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Dehlin v. Kwaku - An Update


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7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Pretty much. I saw 50 people join the Church. In a state side mission.  After about five years only about 13 or 14 were active. One was a large family.  As their children aged only one, I believe, out of 5 stayed active.  And the loss of new members is very high in less developed areas.  But even where I live now, the baptism rate has dropped. And very few of those very few stay. In the late 70s and early 80s the mission where I live baptized 800 per year.  By the early 2000s that dropped to 250 per year in a good year and the retention rate of those was maybe 20%/The stake where I live was created from a split in 1985.  It has 0 growth since then and even has consolidated some unit.  But all is well in Zion.  It is just a weeding out process.

Who is saying that "all is well in Zion?"

Thanks,

-Smac

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12 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Sample size is not indicative of accuracy.  Scientific sampling techniques are such that small samples can give us the facts -- particularly when the results agree with a host of other studies:

See also Bahr & Albrecht, “Strangers once more: Patterns of disaffiliation from Mormonism.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28 (1989):180-200, online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387058?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents .   Just so, Armand Mauss, "in his observations of Mormons, linked deconversion to disintegrated social bonds, such as the loss or absence of close friends in the church," and he went on to say that "some people leave the church because they believe that 'regular church goers are hypocrites' and that 'churches are interested only in money'," clearly exhibiting a paranoia not justified by the recent research of Mike Quinn    -- Mauss, “Dimensions of Religious Defection.” Review of Religious Research 10 (1969): 128-135, cited by Wright, et al., “Explaining deconversion from Christianity: a study of online narratives,” Journal of Religion & Society, 13 (2011):1-17, online at https://dspace2.creighton.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10504/64291/2011-21.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y  .

As I have previously stated on this board, scholarship has shown repeatedly that it is typically those who are already weak in the faith and who are naive who apostatize.  Well-educated members typically weather these false claims rather well (https://www.reddit.com/r/latterdaysaints/comments/4bnont/as_mormons_become_more_educated_they_become_more/ .), and Emma Green has found that "kids of certain faiths, such as young Mormons, evangelicals, and Jews, are more likely to stay in the fold than are those of other denominations " (“Keeping the Faith: How childhood influences churchgoing,” Atlantic, Nov 2014, online at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/11/keeping-the-faith/380799/ ).   Mike Ash has shown what actually goes on in his Shaken Faith Syndrome, 2nd ed. (2013).

As Lewis R. Rambo points out:

 

Most apostates are, in any case, "young persons with quite liberal social values" (C. K. Hadaway, 1989. “Identifying American apostates: A cluster analysis.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28:201-215. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387059?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents ).  He is speaking of religion generally.

Rambo goes on to say

Joseph Walker, “LDS religious commitment high, Pew survey finds,” Deseret News, Jan 13, 2012, online at  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700215244/LDS-religious-commitment-high-Pew-survey-finds.html?pg=all ,

I looked through a couple of the studies you cited and both included intellectual disagreements as the reason that some people leave. 
 

I wonder what similarly situated scientific studies would show about the reasons that people convert or stay. After all most people happen to find their “true” church by being born into it (not speaking specifically about the Church of Jesus Christ of Lattet-day Saints, but all religions). That’s an amazing coincidence.
 

 The church recognizes that convert retention depends on social issues and meeting needs more than just a spiritual experience. Hinckley’s call for a friend, a calling, and nourishment shows the importance of meeting social needs in convert retention. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Who is saying that "all is well in Zion?"

Thanks,

-Smac

In context: “But all is well in Zion.  It is just a weeding out”

On 3/1/2022 at 10:19 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Moreover, those who are supposedly pious and devout are often the most shallow and insubstantial people you'll ever meet.  When such people leave their faith (from any religion), I see no reason to feel badly about it:  They never really had authentic faith to begin with.

 

Emphasis added. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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36 minutes ago, Teancum said:

I took a quick look at this. I guess somehow I missed the LDS specifics.  What is the date of the articles?  All I can see is this: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion © 1989 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

 

So if it is from 1989 it is out of date and a new study should be done.  That said I do not dispute that most leave for reasons other than I did as well as some others on this board and as are mentioned above.  However, I dispute that there are not quite a few leaving for the reason I did and it seems those numbers are rising.  The intellectual apostasy category. And most of them were actually quite faithful in spite of that Robert claims.

The statistical results have remained the same over time, from the 1970s till now.  Members of this board are not likely to be ordinary Mormons or ex-Mormons, and there was never any reason to think that, so that you are correct to suppose (just with dead reckoning) that most of those who leave the faith (any faith, not just Mormonism) do not leave for the same reason you did.  It's all about the numbers in these various categories, and it is not my conclusion that that most of them have a weak faith -- that is the conclusion of the sociologists.  Now, of course, you are going to see some ardent Pharisees and Sadducees among them, people whose faith is extreme and unhealthy (as Jesus used to point out during his ministry).

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Anti Mormon never convinced me. It was more the poor apologetics and authors like Bushman and Prince.  And just the poor track record on so many issues that the church has.  Anti Mormons were a piece of cake. Especially the evangelical ones.  And I guess I could add secular critics of religion in general.

All excellent points.  Bushman and Prince are certainly reliable and excellent scholars, but scholarship is not a Sunday walk in the park.

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2 hours ago, ttribe said:

Come now, Robert, are you really (with a straight face) suggesting that a study from 1989, which relies upon an "analysis of in-depth interviews with 30 former Mormons identified in statewide mail surveys of Utah" (emphasis mine), is representative of the phenomenon happening before us in a post-Internet era?  That's not good social science scholarship, and I believe you know that.

I have been actively watching those stats since the 1970s, and they tell the same story right up to recent years.  I see no reason why they should vary.  The stats are based on scientific sampling techniques which look for an accurate cross-section of a given population.  If there are errors, then that should become apparent in additional studies.

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3 hours ago, Teancum said:

Yea right. A bit more of the pot and kettle thing. It is amazing the blinders being a true believer creates.  But you only provided sociologists that talked about faith leavers in general. Nothing LDS specific though likely such do not exist.

I actually did cite some LDS specific studies.

3 hours ago, Teancum said:

Organizations vary in their level of mind control techniques. I mentioned these for a reason.

..........the LDS Church does use a lot of mind and behavior techniques. While I would not call it a cult like the ones I mentioned it certainly does move down the right slope of the bell curve of mind control like behavior.

You have mentioned mind control several times here, but I see no more evidence of mind control in the LDS Church than among the Methodists -- all is low pressure and completely voluntary.  The non-LDS expert Kenneth Rexroth even closely examined the 19th century LDS United Order and found it to be a low-pressure, small-scale utopian socialist movement which actually worked (Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century, 1974), and LDS studies back him up to the hilt.  I can cite them all if you wish.

3 hours ago, Teancum said:

Yes being overly pious is a problem. And the LDC faith is not under pressurized and is hardly flat. It is heavily hierarchical and the expectation to stay in line with the leaders is heavy. Even to the point of teaching you are not supposed to say no to any calling from your bishop because it is the same as a the Lord giving you the call.......................

One can be overly pious without being part of a lunatic fringe group.

Of course you might find the Qumran Jews too extreme (the Dead Sea Scroll people), compared to the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jerusalem.  You'll recall that Jesus, whom we might call pious, found the Pharisees and Sadducees extreme and hypocritical.   They did kill Jesus and his brother James, after all.  You are being very selective in your judgment.  In view of what actually goes on in an LDS ward, your claims just don't hold water.  People turn down callings all the time.

3 hours ago, Teancum said:

No I do not reject their conclusions. I reject your portrayal specifically of many believing members of the LDS Church leaving over valid factual evidential issues. It is smug, arrogant and overly pious whether you want to admit it or not.

When such claims are in fact made, they generally don't pass the test of adequate evidence, and most people don't care about that anyhow.  Zelph on the Shelf pointed out that “Conversion and Deconversion Are Emotional, Not Logical,” online at http://zelphontheshelf.com/conversion-and-deconversion-are-emotional-not-logical/ .  He says,

Quote

Don’t try to explain with facts and logic why you left the church, at least when talking with believing family members or friends. Chances are, it’ll either have zero effect on them, or will actually cause them to hold tighter to their beliefs and more fully reject the idea that you have a legitimate reason to leave. Focus more on how you feel, while staying respectful of their beliefs. (As difficult as it may be — I know I’ve wanted to scream at people for being so illogical more than once!)

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43 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I looked through a couple of the studies you cited and both included intellectual disagreements as the reason that some people leave. 
 

I wonder what similarly situated scientific studies would show about the reasons that people convert or stay. After all most people happen to find their “true” church by being born into it (not speaking specifically about the Church of Jesus Christ of Lattet-day Saints, but all religions). That’s an amazing coincidence.
 

 The church recognizes that convert retention depends on social issues and meeting needs more than just a spiritual experience. Hinckley’s call for a friend, a calling, and nourishment shows the importance of meeting social needs in convert retention. 

Absolutely, and the sociological studies certainly agree with everything you are saying here.

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36 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The statistical results have remained the same over time, from the 1970s till now.  Members of this board are not likely to be ordinary Mormons or ex-Mormons, and there was never any reason to think that, so that you are correct to suppose (just with dead reckoning) that most of those who leave the faith (any faith, not just Mormonism) do not leave for the same reason you did.  It's all about the numbers in these various categories, and it is not my conclusion that that most of them have a weak faith -- that is the conclusion of the sociologists.  Now, of course, you are going to see some ardent Pharisees and Sadducees among them, people whose faith is extreme and unhealthy (as Jesus used to point out during his ministry).

Ok I do not disagree and you will likely find some who leave for the same reasons I did and had a healthy faith as well. I do not believe I fell into the bolded category.  Though I d know some active members who still do.

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41 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

In context: “But all is well in Zion.  It is just a weeding out”..................

Human history is not nice and gentle.  Never has been, and the death rate by war and murder in my lifetime (born 1941) has been enormous and hardly believable.  We know for certain that this will continue to be the case tomorrow as well.  Those of us who live in the real world and who have seen it up close and personal know that this existential dilemma either does or does not have an apocalyptic conclusion which brings everyone home to papa.  LDS theology unashamedly posits that the winnowing process has a purpose and an end point.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I actually did cite some LDS specific studies.

Yes I missed that. I apologize.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You have mentioned mind control several times here, but I see no more evidence of mind control in the LDS Church than among the Methodists -- all is low pressure and completely voluntary.  The non-LDS expert Kenneth Rexroth even closely examined the 19th century LDS United Order and found it to be a low-pressure, small-scale utopian socialist movement which actually worked (Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century, 1974), and LDS studies back him up to the hilt.  I can cite them all if you wish.

I disagree.  I think the Church uses many of the technique Steven Hassan and other cult experts have researched and written about.  In addition I think this book highlights a lot that you find in the LDS Church and other high demand organizations.

https://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Agency-Luna-Lindsey-audiobook/dp/B01M9JSIRU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JY6CVWXTLSQN&keywords=recovering+agency&qid=1646254925&s=books&sprefix=recovering+agency%2Cstripbooks%2C86&sr=1-1

Quote

 

In 2012, Mormon General Authority Marlin K. Jensen acknowledged that members are leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "in droves". Access to the internet is often credited and blamed for this mass exodus, where members learn about problematic doctrines and cover-ups of LDS history.

Many are happy as Mormons. And many are not. Those who leave, and those doubters who stay face struggles that few others can understand. Much of this suffering is caused by manipulative and controlling techniques pervasive throughout LDS doctrines and culture. Understanding these techniques will help recovering Mormons overcome the effects of belonging to a high-demand group.

As a former Mormon, Luna Lindsey experienced this coercive persuasion firsthand. Recovering Agency presents years of research into social psychology and the science of cult dynamics, to describe 31 mind-control techniques alongside examples of their use in Mormon scripture, lessons, and from the pulpit.

Even if you have never been Mormon, chances are that coercive influence techniques have been used to manipulate you at some point. Listen on and learn the answers to longstanding questions about this unique American religion and about the human mind.

 

 

And  the comparison  to Methodists and other mainline protestant faiths is nonsensical.  

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Of course you might find the Qumran Jews too extreme (the Dead Sea Scroll people), compared to the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jerusalem.  You'll recall that Jesus, whom we might call pious, found the Pharisees and Sadducees extreme and hypocritical.   They did kill Jesus and his brother James, after all.  You are being very selective in your judgment.  In view of what actually goes on in an LDS ward, your claims just don't hold water.  People turn down callings all the time.

When such claims are in fact made, they generally don't pass the test of adequate evidence, and most people don't care about that anyhow.  Zelph on the Shelf pointed out that “Conversion and Deconversion Are Emotional, Not Logical,” online at http://zelphontheshelf.com/conversion-and-deconversion-are-emotional-not-logical/ .  He says,

SUre people turn down callings all the time.  But they are taught not to.  And as a bishop I have watched members agonize about it as well as those who would say yes no matter what just because I made the call.

 

The Zelph on the Shelf cite is how former member should talk to believers. I am not sure how that applies here.

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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Could you elaborate on your comment regarding "authors like Bushman and Prince"?  Did you find their scholarship "poor," or did you find it good but deleterious (to maintaining a testimoney of the Restored Gospel)?

 

No I thought their scholarship was excellent.  It was the apologetics, much of which I was involved and enthusiastic about for much of my adult life, to be poor. But the window that Bushman and Prince gave me into the LDS world was very informative.  Bushman just confirmed the conclusions I was coming to about Joseph Smith. And it was from a believing member.  Prince's book on McKay convinced me that there is really not that much special about how the LDS leadership operates. Not much inspiration or revelation. Just powerful men running a large organization, staking out their turf and flexing their muscles when they can. I loved the book though.

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

I can appreciate that.  I think the Church has done quite a good job in its basic mandates.  The Church is bound to encounter difficulty in grappling with social/political "issues."

I think apologetic efforts are getting better and better, but in the end they will always be supplemental and ancillary.

I don't read much LDS apologetics anymore other than what I see here so I cannot opine.

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Whether or not God exists, whether Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, whether the Plan of Salvation is God's plan for us, whether the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, whether the foundational events of the Restoration happened, are overwhelmingly matters that must - in the end - be accepted on faith.  And that faith must come through study and prayer. 

For me, apologetics comes later.  Elder Holland put it well:

Thanks,

-Smac

Yep. Religion always has to use the crutch of faith. It mostly al religion has.

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41 minutes ago, Teancum said:

..................

I disagree.  I think the Church uses many of the technique Steven Hassan and other cult experts have researched and written about.  In addition I think this book highlights a lot that you find in the LDS Church and other high demand organizations.

https://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Agency-Luna-Lindsey-audiobook/dp/B01M9JSIRU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JY6CVWXTLSQN&keywords=recovering+agency&qid=1646254925&s=books&sprefix=recovering+agency%2Cstripbooks%2C86&sr=1-1

I suppose that there have been many Mormons influenced by Steve Covey's books on effectiveness and leadership, but that is not the same as adopting cult techniques -- and I see none in the LDS Church.  I met Covey once at a soiree in Provo, and I got the impression that he thought I lacked effectiveness and leadership qualities.  :pirate:

41 minutes ago, Teancum said:

And  the comparison  to Methodists and other mainline protestant faiths is nonsensical.  

Nonsense?  You apparently know nothing of Methodists or other mainline Protestants.  Both my grandad and his eldest son were Methodist ministers, and most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were Methodist.  I grew up with them.  Their church services, sunday school, and potlucks are pretty much the same as those of the Mormons.  Grandma Smith was head of the Ladies Auxiliary.  They tend to be gracious, non-threatening folks.  At one time, Methodists were dedicated missionaries sent throughout the world.  A couple of my aunts spent decades in the Far East.  As the Methodists have become more woke, their faith has gone into a tailspin.  Their church is now smaller than the LDS Church in the USA.  No one foresaw that back in the day when my Uncle was helping arrange a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles.  I can still recall my Uncle telling me that the Mormons were "sheep stealers."  Of course he knew he was talking to a Mormon.  I didn't even argue with him.  😎

41 minutes ago, Teancum said:

SUre people turn down callings all the time.  But they are taught not to.  And as a bishop I have watched members agonize about it as well as those who would say yes no matter what just because I made the call.

I used to accept callings, even when I thought I was not quite up to the task, but I was young and foolish.  No one pressured me.  If everyone rejected callings, there would be no LDS Church.  The LDS faith is a communal enterprise.

41 minutes ago, Teancum said:

The Zelph on the Shelf cite is how former member should talk to believers. I am not sure how that applies here.

He was speaking as an ex-Mormon who understood that claims of intellectual apostasy and conversion are blarney.  He rightly understood the process of conversion or deconversion as primarily emotional.  I agree.

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7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

No I thought their scholarship was excellent.  It was the apologetics, much of which I was involved and enthusiastic about for much of my adult life, to be poor.

I find Latter-day Saint apologetics to be, like many things, a very mixed bag.  I think there is quite a bit that is very good and persuasive and substantive.

7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

But the window that Bushman and Prince gave me into the LDS world was very informative.  Bushman just confirmed the conclusions I was coming to about Joseph Smith. And it was from a believing member. 

What "conclusions" did Bushman "confirm" about Joseph Smith?

Also, is it significant in your view that Bushman, who is an excellent scholar and very knowledgeable about Joseph Smith and his foibles, nevertheless continues to operate quite well as a faithful and observant Latter-day Saint?  As a person who affirms the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith and the things restored through him?

I had a somewhat similar experience, except it involved my father and it went the other way.  While I was in the Army and on my mission I would pose various doctrinal and historical questions to him (in my letters).  At the time (1991-1995), the Internet was not really a thing, but he had "LDS Infobases," a CD-ROM-based compilation of digitized books about Church doctrine, history, and so on.  I was amazed at its scope: 1,800 books!  My dad also had a personal library of many hundreds of volumes about church history and doctrine.  And he spent years as a Gospel Doctrine instructor for our ward.  He was therefore quite happy to take my questions and compile resources and quotes and citations into nice digestible summaries for me.  In doing so he regularly reminded that the leaders of the Church were very flawed, but that we can take that as evidence in favor of the Restoration.  He spoke of Jesus in his premortal state calling flawed men to be prophets, and during His ministry on earth He called even more flawed people.  These flawed men were, and are, part of the overall plan.

I returned home from my mission in 1995, at which point I almost immediately started reading online apologetics.  I think it was "Zions Lighthouse" that I joined at the time, and after some years I wandered over here.

7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Prince's book on McKay convinced me that there is really not that much special about how the LDS leadership operates.

Really?  I found this part fascinating, and quite unique in terms of an earthly organization "operating" :

Quote

According to Prince's book, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, Pres. McKay was evaluating the issue extensively as early as 1954 (p. 103), and continued to grapple with it for many years afterward.  Prince also states that Pres. McKay "made a conscious decision not to enter the fray of the emerging  civil rights  movement that came of age during his presidency," (p. 104), and yet you here seem to be positioning the Civil Rights movement as a key motivating factor for the 1978 revelation ("I am guessing you missed the period of activism for blacks receiving the priesthood, it was pretty big public spectacle").

Prince goes on to say that "{o}n several occasions ... [Pres. McKay] had opportunities to reverse the church's long-standing legacy of racial discrimination.  Yet each time he chose to turn away" (p. 104).  He also states that Pres. McKay "softened the ban around the edges, intervening to extend priesthood blessings to individuals where he could, and repeatedly pleading with the Lord for a complete reversal ... On uncounted occasions, he sought unsuccessfully to call down the revelation that would have changed the ban, a revelation that came to one of his successors eight years after his death.  This largely undocumented and almost wholly unknown struggle means that it is no stretch to assert that David O. McKay built the foundation upon which the revelation to Spencer W. Kimball rests" (p. 106).

This is also quite illuminating (p. 103):

Quote

His earliest inquiry, as far as we have record ... occurredin 1954 ... Other inquiries followed, though generally the dates are not known.  On one occasion his daughter-in-law, Mildred Calderwood McKay, who served on the general board of the Primary ... expressed her anguish that black male children, who commingled with white children during their Primary years (through age twelve), were excluded from the Aaronic Priesthood when they turned twelve.  "Can't they be ordained also?"  She asked.  He replied sadly, "No."  "Then I think it is time for a new revelation."  He answered, "So do I."

Marian D. Hanks ... related an incident from a [] trip to Vietname, in which he had comforted a woulded black LDS soldier.  As he told the story, McKay began to weep.  Referring to the priesthood ban, McKay said, "I have prayed and prayed and prayed, but there has been no answer."

Prince also provides this fascinating account (p. 104):

Quote

But the most remarkable account came from Richard Jackson, an architect who served in the Church Building Department from 1968 to McKay's death in 1970:

Quote

I remember one day that President McKay came into the office.  We could see that he was very much distressed.  He said, "I've had it!  I'm not going to do it again!"  Somebody said, "What?" He said, "Well, I'm badgered constantly about giving the priesthood to the Negro.  I've inquired of the Lord repeatedly.  The last time I did it was late last night.  I was told, with no discussion, not to bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone."

This uncharacteristic outburst in the presence of an astonished church architect highlights the contrast between two strands in McKay's thought that are, by today's standard, inseparably joined: civil rights for blacks and priesthood ordination for black men.  The blurring, combined with McKay's own reticence, means that this difference has not been understood until now.

By Prince's accounting, Pres. McKay wanted to rescind the ban, but was told by the Lord to "not bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone.

Pres. McKay sought, and apparently received, revelation from God.  That seems pretty special.

7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Not much inspiration or revelation.  Just powerful men running a large organization, staking out their turf and flexing their muscles when they can. I loved the book though.

Again, I'm grateful to my dad on this point.  His sense is that the Lord gives the Brethren pretty broad latitude to govern the Church according to their best lights, including previously-revealed principles.  He is also quite persuaded that the Brethren are seeking, and receiving, quite a bit of revelatory guidance.

7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

I don't read much LDS apologetics anymore other than what I see here so I cannot opine.

Yep. Religion always has to use the crutch of faith. It mostly al religion has.

Faith as a "crutch" doesn't seem to work, as it connotes a temporary mode of assistance.  Instead, faith is supposed to be a permanent part of our journey.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7).

Thanks,

-Smac

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42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Seems like a lot here are whenever we discuss the loss of membership and decline in converts.

I don't see that.  I am very sad to see members of the Church leave us.  And I hope they return.  Some of them do.

The loss of members is a serious issue.  I don't think anyone is dismissing this via an "all is well in Zion" attitude.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I have been actively watching those stats since the 1970s, and they tell the same story right up to recent years.  I see no reason why they should vary.  The stats are based on scientific sampling techniques which look for an accurate cross-section of a given population.  If there are errors, then that should become apparent in additional studies.

I'll just quickly remind you, again, that I spent two years in a PhD program, my minor was judgment and decision making, and the majority of the methods I was studying (e.g. quasi-experimentation) were from the social sciences.  You don't need to tell me what a scientific sampling technique is.

That being said, I believe it is true that you understand that any study based on survey evidence has an inherent amount of self-selection bias in it. You can attempt to control for it, but it's never 100% eradicated. While I've not taken the time to study the methodologies in each of the papers you cited, the fact that the very first one (Albrecht, et al, 1989) relies solely on a sample size of 30 from only the State of Utah, gives me very little hope for the explanatory power of these studies.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Seems like a lot here are whenever we discuss the loss of membership and decline in converts.

All is normal is not the same as all is well in my view.  The latter means not much needs to be done, the former can require even intense effort if the normal is needful.

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

returned home from my mission in 1995, at which point I almost immediately started reading online apologetics.  I think it was "Zions Lighthouse" that I joined at the time, and after some years I wandered over here.

ZLMB started in Sept 2001 iirc (I remember as it was on its home page, first line of the intro iirc, and I lived on that board even more than this one plus worked on its format from time to time).  You probably hung out on either the UTLM board where bannings and deletions led to ZLMB or the AOL boards as that was the main drive as I understand it and where the idea of FAIR was birthed due to the pro church material getting deleted and then needing to be reposted over and over, solution:  online database (we didn’t have that up in Calgary, but I didn’t go looking for an online community until I lost my conversation partner, my son, to his mission; found ZLMB early 2002).  There were also email lists and places like nauvoo.com….I am pretty sure that was existing when I first went online and initially my time was spent between the two, but I may be wrong.  Added:  I went looking and it appears there was a DB message board, Times and Seasons, and BeliefNet that were the main hangouts early on along with the two I knew and a couple of exmormon sites.

Edited by Calm
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23 minutes ago, ttribe said:

I'll just quickly remind you, again, that I spent two years in a PhD program, my minor was judgment and decision making, and the majority of the methods I was studying (e.g. quasi-experimentation) were from the social sciences.  You don't need to tell me what a scientific sampling technique is.

That being said, I believe it is true that you understand that any study based on survey evidence has an inherent amount of self-selection bias in it. You can attempt to control for it, but it's never 100% eradicated. While I've not taken the time to study the methodologies in each of the papers you cited, the fact that the very first one (Albrecht, et al, 1989) relies solely on a sample size of 30 from only the State of Utah, gives me very little hope for the explanatory power of these studies.

Seeking for perfection in any kind of polling is absurd, and nearly all pollsters provide an error rate for us -- especially during close political campaign polls.  What is helpful is that the additional studies jibe.  If they do not, then we need to look for the reasons:  for example, questions loaded with bias typically formulated by an interested entity, such as a political party.  We should all be open to independent polling, rather than attempting to justify our preconceived notions.

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Just now, Calm said:
Quote

returned home from my mission in 1995, at which point I almost immediately started reading online apologetics.  I think it was "Zions Lighthouse" that I joined at the time, and after some years I wandered over here.

ZLMB started in Sept 2001 iirc.  

Huh.

Just now, Calm said:

You probably hung out on either the UTLM board where banning sand deletions led to ZLMB or the AOL boards as that was the main drive as I understand it and where the idea of FAIR was birthed due to the pro church material getting deleted and then needing to be reposted over and over, solution:  online database (we didn’t have that up in Calgary, but I didn’t go looking for an online community until I lost my conversation partner, my son, to his mission in early 2002).  

Actually, now that I think on it, I think I may have started out on CARM ("Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry") run by Matt Slick.  Man, I haven't thought of that place in years.

I'm trying to recollect if I was on the UTLM board.  Typing the acronym ("UTLM") does seem familiar.  But I don't think I did anything on AOL boards.

Just now, Calm said:

There were also email lists and places like nauvoo.com….I am pretty sure that was existing when I first went online and initially my time was spent between the two, but I may be wrong.  Added:  I went looking and it appears there was a DB message board, Times and Seasons, and BeliefNet that were the main hangouts early on along with the two I knew and a couple of exmormon sites.

These don't ring a bell.

I did venture onto the exmormon.org board a few times.  Yeesh.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 3/1/2022 at 10:29 AM, smac97 said:

Hadn't seen this before:

Yeesh.  Most of the information included in this video has been discussed on this board, but . . . yeesh.

Thanks,

-Smac

I just now noticed that the "Play" logo appears on the YouTube spashcreen right over Dehlin's upper lip.  Looking at it quickly it sort of looks like a Hitler mustache.

Eh, it's probably just pareidolia on my part.  But now that I've mentioned it . . . you can't unsee it.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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3 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Seeking for perfection in any kind of polling is absurd, and nearly all pollsters provide an error rate for us -- especially during close political campaign polls.  What is helpful is that the additional studies jibe.  If they do not, then we need to look for the reasons:  for example, questions loaded with bias typically formulated by an interested entity, such as a political party.  We should all be open to independent polling, rather than attempting to justify our preconceived notions.

Well, as I said, I haven't looked at the methodological issues in the subsequent studies. My unresolved concern is that the population from which they draw their data may not be representative of the entirety of the population to which they are attempting to apply their inferences. Perhaps reviewing those studies would allow me to alleviate that concern, but time is not on my side in that regard at the moment.

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