Saturday, October 14, 2017

Congregation Consolidations Accelerate in Mexico

The Church in Mexico has recently consolidated dozens of wards and branches in several major cities during the past four months. As a result, there has been a net decrease of approximately 30 wards and branches during this time - the largest net decrease in congregations in Mexico ever reported by the Church. Although this may sound like a large number, this decrease constitutes only a 1.5% decline in the number of wards and branches in Mexico during this period.

Local members report that the primary reason that these congregation consolidations have occurred has been due to efforts by the Mexico Area to better utilize meetinghouses (e.g. church attendance filling 80% or more of available seating). Members indicate that the Church has many meetinghouses that are not fully utilized by congregations due to a lack of active members. The number of active members in the Church in Mexico has not appeared to noticeably increase or decrease within the past five years based upon hundreds of reports I have received from returned missionaries and local members in Mexico. However, the Church in several areas of the world has recently placed an increased emphasis on the organization of wards with larger numbers of active members in order to better staff leadership positions and meet member socialization needs. Thus, these recent changes appear to reflect a movement to have the size and functionality of international LDS congregations to become more comparable to those in the United States (e.g. 150-300 active members per ward). In the past, the Church has generally maintained significantly smaller congregations outside of North America (e.g. 50-125 active members per ward).

These congregational consolidations in Mexico indicate significant, ongoing concerns in regards to member activity, convert attrition, and leadership development. Unlike many other Latin American countries, the Church in Mexico has appeared unable to postpone the creation of new wards until congregations increase in the number of active members to the point that meetinghouses are better utilized. These developments are even more considering when considering that the Church in Mexico operates 34 missions and has not yet reported any noticeable improvements within the past five years in regards to growth. The Church in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador has appeared capable of postponing the creation of new units, and usually avoiding the consolidation of smaller or weaker units, until membership maximizes meetinghouse space so that congregations become more analogous in size and functionality to those in the United States and Canada. For example, reports from members in Peru note that most wards currently have 100-250 active members, whereas in the past most wards had significantly fewer active members (e.g. usually 50-125 active members). These recent growth trends in Mexico will likely significantly affect worldwide LDS growth trends, especially considering that the Church operates 6.5% of its worldwide congregations and claims 9.0% of its worldwide membership in Mexico.


Brian Rostron said...

Wow - nine wards dissolved and two devolved to branches in Oaxaca.

Kevin Wanderlan said...

Does this likely has anything to do with immigration to the US?

Bryce .Gillespie said...

Is there a chance that the church is doing the same in the US with California. And in countries like Korea and Japan. All have lost a number of wards this year.

LDS Geographer said...
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LDS Geographer said...
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Brian Rostron said...

My understanding is that the church is consolidating units in Europe for the same reason - to increase the number of active members in the remaining units.

Bryce .Gillespie said...
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Bryce .Gillespie said...

Last week in stack counferice the stack prisdent talked about the Chipley and Bonifey wards that there was need for more active members and how the move will make the church stronger in the loung run. He also said that he had received a letter from slat lake tilling him to make the wards in the stake larger.
There has seem to be a need to make wards bigger and stronger though out the would.
With all that is going on in the world. I wounder if the church is wanting the members to be closer to each other. There is a safety in numbers.

Tom said...

LDS Geographer;
At this point it might be beneficial to just go ahead and tell us what events occurred in Japan that you are referring to.

I'd wager that most people who read your post are going to assume something of serious moral & legal impropriety on the part of a church leader or missionary, given the vagueness of your description. No need to mention names or anything, but you'd probably be helping the cause by just being forthcoming about what you've heard. Otherwise readers may be assuming something far worse than what actually occurred.

Ivan Wolfe said...

I have heard, through the grapevine (and some quick internet searching seems to confirm this, though most search results are from not-always-reliable exmo sites that don't seem to agree on all the details), that one of the only really famous Mormons in Japan (whoever that is) has been caught in a sex scandal of sorts. Perhaps that is what LDS Geographer is referring to.

Bryan Dorman said...

For Mexico, the causes of the consolidations vary by region.

The area of Juchitan and Salina Cruz were absolutely devastated by the 8.1 earthquake that struck the region last month. That would trigger moving many people out of the area. Matias Romero to the north, suffered comparably lighter damage and a district was formed there.

Culiacan, Mazatlan, and Tijuana can all be explained by the continued insecurity of both cities. People will tend to move to more stable areas over time.

Since I live in Puebla, I can explain that one pretty well. Puebla had many members move out of the eastern parts of the city and go into the western parts of the city. This caused Fuertes, Amalucan, and Valsequillo to lose wards, as well as La Paz, while Mayorazgo gained enough wards to necesitate a split to form the Arboledas stake. The western part of the city tends to be a lot more well to do than the eastern part which suggests a maturing of Church growth in Puebla.

My predictions for Mexico will be for a continuation of Church consolidations in areas where the current situation is insecure. Tamaulipas has been quite violent too so I would not be surprised to see consolidations in Mante and Tampico soon. Michoacan would also consolidate many wards as well as Guerrero, for the same reason. Likewise there will be growth in areas where more security is had, like in Yucatan, Chiapas, parts of Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Queretaro, and Guanajuato.

LDS Geographer said...
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Paul said...

Was the individual in Japan a Japanese national or a Gaijin?

Christopher Nicholson said...

A national, according to the exmormon Reddit post I read. It linked to a news article but it's in Japanese so I have to take their word on the translation. It specifically named the person but I won't, as I feel their mistake is none of my business.

LDS Geographer said...
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TempleRick said...

Does anyone have details on the new stake created in Midway today?

twinnumerouno said...

I don't know about Midway, but I can confirm another previous announcement- the Craig Colorado Stake was created today by Elder Claudio R.M. Costa as a division of the Golden Colorado and Meeker Colorado stakes (and the Meeker stake was re-named to the Colorado Rifle stake).

As anticipated, the Craig stake includes the Craig 1st & 2nd, Meeker, Rangely 1st & 2nd and Steamboat Springs wards and the Baggs and Granby branches. The newly re-named Rifle stake includes the Eagle Valley, Frisco, Glenwood Springs, Grand Valley, Rifle 1st & 2nd, and Vail wards and Aspen and Carbondale (Spanish) branches.

Boundaries were re-aligned for the Carbondale (Spanish) branch to include all of the Rifle stake. It was also announced that boundaries are re-aligned for the Denver 1st (Spanish) ward (in the Lakewood Colorado stake) and the Belleview YSA ward (in the Columbine Colorado stake).

They also read off the names of the units in the Golden stake- I didn't write down the names but it is down to 5 wards.

twinnumerouno said...

I don't know that I've been part of the division of a stake before. (I was present when the Bangor Maine stake was created in 1986 by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, but I was only 11 and the only thing I remember was being excited to go up and shake his hand- it was probably a division from the Augusta stake.)

The re-organization was announced by Elder Evanson, an Area 70 from Alberta, who accompanied Elder Costa this weekend. He said that anyone with a stake calling in the area of the new stake was automatically released (and so was anyone serving under a President from the Craig stake). The Meeker stake had two patriarchs, and one of them is now the Craig stake patriarch, but apart from him all we have at the stake level is the stake presidency, and all those callings will have to be filled from the ground up, starting with the high council, as they have to approve the other stake callings (according to a man in my ward who was on the high council and got an automatic release today).

Of course, it was also pointed out that many other things did not change- our wards, the ordinances and doctrines, the scriptures, etc.

twinnumerouno said...

The Denver South mission president and his wife also spoke briefly. He said that he had arranged to have a couple zone leaders present for the conference, implying (though I don't think he said) that there would be a new zone for the new stake, and that he had also prepared a new transfer board to be released today after the announcement of the new stake. (It sounded like the zone leaders did not know why they were asked to be in Craig, though I had not gotten the impression that the stake division was supposed to be secret.)

Eduardo Clinch said...

It's curious to think of famous LDS in Japan. I know of the former missionary who has great language skills who became a journalist or television host there, one of the most famous Americans in Japan.
It's unfortunate when improprieties by both well known and lesser known members leave bad impressions and legacies wherever we live or have influence.
By and large our membership avoids bad cases, but a few bad apples certainly influence for much ill.
Thanks for sharing, I like LDS.Today for news, not all glowing, of global news stories of how members impact tge world around. Obviously there is good and bad. We work and pray for the former.

Porter said...

Members in the New Delhi, India District received a letter from the India New Delhi Mission on October 15, 2017, indicating that the district will become the New Delhi India Stake during a two-day District Conference on November 4th and 5th.

Porter said...

This will be the fourth stake in India, following Hyderabad, Bangaluru, and Rajahmundry.

LDS Geographer said...
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LDS Geographer said...

Eduardo Clinch,

Are you by chance referring to one of the "two Kents", Kent Gilbert and Kent Derricott? They are both return missionaries who served in Japan.

OC Surfer said...

Midway Utah Stake was split today along with 2 new wards created. I don't know the name of the new stake and wards.

Joseph said...
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Matt said...

The incident everyone is alluding to is the infamous "Groberg Era" in the Japan Tokyo South Mission from 1978-1981 where the mission president, with the blessing of general authorities, pressured missionaries to baptize using unethical baptismal tactics.

This has happened all over Latin America from Mexico to Argentina. Thousands are baptized every year but so few congregations are made. There are many stories I have heard from friends or others that did or witnessed deceitful baptismal tactics. Missionaries trick kids into playing soccer and then taking a "bath," names are collected from cemeteries, investigators are given bribes, missionaries drive out to remote areas to load people up in a truck and take them to be baptized after watching a church movie. It is important that more people know about these stories. You probably know someone who has done this or were a part of it.

In my mission the membership in Guyana doubled from 2,500-5,000 in 3 years. This was reported in the Ensign, but failed to mention that in the same time several congregations were discontinued and no new ones have been created. The conduct of the missionaries was so problematic the government expelled missionaries and limited the number that could be in the country from 80 to 30. An AP baptized 7 year olds and it was not corrected until after the year so that they could still count in the membership statistics. Not to mention most investigators were baptized because they made friends with missionaries who begged them to get baptized before being transferred or going home. I confess to focusing on baptizing "part-member families" while completely oblivious that the church added strain to the family, not harmony.

As much as the church stresses accountability there is too much reward and little discipline for missionary misconduct. Have sex with an investigator - you go home and probably get excommunicated. Make up fake baptisms - you become AP, you go home to Utah for your hero's welcome with a "Preach My Gospel" full of names, keep your temple recommend, and everything comes out after you are gone. You should all know about this, you should all care, and you should all demand something more be done about it because it is taking a toll on people's lives and the church.

Richard Grindstaff said...

I understand the Slidell, Louisiana may have been organized yesterday.

John Pack Lambert said...

It is interesting that while several wards were discontinued in Juchitan, 2 wards and 2 branches were broken off from the Juchitan Stake to form a new district. This suggests to me that these changes were largely driven by desires to have larger numbers of active members in wards, and not from a generalized decline in active members. If the latter, it would be hard to see how a new district could be split off from a stake.

Juchitan was the area most hit by the August earthquake in Mexico (as opposed to the Sepetember earthwquake that hit close to Mexico City), and so I am wondering if that earthquake caused people to leave.

Another ward has been discontinued in California, while a new ward was formed in Florida.

John Pack Lambert said...

I have to admit Elder Claudio R. M. Costa is one of my top 5 picks for the new apostle, not that my picks matter. My other four are Elder Echo Hawk, Elder Sitati, Elder Uceda and Elder Soares. Elder Teh and Elder Dube are also top picks for me. Either of them would have a high chance of becoming president of the Church eventually since they would be the first apostle born after 1960.

My total left field pick is Elder Massimo de Feo, just because he seems to have gone the longest of any general authority without giving a talk at general conference. I believe he gave a prayer, but not a talk.

John Pack Lambert said...
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Matt said...

The baptism requirements are selectively enforced - we have all seen it. If someone is baptized without going to church or getting all the lessons it is not like the baptism is annulled, or anyone is disciplined, which is the point I am making that greater oversight is needed. One of my mission presidents tried to raise the standard to 3 times to church and all of the lessons, but in certain cases he would tell us privately to baptize someone right away because, "it was important that they got the ordinance now and everything else can be taken care of later, so do not delay baptism."

I am NOT judging Latin America so I have no idea where you got that from. I am talking about how the church systematically pressured missionaries to meet baptism quotas and that some acted inappropriately. I am not even judging all missionaries for that matter. If you were a bad missionary, and did these things, then I am talking about you. If you did not do any of these things then this does not apply to you.

Oh you tire? Well, I tire people being naive to facts. I tire of members burying their heads in the sand when they hear anything uncomfortable. You say these accusations are "unsubstantiated" when everyone here acknowledges one major case to be true and you just said you know someone who was baptized at an inappropriate age, even if missionaries were not involved.

I know what I have seen and you do not get to discount that or other people's experiences. I will use the word "victim" to describe people that were tricked or manipulated into joining the church. This is not an indictment on all missionaries, but to reconcile that real harm has been done and that an apology or even just acknowledgement is due.

The majority of missionaries are still American. I admit I was making a caricature about a "typical missionary," as well as a couple specific people that I know, and the fact that most missionaries travel very far from home. It is easy to escape consequences because people only know what you tell them. A missionary does not have to be American to do something inappropriate. And just because something happened "20 years ago" does not mean that it does not matter. There is no statute of limitations for basic human decency.

John Pack Lambert said...
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John Pack Lambert said...

I attended my fiancee's branch yesterday. They announced that for the first time in a while they would not have a baptism this coming Saturday. They also sustained a recent convert to be ordained to the priesthood.

David Todd said...

My dad served his mission in Central America about 40 years ago. He has told me stories about missionaries who would baptize massive numbers of people who really had no idea what they were doing. One specific story that I remember is that there is a town with over 5000 members that when he was serving in the mission was entirely off limits to missionaries because the people had such a bad taste for them. It was all because of one particular companionship that baptized over 2000 people in a single weekend without any of them knowing that they were joining a new church. Their records were all terrible and incomplete and when the mission president saw them, he sent the missionaries home for acting in blatant disregard to what had been asked of them. (They were supposed to prepare priesthood brethren for leadership and search for strong families to baptize and had been denied the permission to hold said baptismal service). It seemed that his mission at least learned from the mistake and had strict guidelines for baptism from that point on.

My mission didn't have any of those issues, because even if a missionary wanted to, there just werent people willing to be baptized en masse.

I do think that preach my gospel has helped make a good step in the right direction for ensuring that an investigator is prepared for baptism, and while this surely still exists, I woukdnt say it is a systemic problem in the church.

John Pack Lambert said...

A new ward was formed in the Springfield Missouri South Stake. It seems possible there might be a Branson Missouri Stake formed soon.

Fredrick said...

I was just thinking the same thing about a Branson Missouri Stake. With the new Highlandville Ward, a Branson Missouri stake could easily be formed with 5 wards and 3 branches.

James said...

Sorry to be coming to this conversation so late. I don't know what to think or say about the controversy that has been discussed so in-depth here. I can see where discussing the particulars would warn all of us as members to be more guarded in our conduct, and to continually root out the seeds of apostasy in ourselves. But I can also see the need for sensitivity in the matter. After all, how many of us would want our mistakes, missteps, and transgressions shouted from the rooftop, which would likely subject each of us to ridicule by Saints who have not done similar things? If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is that if I want everyone I know to throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I must also do the same for others with whom I come in contact with. After all, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

I can understand also why the Church is growing well in some areas and consolidating units in other areas. I am glad it is not up to me to make those decisions. I can see the merits of consolidation in some cases, and in others, I am glad that new units are being created. The number of units may fluctuate both up and down, but all decisions are made by good men under the direction of heaven, and (when necessary) with the prophet's input and consent.

James said...

John Pack Lambert, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the apostolic vacancy. I like that all of your choices are international, but as we learned in 2015, the Church sometimes opts for someone American-born, with international experience from their time as a General Authority who thereby could qualify to be a special witness of Jesus Christ. All of our current apostles, American-born and our German apostle, President Uchtdorf, have an equal capacity to love and serve the people of the Church. Would an international pick appease those who say that Church leadership should be as diverse as its membership? Of course. But all of us can obtain (if we do not already have) a firm testimony of the process of that selection and should be ready to sustain whomever the Lord calls.

As for your picks, Claudio R. M. Costa will, if not called to the apostleship before then, would be granted emeritus status in 2019, having reached the age of 70. His appointment would make him the oldest apostle since Elder Quentin L. Cook was called in 2007 at age 67. Possible, yes, but likely? Not sure.

Elder Echo Hawk would be in the same situation, except he will be granted emeritus status next October if not called to the apostleship, and he would also be the oldest to be called in a while.

Elder Sitati is another pick for which I am on the fence. He just marked his 65th birthday in May. It would be a great move for the Church to appoint the first black apostle, but I don't see that happening. Some in the Church may be ready for that, which is good, but I wonder if that would be a problem for other Church members. It shouldn't be, but it might be.

Elder Uceda and Elder Soares are both a good age, and might be possible. But the same thing I said above about a black apostle applies to a South American one as well. It shouldn't be a problem for the Church, but it may be for some. And I know, for me, that Elder Soares was on my list for last time. Now I am not so sure. They are both the right age, for sure.

Elder Dube would be a sound pick in terms of his age, but again, I am not sure how the Church would react to the calling of a black apostle. Again, it shouldn't be a problem for anyone who accepts that the Lord is governing these calls, but some may see it as such.

Elder Massimo De Feo is not likely. He has not yet spoken as a General Authority. That is not unexpected. Elder Kent F. Richards, who served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy, was called in 2009 but gave his first talk as a General Authority in the April 2011 General Conference, two years after his call. So Elder De Feo may have the same thing happen. He did give a prayer in the first session of General Conference, but has not spoken yet. Doesn't happen often, but it did for Elder Richards and Elder De Feo.

I have spoken on these threads and on my own blog about how I was praying about the apostolic vacancy in April 2008 after the First Presidency was reorganized, and I felt certain Elder Teh would be the one called. In each subsequent apostolic vacancy (including the three we had two years ago in October 2015), I thought Elder Teh might be one of those called. If it happens this time, the Church would have its first Filipino apostle. I would love to see that.

James said...

I have my own thoughts on the subject, which I am currently revisiting, in light of some new news stories that the Church published recently. But I still stand by my feelings that either Elder Teh or Bishop Causse could be called this time. Another strong contender that was mentioned to me is Elder Gerrit W. Gong, who would be within the right age range, and who would be appealing as a well-educated man who has served for a while and who is of Asian descent. So it is an interesting subject to consider.

Just wanted to end on this note: Even though I have been absent from these threads for several days now (dealing with some health issues my wife and I have been having), I have done several new blog posts. And, as I previously mentioned, I am revisiting my thoughts about the apostolic vacancy, which I hope to have posted in the next few days. I am also sporadically working on refining my temple picks for next conference. I have discovered quite a few new possibilities that I am weighing in the balance for inclusion on that list. Anyone who wants to read and comment on any of those posts can feel free to do so. The link to it is below. Thanks.

Matt said...

To make abuse from church leaders and missionaries equal with any other sin is total nonsense and a weak cop-out to avoiding dealing with a real issue. If your sin is private it should remain private. However when the church insists on entering people's lives in the public, then abuses should be exposed publicly. This is also a big deal because you have general authorities talking about church growth being incredible and accelerating, when we can all see for ourselves that is not true. The church needs to be honest with itself and serious, repeated transgressions against groups of people need to be rectified, or least an apology is in order. And no I do not care that Elder Oaks does not believe in apologies.

James, please stop advertising your blog on someone else's. It's poor manners.

L. Chris Jones said...

I think Matt has given James the go-ahead to post his blog here.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Folks who have never serve full-time proselytizing missions (like James) either do not appreciate or cannot fathom the FACT that there is undeniable pressure put on missionaries to perform and show tangible results in terms of obtaining numbers, i.e., baptisms. This likely varies from mission to mission, but in my experience, my Mission President, who was a successful insurance agent, liked to always say that he needed "closers" - a term everyone in sales knows to close a deal.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Oh, and my MP also awarded the highest baptizing missionaries, the,top prize for the top companionship was a day of golf with the MP followed by a formal dinner at the mission home, not to mention constant praise at zone conferences, in mission newsletters, etc.

Matt said...

I really do not mind if people post links to other blogs or websites as long as it is pertinent to the topic of church growth or related to the post.

Sadly, there are numerous examples of mission presidencies providing rewards to missionaries if they reached arbitrary baptismal goals. I heard stories of this firsthand from other missions in Korea when I served my mission there over a decade ago. This has created a culture in the Church that has historically engendered sensationalized stories of large numbers of converts carelessly prepared for baptism. It is almost like the culture you see with veterans who talk about combat stories. Interestingly, this phenomenon is less prevalent in countries where the full-time missionary force is primarily staffed by native members. Native full-time missionaries appear to have better insight and responsibility regarding new converts brought into the Church that they may have to one day be in charge of fellowshipping as church leaders one day.

Fortunately, I have come across fewer examples of mission presidents giving missionaries rewards for reaching baptismal goals in recent years. However, concern with secondary gain for conversion - whether on the part of the missionary or on the part of the convert - has been and always will be a challenge for the Church.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Well, when one realizes that all MPs have to report their numbers to the general authorities, they want to look good themselves. It then sadly does seemingly become some sort of sales competition more than anything else.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Matt et al: I acknowledge that missionaries have lied and cheated to get numbers that they have felt pressured to render. I also know of a few mission presidents that have been less than ethical and unsavory. However, they are rare exceptions to the rule.
Last night I wrote of an ethical dilemma with some investigators in my Concepcion Mission (post deleted accidentally); bottom line is we will all account to our just Maker and it is unfortunate when bad apples of our and other faiths ruin the amazing nature of love, repentence, and mercy that is available to everyone.
There are many reasons to be embittered and accuse and criticize. There are more reasons to celebrate, count our blessings, rejoice in our Divine Creators and plug on boldly, humbly, and with overarching faith in the supremacy of our Master. He is true, Good News is true, and we fall short. But the message, order, and government of the Almighty moves on.
I pray we stick with it, despite earthly stresses and pressures.

James Anderson said...

Sunday Elder De Feo did conduct and was the first speaker at a member meeting that was broadcast throughout the Europe Area. Elder Ballard was the main speaker, and yes the subject of congregational shrinkage was broached by Elder Ballard.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Happy: I met Elder Wong this year and I can assure you that he ministers to the one. It is marvelous to meet a person and priesthood authority such as him. I am sure it is an inkling of the majesty and grace of Christ Himself.
May we focus on the positive, of which there is a lot. Hope is real.
Negative detractors? Of course there will always be those, an undoubtable constant, for sure.
That is the beauty of One who trumps it all. Keep it straight and all will be made right.
If I'm wrong, then call me the fool.
But I am not lying, and time will tell. We reap what we sow.

Ohhappydane33 said...

So I guess after my MP, after I facetiously said to him at one point that my area was "dead", to which he responded, "There are no dead areas, Elder. Just dead missionaries." I guess my MP making me feel worthless in my final month of service makes me a "negative detractor" in Eduardo's book. That was more than 20 years ago and I have forgiven that remark, but it obviously made an unforgettable impression on me. I think the bigger question is how do those "bad apples" get called to these positions of authority to begin with?

Eduardo Clinch said...

James: if any member of the Church has a problem with any member of color in the priesthood, general membership, local organizations simply based on the color of their skin, their language, ethnicity, educational level, income level, physical defects, then I say it would be better that said person have a millstone strapped to their neck and dropped to the bottom of the sea.

Ohhappydane33 said...

PS to Eduardo: I get the distinct impression that you do not enjoy a,lot of my admittedly brutally honest commentary. Then, by all means, do not read them or skip over them. I have never asked anyone here for a Sunday School lesson in response, or asked to be told what I should do or how I should feel about something. It is condescending and ridiculous considering you have no idea who I am.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

As we all have seen over the years no matter who it is, or what there calling in the church is we are make mistacks.
Mission prisdent's and other church leaders miss up all the time.
On my Mission in one of my aries there was two companingship"s mine and the other was the district leader.
It toke me until recently to let go of what happened between the district leader and myself.
He was all about the numbers and finding people to teach and baptized he even told some of my invastagotes Becauses they had were closer to baptism.
In ward council it allways was talked about how great him and his company was doing and how my campaning and myself could do butter.
The zone leaders and the mission prisdent talked at zone meeting about finding people to teach and how this elder was the best at it and we all should learn from him.
Will before the transfer ended he and his company got in a fight with some members of the ward because he had 8or 9 teenagers playing basketball at 11 pm in the church.
After that he and his companingship got moved out just leaving my companingship. We ended up with over a hundred invastagotes on record but no address or teaching records.
When we reported that we have lost a dozen or so investigators close to baptism everone thought we wasn't working as hard as the other Elders.
It took me a long time to move on form it.
Now looking back I know that he was just a young man like me and that I made mistakes on my Mission and I also thought the same way as he did a couple of times on my mission.
I would think ever missanrray thought at one time or another about how good it will make him look by have great number"s .
Church leaders I would say have had that at times in the past.
It's just the way we are.
So I accept the good with the bad from members of the church missanrrays and the leaders.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Happy: I am not trying to call you or most people negative detractors. That is judgmental and not my place, only God's ultimately.
What are negative detractors are our thoughts, deeds, intents, and actions.
But we can change them, transform them with God's aid and power.
I am sorry that your mission president made you feel that way, perhaps he has felt contrition since. Glad to know you were the bigger person and have forgiven him.
Resurrection, the promise of it, is that we all may be physically and spiritually renewed.
It happens.
Even the longest winters have their spring. It's all available, don't give up on that promise.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I wrote that last part before your addressal to me. Thanks. We don't know each other but we are dialoging in a sonewhat logical fashion, with honesty and candor. So be it.
Don't let my criticisms if your criticisms canker your soul. It's water off me. Not thst your thoughts or mine don't matter, but at the end of the day our thoughts and deeds are more important than words shared in s blog.
Attitude matters, I wish you the best and I hope my words are not construed as too harsh or condemnatory.
I need all the grace and pardon of others that I can get. Not trying to offend anyone. Commanded not to.
Hard to comply all the time, true.

TempleRick said...

Ciudad Obregón has taken its turn with the loss of a stake and four wards. Whoever is in charge of paring down the Mexico City metro area has a huge task ahead of them.

John Pack Lambert said...

The goal of the Church is not to create as many u nits as possible. It is to invite all to come unto Christ.

The moving forth of the work is found in the number of people truly coming to Christ. Many of the people who do this are members coming back into full activity. Sometimes they are even members getting excomunicated who have gone from hiding their sins to moving through the repentence problem.

James said...

I agree that my lack of expertise on what the Church is like in other world areas disqualifies me from voicing an opinion on the pressures missionaries may be under to baptize more converts. That is a product of my having been born and raised in Utah and not having any opportunity (or likelihood in the future) of travelling outside that sphere. That said, I have studied the gospel and Church policies and procedures enough to know that any mission president who gives ultimatums about a minimum number of baptisms within a certain amount of time is not doing his job correctly. True conversion to the gospel is something that happens on an individual basis. It happened very early for me. I cannot remember any point in my life when I did not know the gospel was true, and the extensive study of the gospel and Church doctrine and practice, to say nothing of having served in a variety of callings that have given me a clear picture of the way things should be done. Any mission president who mandates any specificc number of baptisms in a specific amount of time and who does not make the effort to ensure that those his missionaries are teaching have real testimonies is not, in my opinion and according to the doctrines and policies of the Church, doing things in the Lord's way. And such individuals will eventually have to answer for having done otherwise. We have just recently been reminded, in the aftermath of a GA Seventy being excommunicated, that not even (or perhaps especially) general Church leaders are immune from error. For my part, Happy Dane, I regret that you have been subjected to such conduct by your mission president. No one ought to experience that. It has never been condoned by anyone in a general Church leadership capacity, and ought to be repugnant to anyone who considers themselves a believing Latter-day Saint. But I don't see how you justify lashing out at people who give honest comments on this board who have not experienced what you have, and have nothing to do with what your mission president did. Various Church leaders have used the analogy of a man bitten by a rattlesnake to relate how to deal with such feelings. The man bitten by a rattlesnake has two choices: to go after the snake and kill it in revenge, while the venom kills him in turn, or he can take the time to get that poison out of his system and thus preserve his own life. The choice, when put like that, should be obvious. I pray that you will take the second option, and that you will know I mean no offense by making these comments. Sorry for what you experienced. That should never happen to anyone. And even I, for all my lack of "real-world experience" know that. Please know that I regret that you were put through that. Thanks for sharing that with us. I feel like I understand more now about where you are coming from, and I wish you all the best in whatever you do in the future.

Kandu Adventures said...

As an expat living in Mexico and as an RM, I have several friends who were baptised yet have never gone to church. No functions, no dinners, no sports, no sacrament. No wonder they are consolidating bldgs.

CAN said...


The Mexico City metro area was divided in "teams", for the consolidation projects. There are around 6 teams, one per mission or so. The team is presided by an assigned area seventy and is comprised of the stake presidents in the region. There is one executive secretary for each team, usually a Church employee from the planning and properties office.

We're about to be hit by this wave of consolidations, it's only a matter of weeks.