Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

A Massive Exodus of Mormons

March 25th, 2014 by Adam G.

Hello? Hello? Is anyone still reading this? I hope I’m not the last.

Just a day or so ago I discovered from some progressive writer that if Mormonism didn’t rebrand itself as another outpost of the progressive faith, there would be a “massive exodus of Mormons” from the Church.

Today I discovered that the massive exodus has already occurred. The wind is whistling through the empty halls of the chapels where once the footsteps of the Saints were heard.

The area where I live and all the people I know have somehow escaped this massive exodus, like one of those little medieval villages that the plague passed over. But I feel sad for the rest of you who are left behind in your vacant church buildings, if indeed there are any of you.

If there are, don’t despair. I have a plan.

First thing is General Conference. Word of this massive exodus hasn’t leaked out yet to the public, and if we want to be able to sell off all the excess church buildings at decent prices, we need to keep it quiet for as long as possible. So our first problem is going to be the empty hall at General Conference. There’s no way that could pass unnoticed, unless we deal with it. What we gotta do is use some of the tithing reserve to hire temps. Or if there’s anyone left who knows CGI, we may be able to dub in an audience before broadcasting.

OK, next, the GC speakers. Are there enough? Let’s find out. If not, lets do a Best Of conference. We’ll put up the top 40 talks from past conferences on the big screen and call it good.

That done, we can move on to Phase II. We sell off our church buildings and build up a big warchest for our rebranding campaign where we introduce our new product, New Diet LDS: More Progressive, Less Mormon! We’ll point out that in New Diet LDS: More Progressive, Less Mormon! we not only embrace unisex bathrooms, tithing discounts for gender reassignment surgery, and gender-equal unisex priesthood, we are also mandating equal pay for priesthood work, and offering generous maternity, pre-maternity, and post-maternity leave to women. That can’t but help but make our appeal more selective, based on the success other churches have had with this strategy.

If that doesn’t work, we’ll apply for government grants to hold Sunday workshops on intersectionality.

It’s failsafe. So don’t get down (or up, if that’s your orientation). Be of value-neutral cheer.

Comments (31)
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March 25th, 2014 09:59:14
31 comments

Chris Henrichsen
March 25, 2014

I appreciate you linking to my blog, but I never used the term “mass” or “massive.”


Adam G.
March 25, 2014

No, Linker did. And we all know that without the modifier “massive,” exoduses are usually considered to be tiny little twee affairs, like where Moses and four or five of his buddies went on a hiking sabbatical, or Brigham’s solitary trip across the plains.


The Atomic Mom
March 25, 2014

So that’s why I was able to find a parking spot at church last week? Good to know. Do you think we could maybe even get church on Skype for non-Conference weekends? I really like church in my jammies.


Vader
March 25, 2014

There are some signs of a twee exodus. It’s the “of the faithful” part that boggles me.


Michael Towns
March 25, 2014

Ezra Taft Benson said, around 1987, that a future sifting would cleanse the church. That was only 27 years ago, and it appears to have been quite a prophetic insight.


Zen
March 25, 2014

It is about time. Elijah gave the people that choice (if Baal be god, then serve him!) a while ago, but a lot of people still dither.


Bruce Charlton
March 25, 2014

And yet it would be so easy to reverse this Mormon exodus by emulating the ultra-Liberal pro-equality policies of The Episcopal Church under Presiding Bishopess Katharine Jefferts Schiori.

Admittedly about a quarter of the average Sunday attenders have gone in a decade

http://lowly.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/what-we-shall-become-future-and.html

But the Episcopal church administration is doing a great job of funding the head office by spending $34 million in confiscating assets in 83 lawsuits against schismatic traditionalists – it’s a whole new, and more egalitarian, model of what a church is all about.


JimD
March 25, 2014

What an odd universe Chris H. seems to live in, where Jesus disapproves of His church issuing a semi-official statement to the effect that people who are advocating a course of action contrary to His will are (ulp!) wrong; but is apparently just hunky-dory with people who conspire with Babylon to shame a prophet, seer, and revelator into hopping on board with their own agendas.

And interesting that his sorrow doesn’t seem to arise from the fact that departure from the Lord’s church has eternal repercussions; but rather from his fear that these latter-day apologists for Sodom won’t be around to steer the Church the way he thinks it should be steered.


JimD
March 25, 2014

(Hit “Submit” too early):

We love you, Chris. But on this issue you’re on “the wrong side of history”, to coin a phrase.


MC
March 25, 2014

I loved how the letter to the Ordain Women crowd told them that if they wanted to protest, they could join their compatriots on the sidewalk with their “THE BOOK OF MORON IS SATANIC” posters.

One way or the other, both of them are setting themselves against the Church.


Bruce Charlton
March 26, 2014

Anti-Mormons (including mainstream Christians) in the media (and in – mostly filtered – comments to my blog) have been trying to launch this “Mormonism is *just* beginning to collapse” meme for some years, presumably because they believe it will be self-fulfilling.

*Actual* annual evidence of continued CJCLDS growth (eg in Pew surveys) is not enough – because *maybe* things have changed in the past few months, weeks, hours, minutes…


JS
March 26, 2014

Certainly this kind of snarky dismissal of alternate viewpoints and the condemnation of the people who share them is alienating an increasing number of people in the Church.


Adam G.
March 26, 2014

Certainly this kind of self-important pomposity and dull insistence that one always be taken seriously, no matter how absurd the things one says, is alienating an increasing number of people from JS.


Man SL
March 26, 2014

Don’t be so intolerant and judgmental of this post, JS. Its OK that people don’t think and act the way you want them to.


John Mansfield
March 26, 2014

JS correctly identifies one of the actions alienating many from the Church, and those alienated saints who aren’t too far gone would be better off if they didn’t indulge themselves.


Bookslinger
March 26, 2014

JimD, thanks. I hadn’t realized that Chris Henrichsen was likely the same liberal/progressive “Chris H” who has commented at M*.


Jettboy
March 26, 2014

I for one am thrilled by this exodus. That is if exodus means the truly faithful are left alone to do the work unmolested by political correctness sheep and police. I can live with the existence of 100 Mormons as I can 100 million, so long as the Church remains doctrinally sound. All the liberal wishes have been fulfilled by the Community of Christ, so why seek to strong arm change to a “conservative” brand?


Zen
March 26, 2014

My own educated guess, is that we are going to see a period of increased, not decreased church growth, perhaps even far faster than we have been accustomed to and a number of years later, persecution will become serious and then we will have a serious sifting of members.

Meridian Magazine has a nice little article I recommend “Ordain or Else”. http://ldsmag.com/article/1/14117

It points out quite clearly the doublespeak of OW and how the authorities have asked them to stop, and they will not relent. It is worth looking at.


E L Frederick
March 26, 2014

I do believe that CH is “concern trolling” to a degree and has established that he, above all, and those like him, are the only truly “faithful” any more. Which of course is complete balderdash and poppycock.


Jim Cobabe
March 26, 2014

The caravan moves on.

Don’t forget to turn out the lights when you leave.

Thanks.


Chris Henrichsen
March 27, 2014

“We love you, Chris. ”

Oh, Jim. I highly doubt that.

Bookslinger,

I have not commented at M* in the last five years.

Jettboy,

I am not leaving. Sorry to disappoint you.

Again, Adam, thanks for the additional traffic to my site.


Adam G.
March 27, 2014

Very welcome, I sure. As long as you are willing to provide the buffoonery, I’m happy to bark carnival.


T. Greer
March 28, 2014

I am rather saddened by Jettboy’s comment and others that suggest anyone leaving the Church over something like this is a good thing.

But perhaps it is said tongue in cheek.

On the other hand, I have to ask Mr. Herichsen – where is the data?

We just have anecdotal evidence. Well, two can play at that game. I actually belong to the demographic he describes. I personally do not anybody who has left the Church because of women and the priesthood. Not one!

Whose limited experience actually reflects what is happening across the Church? Or heck, at Church universities named BYU?


Michael Towns
March 28, 2014

I would submit that what is happening at BYU, or even by extension, America or Europe, is ultimately rather irrelevant. The Church is vibrantly growing in South America, Africa, and Asia. Any loss in the white Gentile West is more than being augmented by the gains in other regions of the world.

The Church may very well be hemorrhaging here, but only in the extremely affluent, secular First World areas. I think it’s high time that we all stop pretending that what happens in Happy Valley is really all that relevant to at-large Mormonism.


Bruce Charlton
March 28, 2014

@Michael T – (As an outsider) – I would say that what matters is what is happening among the most devout and active Mormons.

My previous Anglican denomination has been all-but completely destroyed (in the West) by trying to accommodate the wishes of the *least* devout church members, marginal church attenders, ex-church members – and indeed NON-church members.

The Church of England has pretty much done exactly what these disaffected people wanted, but they left anyway (or failed to join)…

- or if they stayed, they do little/ nothing to sustain the church (no tithes, no time devoted to service) but continually agitate for ever-more and ever-more liberalism.

But although their policies are a tested and proven recipe for annihilation, Liberals and Leftists in the Church take zero notice of evidence and experience – because they are fighting a battle of absolute ideas: and their absolute ideas are secular, and the church is being required to fit itself to these secular ideas *not* for the churches good (the process will in fact kill the church – this we know) – but the liberalizers don’t mind killing the church, because the church is regarded as disposable, because it is not as important as their leftism.


Adam G.
March 28, 2014

There isn’t a hemorraghe, fellas. Don’t get spooked so easily.


Michael Towns
March 28, 2014

I agree that there isn’t a massive “exodus”. But some folks are leaving. Does that mean that there is no longer a “net plus” of folks coming into the Church? No. Because the Church is a demanding gospel compared to Dr. Charlton’s examples above, it tends to keep people in it. Study after study has shown that the more liberal a church gets, the less vibrant it becomes.

There is a reason for this. It’s no longer church. You can get the same edification reading the New York Times at Starbucks, so why bother with the church thing?

At any rate, while the Church is still adding hundreds of thousands to the rolls, thousands in the United States and Europe are probably leaving, and it’s being counterbalanced and exceeded by the number of folks coming in from South America and Africa.


Adam G.
March 28, 2014

No, you are still being spooked. There is no reason to think that the tempest in the internet teapot means much. There is no reason to think that on net the Kingdom in the West is losing thousands, let alone because we aren’t cutting edge on whatever the latest fad of the new class is, unisex bathrooms or whatever.


Michael Towns
March 28, 2014

Adam G.,

I am not being spooked by anyone. I live in Georgia, and I see folks leaving the church. It happens. It might be happening at a slightly increased rate than before. I don’t attribute it to anything other than a society increasingly steeped in secularism.

I did go out of my way to indicate that it wasn’t an exodus, right? Besides, what is inherently threatening about an alleged increase in the number of folks leaving?


Bookslinger
March 28, 2014

The church is still adding wards and stakes across the US. That’s the real indication that the church is growing. And no, the size of wards/stakes is not shrinking.

The steady and continued buiding of new temples, 3 to 6 a year, especially since the temple-building frenzy era came to a close in 2000, is also very indicative because temples need a minimum population of faithful tithe-paying recommend-holding members to run them and patronize them.

About 5 temples were built around Indianapolis, but not in Indianapolis. And now we have one under construction. Prior to getting our own, I thought we wouldn’t get one, because all the others around us had to be close to capacity before we’d get one. Well, the other nearby temples are now at capacity. And the Indy temple will not be one of the “mini” temples, but about twice the size of the mini-temples.

We are also getting a new chapel with the temple, which means one or two more wards. That is in addition to the two new chapels built in the past 11 years that I’ve been active here.

Yet the population of the metro area of Indianapolis has not increased that much. So in effect, Mormons are becoming a larger percentage of the population.

The loss of young-adults ages 18 to 19, and the loss of post-mission or post-mission-age young adults is not something new. The Raise-the-Bar of 2002 and the drop in mission age in 2012 were in part, I think, responses to help stem that loss.

Convert retention and retention of young adults has and is going to fluctuate with the times.

But overall, the church, “even” across all the US, is growing in terms active faithful members. It’s apparent when viewed “on the ground” and by the overall stats, especially the number of wards/stakes, and building stats.


Michael Towns
March 28, 2014

The Church is doing fine. I do think, though, that there is something to what Elder Marlin K. Jensen said when he mentioned that the Church was going through a difficult period of apostasy similar to Kirtland. What I am not sure about is whether he was just referring to the Wasatch Front. I suspect he was. Would like more context.

Regardless, if you’ve read Elder Holland’s recent article on the Church in Asia, the future is very bright. I am gung-ho about the international Church.

I do think that it’s not really relevant, though, whether the Church is growing at a gangbusters pace or not. The Book of Mormon notes that at a critical juncture in its social history “the church began to fail in its progress”. We shouldn’t expect constant growth rates. They are still happening, of course, but it’s not something that really proves the truth or falsity of Mormonism.

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