The 2020 numbers

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Cnsl1
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The 2020 numbers

Post by Cnsl1 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:21 pm

I'm sure you've seen this:
https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.or ... cal-report

Based on these numbers, the average full time missionary baptized less than 2 and a half converts in the year. Each ward or branch grew an average of 4 converts for the year, which sounds pretty good until you look at the children of record additions, which averages to only 2 per ward or branch over the year. So, of the 16+ million members scattered among the 31k or so units, less than 1/2% of those members are having children, or are having those children blessed and counted on ward or branch records. For a church that promotes progeny, less than 1/2 % of its members having kids seems pretty bad.

But not all of those members would be in the child bearing years. Since we don't know the demographic breakdown of those 16+ million members, for the sake of argument, let's assume it's similar to the world population. We are a world wide church, right?

So, the average birth rate in the world is about 18.5 per 1,000 people. If our church population birthed 18.5 for every thousand members, we'd be seeing over 308k births.

But we saw only about 65k children of record last year. It seems like we're short more than 200k kids!

Why? Aging church population? This might explain some of it.

Losing members in droves who aren't blessing their kids in church? That would explain more of it IMO.

Staying with that premise, how many did the church lose?

According to my calculations based on the numbers provided by the church, we gained 125,930 and lost 232,838 , which is a net loss of around 116,900 souls.

I think this is evidence that the church is no longer growing.

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moksha
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by moksha » Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:57 am

Cnsl1 wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:21 pm
Why? Aging church population? This might explain some of it.
As you know, the Baby Boomer generation (1945-1960) is a large group, yet their attrition through death might not always be recorded in Church numbers, since membership records are retained to age 110.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Just This Guy
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Just This Guy » Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:03 am

A couple things that stood out to me.

Wasn't the peak baptisms and babies born somewhere around 2010 something like about 150,000 of each per year? Isn't that around the time of the push to double convert baptisms? I'm I'm wrong with my numbers or dates, let me know.

If so it is surprising that births is WAY down. Less than half of what it was a decade ago. Between the world wide trend to fewer and fewer children*. lower birth rates due to the pandemic and economic recession, and young adults leaving, that is a really dramatic drop. Even more so considering the birth rate is dropping despite the growth of the church.

Converts are down and well, but not nearly as dramatically.

It will be interesting to see what the broader picture is after the info is sliced and diced.

I also find it interesting that they have announce, what, 15+ odd temples in the last year, but only managed to complete 1. Okay, temples may take longer to build than a year, but the list of vaporware temples is growing longer and longer each year.


*The UN had a report a while back saying that world wide population had plateaued and they were actually projecting the world wide population to start dropping between 2035 and 2050.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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fetchface
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by fetchface » Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:17 am

Well, if I know the church, and I do know the church, I know that these numbers are fudged in some way. The real question is: how fudged are they?

My personal experience is that I know of far more resignations in my social circle this year than any other year since my disaffection in 2012. Covid took a good bite out of the church.
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Angel
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Angel » Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:41 am

Something I recently posted on fb:

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a good weekend. It has been interesting to see how COVID has changed the holidays, and finding what will be the "new norm" as vaccines role out. Some interesting data coming in, and comparisons with past pandemics. It was said that the bubonic plague gave rise to the reformation "church health policies weren’t protecting Europeans from disease. The pious were dying at the same rate as the sinners. When priests started succumbing in large numbers, it shattered the illusion of a selective sinners’ plague." .... "Lollards followed the teachings of John Wycliffe, which rejected the ritualistic teachings of the Church in favor of a simplified [belief].... It’s easy to draw a line between the plague, the rise of the Lollard movement, and the Reformation."
I love love love the idea of non-denominational "simplified" belief created from pandemic. So happy to see all of the kind and "simple" inclusive holiday wishes coming through yesterday. Things are changing. Church memberships are falling, but non-affiliated spirituality might be rising? What do you think? Is moral purpose and community now better supported through reformation movements - are civil rights protests and volunteer groups establishing themselves as the new spiritual community support groups? haha, sorry for long posts, would love to hear everyone's thoughts on how the pandemic has changed everyone's spirituality.
https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/chu ... MgUisG6c8k
"U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time" ↑↑

(followed by TBM commenting on how hard they will be trying to keep their kids in the church, and others expressing gratitude for more universal spirituality...I probably should not have engaged TBM, said my kids do not attend any church, do not have any dogmas hanging over their heads, are encouraged to think and act for themselves, that I would be worried if they joined a group that was harmful, but they should not choose their belief through peer pressure, or family pressure... ) sounds like a big push during GC was "have more kids, and make sure those kids are indoctrinated"? If kids leave the church it is the fault of the parents?
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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græy
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by græy » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:10 am

It seems reasonable that whether active or inactive, members of the church are still having children at the same or a slightly higher rate than the rest of the population. I suspect that there really has been a significant drop in active membership over the past year. I also suspect that, similar to the US population as a whole, the birthrate of LDS people has declined slightly in the past year. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56288038)

Finally, I think there is a large group of members who have had babies this year. And, while otherwise active, those births were not reported or at least not recorded through blessings because they are not attending in-person meetings and have little contact with the church through other means. I would expect that a large number of them will go on to report and bless/record their babies births as things open back up and resume normal meeting schedules.

I'm sure there has been a drop in activity and births, but I think the numbers are exaggerated because of missing data. If that is true, we'll see a significant (how significant is a question) jump in "Children of record" for 2021, followed by a continued slow-and-steady decline.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Yobispo
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Yobispo » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:31 am

fetchface wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:17 am
Well, if I know the church, and I do know the church, I know that these numbers are fudged in some way. The real question is: how fudged are they?

My personal experience is that I know of far more resignations in my social circle this year than any other year since my disaffection in 2012. Covid took a good bite out of the church.
I have lost track of how many reddit posts I've seen where a pre-Covid TBM found themselves with time on their hands and unpacked their shelf during lockdown, and now they're out (and some resigned). I concur that Covid hit the church hard.

As for the babies, I want to hear from a ward clerk because I suspect that there were plenty of babies born but if it's the local ward clerk who does the data entry then we could be seeing a delay in reporting due to people not being together. Granted, if you had a baby and didn't tell the ward then you're probably not active, but there still could be lots of babies on the 2021 report who were born in 2020 and the #'s are catching up. Holy cow, did I just prophecy? Or was that a See? Maybe even a Reveal!!!

ETA: Oops, I just saw that Graey prophesied before me. We may need a prophet showdown.

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Red Ryder
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:30 am

I’ve got a solution to the baby problem.

Perhaps the Church should get out of the Fundy Undy business and stay out of the bedrooms of its members?

Or just add another proclamation that all members should be annually impregnated by their lawfully wedded spouse. Non compliance requires impregnating by the current sitting prophet.

All arise and raise your right arm to the square. Repeat after me. I (say your name) covenant to bear children for the purpose of inflating general conference membership stats to silence critics of the church. That should do. Please be seated.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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græy
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by græy » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:33 am

Yobispo wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:31 am
ETA: Oops, I just saw that Graey prophesied before me. We may need a prophet showdown.
I hereby prophesy that I would lose that showdown. :D
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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fetchface
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by fetchface » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:05 pm

Yobispo wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:31 am
I have lost track of how many reddit posts I've seen where a pre-Covid TBM found themselves with time on their hands and unpacked their shelf during lockdown, and now they're out (and some resigned). I concur that Covid hit the church hard.
My wife was pretty all-in until Covid. The way she describes it, she got to try out life without the church and found that she didn't really miss it, and she got to let go of all of the problematic ideas that had been bothering her. She also had a close friend who left with her entire family immediately before she decided she was done.
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Reuben
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Reuben » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:02 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:30 am
Or just add another proclamation that all members should be annually impregnated by their lawfully wedded spouse. Non compliance requires impregnating by the current sitting prophet.
I'll have to ask her, but I think my wife would have trouble impregnating me.
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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Red Ryder
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:44 pm

Reuben wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:02 pm
Red Ryder wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:30 am
Or just add another proclamation that all members should be annually impregnated by their lawfully wedded spouse. Non compliance requires impregnating by the current sitting prophet.
I'll have to ask her, but I think my wife would have trouble impregnating me.
It’s a patriarchy around Mormonism.
Here we leave bedroom details in the bedroom so you do you. :lol:

/ thread jack. Sorry.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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moksha
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by moksha » Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:51 pm

Angel wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:41 am
... sounds like a big push during GC was "have more kids, and make sure those kids are indoctrinated"?
That would be in accordance with the prime directive: The tithing must flow.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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2bizE
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by 2bizE » Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:50 pm

I think this mostly has to do with Covid and not so much birth rate. We know that 75% of the 16 million members are less active. When an inactive 8 year old with inactive member parents is baptized, it is considered a member of record baptism. A 9 year old with inactive member parents who is baptized is a convert baptism. With wards not operating in 2020 as well as limited missionaries actively teaching a large number of 8 and 9 year olds were not baptized. A huge chunk of convert baptisms each year is 9 year olds. A large chunk of member of record baptisms normally comes from inactive 8 year olds. These two groups where a lot of baptisms come from were affected by Covid.
~2bizE

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Just This Guy
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Just This Guy » Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:16 pm

Given how much there was this conference about "lazy learners" and "doubt your doubts", if you combine that info with the majorly low baby birth members, could that be where the church is really hurting? Can we draw a correlation between the two? They are loosing the members who are of child bearing years. Less children means less tithing paying members in the long run.

For a long time, child of record births were a major part of church growth. Now that growth source has taken a major hit. So they try to deal with the problem the only way they know how: victim blaming.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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2bizE
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by 2bizE » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:23 pm

Cnsl1 wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:21 pm
I'm sure you've seen this:
https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.or ... cal-report

Based on these numbers, the average full time missionary baptized less than 2 and a half converts in the year. Each ward or branch grew an average of 4 converts for the year, which sounds pretty good until you look at the children of record additions, which averages to only 2 per ward or branch over the year. So, of the 16+ million members scattered among the 31k or so units, less than 1/2% of those members are having children, or are having those children blessed and counted on ward or branch records. For a church that promotes progeny, less than 1/2 % of its members having kids seems pretty bad.

But not all of those members would be in the child bearing years. Since we don't know the demographic breakdown of those 16+ million members, for the sake of argument, let's assume it's similar to the world population. We are a world wide church, right?

So, the average birth rate in the world is about 18.5 per 1,000 people. If our church population birthed 18.5 for every thousand members, we'd be seeing over 308k births.

But we saw only about 65k children of record last year. It seems like we're short more than 200k kids!

Why? Aging church population? This might explain some of it.

Losing members in droves who aren't blessing their kids in church? That would explain more of it IMO.

Staying with that premise, how many did the church lose?

According to my calculations based on the numbers provided by the church, we gained 125,930 and lost 232,838 , which is a net loss of around 116,900 souls.

I think this is evidence that the church is no longer growing.
I think you left off the children of record baptisms of 65,440. This means by taking the 2019 total and adding the 2020 new converts plus the children and then subtracting the 2020 total membership there were 92,743 who died or had their names removed from the church. Is my math correct?
~2bizE

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Culper Jr.
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Culper Jr. » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:03 am

2bizE wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:50 pm
A huge chunk of convert baptisms each year is 9 year olds. A large chunk of member of record baptisms normally comes from inactive 8 year olds. These two groups where a lot of baptisms come from were affected by Covid.
Yeah, totally agree with this. Most of our strategy on my mission was to baptize "action list kids", or 9+ year olds that were never baptized with the intent to re-activate the family. Also I see where a people will put pressure on their kids to have their grandkids blessed of baptized. In both of these scenarios, the kids rarely stay active, so I see it as Covid just making the numbers more accurate as to what is really happening anyway. I'll be interested to see if there is a surge of baptisms when things open back up.

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Hagoth
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Hagoth » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:39 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:03 am
I also find it interesting that they have announce, what, 15+ odd temples in the last year, but only managed to complete 1. Okay, temples may take longer to build than a year, but the list of vaporware temples is growing longer and longer each year.
I think this is a perfect example of Russell Nelson trying to glorify his reign as a special prophet. He can announce as many temples as he wants and make it look like the church is thriving and growing under his rule, knowing that some other poor sucker after him has to make good on all of this. If they just keep ploughing ahead like this I can imagine a day when endowment rooms are never more than 5-10% capacity and all of the proxy names are being recycled for the 100th time.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Hagoth » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:44 am

2bizE wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:23 pm
I think you left off the children of record baptisms of 65,440. This means by taking the 2019 total and adding the 2020 new converts plus the children and then subtracting the 2020 total membership there were 92,743 who died or had their names removed from the church. Is my math correct?
I'm not sure they even remove you from the count if you resign. I have heard, but I'm not certain, that once you are added to the tally you are there until you're 110. Then your statistics transfer from the faithful member list to the TK smoothie list.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: The 2020 numbers

Post by Hagoth » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:56 am

Angel wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:41 am
Things are changing. Church memberships are falling, but non-affiliated spirituality might be rising? What do you think? Is moral purpose and community now better supported through reformation movements - are civil rights protests and volunteer groups establishing themselves as the new spiritual community support groups?
I like the idea that people can find more spirituality and less dogmatism in such movements. As far as Mormons go, I'm not sure whether those things will be the significant factors in reducing attendance in the long run or whether more people will just realize they are happier not going to church than they were before COVID gave them a vacation from sitting in pews.

Apart from lonely older single folks, I heard only enthusiastic acceptance when the meeting block shortened, and then again when COVID forced remote meetings (often wrapped it up in an attitude of pioneer perseverance). ButI think more members than would like to admit it are perfectly happy to have Zoom Church running in the background while they lounge in their garments sipping Postum and watching golf on mute.

Of course, there is the other contingent who dress up in their Sunday best regardless. It's easy to spot the goats among the sheep. They are the ones who leave their video off while Zoom-churching.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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