This is a guest post by S. Stevenson (a pseudonym).
Recently, people who support the Church have been pointing out that there has not been an exodus of members leaving.
These people are widely lampooned and pilloried by the NOM and Dehlinite crowds and those who have degrees in religious statistics from the University of Reddit. The various disaffected groups are up in arms about the change in policy toward people with same-sex attraction, which became public in November 2015. They are desperate for any signs that people are leaving the church in droves and are hoping that sooner or later the Brethren must take notice of their disaffection and change the policy.
Now this may be hard to believe because you don’t know me from Adam and I’m writing under a pseudonym, but this is to protect a somewhat delicate source that I have within the Church Administration Building. Someone who is intimately familiar with the number of resignation letters they receive (they read them all), but who also knows the number of rebaptism applications they receive.
Now given the fanfare and magnification that social media provides, one would be tempted to assume that the resignations outnumber the rebaptism applications. This is simply not so. My source told us over family dinner one Sunday that the perception that social media gives about the “exodus” is simply not representative of the Church not just globally but even within the US.
The number of folks applying for rebaptism far and away outnumbers the resignation requests. In fact going further, there have been some that resigned in the post “policy” fallout have since requested rebaptism and expressed sorrow for their hasty actions.
But why don’t we hear of these rebaptisms? Well for one they don’t make like Dehlin, Kelly, and Runnels, and alert the media they want back in. They don’t create viral tirades and blog posts announcing their rekindled love for the church. These are humble quiet affairs that aren’t announced and aren’t made a spectacle for all to see.
So when the Brethren stand up and say the Church is going strong, it isn’t blown smoke, it isn’t them simply attempting to assuage fears, it actually comes from a knowledge and understanding of what is occurring for the Church and being able to see the whole picture, not just the magnified parts from the Bloggernacle and social media.
Sometimes we have a tendency to get wrapped up in what we constantly see, especially what we see and witness in social media, but we need to remember that these things aren’t representative of the larger sampling of the populace. Millions of people go about their lives without broadcasting their thoughts, feelings and every action across social platforms.
As for the other example of if enough people become disaffected the Church will be forced to change, well that was answered years ago by Elder Bruce R. McConkie when he said “The caravan rolls on…”
The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.
What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travelers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.
Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.
Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on.
Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on!