Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 27: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics Pt 3

RFM todays tackles the Deception of LDS Leaders that the Church in shielding membership from being aware of a significant loss of members to disaffection.  In this part 3 episode RFM shows using Leaders own words juxtaposed against the data that they are lying about Church growth and are downplaying disaffection.  He then proceeds to show that Mormonism has begun a sleight of hand as they begin to shift what “growth” will mean for future members of the Church.

RESOURCES:
A Deep Review of LDS Growth Statistics

Elder Cook’s Deceptive Statement

Elder Holland Apparently Lying about Double Digit Stake Creation

Elder Holland’s Tantrum on Disaffection

Elder Eyring’s Redefining of Growth  – (15:48)

Discussion of decreasing ward per stake

Links from 2016 on LDS.ORG refuting Elder Holland’s Imposed Growth of Stakes
1.March

2. April

3. May 

4. June

5. July

Play

38 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 27: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics Pt 3

  1. Hey RFM,

    I suggest as an alternate to Fleetwood Mac, “Lies” by the Knickerbockers. The lyrics are especially appropriate. For a great meme of Elder Cook, alias Baghdad Bob, see this link:
    http://www.mormonism101.com/2015/04/number-of-mormons-to-peak-at-20-million.html

    A quick glance at your links for new stakes easily shows that the new stakes noted are formed with much fewer than the traditional 10 wards – sometimes 5 or 6! So your example of 10 wards per stake was generous. The Stake numbers are much more misleading, something you noted.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks, Poor Wayfaring Man!

      Yes, you are definitely correct, and I see more are making a similar comment.

      Even the official church sources show they are creating stakes out of fewer units than before.

      Some have speculated that they were attempting to get the “magic” number of 100 new stakes in 2016, and hence the statistical legerdemain.

  2. Once again, an A+++ podcast!

    My first thought about whom Elder Holland was speaking about was Tom Phillips who was, allegedly, a dear friend of Elder Holland and former Area President in England who left the church. I just listened to Tom’s April 27, 2016 interview with John Dehlin last week where Tom reviews his repeated efforts to get Elder Holland to answer his questions. Because of their close relationship (second anointing experience, etc) Elder Holland’s ‘passionate’ mood and words would make sense.

    Although, Jeremy Runnells also is an excellent supposition!

    • That is a good insight, KLG. Maybe it was Tom Phillips, as well as Jeremy Runnells.

      I think Tom Phillips would be somebody more likely to get Elder Holland’s dander up, given they were close friends and all.

      But I also think Jeremy Runnells’ posting his disciplinary hearing on the internet must have gotten under Elder Holland’s Irish epidermis, as well.

  3. Holland is a big fat liar. I agree with your assessment of Holland’s attack on Jeremy Runnells.

    It shocked me to hear Holland’s mocking attitude. SHOCKED ME!

    These men teach tolerance and love. And there wasn’t a lot of love in his remarks. Perhaps he went down the wrong path?….

    • LOL!

      It really is shocking to hear Elder Holland going off like that, I agree.

      And I note the laughter gets less and less as the tantrum continues.

      It makes it even more shocking to me to realize that Elder Holland is not only coming unglued over people in general leaving the church, but he actually seems to be mocking one individual in particular–Jeremy Runnells.

      Or maybe Tom Phillips, too! ;^)

  4. Another great one RFM! Can’t wait to here the membership numbers next weekend. Small correction – Jeremy Runnels was not excommunicated, he resigned before they could ex him. At the end of his disciplinary trial he drops a resignation letter and leaves.

    • Thanks for the correction, Dan!

      I almost got it right. I did mention he stood up before it was over and left, but I did mention the dreaded “ex” word as well.

      Good catch!

  5. Problem with your solution RFM is that more members will bleed that return if it in facts chooses to come clean with everything that the Critic purports.

    Doing what you imply or suggest church does will make us into the new Community of Christ. Is that Church experiencing growth?

    • What is that song we always sing in church?

      Oh, I remember!

      “Do what is right, let the consequence follow . . . ”

      Or words to that effect.

  6. I have listened to your podcasts for a while now and have enjoyed them very much!

    I am astonished at the anger of JRH and even more astonished to hear the audience laugh as JRH would try to cover some of his rage with humor. A thought I had after that recording was JRH does not care about people, but only about the tithing those people pay.

    There is a book I have read that is similar to my thoughts and opinions about Joseph Smith and polygamy, it’s called Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy. I wonder if you know about the book or have read it and what your thoughts about it are.

    Thanks for these podcasts they help me think outside the box and do more research!

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      Elder Holland’s anger is amazing, isn’t it?

      And yes, I am familiar with the book you reference.

      I did a study a bit back to see what the contemporary evidence was of Joseph Smith practicing polygamy, and concluded that taking the contemporary evidence alone, it seemed overwhelming to me that he did.

      In other words, taking out all the late Utah affidavits, the evidence still seems quite persuasive that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.

      I then listened to some scholars on Lindsay Hansen-Park’s “Year of Polygamy” podcast recently discussing the contemporary evidence, and was surprised that there was actually much more than I thought!

      My impression is that those who come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy start with the conclusion that polygamy is an abomination and that Joseph Smith, being a good man, could never have practiced it.

      Starting with this conclusion, the evidence then tends to be read in a selective way to yield the desired result.

      In short, my impression is that those who believe Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy are approaching the subject from a religious rather than a historical methodology.

      I understand that some of my friends have a different opinion, and I am fine with that.

  7. Thank you for the details. Such a mess. I am going through an accelerated eye opening month.
    I prayed to “know the church was true and have a testimony so strong it would be unshakable” as part of my pray to know how to help someone I love who has walked away from the church. Most recently my prayer has been “to find the truth and recognize it”
    This all leaves me frustrated, angry, confused and searching. What do we do now?
    Stay and try to make change from within? Or leave? I don’t know what I believe anymore.
    I don’t trust the leaders. I don’t know what part of our doctrine is true, if any.
    Such a strange place to be, but I know my prayers are being answered.
    I love the music at the end of the programs.
    I will always relate these 3 songs to this faith journey (Daniel, Everybody plays the fool, and Tell me lies).
    I still have genuine respect for brother Uchtdorf and hope he is able to go forward with strength and truth. They say a prophet always comes from the outside. Maybe there is one left there.

    • Hi, Maura!

      Sorry you are going through such a difficult time.

      But these times must come to every Mormon who is eventually going to come to the point where truth is more important to them than blind obedience.

      And that is all for the good. Truth should always be more important than blind obedience.

      And usually those demanding blind obedience from us are not going to be too forthcoming about the truth . . .

      Or at least that has been my experience.

      Thanks so much for listening!

      RFM

  8. Nice job! Your tone and style tends to mirror my own, so I always enjoy listening.

    Is this just speculation about the changes in reporting in 1989ish (children added, more resignations posted) or is it based on something concrete? With that said, I have no reason to dispute it. I don’t think it matters one way or the other. Just curious.

    The Holland performance from Tempe is one of my favorites. I’ve listened to it many times. The thing that strikes me (beyond the content, which you covered nicely) is how much he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. What a show! I used to love seeing them in these less formal meetings, showing a bit of their personality. These guys are rock stars, worshiped whereever they go. They are surrounded by ’yes’ men. They can spew whatever propaganda they want and no one is going fact check them, just nod their heads and say yes. The general church populace eats it up. No judgement here. I used to as well. They know there are no answers to the questions. So they resort to fear and intimidation to keep the base in place.

    My stake was divided about two years ago to form two six unit stakes. No surprise they are redefining growth. Like they have redefined translate and a few other things. I think the measure of growth going forward is temples. “Look at all these temples we’re building…the church is growing.” To me all the temple building (and gutting and rebuilding) is just a place to park the money.

    • One of the things that corroborates the statistic that a huge number of resignations were processed in 1989-90 has to do with the footnote to the April 2015 GC talk by Elder Cook.

      I didn’t get into this because it was “out in the weeds.”

      There is actually a footnote in the Ensign version of Elder Cook’s talk, when he says that members really aren’t leaving in record numbers.

      The footnote says something along the lines of that in the last 25-years, resignations have dropped off.

      It actually mentions 25-years! Why would it say 25-years? Well, it appears Elder Cook spun the statistics this way in order to incorporate the massive processing of resignations in 1989-90 . . . 25-years before he gave his talk in 2015!

      Because it was such a huge number in 1989-90, there have been no subsequent years that have approached that number.

      And this seems to be because the church was holding on to resignation requests for a long period of time when, for some reason, they processed them all in 1989-90.

      So this seems to be the statistic on which Elder Cook is trying to hinge his claim that church resignations have dropped over the past 25-years.

      Elder Cook doesn’t mention any numbers; and he doesn’t mention what happened in 1989-90.

      He just throws it out there in a footnote.

      A footnote that is supposed to support the claim he made.

      But which really is just another example of lies, damn lies and statistics.

      RFM

  9. Hi, Magic Rat!

    If you look at the link provided for the statistics on how 1989 was determined to be the year that the church started counting blessed babies as members, it explains it all there.

    As I said, the church tries to keep such things secret, and so doing statistics in this area is part statistics and part detective work.

    The person who writes that blog does a good job of putting pieces in place and speaking cautiously in terms of possibilities and probabilities; noting where they are getting outside information where it tends to match the statistics they are finding; in other words, trying to corroborate their conclusions.

    It all gets very complicated, and that is one of the reasons I said I didn’t want to get out in the weeds on the statistics and instead referenced interested listeners to that website.

    Thanks for listening!

    RFM

  10. Hey RFM,
    Thanks again for the good thoughts and revealing the truth with common sense and “reason and logic.” I appreciate the time you spend to do these podcasts.
    Listening to the rant by JRH reveals several things to me. First, his words, “..defy that..” said to me that his anger is because he is loosing tithe payers like Jeremy because they are defying the leaders’ all encompassing authority by using their own brains. He likes his followers brainwashed and giving him money. Like the ones without a clue laughing stupidly during his rant. Yuck.

    Second, I read Jeremy’s excommunication transcript. It revealed that after a year of no contact from his SP that suddenly there was urgency requiring an immediate meeting for discipline. When Jeremy asked the SP why the urgency and if it was because Salt Lake had got involved, the SP refused to respond. So, not only did JRH certainly know of Jeremy’s case, he could have been one of the leaders pushing for what happened to Jeremy. Excommunication.

    Third, when JRH states, “the church means everything to me,” I couldn’t help think, but you’re suppose to be a special witness of Christ. That is his calling, his job description, that he willingly made for the rest of his life. Christ is suppose to be everything to him! He didn’t even say Christ’s gospel means everything to me, just the man-made portion (church) of it does. I’ve said for a long time that you can’t get away with being someone you’re not, it eventually comes out. In this case, the truth of where JRH’s heart lies is what came out.

    • Thanks for the insights! I think you may well be right that Elder Holland did not only find out about Jeremy Runnells’ disciplinary hearing after the fact, but may have been involved in pushing it forward in the first place.

      The one thing I think is sure is that Elder Holland was extremely upset that Jeremy had recorded the proceedings and uploaded it to the Internet for everybody to see!

  11. To Maural (above),

    Those who are able to see the truth and willing to live by that knowledge will have their reward. The LDS church is falling and the Church of the Firstborn is about to be created.

    It is the Church of the Firstborn that migrates to Adam-ondi-Ahman after the beginning of the civil war and Passover. This is referenced to some degree in D&C 77:9, 14. The twelve tribes are filled by proxy via Ephraim (The Church of the Firstborn).

    If you do not have your food and water storage then I recommend you get it as soon as possible. My understanding is that we are within the 7 year mark at this time. That is, those going on the exodus will be on their way within 7 years if the prophecy of Ezra’s Eagle in the Apocrypha is understood correctly.

    Hats off to RFM for the beautiful work.

    • Thanks so much for the compliment, Tim.

      But is it just possible we can see history repeating itself . . .?

      • Yes, point well taken. I have been watching since 1992 and have been wrong countless times. Some of my friends have also been off the charts wrong in their analysis and calculations.

        What is clear is the apostasy. I am so happy that you and others have taken the time to share your valuable information. It is truly priceless. Thank you so much.

        I was touched by Maural’s message and hoped to share words of encouragement. We can see these things (the apostasy) by the gift of God. Yes, the LDS church is the Savior’s church and he sent it to the west for peace and security; however, Brigham and the others have been power hungry.

        The key to understanding this might be that the Savior will allow those lying dogs to maneuver among the sheep.

        D&C 1:3, 15-16 states, “And the rebellious (LDS church leaders) shall be pierced with much sorrow for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops and their secret acts shall be revealed.”

        “They have strayed from mine ordinances and have broken mine everlasting covenant;”

        “They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness but every man walketh in his own way after the image of his own god whose image is in the likeness of the world and whose substance is that of an idol which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon even Babylon the great (capitalism) which shall fall.”

        Thus, the church leaders are filthy rich and as their sin is revealed to the world the end of Babylon is near.

        The most devastating verse is perhaps 14 that tells us those saints who do not hear the message of the apostasy “shall be cut off.”

  12. RFM,

    I appreciate your efforts in providing a excellent podcast for us. I’ve been waiting forever for this podcast episode to release; it was worth it in every way! Thank you for providing all the resources in your notes, and being an amazing support for me.

    As I was listening to this podcast, my wife walked in just as J.R.H. was giving his mean-spirited talk. She claimed it was anti-mormon BullS*** and was furious that I was listening to such a thing. Hopefully there is a day in the future where she can listen to your talks unimpeded.

    Hope to hear more from you soon. Any teasers for upcoming episodes??

    Your friend, u/downaletter

    • Hi, Downaletter!

      I am sorry your wife thinks the words of an apostle of Jesus Christ are anti-Mormon BullS***.

      But I sort of agree with her.

      The most damning evidence against the LDS Church tends to come out of the mouths of its own leaders.

  13. RFM – Great series. I noticed you didn’t mention changes to ward size as a contributing factor. I seem to remember (but can’t find it right now) seeing a slide recently from the Church (maybe from MormonLeaks?) showing a comparison of Ward size with Sacrament Meeting attendance rates, and some discussion about this online that this had been a reason why wards too had been being reorganized into smaller units. This would have a significant compounding effect with the decrease in numbers of wards per stake to help inflate the “strength” of LDS church growth.

    Also, thanks for including the audio of the JRH “taffy-pull” talk… I’d read transcripts but don’t think I ever remember listening to it when it came out. Totally different feel to it.
    And the total fabrications he had on the numbers of new stakes… just crazy in this day and age when someone in the audience could literally have fact checked that kind of thing on the spot… even from a believing perspective (“ooh, awesome! I wonder where all those new stakes are!!! hmmm…. can’t seem to find them… uh… zero?”)

    On a side note, I feel you were being too harsh and even disingenuous with your rant on counting babies as members… I mean, did they do it to cover the sudden spike in resignations? Probably. Is that somehow the same as baptizing them, invoking the prophet Mormon’s wrath? Nope… that’s a total non sequitur.

    1 – Baptism of Infants implies rejection of the atonement, etc from Moro 8.
    2 – The LDS church views baptism as (among other things) the means by which one joins the church officially.
    3 – Being counted on the records of the Church is equivalent (in the eyes of the Church, or God, or anyone really) as having been baptized.
    4 – Counting unbaptised children as members implies rejection. of the atonement/etc..

    #3 just doesn’t follow from 1 and 2, so #4 is absurd. I think we can all agree that the church doesn’t consider those “counted” children baptized, i.e. not needing to be baptized when they turn 8.

    I love listening to your podcast… I just hate when you go places there’s no reason to go. There’s plenty there to criticize without this type of game, and it means there are fewer people in my life I’m able to share your work with, because you’ll just come across as Angry/Anti… can’t listen to anything he says.

    • Thanks for the comments!

      I will tell you, though, that no matter how “Angry/Anti” I may sound, I am not fit to black the boots of Elder Holland!

  14. And as to you comment about my argument regarding infant baptism, I may have been “harsh” but I was certainly not being “disingenuous.”

    When the LDS Church has so strident a position on the subject of infant baptism, and where the LDS Church says that a person is made a member only through the ordinance of baptism, I do think that suddenly counting infants as members is perilously close to denying their own doctrines.

    I don’t think I said it any harsher than that, did I?

    ;^)

  15. A church architect who redesigned the MTC found the finished room in the basement of the MTC prior to the design work and found it odd. It was in an area that was passed pipes and an area missionaries would not have access too. It is entered FROM THE CAFETERIA!

    When this architect heard the tape of the MTC President, they knew that the allegations were true because no missionary would have known about the room.

    The archetict is willing to talk. I have their info if you want.

    • That would be an interesting confluence of stories, wouldn’t it?

      The story from Joseph Bishop about the room being “off the cafeteria” with Sister X’s version about the room being in the basement.

      Do you know if that room is still there after the new design work?

      I would be happy to talk to the architect. Can you pass any contact info through Bill Reel?

      Sorry. The difficulties of being anonymous and everything.

      Thanks for the intel!

    • Just thinking about this a bit. If the intel from the architect is correct, then is the anonymous former BYU-Employee who came forward last Thursday correct about saying that the room could be accessed only by passing through more than one locked door?

    • One last comment, Timothy.

      You may have meant to post this comment under the new episode that came out today.

  16. Looks like the 15 stake weekly growth is the reason why they just announced the combining High Priests and Elders. That’s what we do in our branch when we have low numbers

  17. RFM – As always, your podcasts are amazing and I want to thank you for all the work you put into them.

    I have a question – do we know when the Church implemented the 110 yr old policy for membership retention? It seems to me like this could HIGHLY inflate the membership numbers over time. Also, do we have statistics on convert retention? I’ve heard 25%, but have nothing to back that up.

    Almost all other religions give membership numbers based on attendance. This is a much more realistic measure of the “health” of a Church. Convert retention is also a key indicator. Essentially, the Church gives us “fluff” numbers in the statistical report. The meaningful numbers are locked away somewhere…

  18. I used to work with my Stake in processing the Address Unknown files and we would have to try and locate “lost sheep”. Church HQ in Europe went to considerable expense to try and find a lot of these people through public records and so we had lots of names enter our wards that way, even though they didn’t tell the church they had moved. I believe that although they may count a member as a member until they are 100+ years old (was that the age you mentioned?) but I also understood that if they found matches of members of record of people that had died in the same way they found their addresses, they would update the records (including deaths) accordingly. I could be wrong about that, but that was my understanding of the process; that they did make an effort of some kind to remove deceased persons names.

  19. So this happened this week.

    https://ldschurchtemples.org/statistics/units/

    Another attempt to control the growth narrative? Probs.

    Plus, on the temple district page for each temple, you used to be able to click on each stake to see the individual units in that stake. No more…that functionality is gone now too.

  20. Love your work RFM! Have you ever thought of starting your own blog in addition to your podcast?

    I’ve seen some online pieces out there written by someone who seems to have your flavor, but haven’t seen any further online postings by this author in a long time 😉

    Your perspectives are a guiding light these days and I’d love to have more!

  21. Breddernsisters, I testify that what we are now witnessing is a stone rolling backwards, up a hill, to fill a gap in a mountain… without hands.

    InnanamaJesusCries, Amen

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