80,000 full-time missionaries would be awesome!However.....the Lord
wants 10 times that number! And with 14 million members, we should have them,
It seems reasonable that increasing the numbers of salespersons should increase
the numbers of sales...but not necessarily.Since 1991, the
Church's rate of growth has dropped steadily and significantly, from over
4% per year to around 2% per year.The number of Missions has
increased by 30% and the total number of full time missionaries has increased by
36% - but Missionary effectiveness has been decreasing by 33% over that same
period.Additionally, the (decreasing) growth rate of the Church
since 1991 is more and more because of internal growth rather than convert
baptisms: where there once were 4 converts for every child of record baptized,
now there are only 2 converts for every child of record baptized.Though they track it closely, the Church does not publish its
"activity" rates, probably because they don't want members to be
discouraged. But solid estimates place "activity" rates at around 30%
worldwide, with much higher activity rates in Utah and other Mormon strongholds
offsetting much worse activity rates around the world.The Missionary
age change seems to be prompted by a recognition that these 20-year trends do
not bode well for the Church and prophecy (Dan.2:35).
It is exciting to see this all play out.... but the comment about the missionary
meal calendar is only funny because it is true. I live in a ward dominated by
graduate students, who usually don't have a lot extra. We now in our ward
instead of coordinating 30ish missionary meals a month, now have 60 to find
hosts for. That means for those families who can do this, having the
missionaries to dinner 2,3, or even 4 times a month since many of the med
student families can't host the missionaries. I can only imaging the
impact on even smaller unites with less resources.I know... to
Utahans, this sounds trivial. But I would love to see the number of Utah
families that get to host missionaries 30-40 times a year. I do get this is a
blessing to the host families as well... particularly when we have a child on a
mission now ourselves. But it just adds one more thing besides all the other
activities we get to do for the church.I am glad it is happening...
it is a good problem. One more "blessing" of living in the field.
Retention has been a huge problem for EVERY Christian religion. Islam has fewer
numbers leaving the faith because it can be a capital offense. Most Christian
churches are happy with 20% of its members attending church services twice a
month. Jewish attenders are less than 10%. Having LDS missionaries spend more
time in a given area, helping the new members attend Gospel Principles classes
and get to know other members definitely increases the retention rate. After
all, these converts have given up many of their customs, and sliding back into
those is so easy, regardless of belief. Any conversion is a tough nut to crack.
I wish the missionaries many blessings for their selfless service.
@alpinecoach,I'm no spokesperson for the Church, but the
leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have regularly
emphasized that full-time missionary service is primarily a duty of male
priesthood holders. While young women are needed and welcome, they are not
expected to go as a matter of duty.One of the often misunderstood
but consistent practices of the Church is to expect women and men to fill
equally important, but different and complementary roles.
Why do men have to go on a 24 moth mission when the women only have to serve for
A great way to help with new surge is to volunteer a little time to help. A
quick check of the MTC's website (part of BYU's website) shows a
number of ways. For example, more volunteers who speak any language, especially
English, are needed. Some volunteers are even non-LDS and are accompanied by a
member. My wife and I are shift leaders for a group of Russian and Ukrainian
speakers who come on Wednesday p.m. so the new missionaries can practice by
teaching them, using their new languages. MTC's also use
volunteers who are beyond driving distance by using Skype! One recent volunteer
recently returned to Kazakhstan and is still helping. I get an occasional Skype
appointment with senior missionaries 6 to 12 hours away from our time zone.
It's challenging and satisfying.
I like the idea of retention missionaries, we have seen so many in our ward not
I don't understand the criticism of the article by "Strider303".
The story is quite fair. The only possible negative thing is the new member
retention issue which should surprise no one. I will say that Mormons tend to
have an attitude that you are either all in or you are out. Those who are
baptized are in, in my view, regardless of their activity level. That's the
case with all other religions, and it is fair to count inactive members. There
should not be a double standard for the LDS Church. But then for that matter, I
don't agree that people should be excluded from baptism if they come up
short, or are excommunicated for sin, if the purpose of the church is to help
people overcome life's problems. The church is a means to the end, not the
end itself. The Church tends to push some away which is contrary to how I read
the teachings of Christ. Nevertheless, this is a good article and not critical
of the Church.
I am not sure what to believe in the article. The author's sources are an
unnamed "church analyst", unnamed "church scholars", a named
professor of religion at a preppy all-male college in Virginia, who "wrote a
book about Mormons" (actually it was two books) and two named sources who
claim no affiliation with the Church. BTW FAIR is not an anti-defamation
organization but an apologetic organization, the differences are distinct and
important.What gets me is the lack of integrity of the author to
write about a subject he probably knows little about, i.e., knee length skirts
for sister missionaries, rite of passage as the reason for the mission, and
financial aspects of a mission.A brief phone call to Church
headquarters or even a closer source such as public affairs people in the D.C.
area who are used to dealing with such topics.This article reminds
me of trying to find out about a person's life and character by contacting
their ex-spouse instead of going to the person themselves. No wonder
circulation is down in the paper business.
It is so great to watch this unfold. It is having a huge impact on this
generation that will last for eternity!
This growth is great!Maybe the folks in Utah who opposed the
expansion of the MTC last year could show some good faith and invite
missionaries to stay with them before they embark on their missions.