We’ve got their attention!
LDS, Inc. is hemorrhaging members, particularly young people, and they are trying to adjust their organizational structure to stem the tide. The recent change in ward structures in Salt Lake is a direct response to the mass exodus of young people out of LDS, Inc.
When I saw the initial announcement about the reorganization, my initial thought was, “Young people are leaving and they are trying to get them to marry to reduce the exiting.” Statistically, married people are more likely to remain religious than are singles. Ergo, set up LDS “meat markets” for young single adults and get them all married and you’ll slow the flow out of the religion.
With no humility whatsoever and a great deal of bravado, I’m going to assert that sites like MSP have played a role in this exodus. We don’t tout our numbers that often, but over the last year we have averaged about 16,000 unique visitors a month here and over 100,000 hits. If you assume we have, at most, 100 regular commenters, that’s over 15,000 other people stopping by who don’t say much.
I’d say the DAMU and Outer Blogness has got the Church’s attention… More specifically, I think we’ve got the attention of young Mormons. And, that’s a good thing. Let’s get the young Mormons thinking. They don’t have to leave the religion to make a difference; they may very well be the generation that introduces real reform in the religion: equal participation rights for women and LGBTQs, real, open discussions about decisions and beliefs, actual voting for leaders and church directions, financial openness, etc. If we can make that happen, I’ll call it a success.
I’ve heard from a reputable source that only 18% of twenty-somethings in the U.S. are active. That number surprised me at first. But it seems like Ballard acknowledged this hemorrhage of LDS membership in his remarks. I agree that sites like this one help to inform members of the problems with doctrine and social practice of the LDS church. The one thing that the church can’t stand is critical examination.
We hope youve got the message: You have no option to bounce around, he said, referring to a common practice dubbed ward-hopping in which young Mormons shop around for congregations they like. We know where you are. Weve got our radar focused on you.
Remember, if Satan had won the War in Heaven, you’d have no choice whatsoever! Might you feel better in another ward? Might you want to attend with your family or your fiance? Might you be thinking that, since the worth of souls is great in the sight of God, that your needs and wants might be more important than having the Church keep track of you? Silly Mormon. We know where you are. You have no option to bounce around. All your base are belong to us.
Nothing I’ve heard of late shows the attitude of the GAs better than this. “You tried to get around the system, but we’re smarter than you think!”
As for the other quote:
After studying the outcomes, LDS leaders concluded the change was a resounding success at better serving young single Mormons needs, bringing some back to church activity and getting them to the marriage altar.
“Needs?” According to the Church, young single Mormon’s needs are (1) coming to church and (2) getting married. That’s it.
And let’s not forget how forward-looking this new policy is! When polygamy finally comes back, the GAs will have a centrally-located place to shop for new wives! 🙂
Well, now that the church is feeling the lose (in the pocket book, because who are they kidding about wanting to save souls and whatnot) change can start to take place.
I do love the irony that Goldarn pointed out, “If Satan had won the War in Heaven, you’d have no choice whatsoever!” And church loves nothing more then to take every choice away from you that THEY don’t want you to do…like think for yourself.
Good on you MSP and others!
I think they are emphasizing marriage for reasons of self survival. It usually boils down to what is good for the institution, not necessarily the people. LDS leaders know that people are not very religious in their adolescence and young adult life. It isn’t until they get married and have kids that they become more devoted to their religious faith. So the church encourages people to get married young and not delay having kids. This locks-in the adults and makes more Mormons – a win-win for the church.
But if you look at happiness studies (a fairly new field in psychology), individual happiness and marital satisfaction actually goes down when people begin having children. It isn’t until their kids grow up and leave home that their happiness begins to go back up again. I was really surprised when I read about this U-shaped curve to happiness and having children. You never hear that in church. Instead, many Mormons decide to have more kids when things are going bad in their marriage; which is exactly the wrong time to have more kids. Just another example of bad advice from LDS leaders that hurt people.
I’m not saying getting married and having kids is a bad thing – just getting married and having so many kids while we are so young. That turns our to lead to more strained marriages and less individual happiness. But it seems to be working for the church as an institution which, like I said earlier, always seems to come first.
This in part explains why Monson emphasized marriage in the last PH session. Exciting that MSP gets so many hits!
The only part that surprises me is that a GA admitted the LDS church is losing a lot of young people.
It definitely follows the same line of rhetoric we saw in the General Conference talks pushing marriage with a great deal of urgency.
I was interested in Elder Evan’s comments regarding this experiment with the new SA ward concept. The results were positive (most successful program they have ever tried with this age group) at the experimental test sites. With that data in hand they were prepared to forge ahead with SL and Utah counties. In his enthusiast comments about this experiment, he failed to mention how they were guided by direct revelation. I suspect that will come later.
In today’s world, most young people just can’t afford to get married young anymore. Too much college debt, graduates move back in with their parents and finding paid work takes forever.
Until the brethren recognize those problems, their imagination will remain unfocused.
Well said Goldarn! It’s disappointing that the brethen cannot be more transparent with the statistics. If God really were in charge, I don’t think that the statistics would suck as bad as they do.