NeedleinA

Missionary Numbers - stats, ugh.

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We had our stake conference here recently. The Mission president lives in our stake, so he or his wife are frequent speakers.
He shared the following (paraphrasing):

Quote

Before the age change rule from a few years ago, our mission had 175 missionaries, Elders & Sisters.
After the age change the number of missionaries went up to 240.
We need missionaries. We need you young brothers and sisters to serve missions. Every young man should plan on serving a mission.
Missionary numbers are rapidly dwindling.
We project that in the next year we will be down to 90 missionaries (45 companionships).

Yikes.
I realize that numbers should drop off after the initial age wave/transition but to drop that sharply, yikes.
The youth in our ward are at about a 1 in 5 rate of eligible age young men going on a mission. It feels like pulling teeth over here.

Back in my day, a mission wasn't a wish-wash touchy feely subject... you went.
Today, I don't get that feel at all from the youth in our stake, it is way more of an optional "if" you feel like it.
I wonder were the "optional" sentiment comes from as I don't see the parents I know of being the source of this shift?
 

Edited by NeedleinA

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Some folks on facebook posted what looked like a photo from the Church News with various stats.  Frankly, it looked kinda pathetic once you started running percentages (the numbers themselves look large, but as a percentage of the total membership, they're pathetic).  I think the Church as a whole must be dwindling.

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3 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

@zil I think the Church as a whole must be dwindling.

? Do you mean that the fervour of our faith is ebbing?

I mean that people's willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to obtain the blessings of eternal life is dwindling.  The number of children of record born in 2017 was almost trivial.  The number of converts wasn't much better.  The number of missionaries has to be considerably less than 50% of active young men of the right age.  Our numbers indicate to me that we are losing active participation at a staggering rate.

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1 hour ago, zil said:

(the numbers themselves look large, but as a percentage of the total membership, they're pathetic). 

^^^ This.

1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

Agree, though it's more because of a general decline in religion overall rather than an LDS thing. Every church is going though numbers like this. 

^^^ This also. Not just a LDS thing. A push back against organized religions in general.

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14 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

^^^ This.

^^^ This also. Not just a LDS thing. A push back against organized religions in general.

Barring huge social change, all churches will have to deal with this for the foreseeable future. It's not pretty, but I'd rather deal with a harsh reality than lie about it. The future looks grim. 

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3 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

We had our stake conference here recently. The Mission president lives in our stake, so he or his wife are frequent speakers.
He shared the following (paraphrasing):

Yikes.
I realize that numbers should drop off after the initial age wave/transition but to drop that sharply, yikes.
The youth in our ward are at about a 1 in 5 rate of eligible age young men going on a mission. It feels like pulling teeth over here.

Back in my day, a mission wasn't a wish-wash touchy feely subject... you went.
Today, I don't get that feel at all from the youth in our stake, it is way more of an optional "if" you feel like it.
I wonder were the "optional" sentiment comes from as I don't see the parents I know of being the source of this shift?
 

We're feeling it here partially because of faith, partially because of "raising the bar."  Too many young men staying home because they either don't believe or they have minor law of chastity issues, or both.

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19 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Barring huge social change, all churches will have to deal with this for the foreseeable future. It's not pretty, but I'd rather deal with a harsh reality than lie about it. The future looks grim. 

Yes Sir.

Quote

1 Nephi 14:12

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

In our area over the previous 20 years it was grow and divide into new wards. In the past year we have been seeing several wards & branches being dissolved and merged into other wards for the "strengthening on the saints".
The war in heaven (earth) continues on for the souls of the children of God... a war of wills is fought everyday here on good ol' planet earth.

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8 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

or they have minor law of chastity issues,

We live in an age where youth are bombard with influences trying to get them to cross that chastity line.
I would hope a young man or woman would know they are loved and continue to fight on despite a "minor" issue and GO and SERVE.

While the bar is raised, I've seen several youth mistakenly feel the bar is taller than Mt. Everest and what is the point of trying.
Raise the bar = great as long we don't scare off the youth who feel they can never be worthy of the title "missionary" because of "minor" issues.

Edited by NeedleinA

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I think its everywere i have been in this ward 4 years we have had 1 missionary go and she just came back.  There is one young man who is thinking about going.  Its like a lack of desire to serve

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2 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

We live in an age where youth are bombard with influences trying to get them to cross that chastity line.
I would hope a young man or woman would know they are loved and continue to fight on despite a "minor" issue and GO and SERVE.

While the bar is raised, I've seen several youth mistakenly feel the bar is taller than Mt. Everest and what is the point of trying.
Raise the bar = great as long we don't scare off the youth who feel they can never be worthy of the title "missionary" because of "minor" issues.

They are not allowed to serve.  At least that is the policy in my ward.  I don't know if it is Church wide

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3 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

They are not allowed to serve.  At least that is the policy in my ward.  I don't know if it is Church wide

I suppose varying degrees of what constitutes "minor". In Chuck Norris land you all must drop the hammer on the minor offenses. :karate:

Edited by NeedleinA

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10 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Yes Sir.

In our area over the previous 20 years it was grow and divide into new wards. In the past year we have been seeing several wards & branches being dissolved and merged into other wards for the "strengthening on the saints".
The war in heaven (earth) continues on for the souls of the children of God... a war of wills is fought everyday here on good ol' planet earth.

Our area is growing.  I don't believe it is a flux of converts, though.  I haven't seen many convert baptisms.  A few, yes.  But the growth has been

A) We have a LOT of homeschooling families in the two stakes my family has been in. And homeschooling families tend to have LOTS of kids.  
B) Texas is still booming.  We're finally getting toward full employment nationwide.  But even in the downturn, people from all over the US were coming to Texas.  And plenty of Mormons with them.

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1 minute ago, NeedleinA said:

I suppose varying degrees of what constitutes "minor". In Chuck Norris land you all must drop the hammer on the minor offenses. :karate:

We're talking porn and self-abuse.  It's just plain too common.

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6 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

We're talking porn and self-abuse.  It's just plain too common.

Here too. Both male and female. Primary age now.
I hope youth know/learn that these can be overcome and they can still, eventually, serve a worthy mission OR rather still live faithful prosperous lives. 

Edited by NeedleinA

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Unfortunately, this has long been predicted. 2 Timothy 3:1-7

           "1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
            2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
            3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
            4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
            5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
            6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
            7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"

Sounds like a laundry list of what it's like to go outside these days. The youth of the church are growing up in a very corrosive spiritual environment, and I'm not surprised it's having a serious effect on their missionary numbers. It's just too dang easy to turn from God these days and be applauded for doing so. I'm not going to despair, we are going to win in the end after all, but it makes me sad too see so many precious brothers and sisters falling by the wayside along the way. We, as members, really need to redouble our efforts to boldly proclaim and live the gospel, so we can help save as many of them as we can.

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A couple things to consider.  The church has much more strict requirements to serve a mission. 30 years ago, when I was on my mission, there were missionaries who really shouldn't have been there, for emotional reasons, or because they had fairly sinful pasts.  One missionary was an alcoholic and the mission president would check on him personally.  Back then, the idea was if you were a wayward child a mission would straighten you up.  That just isn't the case.  So, yes, a lot more missionaries either don't go or return home early.  That coupled with a casualness of sexuality, where kids are far more prone to get into trouble before age 19 (now 18).  Probably another reason they lowered the age, honestly. 

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I'd just like to point out that the Church today is larger than it ever has been in all of history. There are more active, believing Latter-day Saints than at any other time. I bet Latter-day Saints comprise a larger percentage of the worldwide population than ever before (albeit still tiny, perhaps no more than one active Latter-day Saint per thousand people).

Yes, we have challenges. Yes, many in the western world have at least temporarily succumbed to the temptations of decadence and death. But truth goeth onward. Our children need not be threatened by these evils, if we teach them truth and help them understand how to find it for themselves. No pickle-suckers here!

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11 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

We had our stake conference here recently. The Mission president lives in our stake, so he or his wife are frequent speakers.
He shared the following (paraphrasing):

Yikes.
I realize that numbers should drop off after the initial age wave/transition but to drop that sharply, yikes.
The youth in our ward are at about a 1 in 5 rate of eligible age young men going on a mission. It feels like pulling teeth over here.

Back in my day, a mission wasn't a wish-wash touchy feely subject... you went.
Today, I don't get that feel at all from the youth in our stake, it is way more of an optional "if" you feel like it.
I wonder were the "optional" sentiment comes from as I don't see the parents I know of being the source of this shift?
 

I think it's more than that.  Policies of who could go on a mission changed, I think in the late 90s to early 00s.  At that point, anyone who had broken the law of chastity was basically guaranteed they could not go on a mission.  That was relaxed a little in around the mid 00s and then came the apocalypse.

They started asking a WHOLE LOT of unrelated gospel questions to determine if one could go on a mission or not.  Anyone who had any number of physical, mental, or emotional difficulties was barred from going it seems at the Stake or higher level (Bishop have no say in this).   Those who are borderline on certain things might or might not go.  Sometimes they are given trial missions (2-3 month missions on a trial basis) and if they do well they can go...however...these individuals are HIGHLY discouraged from going already.

These measures got MUCH more strictly enforced when the missionary age went down.  I'm not sure if there is so much that the youth are dwindling as much as it is that these restrictive policies are cutting down the numbers so strongly as to cause this dwindling.  I think they were reinforced and focused on when the age went down because of how many young men were trying to go on missions and to try to get a handle on the numbers.  NOW...I think it may be more of a detriment than helpful...that may just be me though.

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5 hours ago, person0 said:

Do you think this is part of the reason for the change to combine priesthood quorums?

No.

I think it was because there were prideful High Priests, discriminated against older Elders, and struggling Elder's Quorums that were lacking the experience and wisdom older individuals could give them.  The combining of priesthood quorums, IN MY OPINION, was done to do away with these in order for the priesthood in the ward to feel more unified and more as a spiritual unit within the ward that all the priesthood should feel part of.  It was to increase the brotherhood between the priesthood holders of the ward and to create stronger unity among them.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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