More than 85,000 LDS missionaries are expected to serve this year, the highest number ever. (Ragne Kabanova / Shutterstock.com. http://tinyurl.com/kwwtkah.)

More than 85,000 LDS missionaries are expected to serve this year, the highest number ever. (Ragne Kabanova / Shutterstock.com. http://tinyurl.com/kwwtkah.)

The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that the LDS Church is expecting to hit a milestone of 85,000 missionaries in late 2013. This is half again as many missionaries as were serving before the Church made its landmark October 2012 announcement that the missionary age was being lowered, spurring thousands of young men and women to turn in their applications.

Going from 55,000 to 85,000 missionaries in a single year requires some serious logistical gymnastics. My own first inkling of this came in February, when our family cleaned out my mother’s house with the assistance of several young LDS missionaries. I was thrilled with their help, and the mission leaders were thrilled to be on the receiving end of lots of sturdy, practical, free furniture. They were getting ready to open ten new missionary apartments and had to find beds, desks, chairs, and tables for them all — not to mention towels, sheets, pots, pans, and all the usual paraphernalia of housekeeping.

But it’s not just castoff furniture and housewares that these missionaries need; it’s money. The $400 a month that every LDS missionary pays to serve is a leveled fee that is the same regardless of where the mission takes place, whether it’s in costly Japan or the far less expensive nations of West Africa. The actual costs of each missionary’s service are higher, sometimes dramatically so.

With this reality in mind, the LDS First Presidency asked that a letter be read from the pulpit this past Sunday, urging members to be generous in their donations to the missionary fund, in addition to paying their regular tithing.

In thinking about this unique time in LDS history, I’m reminded of the surge in vocations among American Catholics just after World War II. So many returning soldiers decided to take up holy orders that there was not space to accommodate them. At Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton was among the throng of new monks in the late 1940s and 1950s, the space was so inadequate that Quonset huts were hastily constructed to make room for them. (And these veterans thought they had left military life behind them!)

Seventy years later, with the crisis in vocations in the Roman Catholic Church, it’s hard to remember this brief flowering of monasticism and missions. Last year, my mother’s cousin David’s lovely monastery was closed entirely because of its dwindling numbers of aging monks.

This diminishment is sad but perfectly natural. There has not yet been a religious movement that managed to sustain such levels of enthusiasm through the course of centuries; it’s rare for it to last even for a few decades. And despite the Mormon tendency toward exceptionalist thinking (the Church will always keep growing; numeric growth is a sign of the Lord’s favor; etc.), there is little reason to believe that Mormonism’s Missionary Moment will continue unabated.

It’s good that the Church is asking for members’ short-term donations. That is far more responsible than banking on the current surge in missionary applications as a new normal, and building a corresponding infrastructure to match that expectation.

But here’s the good news: no matter how brief this missionary moment may be before things settle down, it will make a difference in the Church and the world. Lives will be changed — not just converts’ lives, but the lives of the missionaries themselves as they grow in faith and in their relationship with God. They will learn how to communicate their beliefs to the world, and how to embrace more grace-full lives.

And who knows? Perhaps there will be a Merton among them.

40 Comments

  1. The surge is a one-time deal but the proportion of members serving full-time will stay at a high level so as long as the age requirement remains where it is. WWII is not analogous because it is not a permanent structural change.

  2. 85,000 mormon missionaries? That’s too many people spreading the false story and lies of a complete fraud named Joseph Smith…..put these kids to work doing something productive like helping the homeless or the elderly instead of wasting their time with this fairy tale.

    • Gina, ask a missionary about the volunteer service they give. Missions obviously are not the Peace Corp., although many former missionaries do pursue that route afterward, but they are not exclusively about proselyting either. Regardless of your opinion about Christian beliefs, particularly those surrounding Joseph Smith, spreading a message that encourages charity, hope, humility, peace, harmony, and kindness is a net benefit to mankind.

      • Nice assertion, Jay. “Regardless of your opinion about Christian beliefs, particularly those surrounding Joseph Smith…”

        There is nothing at all Christian about Joseph Smith’s doctrine. But you are welcome of course to make that linkage whenever you care to.

        Go look at how the Book of Mormon had to be changed after it was delivered line-by-line in a perfect text. Note how after the First Vision (which wasn’t reported for a dozen years) the BofM had to be changed to match his then-current version of the “First Vision” to reflect that God and Jesus were two different personages. I wonder why that’s so.

        • Raymond Takashi Swenson

          Last year, a noted Protestant theologian wrote an article in First Things journal explaining how he had discovered that the Book of Mormon is obsessed with Christ!

          Joseph Smith’s first vision in 1820 was related to his family and a few friends, and several of those accounts were recorded. The formal and full version of his search for salvation that led to the publication of the Book of Mormon and the founding of the LDS Church in 1830 was published in 1838 and is just as consistent with earlier recorded recollections as the three versions of Paul’s vision of Christ that appear in the single book of The Acts of the Apostles.

          The Book of Mormon has had grammatical changes, but none of the doctrinal substance (such as the sermon by Abinadi on the Father and the Son) has been altered. You can buy a facsimile copy of the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon and compare it yourself. A detailed examination of the avialable portions of the original dictated manuscript and the copy made to use with the printer has been conducted over the last fifteen years by nationally respected linguist Royal Skousen, and published as “The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text”, representing as closely as possible the text as it was dictated to Oliver Cowdery and a few other scribes, mostly over the course of a few weeks, straight through, with no revisions, producing about 10 printed pages per day.

          The Book of Mormon includes many examples of legitimate Hebrew literary forms, the most prominent of which is chiasmus, passages in which a series of concepts is repeated in reverse order. It was a form that was little known in the United States in 1830, and neither Smith nor anyone else in the next 100 years even noticed this pattern. It was not until 1967, as the existence of this pattern was used as evidence of the Hebrew origin of the Gospel of Matthew (see Chapter 13), that Mormons found that examples of chiasmus of comparable depth were embedded without fanfare in the Book of Mormon as well, consistent with its claim to have been produced by authors and editors steeped in the “language of the Jews”. How did Smith incorporate something so obscure, yet profound, into this book? Was it years of education at Oxford and Cambridge? No, he had three years of formal grammar school education before producing the Book of Mormon. Was it his study under a rabbi? Joseph did take Hebrew from a Sephardic rabbi, Joshua Seixas, but it was several years after the Book of Mormon was published, and even then no one noticed the chiasmus in that book. The longest example is the entire Chapter 36 of the Book of Alma, which describes the conversion to Christianity of Alma, who in the first half of the chiasmus descends into his expectation of hell and despair, until the turning point when he asks Christ to forgive his sins against God and his fellow men, and arises forgiven and renewed, in 18 levels of descent and then ascent.

          Joseph was clearly not aware of these structures in the book he dictated. And they do not appear as accidental structures in other religious literature of the 19th Century, despite the flowing verbosity of the prose of that day, and American literature’s incorporation of the language of the King James Version of the Bible. The only rational explanation is that those structures were placed there intentionally by people from a Hebraic culture who composed the text before it was entrusted to Joseph. That is just one reason to believe that the text was not something Joseph created from his imagination.

          • Ray,

            The Book of Mormon has undergone several ENORMOUS doctrinal changes:

            First Book of Nephi, p.25 (1830): “Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.”

            Today: 1 Nephi 11:18: “…is the mother of the SON of God.”

            First Book of Nephi, p.25 (1830):.”…behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!”

            Today: 1 Nephi 11:21: “yea, even the SON of the Eternal Father!”

            First Book of Nephi, p.26 (1830): “And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God was judged of the world…”

            Today: 1 Nephi 11:32: “…yea, the SON of the Everlasting God was judged of the world…”

            First Book of Nephi, p.32; (1830): “…that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world.”

            Today: “..the Lamb of God is the SON of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.”

            These changes were necessary to accommodate the version of the First Vision which Smith was claiming at that time.

            As for the First Vision, there were TEN VERSIONS he told. They are tabulated here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Vision

            I suspect if you or I had seen God the Father and Jesus, we would remember consistently whom we had seen. Smith had a problem with that basic detail among the versions.

            And how, please tell, do you account for errors unique to the King James Version that were carried forward in the Book of Mormon. The King James Version had not, of course, been recorded when Nephi supposedly wrote. But, interestingly, it was THE version Smith had access to. Please explain that.

            (And a good source on the KJV errors in the BofM is here:

            http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/curt_heuvel/bom_kjv.html

            )

          • Ray,

            (Tried to post this once before with links, but I guess this site doesn’t like them.)

            Your assertion that “The Book of Mormon has had grammatical changes, but none of the doctrinal substance (such as the sermon by Abinadi on the Father and the Son) has been altered” is dead wrong.

            First Book of Nephi, p.25 (1830): “Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.”

            Today: 1 Nephi 11:18: “…is the mother of the Son of God.”

            First Book of Nephi, p.25 (1830):.”…behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!”

            Today: 1 Nephi 11:21: “yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!”

            First Book of Nephi, p.26 (1830): “And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God was judged of the world…”

            Today: 1 Nephi 11:32: “…yea, the Son of the Everlasting God was judged of the world…”

            First Book of Nephi, p.32; (1830): “…that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world.”

            Today: “..the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.”

            Note that Smith had to change “God” to “Son of God” to make the Book of Mormon (already published in 1830) agree with the versions of his First Vision he was then peddling. “God” and “The Son of God” had to be referred to as separate beings. They weren’t in the 1830 Book of Mormon, so that needed to be fixed. Hence those DOCTRINAL changes.

            And how in the world do you account for the errors–unique to the KJV–that were carried into the Book of Nephi? The KJV did not exist in Nephi’s time, of course, so how did they get in the BofM? Of course the KJV WAS the version Smith had access to. Fancy that.

            The “chiasmus” is a distractor. “Literary forms” are wholy subjective. But it gives apologists something to talk about when huge doctrinal changes, plagiarism, and other inconveniences of the BofM present themselves.

            And how is it that not a single shred of archaeological evidence has been found for the enormous cities in the BofM? Not a coin, not a pot, not a bow, not a ruin. And how is it that the BofM mentions plants known to not have existed (by studying sedimented pollen on lake bottoms–a highly reliable form of archaeobiology). And how is it that it does NOT mention flora and fauna that were staples at that time? And how does it get so many animal facts wrong?

            The BofM is fiction.

          • As a counterpoint to Jennifer’s claims, here is the link to the FAIR (LDS appoligetics) page about the Book of Mormon, http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon

          • Thanks, Brittany. The more people go to FAIR, the more they see what convoluted logic is necessary to prop up the Book of Mormon.

            Here is part of the FAIR verbiage on “Son of God,” vs. “God”:

            “These changes are clarifications that the passages are speaking of Jesus, not God the Father. The terms ‘God,’ ‘Everlasting God,’ and ‘Eternal Father’ are ambiguous since they could properly refer to either the Father or the Son.”

            And you haven’t touched on the enormous historical issues. How about this: Please find us one single non-Mormon archaeologist who agrees the BofM is an accurate historical record of people in the Western Hemisphere. Just one.

            Well, you can’t, I suspect. I wonder why that’s so.

          • I have no interest in arguing with you, Jennifer. I shared the FAIR link so that your accusations wouldn’t be left unresponded to for the benefit of other readers. You don’t have to accept them (and I’m not suprised that you don’t), but others have every right to consider the explanations the people at FAIR have come up with and make their own judgements about them (FTR, FAIR is not an official church site, but is run by active members).

            By your logic, the fact that there are no atheist scientists that accept the Book of Genesis as an accurate account of the creation of the Earth (when there is not agreement even amount Christians about exactly how the creation account is to be interpreted) would mean the Bible’s truth is highly suspect as well. That’s not stopping me from believing in the Bible.

          • Brittany,

            There is no comparison in your example (atheists supporting the Book of Genesis) and what I was aksing for.

            The LDS church claims the Book of Mormon is a true record of a people who lived on this continent. It tells of enormous civilizations. It tells of epic battles. It describes communities, plant life, animal life. Those are bold claims, as they run counter to accepted science on how people got here (from Asia, not from the Middle East), what society looked like here, and what plants and animals existed here. The burden is on the Mormon church to prove those bold claims are true. And the fact is, they can’t be proven true. And more to the point, NOT ONE SHRED of evidence has been found.

            So the possibilities are that the Book of Mormon is true, but the evidence just hasn’t been found, DNA science is all wrong, and archaeological biology is all wrong; or, that the book is fiction.

            Mormons say “I know it’s true.” At best, they can hope it’s true, “feel” it’s true, have faith that’s it’s true, or think it’s true. But in the absence of ANY evidence, they claim they KNOW it’s true.

            I say prove it. You can’t.

            And to the point, you can’t even find a single non-Mormon archaeologist who agrees it’s true. Why do you suppose that is?

          • There are archeological records of large civilizations in mesoamerica (where most scholars now believe the Book of Mormon took place). It can be difficult to map out the geography without any reference points to Book of Mormon places that correspond to known landmarks, but your claim that there is no evidence at all that such civilizations existed in all of North and South America is unsubstantiated. FAIR has a whole lot of information on ways archeology supports the Book of Mormon text. They also have a section on DNA evidence that I think makes some good points. The fact that people who don’t believe in the Book of Mormon don’t believe in the Book of Mormon doesn’t mean anything to me.

            I believe it is possible to know something is true without any physical evidence. That is how I am able to know God is real. I can’t prove He exists, but I know it, and no amount of hearing about the opinions of human experts is going to change my belief in Him, nor will it change the fact that I have received a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is His word. The power of that witness fills me up even now as I type these words. I love the Book of Mormon and I *know* it is true.

        • Brittany,

          The civilizations are off by a ton in when they existed, and they were anything but Christian. They were brutal and sacrificial, in no way matching the societies described in the BofM.

          FAIR is an apologist site, Brittany. Its scholarship is the laughing stock of serious anthropologists and archaeologists. You and anyone else is free to buy into their logic, but if you want to be honest with yourself, you might want to get ANY other opinions. You will find NONE that agree with FAIR. None, zero. But they write a lot of long pieces, and faithful Mormons can look at them and comfort themselves with “Oh good, someone says I can keep believing.” But it is not real science.

          I think you and I disagree on what “knowing” means. In the case of the Book of Mormon, no one can “know” it to be true, particularly in the face of stark evidence that it is NOT true, and in the absence of any evidence to counter that. You may believe, you may think, you may hope. But if you are honest about the meaning of “know,” you can’t know.

    • They already do. If you knew anything about LDS missionary service it’s to serve along with spreading the gospel of Christ. I served a full time mission in California and I spent almost the same time serving as I did teaching.

  3. Bill Schroader

    I’ll never stop to marvel at the sort of vial levied toward such a good institution as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

    Even as I was preparing to serve my mission nearly thirty years ago, a colleague unabashedly approached me asking if there was any way that he could persuade me not to go. I was taken aback and it was my first glimpse into what a threat the LDS Church seems to be to others, insomuch as they apologetically spew their venomous opposition in spite of their “Christian” demeanor.

    My daughter is preparing to leave this month to serve in Lima, Peru. She is so excited and eager to touch lives. As a parent, I’m excited for her to transition from the typical self-centeredness that comes from being an adolescence and see her change into a selfless servant of Christ.

    Our missionary program is patterned after the way Christ taught. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    I say, rather than criticize these good people, go, and do thou likewise!

    • I agree 100 % !!! to most people “normal” is going to college and partying and doing drugs and every other dumb and stupid thing a person can imagine. People seem to accept that as being “normal”, but what the Mormons do is far more difficult and demanding and to do it at their own expense only makes that service more consecrated and admirable.

      • “To most people “normal” is going to college and partying and doing drugs and every other dumb and stupid thing a person can imagine.”

        Do you seriously belive that is “normal” to most people?

        • kalamawashington

          If you got to 90% of the college campuses around this country, I believe that you WILL see that this is “normal” to the students there.

  4. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    As to the lasting nature of the surge in number of young missionaries, there is obviously a cohort who were above the new lower minimum age for service, and it will take a couple of years for them to clear through. Nevertheless, the significant and lasting increase will be the number of young women who will serve missions because they don’t have to wait until age 21, when many would be close to college graduation or married and thus not available. The skills and confidence of adult women in the LDS Church will be permanently enhanced by the large numbers who will bring those skills into the congregations where they marry and raise families. And they will pass along their experiences to their younger sisters and their daughters and institutionalize the tradition of missionary service.

    It is a simple fact that the number of people who decide to join the LDS Church each year is directly proportional to the number of missionaries. As the number of missionaries grow, the number of new converts will grow proportionally. It can in many countries require a huge investment of time by a missionary, on average, to produce a single convert. When I was in Japan circa 1970, it was a thousand hours by each pair of missionaries I served in. All sorts of things can affect the willingness of people to listen to these young missionaries, but lots of those social and religious changes have been taking place over the last century, yet the LDS Church membership has continued, over the long haul, to increase steadily, even as other US denominations its size shrink. That is surprising in light of how much is demanded of people who adopt the Mormon lifestyle, but it has been an enduring social phenomenon for a century, and as much as Mormonism’s critics and competitors would like it to stop, there is no reason to expect it will. A small increase in the number of missionaries each year will, over a couple of decades, produce a significant increase in church membership.

    When sociologist Rodney Stark in 1980 predicted that Mormonism’s growth rate would double its membership every 20 years, he was being conservative compared to the reality. His 1980 prediction of 250 million Mormons worldwide by 2080 is on course for fulfillment, as we are already a third of the way there.

    • Raymond,

      The LDS percentage of the world population is 0.2% (.002). That figure is dropping. The LDS church’s growth rate has flatlined, and people are being born at a much higher rate than the LDS church is growing.

      More, members are “leaving in droves” according to Elder Jensen. The Internet is bringing to light many facts the rewritten history the church promotes would prefer remain hidden. Facts like:

      – Joseph Smiths polygamy (which he denied), which included at least one girl of 14, and the already married wives of men he had dispatched earlier on missions.

      – The Kinderhook Plates episode.

      – The Book of Abraham problem.

      – Book of Mormon historicity issues.

      – The big changes that happened as the Book of Commandments became the D&C.

      – The Masonic origins of the Mormon temple rituals.

      Converts are baptised and leave your church almost as fast. Those who join remain active after a year at a rate of about 30%. Youth are running from the church as they discover the truth.

      • Where is your proof? if you point the internet you’re an idiot, only fools belive the garbage on the internet. The church is growing and will continue to do so for the forseeable future, I served as both a stake and a ward missionary here in Arizona and the church is growing very rapidly here and actually around the world. Sorry to burst your bubble….

        • ShaWilli,

          Where is my proof of what? Are you disagreeing with the church being 0.2% of the world population? Are your disagreeing that that proportion is shrinking?

      • People without the capability to understand, like you the explanations about each itemns that you mention.
        The chiasmus is a character of literature , that Joseph even ignored ! ,
        Horses, and white man in america ? Yes we have ! do not know ? Find out !

      • kalamawashington

        Jennifer You state: “The LDS percentage of the world population is 0.2% (.002). That figure is dropping. The LDS church’s growth rate has flatlined, and people are being born at a much higher rate than the LDS church is growing.” I don’t think that you have your facts straight. It would be nice if you supplied documentation for your statements.

        While your statement that the LDS percentage of the world’s population is close (.21%, not .2%, but close enough) where your statement is incorrect is here: “…people are being born at a much higher rate than the LDS church is growing.”

        According to this website:
        http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_grow&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&ifdim=region&tdim=true&hl=en&dl=en&ind=false&q=world+population+growth+rate

        The world’s growth rate is approximately 1.15%, and on this site:

        http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_grow&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&ifdim=region&tdim=true&hl=en&dl=en&ind=false&q=world+population+growth+rate#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_grow&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:USA&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

        the rate of growth in the US is about .74%

        And on this site:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_membership_history

        We see that the rate of growth for the LDS Church in 2012 was 2.31%. (Or more than twice the rate of birth in the world). This site also shows a graph comparing Church growth percentage with world growth percentage. And in fact, the 2.31% growth is the highest in three years, rather than “flatlining”. “We are becoming more numerous”.

    • And this:

      “The rapid growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a frequent and recurring theme in the secular media. The claim that the Church of Jesus Christ is the ‘world’s fastest growing church’ has been repeated in the Los Angeles Times, Salt Lake Tribune, Guardian, and other media outlets, while sources claiming that the LDS Church is the ‘fastest growing in the United States’ are too numerous to chronicle. Sociologist Rodney Stark’s 1984 projection has been widely cited: ‘A 50 percent per decade growth rate, which is actually lower than the rate each decade since World War II, will result in over 265 million members of the Church by 2080.’ In Mormons in America, Claudia and Richard Bushman claimed, ‘Mormonism, one of the world’s fastest-growing Christian religions, doubles its membership every 15 years.’

      “Latter-day Saint media have also lauded rapid church growth. The LDS Church News has described international LDS growth with a litany of superlatives, including ‘astronomic,’ ‘dynamic,’ ‘miraculous,’ and ‘spectacular.’ The claim that the LDS Church is the ‘fastest growing church in the United States’ has been repeated in the Ensign and LDS Church News. In a recent General Conference, the Church of Jesus Christ was described not only as being prolific, but also as retaining and keeping active ‘a higher percentage of our members’ than any other major church of which the speaker was aware.

      “A closer examination of growth and retention data demonstrates that LDS growth trends have been widely overstated. Annual LDS growth has progressively declined from over 5 percent in the late 1980s to less than 3 percent from 2000 to 2005. Since 1990, LDS missionaries have been challenged to double the number of baptisms, but instead the number of baptisms per missionary has halved. During this same period, other international missionary-oriented faiths have reported accelerating growth, including the Seventh-Day Adventists, Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God, and Evangelical (5.6 percent annual growth) and Pentecostal churches (7.3 percent annual growth). For 2004, 241,239 LDS convert baptisms were reported, the lowest number of converts since 1987. The number of convert baptisms increased to 272,845 in 2006, but both missionary productivity and the total number of baptisms remained well below the levels of the early 1990s. Even more cause for concern is the fact that little of the growth that occurs is real: while nearly 80 percent of LDS convert baptisms occur outside of the United States, barely one in four international converts becomes an active or participating member of the Church. Natural LDS growth has also fallen as the LDS birth rate has progressively declined. LDS church membership has continued to increase, but the rate of growth has slowed considerably.”

      Stewart, Jr., David. The Law of the Harvest: Practical Principles of Effective Missionary Work, p. 17.

      • About those converts

        Stewart is right (and Jennifer). A few years back I did field research on LDS missionary strategy and retention rates in Mexico for my BA thesis in Religious Studies.

        To summarize my conclusions: how can anyone wonder at retention rates below 25% after the first year? When investigators are baptized after two or three weeks. When their familiar missionaries are regularly reassigned to different areas at the drop of a hat. When ward missionaries are completely incapable of handling the amount of work (as goes for all callings in such wards with massive membership rolls and growth, yet only a handful actually active local members attending weekly and most juggling multiple callings). And with the local members overwhelmed with greeting new faces each week, let alone capable of striking up endless new friendships.
        And this in a church that requires so much investment of time and commitment from its members, the changing of lifelong habits, etc. After my experience in Mexico I think it’s a wonder 25% sticks around at all, haha.

        Also, the official membership rolls show highly inflated numbers because people that are unaccounted for (eg. move away without a forwarding address) are kept on the rolls ’till they are 120. And obviously all inactive members are on there too, as well as the ones born into the church, but never active as adults, plus the converts that do not integrate after baptism (unless you actively remove yourself from the rolls, which hardly anyone ever does because it’s a bureaucratic ordeal). Only about a third of the official number is actually active in the church (people attending church on a regular basis), if memory serves me correctly.

        Counting the number of wards and stakes says much more, that way you can look for an increase in flourishing LDS sites, those where a sufficient number of men receive the Melchizedek priesthood.

  5. I’ve found on the internet that Joseph Smith was the founder of the LDS church. I’ve also found on the internet that the LDS church has since grown from one LDS member, Joseph Smith, to over 14 million members. I think it’s safe to say LDS membership is trending upward.

    Recently my local gas prices have been dropping, but that doesn’t mean it won’t double in price in the future. In fact, I have faith that it will.

    While we leave remarks on blogs such as these, in such a small speck of time, there is nothing anyone can do or say that will stop the LDS members from sharing their beliefs. As they share their belief, I believe the result would be new membership. Isn’t that logical? The same goes for every other religion out there.

    I admire the Jehovah’s Witness Missionaries who serve their faith diligently. I admire my Southern Baptist friends who know their Bible like the back of their hand, who also happen to love sharing their beliefs with me. I also admire my friends who are of Shinto and Bukkyo sects who find peace in worshiping their ancestors. Do I agree with everything each religion preaches across the board from one religion to the next? Of course not, but I do recognize the good in each religion.

    What I don’t admire is when individuals use the internet as their trumpet, who constantly attack other faiths. Reading such remarks does not add clarity for searching minds. I don’t believe attacking another’s faith benefits anyone else except the person who posted the remark. Perhaps by awarding them with a sense of achievement.

    These type of people may claim to not be on the attack, however when you be-little, identify religious discrepancies, and attack an object or religious figure of a faith that is central to that faith, it is automatically perceived as an attack. It does not matter what the person posting offensive content may think, the fact is people hold their religions close to their hearts. You mess with their religion, you are provoking a religious argument.

    I assume many of the individuals here are from the U.S, and therefore assume that the majority of the individuals here are Christian. I’ve noticed that many Christians nowadays ask for proof in order for them to be convinced that a so called God exists. (My Shinto friends do not have that problem, because they worship their ancestors.) I know for a fact that my ancestors existed, can you prove to me that God exists? Show me living proof or I will call you and all of Christianity a lie. The bible tells me so? I don’t think so. The Bible was written by men who make false claims. Beside, I asked for living proof. In-fact, the entirety of Christianity, believers in Christ, is nothing more than a farce. An organization of men who con others into believing in a supreme being exists, so that they can support their haughty life styles with the donations of the people they fool. I’m not attacking, I’m simply stating the facts.

    So, how does that paragraph make everyone feel? Like reaching through the monitor and giving me a Kung-Fu eye poke? Or does it feel peaceful and relaxing?

    This is such a waste of time, I can’t believe I wrote this much. For the record, I do believe in God and Jesus Christ. I’ve heard a lot of reasons to not believe in God and Jesus Christ but continue to have faith. It’s very disturbing to see so many religions put themselves at odds of other religions to satisfy their need of feeling superior. All I see is Satan’s influence when I see that kind of garbage.

  6. It seems that we have a lot of children having a back yard arguement.
    things are changing for the lds church. in august, 2014 there has been some research that the membership in the church is only 35% active. That is about 4-5,000,000 in real numbers. We need to pull together to solve our problems. the return on investment on 85,000 missionaries (20-25,000 increase) is less than 10,000.

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