According to some, Millennials are leaving the LDS Church in large numbers. How different the numbers are to past generations is never explored. One hint to exaggeration is how high the retention rate remains compared to other similar religious organizations. Probably even more problematic is the focus on the United States, hardly the last place humans exist. By many counts other countries are expanding in number of Mormons, or at least remaining level. The building of Temples and meeting houses testifies to the strengths. They cost money and are dependent on how many members are active. Certainly there are places that are struggling, but many times this is more than offset by the growth of other areas.
Still, there are challenges for the younger generation that haven’t existed to the same extent before. As is usually the case, cultural forces prose a threat to faith. The biggest concern is the rise of “Nones” who reject organized religion in favor of whatever they consider more important. Often times its hard to know what reasons they have, because they are both diverse and not quick to give explanations.
Working off of responses to Calling All Millennials by taking them seriously, the future doesn’t look too bright. In fact, the hope is these are not actually representative. Assuming they are, then civilization itself in in danger of falling apart. It is perhaps the most “look at me, what about me” generation that has ever existed. Social Media has not alleviated the suspicion the future is filled with selfish and shallow people. They have always existed, but the numbers who are influencing the rest of society is growing.
Some representative comments include:
Religion, especially Christianity, traditionally focused on a solution to being lost or sinful. Yet it’s those concerns of sin and alienation from God that also just don’t seem to be a drive with more and more people.
This is backed up with:
Ideology, we don’t really see ourselves as fundamentally flawed/broken/sinful people in need of salvation. I don’t really know what seeing myself as a “child of God” is supposed to practically mean. We may have problems or issues, but they don’t seem like issues in need of divine assistance. It seems like issues we can work out among ourselves . . .
After making a troubling list of grievances, Greg in the comments said:
Finally, I disagree with Clark who says you can’t have a growing church and a challenging one. You simply have to let go of the idea that it’s the role of the institution to make things challenging for believers. Believers should be the ones who rise to greater and greater challenges of their own free will and choice. In the Mormon church you’re either all in or all out, but it’s possible to provide different levels and opportunities for people who are in different places in their lives.
What impression comes out of this is not too kind. Millennials are lazy, self-important, anti-social, know it all’s who don’t take personal responsibility. This generation has become sociopaths bent on destroying all that is good. Harsh conclusion I know, but even they sometimes recognize how out in left field things have become. Continue reading