SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is losing a record number of its membership. A new report quotes an LDS general authority who said more members are falling away today than any time in the past 175 years.
At meetings like General Conference, Utahns may be used to seeing members of the LDS Church show up in record numbers. But according to a recent Reuters article citing LDS General Authority Marlin K. Jensen, for the church as a whole, the record in going in a different direction.
Elder Jensen told the news outlet times have changed, and "attrition has accelerated in the last five or 10 years." Some church members ABC 4 talked to said they see the faithful leaving.
"I'm from Chile and a lot of people just stop attending, they take it a little bit too casual," said Francisco Jerez, LDS Church member.
So how bad is it getting? Right now there are more than 14 million members of the church worldwide. But according to the article, sociologists estimate active membership may as few as only five million.
Elder Jensen told Reuters that's the biggest departure since before the days of Brigham Young.
"If people are leaving it's really a mark that maybe we need to get deeper into our faith," said Ross Booth, LDS Church member.
"When life is going good and we don't have as many challenges we don't turn to God," said Babbi Hill, LDS Church member.
These members said it doesn't worry them about the church.
"I know the church is going to continue to grow and develop," said Booth.
But it is a wake up call to be their brother's keeper.
"It does come down to us as members of the church to do our part," said Jerez.
And LDS leaders are hoping they bring their friends back.
The LDS church declined to comment on the article. But Elder Jensen told Reuters, the church is attempting to reach out to the less-active church members, update its manuals on sensitive church doctrines, and improve the amount of accurate information about the church on the internet.
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