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Kevin Graham

Church Growth Trends

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William James and maxrep think we could get more converts if we would ease up on the doctrines. For instance sex. Sure we could. If they would baptize people who were living together but not married, we could get more baptisms. How about easing up on some of the other commandments, too? We could baptize drug dealers, abortion doctors. Hey, why not go to the prisons and baptize murderers? Wouldn't our numbers look great?

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Wow, this thread took off on me! I'll definitely have some more thoughts later, but here goes.

== I would argue that it is these lands that are most in need of the gospel.

The Church thinks in terms of individuals, not "lands." And how can one person be in more need of salvation than the next person? Who gets to determine that one? Can you make that judgement?

I might consider the individualistic emphasis another example of how the LDS church is more American than it realizes. Americans are very individualistic, while the culture of the New Testament and many others around the world are more community oriented, and need a different approach. Jesus and the apostles talked in terms of communities, cities and people groups just as much as they talked about individuals.

And when I said some are more in need of the gospel, I was not referring to salvation per se. All people are equally in need of God's grace and forgiveness. However, the people who haven't even heard God's offer of grace and forgiveness (the gospel) are more in need of it than those who've been bombarded with it in various forms all our lives, like us in America.

== Sure, there will be persecution, but what's more important: Comfort and safety

Yes, safety. And if you think the Church doesn't recognize this fact then you need to come back down to earth. There is a real reason why the Church doesn't send their 19 year old boys into China and Afghanistan. If you're willing to serve a mission in Iran, then let me know when. I'll pay for your flight.

Perhaps the LDS church should train missionaries who are older and more experienced. Most religions do, to great effect. And I am willing to become a missionary to Iran, if that's where I'm called. But my heart is for India, and I plan on going there at some point in the next few years. Thanks for your offer of financial assistance! International flights aren't cheap! :P

== or preaching the gospel and being willing to sacrifice everything to do so, as all the apostles (and millions of Christians throughout history) have.

Excuse me? I don't recall any of our apostles sacrificing their lives to knock doors. We can play it smart and live another day to teach more people, or we can play it stupid and prepare our kids for some kind of righteously indignant kamikazee mission. Are you willing to send your kids into Sudan or Algeria or Egypt or China, where they are sure to be killed before their first district meeting? Before rushing to an answer, reflect on what you just said about the secondary importance of safety.

I wasn't referring to your apostles in my statement above. I was referring to the apostles of the New Testament, who all died for the gospel (with the possible exception of John). But I do believe that some LDS figures also were persecuted and/or killed for preaching their gospel. Stories of tar-and-feathering come to mind.

As far as my kids, I am willing to let them go wherever God may send them, be it Sudan (I've had friends there) or down the street. I do not control their lives. Their lives are in God's hands, not mine. As I've said before, for the follower of Christ, there are worse things than death. I have faith that God will work His purposes through those who are willing to serve Him no matter what the cost. Scary, yes, but at the same time there is a peace that passes all understanding.

And I don't consider missions to rather hostile countries to be "righteously indignant kamikaze missions". No one goes to a country just to be killed as a martyr. That's nothing more than righteous suicide. Rather, people go to preach the gospel and to show the love of Christ to people who may never have seen it before. If death comes, so be it. Here comes heaven!

And there can be much value in people going over and eventually paying the ultimate price. The examples I noted before, Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, went to the Auca tribe in the Amazon jungle, and were killed there before really making a connection (or so they thought). But missionaries were inspired by them, followed in their footsteps (including the wife of Nate Saint, I believe), and actually led the whole tribe to the faith. One of the first men to be a leader in the Auca church was one of the men who had speared her husband. That is the power of a sacrifice for God. There are countless other stories I could relate along these same lines.

The LDS church has adopted the American ideal of safety and comfort, to its detriment, in my opinion.

More later. Thanks for the thoughts, everyone, interesting reading. Take care <_<

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My thoughts:

1: In US economy is strong. Has been for a while. People think less of spiritual things when things are good.

2: The world is becoming more wicked and hard hearted in general.

3: Critics really hold the internet market.

4: Many members, mission sires and investigators are not prepared to deal with hard critical issues. I believe the fact that the church feeds mainly a faithful history hurts growth over the long term as many are shocked when the hard issues come.

5: I believe for years that the missionary lessons were watered down. I believe the new manuals rectify that. When I was a missionary we were told preach the restoration. Basically we are right, you are not, come join us.

6: I know this sounds self serving but my experience with missionaries is that they, in general, don't work as hard. I know tracting is not the best method. But the missionaries where I live will fo out of their way to avoid it and try to do anything else, even if it is non productive.

7: Missionaries are asked to spend more time working with less active members as part of the balanced effort. This takes time from traditional proselyting. I think it is a good use of their time especially in weaker units. Let's bring back those who once joined us if we can.

8: There is a SLIGHT undertone of less enthusiasm as we Saints are more distracted by the demands of life, work, family etc. We may not really be any busier then saints of past days. But we certainly do have a lot more distractions.

Teancum

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My thoughts:

1: In US economy is strong. Has been for a while. People think less of spiritual things when things are good.

2: The world is becoming more wicked and hard hearted in general.

3: Critics really hold the internet market.

4: Many members, mission sires and investigators are not prepared to deal with hard critical issues. I believe the fact that the church feeds mainly a faithful history hurts growth over the long term as many are shocked when the hard issues come.

5: I believe for years that the missionary lessons were watered down. I believe the new manuals rectify that. When I was a missionary we were told preach the restoration. Basically we are right, you are not, come join us.

6: I know this sounds self serving but my experience with missionaries is that they, in general, don't work as hard. I know tracting is not the best method. But the missionaries where I live will fo out of their way to avoid it and try to do anything else, even if it is non productive.

7: Missionaries are asked to spend more time working with less active members as part of the balanced effort. This takes time from traditional proselyting. I think it is a good use of their time especially in weaker units. Let's bring back those who once joined us if we can.

8: There is a SLIGHT undertone of less enthusiasm as we Saints are more distracted by the demands of life, work, family etc. We may not really be any busier then saints of past days. But we certainly do have a lot more distractions.

Teancum

Teancum,

great thoughts. I agree with you on # 6 as well as the others. However, I know that the tracting reception that was available to my companions and I, was workable. Now they are likely playing to a tougher crowd. <_< Its a colder environment out there.

But I also feel that todays missionaries don't bring the work ethic that we brought to the table a couple of decades ago. I know, I know, the older you get - the better you were. :P

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Some actual data, and fairly recent:

Membership Distribution (31 December 2004):

Canada - 169,633

United States - 5,599,177

Mexico - 1,013,071

Caribbean - 138,511

Central America - 527,511

South America - 2,904,085

Europe - 440,945

Asia - 865,987

Africa - 220,798

South Pacific - 396,104

That give us:

Latin America: 4,583,178

US + Canada: 5,768,810

Rest of World: 1,923,834

Thus, Rhino's assertion that the LDS is an "American Church" by and large is true, if we give "America" its proper, non-exclusive-US, definition. We've been long awaiting the day when Latin America overtakes British America in numbers. Perhaps within 5-10 years?

We have much work to do elsewhere.

Edit to include the following link:

Mormon Haven Stats

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We owe it to our brothers and sisters to try to get to as many as we can, because the Gospel is about happiness in this life as well as joy in the life to come.

Except for those billions of people living in countries the LDS church avoids, of course. Don't they need the abundant life that Jesus promises?

Dando== I know of EV missionaires who have gone or are currently in every single one of these countries. And some in countries you didn't mention. They are not there to die but they do think subverting the government's laws in the name of the Gospel is worth the risk.

Well there you have it. Are we willing to break the government laws? In Spain the JWs got there 20 years before us by essentially lying to the government. They arrived as a "Bible Society" to give away Bibles, but said no evangelistic activity would be involved. They lied and established Churches in buildings disguised as something else. The LDS Church decided to abide by their law and not try to sneak one by them.

And who is doing better in Spain? I think it is the JWs.

But they essentially risk their lives as well as the lives of the converted who are typically killed like rats in China and elsewhere. In Islam apostasy from Islam is punishable by death. The only way to convert people in Islamic countries is to preach to Muslims. That is a big NO NO. For some Evangelics the risk might seem worth it. After all, if they don't hear the gospel sometime between now and the time they die, they're going to burn in hell forever. From an LDS perspective, they're going to hear the gospel in the spirit world anyway. So why risk ending your life and theirs, when man is that he might have joy?

You've hit a nail on the head here. There is urgency to mainstream Christian missionary work, because most believe that there is a high price for not doing so. But even for those who do not believe in a literal eternal fiery hell, they do missionary work in these countries simply because Christ commands it. Obedience is sometimes hard, let's face it!

The LDS idea behind conversion is to help people enjoy the blessings of living the Gospel. But given the typical LDS attitude from on high towards Islam, they seem to indicate that living a life in Islam is hardly any different from an LDS life. So there is little meaning behind taking such huge risks.

So missionary work is just to those who can profit from the "health and wealth" living the gospel? The blessings of living the gospel are not for those who might face persecution for it?

== Christianity can be and is taught underground. It's also practiced underground. Are you saying that Mormonism could not be? Public door knocking is not the only method of evangelism available to followers of Christ.

Well it is for an army of teenagers who wander into a foreign land, especially with no Church basis for support.

And there won't be a church support basis until the army of teenagers (or trained, seasoned older missionaries) creates one. Chicken and the egg.

== I'm so thankful that the Early Church didn't put safety over worshipping and serving Christ.

Give me a break. They were not breaking any laws as you suggest we should.

Perhaps you should read your history. The edict of Trajan comes to mind, as well as the policies of Septimius Severus. There are other examples as well. And let's not forget the apostles, who were beaten, imprisoned, etc., because they refused to follow the authorities and stop preaching the gospel.

Take care, everyone :P

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Rhino, and others. I think a comparison to triage is in order. In medicine, you realize that your resources are limited, and you want to do the most good you can. You don't waste your limited resources on people who need a bandaid and an aspirin. And you don't waste your resources on the person who is so severely injured he is going to die anyway. You concentrate your time, money and effort where you can treat the greatest number of patients who have a good chance of surviving their wounds.

In the Church, we have limited resources, too, in terms of people who can go on missions. We need to concentrate our efforts where the most good will be done.

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rhinomelon:

In LDS theology all those who had no opportunity in this life to hear the Gospel WILL be given that opportunity in the next.

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rhinomelon:

In LDS theology all those who had no opportunity in this life to hear the Gospel WILL be given that opportunity in the next.

I realize that, but does that belief still mean that Christ's command to take the gospel to all peoples is invalid? And if the LDS church is a true restoration of the original church, then the apostles obviously would have believed that as well. The problem is that the apostles routinely went against the established authorities in order to preach the gospel, while the LDS church doesn't. In LDS thinking, the church today is still unwilling to sacrifice like the early Christians, even given the escape clause of postmortem evangelism.

Rhino, and others. I think a comparison to triage is in order. In medicine, you realize that your resources are limited, and you want to do the most good you can. You don't waste your limited resources on people who need a bandaid and an aspirin. And you don't waste your resources on the person who is so severely injured he is going to die anyway. You concentrate your time, money and effort where you can treat the greatest number of patients who have a good chance of surviving their wounds.

In the Church, we have limited resources, too, in terms of people who can go on missions. We need to concentrate our efforts where the most good will be done.

Triage is a great way to look at it. In this case the problem would be that LDS have a very different view about who is "beyond help" than does mainstream Christianity. For mainstream Christianity, those who are most able to be helped by the gospel are often those who have never heard it, i.e. closed countries. While the LDS view says that those who need the gospel most are those who won't have to sacrifice much for it. Perhaps a blunt way to put it, but that is the general trend I'm seeing in this thread. I apologize if I inadvertently offended anyone.

Also, in terms of limited resources, I think missionary resources are limited only because the LDS church won't allocate the funding. The LDS church has a staggering amount of financial resources at its disposal, but it uses them for buildings and the like, and invests a great deal as well. I've been to many churches where up to half the budget goes specifically to missions, either sending members of the congregation out, or supporting those missionaries already on the field. The LDS church already has a huge missionary force, but it uses them in places like Utah, where LDS members should be doing that on their own. Send more missionaries to places that have never heard the gospel. In short, the problem, in my opinion, is not that the LDS church's resources are too limited, but that they are badly allocated.

Good thoughts, the triage analogy is a good one. Take care, everyone :P

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Rhino, I disagree with your characterization of course. "the LDS view says that those who need the gospel most are those who won't have to sacrifice much for it." I don't think that is it at all. Everyone needs the Gospel. And the sacrifice is there daily for the believing Saint.

And about funding. It isn't about money. It is about personal effort and the efficacy of the attempts. The goal is to find the Shepherd's sheep. Provide them with the saving ordinances and bring them in to the flock. That takes people. I think you have been making references to churches which send out paid missionaries. What is the percentage of EV's who have been on missions themselves? What percentage of those missionaries have paid their own way? What percentage of other Churches are in continual outreach to others to bring them in? And you can't count anyone whose sole purpose is to destroy another church.

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Rhino, I disagree with your characterization of course. "the LDS view says that those who need the gospel most are those who won't have to sacrifice much for it." I don't think that is it at all. Everyone needs the Gospel. And the sacrifice is there daily for the believing Saint.

I expected you to disagree, of course. And I wasn't saying that in response to anything you've said. Kevin's comments about the primacy of safety over spreading the gospel is more what I was responding to. Sorry if I came across a little harsh :P But if everyone needs the gospel, why does the LDS church focus almost exclusively on areas that have already heard? Why not go to the fields in India, for example? Persecution for white missionaries over there is usually negligible.

And about funding. It isn't about money. It is about personal effort and the efficacy of the attempts. The goal is to find the Shepherd's sheep. Provide them with the saving ordinances and bring them in to the flock. That takes people.

It does take a lot of people. But the LDS church marshals one of the largest full-time missionary forces in the world--upwards of 50,000 at this point. My point is that such a large force would be better used in areas that are in need of hearing the gospel for the first time, instead of in areas like the USA, where the majority of LDS members could easily do more work. I just see LDS policy as ignoring those people who happened to be born in the wrong country.

What is the percentage of EV's who have been on missions themselves? What percentage of those missionaries have paid their own way? What percentage of other Churches are in continual outreach to others to bring them in? And you can't count anyone whose sole purpose is to destroy another church.

That's an excellent question. I've heard statistics, but I can't remember the specifics. I'll try to see if I can dredge some numbers up for you. As far as missionaries paying their own way, that depends. There are several different ways missionaries fund themselves within mainstream Christianity. Some simply raise their own funds and pay their own way completely. Others pay part of it, then are supported by fellow believers and churches for the rest. Others travel to the other country and find jobs to support themselves over there. Several friends of mine supported themselves overseas by teaching English as a second language, for example. Another way of funding is through missionary organizations, in which most of the money is donated by other believers and churches to the umbrella organization, and the the funding is distributed to missionaries under their "umbrella". I've had friends who've done each of these options.

One major difference to keep in mind here is that many evangelical missionaries go long term, for a matter of years, or even for the rest of their lives. These missionaries often have greater impact in difficult areas over time, because the missionary commits to a specific group and lives with them, building relationships, etc. I've heard several missionaries talk about spending years in one place (in Muslim countries, for example) before getting a chance to share their beliefs with the people. Sometimes it just takes that long to build a friendship and gain trust!

Also, could you explain your question up there in bold? I wasn't quite sure what you were asking. I could just be dense today, of course. If you could fill that out a little, I would appreciate it.

And what missionaries are you referring to whose sole purpose is to "destroy another church"? I could only assume you refer to the Temple Square protestor and the like (which represent a teeny tiny fraction of mainstream Christian missions). And anybody whose sole purpose is to destroy a church (as opposed to preaching the gospel) is not really a missionary at all!

Anyway, more later. Take care, everyone <_<

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Rhino, as a parent with a son out in the mission field now, I have to say that the safety-first aspect is very appealing... :P

"The first job of the LDS Mission President is to ensure that all those young missionaries get back home to their parents safe and sound at the end of the two years. "This is what my own mission president said way back in 1975, and I agree with him.

If that makes for a conservative no-risk attitude, then so be it. We are not in the business of seeing how many martyrs we can get. (But my brother sports a lifelong scar between the eyes from a rock tossed his way by a redneck near Sacramento CA.) Rather, we want to spread the Gospel.

Beowulf

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It's simple:

Homophobia, racism, sexism, secret handshakes, excluding family members from marriages, etc, etc, etc

People are finally figuring out that God and Mormonism are on the complete opposite sides of many issues.

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That's quite a list. It reads like a summary of American foreign policy by Mother Jones or some other radical-left blog that thinks the whole world agrees with them... :P

Fortunately God and Mormonism has nothing to do with any of those epithets.

So no response is necessary.

Beowulf

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I find it more than a little bit odd that admitted scofflaws are the first to whine to the US embassy when host countries take them to task for their (to them) illegal activities.

G-d, we hold, will open up countries for His work in His due time. This happened in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Northeast Asia. It wasn't all that long ago.

G-d asks of us that we do what we can to gain admittance through legal means. We are not in the business of doing so illegally. We respect and love our neighbors sufficiently well not to try to force something on them against their will.

It is arrogance to force the issue. Cultural arrogance. Cultural imperialism.

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Rhino, as a parent with a son out in the mission field now, I have to say that the safety-first aspect is very appealing...  :unsure:

I hear you! And that's the way parents are, and rightfully so. But if my son follows God to somewhere that is not the safest, I'll worry my butt off, and hopefully pray even more. But I will not tell my son not to go somewhere God is calling him because it is not safe. Looking at the people of the New Testament, safety was apparently not one of their high priorites either :P

If that makes for a conservative no-risk attitude, then so be it. We are not in the business of seeing how many martyrs we can get. (But my brother sports a lifelong scar between the eyes from a rock tossed his way by a redneck near Sacramento CA.) Rather, we want to spread the Gospel.

I hope nobody in mainstream Christianity is simply out to make martyrs! But the priority is on preaching the gospel, not being safe. If one can preach the gospel in safety, by all means preach and praise God for His blessing and protection! But if preaching the gospel and safety lie in two different directions, the priority in the Bible is always on preaching the gospel, trusting God for the rest. Sometimes such risks pay off! Look at Jonah, running away from Nineveh, but when he finally went, the city repented!

There was a funny story I heard at college about two gung-ho missionaries who wanted to preach in the toughest places. Basically, they wanted martyrdom. But everywhere they went, people didn't kill them! They came to faith in Christ! How disappointing... <_<

But where does the LDS church put its faith? On the safety and comfort this world offers, or on the reality of eternity with God, and the salvation He offers through the gospel? The missionary policy seems geared towards the former, in my opinion.

Just my thoughts. Take care, everyone :ph34r:

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G-d, we hold, will open up countries for His work in His due time. This happened in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Northeast Asia. It wasn't all that long ago.

Ironically, a major reason such areas are now open to LDS missionaries is precisely because Christians were operating underground, and sometimes openly defying a corrupt government. If the borders of China are ever opened to LDS, it will be because of the Christian church already operating within its borders.

G-d asks of us that we do what we can to gain admittance through legal means. We are not in the business of doing so illegally. We respect and love our neighbors sufficiently well not to try to force something on them against their will.

What about giving something to your neighbors that they desperately need and want, but that somebody else doesn't want them to have? Missionaries don't work in China and India to force people to Christ. They are there to present the gospel (and the hope and life change it offers) to people who desperately want it, but the government doesn't want it there for various reasons. Our government does the exact same thing, except with food and water. Remember "Black Hawk Down"? Is that kind of thing wrong, because the US is doing something the other government doesn't want in order to save lives?

Look at the situation of the Dalits in India. They are the Untouchable caste, given the worst jobs and treated worse than slaves. They actually invited Christian missionaries to visit with their leaders, to talk about coming out of Hinduism en masse and joining Christianity. This is a group of hundreds of millions of people. And today Christianity is growing like crazy among the Dalit people. Where are the LDS in situations like these?

It is arrogance to force the issue. Cultural arrogance. Cultural imperialism.

If the gospel were simply a matter of culture, you would be correct. But as I think we would agree, it isn't. It's a universal message for all people across all cultural boundaries. And in many cases, these are native individuals carrying the gospel to their own people, being persecuted as a result. Obviously they are not being culturally arrogant, because it's their culture. And even "whities" preaching in India is not necessarily cultural imperialism, because today's missionaries often adapt more to the people they are trying to reach than vice versa.

Wow, more later. Take care, everyone :P

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In response to USU's

G-d, we hold, will open up countries for His work in His due time. This happened in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Northeast Asia. It wasn't all that long ago.

Rhino said:

Ironically, a major reason such areas are now open to LDS missionaries is precisely because Christians were operating underground, and sometimes openly defying a corrupt government. If the borders of China are ever opened to LDS, it will be because of the Christian church already operating within its borders.

1. Trade unions, supported by the RC and Anglo/American money and political muscle, wrested Poland from the Warsaw pact.

2. Muslim unrest brought to a critical point made the Russians realize that xenophobia, arms races and cold wars and protection of artificial borders were less important than secure traditional borders.

3. The work of millions of Mormons in Temples and elsewhere certainly had a hand in softening hearts.

4. I don't think it's wise to overemphasize the importance of the unimportant.

USU:  G-d asks of us that we do what we can to gain admittance through legal means. We are not in the business of doing so illegally. We respect and love our neighbors sufficiently well not to try to force something on them against their will.
Rhino:  What about giving something to your neighbors that they desperately need and want, but that somebody else doesn't want them to have? Missionaries don't work in China and India to force people to Christ. They are there to present the gospel (and the hope and life change it offers) to people who desperately want it, but the government doesn't want it there for various reasons. Our government does the exact same thing, except with food and water. Remember "Black Hawk Down"? Is that kind of thing wrong, because the US is doing something the other government doesn't want in order to save lives?

G-d will force no man to heaven. We are His children. Reread Alma and Helamen.

Rhino:  Look at the situation of the Dalits in India. They are the Untouchable caste, given the worst jobs and treated worse than slaves. They actually invited Christian missionaries to visit with their leaders, to talk about coming out of Hinduism en masse and joining Christianity. This is a group of hundreds of millions of people. And today Christianity is growing like crazy among the Dalit people. Where are the LDS in situations like these?

Obeying the law, making inroads where and when we can. We force no-one. We are not the allmighty Morg we're accused of being. We do what we can, where we can with the resources at our disposal. If G-d calls us to the Black Hole of Calcutta tomorrow, modern-day sicarii notwithstanding, we'll be brushing up on our snotty French accents.

USU:  It is arrogance to force the issue. Cultural arrogance. Cultural imperialism.
Rhino:  If the gospel were simply a matter of culture, you would be correct. But as I think we would agree, it isn't. It's a universal message for all people across all cultural boundaries. And in many cases, these are native individuals carrying the gospel to their own people, being persecuted as a result. Obviously they are not being culturally arrogant, because it's their culture. And even "whities" preaching in India is not necessarily cultural imperialism, because today's missionaries often adapt more to the people they are trying to reach than vice versa.

I disagree. I'm quite sure the Hindi disagree.

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Rhino, the importance of taking the Gospel to people is not just for them to hear of it, or about it. If that were all, we could airplanes to pull banners behind them that said, "Jesus is the way." Then we would have done our duty. We are to introduce the Gospel to them, and when the Spirit converts them, baptize them, and bring them into the Lord's Church. This is a lifelong committment. This has to happen where the Church can be above ground.

I meant by "missionaries who destroy" the people who are on missions to Mormons, or Catholics or Jehovah Witnesses, etc. who don't want to convert to, but only convert from.

And I couldn't find a bolded question. I am not ignoring you.

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It's simple:

Homophobia, racism, sexism, secret handshakes, excluding family members from marriages, etc, etc, etc

People are finally figuring out that God and Mormonism are on the complete opposite sides of many issues.

Whoa. Well sometimes simple is not so simple, but really complex. I can't wait to see the responses to this one.

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6: I know this sounds self serving but my experience with missionaries is that they, in general, don't work as hard. I know tracting is not the best method. But the missionaries where I live will fo out of their way to avoid it and try to do anything else, even if it is non productive.

Tracting has been the key to alot of the success we have had around here. The new Mission President mandated two hours of tracting everyday for every companionship and they have been finding alot more people.

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Some actual data, and fairly recent:
Membership Distribution (31 December 2004):

Canada - 169,633

United States - 5,599,177

Mexico - 1,013,071

Caribbean - 138,511

Central America - 527,511

South America - 2,904,085

Europe - 440,945

Asia - 865,987

Africa - 220,798

South Pacific - 396,104

That give us:

Latin America: 4,583,178

US + Canada: 5,768,810

Rest of World: 1,923,834

Thus, Rhino's assertion that the LDS is an "American Church" by and large is true, if we give "America" its proper, non-exclusive-US, definition. We've been long awaiting the day when Latin America overtakes British America in numbers. Perhaps within 5-10 years?

We have much work to do elsewhere.

Edit to include the following link:

Mormon Haven Stats

When i see those numbers I just think of the Prophecy that the "Priesthood will fill north and south America. It will fill the world" It's interesting that Joseph said it would fill North and South America first.

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And I couldn't find a bolded question. I am not ignoring you.

Oops, my fault! Here's the question I was talking about:

What percentage of other Churches are in continual outreach to others to bring them in?

Hope that helps.

1. Trade unions, supported by the RC and Anglo/American money and political muscle, wrested Poland from the Warsaw pact.

2. Muslim unrest brought to a critical point made the Russians realize that xenophobia, arms races and cold wars and protection of artificial borders were less important than secure traditional borders.

I agree there were many factors, but underground Christianity had a huge impact as well. You already pointed out the RCC's work in Poland. Another prominent incident, the "Christmas Revolution" in Romania that ousted dictator Nicolae Ceausescu would be another example. That was a major chink in the Iron Curtain! Other factors, including prayer, as you said, also contributed.

There's a reason dictatorships and regimes either outlaw or heavily regulate religion (particularly Christianity) soon after they come to power.

G-d will force no man to heaven. We are His children. Reread Alma and Helamen.

But will God force those who want to hear the gospel in this life away from the preaching of it? Read my earlier response again. Missionaries are not there to force the gospel on anyone; they are there to present it and let the individual make up his/her own mind. If the government refuses to let even that happen, then preaching the gospel is still the priority.

I disagree. I'm quite sure the Hindi disagree.

So the gospel is simply a cultural phenomenon that has no universal aspects? And as far as whether the Hindi agree or not, try talking to an Indian Christian and see what they think.

The cultural aspect is an interesting one, however. When I said earlier that the LDS church was basically American, I didn't mean that most of its membership is American, but that its structure, practices, and world view are quintessentially American. I see cultural adaptation as a much more significant problem with the LDS approach than with mainstream Christianity. That, I think, contributes to the slowing growth in a big way, as well as to the low retention rate.

More in a bit. Take care :P

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Rhino, what I meant by "What percentage of other churches are in continual outreach to others to bring them in?" was this: how much do other churches, EV's mostly, do in percentage of their other activities, on missionary work.

And about is it cultural or universal. The Gospel is universal. And the Lord Himself decides when and where the missionaries go. He knows when His people are ready to the hear the message. We know the Church will eventually fill the world. In the Lord's own time.

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Rhino, what I meant by "What percentage of other churches are in continual outreach to others to bring them in?" was this: how much do other churches, EV's mostly, do in percentage of their other activities, on missionary work.

Gotcha, thanks for clarifying for me. I can't give you exact percentages, but one of the commonly accepted characteristics of the evangelical movement as a whole is that evangelism is a huge priority. That's how we got the name! :P That characteristic is also present in most (if not all) of mainstream Christianity. Also, Christians also contribute to missions work personally, without going through a church. For example, I regularly donate money to Gospel For Asia, a native missionary organization in India. This is outside of my church giving.

In my personal experience, I've never been to a mainstream Christian church that didn't devote time and/or money to missions or evangelism.

More later. Take care, everyone <_<

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