Stand Up & Be Counted: Weekend Poll

By: wheatmeister
September 1, 2012

Should we clean up the church membership records once and for all?  If so, how?  Roll call?  That could take a while.  Bueller . . . Bueller . . .

How should we go about cleaning up church membership records? (check your top preference)

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Discuss.

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54 Responses to Stand Up & Be Counted: Weekend Poll

  1. Bob on September 1, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    “Cross match against attendance records. Leave them on the books but only report as active if they attend at least annually”.
    Why is this not a better # than “14 million”? Who gets hurt?

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  2. Ray on September 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I’m not into removing people unless they want to be removed, but I’m not into keeping unknown members on the local records.

    Move them to a central group, off the local unit records, but don’t remove them until their age reaches 100. Best of both worlds.

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  3. Left Field on September 1, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I generally agree with Ray. The annual attendance thing isn’t really workable. A lot of those people don’t want to be dropped from the records. What about shut-ins? How do we accurately keep track of who attended during the year and who didn’t?

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  4. Larrin on September 1, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    One problem with removing people is that in our church membership records are equated with ordinances and therefore salvation. In my opinion that should be changed.

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  5. Bonnie on September 1, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Until the Savior decides he doesn’t want them on the rolls, I’m for keeping them. I’ve spent a fair amount of time as a leader trying to track people down, and I think it’s good that we try. I don’t like writing anyone off. I don’t know that I get jazzed about the annual numbers being read because I know how many aren’t really participating with sacrament and other renewal sorts of things, so I don’t think we can use that to track much of anything. I just think people should have to say they want out just as they had to say they wanted in.

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  6. Bob on September 1, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    I don’t see anyone talking about removing people from the church rolls(?)
    Just counting members as those who show up at church.( And that’s not 14 million).

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  7. Ray on September 1, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    I have no problem counting everyone who has been baptized and has not requested to be removed. It’s the least invasive approach, imo – and the one that leaves the ultimate decision in the hands of the person at the individual level.

    I just don’t want people on the local rolls if they don’t live in the local area; hence, my preference for a central pool of those for whom serious searching has been done – where it is obvious they don’t live within the local unit boundaries.

    Given all the resources available to us, we could find many of them if we really tried – but I’m glad we don’t try that hard. If they want to be known, they will make it happen. That’s good enough for me.

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  8. Mike S on September 1, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    We need to stop worrying about numbers all together. Someone’s salvation is between them and Christ.

    We are fixated on numbers. It choked me as a missionary – numbers of hours, number of BofM, number of discussions, number of first discussions, etc.

    And even something like home teaching. We are so fixated on getting a “good number” that we count things like contacting on Facebook, saying hi at church, dropping off cookies at Christmas, etc. We’ll literally count just about anything to get a high number there. The number is meaningless.

    So, when it comes to attendance, I don’t really care how many members we have. Now, open up the books and let me see a basic accounting of where my donations are going – now you’ll have my interest… :-)

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  9. NewlyHousewife on September 2, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    Since a ward’s budget is off the number of tithe payers, it would stand to reason if you’re not helping the budget then you shouldn’t be hurting it. I would cross reference the attendance, those taking the sacrament at home, and tithing records.

    Generally speaking if you’re house confined your ward knows already knows about you.

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  10. Jared on September 2, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    At one time my membership meant nothing to me. I don’t know where my record was kept during those years.

    When I returned to activity my membership record was found. That is the way it should be.

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  11. CS Eric on September 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    I have had many experiences with my records’ taking unusual trips. The first was when I was at BYU. For some reason, my records found their way to what was then called the “lost ward.” One week my records were in my BYU ward, the next they were gone. This was really a surprise because I was an assistant ward clerk at the time.

    The next was when the girl I was dating (who later became my wife) tried to get her records moved to the Singles Ward we were attending. Her bishop wouldn’t move them, even though she was the only active female in her age group in her STAKE, let alone the ward. She just wanted to have her records where she felt like she fit in. She had to appeal to the Area Presidency, who (I have been told) took all of about 10 seconds to approve her request.

    The last was when we were in a ward in a small town that had turned on her. She had mental and emotional problems that made the bishop decide she was too much work, and told both the priesthood quorums and the relief society not to have anything to do with her. Again, we had to go to the Area President to move our records to a ward that was supportive of her, and he quickly approved the request.

    “Attend where you live” isn’t always so cut and dried.

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  12. Left Field on September 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    The “attend once a year” requirement seems like a perpetual nightmare for clerks. And even worse if we make reasonable exceptions for say, those who don’t attend because of health, those who don’t attend but pay tithing, those who don’t go to sacrament meeting, but will come to an occasional ward activity, those who don’t attend, but who are otherwise faithful, believing, practicing members, etc.

    Do we require people to sign a sacrament meeting attendance roll every week? Or do we just go by memory? “Does anyone remember seeing Sister Jones in the past year? No? Then she’s off the records.” But what if she slipped in the back and nobody saw her? What if nobody knows who she is? What if we delete her records, and then two weeks later she shows up?

    Multiply that by everybody in the ward, and there’s going to be a constant flow of records going in and out and back in (not that we don’t have enough of that now), and a continuous effort to try to determine who does and does not qualify to be on the ward list. Don’t make me the membership clerk. I don’t want to have to keep track of when everybody last attended church, who is a shut-in and is excused from attendance, who does or doesn’t want to be a member. No thanks.

    Anything we do in this regard should (1) make life easier for clerks, visiting/home teachers, relief societies, bishops, quorum leaders, etc., (2) ensure that people who want/need church fellowship are not deleted; and (3) we leave people alone who ought to be left alone. The once-a-year rule does the opposite of all three.

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  13. Bob on September 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    #12:Left Field,
    If the Mormon Church does not define who are it’s members, others will. It may not happen for five years, but it is coming.
    The Church is now “flowing” BILLIONS of files of dead people. I think they can handle the files on it’s live members.

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  14. Left Field on September 2, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Bob,

    I guess I have no idea what you are talking about that will happen in five years, but the church definition of membership is pretty well defined as it is. If you became a member, you are a member until you die, resign, or are excommunicated. We don’t do a perfect job of keeping the records updated, but the definition is clear enough. If people not in the church want to make other definitions now or in five years, I suppose that’s their prerogative, but they’re not going to have access to the membership file to be able to implement it.

    If we wonder which members of record are “active” by some definition, then that’s a different question. But for Pete’s sake, let’s choose a definition that doesn’t require perpetual monitoring at the local level of Every Single Person and what they do or don’t do in the church.

    Keeping track of billions of dead people is an entirely different problem. They pretty much go into the database and stay dead. We don’t have to send ward members out to the cemetery periodically to see if they’ve still been dead for the past year, or how many times they’ve been to sacrament meeting or shown other evidence of activity. Live people have the annoying habit of moving around to different addresses, getting married, being ordained, dying, having children, and other such changes in status that require ward clerks to send updates to 50 East North Temple. That’s plenty for a clerk to keep current. But say you’ve been called as membership clerk, and now you also have to monitor the activity of every single person on your ward roster. The bishop asks you to delete the records of everyone who hasn’t been to church in a year. How do you even know who they are? But you do your best, and then Brother A gets upset, claiming he came several times last year, even if nobody saw him. Sister B finds that she’s no longer on the roster because she can’t come to church because she’s bedridden. Brother C hadn’t been to church in a year, but then he starts coming occasionally. Then you have to get those records back from Salt Lake, and they’ll stay there until you or someone else decides that Brother A or Sister B or Brother C meet the criteria for inactivity and sends them back again. And all the while you have to know and keep track of the _actual names_ of the people who attend sacrament meeting every week.

    I’m not at all concerned about overwhelming the Big Computer in Salt Lake that keeps track of proxy temple ordinances and membership records. I just can’t imagine how you envision local members keeping a continuously updated list of who has or hasn’t been to sacrament meeting in the past year, or what to do about the people who still want to be members but don’t attend for some reason.

    It seems much more sensible to send records into the big inactive file when they can’t be located, or if they ask us to. Then they can stay there until they turn 100 or something, or they request to be returned to active status. That way we’re not burdening the wards with taking roll in sacrament meeting and making the (obviously invalid) assumption that the people who don’t show up don’t want to be members anymore.

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  15. Julia on September 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    I thought there already WAS a huge file of people who aren’t in the last place they were known to be. Military members are often in that group even when they want their records to their current location.

    This seems to be especially true when records are moving from one country to another. My sister-in-law married her husband in the states, and then moved to her husband’s home in Canada. It took over six months to get her records straightened out. I know several military families who finally had their records arrive in Germany, a few months before they left. My aunt and uncle spent over 50 years on that list before they had their names removed.

    Is there part of this I am missing?

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  16. Bob on September 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    #14:Left Field,
    Most churches define their membership by who attends their meetings and wish to be called members.
    Nations are now requiring you to self ID as to what church you belong. I believe in Brazil there is a 900,000 difference between the Church’s count and that of Brazil(?)
    “That’s plenty for a clerk to keep current”. That’s a point: Why? Because the Church needs to update it’s way of record keeping/database so it’s numbers can have meaning.

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  17. honey on September 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    My husband and I just spent 3 months of our mission cleaning up a ward list. The church has a system and it works. If all of us who are called to home and visiting teach would try to do our callings this system would work even better!

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  18. Bob on September 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    #17:honey,
    If the system worked__it would take 3 min. to fix a Ward list.

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  19. Left Field on September 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Bob,

    As you might have guessed, I’m not a believer in The Only True and Living Method of Counting Members. There’s no such thing. It’s not like every church in the world but us has agreed on a uniform method of reporting. Churches and other organizations use a variety of criteria for counting. As long as they’re clear about the criteria, I don’t have a problem with that. Yes, that means that that we can’t directly compare membership numbers in a church that only counts adults with one that also counts children. We can’t compare membership of a church that reports average weekly attendance with one that reports the number of members who attend at least once a year, or another one that reports members that attend 12 times a year. I’ve made my peace with that. They can count and report using whatever criteria they want. The LDS Church reports nominal members of record who are not reported to have died, resigned or been excommunicated. Anyone who cares knows that’s what we report. So you can’t compare the numbers with some other church that reports differently. I’m okay with that. Even if we reported “active” members, we still couldn’t do an apples-to-apples comparison, because activity numbers would vary wildly depending on how a church defines “active.”

    Obviously, the number of active LDS members is less than the members of record and depends on the method for defining activity. I’d be pleased as punch if the church reported some activity numbers–however defined. I would like a process whereby members who don’t wish contact can have their records sent from the local units to an inactive file along with those who are missing. I just think that requiring every ward clerk to take down the names of sacrament attendees every week would create a mountain of work, a logistic nightmare, and mostly useless data. I’m in favor of something more sensible and useful.

    As far as people who no longer identify themselves as members, those 900,000 people in Brazil wouldn’t be counted as *active* members even if we used some method more sensible than taking names in sacrament meeting. On the other hand, if they don’t want to be listed as nominal members of record, I don’t think it’s asking too much to drop us a note and let us know. Most clerks don’t have a mind-reading hat.

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  20. Anon on September 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    In the Lutheran church I grew up in, you are counted as a member if you attend regularly. Membership is not defined by baptism. It’s very different from the LDS church.

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  21. aquinas on September 2, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Maintaining church records is a very important topic. This discussion would be more useful if it included a discussion about the different kinds of records maintained by the Church generally and locally and a discussion about the policies and procedures currently in place.

    I’m not sure the point of discussing whether a person’s membership should be removed, when Church policy has already outlined this procedure.

    To say names “on the books” lacks the specificity required to have a meaningful discussion. Attendance records are not membership records, and there are more than one kind of membership record. One answer to the question of whether we should “clean up church membership records” and how, is to follow the procedures outlined in the Church Handbook of Instructions. Is the discussion that current policies are inadequate? Or is the discussion to inform people that wards could do a better job in following the procedures already in place?

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  22. Ray on September 2, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    “Most churches define their membership by who attends their meetings and wish to be called members.”

    No they don’t, at least not when they are denominations, include multiple congregations and are reporting total membership. Most denominations define membership for those reports exactly as the LDS Church does – or very similarly. Single congregation, non-denominational “churches” are very different organizations, but even lots of them report total members of record when they report their numbers.

    I read a report a few years ago written by someone within the Southern Baptist Convention that, while not specifying the LDS Church, argued that the SBC should report its membership like the LDS Church does – since the “official” reports from many of the individual churches within its organization were stretching numbers to include people who attended regularly on their own or with family members but hadn’t joined officially.

    I agree that there is a procedure in place already within the LDS Church that, if followed completely, would remove the general issue. If each local unit did true due diligence to find members on their rolls and, with the requested documentation, submitted those members to be removed from the local rolls – and if the holding location for “lost” members didn’t send those records back to the unit of last known residence and make the process repeat – and if the names were removed from the rolls 100 years after the birth dates – we wouldn’t have to have a discussion like this.

    “The system” works if implemented fully, imo. It’s the implementation that fails too often.

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  23. aquinas on September 2, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Ray, to be precise in our terminology and to clarify and avoid any misunderstanding, I understand you to speaking to issue of sending the records of members who move out of the ward boundaries, to their new ward. So, it isn’t that a person is being removed from the records of the Church (i.e. excommunication). Rather, their membership records are being moved from one ward to another ward (or to Church headquarters, as appropriate). This is a completely different situation from someone’s name being removed from the records of the Church.

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  24. Bob on September 2, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    #22:Ray,
    ““The system” works if implemented fully”.
    But since it can’t be implemented at all, it does not work.

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  25. hawkgrrrl on September 2, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I have a friend from Australia, and in their ward, several had left the church without fully resigning, although they claimed they had left for good because they were quite upset about things (maybe it was the Godmakers, I don’t know). She was very angry because although her family members had quit coming, they hadn’t officially resigned, but a bishop submitted it as if they had to clear up the records (or so she said). Everyone in our US ward said that’s not the way the system works.

    Conversely, I have a sister who quit told the bishop she & her husband were resigning over a showing of the Godmakers. The bishop never submitted their request because it was part of a mass resignation in the ward, and he felt that many of them would return later when the heat of the moment had passed.

    According to the church process, both bishops were in the wrong, but in both cases, these individuals consider themselves ex-Mormons.

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  26. Bob on September 2, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    I belong to AARP. They know I am a member, where I am at, and when I move. They can do this in 1/2 sec. My BoA Bank-on-line can handled thousands of transactions in 1/2 sec.
    In 2012, number counting and transactions, can be done at BLINDING SPEED by systems that work,

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  27. Left Field on September 2, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    It seems people are talking past each other, Bob, because I don’t know why you think the present system can’t be implemented (#24), what your point is in #26, and I have no idea how you propose to identify in three minutes the names of ward members who haven’t attended in a year (#18). It’s not the computer processing time, it the (literally*) endless human hours required to provide the necessary information to the computer.

    The church has pretty good computers, but computers can’t provide in 1/2 second or 1/2 millennium the names of everyone who attended church today, unless actual humans in every ward and branch compile and provide that information to the computer.

    *and I do use “literally” literally; there would be no end to the process.

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  28. Ray on September 2, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    #23 – Yes, aquinas, that is what I meant. Thanks for the clarification.

    #24 – Bob, I’ve seen it work.

    #26 – Yes, but I don’t want the LDS Church to be tracking down members who don’t want to be “found”. I’d much rather keep the records active and let the members decide whether or not they want others to know where they are. If they feel strongly about it, one way or the other, they will make the effort.

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  29. Left Field on September 2, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    To belabor the point (as if I already haven’t)…

    If we go to the effort to produce and update a list of members who haven’t attended for a year, the problem is not just the effort and the impossibility of the task, it’s mostly the fact that the resulting list, even if complete and accurate, is not coterminous with the list of people who wish to be removed from local or general records, or with the list of people we would agree *ought* to be removed from the local or general records.

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  30. Bob on September 2, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Left Field,
    2012__you have scanners at the doors.
    You have key cards.
    You have databases that take years to build, THEN you run them. None of this happens day one.

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  31. Left Field on September 2, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    Wow.

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  32. Roger on September 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    My LDS attendance is minimal–perhaps in the ward in which I reside, but more often than not when attending with relatives somewhere around the world. My financial contributions are sporadic–and to a variety of LDS-related entities. My interest in being visited by home teachers or other members of the hierarchy is non-existent. I attend a Protestant mainline church with my “evangelical” wife where I can grit my teeth as much as I ever did in a three-hour block. My interest and concern for what happens in the Mormon sphere remains nearly constant. I would like to stay on the rolls.

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  33. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    I have never once said to remove anyone’s name from the rolls’
    I have only said:
    1)The way the Church numbers it’s members is from the Dark Ages.
    2)If the Church does not update it’s counting systems, the outside world will do it’s count by using their’s own, and likely come up with much smaller numbers.
    How will the Church answer?

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  34. hawkgrrrl on September 3, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    Bob: “If the Church does not update it’s counting systems, the outside world will do it’s count by using their’s own, and likely come up with much smaller numbers.” Two comments: 1) personally I don’t think most of the outside world gives a crap, and 2) other churches all use very different methodologies to count their membership, and we don’t give a crap.

    If we are doing this for the benefit of others, I don’t think they much care.

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  35. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    #34:hawkgrrrl,
    1)Brazil gives a crap.
    2)The Church gives a BIG crap! It has been selling itself for a hundred years by saying: “Join us__we are the fastest growing church in the world!”.

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  36. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    #34:hawkgrrrl,
    Did you miss this earlier Post?
    “6 Reasons Why Mormons Are Beating Evangelicals in Church Growth”

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  37. ji on September 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    I’ll vote for leave it as it is. As it is now, any ward can move out records of anyone it can’t find, if it wants to.

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  38. Ray on September 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    #35 – “Join us; we are the fastest growing church in the world!”

    No, it hasn’t.

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  39. Ray on September 3, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Meant to say, “No, ‘The Church’ hasn’t said that.”

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  40. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    #39:Ray,
    Well__I grew up hearing it somewhere.

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  41. Ray on September 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I did, as well, Bob – from members, not from “The Church”.

    It’s easy to equate what we heard growing up with what “the Church taught” – but they often are very different things. That’s one of the main reasons why sincere members can disagree strongly about “what the Church taught / teaches” and both / all be 100% honest and accurate. The global Church and the local church (and the Church through the eyes of individual members) are very different things.

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  42. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    #41: Ray,
    “We are all enlisted(Mormons)….Happy are we!, Happy are we!
    Soldiers in an army(of God’s chooen)…
    (non-Mormons)..Come join the ranks

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  43. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Come join the Racks! You (non-Mormons) can win the crown (like us) by and by…

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  44. Ray on September 3, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    How does that relate in any way to this thread or your previous comments? It doesn’t, so let’s end this threadjack and let the discussion get back to the point of the OP.

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  45. ScottH on September 3, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    How about a vote for a few intermediate steps? The 14 million includes children of record who weren’t baptized. If you are a child of record but aren’t baptized within 18 years, you should be removed from the records. Similarly, the church assumes that all inactive members live to the age of 105. With today’s online public records database, there is no reason not to compare a list of US inactive members to a database and remove them when they actually die instead.

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  46. Ray on September 3, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    ScottH, Why?

    Seriously, what does it matter? What’s the point?

    I’m not trying to be dismissive in asking. I really don’t think there’s any over-riding need.

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  47. hawkgrrrl on September 3, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Bob – I don’t agree that the church is selling itself as the fastest growing in the world. Even with all the counting of the 14 million, it’s not. Also, compared to what? Many churches don’t even require baptism or have membership rolls. Catholics often claim Protestant sects (just calling the whole group the “Christian church”). Everyone counts it differently. I don’t see why Brazil (the country) would care, even if there are people on the records there who were baptized and never came back or were baptized as children.

    I read the article on Evangelicals, but I can’t say we aren’t beating them (or that we are). They track their numbers completely differently, usually at the congregation level (they aren’t centrally organized like we are), and they have a very low participation requirement. The article made some valid points.

    The only people who care about this stat, IMO, are members and ex-members who think the church is artificially inflating it to look good. All I am saying is, if they are, nobody else really cares. It’s like misreporting your weight on your driver’s license.

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  48. Bob on September 3, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    #47:hawkgrrrl,
    No__YOU don’t care. The Church cares very much about it’s numbers. The number of members, the number of Temples, the number of Mormon births, the number of converts, the number of missions……
    Brazil cares enough to spend millions counting things like the number of Mormon in Brazil.

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  49. Geoff -A on September 4, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    We have 650 members in our ward but about 150 attend on Sundays. Part of our ward is an area where people move in and out often without even showingat hurch. We go through every few years and send records to head office but they are sent back because we don’t have forwarding adresses for them.

    There is a drag on a ward having 400 non functioning members.

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  50. Left Field on September 4, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    Sorry Bob, but from the beginning, you’ve been ignoring pertinent issues brought up in the discussion and responding only by repeating yourself and bringing up points entirely irrelevant to the discussion.

    That Brazil spends millions surveying religious affiliation in their census is exactly why they care even less than they otherwise would how we or anyone else counts members. They do their own count for their own purposes using their chosen method (which also has its own pros and cons), and they don’t give a fig what numbers we report, what criteria we use, or whether we count at all. They wouldn’t care if we stopped counting. They wouldn’t care if we did the same thing they do and send a survey to every Brazilian. They wouldn’t care if we electronically monitored everybody’s church attendance. They wouldn’t care if we reported that every Brazilian and two-thirds of Luxembourg is a Mormon. You won’t find a roomful of government officials down in Brasilia tuning in to April conference every year anxiously awaiting our annual membership report. And if we we started counting some other way, they still wouldn’t care. No matter how we count, they just don’t care what numbers we or anyone else report. They do their own count for their own purposes. The church does their own count for different purposes, and we are under no obligation to count the same way Brazil or the Catholics or the Methodists or the Hindus or the Rotarians do. And their counting methods are all different from each other anyway.

    If you want to talk about the pros and cons of various methods of counting, then we can have a useful discussion. If you want to ignore that and talk about computer speed and all the government statisticians in Brazil that you imagine are inconvenienced because we count everyone with a current membership record, then this discussion will continue to go nowhere.

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  51. Naismith on September 4, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    In many wards that I have lived in, the bishopric does take roll during sacrament meeting every Sunday. It is done very unobtrusively, since they can see everyone from the stand. That’s helpful because, beyond the total numbers, as a bishop counsels with individual members it is good to know whether they have been coming, even just long enough to take the sacrament, which is sometimes all people with health conditions can stand.

    I feel so conflicted about the issue of contacting people. I think that checking with them once a year is not unreasonable. Some years ago, I visited a name on a list, and found her to be delightful. She was willing to accept an assignment as a visiting teacher, bonded with her companion, started coming out regularly as did her daughter. Her granddaughter just became a Sunbeam, which might not have happened if we hadn’t made that visit.

    At the same time, I have offended some folks by misunderstanding what they have said, mistaking politeness for honest feelings, and assigning visiting teachers when they didn’t really want them or whatever.

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  52. Bob on September 4, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    #50: Left Field,
    The TR is very much a Key Card in it’s youth.
    Obama vs Romney has caused a billion dollars to be spent in polling/counting.
    At some point the outside world (UN) will say the number is 8 million Mormons.
    How will the Church answer/react?

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  53. Left Field on September 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    As to whether it’s advisable, practical, or useful to ask everyone to scan an ID card when they go to church, I say no on all three counts. We’ll just have to disagree.

    Political polling is a perfect example of what I referred to as bringing up points irrelevant to the discussion. The NCAA football rankings are another poll, and that’s also irrelevant to the discussion. If you find either of those relevant, that’s another point on which we’ll have to disagree.

    As to the UN or Brazil or anybody else producing a well-done study of church membership, I would imagine the church would find the results quite useful. Different methodologies will produce different numbers which provide different information. Yay for more information. If you imagine that there is One True and Divinely Sanctioned method of counting religious adherents, and that it is a shameful scandal that the LDS church doesn’t use it, then I guess we’ll have to disagree on both of those points as well.

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  54. What is Wanted on September 5, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    How about putting a “Resign” button on the church website? Let a member use their member number as an identifier and allow people to resign with one simple click.

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