Fether

Another "Church Culture Stinks" Article

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2 hours ago, priesthoodpower said:

100's dissapear and now you got a stake like mine which had to eliminate 1 ward and realign boundaries 3 times in the last 15 yrs because of shrinking attendance and little if any growth.

Wards disappear and boundaries are realigned all the time for a variety of reasons, most of which are not the result of faltering testimonies or inactivity.
Just off the top of my head:

1. Over priced neighborhoods/towns. I was recently in Southern California, the Glendora area, where a ward was dissolved and boundaries realigned. Younger generations of members could not afford to live in the areas where they grew up. The net loss in Glendora was a net gain in more affordable neighboring cities like Redlands.

2. About 2 years ago, we dissolved a ward in our Stake. Half staying in our Stake, the other half crossed the river and went to a neighboring Stake. Proximity to new chapels, travel times, seminary teachers, High Schools, etc. all played a role in the decision.

3. We recently dissolved two wards. Divided the members up into existing wards but then turned around and created two new Spanish Speaking branches. Given the number of buildings we have in our Stake, this was determined to be the best course of action.

Could a ward be eliminated over disappearing members? Sure.
I mention what I have simply because I've unfortunately seen members (not saying you @priesthoodpower), perhaps not involved on the back end of things, regrettably espouse that it all must be a 'shrinking' numbers thing, when the contrary is actually true - it is a 'shifting' or 'increasing' numbers thing.

Edited by NeedleinA

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2 hours ago, priesthoodpower said:

Now instead of the individuals having a problem, the church has a problem....and not just LDS but all christian denominations are experiencing this.

FYI, the ward boundaries into which we moved 20 years ago, now holds like 8 wards in 2 different stakes.  True, much is due to population growth and new children born, but a lot of it is due to new member baptisms.

So it's not the best idea to take your (or my) experience and paint it too generally across a global church.  

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15 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Could a ward be eliminated over disappearing members? Sure.

I mention what I have simply because I've unfortunately seen members (not saying you @priesthoodpower), perhaps not involved on the back end of things, regrettably espouse that it all must be a 'shrinking' numbers thing, when the contrary is actually true - it is a 'shifting' or 'increasing' numbers thing.

And if it was... so what?

The whole purpose of the creation of the earth was to test each and every one of us to see if we will do all things.  If some people want to use others as a excuse to not follow the Lord.. well test complete then.

God is the perfect judge and he will absolutely will hold those accountable who chose to be offensive to others... However he will not accept "others offended me" as an acceptable reason for turning their back on him.

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2 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

And if it was... so what?

The whole purpose of the creation of the earth was to test each and every one of us to see if we will do all things.  If some people want to use others as a excuse to not follow the Lord.. well test complete then.

God is the perfect judge and he will absolutely will hold those accountable who chose to be offensive to others... However he will not accept "others offended me" as an acceptable reason for turning their back on him.

Agreed.

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Guest MormonGator
13 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

True, much is due to population growth and new children born, but a lot of it is due to new member baptisms.

I've heard that new member baptisms in the states are extremely low. My ward hasn't had any in two years. Your ward is different? 

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Guest Mores
9 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

On a more solemn note:  rejecting any aspiration to righteousness, is not an improvement over hypocrisy.  It just means we aren’t even bothering any more with trying to teach the rising generation to improve themselves.  It’s a (literally) damnable condition for any society to find themselves in.  

I particularly bristled at her mention of marrying later in life.  Yes, yes, I know all the exceptions and reasons and...  But what came to my mind was how many people I've personally known who are considered active Saints who are of marriageable age and situations, but decide they just don't want to be married.

It's as if they are simply ok with never getting married or having children.  It, unfortunately, strongly suggests that a great deal of them are deciding to ignore the law of chastity.  There are also a good number of them who openly talk about living with their significant other and still think they are temple worthy.

There is something seriously wrong with this.  I just can't fathom people who think like this.

At the same time we're supposed to keep loving them and accepting hem in our lives without judging and without criticisms because they are our brothers and sisters (some of them are biologically-mortally so).

I don't know if they have any clue what it takes from our end to be as "tolerant" of their behavior.  When we're talking about the general public or some strangers, it seems easier to just let it go.  But when it's that close to home, it's different.  They are people we care about that for social propriety, we're not allowed to warn them what spiritual peril they are in.

It seems so ironic that I really want to say something because I care so much about them.  But they would prefer that I not care so much.  Yet others are blamed for rejecting them because their families don't love them enough.

(Shakes head)

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6 minutes ago, Mores said:

I particularly bristled at her mention of marrying later in life

This is an example of the culture change we were talking about, I guess.  It's affecting the church-demographics do show that LDS are marrying later and having fewer children. 

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1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

I've heard that new member baptisms in the states are extremely low. My ward hasn't had any in two years. Your ward is different? 

It varies, but I don't think my ward has ever gone a year without at least one, usually several per year.  

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1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

I've heard that new member baptisms in the states are extremely low. My ward hasn't had any in two years. Your ward is different? 

I would wager most Utah wards have a baptism every 1-2 years. That’s been my experience at least. You can generally tell how many baptisms an area has based I. The amount of missions. Utah missions are supposedly among the highest baptizing missions in the western world.

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3 hours ago, MormonGator said:

I've heard that new member baptisms in the states are extremely low. My ward hasn't had any in two years. Your ward is different? 

I live outside of Utah.
At close of the year the units in our stake will average about 5 convert baptisms each.

Edited by NeedleinA

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8 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

I live outside of Utah.
At close of the year the units in our stake will average about 5 convert baptisms each.

 

9 hours ago, Fether said:

I would wager most Utah wards have a baptism every 1-2 years. That’s been my experience at least. You can generally tell how many baptisms an area has based I. The amount of missions. Utah missions are supposedly among the highest baptizing missions in the western world.

 

9 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

It varies, but I don't think my ward has ever gone a year without at least one, usually several per year.  

Thanks guys! 

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8 hours ago, unixknight said:

Good things to aspire to.

We enjoy comics at our home. Here is a glance at a new one that we look forward to seeing someday:

53822.jpg

53824.jpg

Edited by NeedleinA

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On 1/3/2020 at 9:49 PM, Fether said:

1) Joking about trying to avoid the bishop or trying to get out of a talk or calling.

Why would that be a joke?  It's serious business for most people.

On 1/3/2020 at 9:49 PM, Fether said:

2) Saying that it is acceptable that you are consistently 15 minutes late to 9 am church when you have kids (same family continues to be 15 minutes late to 11:30 am church when the time changes... speaking from personal experience)

So they're getting there ahead of a fifth of the ward, and actually showing up unlike three fifths.  What's wrong with that?

On 1/3/2020 at 9:49 PM, Fether said:

3) Focusing on exceptions and unique cases instead of principles of the gospel / leaving long disclaimers at the end of testimonies to prevent offending anyone. (ie "God wants all worthy able men to serve missions, but if you *insert 5 minute explanation as to why missions aren't for everyone*")

Maybe they're trying to counter the "if you were worthy, He would have made you able" attitude that's still way too prevalent.

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10 minutes ago, NightSG said:

Why would that be a joke?  It's serious business for most people.

But the point is that it is not appropriate in a sermon. It is not shameful to have weaknesses; we all have them. it's part of the mortal condition. But it is shameful to seek to justify our weaknesses, which is precisely the intent of waving them away with a joking attitude.

Quote

So they're getting there ahead of a fifth of the ward, and actually showing up unlike three fifths.  What's wrong with that?

This is an interesting point. On its face, it's perfectly valid, as I think we will all agree. But most of us also recognize that after taking Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, you should continue with Step 6. Being late is almost always better than being absent, but at some point we need to discipline ourselves to get there on time. It's one thing for the investigator or new parent or member coming back into activity to struggle with punctuality; it's another for the middle-aged Saint with a lifetime of Church service and activity behind him/her to continue being late to meetings and appointments simply because s/he doesn't discipline himself/herself enough to leave ten minutes earlier.

In last year's April General Conference, Elder Holland put it this way:

As for punctuality, a late pass will always be lovingly granted to those blessed mothers who, with children and Cheerios and diaper bags trailing in marvelous disarray, are lucky to have made it to church at all. Furthermore, there will be others who unavoidably find their ox in the mire on a Sabbath morning. However, to this latter group we say an occasional tardiness is understandable, but if the ox is in the mire every Sunday, then we strongly recommend that you sell the ox or fill the mire.

Quote

Maybe they're trying to counter the "if you were worthy, He would have made you able" attitude that's still way too prevalent.

I have not noticed this attitude as prevalent, but I take your word for it that it is prevalent in some areas. I would suggest that speaking the simple truth is a better cure to such overzealousness than a stream of apologetic softeners appended to everything we say.

Edited by Vort

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35 minutes ago, NightSG said:

Why would that be a joke?  It's serious business for most people.

It’s not, that is why I included it as a cultural thing that needs to stop.

 

35 minutes ago, NightSG said:

So they're getting there ahead of a fifth of the ward, and actually showing up unlike three fifths.  What's wrong with that?

I’m not making any serious accusations, just commenting on things I have noticed. anyone who is consistently 15 minutes late to 10:00 church will be 15 minutes late to 11:00 church despite the extra hour they have to get ready. Having kids isn’t really a great excuse for being late.

As I mentioned, I am not excluded in this. My wife and I recognized this about a year ago and corrected it. Despite having two young children, we start getting them ready early enough to be on time.

35 minutes ago, NightSG said:

Maybe they're trying to counter the "if you were worthy, He would have made you able" attitude that's still way too prevalent.

I’ve never actually seen this. 

Edited by Fether

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24 minutes ago, Scott said:

Here are some interesting stats on Church membership and trends, though I don't agree with many of their future predictions:

https://www.fullerconsideration.com/membership.php

The current numbers seem accurate though and match Church sources and others as well.

Hmm.  A website that says “Please tell us your new name and the date you received it”, projects ever-downward trends in all pertinent membership figures for the next forty years?

I’m shocked.  Shocked, I tell you!

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38 minutes ago, Scott said:

Here are some interesting stats on Church membership and trends, though I don't agree with many of their future predictions:

https://www.fullerconsideration.com/membership.php

The current numbers seem accurate though and match Church sources and others as well.

@Scott, spending time and effort on sites like the one you reference is harming your spiritual well-being. Please consider not frequenting such sites. Consider, too, that Clint Kimball decries bias and pretends to present only factual information, while his selection of information and the way he presents it evinces a very strong bias of his own. The man is not honest, and you put yourself in a spiritually precarious condition when you uncritically accept his site as being a valid source of unbiased information. It is nothing of the sort.

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9 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Hmm.  A website that says “Please tell us your new name and the date you received it”, projects ever-downward trends in all pertinent membership figures for the next forty years?

I’m shocked.  Shocked, I tell you!

The current figures seem legit and match those from our Church and sources such as the Cumorah Project.

I don't believe some of the future models though.  The one projecting missionaries is flawed for example.  The graph shows that missionary numbers are declining quickly and projects a similar decrease for the next several years.  The thing is that there was a huge spike in the number of missionaries when the age requirements were dropped to 18 (males) and 19 (females).   The drop did happen, but only because after the initial surge due to the age change, the numbers leveled off again to previous pre-surge levels.  There is no reason for the decline to drop sharply as the graph predicts.

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Guest Scott
14 minutes ago, Vort said:

@Scott, spending time and effort on sites like the one you reference is harming your spiritual well-being. Please consider not frequenting such sites. Consider, too, that Clint Kimball decries bias and pretends to present only factual information, while his selection of information and the way he presents it evinces a very strong bias of his own. The man is not honest, and you put yourself in a spiritually precarious condition when you uncritically accept his site as being a valid source of unbiased information. It is nothing of the sort.

Please excuse my ignorance, but this was the first time I have seen the site and the links about membership seemed to match the Church stats.  I do not spend time on that site and I'm having trouble posting the data from the Cumorah Project.

I can remove the link.  I didn't realize that the site was negative.  My apology.   My internet is so limited here (I'm in rural North Africa right now).

I saw only the graphs and at the time was unable to see the rest of the website.

Edited by Scott

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11 minutes ago, Scott said:

The current figures seem legit and match those from our Church and sources such as the Cumorah Project.

I don't believe some of the future models though.  The one projecting missionaries is flawed for example.  The graph shows that missionary numbers are declining quickly and projects a similar decrease for the next several years.  The thing is that there was a huge spike in the number of missionaries when the age requirements were dropped to 18 (males) and 19 (females).   The drop did happen, but only because after the initial surge due to the age change, the numbers leveled off again to previous pre-surge levels.  There is no reason for the decline to drop sharply as the graph predicts.

I have no beef with the historical data (I was going to ask why you didn’t just cite Cumorah, but then I saw your newest post).  I’m just reacting to your own expressed misgivings about the future projections by making snide comments about the motives of the projectionists. ;) 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I remember there being a website that was just a giant excel sheet with all of he church stats as reported during general conference. Any know where that is?

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Guest MormonGator
16 minutes ago, Vort said:

 It is nothing of the sort.

I’ve never heard of this particular site in my life, but my fear is that we are more likely to ignore any site that tells us something unpleasant or that we don’t want to hear. 

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15 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

I’ve never heard of this particular site in my life, but my fear is that we are more likely to ignore any site that tells us something unpleasant or that we don’t want to hear. 

That’s part of the human condition.  But this particular site is inviting the saints to disclose sacred information about themselves that is meant to be kept personal (patriarchal blessings) and/or that they are under explicit covenant not to disclose (temple names).

Basically, Clint Kimball is behaving like a trash human being.  Hopefully he stops.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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