The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known globally for its massive missionary force. Over the past year we have received several independent reports suggesting serious distress in the Mormon missionary program, including:

  • A sharp decline in the number of LDS missionaries overall.
  • A sharp decline in the number of young men willing to serve missions.
  • A significant increase in the number of LDS missionaries returning home early.
  • Troubling new rhetoric/teachings from Mormon church leadership suggesting (out of seeming desperation) that Mormon missionary service for young men is mandatory/compulsory.

On Thursday at 4pm (mountain) we will be exploring this issue. If you have any data or stories regarding these (or other) developments regarding Mormon missionary work, please post them as comments below, or email us at: mormonstories@gmail.com and we can include your input in the show (anonymously if requested). Also, please plan to join us live for this show, wherein we hope to accept live video call-ins from viewers.

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8 Comments

  1. J. Snow August 5, 2022 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Here, here on Jen’s comment about the “lazy learner” response we often hear: “it is/was not doctrine.” As you will see from the Merriam Webster definition of “doctrine” below there isn’t some mystical standard something must reach to become “doctrine.” The word can simply mean “something that is taught.”

    Of course, it is especially galling when Mormon apologists use this trick to waive off statements in books by their prophets, seers, and revelators that go under titles like “Mormon Doctrine” or “Doctrines of Salvation.”

    So, when we get that response, we can simply ask: was this idea or principle taught in church? If yes, then it is “doctrine.”

    “Definition of doctrine
    1a: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : DOGMA
    Catholic doctrine
    b: a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations
    the Truman Doctrine
    claw : a principle of law established through past decisions
    d: a military principle or set of strategies
    e: something that is taught”
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doctrine

  2. Andrea Davenport August 6, 2022 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I had nightmares for years after my mission. I asked the question on social media “how many of you out there have had nightmares following your missions?” So many people experienced the same thing. Missions create trauma.

  3. Bill Jones August 8, 2022 at 10:55 am - Reply

    One way to increase numbers would be for LDS Inc. to pay all missionary expenses. They can certainly afford it. Do we think they would ever do it?

  4. Marlbey August 8, 2022 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    I’m just an exmo here, but I manage a team of Gen Zers. f I were consulting for the Mormon Church, I would advise their changes to focus on making missionary service more rewarding and less of a grind:
    * Still unpaid
    * Focus on supporting overtaxed local wards and branches, with some community outreach/ volunteerism; proselyting is a distant third.
    * Safe, clean dorms in urban settings; cars for all missionaries in non-urban settings.
    * Quarterly corporate-style retreats that develop skills that provide a break from the grind. There would be an element of R&R but the primary focus would be to develop the missionary for current efforts and life skills beyond. Team building; leadership training; conflict resolution; self defense; spotting abuse; CPR/ first aid; health and fitness; cultural etiquette; language; money management; and yes spiritual / faith affirming content.
    * And of course, mental health support

    These would be costly changes to implement but I believe would improve retention of missionaries and make them more effective in the community the are supposed to be serving. I believe the church would see more ROI on these investments than building temples.

  5. Timmy Tim August 9, 2022 at 9:10 am - Reply

    audio won’t load

  6. Ken August 9, 2022 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Kevin Pearson is a jerk. He is not just the Utah Area President. He is also the Chair of the infamous Strengthening Church Members Committee!!!

  7. Robert M. Hodge August 9, 2022 at 10:36 am - Reply

    What offended me, as a great grandson of Thomas E. Ricks who originally founded that college in Rexburg is that they removed his name in favor of Brother Brigham. I left the Church before that, but that would have been a pretty good excuse If I hadn’t done it before

    But on the main issue, not surprising is it given all the information now easily available on line to call into question the truth claims of the Church. In my day, in the early 60’s you had to wait until you are 19. But in my case I had to be out of the house the day after I graduated…no choice. So I never went though I was an active member at the time. Now that seems like a blessing because I did nothing to spread the fraud.

  8. Edward August 9, 2022 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Link to audio download does not work.

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