Tonga, a microcosm of church accountability and accuracy?

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Tonga, a microcosm of church accountability and accuracy?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:15 pm

A member of our ward was a former mission president in Tonga. Last night he invited some Utah-based Tongans to perform at our ward Christmas party. It was excellent. Part of their performance was a retelling of the Joseph Smith story in traditional song and dance. I was impressed with the way they sidestepped the church's efforts to totally supplant their local traditions and instead integrated Mormon ideas into their existing culture.

Anyway, afterward Mrs. Hagoth did some research on Tonga. She stared with church sources, which claim that 60% of the 108,000 people in Tonga are LDS. Then she looked at at non-church sources where she saw that, according to the latest census, More Tongans claim to be Methodist, and Mormons make up about 19% of the population.

How to account for this? My guess is that it might be a lot easier to baptize Tongans than to keep them but the church counts baptisms and children of record as lifetime members. Also, there are probably a lot of members of record who died before they reached the assumed death date of 110 who still get counted. More interesting to me is that if my wife knows what the census says I'm pretty sure the COB does too, but chooses to stick with their own methods.

What does this tell us about how they deal with numbers for the rest of the world?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Just This Guy
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Re: Tonga, a microcosm of church accountability and accuracy?

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:31 pm

I would say that is actually about normal. It seem to be pretty consistent that the number of people that actually publicly claim to be Mormon is about 30-33% of what the church claims. We see it pretty consistently in the US and UK. So 19% of 60% keeps that ratio up.
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deacon blues
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Re: Tonga, a microcosm of church accountability and accuracy?

Post by deacon blues » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:44 pm

What a great way for DW to find out that the rosy picture the church wants to paint is quite different from reality. I have heard of other countries where the church statistics and the official government statistics are significantly different. google 'religions in Brazil' and scroll down to the LDS section.
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Re: Tonga, a microcosm of church accountability and accuracy?

Post by 2bizE » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:07 pm

I’m sure this article will shed some light on what happens. It speaks of the census in Mexico and Chile in the early 2000. Here is a snippet with the link at the bottom...

Mormons in Mexico and Chile
In 2000, Mexico's census reported 205,229 Mormons five years of age and older. (See Table I.)1 Yet for December 31, 1999, the LDS Church claimed 846,931. Even if one recognizes that the census figure includes only people five and older while the Church numbers include infants and small children, the difference is astounding and raises numerous ques- tions. These include the question of why Mexico's official census reported only 20-25 percent as many Latter-day Saints as the Church claimed.
In the spring of 2003, Chile published the results of its 2002 census. (See Table 2.) For the last day of 2001, the Church claimed 520,202 mem- bers in Chile while the new census identified only 103,735 members age fifteen and older. Again the variance is stunning. After accounting for the difference in ages covered, the census reports about 25 percent the number of Mormons that the Church claims. ... N02_65.pdf

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