Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Impact of Government Corruption on Church Growth


Hylton, Rodionova and Deng published an enlightening paper entitled “Church and State: An Economic Analysis” (American Law and Economics Review, V13, N2, 2011) that examines consequences of regulation, taxation and subsidization of religion on a country’s level of corruption, economic growth and income inequality.  In part, their abstract reads

The results suggest that laws and practices burdening religion enhance corruption. Laws burdening religion reduce economic growth and are positively associated with inequality.

I will describe their paper in more detail in a future post but now I would like to focus on a similar question.  What is the impact of corruption on the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Growth is measured by the increase in the number of members between 20012 and 2011.  The data on corruption was provided by Transparency International and their 2012 index is reproduced in the world map, “Corruption Index by Country.”  The higher the index, the lower the level of corruption.  Graphically, the darker the blue, the less corrupt the government.  The colors move from blue to green, then yellow, brown and red.  Red also represents missing data.  The corruption index did not include Greenland, South Sudan, Western Sahara, and French Guiana. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dallin Oaks on Social Trends

Total Fertility Rate


At General Conference in October 2013 Dallin Oaks gave what many regard as a controversial talk due to his restatement of the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on gay marriage.  The Church views homosexual sex as sin like any other sexual act outside the bonds of marriage.  This position closes the door to “God approved” sexual fulfillment of same sex attraction and defines much of the conflict between the traditional Christian and secularist view on sexuality.  Traditional Christians believe that joy is the result of individuals subordinating personal desires to God by obeying His commandments whereas secularists believe that joy is the product of self-expression.  Conflicting visions strain friendly discussion.1