Saturday, April 6, 2019

2018 Statistical Report

This afternoon, the Church reported the following statistics as of December 31st, 2018.
  • Membership: 16,313,735 (increase of 195,566 from 2017; a 1.21% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 30,536 (increase of 30 from 2017; a 0.10% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 3,383 (increase of 42 from 2017; a 1.26% annual increase)
  • Districts: 547 (decrease of 6 from 2017; a 1.08% annual decrease)
  • Missions: 407 (decrease of 14 from 2017; a 3.33% annual decrease)
  • Convert Baptisms: 234,332 (increase of 603 from 2017; a 0.26% annual increase)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 102,102 (decrease of 4,669 from 2016; a 4.37% annual decrease)
  • Full-time missionaries: 65,137 (decrease of 1,912 from 2017; a 2.94% annual decrease)
  • Church service missionaries: 37,963 (increase of 1,791 from 2017; a 4.95% annual increase)
Compared to the statistical report for 2017, the Church in 2018 reported no significant change in regards to the number of converts baptized and increase in children of record. However, the most startling finding with the 2018 statistical report is a significant increase in the number of membership records that have been removed. The number of membership records added to the Church in 2018 through convert baptisms and increase in children of record (usually children born to parents who are Church members) was 336,434. To put this into perspective, most years in the past two decades have had 340,000-400,000 new members added to the Church through convert baptisms or increase in children of record. However, the actual increase in church membership during the year 2018 was a mere 195,566. This is the lowest net increase in church membership since 1978 when the Church reported a net increase of 194,000 members. The summation of convert baptisms and increase in children of record minus the net increase of church-reported membership gives a number that represents the approximate number of membership records removed from Church records (when I say approximate it is because we have no data available about the number of excommunicated members who are re-baptized into the Church a year as these baptisms do not count as convert baptisms). This number is 140,868 for 2018, whereas it was only 104,748 for 2017. As a result, 2018 was the year with the largest number of membership records ever removed by the Church in a single year. The second highest year was in 2014 when the discrepancy in convert baptisms/increase in children of record and net increase in church membership equaled 122,903. The Church has removed 100,000 or more membership records as year since 2014. The annual membership growth rate continues to slow, to a mere 1.21% for 2018 - the slowest membership growth rate since 1937.

Why were so many membership records been removed from Church records in 2018? For starters, with consistent increases in total church membership for many decades, the number membership records that are removed each year is naturally going to increase. However, this does not appear to explain most of the reason why there was such a large increase in records removed in 2018. Improvements with clerk resources for tracking and updating membership records appears to have been part of this increase in membership records removals. It appears that a large number of membership records removed year to year are children of record who are not baptized by age nine. As the Church reported a sudden increase in children of record beginning in 2008 (a 31.8% increase in a single year from 93,698 to 123,502) that was sustained for several consecutive years in the 120,000s, it appears that perhaps many of these children of record have not been baptized and therefore have been removed from the official membership totals (children born during these years recently reached baptismal age). Resignations (individuals who request to have their names removed from Church records) may have also increased in 2018 compared to previous years although the vast majority of these individuals have been inactive members for a considerable period of time. Lastly, an increase in deaths due to aging church membership may also account for this increase in record removals.

Concerns with slowing church growth continued to be apparent from the 2018 statistical report like in the 2017 statistical report. For example, the net increase in the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) also reached a 65-year-old 1953 when there was a decrease of 35 congregations. However, this statistics was strongly affected by the closure of approximately 150 wards and branches in Mexico as part of an area-wide initiative to create larger congregations that better utilize meetinghouse spaces, particularly within Mexico City.

49 comments:

Seven Days in Ohio said...

Thank you for the analysis. The removal of records should not be taken as those disaffected with the Church. As you point out there are deaths, and as US membership ages with fewer births, this will continue to grow in its effect on membership numbers.

I appreciate your work.

L. Chris Jones said...

I have heard that for people who were blessed as babies, but never baptised; their records are automatically removed after they reach age 18. I know of a few who were blessed but rasied in less active familes, but finally got baptised as adults.

L. Chris Jones said...

When I was a ward clerk years ago, we tried to get the record of a person we thought was a member. We found out he was only a "child of record" and his record was now removed because he reached adulthood without getting baptised. He was activly attending church at the time. He thought he was a member. He soon saw the missionaries and got baptised.

Pascal Friedmann said...

Something that is moving in the right direction: baptisms per missionary. It seems like it's been a while since we could say this!

Richard said...

Most Christian denominations in the United States and other parts of the world, though not all, memberships have declined the last few years so think this is positive in our day and time. Yes we would like to see greater growth, but I also think units are getting stronger.

Christopher Nicholson said...

It does my heart good that zero of the new General Authorities are from Utah. Most are from Latin America. One is the first African American General Authority, which is significant because the Church has struggled a lot to grow among African Americans for obvious reasons.

Ohhappydane33 said...

IMHO, the biggest shock in these numbers is the extraordinarily low increase in congregations. 30? That's it??

Unknown said...

Cali will have a temple announced I think.

Unknown said...

While none of the new general authorities were born in Utah several have lived in Utah and been area seventies in the Utah South Area. Even Elder Peter M. Johnson the African-American general authority has his under grad from Southern Utah University and was a BYU professor. Elder James Rasband has worked for BYU straight since 1995.

Unknown said...

I really liked President Nelson's talk on repentance.

Ray said...

Ohhappydane, yes, only 30 new congregations, but that was probably so low because of about 150 ward and branch closures in Mexico last year. Already this year there has been a net increase of about 120, on track for between 400 and 500 in 2019.

John Pack Lambert said...

In many ways the fact that Elder Peter Matthew Johnson is the first African-American general authority obscures more than it reveals.

Put bluntly, there are African-Americans who grew up in the ghetto in single mother indigent homes, ones who grew up in two parent families in All-black suburbs, ones who grew up in the same in mainly white suburbs and lots of other things that make the experience multi-faceted.

Elder Peter Matthew Johnson was raised in Queens. Thus the same place as Elder Hales, but in the 1970s not the 1930s and 1940s. Plus my impression is it was a different area of Queens.

My impression from this talk https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/peter-m-johnson_faith-family-friendship/ is that Elder Johnson was possibly raised in a single-mother home, and his mother was at times absent. Either that or for a time he was just being raised by his father. It is not clear, but he never even mentions his fahter and his mother sending money from Hawaii to New York City to get him seems to indicate something interesting going on.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Peter M. Johnson appears to also be the first former Muslim called as a general authority. Per this talk https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/peter-m-johnson_faith-family-friendship/ he was not just a Muslim, but a convert to Islam who actively observed Ramadan.



John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Peter M. Johnson also appears to be the first former rapper to be called as a general authority. For a few years until he was 14 Elder Johnson and his brother were in a rap group that "performed at wedding receptions, high school dances and block parties."

He may also be the general authority most heavily involved in organized music functions since President Howard W. Hunter. President Hunter if I remember correctly was a saxaphone player whose band at one point performed for a cruise to Japan. The band and cruise part I am sure of, the saxaphone a little less so, since I am not sure if I am confusing President Hunter and President Clinton in their musical abilities.

John Pack Lambert said...

Peter M. Johnson may be the first general authoirty who attended BYU-Hawaii entirely as someone not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

His story of Sister Oryang and the growth of the Tuskegee Branch is interesting. See here https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/peter-m-johnson_faith-family-friendship/

My attempts to see exactly what position in the Ugandan government Sister Oryang had held have not as yet revealed anything.

The story of Sister Oryang verifies Elder Cook's point that the story he told of the growth of a branch in Zimbabwe can happen outside of Africa.

John Pack Lambert said...

https://www.al.com/living/2013/02/first_black_mormon_stake_presi.html Here is an article at the time of Elder Johnson's call as stake president.

Key points. He was never a bishop or branch president before being stake president. He had been a counselor in a bishopric though.

Also it is either a sign of ignorance, bait-and-switch, the falacy of using unlike terms, or being too caught in the binary racial project, that the article talks about the pre-1978 exclusion and then switches to "non-white leadership." This is a perpetual pet peeve of mine. The pre-1978 policy only applied to those of African descent. Native Americans, Polynesians, Filipino Negritos, dark southern Indians from Tamil State, Fijians and everyone else could be ordained to the priesthood. The low conversion of Negritos compared to other populations in the Phillipines is mainly due to isolation, but maybe a little to hesitancy in the early 1960s before President McKay gave a clear go ahead.

In the 1940s the Church in New Zealand was an 80% Maori Church in a country that was less than 20% Maori. This confusion is problematic.

On the other hand, having heard stories from people going to the Dearborn Ward Sunday school, finding a black brother in the back, inviting him to move to the front, and having him say "I am the Sunday School Superintendant, sitting in the back to better observe" I know for a fact that not only could black men serve as Sunday school leaders in theory, they did in practice.

The outreach to African-American populations before 1978 was very low, and since 1978 has in many places been a mix of low to inconsistent, sometimes with missionaries baptizing without anyone really putting in a structure to retain, and too little consideration in some places to the complexed issues of class, culture and race that needed to be thought out to adequately retain the new groups of converts. Put simply when you are baptizing lots of African-Americans but still have congregational leadership overwhelmingly white this leads to perceptions of racism on the part of some.

Add to this the clear racist attidudes I have seen from some members, including retired Detroit Police officers, combined with how some political positions with racial implications if held get a person labeled as racist, and we have major issues.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Johnson was on the BYU faculity from 2003 to 2011. He had been on the University of Alabama faculty for the last 7 years. He was stake president for 5 years.

Elder Johnson was also an accountant in Salt Lake City for several years.

So in sum he is a former rapper, former Muslim who is an accounting professor who used to be a practicing accountant in Salt Lake City.

John Pack Lambert said...

The initial bios of the new general authorities published show none of the 10 were born in Utah. All have at least one degree from an institution of higher education outside Utah. Elder Alvarado was resident in Utah at the time of his call, but because he was a multi-area manager of self-reliance services. He is clearly Puerto Rican by origin.

Alan R. Walker has enough connections with the US, Mexico and Argentina it just causes my head to ache trying to figure him out. Almost as transnational as Elder Joaquim Costa or Elder Valeri Cordon. One is clearly from Hong Kong, another clearly Dutch, another clearly Argentine and another clearly Chilean. Elder Budge is an American who has spent possibly more time in Japan than Elder Stevenson, and also worked in Atlanta.

He is a native of Pittsburgh, California, which is almost as much a blue color industrial city as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The catch is I have no clue how much of his youth was spent in California as opposed to anywhere else. The same is true of Elder John A. McCune was born in Santa Cruz, and if I processed things right he spent most of his career working for an Atlanta, Georgia based company.

Elder Peter M. Johnson may be the general authority with the deppest New York City roots since Elder Hales. He gives a new perspective on Hawaiian roots. He may be by some measures the first general authority from Alabama as well.

Still, I can present some exhibits as to why I never let place of birth say too much. By place of birth Bruce R. McConkie was a Michigander, but he left Michigan as a babe in arms so I don't think it counts at all.

At first glance none of the 10 new general authorites were raised in the Mormon Cultural region and even more so not on farms. Some of us have really tired of the talks built on experiences growing up on farms in the Mormon cultural region.

On the other hand even the New Jersey raised Henry B. Eyring was always a Utah expatriate in a way that makes him feel other than me. It is hard to show exactly, but I know my dad was raised as a Utah expatriate and I was not. The key sign, my Dad would spend about a month a summer with his father helping his grandfather run a Utah farm. Most of the time I was growing up I had no living ancestors in Utah, and did not go to Utah at all from when I was 2 until I was 15. That period is bookended by 1 week trips. It also helps that although 3 of my 4 grandparents were born in the Mormon Cultural Area my 4th was born in Kentucky, taken to Wisconsin to be with her grandparents by fellow Jehovah's Witnesses, moved to Chicago in grade school to finally live with her mom, became Jewish, moved to California later in grade school, and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a 17-year-old bride.

The question remains were Budge and McCune raised in the Bay Area like Elders Bednar and Gong, or were they raised elsewhere?

Unknown said...

With the annual change in memberships down to 1.21% and getting smaller and smaller each year, how many years do you project before we see a negative annual growth rate and total membership declining year over year? Seems like we are only a few years away from this happening but wondering if you have a year you are expecting this to occur?

Michael Worley said...

If present rates in Africa hold, that is unlikely to happen.

Unknown said...

Let's talk math.........

Say church membership is 16 million. And 200,000 members are added in the year. That's 1.25% increase.

Say church membership is 20 million. And 200,000 members are added in the year. That's 1.00% increase.

Say church membership is 800 million. And 200,000 members are added in the year. That's 0.025% increase.



So... the percentages naturally decrease, even if the number of members added stays constant. We aren't going to go negative anytime soon, especially since birth rates are above replenishment and baptisms are happening.

William P said...

Why are so many leaving the church in Mexico? I thought Mexico, Brazil and Chile were the top LDS South/central American nations

Christopher Nicholson said...

I don't think people are leaving the Church in Mexico so much as just not attending because of cultural attitudes toward church attendance and also in many cases having been baptized too quickly with an emphasis on numbers instead of conversions.

We could conceivably see a negative growth rate if the number of people dying and resigning in the United States (and elsewhere) outpaces the growth in Africa (and elsewhere), which is conceivable but unlikely.

John Pack Lambert said...

The consolidation in congregations in Mexico is not caused by declining attendance rates. It is caused by decisions that the ideal attendance rates are higher than what the congregations have. There are also issues with emigration and in country relocation.

Ryan Searcy said...

A few hours before Conference, but I wanted to give I guess a "wishlist" for temples. I didn't have time to go over everywhere in the world, so this list is strictly the Western U.S. Included is a possible size of the temple district, depending on where it is.

Pretty Likely:
Bakersfield California - 6 stakes
Camarillo California - 8 stakes
Colorado Springs Colorado - 9 stakes
Everette Washington - 7 stakes
Fairbanks Alaska - 1 stake
Flagstaff Arizona - 8 stakes
Heber City Utah - 7 stakes
Helena Montana - 8 stakes
Modesto California - 7 stakes
Price Utah - 8 stakes
Salem Oregon - 11 stakes
San Jose California - 13 stakes
Smithfield Utah - 10 stakes
Tacoma Washington - 19 stakes
Temecula California - 7 stakes
Toole Utah - 13 stakes, 1 district

Not as Likely:
Bloomfield/Farmington New Mexico
Burley Idaho
Cheyenne Wyoming
El Paso Texas
Grand Junction Colorado
Morgan Utah
Moses Lake Washington
Ontario Oregon
Redding California
Richfield Utah
Victorville/Lancaster California
Yuma Arizona

The Accountant said...

This conference weekend I have been reading the new book about Pres Nelson by Sheri Dew. As I have reached the end of the book it has a wonderful nugget on what Pres Nelson is thinking concerning temple building and chapel building.

"One question we've wrestled with is how to take the gospel in its simple purity and the ordinances with their eternal efficacy to all of God's children without having basketball hoops get in the way. We are accustomed to a church that is supported at home but accomplished in the chapels. We need a complete turnaround, where we have a home-centered church supported by what takes place inside our buildings. THE ONLY BUILDINGS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL ARE TEMPLES (CAPS ADDED). Stake centers and chapels are a luxury. This imbalance is on our worry list-high on the list. Faith, repentance, baptism, the endowment, and the sealing ordinance are essential. Everything you'll see happening in the Church from this point forward will be in that direction." (page 405-406)

Very interesting nugget and could we see the return of the 1850 style endowment house?

The Accountant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MeaganT said...

I am curious about the mention during conference that 30% of the missionary force is female, wasn't it 24% back during the surge? It sounds to me that much of the decrease with missionaries are due to less men applying. I know the optimist would change it to "more women applying" but let's be realistic so the problem can be addressed, if it was "more women applying" the number would likely be going up not down.

Unknown said...

I have not kept close on all numbers. However the most quoted number is the percentage of full time proselyting missionaries who are single sisters. Elder Cook's wording covered married sisters serving with their husbands. Add to this question of weat j.g er setvice missionaries are covered I would hesitate to make any assumptions based on any figure. If 12% or more of missionaries are senior couples we would expect Elder Cook's number without a change in the percentage of missiobaries who are single sisters. Elder Cook saod percetage females with no statement of marital status so I am convinced he was including serving married people.

Unknown said...

On the issue of the Endowment House I have heard rumors there once was such in Southern Colorado. Any indication if this is true.

More to the point though, is there any indication the Church is moving away from sports spaces in chapels?

David Todd said...

My final predictions for possible temple locations, in order of likelihood, split up by regions of the world.

Bentonville, Arkansas
Tacoma, Washington
Tooele, Utah
Charlotte, North Carolina
Austin, Texas
Heber City, Utah
Salem/Eugene, Oregon
Bakersfield, California
Fort Worth, Texas
Jacksonville, Florida

San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Chiclayo, Peru
Guatemala somewhere
Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Chile
Queretaro, Mexico
Santa Ana, El Salvador
Joao Pessoa, Brazil
La Paz/ El Alto, Bolivia
Antofagasta, Chile
Santiago, Dominican Republic

Freetown, Sierra Leone
Benin City, Nigeria
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kumasi, Ghana
Vienna, Austria
Monrovia, Liberia
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Kampala, Uganda

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
North Luzon, Philippines
Taichung, Taiwan
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Tonga somewhere
Tarawa, Kiribati
Singapore or Jakarta, Indonesia
Christchurch, New Zealand
Osaka, Japan

David Todd said...

I forgot to include Colorado Springs, Colorado (It would be after Tooele, but before Charlotte). I'm sure I am forgetting others that I have been stewing over as well, but whatever.

coachodeeps said...

Good list, David Todd!

coachodeeps said...

As the final session begins, my final temple picks:

Freetown, Sierra Leone
Benin City, Nigeria
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Vienna, Austria
Bentonville, Arkansas
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
Antofagasta, Chile
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Levi said...

Moses Lake was the Dark Horse!!! My hometown!!!

Ohhappydane33 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
manaen said...

I came to the same general conclusion regarding an increase in records removed for excommunication and apostasy/resignation.

However, I try to make allowance also for records cancelled because of members' passing. I don't have an estimate at hand (it would require some figures for death rates by age by country by number of Saints, then adjusted somehow for the longer life expectancy of Church members) but I suppose that there would not be dramatic changes in this number from one year to the next so a sharp decrease in membership net of conversions and adjusting for number of new Childen of Record would indicate a marked increase in excommunications and apostasies/resignations.

Eduardo said...

Great to see northern Chile (finally) get one. Keep it up, Chile!
South Pacific is strong.
Nice admonition from the Prophet about humble reverence.

William P said...

Sports Spaces? Most chapels have the multi use cultural hall model which includes multi use sports court mainly for basketball. The other model has the court in the carpark or a extra field out back for sports. The church includes such for reasons of the Word of Wisdom physical exercise and of course community aspect. Cultural halls are used and needed as much as classrooms are for various reasons, I doubt sporting courts will ever be taken away. Just my opinion I'd say when Pres Nelson said 'Without hoops getting in the way' he just means to simplify the chapel building program and raise the bar for more temple building.

Unknown said...

I am surprised that no new temples were announced for Africa. Benin City, Freetown and Lumbumbashi all remain top picks on my list.

Moses Lake surprises me a little but analysis of Cental Washington will probably show it not too surprising. Okinawa was unexpected but President Nelson seems to be trying to reach isolated members.

It is telling how much we have built expectations that I think of 8 new temples as a low number when I dont think President Monson ever announced that many at once. Ive decided that 1000 temples by 2030 probably wont happen.

Unknown said...

It can happen... it all depends on us. How we share and build the gospel. Miracles can happen if we all work together with the Lord.

tyler said...

the lower net number, almost certainly, is attributable to the rising age of the baby boom generation. People born in 1945-1955 are now turning 65-75. I expect we will see this trend for another 10 years.

Eduardo said...

Christopher, you state that African-Americans have not joined the Church for obvious reasons. Would some of those reasons be that most of their ancestors were enslaved for a few hundred years, or that many U.S. laws and government institutions worked against their progress, or that many African-Americans today suffer from poverty, high incarceration rates, lack of two parent homes, poor education rates, alcohol and drug abuse (not to mention rampant imprisonment for dealing and consuming illicit drugs), and twisted artistic values with misogyny and law enforcement. Those are obvious impediments to me.
But I think you mean that the Church of Jesus Christ has more of the blame due to past racial policies of the priesthood.
All the reasons are not obvious, in my opinion, but I am happy approximately 3 percent of US members are currently black and that number will grow. Despite all past and current obstacles.

Unknown said...

In my experience African-Americans not only join the Church at lower rates but convert retention and multi generation retention are struggles.

This is coming from a man who narried his African-American wife in the temple, has an African American mother inlaw who was gospel principles teacher until that calling was abolished, yet of my step daughters only one of the three even semi regularly attends Church, and my wife's former room mb ate who got married in the temple is one of the few to do that from our branch.

The past racial policies are inpediments to growth among African-Americans. However this has as much to do with a view that the Church still has such picies as anything else.

On the other hand considering as a BYU student in 2002 I had a professor who felt the need to denounce false expkanations for the priesthood restriction or that I had another professor who was exposed in 2012 as trumpeting to the media other false explanations the kegacy of these policies lives with us.

President Hinckley's forceful declaration of racism was still not enough to stop my Dad's justification of the racist views of a man ge hometaught. My wedding would probably have been boycotted by my paternal grandmother if she had not died a year and a half before.

Yet as a missionary in Las Vegas objections to the Church's past policy on priesthood ordination was only ond of several roadblocks to baptizing more African Americans. Other blocks were missionaries who believed being black meant you had been cursed, lazy missionaries who baptized without retention goals and ones who were motivated by getting on the baptize weekly list in the newsletter or a stake dinner for 10 baptisms ina month more than bringing people to Christ.

Let ne see other problems. Members who refused to rwach out as frinds to near African American neighbors we were teaching. Members who refused to drive to unsafe parts of town to give members rides to church.Memvers who refused to visit a newly baptized black girl who had a white Mom. The incident was just frustrating, but I have noclue if it was a race based protest or against baptisms of minors not with their parents. That vaptism was too rushed. I tried to convince my senior companion the girks needed more understanding of the truth before b.c. aptism but he argued they understood the gospel as much as could be expected of a 12 and 9 year old. This is the attitude that lead to the baptism of an African-American friend of mine wgen s by e was a 14-year-old girl with a live in boyfriend. Such rushed vaptisns in early 1990s in Detroit gave us a legacy of long memvership lists with few active members. In the earlg 1990s some thought we would soon get a Detroit based staje. Of course the 1990s 0.3% decline in African Americans in Detroit became the 2000s decline of over 16%. Yet there are other issues.

Unknown said...

While a large percentage of Amerixan converts to Islam are African-Americans tge number of African-American Muslims is not super high but my studies indicate that especially aming active African-American converts many were part of Iskam just befire baptism as was Elder Johnson.

This may in part reflect that African-American Christiabs hace derp connections to existing Churches in a way that makez it hard to convert them.

African Anericans have in geberal a higher Church attendance rate than Euro-Americans. Tge extreme example of what this looks like is Detroit where there are churches which literally operate in spaces where everything else has been leveled in an over 2 block radius and the blocks are very short. It is amazing not just jow many congrwgations of the Missionary Baptist Church and the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ exist in Detroit, nut how many places 3 congregations of these Churches can be found in less than 2 blocks.

Unknown said...

However it is not in my experience racism of Church members per se, or even normally racially insensitive acts that stand as varriers to baptizing African Americans.

Number one issue in Metro Detroit is placement of Church buildings outside the city, where fears of police harassment, some based on reality, some based on 50 year out of date world views and some based on lack of insurance because of the oppresively high rates imposed on coty residents. Combine this with a substandard bus system and seperate city and supurb bus systems that in sone cases mean over a mike walk from t hff e nearest bus stop to tge Church building on Sunday, and dont get me started on Livonia, Bloomfield Hills and some other places opting ouf of the bus system. Livonia is racism pure and simpke while Bloomfield Hills is the actions of arrogant millionaries who also refuse a city library and complain at ouf of city card fees from their neighbors. This keabs that on paper ine cannof get to the Detroit Temple by bus even though it is on the largest and busiest non-freeway road in the metro area. In reality it is close enough to Bloomfield Township and Birmingham that I have gotten there by bus, but expecting women in high heals ans Sunday best to make the journey from bys stop to temple is a bit much. I think one time I got the bus to make a stop right across from the temple in defiance if regulations, they should not hav ed stopped for another 2 abd a half miles, but most times I made the 0.25 plus mile walk from the bus stop.

Unknown said...

The obstacles I saw first habd on my mission to baptizing African Anericans and retaining them in activity included several things.

First off objections to going to Church as thd only black people. I knew sone missionaries who objected to Spanish-speaking units because they felt it nade the resultant English-speaking units too close to lilly white. Of course this was mb ainly my French companion who had extrenely racist views towards the Roma.

The next big obstacle was the Church's picy if not baptizing peopke in provation and parole. To some African Amerixans mwans the Church joins the governnent in enforcing the injustice system. With my two full brother-in-law and my father-in-law all in prison, tge first two for murder with sentences of natural life the most harsh available in Michigan, and my seminary-going niece thus never going to see her mothers husvand in a regular way, I can understabd this reaction even if I understsnd why the Church has such policies.

However the most egregiouscase related to this was when some missionaries were teaching a man, learned that he was on provation, and at least i The view of the ward mission leader at the time dropped the man from their teChinv pool because they cared more about short term credit for vaptisns than long term salvationof people involved. This is also why missionaries in my mission would occasionally baptize people who lived outside their ward boundaries

I saw if last Sumner when the Grosse Pointe missionaries baptized a man who didnf live in their area. Considering he is still active 7 or 8 months later in thus case the,story dies not go vad, but only because they poached at least in the branch boundaries while in my mission it was cross boundary poaching.

The incident with the man dropped because he was on probation had worse effects. That man's sister who was a member went totally inactive vecause shd was offended and her white hus BBC and who was being fellowshipped close to baptism became lost as well.

Unknown said...

Anyone ccx who has read Charles Murray's work on the decline of the white working class knows that many issues seen as African-American problems are just as if not more pronounced among working class whites.

This leads me to wonder if the Church is experiencing troubles in working class white areas.

My sense is the answer may be yes. The last 2 vaptisms of my mission were children of a member mom who lived with their grandmother and both their dad and granddad were in prison. They were white. That largely working class stake has seen a decrease of 2 units since my mission, and it would be 3 if a YSA ward had not been found. The population in that part of Las Vegas has risen some, but the Spanish spwaking branch is now a ward. Some of the decline may be due to migeation of members out, but there are other issues at pkay and needing to find better ways to reach snd retain people who live in a society ehere thd family gas collapsed and drufs fill the void caused by lost high paying jobs is key.

My point is in some ways I think the problem is we have huge outreach po robkens in the US. Most are not unique to Afrixan-Americans but the combination of the Upper West Side types sneering down their noses at th he Church, supported by the East Bench apostates or Troy, Michigan apostates who post on exmormon and related sites, while the underlying culture of Fishtown is fully of behaviors incompatible with Church membership leads to the fact that a high oercentage of US memvers areegacy members. It is telling thst whild most of my branch members over 40 of sny race are converts, under 40 al.ost all the white members are lifelong while all the black members aare converts. There are two exceptions but the rule generally holds.


I have hopes we can turn things around, snd to be fair some of the over 40 white members of the beanch are recent converts, one got endowed just over a week ago for example, And one of our stake service missionaries was baptized only 6 years ago at age 52, her husband joined in Arizona back when he was 30 but was inactive for seceral years before she got baptized, mainly due to unkind things said by ward members when he and his first wife got divorced.

BH said...

Interesting. I was told that the number of resignations was 42,000. Are you aware if that is accurate and, if so, the source? I'm a stake president. I continually hear that the number of resignations is increasing. My casual perspective is that this is not accurate, at least in my stake (Utah). I get a letter whenever a member of my stake removes their name from the records of the church. Out of a stake of nearly 4,000 members, I get 6 to 8 of these letters a year. If you round up to 10 and multiply by the nearly 3,400 stakes that would equal about 34,000. So, the 42,000 number seems reasonable. But, what I'd really be interested in seeing is a graphic of the number of resignations divided by total church membership by year. I'd be interested to see the trend if you are aware of this data. Thank you much for your interesting analysis and work.