Vox LDS growth article

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nibbler
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by nibbler » 08 Mar 2019, 14:35

The reason for the success? The "unrelenting focus on the family," writes author Daniel Cox.
...
The biggest reason, says Cox, is the Church's continued emphasis on traditional family life and roles.
IMO we need to be careful with this one. Maybe I'm an extreme outlier but I don't think the church should take the same tack that they've taken in the past, namely placing a lot of emphasis on strictly defining what a family is and what it is not. I'd prefer messages that say, "Whoever you consider to be your family, love them." but often the message is, "This is a family. That is not a family. No... I'm serious, that's really not a family. Stop it."

Being strict and ultra-conservative about nuclear families and gender roles is going to appeal to a lot of people. Is there any appeal or draw for people that are different? Does being more accepting of families or people that are different make the church experience lesser for all the traditional folk?
Cox attributes this to the willingness of the Church's leaders to alter its approach on tough issues. While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains its conservative theological stance, it has adopted more inclusive language when discussing LGBTQ members and is "offering a kinder and gentler approach on hot-button social issues" like LGBTQ rights.
So long as it's not a session of general conference where DHO gives a talk.

AmyJ
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by AmyJ » 08 Mar 2019, 14:59

nibbler wrote:
08 Mar 2019, 14:35
The reason for the success? The "unrelenting focus on the family," writes author Daniel Cox.
...
The biggest reason, says Cox, is the Church's continued emphasis on traditional family life and roles.
IMO we need to be careful with this one. Maybe I'm an extreme outlier but I don't think the church should take the same tack that they've taken in the past, namely placing a lot of emphasis on strictly defining what a family is and what it is not. I'd prefer messages that say, "Whoever you consider to be your family, love them." but often the message is, "This is a family. That is not a family. No... I'm serious, that's really not a family. Stop it."
Agreed. My husband reports getting some flack periodically for staying at home with our children (a non-standard family paradigm) - I think it was in EQ. It has been my experience that we usually have a 1-2 defensive sentence we use at the same time I/we disclose (I am usually disclosing to sisters) that he stays at home and I don't. Most of the time we get an awkward "That's cool - I know [insert relation here] who did so as well."

Sometimes it also leads into a sisterly "that must be really tough on you to go back to work" comment - which does neither the asker or myself justice. If you are a mom and you work outside the home, you deal with your adjusting body and meeting the baby's needs more remotely. If you stay at home, you get to try to tear yourself out of babyland after being a 24 hour baby caregiver. If you work from home, you get the best (and worst) of both worlds.
nibbler wrote:
08 Mar 2019, 14:35
Being strict and ultra-conservative about nuclear families and gender roles is going to appeal to a lot of people. Is there any appeal or draw for people that are different? Does being more accepting of families or people that are different make the church experience lesser for all the traditional folk?
I try to design more inclusive R.S. lessons when I have the opportunity. From where I stand, I see a lot of non-verbal relaxation/relief gestures when I describe more inclusive families, and focus on identifying best practices for "where you are at with what you have" as an individual. I try to set up the partner/small group activities so that they are more about opportunities to develop friendships and to cheer each other on and less about forming cliques or echo chambers.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Mar 2019, 18:33

All churches report membership numbers as broadly as possible - meaning they use whatever measurement shows the highest number that can be defended reasonably. I don't mean to imply they lie or intentionally deceive, although that happens sometimes, but rather that they report in a way that best expresses how they want to define their membership. For example, I know some Protestant denominations have reported growth numbers in Africa based on how many people attended a revival and verbally committed to accept Jesus and be affiliated with that denomination. We would roll our eyes at that method, but it fits their overall theology.

That means, basically, that the official membership numbers and trends can be compared in most cases with a decent degree of reliability.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

DoubtingTom
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by DoubtingTom » 09 Mar 2019, 09:08

My opinion based on absolutely no social science experience or data to back me up, is that these days the trend of the younger generation towards becoming a “none” will continue to grow and expand. But the religions that will best fight this trend are the most fundamental religions where being a part of that religion is baked into the culture. What immediately comes to mind besides the LDS tradition is orthodox Judaism, Islam, and Jehovah’s Witness.

Of course there are others too. But the religions that will best fight the trend towards disaffiliation are those in which religion is such an ingrained part of daily cultural experience that the social cost of leaving is very high. Of course, actually fulfilling a social need also helps retention, but I think the potential negative backlash is a greater motivator.

Free thought is always going to be dangerous for religion, and the more fundamental the religion, the more dangerous it becomes.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Mar 2019, 12:37

One factor that is overlooked in the article is the active, individual-member missionary effort.

One core aspect of total membership AND active membership is a stream of new membership outside just babies born to members. As a percentage of total membership and "active membership", the LDS Church does well in that are in comparison to other denominations.

Number of babies born to members also is a factor, but that was addressed in the article.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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LookingHard
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by LookingHard » 09 Mar 2019, 16:33

Curt Sunshine wrote:
08 Mar 2019, 18:33
All churches report membership numbers as broadly as possible
I agree, but I have to think that most are not as aggressive as LDS - keeping people on the roles until they are 100...

That is why I think it is best to go with more unbiased surveys such as Pew and especially Jana Reiss' "The Next Mormons". But those are agreeing that compared to most religions, the Mormon church is doing better than most - even if that "better" is "on the same path as others, but about a decade or more behind them."

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dande48
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by dande48 » 09 Mar 2019, 20:04

I feel like we're comparing apples to oranges here. Partly because of size. According to the article, protestantism has dropped from 25% of the adult US population to 15%, while LDS has maintained its 2%. That's a pretty big decrease for protestantism at -40% (how are they definiting protestantism, BTW?), but there is a huge difference between 15% and 2%. Depending on how they are rounding, a -40% hit to 2% can still give you 2% (2.4% x 60% = 1.6%. Rounding, both equal 2%).

Also, reporting on the statistics seems like it could be very different between Protestants and LDS. "Protestant" is very loosly defined. It can be as broad as "anyone belonging to any Christian Church, besides Roman Catholic". Getting a definite number, even with a more defined subset (Lutherans, Baptists, and Presbyterians only), would be tricky. I wouldn't be suprised if it was done through a random-sampled religious servey (personally, I'd mark down athiest). The LDS Church on the other hand, can give you an exact number, as they do, twice a year. And I am in that figure count.
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SamBee
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Re: Vox LDS growth article

Post by SamBee » 14 Mar 2019, 08:32

dande48 wrote:
09 Mar 2019, 20:04

Also, reporting on the statistics seems like it could be very different between Protestants and LDS. "Protestant" is very loosly defined. It can be as broad as "anyone belonging to any Christian Church, besides Roman Catholic".
Don't forget Orthodoxy! There is a significant Orthodox minority in parts of the states - famously portrayed in films like Big Far Greek Wedding, The Deer Hunter (?either Russian or Ukrainian) or even Sideways (Armenian). Throw in a few of the smaller west Asian and African churches like the Copts and Ethiopians too, they get classed as Orthodox too. None of these are classed as Protestant.

But what about Pentecostals and the like? Are they Protestant? Yes and no. Some people see them as a new outgrowth, a second reformation beyond Protestantism... But they are also an area of Protestantism seen a huge increase.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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