Subject: Internet Apostasy hits Australia and New Zealand
Date: Feb 18, 2008
Author: Simon in Oz

Hi Folks,

I know there are several on the board that think the LDS Church is coated in Teflon® and will continue to roll on largely unaffected by the Internet…but I cannot agree with that view from my perspective down here in Australia. Besides, I love it when facts get in the way of a good story.

The LDS church in Australia and New Zealand has made an excellent start at entering a phase of apostasy unprecedented in this part of the world. The church Downunder has always grown at respectable rates since the 60s.

The following facts were taken from, a website run by TBMs.

There are currently around 285 LDS congregations (wards and branches) in Australia. When I left the church 10 years ago the church was consistently adding around 10 congregations per year. During ALL of the last 8 years the church has added just THREE congregations. That is at least 77 congregations short of where they expected to be back in 1998 if growth had remained constant.

It is worse in New Zealand. There are around 200 congregations in NZ. Back in the late 1990s the church was consistently adding around 8 units a year. In the last 8 years, the church has not added a single unit on balance. In fact it has lost 16 units, or 2 per year.

I don't think there has been a big drop in baptism rates in Australia. They have never been spectacular. The problem is retention of not only recent converts but people who have grown up in the church. People who have left recently have said that there is a big push to retain members and reach out to the less active

There is no doubt in my mind that the single most potent factor contributing to this apostasy is widespread access to the Internet. The abrupt stop in church growth comes immediately after the exponential rise in Internet access in Australia and NZ households.

The Internet Apostasy is happening Downunder.


Subject: It's great to hear, but it's not happening fast enough for my liking.
Date: Feb 18 21:36
Author: Just wondering 1
Mail Address:  

Though sitting in the meeting last Sunday I noticed the lack of teenagers and twenty - forty year olds in the church. The congregation was heavily 50+ years.

Hopefully there won't be the demographics following the older group through to fill the ranks......


Subject: Is OZ a leading indicator?
Date: Feb 19 13:30
Author: 3X

I think the Web is helping to bring the church to a tipping-point in the developed countries: stagnation awaits, it is inevitable, and it is permanent (barring some enormous physical/social cataclysm).

The church will last for quite some time, but it will not thrive.


Subject: Re: Is OZ a leading indicator?
Date: Feb 19 16:37
Author: Simon in Oz

I think the church is much more vulnerable in developed countries outside of the US for several reasons.

1. Outside of the US, extended families include a much higher proportion of non-Mormons. If you leave you generally have company and you don’t stick out.

2. Non-US members have many more non-Mormon friends who frequently know damaging information about the church (thank you Internet). These friends are increasingly well armed with hard questions and have few taboos about asking them.

3. Non-US members almost always work in an environment dominated by or 100% non-LDS. If you leave the church your career will be largely unaffected.

4. Most non-US Mormons don’t have the “handcart pioneer” or “5th generation” baggage. They are either converts themselves or the children of converts. Many of the messages from the leaders appeal to these sensibilities but to most outside the US they fall on relatively deaf ears. That’s your history, not ours.

5. The church doesn’t get the favorable Press treatment that it gets in the US. ALL serious radio interviewers in Australia know a lot about Mormonism and view it as a cult. The interviewers who head up the religious programs are almost invariably atheists.

On balance all this increases the odds that someone will hear damaging information, not feel so guilty about considering it or about leaving the church, and they will have a softer landing on departure.


Subject: No favorable press in U.S. ......just "Freedom of Religion" - 1st Amendment
Date: Feb 19 16:44
Author: dja

Utah still #1 in Prescription Drug Abuse esp. Prozac
........since 1897.

They get high marks for Mortgage Fraud and Suicide, as well.

The internet now expedites this information.


Subject: Re: Is OZ a leading indicator?
Date: Feb 19 17:35
Author: 3X

Informative insights.

But, extra-US church contraction still exerts pressure on the "home world". All is not well in Mormondom, and that knowledge will erode the confidence of the leadership and slowly* seep into the general membership.

I'm going to stick with my stagnation prediction: tipping point within ten years (meaning overall negative membership growth), at least in the developed countries. I have no feel for how things will play out in the 3'rd world.

* It is quite apparent that even with credible info to the contrary, many members still today believe that church growth is accelerating. But their naiveté must eventually succumb ...


Subject: Re: Internet Apostasy hits Australia and New Zealand
Date: Feb 18 21:44
Author: Danna

Fantastic to see some stats.

From experience (NZ), I think increased exposure to things mormon in the media has set people googling as well. Most of my family have been online for 8-10 years, but no one really got interested till they understood that there was information available. Big Love has certainly increased the understanding that Utah mormonism is way different to the experience here. We are halfway through the second season, and there have been some interesting reviews in the Dom Post and Herald (national daily paper)

In a funny kind of way, the Ensign article on MMM last year gave my Mum 'permission' to investigate the dodgy history. Then the re-wording of the BOM intro and the DNA issue also aroused interest. I have not been to church for years, but I understand that there have been a number of 'lessons' or discussions on the DNA problem - it is a really big issue for some Maori members, even those who were insisting they were Nephites. Mum has a head full of pretzels, but would make a FAIR apologist proud - she accepts everything said there as gospel and interprets for other members - spending quite a bit of time on it. If she is spending so much time researching apologetics, she must be taking quite a few questions that the women are not asking the priesthood about.


Subject: Maori and DNA and women handling apologetics
Date: Feb 18 22:25
Author: Simon in Oz


I hadn't stopped to think why New Zealand would be worse (better) than Australia. But of course the DNA issue would hit Polynesians really hard, particularly those convinced they were descended from Nephi.

A few years ago I was thinking this might have been a minor speed bump for the church. But 8 years of stagnation and backsliding is evidence of a major ground shift occurring.

And the more women who get involved in reading and discussing apologetics the better. Men are highly trained through many more leadership meetings to hold back on their questioning. They are also more one-tracked, dealing with one thing at a time. I think women are better at calling a spade a spade because they are more inclined to weigh all the arguments. Just my own theory but would be interested in what others think.


Subject: my 2cents
Date: Feb 19 00:20
Author: PO

You are right Simon, the internet has made a huge impact even my exTBM wife has been a browser (still at church though) which is kool. The dwindling numbers in NZ may be in part caused by the migration of large numbers of polynesians coming to Australia via NZ. I know the polynesian wards in Brizvegas used to be huge, now they are integrated, although I did here of an apostate Ward starting at the Kingston Butter Factory because some of our polynesian brothers were disgruntled at the axing of the native speaking wards. Years ago when I left I didn't hear a peek out of many of the less active members. Now it seems as though they have become more vocal and out spoken and with a little training, great


Subject: It's good to know my 18 months of missionary service...
Date: Feb 18 21:47
Author: Ohio Exmo

...were totally ineffective. This does not surprise me at all. Living in NZ for a year and a half was a real blessing. Too bad I couldn't fully enjoy it.

When I served 22 years ago (yikes!), I was pretty sure not one of the converts I taught (couldn't baptize, being a woman and all)was still active by the time I left the country.


Subject: I think a chart showing the number of members per congregation ...
Date: Feb 18 23:19
Author: Watcher

...would be very interesting. Especially as the numbers have increased dramatically over the years. At first you might think that the more members per congregation, then the better for the church -- but it's just the opposite.

Over time, more members per unit means there is greater INACTIVITY year-by-year. In a ward with high activity there physically isn't room for much more growth. With low activity however, there's plenty of room for growth before greating another ward/branch.

The church publishes its official figures for both Units and members.


Subject: There was a NZ census in 2006
Date: Feb 19 14:29
Author: oceania

It showed that the numbers of mormons had increased slightly faster than the rate of population growth. I guess that is probably because of the larger mormon birthrate rather than people joining.

It will be interesting to see the next census figures- apparently lots of maori and pacific NZers (the bulk of the membership in NZ is maori or pacific) have moved to Oz over the last year or two so the numbers may turn negative in the not too distant future.


Subject: Good to hear. Share the Links. Stay connected. Links:
Date: Feb 19 16:07
Author: dja

Blood Oath of Vengeance

False History

De-Programming videos -



Subject: My son went to an activity the other week
Date: Feb 19 17:12
Author: Jenny

He said it was so weird cause there were only Maoris as far as the eye could see. (probably other islanders as well) So that means the Australian numbers have dropped heaps as well because of all the New Zealanders moving over here that keep our numbers from dropping. In my whole 42 years in the church I can only recall seeing 1 family join the church.

I always felt guilty for not converting my non member friends. I'm so glad I never tried.



Subject: Re: My son went to an activity the other week
Date: Feb 19 22:53
Author: PO

Hi Jenny I dropped my 14 year old daughter at a stake dance and yes the colour was definately polynesian. I'm maori and I thought the clock had been turned back about 20 years and I was going into Mt Roskill Stake Dance at Pah Road instead of Logan Stake at Karawatha QLD.....


Subject: You have to wonder about NZ
Date: Feb 19 18:54
Author: No name for now

At the risk of revealing too much IRL info ...

I had to really wonder about the state of the LDS church in NZ when I heard my BIL had been made a bishop. He is 29 and from Utah. Of course, many people think that being from Utah makes you an automatic expert on all things church, but he still seems pretty young to me. I also wonder how many New Zealanders would want an American as their bishop. Aren't there any New Zealanders available to take on the job? Or, are they too smart to accept?


Subject: I can answer a few queries about NZ...
Date: Feb 19 21:05
Author: Danna

Oceania, your link was interesting, but the figures quoted are by no means the whole story - just raw census figures. On the face of it, one would assume that TSCC is growing in NZ. But that is not the case. I have done a bit of digging around this morning. All information below is from 2006 census data (2001 and 2006), 2007 Demographic trends (all available on NZ Govt website); and media release data. I have done some post-grad demographics, but am by no means a real demographer – comments would be welcome.

First of all, TSCC claims over 91,000 members in NZ. Self reported data from the census places TSCC membership at 43,539. Ouch. There about 400 missionaries in country including about 100 kiwis. A further 100-odd kiwis are ‘serving’ overseas. As the % of 18&19 year-old males is about 1.5% of the NZ population, the 200 kiwi mishies represent less than 1/3 of the eligible self identified LDS males.

Self identified LDS membership increased 1.4% more (between 2001 and 2006 census) than the general population (which increased 290,670 to 4,027,947). Looking at the stats broken down by ethnicity and expected birth-rates, the LDS population has increased at a much LOWER rate than would be expected. NZEuro* women have 1.8 children on average, Maori women have 2.7 children, and Pacific women about 2.9 children. From self identified religion stats in the 2006 census, only ¼ of LDS were NZEuro, about 40% Maori, and 1/3 Pacific (national figures are 72%, 14% and 6%). The most conservative estimate would expect 25% more LDS births than average. By estimating 2006 LDS based on ethnic natural increase (not considering missionary activity or the LDS propensity to have more children regardless of ethnicity), and inward and outward migration the same as the general population, one would expect total LDS membership of 46,899 in 2006. So there are 3360 members missing from TSCC in NZ as at 2006 – about 7.8%. And that does not consider any expected growth due to missionary activity (remember the 400 poor sods tracting around the country)

There have been small increases in some expected LDS subgroup numbers due to either an increased LDS birthrate or missionary work: the LDS Pacific Island population has increased 5.6% more than the NZ Pacific Island population and the NZEuropean LDS increased 2.1% over the general NZEuro population.

BUT, LDS Maori increase is 4.3% UNDER the general Maori population increase. There is no reason to expect more LDS Maori to leave the country (it is the opposite in my family – many of the young non-member Maori spend a few years in the mines in WA). LDS Maori increased by only 654 over 5 years from 21096 in 2001 to 21750 in 2006. Not only are LDS Maori leaving the church, they are leaving at a far greater rate than non-Maori. I personally believe that the greater apostasy rates reflect the impact of the DNA issue – descent from Lehi was a huge source of pride to many (my little brother Lehi is living proof of that) and now the bubble has burst. In addition to the studies of Native Americans which have impacted on TSCC generally, over the past decade or so we have seen media reports and documentaries showing how Maori DNA tracks back to Asia through the Native Taiwanese. Our xenophobic Foreign Minister made a deal of pointing out how his forebears came from China! (he was defending charges of racism against Asian immigrants).

There are two other main demographics in our census data. We have seen considerable Asian immigration over the past few years and LDS Asian growth is lagging behind – at 26.2% lower but numbers are too few to play with, and it would be unreasonable to expect Asian immigrants to be LDS. Oddly enough, the last demographic MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African – no, this grouping makes no sense to me either) is also increasing due to immigration and a disproportionate number ARE LDS. How odd. But the total numbers are so low (141 MELAA LDS in 2006) that they do not have any real effect on totals.

I hope I have not turned too many people off with the numbers.

Cheers, Danna

(*NZEuro is those person identifying themselves as European or ‘New Zealander’ or ‘other’ (for example Pakeha). So many mainly ‘Europeans’ were refusing to self-identify as such and ending up in the ‘other’ category, that the last census included the new category ‘New Zealander’. For continuity between census periods, and to be conservative when looking at LDS figures, it makes sense to combine these categories.)


Subject: The Maori are descended from...
Date: Feb 19 21:37
Author: John the Blabtist

... Taiwanese women and New Guinea men. This has been known for quite some time, except by Mormons who prefer not to know anything.



Subject: the internet was my vehicle out...
Date: Feb 19 22:17
Author: overcoming

while online after a meeting with my Bishop, I was so upset, I went online to look for others "angry with Mormonism" and found this site.

I got my letter 31 days later.

I just posted this at Yahoo Answers:


Subject: Re: Internet Apostasy hits Australia and New Zealand
Date: Feb 20 00:26
Author: whoever

Being an Australian and being aware of what's going on in the world you just can't equate Australian mentality with such as you find in America.
Australians are very much more independent minded than Yanks,we don't have nearly as much religion hanging off us, we tend to be far more tolerant of others views.
Americans tend to get into that flag waving, mass minded thing be it religious or national, here it's not the same, we don't worship the flag, our religions and all that other stuff.
It's a hard place for Mormon fanaticism to really take roots.
It's just not in the Australian make up...especially as we progress in time and become a more multi-cultural society.
Look at Howard the previous Prime Minister how he was dragging us towards the American system. Not long ago he was absolutely decimated and tossed out like a smelly lump of meat because of it.
Australians just aren't Americans and that's that!


Subject: Re: Internet Apostasy hits Australia and New Zealand
Date: Feb 20 01:34
Author: Frontal Lobotomy

I think in some vague way I feel insulted. :-)

That's good to hear, though. My DW and I have often kicked around emmigrating to a more tolerant country. We have a lot of freedom here, but you wouldn't know it with the way christianity surrounds the mentality of day to day life. Everything seems to be about reclaiming the country for Jesus, etc.

I'll stop now before it becomes an off topic rant . . .


Subject: Re: Internet Apostasy hits Australia and New Zealand
Date: Feb 20 03:47
Author: Kirikiriroa (former Bishop)

LDS Church definitely on way-down in NZ. The Church College of NZ at Temple View (where NZ Temple located) closes its doors during 2009, after 51 years of existence. Such closure will have far reaching effects. It amazes me that Church leaders in NZ don't realize this. More and more church members in NZ are now inclined to question church doctrine, practices, and history. I am a former Bishop and am now aware of many other church members in NZ who no longer follow like sheep, but are thinking for themselves. Though church attendance is still strong on Sundays, belief isn't. More and more shop on Sundays, after church, attend at restaurants, watch and play sports, and enjoy recreational activities such as going to the beach. The LDS curtain is parting and people are beginning to see with their own eyes, rather than through the eyes of church authorities.


Subject: Kia ora Kirikiriroa. Another kiwi former Bishop here... (great dna video link)...
Date: Feb 20 04:10
Author: FreeMind

Good to see other former Bishops lurking this board. My questions began after I saw a TV NZ documentary about the Maori DNA links to Taiwan and everything sort of snowballed from there. Here's the link:

By the way, thanks Danna for that demographic info. It was spot on. I posted recently on the site about the self-identified NZ LDS as per the 2006 census versus 2006 official NZ LDS records, and actually underestimated the magnitude of the decline. Prior to the 2006 census Bishops and Branch Presidents were instructed to tell members to correctly complete the census forms as it pertained to their religious affiliation. Obviously, many people were not paying attention.


Subject: Re: Kia ora Kirikiriroa. Another kiwi former Bishop here... (great dna video link)...
Date: Feb 20 05:05
Author: Danna

Excellent video. Adele and I were mates in the Maori Science mentoring scheme at Vic and graduated at Te Herenga Waka Marae together. As I recall she was working with rat DNA as well to trace the origins of the kiore - it was from French Poly, the theory then was that Maori took at bit of a dog-leg route from Taiwan to NZ, splitting off from the groups that went on to Hawaii.

The DNA issue - Maori origins and Native American origins were pretty much the start of my realising that not only was there a lack of evidence for TSCC, but also evidence against. Believing is now not a matter of faith in the unknown, it is flat out believing in something that has been proven false. We have come a long way since the Contiki voyage made American origins seem so real.

Great to see kiwi ex-Bishops here! I will have to work on getting rid of my programmed fear response.


Subject: I didn't realize how many Aussies and Kiwis use this site
Date: Feb 20 04:19
Author: s1747302

I'm from Brizvegas myself. Born into the church, quit two and half years after my mission. I would never have dreamed about leaving it two years ago but yeah...but then all of a sudden instead of telling myself to have more faith, I actually looked into things and I was so glad I did.

I just thought it was interesting to see people talking about Karawatha chapel. I remember going to a YSA fireside there where Dallan H Oaks by satellite told all the YSA who weren't married to hurry up and find someone and get married.

I introduced one of my friends to another, five weeks later they got engaged, then five years after that they got married.

Its nice to hear people in Brizvegas that understand my situation.


Subject: Hi! I'm another Aussie "apostate"
Date: Feb 20 05:27
Author: Recovered Brainwashed Morgbot
Mail Address:  

I too am an Aussie from Brisvegas. And I'm also pleased that there's so many of us making use of this great site. If I had known about this site a few years ago, I am sure I would have researched the morg [Mormon Church] further and I'm also sure I would never have joined such a silly cult.


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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