Comments about ‘14 million Mormons and counting’

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Published: Monday, Jan. 24 2011 9:00 a.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

With declining birth rates worldwide and increased difficulty in gaining converts in first world locations (like Europe) I have difficulty seeing even his low end projection panning out for 2080.

Salt Lake City, UT

9 million of those 14 million members are inactive.

huddersfield, england

I am always surprised at headlines like this. For a start only 4 million of the 14 million are active members of the church. Many of the less-active do not even consider themselves members of the church as shown in may census details.

Another important element to take into account is the prophesied "fall of Babylon" which is now taking place. As the sovereign debts increases, in the not too distant future complete and utter chaos will develop and it will no longer be safe for LDS missionaries to continue their labours.

It nearly as if some church members do not take into account the fact that we live in the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and all the upheaval that will precede this glorious event.

After all the scriptures teach that the Lord will come "In the beginning of the seventh thousand years-the preparing of the way before the time of His Coming. D&C 77:12. Note it says "The beginning" of the seventh thousand years which commenced in the year two thousand.

Forget about the year 2080 the fall of Babylon is now taking place.

Tooele, UT

Two points:

1. No one can accurately predict exactly how a specific religious denomination will grow in the future, since no one knows for sure what the future will be.

For example, if you told people in 2001, after George W. Bush was sworn in as president that the next U.S. President would be an African American with the middle name of Hussein, who right then was serving as a state senator in Illinios, how many people would have believed it?

2. As an active Latter-day Saint, I see the true measure of growth in my church coming not only from the number of people baptized each year, but also from the number wards and stakes created.

Of course, LDS critics mockishly describe this as "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" but these people don't fully understand exactly how many active priesthood holders you would need to create a new ward, let alone a stake.

You need enough people to fill a new bishopric, ward clerk positions, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Primary and Young Men/Young Women presidencies, and that would require more than just a simple "rearranging."

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

An even more important number is the percentage of active Mormons. Estimates are around 40 percent at best. Daniel Peterson is right when he says we cannot get smug about numbers. There is probably less than 6 million active members worldwide meaning we have a lot to do to both convert and reactivate.

City, Ut

re: atl134

There is always China. :)

Hayden, ID

When I served my first mission, we were told that for every person who rejected the Gospel in our mission, someone in Mexico or South America would join the church! Seems like that was accurate! I served my second mission in an Asian country and witnesses rapid growth there and we stuggled to find enough meeting houses for the growth! The caravan moves on!

Dietrich, ID

Some people think the Second Coming will have happened by 2080. Someone who knows someone we know there patriarchal blessing says they will live to see the second coming.

We don't know when it is. When the signs of the times are fulfilled. Africa and latin America have a high growth rate. Europe is pretty low though. The church is still growing faster. Hopefully retention can be on the rise.

I think baptisms are going down in Latin America. However retention is hopefully on the rise. Of course you can't always tell who will stay active and I don't think everyone will stay active. But good to keep retention up.

plano, tx

How many we have is not as important as how many lives we are touching each and every day that leads to more good in the long run for most people in my experience at least.

Salt Lake City, UT

I'm also curious how many of those 14 million are active, tithing-paying members and whether or not they count the people who have officially resigned membership.

Allen, TX

@ Emily;

People who have "officially resigned membership" are not counted as members, nor are those who have been formally excommunicated. There are records kept for them, in case they decide to return to the Church, so the proper processes and ministering can take place. But they are no longer counted as members.

As far as the other half of your query, "active" does not necessarily mean tithe-paying. The Church counts as "active" those attending 75% of their meetings, so the estimates I have seen here of 40% active seem reasonable. But of the 60% non-active, I would guess that a third never come to church, while a third come sporadically, and a third come about half the time.

Ultimately, numbers don't mean anything. It's all about the individual, and where they are in their spiritual development. Some people are technically "inactive" because they travel a lot for work (but "visit" other wards on the road). Some people go to Church every Sunday, but don't have family prayer or Family Home Evening. Some come once a month, but pay full tithes and attend the Temple regularly.

It isn't all about the numbers.

Richmond, VA

Numbers don't matter nor should they mean that much. It's much more important that lives are touched and changed for the better as people receive and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. I for one, am glad my family found the gospel and embrace it in our lives and have now passed it on to our children and will be for generations to come.

Murray, UT

Forget the numbers the stats, the who's active, who's not. Love your neighbor! Be kind and generous, humble and serving, be active in your community. Do good continually.

Bluffdale, UT

In the past 30 years I have watched church activity in my area rise from 40% to 70%. More active people as temples and churches are more accessible. In my mission the branch is now a stake with hundreds of active members. Exponentially the increase of new members may decline but the true increasing numbers will never stop. Then there is China. In my travel and work to this country I find many spiritual people excited about their future again and a real yearning to connect with others. They will be great missionaries some day.

Salt Lake City, ut

I agree with many of the comments we focus so much on numbers, who cares? The church will continue to grow no matter what as long as every member does their best to be a missionary.

Sandy, UT

Define ACTIVE....

Catholics and Church of England members are considered "Active" if they attend Church 2 or 3 times a year..

Mormons are considered "Active" if they attend Sacrament 3 times a month or 156 times a year.

Catholics become members as infants, Mormons must be 8 years of age to be baptised.

I love the critics who always chime in
"Well, 6 out of 10 are not "Active".
And then they equate inactivity with forsaken.

Again, Define "Active".

What these "Natterng Naybobs of Negativism" fail to mention is...

That very few of the 14 million, (by percentage), ever "leave" the Church and disavow their membership.

And those who do, are removed from the membership rolls.

And they also fail to mention that activity with some members ebbs and flows throughout their lives.

I never hear Catholics or any other Faith's membership so challenged.

Of the 60 million Catholics in America, how many of them are attending 3 times a year, let alone, 156 times a year?

When arguing statistics, always dig deep into the small details.

The critics will always create a false perspective to suit their own narrative.

Kimball Woodruff
Salt Lake City, UT

Our best bet for growth is to pray that South America remains under-developed. The work goes forward best in regions where information is hard to acquire.

Lambare, Paraguay

Dear Kimball Wooduff, We in South America accept the Gospel because we are properly informed and have Faith, not because we do not have information.

In Arizona
Mesa, AZ

Does it really matter how many are active or inactive? The article was focusing on the number of members only. To me this means that at one time over 14 million people made a covenant with God, or in other words, over 14 million people have something inside of them that can be re-kindled. It also says that many more millions also can have that opportunity! We all fall short but must keep trying.

Centerville, UT

Name Removal has become quite common place. Subsequent to an Arizona law suit a few years ago and the rather large financial settlement paid by the Church the option of leaving voluntarily became an option, as opposed to being excommunicated. Now rather than putting yourself through some sort of kangaroo court you could simply announce your resignation, confirm it to a local authority and have you "name removed from the records". This option has become very popular. By some reports upwards of 60,000 names are removed each year. With a 20% erosion of the new convert number, and then the non retention rate upward of 70% worldwide, the numbers are drastically misleading.

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