This week, the Mormon Church announced that they would no longer put same-sex couples under the “apostasy” label and their children could be baptized without denouncing their parents’ relationship. It took three years, but they were undoing a move that resulted in mass protests and tens of thousands of resignations.
So has the new change led to people returning to the Church?
It’s early to tell, but one indication of how things are going is by checking out QuitMormon.com, the website started by Utah attorney Mark Naugle to help Mormons deal with the paperwork to officially leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The site’s Twitter account publishes weekly updates, and Friday’s update said 303 people had “just resigned from the LDS church,” but those have presumably been in the works for months. I wondered if the website had received more or less requests since the policy update.Naugle told me last night that, while he sees between 25-40 resignation requests every day, “the last 24 hours has been a little over 500.”
The policy change hasn’t helped. If anything, it may have even convinced people the Church is just making this up as it goes along — all the more reason to get out now.
Jana Riess at Religion News Service also notes that LDS Church membership, while it continues getting larger, has continued its trend of growing at a slower rate. While the Church grew by 2.03% in 2013, it showed only 1.21% growth last year (and 0.75% growth in the U.S. specifically in 2017).
Keep in mind those numbers include plenty of people who are no longer active Church members but haven’t gone through the resignation process to officially remove their names from the Church’s records, which is precisely what Naugle is assisting with.
Mormon leaders can change all the policies they want, but they are doing a horrible job at retention.
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