Sunday in Outer Blogness: Where Have All the Mormons Gone? Edition!
More and more Mormons are leaving the church — not exactly news, but it hit the news in a big way last week!!
This is largely because an important LDS leader admitted to Reuters that “attrition has accelerated in the last five or 10 years” — while refusing to give any actual numbers. Dan complained that Reuters didn’t name the sociologists who estimate the CoJCoL-dS active membership at approximately 5 million worldwide. Fortunately, lifelongguy is there with some helpful details! You can start by listening to this great Mormon Stories Podcast with a sociologist who has done extensive research on Mormon population growth/decline.
On a related note, Andrew S. complained about the media simply playing telephone with the story — but keep in mind that the media wouldn’t have a story here at all if they hadn’t been “playing telephone” with that absurd “14.1 million” figure. If they’d fact-checked/explained it from the beginning, it wouldn’t be news today that the number “optimistically includes nearly every person baptized,” while conveniently forgetting to mention the relevant information that “census data from some foreign countries targeted by clean-cut young missionaries show that the retention rate for their converts is as low as 25 percent.”
Some related news came out at nearly the same moment: John Dehlin released the results of his survey on why people leave the church — indicating that discovering hidden, less-faith-promoting information is a big factor. The Washington Post coincidentally discovered some similar news. This led many people to discuss whether the CoJCoL-dS ought to knock it off with the (counter-productive) white-washing.
I don’t think the unsavory history is the whole story, though. I think a lot of people are willing to leave all sorts of issues on the shelf if Mormonism works for them. And the more the hierarchy micromanages the Mormon experience, the narrower the range of people who fit in. Make no mistake, Mormonism does work for many people — but unfortunately for LDS Inc., they’re targeting their advertising at exactly the demographic least likely to thrive in the CoJCoL-dS.
For the ladies, it’s interesting how little counts as a major breakthrough (and not just in the church). Note that if you need to hold others back to lead then you’re not really a leader. What if women were allowed in LDS authority positions? Women can be powerful!! (And there was a bit of a side-topic on what we’re teaching the kids.)
Wait a minute… All this news coverage — it’s because of Mitt isn’t it? Romney’s obstacle for this news cycle isn’t the whole Mormon thing — it’s how dang rich he is! As usual, it takes a sound-byte gaffe for it to become news, but it turns out that the uber-rich can’t always relate to the commoners — and people are starting to make a connection between being in the top 1% and being part of “the elite”. (Meanwhile, people are also starting to follow the CoJCoL-dS’s money too.) Oh, well, at least Mitt’s not a white supremacist…
One of the first things he asked me upon meeting me was if he looked gay… No he doesn’t and he liked that answer. I remember those days, but I have swung the other way now. Rather than fearing that I look gay I kinda get mad when people assume I’m straight…
Don’t forget to vote in the Brodies!!! If you can’t decide who to vote for, consider all of these campaign messages. 😉 And don’t worry — the William Law X-Mormon of the Year 2011 award will be next!!! 😀