Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Growth of the Church in Brazil

Brazil Growth Comparisons

The seeds from which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil grew sprouted in Germany, not Brazil and the first missionaries arrived from Salt Lake City via Buenos Aires to teach a minority immigrant group in a language foreign to Brazil.  The German migration to Argentina and Brazil following WWI included LDS families.  In 1923 Wilhelm Friedrich and Emile Hoppe arrived in Buenos Aires and as members began preaching the gospel.  They reported their success and concerns to the First Presidency by letter and asked for missionaries because brother Friedrich, the only Priesthood holder, was a Deacon and did not have the authority to baptize his daughter or the investigators they had found.  (Historical information from “Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land “ by Cannon and Cowan.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Languages Spoken by Missionaries

Languages by area

I have added a new variable to my YouTube data, language.  It is an interest part of the mission call and as I have listened to many videos I have come to realize that the Church’s effort to reach minority communities is vast and extends beyond the United States.  I have found that the YouTube data to be fairly reliable but it does have a weakness.  Nearly all posting are by young men and women whose native language is English.   

The graph “Languages by Area” shows the percentage of calls in seven major languages by the areas used by the Church to report demographic statistics with one exception.  I separate data for the United States from the rest of North America.  I have 103 observations, mostly from May and more assignments have been issued to missions in the United States (52%) than in previous three months (34%).  As an aside, the same pattern existed last year. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Evangelical View of the LDS Missionary Surge

Matthew 7: 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals are brothers and sisters in the Christian faith.  There are differences in our theologies that are real.  We call these differences additional light and truth; Evangelicals call them misinterpretations of the gospel.  Let us not exaggerate the differences.  I believe that individuals would be happier, families stronger and the nation more prosperous if all professing to be followers of Christ followed with more faith.

In a mostly flattering article (“What Can Christians Learn From the Surge in Mormon Youth Missionaries?”) written in three parts by Greg Stier, John Divito and Kara Powell about Latter-day Saint youth and their response to President Monson’s announcement lowering that age of missionary service.  The article note the high level of commitment of LDS youth compared to Evangelical youth.  Greg Stier writes

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Wait to Enter the Mission Training Center

Does the length of time between the date a missionary receives a call and the report date to the MTC vary by the country assigned?  Yes! 

Because all missionaries must buy roughly the same clothing, know the same scriptures, etc., the difference in the preparation period is probably due to the length of time needed to acquire a visa. My data source is YouTube posts made in 2013 of future missionaries opening their calls.  There were 707 posts.  The three countries with the longest preparation period are Brazil (133 days), New Zealand (131 days) and Australia (128 days), and the shortest period, the Philippines, (82 days), the USA (85 days), and South Korea (94 days). 

The preparation time for missionaries assigned to the United States acts like a control.  Because most YouTube videos are posted by missionaries living in the United States, and they will not require a visa to serve, missionaries assigned to the United States should have a short preparation period and it does.  Only missionaries assigned to the Philippines have a shorter wait. 

The following table contains the shows the number of countries to which at least ten missionaries were called, the number of calls to that country and the preparation period.


Number of Observations

Days of Preparation

























New Zealand












South Korea






United Kingdom



United States



Monday, May 13, 2013

April Update on Missionary Calls Posted to YouTube

2013 April YouTube Callings

This post updates findings on missionary calls using YouTube videos to track changes in the size and composition of the missionary force as our youth respond to President Monson’s October 2012 announcement that the Church was changing the age requirements for missionary service. The graph, “Mission Calls Posted to YouTube,” separates the calls to young women and men from November 2011 to April 2013.  In April, the total number of posted calls reached 199; 61.3% of posted calls were to young men and 38.7, to young women.  The number of calls to both groups initially climbed and appears to have plateaued.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Every generation presents obstacles to parents who attempt to raise their children to be faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to the leaders of the church that provide community support to parents and preach the gospel.  Generally, these obstacles are shared by other Christian denominations and religions.  Secularism is a current challenge.

The Pew Institute reports (“Nones” on the Rise”) that 20% of Americans and 33% of Americans who under thirty have no religious affiliation.  Many of the non-religiously affiliated or nones report some religious or spiritual practice such as a belief in God (68%) or daily prayer (21%).  Most believe that churches benefit society by strengthening communities and aiding the poor.  They are not interested in becoming affiliated, viewing organized religions as too concerned with money, political influence and behavioral rules and they are decidedly more secular than the religiously affiliated. 

In a thought provoking article, Rod Dreher (“Sex After Christianity”) describes a battle between cosmologies, differing theories on the natural order of the universe.  Christian cosmology which holds that God and his commandments, particularly in regards to sex, dictate that people restrict their behavior, not because it is good for them but because it is right and good for society dominated European belief for centuries.  Beginning with the Enlightenment, a new cosmology has made inroads against the old.  The modern views an individual’s desires as central to self-definition.  They are polar opposites.  Whereas the Christian seeks sexual fulfillment by restraint, the modern finds fulfillment in sexual expression.