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Joanna Brooks: "Mormon Numbers Not Adding Up"


Peppermint Patty

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This topic seems to be of particular interest on anti-Mormon websites. It seems that the Church's membership numbers are grossly inflated and deceitful. Then the poll numbers come out and viola, there is evidence that the Church is not what it is purported to be. There are no baptisms or those that are baptized quickly leave the Church....and, of course, the Church still inflates its numbers in a major mastermind strategy to appear larger than it is.

First of all, I have yet to see one poll in politics that is accurate. Statistics is an interesting field and unless you know all the variables very well, the output becomes quickly questionable. Of course, there is the old adage about lies, d*** lies, and statistics.

Second, the whole topic is a major yawn. The Church will always send out missionaries to preach the gospel. Wards will still send out home/visiting teachers to strengthen the members. Members will fall away while others will be reactivated. It is a cycle that will continue.

Although I am gratified that so many are so interested in the growth of the LDS Church, and I appreciate their confidence in their own justifications about why the Church has ANY members, much less baptizing people.

As long as the Church continues to build new ward buildings, stake centers, and temples, I will tend to look with a jaundiced eye on all the criticism as the babbling of the ignorant and those with a very specific agenda. When the Church actual does have a major falling away, I will know that the time is short and the warning of our neighbor is about to draw to a close.

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Good post, Storm Rider.

From the article:

If this is true, I am okay with being a member of a "maturing minority". It sounds kind of dignifying.

The gist of Brooks' statement is that the Church will never be anything other than a small minority and that we are growing accustomed to that fact. I am not sure if the LDS people ever had conscious designs for US domination; I don't think that thought ever was present in my thinking. However, if the context is that the LDS Church will continue to do what it does, then I am very happy with that position. I don't see us really changing our objectives about our role as disciples of Christ. I do think that we will see changes because we have always seen changes. Most will be rather insignificant, but we might still have a shock or two coming down the pike for the membership.

The Forum seems to have taken a decided negative bent of late. The Church is failing, the members are deserting en masse, all is wrong. Yet, members still get up and go to church; they try to do what is right; they worry about being good parents and families; young men and women still leave to serve missions; and general conference will occur again in a few months. The stone rolls forth and will do so until every nation, every clime, every people hear the gospel of the restored Church. The work has never been more vital nor more urgent. We still look forward to the return of Jesus Christ with anticipation and expectation.

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The gist of Brooks' statement is that the Church will never be anything other than a small minority and that we are growing accustomed to that fact. I am not sure if the LDS people ever had conscious designs for US domination; I don't think that thought ever was present in my thinking. However, if the context is that the LDS Church will continue to do what it does, then I am very happy with that position. I don't see us really changing our objectives about our role as disciples of Christ. I do think that we will see changes because we have always seen changes. Most will be rather insignificant, but we might still have a shock or two coming down the pike for the membership.

The Forum seems to have taken a decided negative bent of late. The Church is failing, the members are deserting en masse, all is wrong. Yet, members still get up and go to church; they try to do what is right; they worry about being good parents and families; young men and women still leave to serve missions; and general conference will occur again in a few months. The stone rolls forth and will do so until every nation, every clime, every people hear the gospel of the restored Church. The work has never been more vital nor more urgent. We still look forward to the return of Jesus Christ with anticipation and expectation.

Another excellent post. +1 again.

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I think that there are plenty of us who make commitments and then have trouble keeping them. And I'd wager that while it is sad when members cannot keep those commitments to a larger degree, the rate of drop off in church commitment in other churches is at least as great as any drop off in the LDS community.

I also think that the reason people who are former members make a big deal of this (see below for how their concern may be misplaced) is that it gives them comfort to think that they are not alone in their own exodus, that they have company. Maybe it also helps them justify having done so.

(I'm always amused at those who argue that LDS miscount. Fact is that doctrinally, baptism and doing our personal best makes us perfect in Christ. Therefore, leaders would be remis in excluding from membership baptzed people who never attended church again but are trying their hardest to do so (and keep other commandments and repent and live as good a life as they can), It is easy to resign from the Church if one wants to no longer be counted among the saints.)

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I wouldn’t be overly concerned about our small numbers relative to the rest of the world, as this was prophesied in 1st Nephi 14: 12 –

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were afew, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon ball the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

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The gist of Brooks' statement is that the Church will never be anything other than a small minority and that we are growing accustomed to that fact. I am not sure if the LDS people ever had conscious designs for US domination; I don't think that thought ever was present in my thinking. However, if the context is that the LDS Church will continue to do what it does, then I am very happy with that position. I don't see us really changing our objectives about our role as disciples of Christ. I do think that we will see changes because we have always seen changes. Most will be rather insignificant, but we might still have a shock or two coming down the pike for the membership.

The Forum seems to have taken a decided negative bent of late. The Church is failing, the members are deserting en masse, all is wrong. Yet, members still get up and go to church; they try to do what is right; they worry about being good parents and families; young men and women still leave to serve missions; and general conference will occur again in a few months. The stone rolls forth and will do so until every nation, every clime, every people hear the gospel of the restored Church. The work has never been more vital nor more urgent. We still look forward to the return of Jesus Christ with anticipation and expectation.

Very good post, Storm Rider, both this and the previous one.

When this topic comes up, I always think of the vision of Nephi, who beheld that the Church of the Lamb of God in the last days would be over all the face of the earth, but that its numbers would be few, this due to the influence of the devil. That pretty nearly sums up the situation today.

As much as I would like sociologist Rodney Stark's projections relative to the growth of the Church to be correct, they are not necessary for the fulfillment of prophecy, nor is lack of global predominance cause for hand-wringing.

And lest someone here bring up Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, let me hasten to add that I believe that to be a prophecy that will not have its perfect fulfillment until the Millennium.

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Very good post, Storm Rider, both this and the previous one.

When this topic comes up, I always think of the vision of Nephi, who beheld that the Church of the Lamb of God in the last days would be over all the face of the earth, but that its numbers would be few, this due to the influence of the devil. That pretty nearly sums up the situation today.

As much as I would like sociologist Rodney Stark's projections relative to the growth of the Church to be correct, they are not necessary for the fulfillment of prophecy, nor is lack of global predominance cause for hand-wringing.

And lest someone here bring up Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, let me hasten to add that belive that to be a prophecy that will not have its perfect fulfillment until the Millennium.

It might appear I neglected to read Sky's post before I posted the above. What happened is that we posted at about the same time, with his post appearing an instant before mine.

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We go through cycles in our Stake. The percentage of young men deciding to serve missions might dip, we concentrate on it and fix it. Sacrament Meeting attendance might dip, we concentrate on it and fix it. Etc etc. But what's been pretty constant through it all is a steady growth in membership and convert baptisms (around 50 a year). The activity and temple recommend rates remain about the same and so there has been no negative growth in the overall numbers of members or numbers of active "TBM's".

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I wouldn’t be overly concerned about our small numbers relative to the rest of the world, as this was prophesied in 1st Nephi 14: 12 –

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were afew, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon ball the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

The "church" that this passages was referring to was one of the "two churches only"--the other being the church of the devil. The idea of there being a formal "Mormon" church had not yet occurred to Joseph Smith. So this does not necessarily mean the LDS Church. It just means everyone who follows Jesus. Then again, you have to balance that against later statements by Joseph Smith identifying Mormonism as the stone cut from the mountain in the book of Daniel, which would roll forth until it fills the whole earth (see D&C 65:2). Smith's understanding of the role of his church evolved over the years. It is the latter paradigm that has most influenced authoritative Mormon speakers in the late 20th century.

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The "church" that this passages was referring to was one of the "two churches only"--the other being the church of the devil. The idea of there being a formal "Mormon" church had not yet occurred to Joseph Smith.

There you go again, unquestioningly assuming that the Book of Mormon represents Joseph Smith's own thinking at any given time. Doubtless it influenced his thinking, but no believing Latter-day Saint regards it as a product of his thinking.

Just so you know.

Regards,

Pahoran

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