In the year and a half since the LDS Church lowered the minimum age for full-time missionary service, the Utah-based faith has seen its proselytizing force swell from 58,500 to more than 83,000. That’s a 42 percent leap.
The number of convert baptisms last year grew to 282,945, up from 272,330 in 2012. That’s an increase of — less than 4 percent.
How can that be? Why would a surge of 25,000 additional eager and earnest suit- and dress-wearing, scripture-packing, pamphlet-peddling young "elders" and "sisters" not translate into a similarly dramatic jump in the number of Mormons on membership rolls?
The main problem, says independent researcher Matt Martinich, who closely watches LDS growth patterns and statistics, is that the new missionaries were largely assigned to areas such as the United States and Latin America, where Mormons are well-established and the "market" for the religion may be saturated.
"Most of the surplus in missionary manpower was allocated to less-productive areas, where the church has more developed infrastructure that could accommodate such a sudden, massive increase in missionaries serving," says Martinich, who lives in Colorado Springs. "In U.S. missions outside of the Intermountain West, every congregation had a companionship [pair of missionaries]. It was hard to keep even one busy. Now they have two or three [pairs]."It is understandable why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed the new missionaries in these areas, he says. Opening new countries or regions can be difficult and time-consuming, especially in terms of getting visas, guaranteeing safety, overcoming health concerns and assessing political stability.
The LDS Church eventually added 58 missions (there are now 405 around the world) after the missionary ages fell to 18, down from 19, for young men, and to 19, down from 21, for young women. But most of those nations had already seen a Mormon missionary presence of some kind.And so on. The purpose of a mission is twofold: it is actually to indoctrinate the people who go on missions to keep them in the fold, because when they return they are expected to marry and have a family and produce offspring to add to church numbers.
Unfortunately, it also pairs young men and women in rooms together, often for the first time in their lives. And gay members have had to reconcile their sexuality because of it. There is a high suicide rate among gay mormons, and this is a contributing factor.
The 4% growth doesn't factor in the members leaving, which the church seldom mentions. So the "growth" numbers are actually static, and little real growth had been attained since I left in 1992. There is also an ever growing presence of ex-mormons on the internet, and some significant people in that number.
Simon Southerton, a former bishop and Microbiologist in Australia wrote a book (Losing a Lost Tribe) showing that DNA disproves the Book of Mormon
Steve Benson, grandson of late LDS president Ezra Taft Benson, who is a Pulitzer prize winning political cartoonist and frequent anti Mormon blogger.
Michael Coe, prominent Canadian tax lawyer and former Mormon Bishop, and anti Mormon blogger
This is why every time I see someone like Cliven Bundy on the news it makes me happy. the more exposure the better.