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Posted by: SEcular Priest ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 02:07PM

I spent the last 4 months in the USA and travelled a lot for work and vacation with friends. Just came back from a week in Toronto where I grew up. So I was in east and west coast USA as well as Houston area. These are my observations from just attending Sacrament meetings in different locations.

The soul of the Church seems to be missing. Talks and testimonies seem to be shallow. It might be covid. The Church seems to be like other Christian Churches here in Canada. Just a bunch of old people. From talking and listening this is what I observed. Every place I attended the ward and branches had been recently down sized as well as three different stakes doing the same thing. As I observed members they seemed like zombies' going through the motions. They love Dusty. But they just seem to lack the energy I saw growing up in the Church in Canada. Visited my old ward two weeks ago in Canada and same thing. Soul is gone. People going through motions because that is what they grew up with and do not know anything else. Do not see any real new families and young people seem to have disappeared. Talks lack the spirit of truth and convictions.

The ward I am in right now has been divided 3 times in 3 years and boundaries changed and that is not because of convert baptisms. Rusty should be proud of his Church today. Never heard any stories in my travel of Priesthood healings in time of covid. Older members seldom bore their testimonies. Those that do bear their testimonies just talk about warm fizzy feelings, etc. they have with no real depth.

BUT the Church is growing. I heard, "Look at the temples the church is building." The missionary program is a success because missionaries are on line talking to people. But they are not bringing people to Church and those missionaries I talked to in my 4 months of travel seem bored out of their minds. They look like they need to be in school getting an education. I learned the Church bumped up payment the missionaries pay from $400 to $500 per month but everywhere I went the expectation is members are to feed them lunch and dinner. Young people activities seem to be about service and not fun stuff like I did growing up in the Church.

The question I asked myself after my summer travels was this. "Would I join the Church today if I was investigating?" My answer is "no." There is no substance.


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Posted by: cricket ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 02:18PM

and you deserve an exmo version of the Duty To God Award for even setting foot inside a chapel or attending church meetings so I don't have to. LOL

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Posted by: cheezus ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 05:16PM

That is pretty funny...the idea of exmo achievement awards.

The "Call of Duty to God" award.

How were the Texas wards? What vicinity of the Houston area are you visiting? Any other things of note in other wards in your 4 month tour?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 02:35PM

Thanks for the information. It’s good to get a contemporaneous read on things.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:08PM

Thanks for the report. I’ve only been to a few funerals, and hard to get a feel for the church in general from a funeral. I did get the sense that there was not a lot of enthusiasm.

With lessons tightly restricted to “safe” topics, and talks limited to basically quoting FP talks, or quoting other GAs quoting FP talks, I can’t imagine how it could be anything other than boring.

And now everyone knows the healing power of the priesthood is a joke.

Somehow, I don’t think playing Temple Dress Up is really going to keep people engaged.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:16PM

The church moral is way down from where it was in the 70’s. But the church no longer has road shows, creative fundraisers, gold and green balls, church sports teams, church fairs and ward camp outs.

Now it’s pay the corporation, do your calling, making sure you aren’t violating some church policy, parrot the last general conference talks and feeling the world hates you due to the out of touch and out of date church leadership and their unpopular policies still stuck in the 19th century.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:26PM

The current church really is about building more temples, pointing to Africa as missionary success and BYU. That’s it.

What the church has been good at is making money. So they spend money on BYU and temples to shore the image up.

The problem the church is running into is changing social norms which is LGBTQ mostly and a stock market crash will erase much of the church’s wealth.

They can afford to build these temples because the markets are o er valued and they are cashing in and putting some of the gains into temples. But the markets and real estate are all overvalued. Real estate was driven by the baby boom. An aging society does not create a second wave of wealth.

So what we are seeing now is the church popping it’s load with temple building. It’s the money shot to impress the members.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 12:24PM

    "The Community of Church"
     "The Community of Cash"

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:20PM

Having members provide most of the missionaries’ meals probably kills three birds with one stone.

It makes the members feel involved in the missionary program and generates a warm fuzzy just by making the missionaries lives a little brighter.

Plus the church can reduce the missionaries’ allowance for food.

Third, if the missionaries are bored witless, as seems to be the case, two meals a day at members homes can easily chew up four hours or more.

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Posted by: Humberto ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:28PM

I was in Toronto in the early 90s. I remember thinking that it would be a great place to be, if I weren't restricted by all the mission rules.

I haven't been back, but have recently been thinking of going for a visit. Just by myself... no one else would be interested in where I'd want to wander.

Did you go to the Ossington chapel? I haven't been to church in many, many years, but if I went to Toronto, I'd pay a visit to the Spanish ward there, just for nostalgia's sake.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:29PM

SEcular Priest Wrote:
I learned the Church
> bumped up payment the missionaries pay from $400
> to $500 per month but everywhere I went the
> expectation is members are to feed them lunch and
> dinner.

I think what you meant to say is that ChurchCo expects parents & others to increase mish stipend; ChurchCo itself doesn't support missionaries!

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 03:29PM

When I was young we used to remark how boring the Catholic masses were as we were always comparing ourselves to the Catholic church and always coming out on top, haha. All the Latin and you didn't even know what they were saying. Repeating the rosary over and over. The silly robes. All the empty rituals and we laughed at the idea of confession.

Now it seems the Mormons have changed places with them. At least with the Catholics the confession was optional.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 05:05PM

had stopped going, but she still does, off up there in Alaska.

When I was in young womens in the late 1980s, they wouldn't let us do anything fun with the kids, but I did anyway. The girls used to complain about what we had to do and it was weekly. We were supposed to base all our weeknight "activities" to goals in their "personal progress" books, which we didn't have when I was first called to the job as the church had stopped the old program and hadn't finished the new program. I got in trouble a few times for having fun activities for the girls and so asked to be released. One of the snotty girls mentioned loud enough for me to hear that now maybe they could have some fun. And later she came to me and told me how much she wished I was their leader again, as did many of the other 23 girls I had in Beehives.

I always thought while doing this job that if they want to keep the kids in the church, you have to do things with them that build a relationship with the girls and not just be a boss to them. Even if many of the girls have now moved away, there are some who still get in touch with me even if I'm a sinner. Some of them have left the church, too. In fact, the 2 sisters who babysat for me and were the bishop's daughters have left the church.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 05:06PM

(While slowly making/doing a priestly sign of the cross, and using a solemn, deep voice)

“I can play dominos better than you can play dominos. Amen…”

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Posted by: Kentish ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 06:14PM

Where in Toronto did you go to church? I lived there in the late 60s and attended the 3rd ward.

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Posted by: SEcular Priest ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 08:22PM

Grew up in Ossington and them went to Stake center in Etobicoke when it was built. Left about 1975

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Posted by: Mo.Mo.Mo. ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 06:51PM

The Church in 2021 no longer pushes that it's the ONE TRUE CHURCH as we have been told forever. I am not really active in Church but in the day I had been to Church all over the world.

As work made me travel a lot, I was able to not attend my ward regularly and that was a good excuse I guess. I married a non-member who was supportive and even came to Church sometimes and I baptised her parents when they joined the Church. She never joined but I did bless and baptise our son.

I'd go to Church and people gave testimonies that were not stories about their dog, or their neighbor or things which have nothing to do with the veracity of the Church.

I have been to Church on zoom (invited by friends) and a couple of times in person since Covid hit and I could go.

It's hollow. There's no warm, fuzzy feeling anymore. I agree, it felt like I was with a bunch of zombies. The Church leaders hang out with popes and priests and pastors and laugh and joke with them and attending interfaith meetings with them. If you are the ONE TRUE Church wouldn't you be at these conferences preaching the TRUE Gospel?

And years ago there was the I AM MORMON campaign and Nelson says that if we use the name Mormon, Jesus is offended? I guess back a decade ago, Jesus didn't offend so easily?

I have a friend who is a Bishop and there are so few active priesthood holders that his 1st counselor is gay. It's not talked about but he knows it and he said that he's a good man. Even the stake approved but I guess Salt Lake City doesn't know about it.....or maybe they do? In the case of not enough people, they will call a gay member to a position of authority?

A gay counselor in a Bishopric? Heads would explode. The Church is imploding. I attend now and again to keep up to what's going on. The three hours now are 2 hours, shorter missions, I want to know what's going on so that I have something to talk to the few LDS friends I still have.

I won't say which wards in Toronto I attended, but I have been to the Ossington chapel more than once and they did have a nice Spanish ward. Been years since I have been to that city....

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: September 04, 2021 06:59PM

I once had a gay bishop. Gay as a goose, he was. He finally talked into marriage in his 50's after his mother passed away; after that he became bishop. In spite of any faults that people talked or even laughed about, he was just was a kind, decent individual. I've never had such an empathetic guy as a bishop, which is very likely the thing we most want in a bishop.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 07:38PM

He truly was one of the nicest people I've ever met. He was married and had 8 kids. I'm sure he was gay and he was a bishop. They divided our ward and so we didn't get to have him as the bishop, but he gave the talk at my grandmother's funeral.

I know of many gays who have been in bishoprics, but people don't know about it.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 08:24PM

cl2notloggedin Wrote:
> I know of many gays who have been in bishoprics,
> but people don't know about it.

That's totally true--both points.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 11:03AM

I recently moved into a different ward. do to my housing arrangements I still find it in my best interest to appear to be interested in church.
I found the reception in the new ward to be luke-warm at best and mostly cold shoulder.
I intent to attend only to the extent that it benefits my situation but if it were possible I would stop completely

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Posted by: lapsed2 ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 01:26PM

“Shorter missions”…wait…what?

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 01:35PM

Before the LTM and then the MTC, you learned your language "in-country", and they figured you weren't much your first year, so in 'hard language' countries, you were called to a three-year mission.

At the LTM, your time there did not count against the two-year mission. I "served" 27 months, and that was with a one-month early release to get into the Y. My SLC Mission Home companion served 28 months because we had a one-month visa delay; he stayed the full 24 months in-country.

My grandson was out 24 months, including his time at the MTC; I assume, but don't know, that the standard stay at the MTC is shorter than three months.

Apparently ghawd is no longer all that hard-core.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 01:58PM

I had a companion who requested to continue serving beyond his 24 month commitment. It was pretty common to get a one month extension. He managed to stay an extra 3 months, and he even requested to stay a 4 month, but SLC turned it down. The Mission President personally called him to get into his head that he had to return home; there would be no more extensions.

Sadly, he returned to the Las Vegas area. He was called as a stake missionary (he wrote me a letter about it) then ended up in the hospital. He passed away from pancreatic cancer within 2 weeks leaving the mission.

It was common for those learning a language to stay at the MTC for 8-9 weeks. Those serving a mission in their native language stayed at the MTC for 3 weeks. It was depressing to be stuck at the MTC for 2 months.

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Posted by: Tiger ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 03:31AM

I have to say my experience matches yours here in the UK.

The stake I grew up in virtually all the youth I knew have now left the Church.

The ward where I am now is becoming like any other Christian denomination Church, that is with an aged congregation. The young families are dropping like flies. Just a few diehards left.

Talks have changed a lot. Back in the day people used to explain prince's and use scriptures in their talks. Now the just parrot gen con talks. All the lessons are just gen con talks now.

Convert baptisms rarely stick long term and most are people who you would class as vulnerable with some mental health or social issues.

The Church in the UK like many other Churches here is going to struggle in 20 years when the current crop of 60+ members who are the diehard group are on their way out and there are few people left to replace them.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 12:58AM

I recently shared that my former home ward had a hard time finding a person who would ACCEPT the calling of bishop. Nobody wants it. The recommended people who were wanted by the stake, turned down the calling; something that you were NEVER supposed to do.

So the ward is stuck with a bishop who has a "faith crisis" wife and none of the children regularly attend (one is unbaptized). Hardly the Mormon image that the church wants to project as PERFECT families is what the church demands.

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Posted by: cricket ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 01:52PM

has hit the wall and that desperation descends upon Deseret!

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 06, 2021 02:18PM

I was coming of age when the church began to curtail the social activities. I realized then that some people would lose interest in attending despite what the current apostles were declaring that members were supposed to be attending because of their covenants and so called testimonies. I think one apostle boldly declared that the church wasn't about entertaining the members.

The lack of church activities hurt missionaries who found "interested" investigators, but were turned off by the lack of community and activities. This was well before the internet would reveal the deception and fraud perpetuated by the church on its claims about the First vision and the BoM.

The church also hurt the youth (in my ward at least) by dishing out heavy handed discipline. Whether they were disfellowshipped or exed, they weren't coming back, EVER!

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