Recovery Board  : RfM
Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum. 
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 02:16PM

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/01/05/utah-sees-latter-day/

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recorded its smallest membership growth in Utah in at least three decades this past year. And, in 2019, 14 of the state’s 29 counties saw the actual number of members decline."

"But a review by The Salt Lake Tribune, relying on the insights of demographers and close observers of the church, indicates that the membership stagnation is likely due to a rise in resignations among disaffected and largely inactive members and major demographic trends seen in Utah, such as families having fewer children and more people, many of whom are not Latter-day Saints, moving here for jobs."


"Here are some numbers that stand out:

The church added 4,909 members in Utah in 2019, while the state estimates Utah’s population grew by 53,000. That’s a church growth rate of 0.25%, the lowest since The Tribune has tracked this data. This marks only the second time that church rolls grew by less than 10,000. The first was 2018, when membership rose by 9,067.
Salt Lake County saw its Latter-day Saint membership decline by 6,710. The second-biggest drop was in Davis County, where membership decreased by 838. Utah County, home to church-owned Brigham Young University, saw the biggest numerical increase in members at 8,487, followed by Washington County at 2,441.
Utah is now 60.68% Latter-day Saint. This stat relies on state population estimates and could change after the official 2020 Census count."

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 04:02PM

The internet is killing LDS Inc. That's why they're spending so many resources in 3rd world countries that don't have access to factual info. They won't/can't pay much tithing, so the numbers added (and not counted when they never return) are to bolster their stats for their core revenue source. Which is tithers in Utah, Idaho, Arizona and a small portion of the rest of the US. All this Utah temple building in Utah (they're as common as post offices) is designed to create peer pressure so your neighbors know who is "temple worthy" to do temple work. I'd love to see a demographic breakdown of tithing dollars by State, Country and continent. They're not fooling anyone but their core members.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: nonmo_1 ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 08:34AM

"The internet is killing LDS Inc. That's why they're spending so many resources in 3rd world countries that don't have access to factual info."

I think Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk want to help change this too,,

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 04:35PM

Fascinating.

If it weren't for BYU, which brings in Mormons from the rest of the world, the Utah numbers would be in more substantial decline. So Utah is in trouble.

And if BYU accounts for much or all of the net growth, Utah is siphoning committed Mormons from the rest of the US and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the world. Zion is gathering to Utah, ironically out of weakness rather than strength.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer church.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 04:57PM

I think this may be why the church is stockpiling assets. Growth in North America and Europe has stalled, and other, poorer countries are unlikely to contribute much in the way of tithing anytime soon.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 05:24PM

I'm sure they've been stockpiling assets since at least the 1950s. That has nothing to do with recent slowdown in growth. It is just who they are.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 06:23PM

No, they are also cutting expenditures. How much more do they make by firing cleaners and having members be janitors? Or cutting expenditures for road shows, ward parties, lawn mowing, etc? They know tithing dollars are slowing. They're in protection mode.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 07:01PM

The amassing of resources dates to 1962-1963, doesn't it? Henry Moyle had pushed the church under his "build it and they will come" philosophy, first with baseball baptisms and then with huge construction programs. The result was the near bankruptcy of the church and the drafting of Nathan Tanner into the Q12 and the First Presidency.

I'll bet it was Tanner who set the investment strategy in motion.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 07:18PM

Yes, but with the notable slowing of growth here and in Europe, perhaps the stockpiling of assets has a new urgency. I'm wondering when the absurd amount of temple building in the Morridor will no longer be a net financial gain for the church.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 09:35PM

According to wikipedia, the initial plans for Deseret Ranch near Orlando, FL, were made in 1949, and the original purchase of 45,000 acres was in 1950. It was later expanded to 333,000 acres (520 square miles) [ETA: wikipedia reports it at 312,000 acres. Close enough].

There was a chapel built on the ranch back in the late 1950s (more or less) that was known locally as the Moyle Chapel. I was young, but I remember that because it seemed really odd to name a chapel after a person. That's why I remember to this day that that ranch was Henry D's brainchild. Don't remember if it was a branch or ward or what.

And of course there were a great many welfare farms in the intermountain west that date back to the 1930s if not before. I always suspected that part of the "two year's supply" was so that they could sell the welfare farm produce to the members (and have them grow and process the crop for free to boot), and then claim that the farm was a church program, so it should be tax exempt property. Even as a TBM kid, the welfare farms had a stench of scam to me.

And Ensign Peaks is not a new entity. It has been around for a very long time. [ETA: OK, not that long. EPA was incorporated in 1997. And I agree that serious asset accumulation probably got underway with Tanner]

And Beneficial Life was founded in 1905. LDS Inc has been amassing assets for a very long time.

My family was heavily involved in working with the SLC bureaucracy in building two chapels back east, one in the mid 50s, the other in the 70s. In both cases, the SLC folks were monumental pains in the butt penny pinchers.

They have been penny pinchers and amassing assets long before the growth slowdown of the last 30 years. Like I said - it is who they are. It is who the FLDS are. It is who JS and BY were. They are all of a kind.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/2020 09:47PM by Brother Of Jerry.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 10:45PM

I don't disagree. It is interesting, though, to note that the motives informing church investment have changed over time.

In the middle 19th century Mormons were trying to build an independent kingdom with its own economy. At first that was to support a theocratic state in the West--an antecedent, if you will, tofhe Stalinist policies of Eastern Europe--but then as the Union asserted its authority the focus shifted more specifically to preparing for the end of the world. ZCMI was among the last of the biggest autarkic endeavors to end.

There were a couple of hiccups along the way, like when the church almost went bankrupt and had to institute mandatory tithing; and again when the faithful but naive Moyle almost ruined the church. Up until then, and for a couple or three decades longer, most of the investment was in real estate or other empire-building efforts, many with at least a colorable claim to eschatological justification, rather than pure financial speculation.

But by the 1990s the church had given up the pretenses and was investing increasingly like a financial institution. There is no end-of-the world rationale for a $100 billion portfolio of paper assets. My guess is that this is the first period in which the church has employed conventional money managers, which is an overt indication that the Q15 have abandoned JS's belief in an imminent apocalypse, on a massive scale.

In short, Ensign Peak proves that the apostles and prophets have abandoned Mormonism.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 04:04PM

"In short, Ensign Peak proves that the apostles and prophets have abandoned Mormonism."

Agreed. City Creek Center is another affirmation that they are expecting no imminent apocalypse. Ditto 4 year Temple Square upgrade.

I do think they are trying to be the richest NGO on the planet, and they are certainly in the running for that designation, if you take a long enough timeline. They can easily lap the Harvard Endowment a couple times, no small feat.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 04:22PM

The irony is that while the investment portfolio indicates that the church no longer believes in an imminent Second Coming, it is not structured appropriately for a long-term institution.

Mohammed El-Erian's insight, the one that took him to the top of the world, was that investors with long-term liabilities should match that duration with long-term assets. In other words, pension funds and university endowments should have the bulk of their money in alternative assets like private equity, venture capital, and real estate. The church has tons of real estate exposure outside of the Ensign Peak fund, so its emphasis within that fund should be on private equity, etc.

But PE only represents about a tenth of Ensign Peak's assets. The rest are basically what investment advisors would recommend for a middle-aged man or woman looking at retirement in 10 years and death in 25.

So the existence of Ensign Peak indicates that the church leaders don't believe in an imminent Second Coming but the portfolio composition shows that they lack the courage to invest like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, CALPers, Ontario Teachers, or other entities seeking to maximize returns over the long run. It follows that the church will earn 7 or so percent on its portfolio while more rational long-term institutions will earn three times as much.

The Q15 are as financially conservative as they are cynical regarding Mormon doctrine.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 10:48PM

> They have been penny pinchers and amassing assets
> long before the growth slowdown of the last 30
> years. Like I said - it is who they are. It is who
> the FLDS are. It is who JS and BY were. They are
> all of a kind.

In reply to this edit, I think you can distinguish the asset-building campaign of recent decades from what JS and BY did. Those two were motivated by a desire for personal enrichment; they felt free to help themselves to the tithing coffers, including at least one slave and a cow. I consider that period of asset accumulation comparable to what has been going on during the 20th or 21st centuries, when the focus was on amassing church resources as opposed to personal ones.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 06:33PM

Drip, drip, drip ...

when is the church appropriately deemed stagnant???

Options: ReplyQuote
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In


Screen Name: 
Your Email (optional): 
Subject: 
Spam prevention:
Please, enter the code that you see below in the input field. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically.
 **     **   ******   **     **  **     **  ******** 
  **   **   **    **  **     **   **   **   **       
   ** **    **        **     **    ** **    **       
    ***     **        **     **     ***     ******   
   ** **    **         **   **     ** **    **       
  **   **   **    **    ** **     **   **   **       
 **     **   ******      ***     **     **  ********