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By Five Solas
As LDS Church membership growth stalls and in some places declines (particularly in urban areas like Seattle), a number of explanations have been offered. There’s been a lot of focus on availability of information via the internet, particularly regarding church history. There’s also been a lot of discussion of Millennials and their preferences, which are often not well aligned with traditional LDS beliefs and culture.
But I wonder if part of the trouble isn’t related to a decline in the traditional candidate pool for LDS conversions. In my experience, LDS converts often came from what I would call liberal Protestantism, mainline denominations many of which have been in steady decline in recent decades. And if my observation is broadly true, then as they have declined the result has been a shrinking pool of promising candidates for LDS missionaries to draw from. Implicit here is that the LDS message doesn’t resonate equally well across different groups (unless the candidate is only marginally engaged therein).
What do folks here think? Does the LDS religion have a uniform appeal across religious backgrounds? Or are some more likely, statistically speaking, to be receptive to the LDS message?
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday
--The Beatles, 1965
I know there have been a couple threads about this already, but they were closed for unknown reasons and since this story was told in my Sunday School class yesterday I wanted to make an attempt at this subject again. Here are links to three versions of this story that were posted about before.
And here is another blog that I found with a similar account:
All four versions have differences elements to the story, but some similar threads exist. The person in my ward brought this story up as a faith promoting missionary experience. This made me think about an NPR Hidden Brain episode that I listened to recently that talked about how we perceive the phenomena of coincidence. Very interesting podcast on the subject, I recommend checking it out.
When stories like this are shared, is it a good thing for our faith community? Knowing that many more members will have family members who leave the church and never return, isn't sharing a story like this more likely to produce false hope in people, making people question whether they are righteous enough to deserve this kind of a blessing from God.
Does it do more harm than good to share stories like this, considering how rare they are? Or is false hope actually a net positive thing for people to hold on to? Thoughts?
By Five Solas
Driving back to the office after a client meeting last Thursday afternoon, listening to KCBS (public radio from Bellevue College) in the car – and I heard this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lql7USZG96E.
Mostly, I think it’s a great piece of topical pop & I wanted to make sure nobody here missed it. But we need to make it sufficiently debatable so the mods don’t punt this to “Social Hall”—so let’s have a bit of substance to get us there.
To borrow from a review by Spin Magazine—
We meet him [singer/songwriter Jens Lekman] right away on “To Know Your Mission,” Life Will See You Now’s first song. It’s 1997, and a Mormon missionary in Gothenburg encounters a teenager “who takes his headphones off and introduces himself as Jens.” The Mormon’s a stand-in for existential certainty, and Jens considers his own. He’s not sure his songs are any good; maybe he’ll be a psychiatrist, or a social worker, like his dad. “I just want to listen to people’s stories,” he realizes. The tempo speeds way up and then slows way down, like time flowing around an epiphany, which arrives in the present tense: “I’m serving you.” It’s the first time Lekman has so clearly defined the organizing ethics always hinted at in his music: that people are funny, listening to them breeds empathy, empathy breeds love, and love is the highest service to the world.
A Mormon as a stand-in for existential certainty. Anyone care to defend the sense in Lekman’s lyrics? (Hint: It sure ain’t gonna be mfbukowski.) Please, just to keep us out of Social Hall.
PS. Apologies in advance to rongo who feels “pop culture” (in which Lekman is playing a part) distracts kids and contributes to attrition from the LDS Church. But then, maybe he’s right. Or maybe his objection has already been answered. Let readers decide.
But in a world of mouths
I want to be an ear
If there's a purpose to all this
Then that's why God put me here
--Jens Lekman, 2017
This just in!!!
Missionaries can now wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats!
Updated LDS missionary dress and grooming guidelines allow for sunglasses
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made updates to its dress and grooming guidelines for missionaries.
The updates include permission for missionaries to wear “simple and conservative sunglasses” and approved wide-brimmed hats while proselyting. These changes have been made to “provide protection from the sun,” according to lds.org.
More information about the dress and grooming guidelines can be found at missionary.lds.org/clothing."
I know I have already seen missionaries wearing sunglasses before this policy.