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Mormonism LIVE ! : 018: Lazy Learners & Shrinkage

Mormonism LIVE ! – April 2021 General Conference Edition RFM and Bill Reel will sit down and review some of big happenings and talks in April 2021 General Conference. And if absolutely zilch happens, then we will address the recent handbook changes and discuss what they say about where they came from and where the Church moves forward because of those changes.

Recent Handbook Changes allowing single members more opportunities to serve –

2020 Membership Report –

President Nelson’s Lazy Learner Talk –


15 thoughts on “Mormonism LIVE ! : 018: Lazy Learners & Shrinkage”

  1. RFM, loved the suicide bomber joke. Reminded me of an equally inappropriate joke I heard in the 90’s. What did God say to David Koresh? Well done.

  2. One point that should be addressed is that the comment from President Nelson, “Lazy Learner”, is name calling. Sometimes when individuals are losing a debate, they resort to name calling as an attempt to bring down their opponent.

  3. “Would Joseph and Hyrum had gone to Carthage?”

    Well, if Joseph did what he was actually told to do beforehand- flee to the Rockies and clean up his act- he wouldn’t have ended up at Carthage and been killed there.

    The pioneers? Plenty of people told them to not leave when they did, but they were the ones chastised for “not having faith in their leaders.” IIRC, one of Quinn’s book mentions that.

    Of course you won’t hear Nelson bring up those points.

    1. One of the things I like most about Joseph Smith is that he did turn around and go back to Carthage when word was brought to him that his followers were thinking he abandoned them.

      He was in the clear, the way was open before him, he could have been safe.

      But he voluntarily went back and offered himself up to the law and ultimate death.

      It is the point where he turned back that I find the most compelling. Not his final moments.

  4. “The Church is stronger than it has ever been”. If he means “financially” stronger, that is true. But he is probably trying to convince the Members that the Church is not shrinking. But it “IS” shrinking! But the Church won’t admit that.

    1. Church leaders are having a tough time framing this issue; mainly because so much of the church’s truth claims have been intertwined for decades with its growth.

      It is true because it is growing.

      It is growing because it is true.

      Even Kwaku fell into that line of thinking in our discussion with him last night at Mormonism Live!

  5. I hadn’t realized how devastating COVID-19 was to the Church this past year.
    Converts baptized during 2020 – 125,930
    It will be interesting to see how much new member converts bounce back after the pandemic.

    Another jaw dropper for 2020:
    Full-time missionaries – 51,819
    I can’t remember the last time the number of full time missionaries was this low.
    I do remember that in 1980 when I left on my mission the Church had 40k full-time missionaries in the field with a total conversion the previous year over 300k converts. Note the 7+ converts per missionary in 1979 vs the 2+ converts per missionary the Church experienced this past year.

    Another amazing discussion. Thanks so much RFM and Bill Reel.

    1. When I left on my mission in 1979, I recall the number of missionaries was at its peak of 33,000 and climbing.

      Just checked, there were 4,439,000 members at the end of 1979.

      That is .74 percent of total membership on missions.

      The current membership is 16,663,663.

      Full-time missionaries 51,819.

      That is .31 percent.

      If I am doing the math right (and I stink at math), calculated as a percentage, that is DECREASE OF MORE THAN HALF of missionaries serving as a percentage of total church membership.

  6. Catholic leaders, JW leaders, etc., all say the same thing: “Have faith…trust God”. By the term “Trust God” they mean “Trust in His representatives, and we are they!” by “Have Faith” it means “Trust us completely, and utterly”. It’s all the same.

    The Church is now at 0.5 growth rate. When I was a missionary, in the early 1980s, the Church had a 4.8 per cent growth rate yearly. 0.5 is not all due to Covid. People are waking up. People are Googling “Joseph Smith” and “Mormonism”. Only real converts are the horny fiancees of sexy young Mormon women, who insist he joins the Church if he wants HER. Same thing was true on my mission. Only real converts were horny boyfriends and fiancees of sexy young Mormon women. Only other baptisms were street people looking for hand-outs, or 8 year old children of Jack Mormons. The Church will enter the shrinking stage soon. The Leaders will DENY it is shrinking, until it cannot be denied any longer. Then they will show this as PROOF that the Church is true, because its being persecuted.

  7. RFM,
    Great work, as usual. As an idea for a future episode may I suggest an RFM/J.Streeter analysis of the five official proclamations of the LDS Church. I have been reading them lately (the first three are kept pretty much on the DL) and I think people would be fascinated by the content, motivation behind and implications of each.

    1. Great idea, Chris!

      We are going to be doing all five sessions of GenCon starting tomorrow morning, but I like your idea!

  8. Thank you for another excellent episode! I noticed a trend the church has been using to make their leaders appear more enlightened and wise. They are repeating wise words previously spoken by others and are taking credit for those words. They try to come up with catchy quotes that can be easily shared on social media, such as Pinterest. It is dishonest for them to imply that church leaders are the source of wise quotes when they are merely repeating the words of others.

    1. Great point, Brenda!

      What I find humorous is one GA saying another GA gave “wise counsel” and then quoting the other GA saying something absolutely banal.

      “Wise counsel” isn’t what it used to be.

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