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Study finds churches with conservative theology still growing

Christian believers sing and raise their hands in worship as evangelist Billy Graham preaches to thousands at the New Orleans Arena during the “Celebration of Hope'' hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse on March 12, 2006. RNS photo by Jennifer Zdon/The Times-Picayune in New Orleans

(RNS) Canadian researchers are revisiting a hotly debated sociological question: Why do some churches decline while others succeed?

Since the 1960s, overall membership in mainline Protestant Christian churches has been dropping in both the U.S. and Canada.

But some congregations have continued to grow, and a team of researchers believes it now knows why. It’s the conservative theological beliefs of their members and clergy, according to researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University and Redeemer University College in Ontario.

“The riddle of mainline death has been solved,” said David M. Haskell of Wilfrid Laurier University.

The results of the five-year research project will be published in the December issue of the Review of Religious Research.

The project surveyed more than 2,200 churchgoers from Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran and United churches in Ontario, according to an executive summary. About half were part of 13 mainline Protestant congregations whose membership had declined at least 2 percent over the past decade, while the other half attended nine churches that had grown at the same rate.

Researchers attended services at all 22 churches, after which they asked congregants to complete a 40-question survey, Haskell said. They also interviewed all clergy and a number of congregants who had completed the survey.

In those interviews, most clergy and the congregants of the declining churches blamed changes in society for a drop in demand for religion.

But, comparing the religious beliefs and practices of both the declining and growing churches, Haskell said more clergy and congregants of the growing churches held firmly to “traditional” Christian beliefs and were more diligent in practices such as prayer and Bible reading. That includes a more literal interpretation of the Bible and greater openness to the idea that God intervenes in the world, he said.

For example, 93 percent of growing-church pastors said they agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb,” compared with 56 percent of declining-church pastors, according to the summary.

And 71 percent of pastors at growing churches said they read their Bibles daily, compared with 19 percent of pastors at declining churches.

Conservative Christians long have maintained their churches have continued to grow, even as membership in more progressive denominations has declined.

In 1972, researcher Dean M. Kelley published “Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion.” More recently, the trend has been noted by former Southern Baptist Convention President Albert Mohler, David Brooks of The New York Times and Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition.

But even studies that agree conservative churches are growing still suggest there is no link between theology and that growth, Haskell said. Some have tied that growth to the age — and birthrates — of congregants or the age of the church itself.

“The strength of our study is we actually now can explain it: because theology matters,” he said.

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

70 Comments

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  • The larger and more liberal churches are declining but some smaller and more radical churches are gaining members. As a result, overall numbers of the religious are falling because society is becoming more secular and more people are opting out of religion altogether.

    If this trend continues, religion may become more and more different from the average person.

  • Let’s get real: it’s class. In recent stats I saw, ‘Evangelicals’ are 1/3 from the bottom in income; at the top Hindus, Jews, followed closely by Episcopalians. Mainliners are not leaving to join conservative churches—they are just leaving. It has nothing to do with theology: the upper middle class urban-coastal clientele of mainline churches are just becoming more secular while the lower classes, the clientele of conservative churches, are still religious. And they have bigger families because in traditional societies, including the society of the lower classes, women don’t have careers and have nothing to do but pump out more babies.

  • “‘ “The strength of our study is we actually now can explain it: because theology matters,” he said. “‘

    This survey is a joke. The authors should be embarrassed for publishing this cr-p. The survey was conducted in Ontario – which they interpolate to be representative of the rest of Canada and by implication the US. 2200 people surveyed, and 22 churches visited – with a 40 question survey. Too few people and churches – and who is going to suffer through answering 40 questions truthfully.

    All this ” survey ” tells me is that the conservative clerics and pew-warmers are better liars then their liberal counterparts.

  • Among skeptics, no rationale is sufficient to affirmatively explain the vitality of theologically conservative churches. Numbers matter less, eternally speaking, than verities. I don’t look for a change in present trends regardless of the lens used to view them. Even the best lens has limited scope. I predict that social conditions as well as political and economic ones will continue to worsen, that said, some of those effected negatively will to turn to faith while others will turn from it; it was ever thus. I will continue in a course of passionate faith in God rather than a lukewarm or dead one, and await the vindication of that faith. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

  • It’s really pretty simple.

    What you would call a “liberal church” is one that acknowledges modern science and scholarship. While you see them as villains who are “watering down the faith,” what’s really happening is that they are struggling to find ways to keep faith alive without denying the obvious conclusions of science and academia.

    A “conservative church” is one that lives in a religious bubble and denies modernity. Any science that casts doubt on a core belief, no matter how well evidenced, is to be rejected.

    So, here then is the problem. Liberal Christians reach the obvious conclusion that Christianity is nothing more than Middle Eastern mythology. They have trouble seeing the point of strong devotion when the Bible is constantly being knocked down by the sciences.

    Conservative churches are growing because people have emotional needs to be fed, and they are largely ignorant of what science and academia have to say about the Bible. Conservative churches take advantage of this ignorance and indoctrinate their followers into anti-intellectual beliefs.

  • There is some interesting research that indicates there are temperamental differences between conservatives and liberals. These differences are in brain function; generally speaking, how the brain handles the fear/lust impulses of the amygdala. Conservatives have less control over their animal brain and therefore crave certainty and control from outside, i.e., conservative churches. For them literalism and autocratic teachers fit the bill. It’s not about what the Bible says or even the theology of the pastor. Liberals spend more time in the forebrain and need facts and a reasoned argument. So modern biblical studies, toleration, and dialogue with science matter more to them. Growth for the conservatives will be limited by the percentage of the population that is conservative temperamentally (collecting those who need such churches mostly from the folks who share that temperament and are currently Catholic and Mainline churches). The driver behind the shift is the growing anxiety in society at large. The struggle for the Mainliners is differentiating themselves from the conservative churches, so that those with a liberal temperament will give them a chance. Right now they have reason to assume that Mainliners are just like the folks that hover around Donald Trump.

  • I don’t think that liberal churches are not believers and deny core Christian teaching. It just that liberals don’t make Church the center of their life or Sundays. Couple that with really really boring worship at aweful times and poorly delivered sermons and the answer is easy. What concerns me about evangelicals is that they tend to over simplify the faith and want you make the congregation the center of your life. For conservatives that tends to be easier to do than others. You will find few liberals and moderates in services every week and you probably find few if any in these churches. For me I have looked for the happy middle and alas none exist. So for now I stay home.

  • In short, “believe or burn” sells much better, more easily, and more prophetably than “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

  • Don’t fool yourself, God’s word matters because it “will stand forever.” Isn’t that what faith believes?

  • But aren’t conservative denominations shrinking? I believe member numbers in the SBC have been trending down. As patrick said below, this survey is a very small sample from an urban area.

    I have no problem with conservative churches as long as they don’t try to force their particular beliefs into law. I wish them well.

  • I guess I could return the compliment to you: I have no problem with your leftist beliefs so long as you don’t try to force them into law.

  • Well, you’re right — you shouldn’t feel the need to make the Church or the congregation the center of your life. But if Jesus Christ (or, if you prefer, the Trinity) is not the center of your life then you aren’t a Christian at all.

  • You can take a horse to water and it will drink. You can take a liberal to reality and they will deny it. I had to chuckle reading through most of these. Most comments kind of come across as folks that are still in shock that Hillary lost. History shows that today’s version of liberalism tends to bring down not only denominations and churches but ultimately universities and nations. I loved the smug comments about scholarship and science most of all. Liberalism has a suicidal element to it that never ceases to lead it towards destruction it seems.

  • Great points, and, add to that the fact that the conservative churches grow due to the fact that their congregants want easy answers to complex problems.
    They go by the “God always wins” philosophy. Pray for what you need or want and if you get it God answered your prayers. If you do not get what you wanted or needed, well, “it was God’s will.”

  • Absolutely the study is a joke. (At least as reported). Just 9 pastors represented the conservative churches. (22 churches minus 13 mainline churches). No response rate reported for the survey – just that 2200 were handed out. Did they attend all services offered? (My mainline church offers 3 and sometimes 4 services on Sunday) What was the church composition? Did it reflect demographics for the area? Two Canadian religious scholars have a different take on results. One is simply that there is church growth period where there is also population growth. I would add that in smaller centres, mainline churches tend to be primarily in downtown areas due to historicity while newer conservative churches are located in the ‘burbs. The other point made was that mainline churches have been weak in terms of what they offer children/families. (Reginald Bibby, Joel Thiessen findings)

    And based on observations of one community, it is the mainline churches in this community with a couple of exceptions, who also engage in ministry beyond the physical building congregation – be it visiting programs or services for people in nursing homes, hospitals as well as community outreach – hot meals programs, school breakfast, offering space for other community programs to operate in etc.

  • Good heavens. Why is this “news”? People who want beer go to a bar. People who want a car go to a car dealer. People who want Christianity go to a Christian church.

    Give people credit for common sense for once.

  • You need to be specific … the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the denomination that ordains women and gay — NOT confessional Lutheran churches like the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church.

    Please don’t call the ELCA a Lutheran denomination — they have abolished everything that is Christian and Lutheran.

  • The word ‘conservative’ needs to be defined here. Many churches that call themselves conservative do not believe in the strict interpretation of the the Bible. For example Baptists do not believe in the real presence in Holy Communion even though Jesus Christ said it is his body and blood given to us for the remission of sins. They also don’t believe that Holy Baptism saves and forgives sins — they need to reread their Bible — it plainly says it does so — Baptism is NOT symbolic.

    What was conservative mean when referring to Christianity? My answer is that it has nothing to do with politics … it’s all about the Bible.

  • Why would you say that American evangelicals are conservative. They don’t follow a strict interpretation of the Bible — they often use feelings and human reasoning instead of believing what the Bible says.

  • Seems to me that education, the cut between the upper middle class and the working class, is precisely what gets people into their forebrains, looking for reasoned, arguments and controlling their amygdalae. I don’t mean training. I mean education. Doesn’t work for everyone but it helps. BTW I’m LogicGuru because I teach logic 🙂

  • So would it be conservative or liberal to believe in evolution, as opposed to young earth creationism?
    Would it be conservative or liberal to believe in a literal 1000-year reign of Christ as the Scriptures teach?
    Would it be liberal or conservative to believe that God predestines those who will believe unto salvation, as Romans 9 teaches?

  • You are correct, they too are shrinking. The difference is in rate of decline. Also the Catholic Church would be leading the decline were it not for the stead immigration of folks from majority Catholic countries.

  • Where in the bible does Jesus say that the way to tell if they are a “real” Christian church is that they will not lose members, but will grow and get big?

    BTW, the LCMS and WELS have been shrinking quite rapidly too. The UMC does not ordain LBTG folks and they are shrinking. The PCUSA was shrinking significantly before they began ordaining LBTG. How does that work with your argument?

    The ELCA remains much, much larger than any of the other
    Lutheran denominations. It looks like they are “more Lutheran.” How does that work with your argument?

  • judgeforyourself37, add to this the fact that God makes choices, and can bless all out of proportion to your effort.

  • The ELCA are not ‘more Lutheran than the LCMS or WELS. The ELCA no longer subscribes to the basics of Lutheranism … the unabridged Book of Concord and the Augsburg Confession — both of which are based solely on the Bible.

    Pretty much all denominations have been shrinking in the USA. There are more Lutherans in Africa than the USA for instance — and they are growing rapidly.

  • You sound confused and not familiar with the Bible — maybe you attend a church where the Bible is not the focus. No where does it say in the Bible that Jesus will reign on earth for 1000 years — that is man-made.

    Jesus says many times that he wanted all men to be saved and the Apostles continued with that. That being said God knows everything — so maybe he does know who is going to be saved and who is not going to be saved. Doesn’t matter to me — I know where I’m going.

    I have no idea what ‘young earth creationism’ means.

  • If your thesis is correct, then why have the conservative Lutheran denominations, LCMS, WELS and other Lutheran denominations, shrunk just as much? They don’t ordain anyone but straight, white males. Well okay, a few guys of color.

    The point is, your opinion just doesn’t hold up. Check my comment below for more examples that give the lie to your comment. I just ain’t so Emtieswall.

  • Wow. Now there’s some faithful Christian witness. I certainly want to join your church now and have faith exactly like yours.

    I know you know what decent Christian witness is, and what it means to be Christ-like. Go on. Tell us all the name and address of your church and your pastor’s name and phone number so he can read how you’ve faithfully represented them.

    The point is not only being correct or incorrect. It’s about how you represent Christianity on a specifically Christian topic. I have not made any claims about the standards of Christianity, but you have. That makes you representative.

    It’s never sufficient to say someone else was rude too. You ought to be ashamed of yourself and your behavior.

  • No, no, no. The reason some churches grow and others do not has more to do with entrepreneurial leadership (pastors) than theological conservativism. It just happens that many of these churches are led by conservative elders/founders. Why would someone who is truly a risk-taker and entrepreneurial want to buy into or start a dying franchise (United Methodist,etc.)? They can start their own church fresh (non-denominational, Southern Baptist, etc.). This is NOT complicated.

  • Actually recent brain studies indicate that hard core conservatives are the most likely to adjust their perception of reality to suit their bias. They will twist and massage the facts until they fit their world view. Perhaps liberals are hopefully naive but they are the most likely to see reality as it is. Don’t you just hate science when it doesn’t support your bias?

  • There is nothing man-made about the Millennial reign of Christ; see Rev 20.1-5. The thousand year reign of Christ was taken literally in the early church. Augustine, as great a teacher as he was, was the one who introduced the misguided idea that the millennial kingdom should be taken figuratively and that we are presently in the Millennial Kingdom.

    The Roman Catholic Church is amillennial, which means that it teaches Augustine’s error in this regard.

    The RCC also teaches a bastardized form of evolution, something which our Lord Jesus did not teach. If your church teaches evolution — go ahead and feign ignorance about what young earth creationism is — it is not holding to the conservative, biblical position of Genesis 1 – 3.

  • Jesus Christ is did not preach millennialism, neither did his disciples, nor has the Christian church. Millennialism was created by some woman in Scotland in the early 1800’s — through erroneously interpreting Scripture. The idea has been promoted by people who not Biblical scholars.

    You’re bought into a false doctrine that has been further exploited to gain wealth for a couple of fiction book writers. The Left Behind books are not the Bible.

    Christ will come only one time — he said so himself and even he does not know the time or hour, only the Father.

    Frankly, I believe that God created in the earth in 6 days. You did not give an explanation for ‘young earth creationism’ — you merely attempted to insult me and suggest that I was a RC. I am not.

    If you are going to accept the the words of Rev 20:1-5 as ‘gospel’ then I expect you also accept Holy Baptism as a means of grace and salvation and Holy Communion as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ given to you for the forgiveness of your sins. Do you?

  • Based on what I have seen the church is in a schism of left and right. The two groups will over next 10 years break apart. The conservatives have the leverage right now and will have larger churches and the left will consolidate. There will be folks not served by either movement like myself and this will open opportunities for new expressions of faith. It is sad that the Protestant movement is ending this way but I guess that is reality now. I am just glad we are seeing the end is near now.

  • I am beginning to question what that means now. I hear it a lot but I seen much evil and lack of light now I question whether anyone knows what Jesus wanted from the movement. Heck I am questioning if Jesus would even recognize himself now!! Its like we are crucifying Christ all over again.

  • My whole point in responding to you in the first place is to demonstrate that yes, there is generally a sharp contrast between orthodox Christians and liberals who water down biblical doctrine, but what exactly is the most conservative stance on any particular issue may not be clear. You believe in a six-day creation; I’m happy to hear it. I don’t believe that the bread and the cup are the literal body and blood of Christ not because I’m liberal on that issue but because I honestly believe that Jesus was speaking figuratively. He told the woman at the well that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4.14). As a believer do you have a spring of water coming out of your body?

    It sounds to me as though you are a genuine believer. I apologize for a less than irenic tone. As far as I am concerned there are some points on which as believers we need to be dogmatic; eschatology is not one of them, nor is the nature of the Eucharist. I believe in the Lord’s Supper and Baptism as two ordinances of our Lord. The Lord uses them (in my view) in the life of the Body, but “means of grace” per se is not a part of my theology.

  • My advice: Find a good church and soak up some good teaching. Don’t let them pressure you into doing what you don’t want to do or giving what you don’t want to give. You need time for healing and building a foundation. God bless.

  • I find it interesting that you choose to accept the ‘revelations’ or dreams of St. John but refuse to believe the words of Jesus Christ himself.

    My point is that many Christians who call themselves ‘conservative Christians’ are in fact very liberal in their beliefs.

    In all Christian love I suggest you reread what the Bible says.

  • The way someone becomes a liberal “Christian” is by capitulating to the world or to “science” rather than being faithful to the Scriptures. Thus Liberals will deny the miracles of Christ or deny six-day creation or say that women may teach and rule in the Church.

    I think it is wrong for you to suggest that I am liberal in my stance on the Eucharist. I believe that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I guess I even believe that the Trinity could have ordained things so that the bread and the wine really were the literal body and blood of Christ in some mystical sense. I don’t shy away from any doctrine because it is “too supernatural”. I just honestly do not think that is what our Lord meant.

    You say you are not a Roman Catholic, and I believe you. I suspect you are a conservative Lutheran of some sort. But as much as you speak of the Bible, it seems to me that for you, “Liberal” doesn’t so much mean departing from an accurate understanding of the Scriptures, but rather departing from Roman Catholic doctrines more than your church does.

    You say I should reread Christ’s words, as if that is the key to my proper understanding. But I daresay that an unbiased expert in interpreting genres of literature and applying hermeneutical principles would agree that given Jesus’s overall patterns of communication, He really was speaking metaphorically in this instance.

    But now we see in a glass darkly. One day we will meet our Lord, and one of us will learn that he was wrong. If that wrong one is me, I imagine that I will say, “As you say, Lord — but you know that my heart was pure in this matter. I was striving honestly to understand Your Word.”

  • Not at all, just been very busy. It was in reference to “bill,” no matter how I’ve tried to reframe our conversations, he has no give in his soul, and no understanding of nuance. Theologically, we probably agree on 90% + of doctrinal issues, but he prefers to consider me a liberal and particularly an apostate because I take a more accommodating approach in my language with those with whom I disagree. So, I have elected to never respond to him, and never respond to his responses to me. The distressing part is that such intransigence, and the reviling that has occurred between us, which I freely admit I’m culpable for at times, makes a very poor witness to those who do not believe and only reinforces their misperception that we’re all hypocrites; they generally have no sense of stumbling, nuance, or any of the finer points of the natural difficulty even sincere Christians have to be obedient and gracious at all times, nor the genuineness of repentance even when it has to occur daily. With respect to “bill” I feel like I’m in a box I can’t get out of, so my solution is to not engage with him, which feels like a defeat.

  • I am not a Christian but I am an active member of my faith and I pray every morning and evening. This article comes as no surprise to me, however, it is common knowledge. People need structure, it is a basic human need. Once you start watering down your content, it is almost guaranteed you will lose adherents. The problem with many conservative churches, however, is that there is a real conflict with scientific fact, which over the long term, they can never win. This is born out by the latest Pew poll which shows the rise of the nones.

  • A conservative Church of Jesus could be open to modernity but stalwort to conservative values like the bonds of traditional marriage, avoiding the party lifestyle, being part of an unselfish giving community.
    I believe modern Latter-day Saints are accepting of new science and old tradition of Godly values.

  • I agree there is something in brain science and whether you are conservative or progressive. I read a study (sorry no source I forgot where I read it) that more conservatives are concrete thinkers and can’t think out of the box. They don’t discern sociological aspects of the words of the apostles from the historical information. Frequently they believe the Bible is God’s word (holy dictation) vs inspired reporting by the apostles.

  • That is a good point. I don’t consider myself religious but that doesn’t mean I am not a Christian. I just think I can’t define God to anyone else because he is bigger than my concept of him. I am not willing to make God the way I want him. He will make me to suit him.

  • The Kelly thesis has been disproven again and again for reasons that are not as simple as many people would like. My professor, Carl Dudley, wrote a book which asked “Where Have All Our People Gone,” and found that liberals and liberal Christians don’t have as many children as more conservative North Americans do. Further studies have discussed how conservative churches effectively adopted cultural changes such as advertising and use of tv and pop music, and mall-like churches. At the same time conservative churches have adopted more liberal positions on theological and social issues. Canadian Presbyterians are not liberal, yet they decline, because they are merely traditional. All churches lose their youth as the world becomes less believing in unbelievable myths. 911, e.g., broke down the belief of a providential and all powerful God.

  • So, to be a good, conservative Christian entails one to call someone, with whom they disagree, “Brainless?” Oh, my, and you tell me that churches, such as yours, are growing? Somehow, I do not believe that name calling and being disrespectful is part of any form of real Christianity.

  • Wrong, they are based of the reality of today, not of over 2000 years ago, when it was thought that the Earth was flat, and that the Sun revolved around planet Earth. Two thousand years ago, it was thought that seizures were caused by “demons” inhabiting the body, and that man, alone, was responsible for the creation of a child, and that the woman was only the “oven.”

  • Thanks for making my point. The ELCA ‘doctrine’ relies on man and not on God. God never said the world was flat, God never said the sun revolved around the earth. You’re still using your own intellect and reason to define God. You make a good argument that the ELCA is a secular based organization and not a God based one.

  • The Mormons? Their book says that the American Indians are of Jewish descent, something which no scientist believes.

    Mormons are like evangelical creations… always looking for ways to explain away science when it contradicts their scriptures.

  • Nope.

    Evangelicals see the belief in the literal truth of the Bible as a conservative position, and the belief that science and evidence can override belief in the Bible is a liberal position to them.

    Source: I went to an evangelical Bible college

  • You’re wrong. Most evangelicals DO NOT believe in the ‘literal truth of the Bible’. I can give you two very simple yet wonderful examples of God’s love expressed in the Bible that evangelicals for the most part do not believe.

    Holy Communion — God’s way of forgiving our sins with his true Body and Blood
    Holy Baptism — God’s way of saving sinners by being born again

    You should have questioned your instructors. Why did they refuse to accept that the Bible says that ‘Baptism does save’ and that Jesus said — this is my body and my blood given to you for the forgiveness of sins’.

    I suggest that your instructors used their common sense when interpreting Scripture and ignored what the Scripture actually said — many times.

    Maybe you should ask for a refund or at least confront your former instructor or ask you Pastor why he does not accept what the Bible says.

  • Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormons, have a book of holy scripture that has not been disproven by scientists. There has been some evidence that has indicated that it has accuracy, and there has been some evidence that calls it into question. Like a lot of science!
    There are thousands of scientists that believe in the book, like the Bible or the Quran.
    For you to say “no” scientists believe in the Book of Mormon is a ridiculous comment. Very far from empirical. Sounds like what you are trying to attack.
    Science, true science, always try to come up with real answers, and so does doctrine of the Lord, His Restored Church, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
    Try reading the book. That is what a real scientist would do.

  • The comments are more interesting than the article – that states the obvious. What is so fascinating is the cognitive dissonance of liberals. They live in a world utterly detached from reality and facts. Their smugness is only matched by their willingness to put their “faith” ahead of the scientific method – the scientific method of course originating from a Judeo Christian world view that facts and reality matter!

  • I grew up Methodist and until recently attended a Methodist church regularly. Then I saw their website on the Methodist Board of Church and Society and was completely turned off by the liberal agenda being espoused by the church including, if you can believe, litter! The left is never satisfied until they can control every aspect of your being. I stopped going to church. I love the congregation, like the pastor, the associate pastor, but unfortunately I have been soured by the churches’ liberal political activism. I’m sadly looking for another church.

  • Adam and Eve were our firsrt parents created by God and will be on this earth again during the millennium when Christ rules the earth. Evolution is not the creator of the many various creatures on earth. Israel will be gathered to their ancient home land, a temple will be built and to Jerusalem will Jesus appear as recorded in the Book of Zechariah. Gay ministers will never be recognized nor can ever be authorized to perform ordinances in the Lord’s true church. Gay marriage is an evil never to be recognized by God.

  • Science does not believe that God the Father sent Jesus to Earth to atone for the sins of mankind upon their acceptance of his doctrine. Nor does science accept that Jesus will one day return to earth and destroy the wicked. And sience cannot accept that the one true Church of Jesus Christ is found on earth today with all the gifts of the Spirit of which church is destined to convert the righteous with truths from heaven. Such a church will go forth with the Book of Mormon declared among all nations of the earth, and it will be believed because it is another witness to the truths that Jesus proclaimed to the ancient saints in the New World. The wisdom of men can never not stop the Lord’s work upon the earth. This ancient record will confound and expose false religious systems throughout the earth.

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