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Mormon growth continues to slow, especially in the US

LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson is currently visiting eight nations accompanied by his wife, Wendy Nelson, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of th Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife Patricia Holland. Photo ©2018 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The LDS Church is still growing, but its recently released figures from 2017 show that its rate of growth has slowed considerably over the last few years, and is now just under 1.5%.

Year Total membership New converts added Percentage growth
2013 15,082,028

 

299,555 2.03%
2014 15,372,337 290,309 1.92%
2015 15,634,199 261,862 1.70%
2016 15,882,417 248,218 1.59%
2017 16,118,169 233,729 1.47%

And that’s saying nothing of the intoxicating growth of the 1960s through the 1990s, when a bad year might have seen growth of just 3% or 4%, and a good year more like 6% to 8%.

“This is the fewest converts we’ve had in 30 years,” said Matthew Martinich, founder of the LDS Church Growth blog, which tracks Mormon growth and retention internationally, and project manager for Cumorah.com. “I think that’s a big concern.” The Church added 233,729 new converts in 2017, when that figure was closer to 300,000 just four or five years ago.

Another area of concern is ward and branch creation, which is stagnant. “The increase in congregations was the lowest we’ve had since 2011,” said Martinich. “That’s mostly because of the U.S.”

The growth rate in the United States has declined to .75%, down from .93% in 2016. The U.S. growth rate is therefore half of the already modest overall growth rate around the world, a downward trajectory Martinich calls “pretty significant.” U.S. growth has not been this low “in approximately 100 years or longer,” he says. (For U.S. growth patterns since 1920, see the Cumorah website.)

Martinich says that once again, there was no net increase of congregations in the United States.

Martinich noted a particular drop in California, which had “50 or 60” wards and branches discontinued in 2017, due to congregations “getting smaller and smaller” that have been consolidated. He said this has happened throughout the state and is not isolated to any one particular area.

While “the Church in California is still strong, with 7 temples and 20 missions, membership hasn’t noticeably increased in 25 years even though the population of California has increased.”

In sum, then, conversions are declining and the number of “children of record”—small children who are counted as members but have not yet been baptized—has remained largely flat around the world.

Some decline has also been the result of an aging membership. Martinich says it is not due to people removing their names from the membership rolls. (In Mormon statistics, everyone who has been baptized will continue to be counted as members until age 110 unless their death date is known or they go through the formal step of officially removing their names from the records.) “The numbers of people who actually leave the Church are very small,” says Martinich, and aren’t enough to move the needle much in global membership trends.

There are several bright spots in the report, despite the big picture of reduced growth. Martinich highlighted four major positive developments:

1) More stakes were created. “Stake growth continues to be a lot higher than in the last decade or so,” says Martinich. “And that’s encouraging.” How is that possible, if new wards and branches aren’t being created? Martinich says the answer lies in a more robust activity rate among people who are already members. “For example, in the last 10 years, sacrament meeting attendance in the Philippines has increased by about 50%, from about 100,000 to about 150,000,” he said. “Granted, activity rates there are still only around 25%, but still, that explains why we are seeing new temples and missions in the Philippines.” Another possible reason for the creation of new stakes is that some stakes are now smaller than they used to be, with fewer local units.

2) Missionaries are coming from all over the world, not just the United States and Canada. In Central America, according to Martinich’s research, the number of local members serving full-time missions in the last 10 years has nearly doubled. So too the number of Central American couples that are sealed to each other in the temple. “Remember, these are areas that supposedly have the lowest activity rates in the world, and they are also areas where raw number growth and congregational growth has been very slow,” Martinich said. But missionary service and temple marriages are not captured in the raw numbers of the Church’s annual statistical report.

3) Wards are getting stronger abroad. It used to be that “there was a huge disparity between how large the congregations were in the U.S. compared to around the world,” said Martinich. In the last 5 to 10 years, however, “in most countries with the largest church memberships, the congregations there now are about as large as congregations in the U.S.” This is another sign of vitality that’s not reflected in the statistical report.

4) West Africa is a source of robust growth. Nations such as Liberia and Nigeria are “driving a lot of” the growth the Church is experiencing.

Martinich obtains his data not only from the Church’s official reports but also from “thousands and thousands of surveys completed by church members, leaders, and missionaries,” detailing congregational attendance, missionary service, and retention. “We can really accurately estimate what the activity rate in each country based on what people there are reporting about how many people come to church versus what the raw numbers are about membership.”

Much of this data is available in the almanac he published: Reaching the Nations: The International Church Growth Almanac: 2014 Edition. He’s also working on a new book that will update the information in more of a narrative style. A Stone Cut without Hands “is a more abbreviated version of our almanac, going through growth, and where things have gone well and have not gone well. There’s a lot of really cool stuff in there about challenges and new opportunities for growth.”

 

 

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.

54 Comments

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  • The word is getting out about this business cult fronting as a religion based on the hallucinations of one Joseph Smith.

  • I don’t believe it was a hallucination but a con, as he was earlier convicted of fraud.

  • -> “In Mormon statistics, everyone who has been baptized will continue to be counted as members until age 110 unless they go through the formal step of officially removing their names from the records.”

    Really, does every Mormon die at 110? That must bump up the membership numbers! So, apparently this must be related to LDS losing the alcohol, caffeine and smoking.

  • The Church isn’t going to make any assumptions about whether those registered as members still consider themselves as such even if the Church looses track of them, and there’s always the chance that someone might return to the Church later in life. So the “110” is a point at which it’s safe to assume that pretty much everyone is going to be dead.

    I’m not sure that description of the statistic is quite accurate, though, I think it only applies to those members that the Church has lost track of — that when a member known to their local ward dies that fact is reported and their records updated.

  • It is no coincidence the church is growing where there is less internet connectivity and thus less access to information. Where it is able to control the narrative, it does better.

  • Above Matthew Martinich states that the slowing of LDS church growth “has nothing to do with members having their names removed from membership rolls”, and “the number of people who actually leave the church is small”.
    Really? Let’s see, 234,000 convert baptisms in 2017 (taken from Mr. Martinich’s chart above), and approximately 55,000 names removed from the membership records in 2017 (found on the link provided in this article).
    55000/234000 x100 = 23.5%.
    So Mr. Martinich is saying that almost 1/4 as many people removing their name from church rolls as are being baptized isn’t “enough to move the global membership needle in either direction”?
    Please explain the math you are using.

  • Thanks for the references, but I don’t consider the Bible to be authoritative. It is nearly as flawed as the Book of Mormon. The only thing the Bible has going for it is some of the places, at least, actually exist(e).

  • From the vision of Nephi recorded at 1 Nephi 14: 12 “And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few,
    . . .nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who
    were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and
    their dominions upon the face of the earth were small[.]”

  • It’s fine to disbelieve every religious system that exists. However, there is a chance that not all are false. There is even a better chance that the method and structure of this particular faith, the LDS Church, may be the best thing on the planet.
    Time will tell. Skeptics are always there, but the truth is out there. Hard sciences are great, but movies like “Contact” may be informative.

    God bless. He loves you, despite what you may not believe.

  • There is documention of Joseph Smith’s trial as “a glass looker”, meaning, he told others he could find hidden treasure by looking at a special stone in his hat. This,of course, is only considered delusional unless one takes money for the “service”. Then it is fraud.
    Google Joseph Smith glasslooker for a long “fairmormon.org” explanation of this.

  • Besides LDS, Many Catholics, Protestants, born again Christians, evangelicals, etc. etc. have “testimonies”. All are based on feelings. It is true many intelligent people believe such things. They do so by compartmentalising. Science/hard evidence is required for most things (ie my wife is cheating on me…show me the evidence). But for their cherished feelings regarding their religious beliefs, no such evidence is required.

  • Yes Christopher, people die. But how does that relate to my question regarding the large number of members having their names removed from church rolls each year vs convert baptisms? Please explain.

  • The allegation was that Joseph Smith had been convicted of fraud–that means that he was found guilty of fraud in a criminal court. That did not happen.

    As for glasslooking or dowsing or other forms of folk magic that Joseph Smith and many others practiced at the time (and still practice), it is not fraud if one believes that he/she can do it. There are lots of people who are dowsers today. They are not frauds if they believe in their ability to dowse. Again, he was never convicted of fraud.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing

  • I can accept that. Of course a prophet is only a prophet when speaking as a prophet, which as it turns out is when he’s proven right. If proven wrong he was speaking as a meat man. Convenient.
    It is interesting to me that all of the many “stories” regarding Joseph Smith: glasslooking, polygamy, marrying young teenagers etc etc were all considered anti Mormon lies when I was growing up in the church. Now, just part of Joseph Smith’s culture and environment. All of those anti Mormon “lies” have been shown to be true. And the “lying anti Mormons have been vindicated and the church shown to have been hiding the truth all along. So sad. Very disappointing. But to each his own.

  • You seem sensitive about something. My only point was that Joseph Smith had never been convicted of fraud, as had been alleged by another commenter and, in effect, by you.

    As for “Mormon lies,” I suspect that those who taught you things about Joseph Smith and Mormon history believed that what they were teaching was correct/true. If so, they were not lying to you, even if much of what they taught was not correct.

    I don’t remember anyone teaching me that Joseph Smith wasn’t a polygamist, (even if they didn’t emphasis to me that he was). Given that a revelation from Joseph Smith about polygamy was published in the Doctrine and Covenants, that was a pretty strong indicator to me that Joseph Smith had practiced polygamy.

    You seem to remain controlled, in a sense, by Mormon doctrine, even though you have reject it. Seems like a waste of your time.

  • Actually, 50 years of false belief was a waste of my time. I was born and raised in the church. Baptized at 8. Served an honorable mission (worked my butt off as a true believer) served in many called nfs including elders quorum Pres and in the bishopric) but it was all under false pretenses (the. Hutch, not me). And yes, I should (and am trying to) let it go. I’m not really angry anymore. But I feel lied to and deceived. I was taught, in church, there is right and wrong, truth and untruth. Of course the church represented right and truth, or so they proclaim. Once you have seen the man behind the curtain (an illusion to the wizard of oz) you can’t just continue to pretend the church is what it proclaims to be. You must be young. It seems those who continue to believe are able to accept that in the church there is no black and white, just gray, and the church is mostly gray. It has and will continue to change as society changes.The church has tried to deny less as it all too often proves to be true. I talked with some young missionaries and they did not even know who Bruce Mcconkie is, and have never heard of “Mormon Doctrine”. The church has backed away from that book but it was one of the approved reading books on MY MISSION. For an institution proclaiming to be gods church, and god is an “unchanging” god, the lds church continues to morph into just another Christian denomination.
    It saddens me. I wish it were true.the church seems to be trying to be more transparent about the past, it’s history. With the internet they don’t have much choice. But it has not always been so. All of the controversial things you may now just take for granted (ie Joseph Smith and polygamy) was denied and denied by the church. So who was lying? And the excuse that church leaders who told those falsehoods really believed what they were saying is not an excuse. God knew the truth. Those special witnesses called to speak in his name should have known better.
    So yes, I am bothered by something. And you know, I too have a testimony. A testimony that the Lds church (it any church) is not true, that the Book of Mormon was written in the 19th century by JS ( perhaps with some help), and Mormonism is no better/truer than any other religion, or as Joseph Smith said, “they are all Wrong together”. Good luck. If it makes you happy great. There are inde s good thing about the lds church. But does it make a difference if it is true or not. I think so.

  • Actually, I am 58 and have been raised in the Church my whole life as well. Maybe it’s because I was raised in California, but I was always skeptical of the panglossian explanation of history and doctrine represented in the Church curriculum. I got thrown out of seminary once for arguing with my teacher that the theory of evolution is not necessarily contrary to Church doctrine.

    I served a full-time mission and I consider it the most formative, foundational experience of my life (regardless of whether I remained active in the LDS Church or not). I can’t remember if Mormon Doctrine was on the reading list (I don’t think it was), but after I returned from my mission and started attending BYU again, my friends and I would often refer to it as “McConkie’s Believe or Not.” For what it’s worth, I remember having discussions in college about Joseph having plural wives, including some that were married to others as the time.

    I concur with you that the Church is only being more forthright about its history because with the advent of the internet, it can no longer control the information readily available to its membership. There was a period during the 70’s when the Church was more open to its history, but that effort was largely shut down (I believe by Elder Boyd K. Packer).

    For what it’s worth, because I never really believed that the Church was perfect (and certainly not its membership), I was never offended much by the negative information, including the fact the Church was doing a lot to discourage or prevent its wider disclosure.

    I do believe that the leadership of the Church sincerely believes in the authenticity of the message and reject that there is an active conspiracy among senior Church leadership to knowlingly teach falsehoods.

    Like my father, who was an agnostic, I am a great admirer of the Church organization and principles because it saw the very positive effect it had in people’s lives (including our family). I have never believed or professed the metaphysical certitude of LDS beliefs (or any religious beliefs), and I never state that “I know the Church is true,” but I do state that I have faith in the Gospel and have a testimony and leave it at that. In all, I am quite happy to remain an active Mormon, pay lots of tithing, raise my family in the Church and I imagine will remain so until I am convinced that something better has come along.

    If I were ever to leave the Church, I don’t believe that I would search for truth within sectarian Christianity. For all of its defects or what is left unexplained, Mormon doctrine patches up a lot of holes in more traditional Christian doctrine.

    As for the Book of Mormon, if it is a wholesale fraud, then it is a remarkable one. Even Fawn Brodie, who believed that Joseph Smith started as a fraudster, but came to believe in his status as a prophet, had positive things to say about the Book of Mormon. Not to attempt to convince you otherwise, but I found Orson Scott Card’s essay, “Book of Mormon — Artifice or Artifact” to be very a very interesting read.

    http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-bookofmormon.html

  • Thank you for your perspective. I am 61 yo, left the church (officially had my name removed) at about age 51, hence the 50 year comment.
    Perhaps I am the one who was raised in the “non-traditional” Church belief system (it is all true. Gold plates, elephants horses, curlums and cumin’s in the Book of Mormon, John Taylor was telling the truth when he stated (while mission president in England and had several wives back home) that the church did not then believe in polygamy, that Joseph Smith was justified when he had the nauvoo printing press destroyed, that Joseph Smith kept the word of wisdom after its introduction in the d & c, that he went “like me a lamb to the slaughter” to Carthage jail (rather than actually shooting back during the attack), that he died a martyr for “his beliefs”, (rather than because he broke the law by having the printing press distorted and was secretly practicing polygamy which angered residents when they learned the truth, that the book of Abraham was “translated” by Joseph Smith ( the church has distanced itself from this now), that “as man is, god once was, as god is man may become (denied as being what we believe, or at least back peddled to the edge of the cliff, by Pres Hinckley in an interview while president), that the only changes in the Book of Mormon were grammatical and or punctuation but of no teal substance (read the original and changed teachings of Abinadi) etc etc etc. To name all of the things I was taught that are now known to be stretches of the truth at best would take hours. Maybe you were not taught all of these things because you were mainstream rather than me. But I don’t think so. I think many members still accept all of this as fact. No question (I know my one child, of four, still a member of the church believes it).
    No offense intended, but from what I can get from your writing you are more of a cultural Mormon. Those who when they hear such information say, “well of course there are at least four versions of the first vision which contradict each other. Every intelligent member of the church knows that. Where have you been, under a rock?”
    But I dare say you are not A typical believing member. Yes, there are good things in the church. Good family values (though it seems it is kind of like encouraging children into adulthood to believe in Santa Claus or the tooth ferry).

  • The number of full-time missionaries is not a good predictor of the number of convert baptisms. It has been over 20 years since the prophets, seers, and revelators began emphasizing the role of member-missionary work. Furthermore, if this (convert baptisms) were formula driven, it would have been figured out long ago.

  • This article is missing a MANY key points as follows:

    1. Population growth rates worldwide are decreasing drastically across the board. The U.S., in particular, has seen significant decreases in growth rates as a whole. The total population growth rate in the U.S. last year was less than a meager 0.6%. That is absurdly low and actually puts our nation on par or even below the growth rates of some Scandanavian nations. This means that converts to mormonism alone, even in the U.S. and not including reactivations or new children of record (i.e., also missing from the above “analysis”), are still growing faster than the average U.S. population growth as a whole. It is all about comparative growth, people. If the growth rate of members of the church outpace the growth rate of the average population, then the percentage of LDS church members in most if not all areas increases comparatively. The above article is completely silent on the fact that population growth in the U.S. is less than a third of what it was during the Church’s high growth periods.

    2. The article overly focuses on new convert growth rates, even though growth of the LDS Church in established countries, i.e., like the U.S., is largely governed more by (a) new children of record (i.e., new LDS babies) and (b) reactivation of inactive members. Though the article mentions that inactive LDS members are becoming far more active (i.e., which is true), I think it overly discounts this positive growth trend. Further, the article fails to state that new children of record for the LDS Church in the U.S. still vastly outpace the average rate of birth in the U.S. I hate to break this to the author (who, BTW, has had a long-standing bias against the Church), but as long as the average Mormon woman gives birth to 2.7 or so kids during her lifetime and as long as (on average) 83% of those kids stay active (which are also statistics missing from this “article”), then the Mormon Church does not need ANY new convert baptisms to grow in the U.S. Indeed, a couple hundred thousand new U.S. converts is already a surplus to comparative growth. This fact is entirely missing from this article — as is the well-documented fact that children who are born and raised in the LDS Church almost NEVER leave the Church and RARELY go inactive for a period of time exceeding a couple of years during their ENTIRE lifespans. In other words, as long as active Mormons keep getting married in temples and having kids — i.e., while the the rest of the U.S. refuses to — expect comparative growth rates of the LDS to far exceed those of the surrounding population. The fact this article fails to mention this speaks volumes about the veracity and objectivity of this “article” — which is much more a spin piece than any article.

    3. New congregations growth rate has grown substantially in most every state — expecting California. Though it is interesting that the author only notes the declining growth in California and ignores the growth in, say, pretty much every other state in the union.

    4. High-tax states like California are currently experiencing a mass exodus of older, wealthier, and/or higher-income producing citizens to lower tax jurisdictions. This exodus has disproportionately hurt many largely conservative organizations in California, not just the LDS Church.

    5. New ward and stake creation in the U.S. has stagnated almost entirely because of a new initiative for the Church stated in 2017 to have larger wards, branches, and stakes before they are divided. In other words, 2017, 2018 and probably at least part of 2019 were already anticipated to be “catch up” years for new congregation growth in established areas like the U.S. In other words, if you are enacting a new policy to have larger congregations before you divide a congregation, expect new congregation growth rates to decline significantly, especially in the immediate short run. Again, the fact this well-known policy is absent from the foregoing article speaks volumes as to its reliability and obvious “spin.”

    6. All of this does not change the fact that, moving forward, most of the LDS Church growth will likely happen outside the U.S. It not just West Africa that is experiencing significant LDS new convert growth. In fact, most of Africa, most of Asia (excepting South Korea), all of Oceania (accepting Austrailia) and most of South America (excepting Venenzuela) are still experiencing significant new convert growth rates. Many areas, like French Polynesia, West Africa, India, and certain parts of South America are experiencing increasing convert baptism growth rates.

    In summary, on average, the Church is indeed growing much slower in established areas like the U.S. But, I disagree that there is ANY need for concern. Indeed, the Church is still GROWING in the U.S. In a time when most religions in the U.S. are experiencing decreasing membership (and not just decreasing growth rates) new converts to the LDS are still growing and, in fact, are growing faster than the average population growth. Growth is still growth and comparative growth is still comparative growth. The only takeaway of any concern to U.S. mormons is that growth rates in the U.S. are likely to continue to decline in the U.S. and, that future growth of the Church will largely moving forward come from outside the U.S., which is not ideal but still greatly expected.

    Best.

  • Can only speak of my Sacramento-area stake which recently was condensed from eight wards (7 typical wards and one YSA ward which wasn’t doing well) to five…although the raw numbers suggested this wasn’t necessary, the simple fact is there’s a lot of “grey hair” around, and with fairly high real estate prices, young families are moving elsewhere. This makes each of the wards rather large, but at least there’s enough folks that are young enough to participate in a meaningful fashion. Of course, with myself pushing 60 and being one of the “youngsters” in the ward, it doesn’t bode well long-term. I predict that one or two of the current buildings will be sold off within the next five years. There’s always opportunity for missionary work to replace aging members that are “retiring”, but the general population has similar demographics, so it doesn’t look at that promising.

  • Oh what I’ll give to see the look on your smug face when you see Moroni, other angels, and, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

  • AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC/SATANIC CONS CONTINUE
    TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni and Satan/Perdition/Lucifer. (As does M. Romney)

    “Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the
    first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being
    created by God and of course Satan and his demons.

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tin-kerbell” got around) and of course the
    jinn.

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern
    day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to
    do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty
    wingie/ugly/horn-blowing thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same
    to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals.
    Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders
    and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Some added references to “tink-erbells”.

    newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

    “The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all
    antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., “Praep.
    Evang.”, xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the
    belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a
    figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an
    As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while
    Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: “He (Marduk) sent
    a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did,
    he made my work to succeed.”

    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of
    hallucinating:

    “TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from
    the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in
    Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and
    Raguel.”

    And tinker- bells go way, way back:

    “In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures.
    For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize
    human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the
    Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don’t convey
    messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda (“Wise Lord”,
    God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of
    Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism)
    became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire,
    plants, water…).”

    “The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be
    sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had
    their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of
    angels are found in Near Eastern literature. ”

    “The ‘Magic Papyri’ contain many spells to secure just such
    help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the
    guardian angel. ”

    For added information see the review at:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

    “The prophet Ezekiel described an incredible vision of
    cherubim angels in Ezekiel chapter 10 of the Torah and the Bible, mentioning
    that the angels’ wings were “completely full of eyes” (verse 12) and “under
    their wings was what looked like human hands” (verse 21). The angels each used
    their wings and something “like a wheel intersecting a wheel” (verse 10) that
    “sparkled like topaz” (verse 9) to move around.”

    For a rather extensive review of angel wings, see
    http://angels.about.com/od/AngelBasics/a/Angels-Wings-And-Things.htm

  • Personally, I miss the old LDS church when there was less politics in the wards, and more core Christianity. It just seems that when people don’t like you, your hair, your nose, or whatever, you can’t serve or even be included. There isn’t a lot of unconditional love in the wards, and that’s putting it very mildly. I hope that the disparity between what is core to every christian can be returned someday. Perhaps its just a natural failure of any organized religion or maybe I just don’t have the skill set to mix politics with religion. But my own core beliefs are we follow what is true or what has been revealed is true. When that truth is trampled on by others, especially church leaders such as bishops, it leaves a pretty big sour taste in my mouth. It also makes me question the authority of their decisions if they are made by a political group of people in the ward rather than those that have the authority. Perhaps it not a failing of the church, but more of a failing of humanity. I look forward to another restoration someday. Until then, peace my brothers.

  • More like 6M. 99% of people who leave the Church never fill out the paperwork to get their name off the list.

  • 99% of the folks who leave Mormonism fill out the paperwork to get their name off the list. The Church is baptizing people at a growth rate of 1.47%. I doesn’t take a lot of folks leaving to bury that stat to below zero.

  • VFan where are you getting those stats from? I know many former mormons, it is the minority that are officially resigning in writing. Most are just leaving quietly.

  • You are exactly right. I fixed my misstatement. I have never personally met anyone who has filled out the paperwork. They just cease attending.

  • Paperwork? It’s literally just sending a letter to your bishop asking for your name to be removed. You make it sound so complicated.

  • Same story for the Bay Area. Young Mormon families can’t afford to move in unless both parents will work (which, honestly, is pretty rare), and old folks are retiring to Alpine or St. George or wherever in Utah and buying inexpensive mansions compared to their CA homes. In Silicon Valley we combined wards and stakes multiple times starting about the time of the 2001 tech bubble.

  • I actually understate it. The Church as instructed bishops and stake presidents to interview those who submit their resignations. Many leaving refuse, but I actually spoke with each one of them. And there are many stories of members having to hound the Church for months to complete the process and send out the letter confirming that the resignation has been completed. Although the Church could make it easy, they chose to make it complicated and sometimes very time consuming.

  • I should think that young single and young marrieds who’ve yet to start their families (DINCs) should be their own respective congregations, as well as more “ethnic” and especially non-English branches and wards. Methinks the traditional LDS ward isn’t for everyone. Does the Bay Area have at least ONE Young Single Adult Stake? I should think overall there’s enough active LDS YA to justify at least one if not two.

  • I can only speak for the valley, but yes there’s at least one at SJ State. I’m sure the other major universities in the bay (UCSF, Cal State, etc.) also have one.

  • A YSA STAKE at EACH major University in the Bay Area? Somehow I don’t think so. A YSA Stake with it’s “center” at or near SJ State, with other wards/branches at other Bay Area schools, now that seems more likely…ever since the Church made ldschurchtemples.com take down their LDS Stake/Ward info part, hard to know, and IDK how on the Church’s own sites how to ferret out that info.

  • I think with the ability to google the truth about the beliefs of the mormon church and it’s its founders shady background . The membership will continually decline.

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