Historic number of Mormon missionaries means strengthening of support systems

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  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    June 13, 2013 2:40 p.m.

    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, too.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 12, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    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).

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 11, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    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.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    June 10, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    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.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:47 p.m.


    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.

  • alpinecoach kearns, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:12 p.m.

    Why do men have to go on a 24 moth mission when the women only have to serve for 18 months?

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    June 10, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    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.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    June 10, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    I like the idea of retention missionaries, we have seen so many in our ward not last.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 10, 2013 6:05 a.m.

    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.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 9, 2013 6:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    June 9, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    It is so great to watch this unfold. It is having a huge impact on this generation that will last for eternity!

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    June 9, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    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.