People are often intrigued by the Mormon “missionaries”, those young pups who go around calling themselves “Elder”, daily keeping a shine on the image of the Mormon Church. In the latest of our 21 Questions we address the question many ask; why do they do it?
As before, we will look at the questions (Q) and answers (A) with comments (C) and any quotes (Qu.)
Q: Why do Mormons go from door to door?
A: Christ admonished his disciples to take the gospel to the world. The Church follows that admonition and sends missionaries throughout the world.
C: So much might be said about mission and Mormonism. The Mormon missionary programme is youth-based and might be said to be a youth programme as much as anything.
It is not especially effective with recent convert growth at a modest 2-3% per annum and over 300 Proselyting hours per convert, a retention rate of some 20-30% and missionary numbers dropping by up to 14% in the first decade of the 21st Century.
The average activity rate worldwide is no more than 35% and approximately 1million members are awaiting confirmation of resignation at any given time. The average growth in the UK is 1.55% and attendance 30%. Mormon missionaries are a good shop window however.
It is a church led by old men; their latest president, Thomas S Monson, is the first to have been born after the war – the First World War that is. They are ultra-conservative and, for all their claim to be prophetic in ministry, they look to the past much of the time. This contrasts sharply with the image they strive to convey through their missionary force, comprised almost entirely of 19-21-year-olds.
Mormons do not operate missions other than where there is already an established Christian, especially Evangelical presence. They cannot be said to break new ground and much of what they do simply duplicates work already established by larger, older and Christian missions.
Christian missions will open doors and Mormons walk through them. Christian missions establish a presence and the good will of the community and Mormons trade on that good will. Christianity builds a house and Mormonism moves in. In this respect Mormonism can truly be said to be parasitic.