Jump to content

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


Recommended Posts

An interesting statistical study, but I advise the following counsel, as stated by an English prime minister.
 

There are lies, damned lies and Statistics. 

I don’t know how true any of this is. Likely some is. I don’t think the growth of the church is what it was historically, but that’s true of any large organization.  But that’s my anecdotal experience here in CA where no one with a family and a stay at home wife can afford to live. The Church is shrinking here. 
As to members leaving the church, all too true. I went on my mission in 1967. At a meeting at the mission home that year we were all informed that 60% of us would either go inactive or leave the church. This is a true statement. Is it worse now?  AFAIK there is no analysis of this in the study.  Remember, the speaker was speaking to missionaries, supposedly the best and brightest. 
 

I don’t have time for more now, but I would suggest that it’s too early for doom and gloom. 

Edited by mrmarklin
Link to comment
28 minutes ago, SkyRock said:

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. 

 

 

I love Rod Dreher, he is hands down my favorite conservative writer 

Link to comment
4 hours ago, poptart said:

Here's the thing, how do the established Mormons in Zion feel about that?  Considering the likes of DeZnat seems to be getting popular in places as well as the older, wealthier ones who can trace their roots back to the pioneers grow resentful of transplants plus their privilege being called out by LDS leadership, we'll see how that goes.  I know a lot of the Mainlines and some Conservative Catholics aren't thrilled with the current state of affairs.

That's where it's important to see beyond the culture and recognize where our foundations truly are. I consider myself one of those established folks you're referring to, and while I'm grateful for the culture I grew up in in many ways I know it's not perfect. Conversely, as I've worked on living my faith to the best of my ability it's allowed me to see others in kinder and more compassionate ways than I thought possible. Not to delve too much into politics, but I think that the individuals you're referring to mix their politics and religion a little bit too much in my opinion 

Link to comment
47 minutes ago, boblloyd91 said:

I love Rod Dreher, he is hands down my favorite conservative writer 

Rod is a very interesting writer.  I have gained a lot from his posts.  He brings valuable insights into religion and spirituality.

Link to comment

The Church in Book of Mormon times in 3rd Nephi was not doing that great.  It had many struggles.  I suppose it will be the same before Christ comes again.  As the world becomes more wicked, more focused on temporal things, ect many members will get caught up in it.  Many will resign thinking they are somehow showing the Lord who is boss.  That is fine.  Nobody in the end ever rebelled against the Lord and the Church and comes up a winner.  There are countless spirits in spirit prison who know that futility of those who leave the church and the numbers will increase. 

Overall I expect the Church numbers to have periods of growth and decline but I can see church numbers to continue to decline.  That is consistent with the prophecies of the last days. 

"When God has called out the righteous, when the warning voice has been sufficiently proclaimed among these Gentile nations, and the Lord says “It is enough,” he will also say to his servants–”O, ye, my servants, come home, come out from the midst of these Gentile nations, where you have labored and borne testimony for so long a period; come out from among them, for they are not worthy; they do not receive the message that I have sent forth, they do not repent of their sins; come out from their midst, their times are fulfilled. Seal up the testimony among them and bind up the law." (Conference Report, Orson Pratt 18:7)

 

"Do you think there is calamity abroad now among the people? Not much. All we have yet heard and all we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth,” all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations, and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands; and they will destroy each other, caring not for the blood and lives of their neighbors, of their families, or for their own lives." (Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young 8:30)

Things are moving forward as they are supposed to be.  These are great times to be in the Church if one has perspective beyond the immediate today. 

 

Edited by carbon dioxide
Link to comment
1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

As fun as mass death and carnage are I am not sure if that alone makes for “great times”.

Great times for the righteous as they focus on what is important.  Sure it will suck to go through it but focusing on the end game of the Lord returning, the resurrection of our loved ones ect.   We all will die of something.  How we die is not important.  Our state of righteousness when we die is what matters.  If I die in mass death or carnage or by a drunk driver at an intersection, it matters little.

If we really look forward to the second coming of Christ, we have to accept all that will come with it before He comes.  Both the good and the bad.  I don't look forward to the bad but its part of the total package.  So the whole climate change and all that other stuff people are stressing about does not keep me up at night.  Just got to power through. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
Link to comment
13 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Great times for the righteous as they focus on what is important.  Sure it will suck to go through it but focusing on the end game of the Lord returning, the resurrection of our loved ones ect.   We all will die of something.  How we die is not important.  Our state of righteousness when we die is what matters.  If I die in mass death or carnage or by a drunk driver at an intersection, it matters little.

It matters quite a bit to me. Of particular interest is how prolonged and how painful it will be.

I am not convinced the Second Coming is imminent. I like to think so but that makes me suspect my motives when I am trying to play with the signs and make them fit. I remember my grandpa talking about the first outbreaks of hippie culture and how some people were asking if they should take their families and flee to Utah thinking the end is nigh. That seems almost quaint now. In 50 years maybe our tribulations could be viewed as quaint or maybe there will be some shifts towards repentance (both in the gospel and secularly) that will prolong this world. The response I often get when I share that is “can it get worse”. Some people lack imagination. It can always get worse.

744610052-6056_Just-when-you-think-it-ca

Edited by The Nehor
Link to comment
38 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

The Church in Book of Mormon times in 3rd Nephi was not doing that great.

Throughout the Book of Mormon, the Church experiences setbacks and disruptions, followed in most cases by periods of great prosperity. I get the impression sometimes that our critics have never really read the book all that carefully ...

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
Link to comment
3 hours ago, SteveO said:

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.

Yes, indeed.  Joe Rogan & Ben Shapiro discussed this problem just yesterday:

 

Link to comment
3 hours ago, SteveO said:

I think our fate as a society lies more in line with “entertaining ourselves to death” than with any other.

We had an Elder serve in our ward about three years ago. After a lesson in my home one night, he commented that he had no real-life experiences to share when teaching because, before his mission, he'd never had a real life. I asked him what he meant, and he said his only memories were of gaming and 'binge-watching' television. Sad. He said he'd gone from thinking he had the best parents in the world to thinking he had the worst.

At least he realised the nature of his situation.

Part of my mission prep class is preparing our future missionaries to 'wake up from the Matrix'. Even the best ones are used to escaping virtually multiple times per day.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

We had an Elder serve in our ward about three years ago. After a lesson in my home one night, he commented that he had no real-life experiences to share when teaching because, before his mission, he'd never had a real life. I asked him what he meant, and he said his only memories were of gaming and 'binge-watching' television. Sad. He said he'd gone from thinking he had the best parents in the world to thinking he had the worst.

At least he realised the nature of his situation.

Part of my mission prep class is preparing our future missionaries to 'wake up from the Matrix'. Even the best ones are used to escaping virtually multiple times per day.

Most leave after High School now, never having lived away from home. Most are urban and have never done any actual work. Sad. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, mrmarklin said:

Most leave after High School now, never having lived away from home. Most are urban and have never done any actual work. Sad. 

That doesn't matter if, for example, they have been actively engaged in leading Aaronic Priesthood quorums since age 11/12 and have been serving as diligent ministering companions since age 14 -- and those kinds of things are directly dependent on us, for the most part.

My former ministering companion moved house in December, placing him in a different ward, so I got a new companion -- a gangly 14-year-old boy who can talk non-stop about cars but not much else. Two Sundays ago, I took him with me for the first time to visit one of our families: a member father who hasn't been to church since adultery broke his parents apart when he was 14, his non-member (and thoroughly unchurched) wife, and their three children.

The father's father had passed away three days earlier from an aggressive brain tumour, so I spoke with my companion in the car about what might happen during our visit, and specifically suggested that he might be called on to pray at the end. His response: 'I'm not very good at praying'. I accepted that, and then we discussed what kinds of things this family might need one of us to pray for. We ended up with a list of three: peace, comfort, and happiness.

At the end of our visit, I asked the non-member mum if she would like us to leave a prayer on their family, and she said yes. I then asked her whom she wanted to pray, and she said she didn't care. So I sought to empower my companion by asking him to pick which one of us would pray. He stood mutely for about 20 seconds and then said, 'I will'. I was thrilled. His prayer was simple: 'Heavenly Father, please bless this family that they might feel peace and comfort and be able to be happy again'. It was perfect.

That's one experience. We've already had others. There will be many more to come.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
Link to comment
8 hours ago, kimpearson said:

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.

Hi. I liked the insights in your post. Thank you. I have a very simple question regarding this section of your post. What are these "things not taught for a hundred years" that are now being taught?  Would you mind providing some examples of them for this outside insider who simply isn't sure to what you are referring? Thanks again.

Link to comment
8 hours 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

Speaking as a Mennonite, it has always been hard (in my lifetime of 72 years) in our church to adequately and accurately discern and distinguish between doctrines and "cultural beliefs" (to use your words). My church has struggled with that especially since the 1950s. How is the LDS church doing in your opinion in effectively making the distinction and difference between the two? Most of the internal disagreements in my group have been over this very issue. Which is which? They often look, feel, and faith (used as a verb) alike.

Link to comment
8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It has been precisely the more conservative and fundamentalist Christian Churches which have managed to survive far longer than their mainstream sisters.

Would you agree or disagree if I offer one small amendment to this statement? I would change the word "fundamentalist" to the word "Evangelical." I believe the Fundamentalist groups are in decline, while the Evangelical groups of the last 80 years have been growing along with the Pentecostal groups, which really defy simplified placement in the whole Christian community schemata. I think they have become a fourth wave - powerful and growing wave of faith.

Link to comment

This is really interesting, I'm sorry for my ignorance, I didn't realise the LDS church is facing these issues.

I think generally in the West people do not want religion because they are convinced that they are spiritual, and that is enough. They especially don't want religion that makes any demands of them or upholds Biblical Christian principles. They don't want anything to restrict their behaviour which is essentially self centred. It is also true that when a Church in a sort of panic, liberalises itself in order to remain relevent membership falls dramatically. Ask any Catholic who has lived long enough to witness the effects of Vatican 2. People in the West don't like the concept of obedience, which has always been a principle of the Christian church. I would also say that the reason Muslims keep such close family ties is because they fear encroaching liberalism and its effects. It's the way if the Western world I suppose.

Edited by Orthodox Christian
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Navidad said:

Speaking as a Mennonite, it has always been hard (in my lifetime of 72 years) in our church to adequately and accurately discern and distinguish between doctrines and "cultural beliefs" (to use your words). My church has struggled with that especially since the 1950s. How is the LDS church doing in your opinion in effectively making the distinction and difference between the two? Most of the internal disagreements in my group have been over this very issue. Which is which? They often look, feel, and faith (used as a verb) alike.

The church as an organization discerns very clearly what it is. But because individual congregations are run by its own members, wards develop sub cultures and some of those subcultures treat different cultural beliefs as doctrine.

For example, many in UT wards treat swearing as the end all sin, the sin that separates the apostates from the saints… but they tolerate gossip of all sorts. I think those wards would do well to switch those around.

Link to comment
9 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

The Church in Book of Mormon times in 3rd Nephi was not doing that great.  It had many struggles.  I suppose it will be the same before Christ comes again.  As the world becomes more wicked, more focused on temporal things, ect many members will get caught up in it.  Many will resign thinking they are somehow showing the Lord who is boss.  That is fine.  Nobody in the end ever rebelled against the Lord and the Church and comes up a winner.  There are countless spirits in spirit prison who know that futility of those who leave the church and the numbers will increase. 

Overall I expect the Church numbers to have periods of growth and decline but I can see church numbers to continue to decline.  That is consistent with the prophecies of the last days. 

"When God has called out the righteous, when the warning voice has been sufficiently proclaimed among these Gentile nations, and the Lord says “It is enough,” he will also say to his servants–”O, ye, my servants, come home, come out from the midst of these Gentile nations, where you have labored and borne testimony for so long a period; come out from among them, for they are not worthy; they do not receive the message that I have sent forth, they do not repent of their sins; come out from their midst, their times are fulfilled. Seal up the testimony among them and bind up the law." (Conference Report, Orson Pratt 18:7)

"Do you think there is calamity abroad now among the people? Not much. All we have yet heard and all we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth,” all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations, and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands; and they will destroy each other, caring not for the blood and lives of their neighbors, of their families, or for their own lives." (Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young 8:30)

Things are moving forward as they are supposed to be.  These are great times to be in the Church if one has perspective beyond the immediate today. 

I'm not convinced the average member believes in prophecy any more.  For example:

Wilford Woodruff Journal Aug 1863 "That was the day when Presidet Young & the Apostles were with us. That was before New York was destroyed by an Earthquake. It was before Boston was swept into the sea by the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds. It was before Albany was destroyed By fire. Yea at that time you will remember the scenes of this day. Treasure them up & forget them Not.

President Young followed and said what Br Woodruff had said was revelation and would be fulfilled."

Link to comment
11 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Hands off my jello fetish.

Yeah... No. Jello must die.

When I was a kid I rather liked the stuff, but now I can't stand it. Well, I'll eat it if I must, but ... not particularly happily.

Link to comment
9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

As fun as mass death and carnage are I am not sure if that alone makes for “great times”.

I about busted a gut at this, you horrible person! 🤣

And then I went and told my wife about this conversation and your reaction here, chortling all the while, only to find that she was not impressed. Oh, well.

Edited by Stargazer
Link to comment
8 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

We had an Elder serve in our ward about three years ago. After a lesson in my home one night, he commented that he had no real-life experiences to share when teaching because, before his mission, he'd never had a real life. I asked him what he meant, and he said his only memories were of gaming and 'binge-watching' television. Sad. He said he'd gone from thinking he had the best parents in the world to thinking he had the worst.

At least he realised the nature of his situation.

Part of my mission prep class is preparing our future missionaries to 'wake up from the Matrix'. Even the best ones are used to escaping virtually multiple times per day.

And then I realize that here, on MDDB, I am definitely in the Matrix. 

Link to comment
12 hours ago, Fether said:

Two approaches to these questions:

 

It seems that there could be something in between these two.

 

 

12 hours ago, Fether said:

 



#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

Or meet the needs of its members.  

12 hours ago, Fether said:

 


- Stop requiring tithing

I didn't think that is an all or nothing topic.  But it would be nice to drop it as a requirement to obtain the highest ordinances the church offers.

12 hours ago, Fether said:

 


- Turn their hierarchy into a voting system and allow all members of all genders, age, sexual orientation, and wealth status to run for president

Again something in between could occur.

Your examples are extreme black and white thinking really.

12 hours ago, Fether said:



#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

I like the last one very much.  

Edited by Teancum
Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...