Temple Work

In relation to the world’s population there are statistically fewer LDS each year.  Our birth rate is declining and our baptism rate does not even begin to keep up with world population growth.  In other words, each year there is far more temple work to be done than there was the year before.

3 thoughts on “Temple Work

  1. Interesting point. I have also wondered about the much slower growth of the Church generally. I remember reports being published in magazines in the 1990s that showed that Mormonism would be the next “Islam” type religion based on growth trends. Well those trends have declined significantly lately and although we report more members every year it is hard to see any real growth in the Church in the US–most of it comes from outside the US and even this has slowed significantly.

    If you look at the statistics I have kept for 20+ years now (which I am happy to share) you can see a significant growth spurt in the mid to late ’80s fueled by convert baptisms. Our highest number of convert baptisms was in 1990 when we had 331,000. Then by the early-’90s the numbers start to fall off but they remained at about 300,000 annually. In this century things have continued to get worse. Our best year since 1999 was 2001 with 292,000 converts and our worst was 2004 with 241,000 converts.

    When you factor in the number of baptisms per full-time missionary the picture is clearer. In the late ’80s we were baptizing 7 to 8 converts per full-time missionary. The last decade it is down to between 4 and 5. I will say that with the launching of Preach My Gospel the numbers have been on the higher side–right around 5 per full-time missionary for the past 4 years.

    As I have thought about these numbers generally a few things come to mind –

    During the growth spurt in the mid to late ’80s President Benson was encouraging us to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon. I think this was a major factor in our “spurt”.

    The only other factor that might be included is the change in the temple ordinances in 1990. I find it very interesting that when certain parts of the ordinance were removed we seem to have less committed missionaries and therefore missionary work.

    (I think it is important to say here that I do not question the brethren about the change; I firmly believe they do as the Lord directs. If the Lord directed them to make said changes then I support that 100%.)

  2. On this subject…when you mention that there is “far more temple work to be done than there was the year before” I wondered something.

    To the extent we believe in revelation, continuing, lasting, insightful revelation, what role does revelation currently play in temple work?

    I have heard some very powerful stories about temple work and mortal/immortal angels playing a key role in finding essential information in someone’s genealogy, but for everyone who is going about it in a spirit of revelation and truth, I’d guess there are a number of others who do it just to get the numbers done.

    I guess what I’m saying, from your standpoint, what role does revelation play in the actual performance of temple work? Performing the work – as Woodruff did with some of the Presidents of the U.S.A. and their 2nd Anointings – when those on the other side are ready for it would seem to be when it should be done. But, in actuality is the practice (from what you’ve seen) to just “check off a list” and get everyone’s work done ASAP, or something better?

  3. Institutionally we have the “Name Extraction Program” to get names from the census and other sources without regard to anything other than accuracy. Every name identified has work done for them.

    For my own family, since I’m the first member of the church on either my mother’s or father’s side, I’ve been busy doing any names I can find. However, I have to say, both my Patriarchal Blessing and my personal experience has shown this personal, family quest to be filled with spiritual contact between myself and my ancestors. I referred to one of those experiences in The Second Comforter.

    I think it is a mixture of both. But “getting it done” is the primary motivation.

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