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Declining Growth of the Church Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 16, 2021 8:17 pm

Declining Growth of the Church Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 16, 2021 8:17 pm

This week we consider the numbers of convert baptisms from 1990 through 2019, as the church has steadily decreased in percentage growth each decade. We encourage you to visit an article with graphs (referenced in the shows) by clicking


One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this edition of the viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Johnson. My colleague at M. R. M. As we mentioned earlier this week there was an article back in 1998, May 23 to be specific.

It was written by Lee Davidson was a Washington correspondent and it was found in the desert written news titled LDS church growing at warp speed.

Sociologist sets and it told the story of Rodney Stark, who is not a latter-day St. by the way, who had predicted that the church based on the growth rate at that time would skyrocket to 267 million members by 2080. As we mentioned in this series we are very curious as a ministry to hear what the new statistics are going to be when the LDS church holds its general conference this coming April. Obviously we don't expect the convert baptism rate to surpass past years because of the pandemic of 2020. There was not a lot of personal contact between those that are missionaries for the church because we know that it is through missionaries that a lot of people do come to the church now. I might mention that many times it's not because the missionaries were the initial contact.

It sometimes that they are handed off a potential convert from someone who was a member of the church, and you could say that the missionary got the credit for the convert, when really, that wasn't totally true, but were looking at some of the numbers regarding the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and certainly the church is not growing at warp speed. As Rodney Stark predicted many years ago there was an article in the Salt Lake Tribune came out on January 16, 2021. The headline read Salt Lake County keeps losing Latter Day Saints and there was a quote in there by a man by the name of Patrick Mason, who is described as the head of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University. He was cited as saying we know that there continues to be an exodus from the church that doesn't surprise us.

I do find it interesting though Eric that this man, Patrick Mason is speaking from Utah State University now. Remember back in 2012 we need to go back to 2012 when the story broke.

It was an article titled Mormonism besieged by the modern age. It was an article written by Peter Henderson and Christina Cook and it started off by saying a religious studies class last year at Utah State University in Logan Utah was unusual for two reasons. The small group of students, faculty, and faithful there to hear Mormon elder Marlon Jensen were openly troubled about the future of their church asking hard questions. One of the questions that was asked was by a woman in this report. In this article said the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints know that members are leaving in droves, and Marlon Jensen concurred with that. He said that they were aware it says we are aware, said Jensen, according to a tape recording of his unscripted remarks so we knew back in 2012, there was trouble in the LDS church when it comes to retaining members and of course that would also reflect in gaining new members because the question then becomes what, why were people leaving they were leaving because of information they were finding out about the church that caused them concern, probably information that they had originally been told by local leaders. Perhaps, that were just vicious rumors and lies by enemies of the church that they started to see were not really lies that all and so we do know that the church has been losing members and the question is, is why are they losing these members and how is that going to reflect when the church puts out its new statistics. In April 2021. The church does not publicly announce or post the statistics of those who willingly leave the church or even unwillingly, for that matter, but they do like to talk about how much they've grown over a given year and there are certain categories that the church has for showing those numbers.

What are those categories we talked about it earlier this week Eric, but let's let's refresh our listeners memories on this so they're gonna tell us the first week of April about how many stakes missions districts wards and branches. There are the current membership number as we talked about that is probably the most important number were looking for new children of record and baptize converts and as we said yesterday, a child of record is someone under the age of nine, who's received a blessing and they receive a temporary member number. Actually, they actually get that number and then when they get baptize that gets confirmed and so that gets added into the roles as a child of record.

We should mention this again folks, because this is important if the young child in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints would say who has Mormon parents is baptize between the age of eight up to the time they turn nine. They are considered a child of record. If they wait and are baptized at the age of nine or older that is considered to be a convert. Baptism not think about that. This does not make a lot of sense to you, because it certainly doesn't make a lot of sense to us. You would think that between the age of eight and nine living under the shelter of Mormon parents.

They probably really didn't convert at the age of nine. Convert from what we have to understand that about 100,000 per year are children of record and so how many children are getting baptize between nine and 17 and are counted as converts, but we don't get those numbers in the official church number and then also want to learn about missionary totals both full-time as well as church service, and finally temples that were dedicated or rededicated, and by the way we use a lot of numbers here today and tomorrow you might want to go to our website where all of this is written down growth with the hyphen between declining growth, but though I want to talk about the information they don't give us they don't talk about how many people died so we don't know the deceased members who are taken off the church roles that numbers not released, but they're also not releasing as you mentioned, those who have officially left the church. Now that would be a fascinating number because we have good reason to believe that more people have been leaving the church in recent years than ever before. The last five years the convert numbers are down the church growth is down and part of that I think is well. You're losing a lot of people and were not making that up folks because as I started off the show with this citation from Patrick Mason, head of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University. He told the Salt Lake Tribune. We know that there continues to be an exodus from the church. Now I cited that article that came out in 2012 were elder Marlon Jensen agreed that people were leaving in droves actually compare that to time in Mormon history when people were leaving during the Kirkland era when there were a lot of things going on in the Mormon church, causing many people to leave the church back then to make that kind of comparison is to me very telling because when you go back and you look at that. In Kirtland, and you see the number of people that were disillusioned with Joseph Smith in the LDS church for Jensen to compare that to what was going on at that time in 2012 I think should catch the attention of a lot of people in the article I mentioned a secular organization called quit and what they have done for the past few years is help members resign their membership, but I want to point out that before this organization came, you had to actually submit paperwork to the church they would have representatives come to your house.

The name they would try to convince you not to leave the church. They also might have leaders, and try to talk you out of it and so many people were staying on the church roles because they didn't want to have to deal with that. So this gentleman named Mark Naugle who ended up leaving the church back when he was 15 years of age. His dad in the year to around 2000 left the church and took the whole family out because of information they were finding on the Internet the very early days of the Internet and then Mark Naugle became a lawyer and he decided he would help his friends leave the church, a kind of mushroom and between 2015 and 2019. He says that he help 40,000 people get off the church roles will the church decided a photocopy of a license was not enough because there was fraud going on so they said that any request would have to have a notarized statement rather than that photocopy of a drivers license and yet again there making it harder to leave word they're saying you ought to contact your church and then we can deal with that without having to go through 1/3 party will be stopping there are no Mr. Naugle claims he said about 40,000 people approach him over this well at this time to be five-year.

Yes, the church was claiming that you needed a notarized statement. Another words are going to make a little more difficult for someone to use the services of this attorney Mark Naugle by having a statement that is notarized to move forward with getting their name taken off the roles, how much fraud was there really though, I mean I the article mentioned if I remember correctly, dozens what is that mean dozens compared to 40,000 compared to 40,000 dozens seems rather insignificant. Now I'm not saying that that probably wasn't a prudent move on their part to protect people from having their name removed to didn't want their name removed. Maybe someone could have used a fraudulent means to do that. The reason why say that is because we understand how even with us. We get people who give us the names of Latter Day Saints to put on our mailing list even though we tell people don't do that.

It costs us to put their name on there and it makes the Mormon mad when they win put on our mailing list and they didn't want our material. I understand that. So we asked people to basically use the honor system cannot do that, it still happens though folks, it still happens and we apologize for that but is beyond our control so I can kind of understand the church wanting to ensure that less of that fraud quote" takes place. I get that but I don't think dozens compared to 40,000 is a whole lot but that's what the church is now implemented tomorrow Bill, I think we should go through a chart that's on the website growth of the hyphen in the middle and I would say let's see how the church is done in the last 30 years and then see how they would have done had they grown at even a 3% clip rather than the about 1.5% percentage growth that they've had in the last five years. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information, guarding his research ministry.

We encourage you to visit our website at you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is as with most decisions is a research ministry depends on the generous financial support of friends like you.

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