Disclaimer: Let me just say before I get any further into this blog I say this with tongue in cheek. That means that there is just a little (or a lot) of humor meant by this post. Please don’t fill up my comment box with all of those comments that try to disprove the whole point of this story.
This story started brewing in my mind after I was writing the blog about a shrinking global population. This is one of those relationships that my mind made that fit nicely together but there is no scientific evidence. I like the sound of the story so it worth writing about. I know that just because they don’t conflict on the surface doesn’t mean that they are related and that trends seen today won’t necessarily continue into the future. But if someone can postulate that the world’s population is shrinking to a billion people let me finish my little fairy tale.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons, are a growing church. The church’s official site that talks about Growth is here. I take the following from that website:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized in a small log cabin in upstate New York in 1830.
It took 117 years — until 1947 — for the Church to grow from the initial six members to one million. Missionaries were a feature of the Church from its earliest days, fanning out to Native American lands, to Canada and, in 1837, beyond the North American continent to England. Not long after, missionaries were working on the European continent and as far away as India and the Pacific Islands.
The two-million-member mark was reached just 16 years later, in 1963, and the three-million mark in eight years more. This accelerating growth pattern has continued with about a million new members now being added every three years or less. Growth consists both of convert baptisms and natural growth through the birth of children.
Church membership today is over 14 million.
Speculation on my part here now, the Church recently announced that the missionary age was changed to 18 for men and 19 for women. This caused a significant increase in the number of members that submitted requests to serve missions (more on that here and here). That will certainly have an impact on the increase. The latest information from the church is that in 2011 there were 281,312 convert baptisms for the 55,410 which is about 5 convert baptisms per missionary. Now if the number of missionaries is going to be significantly higher we can only assume that the total baptism number will go up.
I have no idea what the mission goals are now for baptisms but in my mission in 1983-1984 our mission goal was something like 200 per month for the 100 or so missionaries. I know that we were working in a more “fertile” area of the world than some so I guess that the numbers will vary but the fact remains more belly-buttons talking about the church full-time increases the probability that more people with be contacted and join. That is just the facts of how this whole missionary thing goes.
Some more speculation on my part because I haven’t been able to find a firm number anywhere, but I believe that the church is actually young, meaning there are more young people than old people in the 14 million members. The 2011 report shows that the new “children of record” in the church was 119,917. That figure is important to keep in mind because it is the number of births for members of the church. The following is from the Associated Press:
The Census Bureau pulled numbers for the year ending June 2008 for its “Fertility of American Women” study.
Utah had 81 children for every 1,000 women during the year, compared with a national average of 58.
Utah’s Mormon church promotes marriage and families, University of Utah research economist Pam Perlich told The Salt Lake Tribune.
“We are the most-married state [Utah] in the nation,” Perlich said. “We marry earlier, tend to stay married, have kids earlier and have more of them.” Published: Sunday, Nov. 7 2010
I have proof that from a growth point in my own family that is true. My father is 1 of 12 children. I am 1 of 10 children. I only have 4 children. There was only one person in my high school class (mostly Mormons) that had more children than his parents had. So the number of births per Mormon is going down just like everyone else is, but it is going down slower and is still way above the “replacement rate”.
So we have a bunch of facts and nothing that anyone that knows Mormons didn’t already know. My point is this; where it has been every couple of years for the Church to get to the next million in membership, the mean time between millions is going to get smaller, meaning more growth. The Mormon Church will certainly see a similar decline in birth rates that is typical with the nations that it is in, BUT my argument is that the decline WILL NOT be as fast. This means that slowly but surely the percentage and proportion of Mormons will become larger and more quickly than it has in the past. You say, still math Jerry, what’s the point?
If, as this blog presented, the overall population of the earth is going to shrink over the next several hundred years at a relatively rapid rate (7 Billion now to 1 Billion in 2300) AND the Mormons are becoming a larger percentage and proportion of the general population then you and/or your posterity have a high probability of being Mormon.
Now I know the whole math thing says that the curve never actually reaches 100% but it still gets mighty close.
So there you have it, my explanation on Daniel 2 in the Old Testament. The stone without hands that crushes the kingdoms of earth and filled the whole earth, it is the Mormon Church, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in the last days. The Mormon Moment is actually the beginning of a mountain that will fill the whole earth.
So the logical thing would be to just do the inevitable thing and join now.
Let me know where I should send the missionaries. I am sure that they will be glad to teach you. If you are close to me here in China and you or your spouse has a foreign passport I will be glad to share the gospel with you here. Sorry about the limited group I can tell about the Church but that is the law in China.
So what is the humor in this post? Where am I kidding and where am I serious? Can you tell? Can I tell?