Brother Of Jerry
Date: April 20, 2023 11:06PM
First of all, a fact which I point out often here, about 2/3rds of baptized Mormons have already either left or died, since the number of participating Mormons is about a third of what LDS Inc claims its membership to be.
Mormonism is a high-churn religion. Lots of newbies coming in by birth or baptism, lots of "members" leaving.
If you happen to have TBM relatives/family members who you are sure will never ever leave, no matter what happens that makes the Church look bad, you may well be right, but you may also get a surprise. How many people were surprised when you left?
But even if Aunt Lureen doesn't ever leave, if any of her children (or their children) leave, that is not just one person, it is an entire branch of the future family, and with the steady drip drip drip of scandal, a certain number of shelves finally break with each new drip. And the drips never stop.
The evidence for my claim? Look at the net increase in stakes and districts over the last decade or so.
Year Net increase in stakes and districts
2023 6 through March 2023
The data is pretty erratic, but if you do a 3 year running average, the trend is definitely downward.
2020 and 2021 were covid years, so you would expect lean growth in those years, and 2022 you would expect a rebound of stake creation that was deferred in the previous two years. That did not happen.
And 2023 is not looking any better.
Note that a new stake creation does not mean that the Church actually grew by that amount. Especially in new towns or subdivisions in the Intermountain West, stakes get created to accommodate the new move-ins to the area, but these are almost totally people that moved out of some other stake, which shrank a bit, but the stake probably was not discontinued, it just got a little more emaciated.
There are about 4,000 stakes and districts. Growth of 20-ish units per year is just over one half of one percent. They should have more growth than that just from births, even without the missionary sales force bringing in baptisms.
The fact that the number of stakes and districts is only increasing by less than 1% per year lately tells you all you need to know (or at least all that they are likely to divulge) about how the church is growing.