“In an era of declining faith, Mormon membership is holding steady.”

“In an era of declining faith, Mormon membership is holding steady.” March 6, 2019

 

Kona sunset
A sunset near Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  My wife is in Kona right now.  I’m not.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

Ireland’s Robert Boylan has called our attention to two commentaries on recently-issued Gospel Topics essays from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

The first is from Brant Gardner:

 

“A Reaction to the Church’s Recent Essay on Book of Mormon Geography”

 

The second is from Clark Goble:

 

“On the Church Masonry Essay”

 

***

 

We’ve certainly taken hits.  More than a few once-faithful Latter-day Saints have gone missing.  All of us know people whose commitment to the Gospel, once fervent, has seemingly disappeared — or, at least, people who have children or siblings who have forsaken the faith.  These departures are not to be minimized or ignored.  They’re unutterably sad.  And we should take whatever steps we can, while remaining faithful to the revelations given to us by the Lord and to the teachings and covenants of the Gospel, to prevent such losses.

 

That said, those who confidently predict the imminent demise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its pending collapse, appear to be a bit overenthusiastic.  The news isn’t entirely bad:

 

“Most churches are losing members fast — but not the Mormons. Here’s why.  In an era of declining faith, Mormon membership is holding steady.”

 

In fact, there’s quite a bit of good news, as well.  I try to share it from time to time.

 

***

 

And some other churches are facing some pretty major problems.  Consider this call, for instance, to apply a kind of anti-trust or anti-monopoly policy to the Roman Catholic Church:

 

“Not Too Big to Fail: Break Up the Catholic Church”

 

I wouldn’t hold my breath for Mr. Simon’s proposal to gain much traction, let alone to be carried out, but what he suggests would be the most radical change in Catholicism and mainstream western Christendom as a whole since at least the time of the Protestant Reformation.

 

***

 

Some of you may have heard that George Cardinal Pell has been convicted in a Melbourne court of the sexual abuse of a minor.  I haven’t followed the case closely, although it did catch my eye because Cardinal Pell was the 2013 speaker in the same series of  annual lectures on religious liberty at the University of Notre Dame Australia School of Law in Sydney for which I spoke late in 2018.

 

In a time of justifiably swelling controversy about clergy sexual misbehavior in the Catholic Church, that church’s image certainly doesn’t benefit from the conviction for sexual abuse of its ranking Australian leader, a former very high official at the papal court in the Vatican itself.  Still, although I have no dog in the fight, I have to say that, based on what little I know about it, the case against Cardinal Pell seems at a glance to be distinctly weak:

 

“Why the Case against Cardinal George Pell Doesn’t Stand Up”

 

“Cardinal Pell story is an extremely tangled web, but readers need alternative media to know that”

 

***

 

Here’s a little bit on media bias — and specifically on media bias as it affects coverage of issues relating to religion, faith, and gender:

 

“When covering the United Methodist split, remember that there’s two sides – not one”

 

***

 

Finally, a senior writer from National Review visits Utah and jots down his impressions:

 

“Salt Lake City Journal”

 

 

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