …ahem… ‘defend’ the brethren?”

  • I guess if we are meek, humble, and avoiding judgement then we are a people who, as grateful saints, with weaknesses,and without agendas, are not looking to criticize or demand change to suit our comforts, and realize it is ourselves who need changing. Basically, I don’t “go there” or join those that seek to criticize the Brethren or invoke change. I am not in charge, don’t have the vision, and leave that up to He whose Church it is.

    Bishop Davies, in addressing worship, and the impetus to do so – gratitude, offered this in the recent conference – “Spiritual experiences have less to do with what is happening around us and everything to do with what is happening within our hearts. It is my witness that true worship will transform ordinary Church meetings into extraordinary spiritual feasts. It will enrich our lives, broaden our understanding, and strengthen our testimonies.”

  • The problem is not with the LDS Church. It is with the people who foment criticism and get tied up with being malcontents over something awry in their own lives, and then expect to be able to point fingers, or to be rescued despite their own efforts.

    While I recognize that others put a lot of value in advertising and imagery, or allow such to influence their foundational principles, I am not a proponent of spending energies over window dressing. While I have no doubt the Brethren do care and deeply for the souls of those who are teetering, and as evidenced in these discussion, give serious time to satisfying where they can with consecrated funds and time, I don’t anticipate or wish for doctrinal or procedural changes to resolve societal-driven angst over image and lack of faith. The latter is always an individual problem. In the end, people believe what they want to believe, not what they are told to believe.

  • No one asked you join anything. But perhaps the reason you “don’t have the vision” is because you aren’t really listening to anyone, including the brethren you are purporting to defend. They were obviously discussing what could be done different/better. A suggestion to actually talk to the “lost sheep” and ask them why they strayed is hardly revolutionary or contrary to God’s plan. To argue against it is very much the mindset of someone without vision.

  • I’m sure you’ll go along assuming that the LDS church is perfect right up to the point it loses an entire generation because of its obstinate clutching to the status quo. It’s telling to me that you think the younger generation only cares about window dressing or being entertained, and that the reason they’re leaving is because the LDS church won’t cater to such superficial nonsense.

    I’m actually part of the “younger generation” and I can tell you that most of us don’t care if church services have a rock band, use modern slang, or teach with pop culture references (though one could argue that teaching principles through the lens of a pre-modern Middle Eastern agrarian society isn’t very effective, but that’s another conversation entirely). Young people are looking at what the LDS church teaches, and aren’t afraid to call BS when we see it. We have grown up in an age of fact-checking, where we don’t give our allegiance to those who claim authority over us by default. They have to earn it.

    On top of that, LDS Church services are incredibly boring. Again, I’m not saying a rock band or pop culture infusion would improve things. That’s just another side of the coin of shallow worship. I’m saying that the LDS Church curriculum is as intellectually and spiritually deep as a roadside puddle. The water is muddied by claims of “deep doctrine” or other buzz words, but that only gives the appearance of depth without actually making it so.

  • I hear a dripping sound? Drip… drip…. drip. Do you hear it? I pray it isn’t what I think it is!!!!

  • Just as Heavenly Father wants it and Heavenly Mother tolerates./s If the women leave so will the menfolk. Trust me.

  • I totally agree with you. Mormonism is a fascinating subject to study (though I doubt I would be as interested in it if I was never a member). My comment was about the shallow sunday school curriculum and boring nature of church itself.

  • I’m a NEVER Mormon and damn straight these people are “peculiar and self persecuted” and trust me having no interest other than the bizarre spectacle they present is worth the price of admission. Most Mormons have what I’d call an ostrich complex. They stick their head in the nearest hole at the first signs of danger. If a Profit said it, the thinking has been done. Thus stick to the ever evolving curriculum if you can.

  • The Church leadership and those of the more mature generations should not think that the rising generation has developed a propensity to seek entertainment over substance, wisdom, prudence, and steady and deliberate steadfastness, so you write, and then you talk about how incredibly boring services might be. Hmmm, lost your train of thought with that lengthy middle paragraph, did you?

    How about relevance? How about God being “no respecter of persons?” Should doctrine and rules and laws and proportions of justice and mercy be altered for these days, and different from the past? Is man in charge here? Whether the sermons and lessons and discussions are entertaining or boring, you have left out things like, hmmm, importance and relevance. How important are the un- or mis-recorded facts of 185 years ago to individual’s today, to your salvation and course to developing simple compassion, charity, righteous judgement, and humility? The “have it your way” demands for the perfectly kept and uninterrupted narrative of crossed t’s and dotted i’s of past records, record-keepers, and levels at which past servants as leaders are held are peevish and pridefully demanded, and come from what vaulted perspective?

    You require some kind of ego-flattering level of intellectual tease and philosophical puzzles in your learning? How does that equate to the simplicity of the Gospel, that is there for all mankind, and says “suffer to let the children come…?”

    Shallow worship? I am interested to hear what improvements yours would make. Or, what you find out there that can be spot-lighted as examples of steadier, wiser, and more compelling or Gospel-centered efforts?

  • I said LDS church services were boring because they were shallow, not because they’re not entertaining. Your flippant response seems to be more directed at some straw man you’ve created to describe intellectuals than actually engaging with the content of my post. How would I improve things in the church curriculum? Off the top of my head: 1) Stop proof-texting scriptures and actually engage with them in historical context; 2) Remove the poisonous teaching that disagreement=contention and contention is of the devil; 3) Engage with controversial topics and glean meaningful lessons from them rather than ignoring them and hoping they go away; and 4) For the love of God, can we please stop using whitewashed BS “Just So” styled stories from the lesson manuals?

    “Should doctrine and rules and laws and proportions of justice and mercy be altered for these days, and different from the past?”

    Sure, why not? It’s not like they haven’t been changed drastically already to match modern social mores and issues. Today’s LDS church is barely recognizable to the one of even a few decades ago, let alone 100+ years ago.

    “How important are the un- or mis-recorded facts of 185 years ago to individual’s today, to your salvation and course to developing simple compassion, charity, righteous judgement, and humility?”

    Given that the veracity of just about every single truth claim the LDS church has made is based on those “un- or mis-recorded facts”, I’d say they’re pretty damn important. You’re right that they’re not important to developing compassion, charity, righteous judgement, and humility though. One doesn’t need the LDS church to develop those things either.

  • At least from my experience in transitioning from Young Men to Young Single Adult, I see one factor as being that the Church invests so much time and attention to the youth programs, and then you become a YSA and all that concern and attention is gone. I’ve talked with my oldest son (who recently graduated from High School) and he has indicated having some of the same feelings that the Church just “dumps” you when you become a YSA. I have to agree with one of the other comments here that grouping the YSA wards under one stake and allowing the YSA’s to build their own community is better than trying to make YSA wards an appendage to a family ward.

  • I was part of a Young Singles group in London many, many years ago. That period was the highlight of my life, spiritually. We GLADLY attended institute classes on any subject, as we were starving for information. But, while we were attending church and institute classes, we also had a varied and rich social life filled with dances, conferences, talent shows, and family home evenings in each others apartments. The brethren are really deaf to the idea of how important a rich social life is to keeping activity going in any church — they view it as “needing to be entertained.” I think they are dead wrong. The church is being slowly drained of any real life, because of the brethren’s desire to have control and keep things “spiritual.” Now, they are reaping what they sow, losing young people in droves.

  • ‘don’t think you know much about it.. I do and the church does more good for individuals families and Society than any other organization on Earth

  • You might have a point that the young women also have problems but I think the brother and have spent time on the boys because they know that they generally have more of a problem with activity later on

  • Walmart and Bill Gates donates FAR MORE. But thanks for your misguided opinion. Research on the Google.

  • .. money is one thing .. I said an organization .. people like Gates do great in very specific and directed projects . . they don’t guide millions of families and individuals the way a religion does .. such as the Hasidim people have .. you name it ..

  • Money is everything…. and the Mormon church FREELY and OPENLY admits it gives $25 Million a year towards humanitarian projects. Less than 1% of what it takes in.

  • The participation rates for other faiths are often near 0. In Mainline Protestant denominations it’s generally accepted that young adults “take a break” from the faith until they are ready to get married.

  • While this article is focused on the problem on single young men and the growing trend for them being inactive, what isn’t said or reported is the older single adult men. I can promise that problem is more significant in terms of numbers. I find it ironic, because single men (older and younger) are shunned for being…. well single. When the wards are full of single women. Why? That’s the real question here isn’t it? In my opinion, Mormon women are simply not worth it. They pretty much run the wards by influencing their husbands in their callings. Why would I want to be married to that?

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