Estimating the cost of bad investments, or how much did the Church lose on you?

The NYTimes recently mentioned the Fermi game of figuring “ballpark” estimates of real-world numbers for questions you, at first glance, think of as un-estimatable – for example, how many piano tuners are there in Chicago?

Though I am generally bad at math (and shun it), I like this game, and it occurred to me to try to generate a ballpark figure for how much the LDS Church has lost in BYU grads who have become life-long non-tithepayers.

Here’s my estimate of the most basic, upfront parameters of what you would need to consider, and the conclusions you might draw from them. Of course, there are lots of refinements you could consider – which might significantly change the outcome – but I think it’s fund to get an estimate of a starting point.

So – How much did the Church lose on you, you dead-beat BYU grad? Continue reading “Estimating the cost of bad investments, or how much did the Church lose on you?”