Mormonism retention rates

Timket

Active member
This is not intended to be a debate thread, but I heard something interesting that I wanted to ask the Mormons here about:

I saw a YouTube interview with two Mormon missionaries, and the interviewer said that only half of youth raised in Mormonism still practice the religion as adults. For converts to Mormonism, it's apparently even less - only 5-10% are still attending one year after their baptism.

In your experience, are these numbers accurate? What does retention look like from your perspective? Have your congregations gotten smaller or bigger, or stayed the same? Also, how has Covid affected attendance?

Thanks in advance!
 

Fenuay

Well-known member
This is not intended to be a debate thread, but I heard something interesting that I wanted to ask the Mormons here about:

I saw a YouTube interview with two Mormon missionaries, and the interviewer said that only half of youth raised in Mormonism still practice the religion as adults. For converts to Mormonism, it's apparently even less - only 5-10% are still attending one year after their baptism.

In your experience, are these numbers accurate? What does retention look like from your perspective? Have your congregations gotten smaller or bigger, or stayed the same? Also, how has Covid affected attendance?

Thanks in advance!
From what I've seen, as a former 25 year member, was that in general the members born into the faith are almost all active maybe a few of the kids stop attending but still believe. Converts tend to come and go. Some stay and are active and some flit in and out and others leave altogether. But that is really kind of like other Churches. COVID decreased attendance a little and it moved to ever other pew and larger areas being used for Sunday School, Priesthood and RS meetings. I went with a friend for a baby blessing recently and things are still effected by COVID. But slowly moving back to normal and attendance had returned to normal.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
From what I've seen, as a former 25 year member, was that in general the members born into the faith are almost all active maybe a few of the kids stop attending but still believe. Converts tend to come and go. Some stay and are active and some flit in and out and others leave altogether. But that is really kind of like other Churches. COVID decreased attendance a little and it moved to ever other pew and larger areas being used for Sunday School, Priesthood and RS meetings. I went with a friend for a baby blessing recently and things are still effected by COVID. But slowly moving back to normal and attendance had returned to normal.

No, it's not "really kind of like other churches".

With Protestant churches, there is a "membership" process, where people are interviewed by the elders, and agree to a certain set of doctrines. The membership program is for accountability purposes, since the Bible teaches that Christians are to be under submission to elders in the local church. So if there are indications of sinful activity (eg. adultery), it can be looked into, and if members stop coming to church, the elders can follow up and see what's wrong, or what the situation is. If the member leaves for any reason, they are removed from membership.

In the LDS church, I believe they become members at baptism (please correct me if I'm wrong), but if members no longer attend (eg. leave the church), the church leaves their names on the rolls for "bragging rights" ("We're the fastest growing church on Earth!!!!!!"). That's why ex-Mormons have to threaten legal action to get their names off the membership.

I've been told by individual LDS that the reason their names aren't taken off the rolls is "in case they decide to become active again one day".
 

Fenuay

Well-known member
No, it's not "really kind of like other churches".

With Protestant churches, there is a "membership" process, where people are interviewed by the elders, and agree to a certain set of doctrines. The membership program is for accountability purposes, since the Bible teaches that Christians are to be under submission to elders in the local church. So if there are indications of sinful activity (eg. adultery), it can be looked into, and if members stop coming to church, the elders can follow up and see what's wrong, or what the situation is. If the member leaves for any reason, they are removed from membership.

In the LDS church, I believe they become members at baptism (please correct me if I'm wrong), but if members no longer attend (eg. leave the church), the church leaves their names on the rolls for "bragging rights" ("We're the fastest growing church on Earth!!!!!!"). That's why ex-Mormons have to threaten legal action to get their names off the membership.

I've been told by individual LDS that the reason their names aren't taken off the rolls is "in case they decide to become active again one day".
All I meant was that the attendance rates are similar. The "that" in the comment was referring to the attendance rates.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
Sounds as if you are referring to "fire insurance" sort of thinking.

I may have been ambiguous with my comment.
Let me clarify....

I have asked (active) LDS why the names of (inactive) members have not been removed from the rolls, and they (the active LDS) tell me it's "in case they become active again".

In reality, it is to artificially inflate membership numbers.
 

Fenuay

Well-known member
I may have been ambiguous with my comment.
Let me clarify....

I have asked (active) LDS why the names of (inactive) members have not been removed from the rolls, and they (the active LDS) tell me it's "in case they become active again".

In reality, it is to artificially inflate membership numbers.
One reason I heard was that if they remove them then if they ever decide to come back they would have to have ordinances repeated. Definitely not the best way to assess membership. They do attendance counts each week for records but I don't know what they do with them. I've also heard some former members say they had to fight to get their names removed. That is wrong and shouldn't be the case.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
One reason I heard was that if they remove them then if they ever decide to come back they would have to have ordinances repeated.

That's nothing but a cop-out.
Mainstream churches have records of baptisms and such.
That can easily be stored separately from membership.

Especially in the day and age of computers.
Baptism field: Yes (date)
Membership field; "not current"

I've also heard some former members say they had to fight to get their names removed. That is wrong and shouldn't be the case.

Exactly.
They want to keep the membership numbers as high as possible.
And if someone stops being a member, the LDS church looks better if they are excommunicated, rather than leaving the church voluntarily.

Hence ex-members often need to write a letter to the church threatening legal action if they don't remove their name, or if they record them as excommunicated. Of course, not all ex-members care about this.
 

John t

Super Member
In reality, it is to artificially inflate membership numbers.

That may be a consequence of their decision, but the "fire insurance" comment I made was to reference a "just in case" sort of thinking. I mean that the LDS persons who do that, may be doing so in order to get into the highest "heavenly reams" that a lapsed Mormon can get into.

I am not arguing, I am just explaining my thinking process. In reality, who knows what darkness lurks in the mind of a lapsed Mormon?

Besides that, what is the weight of one more lie to the many lies they tell us on CARM about their cult?
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
That may be a consequence of their decision, but the "fire insurance" comment I made was to reference a "just in case" sort of thinking. I mean that the LDS persons who do that, may be doing so in order to get into the highest "heavenly reams" that a lapsed Mormon can get into.

I am not arguing, I am just explaining my thinking process. In reality, who knows what darkness lurks in the mind of a lapsed Mormon?

Well, not only have I never heard any lapsed Mormon asserting that to be the case, I really don't think that works.

My understanding is that Mormons who apostatize are relegated to "Outer Darkness", and I'm not sure you can "go back".
 

Markk

Active member
There are many reasons why a Mormon that stops believing might choose to keep there names on the membership rolls. And there is certainly a difference between a inactive Mormon and a Mormon that has had enough and stops believing.

I have talked to a listened to countless Mormons and their stories, form being in support groups, to internets stories, books, and personal conversations. It is very complicated.

For me, at first I did not have my membership removed because I did not want to hurt me parents, and to a small degree looking back I may have had a bit of guilt, which is a fruit for Mormonism.

And like many life traumatic changes, I believe we go through different emotional stages. I got to the point where I might have been in the anger stage, and I wanted my name and the names of my two young children’s names removed, and that is when I basically had to threaten and force the church to remove our names.

I have a cousin that I am close with…he is a alcoholic and addicted to speed. He is inactive…and he believes in the “Mormon” story, but I am not sure he believes in God in any real sense, his faith is in the church, and is far from having a faith in God, even if he says he does…it is really hard to explain. He drops by my house two or three times a year, and we talk, and I’ll call him once in a while to see how he is doing, in that I am pretty much the only family member he can talk to without judgement. He will tell me whether he is smoking speed, or shooting it, I can ask him how much it costs, how much he uses…etc, he is 100% honest with me. I am just waiting fo ra call that he has died. I have witnesses to him over and over so, so hopefully and prayerfully he will look to Christ.

His has a real interesting mindset, that is not uncommon with saints that leave the church physically, but hang on mentally. I have several friends like this I grew up in the church with. They haven’t been to church is 30 or 40 years, but hang on…in my view because of guilt, but who really knows? I have a friend I grew up in the church that has just come to the conclusion that the terrestrial kingdom is okay for him. If it is better that this life, why not?

There is a lady at a church I use to attend , a really neat lady who is a ex-Mormon, who never had her name removed ( I think), and she just walked away after being born and raised and never looked back…she was done with it. She really would not say much about her life of being LDS, born and raised, and I am only guessing here as why she did not get her name removed, assuming she didn’t, but I get the impression she just doesn’t care too…she knows the Lord now and it just is not important to her, and she is a new creation.

There are so many different reasons people get their names removed , or not, but one certainty is that the membership rolls are an exaggeration and a lie of omission by the GA, they purposely lie and fudge on this in that they know the high numbers make the TBM feel more secure, and justify the money spent from those that give so they can be have a chance at true salvation and Godhood.

Sorry for rambling.
 

Markk

Active member
Well, not only have I never heard any lapsed Mormon asserting that to be the case, I really don't think that works.

My understanding is that Mormons who apostatize are relegated to "Outer Darkness", and I'm not sure you can "go back".
There is a Asterisk * on this. IF…a this is a huge big IF... if they had a true testimony, and understood the truth gospel and broke their covenants…then they are sons or perditions and will be in outer darkness.

There is confusion as to whether they can come back or not…I have read they cannot and that they can.

Most often a family member will hang on too this asterisk and say that their family member that left did not have a true testimony so they are okay, but a church member who didn’t know that person well might say they were a son or perdition, like my old stake mission president. I say this in that to some members I am a son of perdition, but to my parents I was sealed to them and that is where it ends…so they might say when asked that I never had a true testimony or something like that.

I’ll dig out the language on this, it is in the D&C, when I get a chance.
 

Markk

Active member
Also, how has Covid affected attendance?
Great question…????

I wonder if those just hanging on will just fade away. I would think they will lose new converts big time because of covid, especially in places like South America where converts fall away at high rates anyways.

Great question?
 

John t

Super Member
There are many reasons why a Mormon that stops believing might choose to keep there names on the membership rolls. And there is certainly a difference between a inactive Mormon and a Mormon that has had enough and stops believing. <SNIP>

For me, at first I did not have my membership removed because I did not want to hurt me parents, and to a small degree looking back I may have had a bit of guilt, which is a fruit for Mormonism.

And like many life traumatic changes, I believe we go through different emotional stages. I got to the point where I might have been in the anger stage, and I wanted my name and the names of my two young children’s names removed, and that is when I basically had to threaten and force the church to remove our names.
Personal experience trumped my uninformed projection.

Thanks for your testimony, Markk
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
My understanding is that Mormons who apostatize are relegated to "Outer Darkness", and I'm not sure you can "go back".
There is a Asterisk * on this. IF…a this is a huge big IF... if they had a true testimony, and understood the truth gospel and broke their covenants…then they are sons or perditions and will be in outer darkness.
Like most raised in the church, I was baptized at the age of eight... mom went inactive three years later and I with her --- I never returned though she did for a time. The church lost my baptismal record, which I discovered when they tried to excommunicate me in my mid 20s... mom sees that as divine intervention so there is still hope for me to reconcile with the faith --- the idea that the divine would be bound by a technicality such as this strikes me as silly, but it makes her feel better about my eternal destiny and I don't want to take that away from her. Religion is a topic of discussion we have avoided for many years...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Fenuay

Well-known member
Like most raised in the church, I was baptized at the age of eight... mom went inactive three years later and I with her --- I never returned though she did for a time. The church lost my baptismal record, which I discovered when they tried to excommunicate me in my mid 20s... mom sees that as divine intervention so there is still hope for me to reconcile with the faith --- the idea that the divine would be bound by a technicality such as this strikes me as silly, but it makes her feel better about my eternal destiny and I don't want to take that away from her. Religion is a topic of discussion we have avoided for many years...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
Wow Jonathan I didn't know that! What caused your mom to choose to leave? I know many former members have a vast variety of reasons!!
 

Fenuay

Well-known member
Well, not only have I never heard any lapsed Mormon asserting that to be the case, I really don't think that works.

My understanding is that Mormons who apostatize are relegated to "Outer Darkness", and I'm not sure you can "go back".
You can always go back. Even in the Spirit world after death Mormons believe there is a chance to accept the Gospel. The outer darkness is only for those who deny Jesus. But even members who have been excommunicated can work to become a member in good standing again. So there is always a chance to go back. However most do not. One thing I've noticed though is that it takes a lot to be excommunicated. I would imagine it's much easier to be excommunicated in Utah and other heavy Mormon locations.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Wow Jonathan I didn't know that! What caused your mom to choose to leave? I know many former members have a vast variety of reasons!!
She went inactive in the mid 80s for reasons I'm not entirely sure... it coincided with our move to a different city, but that can't be the only reason since there was a church just down the block from where we moved to. She went back in the late 90s, partly out of guilt I think for having taken her kids -- my sister and I, both of us by that time apostates, for lack of a better word -- out of the church and partly because her health was deteriorating. I drove her there, sat with her and held her hymn book... she eventually went inactive again because of her declining health. To the best of my knowledge, she has never renounced her LDS faith... like I said, we haven't talked about it for many years. She and my sister are both officially still members... as for me, I was never one due to the ineptitude of someone in the records department! That suits me just fine... :cool:

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Fenuay

Well-known member
She went inactive in the mid 80s for reasons I'm not entirely sure... it coincided with our move to a different city, but that can't be the only reason since there was a church just down the block from where we moved to. She went back in the late 90s, partly out of guilt I think for having taken her kids -- my sister and I, both of us by that time apostates, for lack of a better word -- out of the church and partly because her health was deteriorating. I drove her there, sat with her and held her hymn book... she eventually went inactive again because of her declining health. To the best of my knowledge, she has never renounced her LDS faith... like I said, we haven't talked about it for many years. She and my sister are both officially still on the records... as for me, I was never a member due to the ineptitude of someone in the records department! That suits me just fine... :cool:

Kind regards,
Jonathan
I think it's wonderful that you did that for your mom even though you you didn't believe the LDS church to be true.
 
Top