Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top Ten Most Encouraging and Top Ten Most Discouraging LDS Growth Developments in 2017

Click here to read about the top ten most encouraging and top ten most discouraging LDS growth developments of 2017 according to our research at The Cumorah Foundation. Reader feedback would be appreciated.


James said...

I say this near the end of every year, but Matt, I am very much blown away by the data and information which you provided in that article. As always, the article provided an excellent context within which the growth of the worldwide Church was put into context. It is very clear to me that the Lord is allowing His work to advance worldwide, including and especially in terms of all of the factors that are allowing such growth to occur. While there will always be locations worldwide where, to one degree or another, that growth is stagnating somewhat, the Lord is clearly fulfilling His promise to "hasten [His] work in its time. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing article to highlight and to put into context the growth of the Church in so many places. That was remarkable to read about, and I thank you very much for putting it together. Please keep up the great work. We appreciate you!

Eduardo Clinch said...

I think it is interesting that Western developed countries in North America and Europe are showing stagnant growth but there is a relatively large number of temples across those lands.
Meanwhile much of the most dynamic growth is occurring in places where there are few temples, but that will happen.
I am thinking that a mini-miracle will happen in Chile with the Concepcion Temple being opened for display and then its dedication this year 2018; there is a huge number of active and less active members who will go there that should be spiritually energized, the Spirit of Elijah will kick in, especially on the thousands who have been baptized in the past, and their families.
Brazil is still blazing ahead, too.
The Restoration is on pace.
Australia has a good number of temples and Papua New Guinea is a matter of time.
Too bad about South Korea but the Lord knows them, they are good people, great allies of the West, which is always a good thing.

James said...

Speaking of the Concepcion Chile Temple, it appears that the dedication for it could be set anytime within the final half of 2018. I am thinking, based on what I have observed about its' progress, that that might be announced to occur in September. The Lord's hand is definitely involved in temple progress. It's neat to see.

Unknown said...

Matt, you attributed stagnant US conversion to: "the influence of secularism on society, ineffective or inconsistent proselytism approaches, higher mortality rates among Latter-day Saints due to an aging LDS population, and reduced birth rates." I'm curious what you think are "ineffective or inconsistent proselytism approaches". Has there been a change in preaching techniques recently that might be contributing to the deceleration?

Matt said...


What I mean by these "ineffective or inconsistent proselytism approaches" is that there has been in a change in the past 10-15 years to avoid open proselytism activities and instead work with active members doing service to try to find investigators. Although this approach may be effective in some situations, it appears that missionaries in many areas of the United States in particular almost avoid contact with nonmembers. For example, when I presented in Southern California a few years ago the members there indicated that the full-time missionaries in one of the missions did not proselyte and instead only performed service for members to try to find new investigators. Although this lack of contact with nonmembers is problematic, I believe that the deepest and more significant problem for ineffective proselytism strategies in the United States has been reliance on full-time missionaries to find, teach, and fellowship new converts rather than the members themselves. Many members of the Church in the United States limit their social interactions to members of the Church, particularly in places where there is a sizable number of members. Also, the Church has struggled for decades with inconsistent implementation of the missionary program. These inconsistencies have really muddied the waters for determining the effectiveness of Preach My Gospel and the Hastening of the Work of Salvation initiative.

Unknown said...

In just our anecdotal experience, our missionaries never contact. They are so relieved to not contact. They have dinner provided every evening by members, their Sundays are completely booked with non-proselytizing activities, and they routinely come to ward council with no contacts. Since the new member-only focus took over, we only see relaxed, milquetoast missionaries, far happier and far less effective than previous. This is purely anecdotal and subjective, but it gives with your analysis.

Johnathan Whiting said...

We have actually had several baptisms over the last 3 or so years here (Ogden, UT). These have mostly been part member families and most of them have been kids, although a kid and a grown woman were baptized last Sat. She's the first adult I've seen baptized since I've been in this ward. The Elders also had an adult male investigator there on Sunday, when the recent converts were confirmed. I spoke with him briefly.

Utah is certainly a different animal from Kentucky, where I served 13 years. Most of my companionships' investigators were from street contacting and tracting, although we were definitely more successful in the areas where members were involved.

Our unwritten philosophy was that "if the members aren't going to help, you find the converts yourself." Members helping was definitively icing on the cake. Some Elders in the mission took the new focus on using the members (this was when the classic Six Discussions were phasing out, and Preach My Gospel was still a pilot program in other missions) as an excuse not to tract and to stay comfortable. I'm not saying that tracting is the most effective, but I do wonder (like you, Matt) if the emphasis on waiting for members to take the initiative has caused many of the recent generation of missionaries to become lackadaisical and has led to the lower convert stats we've seen over the last decade.

I hope the Church can find a happy medium between member involvement and missionary "work" again.