2nd Annual General Conference Statistics Predictions (with Poll)

by: Mike S

March 22, 2012

14,433,880.  That is my prediction for the number of members that will be announced in General Conference next week for year-end 2011.  In case you missed last year, I made similar predictions then had a follow-up analyzing how close the estimates were in a post entitled Good vs Great: Iomega and General Conference Statistics.  I actually ended up being off 0.15% overall, so hopefully it will be closer this year.  In this post, I’ll give my estimates again, with a chance for you to decide if my numbers are high, low or ok.  And if you’re willing to commit yourself, you can also put your specific predictions in comments at the bottom.

There are 4 numbers we will be discussing: Total Members, Number of Converts, Children Born To Members and People Leaving.  The first three numbers are what will actually be reported, and the fourth number can be calculated from those.  In each section below, I’ll give my prediction, give last year’s number, give my rationale, and have a short poll.  So, here goes:

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Total Members – Prediction: 14,433,880.

The total reported last year is 14,131,467, so this represents a net increase of 302,413 members.  I am predicting an increase of 2.14%.  Putting this in perspective, the net increase last year was 306,613, or 2.22%.  This prediction is actually based on my other predictions, but fits with historical trends.  Putting this in perspective, in the early 1980’s, the growth rate was closer to 5%.  Two decades ago, in the early 1990’s, the rate was just under 4%.  Ten years ago, just after the turn of the century, it was just under 3%.  Therefore, following a 30+ year long trend, an increase of 2.14% makes sense.  So, that’s my guess.  What do you think?

Total Member Prediction

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Number of Converts – Prediction: 274,150

The number of converts reported last year was 272,814, or 1.97% of total membership.  My prediction is 1.94% of total membership.  Looking at historical trends, in the end of the 1990s, this rate was around 3%, so it’s dropped 50% in the past 10-15 years.  There are a lot of factors that go into this.  In 2011, there was the whole “I’m a Mormon” campaign, the Romney campaign, the Book of Mormon musical, etc.  There is a lot of information on the internet.  There is an increased campaign by the Church to get “official sources” to bump up higher on searches through Search Engine Optimization.  Are these a net benefit or net detriment?  To be honest, I don’t think they changed the trend much.  So, I predict just a few more converts than last year.  Your guess:

Number of Converts

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Children Born To Members – Prediction: 120,117

Last year, this number was 120,528, or 0.87% of membership.  This percentage has actually increased slightly over the past decade, but I predict it will be slightly smaller at 0.85%.  This isn’t necessarily due to anything related to the Church, but more to general economic trends and the recession.  Your guess:

Children Born to Members

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People Leaving – Prediction: 91,855

This represents people removed from the rolls either because of death or because of leaving the Church.  This number represents 0.65% of the membership.  Last year, this number was 86,729, or 0.63%.  I think this percentage will be slightly higher.  It has been trending increasingly upward over the past 10-15 years, from about 0.40% or so, so is actually about 50% higher than it used to be.  Reasons for this are as varied as the number of people giving their opinion.  Your guess:

People Leaving

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So, those are my predictions.  Now let’s hear from you…  And stay tuned for the week after conference when we will see how close we were.  Maybe there will be a Grand Prize for the person who guesses the closest.  Maybe you’ll just go down in Wheat & Tares infamy.  Who knows?

Questions:

  • How’d I do – close, far-off?
  • What are YOUR predictions for these 4 numbers?
  • Do you think my explanations are correct?
  • What other factors may or may not play into each of these numbers?

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51 Responses to 2nd Annual General Conference Statistics Predictions (with Poll)

  1. Justin on March 22, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    The church and their membership number data are a lot like the state and their unemployment data. By that I mean I’d answer:

    What other factors may or may not play into each of these numbers?

    by saying that what’s reported will depend on what makes the Stone look like it’s rolling forth to fill the earth.

    If the data look like more people are leaving/going inactive — then the definition of who get’s counted or not will be modified — until we become like Catholics, who’s position is that you can never not be Catholic [you're either a member who is currently "in communion" with the Pope in Rome or you're a member who is not "in communion" with him].

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  2. Mike S on March 22, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    #1 Justin: …what makes the Stone look like it’s rolling forth to fill the earth.

    I think we’ve moved past that. Remember a few years ago when there was talk of exponential growth and 250 million members by 2080. We don’t hear that any more.

    Our growth is slowing down. We’ll have some more analysis once the new numbers come out, but if current trends over the past 30 years continue, we will level out around somewhere around 20 million members – at which point converts & children = people leaving & dying.

    Unless there is some sort of “game-changer” in either direction. Which begs the question – what would this “game-changer” be? Any ideas? Finding inscriptions with the name Nephi in a Central America artifact? Having President Monson announce that he has translated the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon? Having a Mormon President of the United States? Ad campaigns? Scandal?

    What things might change current trends either way?

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  3. NewlyHousewife on March 22, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    I’d say more people are leaving, see the “Rescue” program.

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  4. Justin on March 22, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    I agree that growth is stagnating — my point was that “the Church” will not report this leveling out that you’re talking about.

    Which begs the question – what would this “game-changer” be?

    It’s my prediction that the corporate, unified LDS church will be broken up as a single, unified church, into a plurality of sects and churches, which will then descend into all manner of wickedness and works of the flesh.

    I’m sure it sounds far-fetched to most — but I’d be willing to state it as a prophecy that you will see a large California earthquake, then the scattering of Israel and destruction of Jerusalem, and finally the break-up of the unified LDS church.

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  5. NewlyHousewife on March 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Justin,

    I think you’re forgetting that there are already numerous sects. Just so happens the LDS is the biggest one.

    Your “prophesy” has already happened.

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  6. Justin on March 22, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Your “prophesy” has already happened.

    Lol — thanks for declaring me a prophet…

    But I’m referring to a future state when there is no majority sect of Gentile Mormons — but a plurality of non-majority sects.

    The current unified LDS church doesn’t just “so happen [to be] the biggest one” — it’s head-and-shoulders above, >95% the majority of Gentile Mormons. And it is that entity that I was declaring would be broken-up as the third-part of a trifecta of events.

    …So keep waiting.

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  7. Andyd on March 22, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    If people resign, are they taken off of the total count? under your calculations they are, but I didn’t know that was the case.

    Anyone know for sure?

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  8. Mike S on March 22, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    #7 Andyd:

    Yes – they take them off the total count. In fact, that’s actually how you get the number since they don’t report it.

    Next week, they will give the number of total members, the number of converts, and the number of children born. If you add the last two numbers (ie. people added) to the prior year’s total, it will be higher than the total number reported this time. The difference in the two is how many were taken off the rolls.

    For example, assume you report 100 members one year. For the following year, you report 10 converts and 10 births, and report a new membership of 115. From this you can calculate that 5 people “left”.

    Two caveats:

    1) You don’t know WHY they were taken off – it could be death, it could be resigned, etc. However, the mortality rate is likely fairly steady state over short time periods, so the change is likely due to resignations.

    2) There are years in the past where there was NEGATIVE number of people who LEFT. It is assumed that these are reconciliation years. For example, assume you report 100 members one year. You have 10 converts and 10 births, and report 130 members the following year.

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  9. Bob on March 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    What is missing is how fast the world population is growing, how fast the USA poulation is growing. Does that make these #s bigger or littler?
    Also, how must is national_how much is international?
    Finally, you never cofirmed 14 million__just added to it:)

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  10. Mike S on March 22, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    #9 @Bob:

    Agreed. I do have other numbers for world population as well as national vs international. There is a great deal of more granular information by country on Cumorah.com.

    The purpose of this exercise is more basic – just to see if anyone would hazard any guesses, or if their “gut feeling” is that it will be higher or lower than I predict. The trends over the past few years have been fairly consistent, however, even without doing a more in-depth analysis.

    Regarding the “confirming 14 million”, that doesn’t really work for any religion. It is all in how you count “members” – ie. active, cultural, TBM, temple-recommend-holding, etc. You could make the numbers say anything you want. And that’s not unique to Mormonism.

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  11. Porter on March 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Isn’t the real problem that the vast majority of the people who become disaffected or go inactive or fade away or whatever never go to the trouble of taking their names off the roles? So the fourth number is really just the tip of the iceberg, right.

    Too bad they don’t announce activity rates…

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  12. Heber13 on March 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Like business managers do, and good accountants, they will want to show good steady growth. If there were potential surprises, they would have mentioned it or prepared people for such. My guess is, the rock continues to roll down the hill in a steady pace, giving a sense of security for believers.

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  13. andyd on March 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    whoever disliked comment 2 is dumb.

    my guess is 14,444,444

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  14. Cowboy on March 22, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    They don’t report the number of dissafections? So, we can only guess. Growth has slowed, but I think Justin is probably going to be right. I won’t call it a Prophecy, but the corporate Church is declining in it’s effectiveness to persuade the world theologically. They have this kind of public relations campaign that almost akin to “going green”. Somehow they think that by saying, “hey, now were good for the enviroment” is a good sell. “Hey, look, we’re no longer racist” doesn’t quite stack up. For people who never had an interest in joining, perhaps this message style will loosen some tensions. For people who may consider joining, it doesn’t even address the question. It seems like the Church is really struggling with this, and I don’t know how much more they can take without eventually sacrificing some pieces and ultimately fracturing the base.

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  15. Heber13 on March 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Cowboy, do you think “Family” is not resonating with people as much anymore? Who is not for the “family”?

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  16. FireTag on March 22, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I think your estimates are probably right for the moment. I can think of a lot of things that can change the demographic pattern, but if the CofChrist experience is any guide, you’ll really have to look at the individual country patterns to see what is happening.

    Of course, if the demos get really bad, you can just change who’s eligible for membership without rebaptism. :D

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  17. el oso on March 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I said that the number of infants of record will be higher. We have had a lot of babies in our ward. I also said that the number “leaving” will be higher than predicted. I have had several friends die and the demographics are that baby boomers are getting near the high-mortality time.

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  18. Cowboy on March 22, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Heber13:

    I’m really baffled by your comment. It seems like something that would be said for tactical reasons in a debate, because it is very evasive and weak under the surface. The great fabrication behind the whole assertion, and it’s genesis in the Church’s marketing rhetoric, is that the Church is due any credit for the establishment of the family unit. The family as “restored” by Joseph Smith is the moral antithesis of the institution you are referring, ie, the modern nuclear family. That organization existed before the Church was restored. The only thing the Church did to that organization was mutate it into an abberation that even Mormons are ashamed of today. It was political and social forces that forced Church leaders hands into ultimately assimilating back into “normal” two-parent family structures. Still, the Church markets itself as though somehow they are responsible for designing, imparting, and protecting, this family organization into the world. It is laughably absurd.

    It also furthers my initial point. Anybody with an internet connection, 30 spare minutes, and even a casual curiosity, can learn all about this in great detail and with supporting documentation. It will be tough to hold on to the reigns of this horse for too long. That is my prediction anyhow.

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  19. Rigel Hawthorne on March 22, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    While I sustain President Monson, I don’t see the remarkable ability to create a personal connection with members via satelite communication to the same level that was accomplished by GBH. This makes it a little difficult to feel empathy with his associates who testify during conference of his prophetic calling. I hope he can rise to that challenge.

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  20. Heber13 on March 22, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Cowboy, you may have looked beyond the mark in my question. Despite the history of polygamy, the Church now emphasizes the importance of the family. That’s a good message. We don’t claim we invented the family, just that family values is important. Eternally important. That is something that attracts people. Wouldn’t you agree?

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  21. Geoff - A on March 22, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Heber 20,

    The definition of the family the church insist on excludes 40% who are living in de-facto marriages, and of course homosexuals.

    So although it is sold as a positive it can also be a negative to those and their sympathisers.

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  22. Roger on March 22, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    The only feature of GC perhaps less meaningful than the stats report is the audit report. There is always the possibility that an actual voice of warning and prophecy could be issued; but it needs perhaps to be something more meaningful than clean your yards, reduce your ear piercings, and praying to find your loose change in the washing machine.

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  23. Bob on March 22, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    #20: Heber,
    There is no such thing as an eternal nuclear family. All nuclear families will blow apart and become new nuclear famlies. There are extended families. But the Church values work against them. BYU values the setting up of new families. You send your daughter to BYU, she weds, and she will likely move far from you. Your son will learn a profession that will likely put him in another city far from you, etc. This happens in the Mormon Culture, but less in others.

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  24. Cowboy on March 22, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    No Heber13, I disagree because you can’t separate the issues like that. The Church doesn’t just posit a general thumbs up on families. Rather there are a whole host of implications associated with their teachings on the family that are based on the assumption of the divinity behind Church hierarchy and Priesthood authority. The entire premises of the Priesthood authority rests in in the restoration of the Priesthood and the alleged granting of the sealing power through Elijah in the Kirtland Temple. I don’t think that a conscientious convert joins the Church simply on the basis of a positive message about families, without at least contemplating the theological implications, and if possible, in conjunction with it’s historical implications. As we have illustrated this is a messy issue when considered in greater detail. There are many people who feel that the greater consideration of these things undermines the validity of the of the Church’s simple and strictly sentimental modern message.

    It is not of course guaranteed that every person who considers this message in full, will not join. However, I think it is safe to say that it greatly hinders the conversion rates when applicable, and is a major influence on those who later leave.

    You can’t strip Mormonism of it’s necessary literalism and dependent history, and expect to have a persuasive message. More to the point. What can benefits can Mormonism offer to families, outside of divine promises of a grand afterlife, that all families can’t get without Mormonism? It’s that whole “Families are forever” business, and you can’t get that without the theology and supporting history. If you strip the “blessings” from the equation, then Church membership can’t offer families anything that they don’t already have! In short, if your going to preach families, you will have to contend with Polygamy, and that undermines confidence in Mormonism for many people.

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  25. larryco_ on March 23, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    “my guess is 14,444,444″

    Wow, Andyd, a double set of 444. Which everyone knows is the Mark of the Unicorn: which is something like the Mark of the Beast…just not very scary.

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  26. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    #11 @Porter: Isn’t the real problem that the vast majority of the people who become disaffected or go inactive or fade away or whatever never go to the trouble of taking their names off the roles?

    I don’t know that this is a “problem”. When someone says that there are 1.1 billion Catholics, it doesn’t necessarily mean people who go to church every Sunday. Similarly, I would expect the same with Mormonism. As per Andrew S’s post on what it means to be “Mormon”, there are many people who consider themselves Mormon who might also be considered inactive.

    So, reporting the number of members is reasonable. They’ve never presented it as the number of “active” members, so I don’t have a problem with it.

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  27. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    #12 @Heber13: Like business managers do, and good accountants, they will want to show good steady growth.

    This is true. When the growth rates were higher, we heard talks about the “stone rolling forth to fill the earth”. But there can be a problem with growth that is TOO fast – ie. allegory of the vineyard.

    With the current growth rate that has slowed, we instead hear talks on “raising the bar”, “quality not quantity”, retention of converts we have, etc. But I don’t know that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

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  28. Cowboy on March 23, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    In regards to #26:

    Questions about the “accuracy” of these figures really depends on the purpose behind them. In other words, what are they supposed to tell us about the Church? I’ve always seen the Saturday Session reports in the same way that I have seen bank board meetings. In that sense I don’t really have much of an issue. “We’ve x number baptisms, added y number of stakes/wards/chapels, we’re solvent, we have z number of total members, etc”. In this setting it is just balance sheet reporting. “Here is where we are today”. That’s it nothing more.

    After the Saturday Session however, they way these figures are used rhetorically is where the problems are. “There are 14 million members of our Church, each who have read the Book of Mormon and know that it is true”. It’s these kinds of statements and distortions of the figures, that causes problems. For balance sheet purposes it is fine to say that there are 14 million members. If however, we are trying to compel other by suggesting that Mormonism has mass appeal, then those figures need to be counted based on relevant criteria. So, the quality of the data largely depends on the questions we are trying to ask.

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  29. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    #14 @ Cowboy: the corporate Church is declining in it’s effectiveness to persuade the world theologically.

    I don’t really like the word “corporate”, as I truly think that the leaders of the Church are genuinely good men and it seems a bit pejorative, but I do agree with the sentiment of this comment.

    I think this sentence sums up one of the biggest problems facing the church today. As per my previous post, Mormonism 101: A Confusing FAQ, our more controversial and unique points of doctrine are being more watered down and more like those of other faiths. Instead, we focus more on the “outward” manifestations of faith, such as clothing choices, numbers of earrings, tattoos, use of alcohol/coffee/tea/tobacco, weekly attendance at church services, amount of donations, etc.

    This attitude is at odds with the increasing attitude in Western society. It is more individualistic as far as outward expression, yet still spiritual (as discussed in the post on Bono and the Pharisees. Unless we recognize this and stop focusing on the outward and instead focus on the inward, I think we are going to have continued difficulties.

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  30. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    #18 @Cowboy: Still, the Church markets itself as though somehow they are responsible for designing, imparting, and protecting, this family organization into the world.

    I do agree that the family is an important “marketing tool” of the Church. They do place a lot of emphasis on the family, which I think is a really good thing. There are two points:

    1) As you mentioned, the Church doesn’t have a “lock” on emphasizing the family. Other faiths do just as much. I also know a number of amazing families who are Muslim, Buddhism, atheist, etc. as well. So, I don’t know that joining the Church to have a “good family” is a great selling point, but I DO appreciate the emphasis the Church places on families.

    2) One caveat to this is that the “traditional” family is becoming less traditional. I think the various Church leaders have tried to be more understanding towards this as they have talked about families, realizing that nothing is “normal”. But I do think it is more difficult to exist in the Church outside the father/mother/children paradigm. Possible, but more difficult.

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  31. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    #19 Rigel: I don’t see the remarkable ability to create a personal connection with members via satelite communication to the same level that was accomplished by GBH

    I agree, and I don’t know exactly why. It’s a function of our TV age that certain people come across “better” on TV than others. It has changed presidential elections. It is just a fact. Ideally, it shouldn’t be this way with conference, but it is unavoidable to a certain extent.

    This reminds me of another point – I really do NOT like the televised stake conferences. I understand the constraints of geography and growth, but there is nothing like a leader physically present at a meeting. The “phoned in” stake conference meetings leave me kind of empty.

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  32. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    #22 @Roger: The only feature of GC perhaps less meaningful than the stats report is the audit report.

    I agree 1000% percent. It would be nice if the Church was like many other non-profit organizations and actually opened its books. If it has nothing to hide, it would certainly do a lot to deflect many of the criticisms people have of its corporate nature.

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  33. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    #23 Bob: But the Church values work against them. BYU values the setting up of new families. You send your daughter to BYU, she weds, and she will likely move far from you. Your son will learn a profession that will likely put him in another city far from you, etc.

    I don’t think this is unique to the LDS Church. The norm in essentially all societies throughout the world is for one member of a marriage to leave behind their family and join another (typically the woman joining the man’s). We are told in the Bible that a man is to leave his parents and cleave unto his spouse. It is the natural and accepted way of things. I don’t know that the Church plays any role in this.

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  34. Justin on March 23, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I don’t really like the word “corporate”, as I truly think that the leaders of the Church are genuinely good men and it seems a bit pejorative, but I do agree with the sentiment of this comment.

    I think it’s a great word to describe the church — for two reasons:

    (1) “Corporate” [prior to legal articles of incorporation] means a body — the church of Christ is termed the body of Christ. There are two dynamics in which we relate to God: personal and corporate. We relate to God as individuals and as a gathered body of believers. We worship God as individual units and as a corporate body.

    (2) That is how the modern church of Christ is presently organized and governed — as a business entity, or legal corporation. I don’t think [necessarily] that there is anything wrong with that. Whether or not the church of Christ ought to be governed/organized as a corporation is open for discussion.

    But if we’re going to say it’s OK for the church of Christ to function in time-and-space presently as a corporate entity [for perhaps valid reasons such as practicality, efficiency, etc.] — then we ought not be timid to embrace the term that accurately describes the situation.

    And I also don’t think that either of those two reasons would apply motive to the men administrating the corporation from the Salt Lake HQ. It’s more of a judgement on the way things are currently organized — not on the motives of the men currently in power.

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  35. Cowboy on March 23, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    My use of the term “corporate” may be somewhat pejoratively stated, but I don’t think it’s empty. However, it is not necessarily intended to specifically address the “goodness” of Church leaders, but rather to draw a dichotomy between ecclesiastical spiritual governance and business class administration only. The City Creek mall just opened, and so I rest my case.

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  36. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    #34/35: Justin / Cowboy:

    Points well taken.

    I do agree that investing in a $3-4 billion dollar mall when we spend approximately 1-2% of that annually on humanitarian needs does smack of corporatism (and in fact wrote a post on it last year). And I do agree that the Church is run much like a corporation.

    But my hope is that still, at it’s core, it’s a church that helps people touch the Divine. And I would like to see us return to that…

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  37. Mike S on March 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    #24 @Cowboy: What can benefits can Mormonism offer to families, outside of divine promises of a grand afterlife, that all families can’t get without Mormonism?

    This is one thing I wonder about too. I’m positive that there will be more people reaching the “highest” levels of the next life than the 0.1% who are active Mormon. I think God is more successful than that. There are amazingly good people and families outside Mormonism.

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  38. Heber13 on March 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    #24 Cowboy: “I don’t think that a conscientious convert joins the Church simply on the basis of a positive message about families, without at least contemplating the theological implications, and if possible, in conjunction with it’s historical implications.”

    I don’t know about that. The positive family message has been a draw for the church for some time. Something I hear often is life long members, and sometimes converts don’t find out the “theological implications” or “historical implications” long after being in the church for a while (which actually, is what I find irresponsible about the church…and the shock value is greater because of it leading to greater disaffection…but it has been regular feedback received…which totally frustrates me). People often don’t see that until later, but may not be a huge impact to convert statistics that are stable YOY, which is what we’re talking about.

    Here is my point…when the church did the 2009 surveys on perceptions, they found most of the top responses were that the LDS church is “sexist” “cultish” “secretive” and “pushy”. Most of the top responses were negative, but also included in those were that they were “devout” and “had family values”.

    So, many of us on the bloggernacle may be very aware of the historical problems with polygamy and the family problems, and the current Prop 8 stuff against gay marriage and the family problems having to deal with homosexuality in the church, including young LGBT depressed and suicidal, and I don’t argue with that being problematic in so many ways.

    But you can’t say we aren’t viewed as “family oriented”. The survey data doesn’t support the claim that the majority of Americans view mormons as negative in regards to family, they view mormons as very much family centered and family values driven as one of the few positives…along with many other things that are more negative such as pushy and sexist.

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  39. Cowboy on March 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Heber13:

    I think we understanding each other a little better. My were never intended to address the broader and theologically disinterested community. Rather, I was speaking of those who could potentially entertain adopting Mormonism as their religion. This is where the theology matters, ie, to those who belong to the organization or to those who would consider joining. To this group, the Church is losing control of it’s message. While it’s nice to have some positive support from the broader community, they don’t fill your pews and pay tithing. They will do little to reinforce the Church against it’s risk for internal fracturing.

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  40. [...] of words, suspicious scooters, fantasies, theories about LDS retention rates, General Conference predictions, interesting quotes, thoughts on organ donation,  gorgeous poetry, a film debut and a long [...]

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  41. Goldarn on March 25, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    That the membership statistics are not entirely meaningful (e.g. most of the inactives, for most intents and purposes, may as well be the same as a resigned member regarding how much tithing you’ll ever see from them again) is a problem with the report.
    A more accurate reflection of church growth is the increase in wards. You can only shrink a ward so small before it can’t function, and most mormons have a rough idea of how big a ward is, member-wise. If 1,000 people join the church, but you only add one ward, that says more than the 1,000 number does alone.

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  42. Sherry on March 25, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    #3 – what is the “rescue program?” Who is rescuing Whom?

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  43. Mike S on March 25, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    #42 Sherry:

    Andrew S wrote a post about it here on Wheat and Tares last month. Here’s a link.

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  44. Andrew S on March 31, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    14,441,346

    that’s the membership figure.

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  45. Mike S on March 31, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    More detailed analysis in new post:

    Members:
    Predicted 14,433,880
    Actual 14,441,346
    Off by 7466 (0.05%)

    Children
    Predicted 120,117
    Actual 119,917
    Off by 200 (0.17%)

    Converts
    Predicted 274,150
    Actual 281,312
    Off by 7162 (2.5%)

    Leaving
    Predicted 91,855
    Actual 91,347
    Off by 508 (0.56%)

    So, fairly close – off in converts mostly.
    More on Thursday…

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  46. Heber13 on March 31, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Not bad, two years in a row of being pretty darn close.

    I would say, however, you might have been a bit pessimistic, as you underestimated converts and overestimated those leaving.

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  47. mapman on March 31, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I noticed that the number of missionaries increased by a pretty good amount from last year.

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  48. FireTag on March 31, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Demography remains destiny.

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  49. FireTag on April 3, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsfaithblog/53841328-180/church-increase-lds-faith.html.csp

    It looks like this link is relevant to the retention problem.

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  50. Bob on April 3, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    #49:FireTag,
    Or, as you said in #48-“Demography remains destiny”.
    Or, if you continue to darn a red sock with green thread-how long until the sock becomes green?
    Or, if you continue to replace Utah missionaries with outside the USA missionaries, how long does the Church remain Utah centered?

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  51. FireTag on April 3, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Bob:

    That IS what is happening in the CofChrist; its future doesn’t appear to lie in North America, although its success in NA demographically (through financial resources) may determine its peak membership abroad.

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