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Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in decline?


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19 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

In my experience people leave when they don't want to "conform" :spiteful: to the organizations rules and standards.

That's the real reason nondenominational "Christian" Churches are increasing.  They want to believe but they don't want to be required to follow any rules whatsoever.
The whole I can believe in Christ but I don't have to live a certain way makes no sense to me.

Huh???????????  I was a pastor of a nondenominational Christian (no quotation marks) church for years. I also grew up in one and then went to a nondenominational Christian (no quotation marks) college. As a pastor, there was never a Sunday that I didn't teach and preach that saying you believe in Christ, but aren't like Christ means nothing.

Are you having a bad day? I don't think I remember such a negative post from your keyboard before!

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24 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Huh???????????  I was a pastor of a nondenominational Christian (no quotation marks) church for years. I also grew up in one and then went to a nondenominational Christian (no quotation marks) college. As a pastor, there was never a Sunday that I didn't teach and preach that saying you believe in Christ, but aren't like Christ means nothing.

Are you having a bad day? I don't think I remember such a negative post from your keyboard before!

I'll give you credit for your intuitive observations.
I have been having a mini-faith crisis lately.  Not about whether the gospel is true.  But about the amount of chaotic opinion surrounding it.
The vocal minority has been getting to me a bit and the insane numbers of differing points of view (which I can totally respect) make it seem like there really is no such thing as testimony or personal revelation.
And that's just among the believers in the restored gospel.  We don't even need to look at other Churches to find the chaos of belief.
 

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18 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I'll give you credit for your intuitive observations.
I have been having a mini-faith crisis lately.  Not about whether the gospel is true.  But about the amount of chaotic opinion surrounding it.
The vocal minority has been getting to me a bit and the insane numbers of differing points of view (which I can totally respect) make it seem like there really is no such thing as testimony or personal revelation.
And that's just among the believers in the restored gospel.  We don't even need to look at other Churches to find the chaos of belief.
 

The parable of the blind men and the elephant might help.  Among the true believers, the elephant is somewhere in all of the chaos and contrasting opinions.  They all offer unique perspectives of the elephant and may have value in seeing the big picture. 

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10 minutes ago, pogi said:

The parable of the blind men and the elephant might help.  Among the true believers, the elephant is somewhere in all of the chaos and contrasting opinions.  They all offer unique perspectives of the elephant and may have value in seeing the big picture. 

Don't you think it's getting worse?
I think there's barely a single aspect of the gospel that doesn't have faithful members vocally promoting wild theories that contradict what used to be easily understood.

The calls to de-canonize D&C 132 or the Book of Abraham.  The new video Tacenda posted about Joseph and Hyrum's murders.  The Brigham stole the Church crowd.  Ordain Women.  Inspired Fiction.  It just never stops.
And the spectre of "continuing revelation" sitting there waiting to pull your most cherished beliefs out from under you at any given time.

It's kind of hard to have faith in anything when anything is up for dismantling.

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36 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Don't you think it's getting worse?
I think there's barely a single aspect of the gospel that doesn't have faithful members vocally promoting wild theories that contradict what used to be easily understood.

The calls to de-canonize D&C 132 or the Book of Abraham.  The new video Tacenda posted about Joseph and Hyrum's murders.  The Brigham stole the Church crowd.  Ordain Women.  Inspired Fiction.  It just never stops.
And the spectre of "continuing revelation" sitting there waiting to pull your most cherished beliefs out from under you at any given time.

It's kind of hard to have faith in anything when anything is up for dismantling.

I somewhat take solace in the fact that a nearly infinite number of interpretations could be given for any perceived phenomenon. The potential for all of these arguments, disagreements, movements, developments, controversies, schisms, hysterias, and so forth has always existed. The mere fact that more people are leveraging, exploiting, and propounding them in greater abundance and intensity today doesn't, in my mind, give them any more or less credibility. I consciously know this, and when I reflect upon it, it seems to help somewhat. 

Yet, at the same time, I am also troubled. Which, to some extent, I think is okay. Being troubled is a sign of human compassion and concern. It is a sign that we care. We don't want to let the feeling overwhelm and crush us, just as we shouldn't allow guilt for sin to steal our hope for redemption or our striving for improvement. But allowing ourselves to not just impassively observe, but also intimately feel, the effects of chaos and strife is a good thing. 

Moreover, to be troubled is to be in good company. During one of the most sacred experiences in the Book of Mormon--right after healing and blessing the people--the perfected and resurrected Christ knelt down and declared "Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel" (3 Nephi 17:14).

I've often found that statement to be profoundly paradoxical. What was he thinking at that moment? Why did he let the crowd hear and record his utterance? And what message should we gain from it? I'm not rightly sure. But I think one layer of the message is that God feels us. He feels our pain. He was not just standing in a crowd of faithful believers, but in a crowd of survivors--people who had witnessed terrible destruction, many of whom were probably still suffering from physical and emotional pain. Undoubtedly, they were still trying to process the chaotic social strife and wickedness that preceded and ultimately led to the chaotic response of nature itself, as fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and likely volcanic darkness wrecked havoc on their families, friends, and neighbors. 

If Jesus can be troubled by the presence and aftermath of such chaotic human strife and suffering, so can we. But we might also follow his lead to find happiness and healing: 

Quote

14 And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.

15 And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.

16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome.

19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.

20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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5 hours ago, Raingirl said:

Interesting. 
 

A few months ago, they took away the zoom link, and now you have to specifically request access each time you want to use it, and apparently you have to have Covid to be approved to use it.  I guess those of us who have other medical problems or want to avoid exposure to Covid (masks not required, no social distancing, etc.), are not considered worthy to have access. 

My ward it has been automatically sent out from the beginning of using zoom to everyone in the ward.  I don’t understand why some wards see this as inappropriate as long as there is a pandemic declared.

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

Don't you think it's getting worse?
I think there's barely a single aspect of the gospel that doesn't have faithful members vocally promoting wild theories that contradict what used to be easily understood.

The calls to de-canonize D&C 132 or the Book of Abraham.  The new video Tacenda posted about Joseph and Hyrum's murders.  The Brigham stole the Church crowd.  Ordain Women.  Inspired Fiction.  It just never stops.
And the spectre of "continuing revelation" sitting there waiting to pull your most cherished beliefs out from under you at any given time.

It's kind of hard to have faith in anything when anything is up for dismantling.

For me, it starts to feel worse the more time I spend online. The tone of almost every doctrinal discussion I've read online is one of debate and having to prove things. With the exception of a few sites, religion and belief are typically mocked and dismissed. The extreme viewpoints are always the most vocal, and they have a platform bigger than ever in the internet. Making it worse, I feel like there are some coordinated propaganda campaigns going on by parties on all sides that are aimed at causing division and conflict. Russia, for example, is very active in using social media to foster political and cultural division. I have no doubt that people with certain religious viewpoints are working toward the same goal with regards to religion.

I find that when I step away from online commentary and just focus on family, the scriptures, and church meetings and responsibilities, things come back into balance. There are so many good people out there both in and out of the church doing so many good things. Spending time with those good people, even when we disagree politically or religiously, really buoys me up. 

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On 1/17/2022 at 1:45 PM, Teancum said:

But three reason I posted it was to see how people would respond, whether active members see a problem and what ideas you all might have to fix YOUR problem.  So this thread is very much serving its purpose.

This active member sees no problem.  God’s children exercising agency is central to His plan.  Those who choose to return to Him and join Him in His work will have done so without any coercion.  

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15 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

This active member sees no problem.  

So the active member does not care when members of their ward stop attending?  Whether it be due to doctrine or historical issues, social issues, offense, desire to sin, boredom or whatever?  Interesting.  But maybe you are right.  I have had little to no contact from my ward. A ward I was fully active in for 30 plus years and held almost every leadership position one  can hold in a ward.  

When I was an EQ president, ward mission leader, bishop, etc I thought losing members of my ward was a problem.

15 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

 

 

God’s children exercising agency is central to His plan.  Those who choose to return to Him and join Him in His work will have done so without any coercion.  

Who mentioned coercion? 

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Ultimately I think people that leave the church, leave because they don't have a testimony that this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. They may have had a testimony and lost it or never had one and remained in the church due to cultural situations.

I also think it's different for converts. We were not raised in the church and we had to gain a testimony before we were baptized. I was pretty much knocked down by the Holy Spirit when I got my testimony and subsequent conversations with Heavenly Father we're in a very loud voice. They were far between episodes but I could never deny or forget them.

I would be considered an inactive member by most folks, but it's not a situation fully of my making. It's time to go back but I don't know what ward to get active in. My home is in Ensenada Mexico, my books are in San Diego at the ward where my mailbox is, my residence is at my Dad's house since Mom died. No other members of my family are in the church.

I actually consider you all my church family.

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1 hour ago, rodheadlee said:

Ultimately I think people that leave the church, leave because they don't have a testimony that this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. They may have had a testimony and lost it or never had one and remained in the church due to cultural situations.

I also think it's different for converts. We were not raised in the church and we had to gain a testimony before we were baptized. I was pretty much knocked down by the Holy Spirit when I got my testimony and subsequent conversations with Heavenly Father we're in a very loud voice. They were far between episodes but I could never deny or forget them.

I would be considered an inactive member by most folks, but it's not a situation fully of my making. It's time to go back but I don't know what ward to get active in. My home is in Ensenada Mexico, my books are in San Diego at the ward where my mailbox is, my residence is at my Dad's house since Mom died. No other members of my family are in the church.

I actually consider you all my church family.

Some people are going to leave.  That has always been the case since the days of Adam.  Lehi dream has people leaving the iron rod and wondering off into unknown lands.  Some people eating of the fruit and becoming ashamed of the those mocking from the spacious building.   Everyone leaves for different reasons.  Some may return and some will not.  My son is taking a break from church.  I am ok with it.  He has to decide for himself what he wants.  I do believe he will come back at some point.  As the world slowly goes down the drain, he will be compelled to.  Many may return simply out of the need to survive as events move forward.  We are living in wonderful times.  The world is growing more afraid and they have good reasons to be afraid.  I just wish I was younger.  I believe the next 30 or 40 years are going to be more terrifying and amazing than the last 150 years.   Maybe the last 2000 years. 

I am technically inactive because of my work schedule.  I have to to work every other week.  I believe a lot of people are inactive for various reasons and a lot of the time it is for legit reasons having nothing to do with the church.  You can be active and not have much of a testimony and inactive and have a strong testimony. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

So the active member does not care when members of their ward stop attending?  Whether it be due to doctrine or historical issues, social issues, offense, desire to sin, boredom or whatever?  Interesting.  But maybe you are right.  I have had little to no contact from my ward. A ward I was fully active in for 30 plus years and held almost every leadership position one  can hold in a ward.  

When I was an EQ president, ward mission leader, bishop, etc I thought losing members of my ward was a problem.

Who mentioned coercion? 

I didn’t say I don’t care, I said I don’t think it’s a problem.  God loves and invites.  We should do the same.  He weeps when His children choose not to follow Him while honoring their agency and continuing to love and invite.  We should do the same.

Hope you’re feeling better.

Edited by let’s roll
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7 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Don't you think it's getting worse?
I think there's barely a single aspect of the gospel that doesn't have faithful members vocally promoting wild theories that contradict what used to be easily understood.

The calls to de-canonize D&C 132 or the Book of Abraham.  The new video Tacenda posted about Joseph and Hyrum's murders.  The Brigham stole the Church crowd.  Ordain Women.  Inspired Fiction.  It just never stops.
And the spectre of "continuing revelation" sitting there waiting to pull your most cherished beliefs out from under you at any given time.

It's kind of hard to have faith in anything when anything is up for dismantling.

I know these questions were not directed to me, and I am not sure have intelligent answers for any of them.  The observation that I do have is that these types of issues or pressure points (for lack of a better term) on the church have always been there.  It seems like there are more issues now, but that very well could be because of increased availability of information. The internet can provide an overwhelming avalanche of information on any given topic.

Edited by sunstoned
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On 1/18/2022 at 5:17 PM, Stargazer said:

There's a tik-tok video going around where a substitute teacher reports being fired because she didn't take a pupil's claim of identifying as a cat seriously, by "meowing" back at a child who "meowed" at her.

 

Tacenda was right not to believe it.

https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-was-teacher-fired-not-meowing-back-student-who-identifies-cat-1672597?fbclid=IwAR04k_2vjxLwJRRqKH9PUNAWKkHoSmQYAzqRHpvgYWsyRTXBJ4fFhcmM8rs

Quote

The video's creator does appear to be a high school teacher, according to her past videos, but the story is entirely made up—ironically, as an exercise to "create awareness" of what kids are going through at school, according to other videos posted several days later by the same account.

After deciding to "fact check" whether the video has indeed spread online, she found it on several outlets…

Curiously, this is the second piece of misinformation purporting that students are identifying as animals this week.

Earlier, a Michigan school superintendent was forced to debunk a rumor, which stemmed from a video from a December school board meeting, where an attendee claimed that the school is installing litter boxes for students that "identify as cats."

 

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On 1/20/2022 at 2:37 PM, JLHPROF said:

Don't you think it's getting worse?
I think there's barely a single aspect of the gospel that doesn't have faithful members vocally promoting wild theories that contradict what used to be easily understood.

The calls to de-canonize D&C 132 or the Book of Abraham.  The new video Tacenda posted about Joseph and Hyrum's murders.  The Brigham stole the Church crowd.  Ordain Women.  Inspired Fiction.  It just never stops.
And the spectre of "continuing revelation" sitting there waiting to pull your most cherished beliefs out from under you at any given time.

It's kind of hard to have faith in anything when anything is up for dismantling.

I'm sorry about the video post. I haven't even watched it yet, maybe should have. 

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5 hours ago, Calm said:

I feel like we as a society act like we're in grade school or I shouldn't say that, grade school children are more adult than these kinds of adults today. And not surprising these particular news outlets would get on the bandwagon and try to make believe it's woke-ism. 

Edited by Tacenda
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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm sorry about the video post. I haven't even watched it yet, maybe should have. 

You're fine.  It's making the rounds so it should be addressed.
But it's just yet another noisy voice in the cacophony that has become self proclaimed believers.  Those that believe the conspiracy in this video are generally Snufferites and those like them.  They think Joseph was perfect, never lived polygamy, (or did live polygamy and tried to repent of it) and that Brigham and the Apostles stole the Church and killed Joseph.
And they twist the historical evidence to get there.

It's a wild theory, right up there with Lizard Men or fake moon landings or QAnon.
And I doubt there are more than a handful that believe it.  But such voices keep gaining ground.

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Recent related article:

https://www.deseret.com/faith/2022/1/22/22895002/the-untold-stories-of-american-religious-life-national-congregations-study-duke-mark-chaves

Quote

In recent decades, the biggest story in American religious life has been about decline. 

Congregations are shrinking. Churches are closing. Religious “nones” are on the rise. 

What gets lost amid all the panel discussions, think pieces and survey reports on these trends is the fact that faith groups are far from dead. As sociologist Mark Chaves puts it, “Even though decline is happening, religion remains, by world standards, very vibrant in the U.S.”

“Decline is an important story and we should keep telling it. ... But we should also be telling stories about what’s happening among people who are still in church,” he said. 

 

 

 

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I agree Calm, as has been mentioned, there is still growth just not as much as in previous years. Last I checked growth does not equal decline. We'll see where the years lead.

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When the church is one of two denominations that is still growing while every other is declining, the church is overcoming huge headwinds.  

I was in a recent training with our mission president who said that the number of people taught and number brought to church in our mission in the same ad 5 years ago, but the baptism have fallen 50%, with the decline very noticeable pre Covid.  

He noted that one of the changes during that time period was that missions were no longer tracking members at discussions.   In his research into this mission, he found that member participation in discussions dropped off once the number no longer reported to SLC.

It is not necessarily causation but definitely correlation.

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4 hours ago, SkyRock said:

When the church is one of two denominations that is still growing while every other is declining, the church is overcoming huge headwinds.  

I was in a recent training with our mission president who said that the number of people taught and number brought to church in our mission in the same ad 5 years ago, but the baptism have fallen 50%, with the decline very noticeable pre Covid.  

He noted that one of the changes during that time period was that missions were no longer tracking members at discussions.   In his research into this mission, he found that member participation in discussions dropped off once the number no longer reported to SLC.

It is not necessarily causation but definitely correlation.

Out of curiosity which other denomination is still growing?

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