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


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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

By definition, one doesn't lose faithful members.

I think you know what I mean.  Formerly faithful members then. 

1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

There really is no meaningful reason to share in this thread what we know from personal experience helps the Church to grow because you have already predetermined what the 'problem' is and therefore what needs fixing, and I am certain that you are wrong.

Have I?  And how are you certain I am wrong when you have not even stated where I am wrong?

1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

This is not at all obvious to me, and I sincerely doubt it is obvious to most other faithful members reading this thread. Has my ward lost some members over the nearly 19 years I've lived in this city? Yes, certainly. And no doubt those who left would label themselves 'high quality', 'TBM', 'prominent', etc., in their exit narratives, but that has not actually been my observation.

Spend some time in forums of FORMERLY FAITHFUL members who have now become disaffected.  I think it may be enlightening for you.  That is if you wish it.

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8 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Apparently we disagree.  

You don't think the market has changed?  What rock are you living under?

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

We have discussed this same issue many times before on this board, and I think that you and the study author are wrong on nearly all counts. 

Ok.  How so?

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Whether the LDS Brethren are in full panic mode is not really a serious question:  They are men of faith, and are unlikely to be daunted by evanescent tendencies, nor by linear thinking.

Men of faith are not above concern or fears. 

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

One of the reasons for this failure to correctly assess the problem is poor sociological analysis, and consequent failure to understand the real reasons why religious people leave their religion behind -- which has little to do with "honesty" or "history," and much less on the internet. 

I think as far as Mormonism goes you are grossly mistaken and I have posted a link twice here that shows the top LDS leadership aware and concerned that the Church narrative is under heavy scrutiny and the the defenders so a poor job dealing with historical and doctrinal concerns.

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

Non-LDS scholars have taken a close look at the question, and have come up with far more compelling reasons.  Hint:  Methodist church bldgs are closing now at an increased rate, and membership is in rapid decline, which has nothing whatever to do with polygamy, prophecy, gold plates, or seerstones, nor with the ability to defend such. 

Of course it does not have to do with those things for the Methodist Church.  They have none of those difficult issues to deal with. This seems pretty obvious.

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

 

Moreover, those who leave need not be described as "apostates."

Ok. I would have no problem with that. 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Projecting that "If this trend of slowing over the last 10 years, continues, Mormon membership will peak around the year 2034 and then begin to decline for the first time in modern history," is particularly short-sighted.  Any assessment worth making is going to look at the long history of church growth, since its inception, rather than only recent decades.  When a chart is constructed in such a way as to show the sharpest possible decline, what does that say about the analyst?

I do not disagree that the data set is a short time frame and certainly longer trends should be reviewed.

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

My personal feeling about those who choose to become inactive, or to resign from the LDS or any other faith are fully justified in their actions, and all their friends and family should continue to love them and treat them as part of a close circle -- unless they become unfriendly, antagonistic, and vicious -- as though on a "mission" to destroy the beliefs and culture of those they have left behind. 

Great. I would agree.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

 

I am not at all worried about the future of the LDS Church:  The great Rabbi Gamaliel (Paul's teacher, and a member of the Sanhedrin) put it bluntly in Acts 5:38-39,

Neither am I really. Just an interesting topic. I thought.

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2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

You don't think the market has changed?  What rock are you living under?

I think the market has changed and I think you have a major problem with the product. Hard to sell something that is so clearly patently false with all the  info out there.

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

There really is no meaningful reason to share in this thread what we know from personal experience helps the Church to grow because you have already predetermined what the 'problem' is and therefore what needs fixing, and I am certain that you are wrong.

 

18 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Have I?  And how are you certain I am wrong when you have not even stated where I am wrong?

 

4 minutes ago, Teancum said:

I think you have a major problem with the product. Hard to sell something that is so clearly patently false with all the  info out there.

:rofl:

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20 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Spend some time in forums of FORMERLY FAITHFUL members who have now become disaffected.  I think it may be enlightening for you.

So you want me to spend time in forums with people who have left as they repeatedly assure each other that they were they best and the brightest (and most faithful!) and the Church is doomed without them instead of watching what the impact of actual people I know leaving the Church has been?

Hint: impact has been zero.

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13 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

So you want me to spend time in forums with people who have left as they repeatedly assure each other that they were they best and the brightest (and most faithful!) and the Church is doomed without them instead of watching what the impact of actual people I know leaving the Church has been?

Hint: impact has been zero.

No don't bother. Empathy seems to be a difficult concept for you.

I love that whenever I wonder if leaving the Church was a bad decision I just come here and spend some time with some of you folks and I know that is was one of the best choices  I have ever made. Appreciate that.

Edited by Teancum
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2 minutes ago, Teancum said:

No don't bother. Empathy seems to be a difficult concept for you.

It is, actually. My nephew's wife in America caught Covid in October after nearly a year of posting anti-vaccine misinformation, and she's still on bottled oxygen (and may be for the rest of her life?).

I've tried and tried to feel empathy for her. I definitely feel it for her husband (my nephew) and their young daughter, but at some point, I have to let people make their own choices, even if those choices leave them sick, miserable, or just just cranky on internet forums.

Quote

I love that whenever I wonder if leaving the Church was a bad decision I just come here and spend some time with some of you folks and I know that is was one of the best choices  I have ever made. Appreciate that.

You're most welcome. I'm happy to give you another opportunity to practise integrating emotional blackmail into one of your posts. :good:

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3 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

 

You're most welcome. I'm happy to give you another opportunity to practise integrating emotional blackmail into one of your posts. :good:

You also seem to struggle with self reflection.

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2 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

I don't really have much to disagree with you about here, but did want to point out that this is sort of an underhanded insult to every faithful saint reading this thread.

LM - "I ain't high quality, but at least I shows up."

I think it retains high quality members as well. I did not intend that as an insult.  And is still retaining more than it loses.

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12 minutes ago, Teancum said:

You also seem to struggle with self reflection.

I think that's a slightly more effective approach than your last one. Keep practising!

Who knows? Someday you may succeed in making me feel responsible for your unhappiness.

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6 hours ago, Teancum said:
I posted this in Poptarts thread on the decline of Christianity in general but thought it was worth  thread.

Form an Latter day Saint standpoint this article points out some disturbing trends and even the start of a decline in LDS membership starting in the 2030s.  

What steps can the Church do, if any, to stave this off?  Do you think the top leaders are worried? I think they must be.

Any other thoughts?

On this board you likely will get very few answers based on what is actually going on.  All belief  with the exception of anyone who has had a personal visit from God is based on faith.  What is the definition of faith: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Those faithful believers who have a very black and white faith will follow this scripture.  It doesn't matter what evidence you or anyone else provides, the Church will win in the end.  I have a little different type of faith.  God, not the Church will win in the end.  I believe 95% of general authorities are black and white faithful believers that don't worry as long as those at the top keeps coming out with programs represented as revelation like "Come follow me", ministering, the new youth program and the abundance of online firesides that are billed as opportunities to address the issues that different groups in the Church face.  Remember that currently you have general authorities asserting every chance they can get that these new programs are effective and blessing the lives of every faithful members of the Church.  Thus you see the discussion in this thread that pretty much dismisses anyone who leaves as someone who because of their own actions lost their faith.  Faithful believers including general authorities will almost never accept that many are losing their faith due to the words and actions of those very same leaders.

Now you and I and a few others might have an interesting conversation but I am pretty sure it will be picked apart and dismissed as unfaithful.  I will give it my try to answer your question as a still active believing member in the gospel of Jesus Christ that is contained in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I believe the Church is in danger of going into a rapid period of decline if nothing changes because some major current Church practices and policies are creating huge confusion and pain in many members hearts.  This includes LGTBQ members lack of place in any way in the Church that brings them a life of happiness.  This issue is exacerbated by the joy and happiness that many queer members are finding by following the desires of their hearts and the pain and suffering of those who try to follow current Church guidance.  Next is the position of women in the Church.  No good reason or guidance as to why women can never be the ultimate authority in a ward, stake, area or the general Church has been provided.  All the efforts to appease women such as changes in the temple ceremony and having wives of general authorities speak with them has not addressed the basic concerns of many women about patriarchy.  The Church's treatment of abuse victims by only providing lawyers to guide bishops and the non disclosure efforts of the Church on abuse cases is offensive to many when learned about.  The current efforts of general authorities to rewrite Church history by including things not taught for a hundred years as if they were always taught is just to obvious.  Also the explanation of many of these new/old facts is so shadowed with a slant justifying the facts as faith promoting rather than troubling that many people see right through it when they do their own research and lose trust in leaders.  The statement by general authorities and local leaders that all is well in Zion when many are experiencing just the opposite also creates a loss of trust.

If you and I are correct about the coming decline, I believe the Church has a history of changing when it realizes its very existence is in danger as evidenced by polygamy and the priesthood ban.  I believe all of the above will lead the Church to a point where its existence is threatened and changes will be made that will allow the Church to continue.  I believe this is how God works and why He wins in the end.  There is enough honesty, revelation and charity in the souls of Church leaders to make the needed changes when there is no longer any options.  Church leaders will come to realized that God has given them all the evidence they need by the effects of their teachings and doctrinal interpretations that lack some elements of eternal truths.

I have no idea how long this will take but I do have faith that it will happen.  I hope it is in the next 20 years so I can see it in my lifetime.

Now let the attacks and slicing and deicing begin along with tangential arguments to get us off topic. 

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7 hours ago, Teancum said:

What steps can the Church do, if any, to stave this off?  Do you think the top leaders are worried? I think they must be.

Any other thoughts?

Two approaches to these questions:

#1 - The church is not what it claims to be and just a secular organization
- It can change it's doctrinal practices to more adequately meet the wants of the world
- Stop requiring tithing
- Turn their hierarchy into a voting system and allow all members of all genders, age, sexual orientation, and wealth status to run for president
- Focus less on self reliance and give their wealth to anyone who asks regardless of their situation
- Reject the BOM, D+C and POGP as scriptures and stick with the bible
- Turn their temples in something other than what they are now

#2 - The Church is all it claims to be and is preparing the way for the last days
- Double down on doctrines we know to be true that are under attack
- Continue improving missionary work and gathering the elect
- Continue to focus on teaching self reliance
- Continually focus on spreading the message of the Restoration, Atonement of Christ, and modern day prophets
- Witch hunt the crap out of all the cultural beliefs we as saints still hold to

Edited by Fether
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4 minutes ago, Fether said:

- Witch hunt the crap out of all the cultural beliefs we as saints still hold to

Yes! Elder Bednar told us the First Presidency and the Twelve have been working on this for decades, resulting in many of the 'recent' changes, and with many more to come.

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9 minutes ago, Fether said:

Two approaches to these questions:

#1 - The church is not what it claims to be and just a secular organization
- It can change it's doctrinal practices to more adequately meet the wants of the world
- Stop requiring tithing
- Turn their hierarchy into a voting system and allow all members of all genders, age, sexual orientation, and wealth status to run for president
- Focus less on self reliance and give their wealth to anyone who asks regardless of their situation
- Reject the BOM, D+C and POGP as scriptures and stick with the bible
- Turn their temples in something other than what they are now

#2 - The Church is all it claims to be and is preparing the way for the last days
- Double down on doctrines we know to be true that are under attack
- Continue improving missionary work and gathering the elect
- Continue to focus on teaching self reliance
- Continually focus on spreading the message of the Restoration, Atonement of Christ, and modern day prophets
- Witch hunt the crap out of all the cultural beliefs we as saints still hold to

Yup.  Rabbi Gamliel would agree:  If is merely a secular outfit, it will fail  If it is divine, don't get in its way.

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4 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Or out of touch.  I assume they are aware of the statistics.  I see no reason why that should panic them at all.  Why?  Refer to comments of Rabbi Gamliel.

"Historical and doctrinal concerns" play no substantial role in causing LDS people to leave the Church, except for a very small group of angry malcontents.  What is noteworthy to me is how poorly informed that group is.

Which is exactly the point:  The Methodist Church is in full collapse, as are many mainline churches.  Sociologists have found that the reasons have nothing to do with historical and doctrinal controversies of any kind.  The loss of interest in religion and religious observance is generic in Western culture, having nothing to do with the imaginary causes you have enumerated for the LDS Church.  The LDS Church is suffering from much the same problems all churches suffer from, and for the same reasons.  This is a concomitant of modernism, and it is indeed a drag on LDS growth.  There is no magic formula which can turn that tendency around.

More to the point, even when the woke mainstream Christian Churches make every effort to be accommodating to politically and culturally correct demands, they fall apart even faster than they had been collapsing.  Get woke, go broke.  It has been precisely the more conservative and fundamentalist Christian Churches which have managed to survive far longer than their mainstream sisters.

It is, but it is deserving of far more serious engagement with sociological analysis and conclusions, which I have frequently cited on this board in the past.

You know, maybe this is an interesting topic for another thread, but I’d like to hear if you have any thoughts on it:

The Metaverse.  
 

I’ve been listening to commentary on it the last couple days, and it’s not only concerning, but down right frightening.  I think our fate as a society lies more in line with “entertaining ourselves to death” than with any other.

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41 minutes ago, kimpearson said:

On this board you likely will get very few answers based on what is actually going on.  All belief  with the exception of anyone who has had a personal visit from God is based on faith.  What is the definition of faith: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Those faithful believers who have a very black and white faith will follow this scripture.  It doesn't matter what evidence you or anyone else provides, the Church will win in the end.  I have a little different type of faith.  God, not the Church will win in the end.  I believe 95% of general authorities are black and white faithful believers that don't worry as long as those at the top keeps coming out with programs represented as revelation like "Come follow me", ministering, the new youth program and the abundance of online firesides that are billed as opportunities to address the issues that different groups in the Church face.  Remember that currently you have general authorities asserting every chance they can get that these new programs are effective and blessing the lives of every faithful members of the Church.  Thus you see the discussion in this thread that pretty much dismisses anyone who leaves as someone who because of their own actions lost their faith.  Faithful believers including general authorities will almost never accept that many are losing their faith due to the words and actions of those very same leaders.

Now you and I and a few others might have an interesting conversation but I am pretty sure it will be picked apart and dismissed as unfaithful.  I will give it my try to answer your question as a still active believing member in the gospel of Jesus Christ that is contained in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I believe the Church is in danger of going into a rapid period of decline if nothing changes because some major current Church practices and policies are creating huge confusion and pain in many members hearts.  This includes LGTBQ members lack of place in any way in the Church that brings them a life of happiness.  This issue is exacerbated by the joy and happiness that many queer members are finding by following the desires of their hearts and the pain and suffering of those who try to follow current Church guidance.  Next is the position of women in the Church.  No good reason or guidance as to why women can never be the ultimate authority in a ward, stake, area or the general Church has been provided.  All the efforts to appease women such as changes in the temple ceremony and having wives of general authorities speak with them has not addressed the basic concerns of many women about patriarchy.  The Church's treatment of abuse victims by only providing lawyers to guide bishops and the non disclosure efforts of the Church on abuse cases is offensive to many when learned about.  The current efforts of general authorities to rewrite Church history by including things not taught for a hundred years as if they were always taught is just to obvious.  Also the explanation of many of these new/old facts is so shadowed with a slant justifying the facts as faith promoting rather than troubling that many people see right through it when they do their own research and lose trust in leaders.  The statement by general authorities and local leaders that all is well in Zion when many are experiencing just the opposite also creates a loss of trust.

If you and I are correct about the coming decline, I believe the Church has a history of changing when it realizes its very existence is in danger as evidenced by polygamy and the priesthood ban.  I believe all of the above will lead the Church to a point where its existence is threatened and changes will be made that will allow the Church to continue.  I believe this is how God works and why He wins in the end.  There is enough honesty, revelation and charity in the souls of Church leaders to make the needed changes when there is no longer any options.  Church leaders will come to realized that God has given them all the evidence they need by the effects of their teachings and doctrinal interpretations that lack some elements of eternal truths.

I have no idea how long this will take but I do have faith that it will happen.  I hope it is in the next 20 years so I can see it in my lifetime.

Now let the attacks and slicing and deicing begin along with tangential arguments to get us off topic. 

You just put into words so much of what I have been struggling with as a faithful, believing member of the church. I hope the changes come in my lifetime, also. 

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Rod Dreher has the decline of membership as a regular topic for him in his blog at the American Conservative.  He regularly discusses about weakening churches, which directly follows liberalization.  It is a general problem and even in faiths that used to be morally strict.  A small group of activist members push for more liberalization, claiming it will stop the decline and instead it accelerates the decline. 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, kimpearson said:

the Church has a history of changing when it realizes its very existence is in danger as evidenced by polygamy and the priesthood ban.

I am extremely excited to see how the church responds to gender and non heterosexual relationships. You are right, the church does make these changes in the those times, but I (and most of the membership) hold to the fact that those changes were of lesser consequence than changes in our doctrine on sexuality and gender identity. I am curious to see either the shift in doctrine or the massive conflict that will arise if we don't.

I am, of course, on the believing side that we won't change this, but I also wasn't around in the late 1800s or the 60s prior to those other changes to see how the general membership felt about those prior issues they changed on.

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