Category: Exceptional Posts from the Ex-Mo World


 

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(reposted from: http://notjustonereason.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/those-with-nothing-to-hide-hide-nothing/)

Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing

23 Jul 2013

The LDS church has recently (July 13, 2013) unveiled a new search engine powered by Google and censored by LDS inc.

The Church has revamped the search function and features to include Google’s powerful search technology, harnessing its signature ability to find relevant information.

Relevant information? What does that mean?

That means: Official, Safe Content

Official? Safe?

The new search provides a more safe and Church-specific search experience than Google, said Brother Ward. When you search from Google’s website, the results you get back may or may not be official content, he explained. Some results might be links to members’ personal blogs or even anti-Church sites.

The LDS.org search, however, only returns links to official Church-approved content that is currently available on LDS.org and other Church websites. And even though Google’s technology is used, no user information is provided back to Google. “It provides a safe, private, shock-free environment to search for approved gospel resources,” said Brother Ward.

So you can search only church approved sources and get only church approved answers to all your gospel questions.

Why is that needed? Because people (good, faithful LDS people) are searching Google for help with their lesson plans for Young Women’s, Priesthood, Seminary…. and getting back “shocking” information about the church. Shocking because it’s information they’ve never heard before that it true- and the more and more they search the more and more they learn about this information- and then they leave the LDS church because they feel lied to and betrayed. So how does the Church deal with this problem? Not by being more open and honest and teaching this information themselves- no- they deal with it by trying to bury it further.

For example- let’s search polyandry. Now we know that polyandry is when a man marries a woman that is already married. Joseph Smith did this 11 times before he died. Let’s see what the search on LDS.org turns up. (You can use Ctrl + to zoom in)

The first result is D&C 132:51. Not bad considering that the entire section is about plural marriage. Let’s see which verse specifically it found.

51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to aprove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.

Hmm. Nothing explaining polyandry, mentioning Joseph and polyandry- instead it’s a verse threatening Emma that if she were to engage in polyandry herself (with William Law specifically) then she would be disobeying God. But you’d only know that’s what this verse was referring to if you’d read lots of other church history. But it shows that the search function knows what you’re talking about.

What about the other search results? Do they go into more depth? Explain polyandry with a definition? Mention any one of the 11 women who sacrificed and married Joseph in polyandry?

No. You get an I’m a Mormon profile with no mention, two Seminary lessons with no mention and that aren’t relevant to the search, and then a list of feel good church magazine articles that aren’t at all relevant.

So how did Google do? (Once again Ctrl + to zoom in)Google polyandry1Google polyandry

Google leads with MormonThink.com to a page specifically about polygamy, polyandry and a helpful infographic of the wives of Joseph Smith.

The next link is to FAIR- a site considered to be friendly to tough LDS questions. They define polyandry, discuss how it relates to Joseph’s marriages and then give links to other questions you may have about polyandry in general.

Following that is a link to a FAIR conference talk by Brian Hales who is known for his research into polygamy and polyandry and has released a couple of books exploring the topics. While I disagree with his conclusions (and so do most notable historians) it’s still relevant information if you want a well rounded picture about polyandry.

Then there is a youtube video, an article from Dialogue, and a blog post by Times and Seasons.

Eighth on the list is LDS.org.

So maybe there is a search result on LDS.org that the search function before didn’t find! So I clicked on it. This is what came back.

The exact same search I’d already done on LDS.org.

There is some text in the Google search under that result that says this:

LDS Mormons do not currently practice polygamy, polygyny, nor polyandry. The principles of this biblical practice were revealed to Joseph Smith Jr. from 1831.

So if you want to know what polyandry is- or why it’s relevant to the history of the church lds.org won’t tell you anything. It doesn’t even say it was practiced by Joseph Smith- just that the principles were revealed to him.

What you will find is:

The Church has revamped the search function and features to include Google’s powerful search technology, harnessing its signature ability to find relevant information.

So relevant information? What does that mean?

It means that the church is still hiding information the best they can. It means that knowledge is power- and the church- LDS Inc. is trying to take that power away from you.

When are they going to stop trying to hide the truth and just come clean? When are they going to start being ‘honest with their fellowmen’?

recopied from: http://journeyofloyaldissent.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/6/

3 Meetings with an LDS General Authority, 2012/2013 ~ Grant H. Palmer
April 6, 2013
The following very interesting memorandum was received recently from Grant H. Palmer, the renowned LDS historian, and is shared here with his permission.

Please leave your comments below:

Three Meetings with a LDS General Authority, 2012- 2013

Grant H. Palmer

In mid-October 2012, a returned LDS Mission President contacted me to arrange a meeting. Several days later, he called again and said that a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy also wished to attend. He said the General Authority would attend on condition that I not name him or repeat any stories that would identify him. He explained that neither of them, including the GA’s wife, believed the founding claims of the restoration were true. He clarified that they had read my book, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, and had concluded that the LDS Church was not true; was not what it claimed to be. The GA often went to the MormonThink.com website for information and there discovered my book. The Mission President said he received my book from the GA.

We have at this writing met three times. We first met on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 and again February 14, 2013 at my house. On March 26, 2013 we convened at the GAs house. Upon entering my home for the first meeting the GA said, “We are here to learn.” I recognized him. He has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for a number of years. He has served in several high profile assignments during this period. The following are the more important statements made by the GA during our first three meetings. We now meet monthly.

He said that each new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is given one million dollars to take care of any financial obligations they have. This money gift allows them to fully focus on the ministry. He said that the overriding consideration of who is chosen is whether they are “church broke,” meaning, will they do whatever they are told. He said the senior six apostles make the agenda and do most of the talking. The junior six are told to observe, listen and learn and really only comment if they are asked. He said that it takes about two to three years before the new apostle discovers that the church is not true. He said it took Dieter F. Uchtdorf a little longer because he was an outsider. He said they privately talk among themselves and know the foundational claims of the restoration are not true, but continue on boldly “because the people need it,” meaning the people need the church. When the Mission President voiced skepticism and named ___ as one who surely did believe, The GA said: “No, he doesn’t.” The one million dollar gift, plus their totally obedient attitude makes it easy for them to go along when they find out the church is not true. For these reasons and others, he doesn’t expect any apostle to ever expose the truth about the foundational claims.

When I asked the GA how he knew these things, he answered by saying that the Quorum of the Twelve today is more isolated from the Quorums of the Seventies now because there are several of them. When only one Quorum of the Seventy existed, there was more intimacy. During his one on one assignments with an apostle, conversations were more familiar. He said that none of the apostles ever said to him directly that they did not believe; but that it was his opinion based on “my interactions with them.” Also, that none of the Twelve want to discuss “truth issues,” meaning issues regarding the foundational claims of the church. He said that the apostle’s lives are so completely and entirely enmeshed in every detail of their lives in the church, that many of them would probably die defending the church rather than admit the truth about Joseph Smith and the foundations of the church.

The GA stated that my disciplinary action (which would have occurred on the final Sunday of October 2010 had I not resigned), was mandated/ordered/approved by the First Presidency of the Church. I said that if the apostles know the church is not true and yet order a disciplinary hearing for my writing a book that is almost certainly true regarding the foundational claims of the church, then they are corrupt even evil. He replied, “That’s right!”

The GA said the church is like a weakened dam. At first you don’t see cracks on the face; nevertheless, things are happening behind the scenes. Eventually, small cracks appear, and then the dam will “explode.” When it does, he said, the members are going to be “shocked” and will need scholars/historians like me to educate them regarding the Mormon past.

The Mission President and the GA both said they attend church every Sunday and feel like “a hypocrite and trapped.” The GA said his ward treats him like a king and when he gives firesides and speaks to LDS congregations they have high expectations of him. He would like to do more in getting the truth out besides raising a few questions when speaking and gifting my book to others when feeling comfortable. Perhaps this is why he has reached out to me. The GA is a man of integrity and very loving. Upon leaving each time, he always gives me a big hug.

Do the Following Statements Support the Disclosures of the GA?

Apostle Boyd K. Packer said to Michael Quinn when interviewing him for a history position at BYU in 1976, “I have a hard time with historians because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting, it destroys,” quoted in, Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History, editor, George D. Smith, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992), 76n22.

Gregory Prince, who wrote a seminal biography of President David O. McKay, related to me that when he interviewed Hugh Nibley, a professor at BYU in 1995, that “At one point in the interview he [Nibley] asked that I turn off the tape recorder, which I did. He then related a curious anecdote relating to McKay and the Book of Mormon,” indicating that McKay did not believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon (emails exchanged between me and Greg Prince on June 22, 2005. These documents are located in The Grant H. Palmer Papers, Accn 2071, Manuscripts Division, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah).

Thomas Stuart Ferguson, a California lawyer, church member and avid amateur archeologist, took the Egyptian papyri that was gifted to the church in 1967 to several Egyptologists at Berkeley, and as I recall Brown University and had them independently translated. All said the papyri were common funerary rites from the Book of the Dead. Ferguson then took their statements to apostle Hugh B. Brown, and after reviewing the evidence “with Brother Brown he said that Brother Brown agreed with him that it was not scripture …. that Hugh B. Brown did not believe the Book of Abraham was what the church said it was” (Journal entry of Ronald O. Barney concerning Thomas Stuart Ferguson on 19 April, 1984. Barney, now retired, worked at the LDS Library and Archives at Church headquarters, in Salt Lake City). Ferguson also said the same to Gerald and Sandra Tanner on December 2, 1970: “Mr. Ferguson had just visited with Mormon apostle Hugh B. Brown before coming to our house, and said that Brown has also come to the conclusion that the Book of Abraham was false” (Letter of Gerald Tanner to Dee Jay Nelson, December 10, 1970, published by Modern Microfilm Co., SLC, Utah).

A courageous, on-the-fence Mormon woman, faces the loss and scorn of family for opening her mind and her legs.

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By 

Most Americans know very little of the The Church of Latter Day Saints, or theMormon Church, and even less about its founder, the religious megalomaniac, con artist, tyrant and mentally unstable “prophet” Joseph Smith. The Mormons will most likely be solemnly celebrating the day in which their founder, their prophet, was killed, treating the occasion as though he were a lamb taken to slaughter like Jesus Christ. And so a little biographical detail and history lesson is in order.

A good resource for an objective chronology of Joseph Smith’s Illinois perambulations lies in the book “A History of Illinois: From its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847.” The book’s author was Thomas Ford, the Governor of Illinois at the time. Ford, naturally, is not a little harsh with the Mormons, but how else could someone have responded when a treasure-hunting failed businessman attempted to set up a religious state in Nauvoo, Illinois. Perhaps Ford was wrong to entrust Smith and his brother Hyrum’s lives to the Carthage Greys, an anti-Mormon faction, but things then were not as they are now. Mob justice was always a possibility, especially during the time of Manifest Destiny.

Another good point of reference is John Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith.” Krakauer is known for his non-fiction prowess, and what readers will not get is the Mormon white-washing and distortion of historical events. “The Maze of Mormonism” by Dr. Walter Martin is also highly useful in understanding LDS.

In this article, however, we are only interested in the events leading up to Smith’s execution. Even a brief look at Smith’s chronology of travels across the midwest reveals failure after failure in creating a Mormon “Zion.” Indeed, “If at first you don’t succeed…” must have been Smith’s primary operating principle throughout his adult life. To be fair, however, the Mormons did suffer their fair share of scorn from non-Mormon; but the reaction to the scorn should have in no way led to a theocratic city-state with a standing army.

And, remember, America has always been a country rich in a variety of religious movements, most of which sprouted like tendrils from the protestant reformation. None seem to have attempted to create a theocratic city-state that would establish a state (or city) religion and abridge the First Amendment, as the early days of LDS shall illustrate.

In 1831, several years before heading to Illinois, Smith and LDS leaders set up a Mormon community in Kirtland, Ohio, hoping to establish the form of society they had envisioned. It was here that Smith and other church leaders attempted to establish a bank backed by real estate that Mormon followers would be encouraged to use, according to Fawn Brodie’s biography “No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith.” (Rather good idea for a money-making venture, no?)

Brodie writes:

“The toppling of the Kirtland bank loosed a hornets’ nest. Creditors swarmed in upon Joseph armed with threats and warrants. He was terribly in debt. There is no way of knowing exactly how much he and his leading elders had borrowed, since the loyal Mormons left no itemized account of their own claims. But the local non-Mormon creditors whom he could not repay brought a series of suits against the prophet which the Geauga county court duly recorded. These records tell a story of trouble that would have demolished the prestige and broken the spirit of a lesser man.

Thirteen suits were brought against him between June 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totaling nearly $25,000. The damages asked amounted to almost $35,000. He was arrested seven times in four months, and his followers managed heroically to raise the $38,428 required for bail. Of the thirteen suits only six were settled out of court-about $12,000 out of the $25,000. In the other seven the creditors either were awarded damages or won them by default.” (pp. 198-202)

After fleeing from Kirtland following a warrant issued on account of bank fraud and multiple lawsuits, Smith moved to Far West, Missouri to establish yet another Zion, which is where the religion received its new name—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It was in Far West where Smith and some of his followers become more militant in their faith, adopting a paranoia of persecution by non-Mormons and disaffected Mormons alike—something typical of a great deal of revealed religions. A series of events during this time led to the 1838 Mormon War, which saw Mormons and Non-Mormons raiding each other’s towns, ultimately leading to the Battle of Crooked Creek, which found Smith and his Mormon army attacking a state militia—yes, a state militia. Smith’s army eventually surrendered and were tried for treason, but Smith was spirited away in April of 1839, thus avoiding trial.

Next stop: Nauvoo, Illinois.

Once in Nauvoo, Smith and his followers (those who hadn’t sensed his long con), made some friends in the Illinois government and received a charter for the city that would allow him to make it something of a city-state, or an autonomous zone, where the “oppressed” Mormon minority could feel safe and escape persecution. They were also granted a militia, the Nauvoo Legion, with John C. Bennett (a Mormon convert), and former member of the Illinois legislature, installed as Mayor. It was in Nauvoo that Smith introduced the concepts of polygamy and bigamy (revealed by God, of course). By 1842, Smith was intent on making Nauvoo the capital of a great American theocratic state. Good times.

Missouri officials attempted to have Smith extradited for the charges of treason, but Smith escaped on a writ of habeas corpus specifically designed for the city of Nauvoo. As Gov. Ford wrote in his book:

They enacted that no writ issued from any other place than Nauvoo, for the arrest of any person in it, should be executed in the city, without an approval endorsed thereon by the Mayor; that if any public officer, by virtue of any foreign writ, should attempt to make an arrest in the city, without such approval of his process, he should be subject to imprisonment for life, and that the Governor of the State should not have the power of pardoning the offender without the consent of the Mayor. When these ordinances were published, they created general astonishment. Many people began to believe in good earnest that the Mormons were about to set up a separate government for themselves in defiance of the laws of the state. (pg. 320)

With Missouri unable to extradite Smith, the LDS founder attempted to get guarantees of assistance from federal politicians. When these efforts failed, Smith announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. Megalomania anyone?

At this point, according to ex-communicated author LDS member D. Michael Quinn, Smith organized the secret Council of Fifty to decide which state and federal laws the Mormon church would obey, but also find locations for a new Mormon theocratic state (California, Texas and Oregon were early candidates—Utah, of course, would become the ultimate site). Richard Ostling, a respected writer on religion in America, noted in his book “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise” that Smith and church leaders were intent on setting up a “theodemocracy” with Smith installed as ”Prophet, Priest, and King” of the Mormon Church, according to church leader William Clayton.

As Ford wrote:

It seems, from the best information which could be got from the best men who had seceded from the Mormon church, that Joe Smith about this time conceived the idea of making himself a prince as well as a spiritual leader of his people… He caused himself to be crowned and anointed king and priest, far above the rest… To uphold his pretensions of royalty, he deduced his descent by an unbroken chain from Joseph to the son of Jacob…” (Ford, pg. 322)

As in the monarchies of Europe, Smith was accumulating a divine mandate for kingly power, which had long been a repugnant idea to Americans, who had abhorred the tyranny of King George. One must wonder at this point if the real goal wasn’t so much to give the people divine revelation, but to simply accumulate power and money, to say nothing of a king’s ready access to a harem. Smith’s actions were more likely an admixture of religious delusion and greed.

By this time, John Bennett had been excommunicated for sexual indiscretions (a victim of a double standard it would seem), and so Smith was now both Mayor and President of LDS, making Nauvoo officially a theocratic city-state. How it was that Smith and company escaped state and federal law up until this point is truly astonishing: the political situation was a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

At this point, Smith’s doctrine of polygamy and power began to unsettle certain of his followers. Some were none too disposed toward adopting polygamy, nor in bestowing such political and religious power upon Smith. These critics created a newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor, which published opinions that Smith was a false prophet, too powerful and had corrupted women by forcing them into plural marriages.

Naturally, Smith had the paper censored after just one issue since he believed it was creating a threat to his person. Smith was quoted as saying in the City Council’s minutes, “…would rather die tomorrow and have the thing smashed, than live and have it go on, for it was exciting the spirit of mobocracy among the people, and bringing death and destruction upon us.”

Soon after, warrants from outside Nauvoo were issued against Smith, which he countered with his writ of habeas corpus, believing himself to be beyond the laws of man. On June 18, according to Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Smith declared Martial law and raised an army of 5,000 men.

A trial was to be held in the County seat of Carthage, and Smith eventually opted to face trial after Gov. Ford guaranteed his safety. They were brought to trial on the crime of treason against the State of Illinois; which, of course, was a capital offense in the United States at that time. Smith, however, would never make it to trial. Ford left Carthage and Smith in the hands of the anti-Mormon Carthage Greys. The jail was stormed by a 200-strong mob, where Smith and Hyrum were killed. (The Nauvoo Legion, it should be noted, was never summoned to defend Smith and company.)

Though Smith’s end was unfortunate, credit must be given to Ford for averting all-out war by convincing Smith to surrender. Remember, Smith had raised an army of 5,000 from the Nauvoo Legion and basically invited the Illinois Governor to put down the insurrection, which he had every right to do. Smith’s actions before and during the revolution displayed a fundamental disregard for the very idea of America’s freedom from any official religion.

If the State of Illinois had nipped the problem of Smith and his militarized theocratic Nauvoo city-state in the bud early, Smith’s execution might have been averted. And while Governor Ford may have had it in for Smith and the Mormon Church, and could have addressed problems differently, he did ensure that the First Amendment, which Smith necessarily despised, still meant something.

And one can’t help thinking that Smith’s aim all along was to create a situation by which his opponents, whether non-Mormons or his Mormon critics, would create a contemporary persecution and execution that was Christ-like, delivered by the hands of American Pontius Pilates and Jewish analogues. As he said,  ”I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me — he was murdered in cold blood.”

And this is the story that the LDS church has propagated—that Smith was a religious martyr. Yes, a martyr who trampled on the U.S. constitution, committed various acts of treason, engaged in censorship, all in an effort to create a militarized theocratic city-state somewhere, anywhere, and at all costs. He was the very definition of a tyrant. And tyrants, as history has so often shown, meet their ends at the hands of a mob.

They can call it an “assassination” all they want, but the fact remains that Joseph Smith was a violator of the U.S. constitution. If he’d respected it and not gotten caught up in religious fanaticism, he might have lived—in which case, the Church wouldn’t have its martyr.

Now readers know a little bit more about the church of which Mitt Romney is a member.

2012 General Conference Statistical Predictions and Analysis

by Eric Davis on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 3:37pm ·

With one week to go until another annual Generic CONference of the Mormon Church, it is once again time for me to reveal my church statistical projections. The numbers I am projecting are for the year ending, 2011, as they will be officially reported in the Saturday afternoon session, on March 31, 2012.

 

Methodology: This is now the third consecutive year that I am publishing my projections, and I am continually refining my process for the way I predict the numbers. In the past I created my own mathematical formula for determining my projections for the next year. This calculated changes from one year to the next and gave greater weight to more recent years versus years in the more distant past. Last year, my formula resulted in a prediction of 14,142,817 total members. The actual number reported was 14,131,467 (a difference of 11,350, or 0.08%). For the year ending, 2009, my prediction was 14,824,420, and the actual reported number was 14,824,854 (a difference of 434, or 0.0031%).

This year I am doing something a little different. I am still using my original formula, but am also including an additional statistical method. This new addition is a forecast model (common to business spreadsheets) which projects future growth based on recent trends. Then I have taken an average of the results of the two separate formulae to create my projections for this year.

 

Projections for Year Ending, 2011: Items are listed in the order they will be reported in conference (numbers for the previous year, 2010, are in parenthesis). Note that I do not include a few of the statistical categories in my projections, such as Stakes and Temples.

Total Wards and Branches: 28,978 (28,660)

Total Church Membership: 14,435,592 (14,131,467)

New Children of Record: 119,126 (120,528)

Convert Baptisms: 264,987 (272,814)

Full-time Missionaries: 52,536 (52,225)

For your information, total church membership would reflect a net growth of 304,125 from the previous year, which means that the church lost 79,987 members due to death, name removal, etc.

 

Analysis (what does it all mean?): Overall church growth over the past 15 years has seen a slow but steady decline. The number of convert baptisms has virtually flat-lined in the past decade (e.g.: convert baptisms in 2000, 2006, and 2010 were separated by only around 1,000, with each year hovering around 273,000). During the same period, new children of record numbers have risen modestly, while member loss has increased dramatically.

I’m not entirely confident in my member loss number of 79,987, for this year. The reason is because the past two years both showed numbers well above 80,000, and that number has risen for the last 4 consecutive years. However, my forecast model produced an oddly low number, in the neighborhood of 66,000, which in turn lowered my average considerably. I believe the actual number (not reported in conference, but determined from the other member growth numbers) will probably be somewhere between 85,000 and 90,000.

The church is now growing at just above 2%, annually. If recent trends continue, growth will be less than 2% by 2013, and doing nothing more than keeping pace with the world-wide birthrate. In fact, the church is actually LOSING ground with the rest of the planet. If world-wide population growth was only 1% annually, that would mean that, in 2011, there would be 70 million more people on earth than last year, but less than one-third of one million new Mormons. So, every year there are more non-Mormons on earth than there were the previous year. And with the shrinking numbers of full-time proselytizing missionaries in the past decade, coupled with the increasing secularization of the developed world, it’s unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time in the near future.

We know that the church is struggling to keep pace with the rest of the world, but how is the church doing at keeping pace with itself, regarding growth for this year? That is where my projections come into play. If actual reported statistics reflect something close to the numbers in my projections, then the church is remaining steady with recent trends. For Mormons, that may not be a good thing, based on the direction of these trends. However, if actual reported numbers are significantly higher or lower than projections, that may reflect that the church is either exceeding or possibly falling behind the trends.

But all this talk of overall growth doesn’t really tell the story of how the church is succeeding or failing. The Mormon Church is shaped by its active members – the people who are actually attending Sunday meetings, and identify themselves as “Latter-day Saints”.

 

What can the church statistical report tell us about church activity rates? I’m not sure how much the church hierarchy is aware of this fact, but quite a bit of information can easily be gleaned based on the small handful of details they report, each year.

For starters: According to Nation Master, the worldwide birthrate in 2011 is 20.2 births per 1000 population (see: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_bir_rat-people-birth-rate) The Mormon Church, in 2010, added 120,528 new children of record (this is the number of babies born, in Mormon families, whose names were added to the records of the church, and NOT baptisms of 8 year-old children). That year the church also reported 14,131,467 total members, which gives us a birthrate of 8.53 per 1000 population (this is 42.2% of worldwide birthrate).

Assuming that all active Mormons, or those who self-identify as members of the church, will be inclined to place their newborn children on the records of the church, and that those who do not identify as Mormons are not likely to add their children to church records, this number (120,528) reflects the total children born to active Mormon parents, during 2010. Next, taking into account that the Mormon church has a younger median age than the general population (29.4 years, according to the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008), and that Mormons generally have larger families, and more children than the general population (Mormon household size 4.2, versus 3.7 US national average, ARIS 2008), active Mormons are actually experiencing a birthrate significantly higher than national averages, across the developed world, and similar birthrates to nations in the developing world. This means that the church’s activity rate could be NO HIGHER than 42.2%, and in reality, is probably significantly LOWER than that – possibly as much as 5 – 8 percentage points.

We can also see similar results when we examine the annual number of member loss, which includes deaths, and compare that to worldwide death rates. What we find is that average death rates are roughly double the annual member loss the church reports in conference (that’s not even taking into consideration how many members the church loses due to excommunication or name removal). This means that not only are more than half of the names on LDS records inactive, but the church also doesn’t even know whether many of these people are alive or dead!

Next: We can estimate the activity rate of the church over an extended period of time based on a comparison of overall membership growth, versus unit (wards and branches) growth. In the decade, from 2000 to 2010, the church grew from 11,068,861 to 14,131,467 total members – a difference of 3,062,606, or 27.67% growth from 2000. During the same period, the church went from 25,915 to 28,660 total units – a difference of 2,745, or 10.59%. If units grew only 10.59%, compared to 27.67% for total membership, then units only grew 38.27% as fast as membership did, during the last decade. Assuming that the church will only add new wards and branches, based on having enough active members to justify creation of new units, we can estimate that the church’s activity rate from 2000 to 2010 averaged around 38.27%.

This brings us to another question: How many active members are there in wards and branches? This next portion involves some speculation and guesswork on my part, because I don’t know what the exact numbers are. But I am making educated guesses based on my own life experience, from living in a variety of different regions of North America, from my mission experiences, and from discussions with other members and former members of the church.

In my experience, the Mormon Church generally does not prefer to have wards with a large number of active members who do NOT have callings. So long as there are callings available, the church will attempt to fill all of them with the available people in each ward or branch. If the ward’s membership grows to the point where there are significantly more people than callings that need to be filled, church leadership will be inclined to divide the wards within the stake, so that the extra membership can fill new available callings. Therefore, the average number of active members per ward will largely be determined by the number of callings that need to be filled.

I have estimated that in a large, fully staffed ward, there are about 120 available callings. This includes everything from the bishopric and relief society to the primary pianist and nursery leader, including several callings for youth in quorum or class presidencies. In addition to those 120 adult and youth callings, I estimated a handful of adults that might not have a calling at any given time, plus another handful of adults who are given callings at the Stake or Mission level, and a number of youth and primary children, who are not assigned regular callings. My total estimate for the active membership in an average, fully staffed ward is 236.

Then, I determined that there are also many wards which are under-staffed, in which several members have more than one calling (I personally experienced this in 3 different wards I attended). Under-staffed wards may also include YSA and College Student wards, which do not have members or callings in several areas, including primary and youth groups. I estimated the average active membership in those wards to be two-thirds that of fully staffed wards, or 158 active members. I also estimated averages for large and small branches – 78 and 36 members, respectively. I assigned those numbers arbitrarily, based on my own experience as a member of, and a missionary serving in, multiple branches.

Based on LDS membership statistics by nation (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_membership_statistics) from year end, 2008, wards accounted for 72.2% of total units, and branches 27.8%. I estimated that of 28,660 units at year end, 2010, about half are “fully staffed” wards (14,330 units of 236 active members each, for a total of 3,381,880 active members in those wards). That would leave the remaining 22.2% wards, as ones that I call “under-staffed” (6,363 units, 158 active each, 1,005,278 total active). Among the 27.8% branches I decided to arbitrarily split up the large and small ones 14% and 13.8%, respectively (large branches: 4,012 units, 78 active each, 312,967 total active; small branches: 3,955 units, 36 active each, 142,383 total active). Using these estimates, in 2010, there were a combined total of 4,842,508 active members, among a total worldwide membership of 14,131,467, or 34.27% activity.

Finally – One last piece of evidence for your consideration. The Mormon Church claims just fewer than 1.9 million members in Utah, and is home to 13 temples, with 2 more presently under construction. That will be one temple for roughly every 126,000 members. Even if Utah Mormons were as high as 80% active, temple attendees, it would mean that only 100,000 Mormons were sharing each temple. By contrast, the church reports nearly 600,000 members in Chile, but the nation has only one LDS temple (Santiago). So, how many Chileans do they honestly expect us to believe are active Mormons?

 

Bottom Line: All of the estimates I have done for Mormon membership appear to corroborate each other. The percentage of active members worldwide in the church is most likely in the mid to upper 30’s (likely being somewhat higher than that in Utah and the western US, but significantly lower throughout much of the developing world). Mormons claim to have over 14 million people among their ranks, but it is clear that these reports are gross exaggerations. It’s a virtual certainty that the church would not even be able to find 10 million people who call themselves Latter-day Saints, and very likely that many names on the records of the church don’t even represent real living persons.

In my opinion, it’s time for the church to stop lying to the world, and to itself. No one outside the faith is any more impressed that they report 14 million members, than they would be if 6 or 7 million was the actual count. Mormon leaders are only kidding themselves, and fooling some of their own membership, if they think it is a faith-promoting tool to artificially inflate their numbers so as to claim they are “growing” or fulfilling a prophecy of “filling the earth.”

It’s time for the church to clean up their books – to become more transparent with their business practices. “Lying for the Lord” doesn’t work as well in the information age. The rest of the world is wising up to their game, and we’re not buying it any longer.

 

Eric N. Davis – March 24, 2012

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