LDS Church Size and Feminist Activism

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Declining LDS membership is a complex issue. Various narratives have been presented to explain the phenomenon. While falling birth rates bear much of the blame, larger societal trends are also at play. One narrative points to the increasing number of young people leaving the church, a result of the demanding culture of the organization.


When asked about their attitudes toward Mormon faith leaders, Millennials are divided about their priorities. They are most troubled by a member's polygamy history, but least bothered by a member's decision to practice polygamy. When asked about the top reasons for leaving the LDS Church, millennials were split on whether they trusted their church leadership and felt judged.

According to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, 39 percent of young adults in the United States are religiously unaffiliated, and this number appears to be growing. However, many millennials are still strong believers and have an open mind to relationship-building church programs.

The number of missionaries has declined in the LDS Church. In 1989, missionaries baptized an average of eight converts; by 2017, they had only baptized 3.5. The Church is also struggling with a declining birth rate. In the most recent survey, members of the church reported 94,266 births.

Mormons remain in higher numbers than other religious denominations, but their retention rate is dropping at an alarming rate. In fact, the number of Mormon millennials leaving the church is double that of their parents and grandparents. Millennials also grew up in a different world than previous generations. They love technology, social networking, selfies, and other forms of self-expression, but they dislike commitment.

In addition to declining retention rates, Millennials also tend to be more conservative than older Mormons. Older Mormons, for example, are overwhelmingly Republican, while younger generations lean Democratic. Their younger counterparts, on the other hand, lean Democrat or Independent.

Declining birth rates

The LDS Church has recently changed its missionary policy to allow more young women to serve missions. This has a potential impact on household formation and fertility rates. The church also says that it will not remove the names of deceased members from its records until the age of 110. However, there are many questions about whether these changes are affecting the rates of conception and births.

The reasons for declining birth rates are multiple. One possible reason is a changing culture. The LDS church has a demanding culture that is turning off young people. As a result, its membership is deteriorating. Many people are leaving the church for different reasons. This is not necessarily indicative of a lack of love for the church.

Latter-day Saints still have larger families than the national average, but that difference is smaller than it was in the early 1980s. While LDS leaders no longer condemn birth control, many Latter-day Saint women in the U.S. are now using birth control. It would make Joseph F. Smith roll over in his grave if he knew what his followers were doing.

The number of Mormon children is still quite high, at nearly four per woman. However, the LDS church has recently switched from counting children born at eight to counting children of record. This would result in a drastic increase in the total number of Mormon children.

Low mortality

One reason for the low mortality rates in LDS churches is the age of its members. While the average age of Mormons is higher than the U.S. average, the LDS population has fluctuated in age over time. In the early days, most LDS members were converts who joined the church when they were adults. As a result, the LDS mortality rate would have been higher than the U.S. average. This situation changed when the LDS church moved to Utah. During this time, convert baptisms declined and birth rates increased, reducing the death rate and lowering the average age.

A primary purpose of mortality is to acquire a physical body. This provides the means for action and serves as a test of character. Without a physical body, love cannot be expressed. Besides, a physical body helps us participate in family relationships, ordinances, and charity. Moreover, mortality helps man develop wisdom, compassion, and faith.

The number of branches and wards is continuously updated on the website of the Church. Data from this site are reliable and can be used for any year. However, the number of branches and wards for the years from 1990 to 2014 must be estimated using a multi-variable interpolation.

The cancer mortality rates in LDS churches are lower than those of non-LDS members. Smoking is a major risk factor. The LDS Church health doctrine encourages people to stop smoking. The smoking rate is lower in LDS communities than in non-LDS members.

Centralization of authority

Historically, the LDS church has reported its size in terms of stakes (as opposed to wards) at annual general conferences. From 1909 to 1920, this data was inconsistent, but from 1921 to 2014, it has been reported with a higher degree of consistency. For example, the 2013 Almanac reports the total number of wards and branches, but does not give the number of members in each one. This difference is small, but not negligible.

In the past, the LDS church has had some challenges with growing numerically. In the latter half of the 20th century, the church experienced rapid growth, but since then, membership has leveled off. The church has also experienced a period of violence and discrimination against other Mormons.

While church growth has been declining in recent years, congregational retention is increasing. This means that new local units are less likely to close within a few years. This is good news, especially for members of the church in the United States, where the church has been notorious for rapidly closing new local units.

The Church's leadership hierarchy is centralized. The most senior apostle serves as president and chooses two other apostles to serve as counselors. These individuals constitute the First Presidency, the highest governing body of the Church. A second higher body is the Quorum of the Twelve. Together, these bodies oversee the entire Church. This organizational structure dates back to the New Testament. Members of the church regard these leaders as special witnesses of Jesus Christ throughout the world. They travel extensively and meet with local leaders and church members to encourage them.


The latest wave of feminist activism in the LDS church has been fairly broad, and includes women from many walks of life. Some are housewives, feminist scholars, and bloggers, while others are more specific, urging church leaders to allow women to serve in the priesthood or even pray in General Conference.

While the new statement is not a response to contemporary issues, it demonstrates that feminists are part of the LDS church. Members of the Church believe in equal rights for men and women and in fairness for women. The church also preaches a very feminized doctrine, emphasizing women's rights, talents, and potential. In fact, the Church teaches that women are sacred and have a Heavenly Mother, which has a direct bearing on the church's view of women. Hopefully, the new statement will dispel any negative connotations associated with feminism in the LDS church.

A recent controversy has raised questions about the role of women in LDS society. Some members of the church have argued that women should have equal rights, but have failed to provide examples. One of these women, Sonia Johnson, was excommunicated by the LDS Church for speaking out in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. A group named Mormons for ERA, founded in 1980, was a rare example of feminist activism in the LDS Church. Church leaders bristled at her association with the Equal Rights Amendment.

In addition to the LDS church's general stance on feminism, women are encouraged to pursue education, develop their talents, and serve mankind. In general, women are encouraged to participate in church activities, but they do not have an official role in policy or leadership.

Anti-education theology

While many Latter-day Saints may be adamant that children should not have to be educated, a growing number of them are questioning this teaching. There are many good reasons for this, including their own deep desire to remain faithful to their religion. Despite this, LDS leaders aren't backing down from the anti-education debate. In fact, they are reaffirming their beliefs on the topic in a new missionary manual.

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