Official statistics are hard to come by, but it has become clear over the past several years that Mormonism is seeing many of its 18- to 30-year-olds reduce their participation in the church or leave the faith altogether. Two recent actions confirm this trend and reveal the church’s initial responses in trying to stem the tide. First, in an effort to better track singles and help them feel connected to a local unit by providing new opportunities for callings and meeting other singles without “ward hopping,” the church has disbanded Utah student wards and reorganized them into singles wards in all-single stakes. And second, because it seems to recognize that it meets the needs of families better than it does singles, it has begun re-emphasizing the counsel for young adults to not delay marriage, to not be afraid of finding a worthy partner and starting a family right away even if this means possibly experiencing financial and other struggles not faced by those who delay marriage and children until after completing school or professional training.
In this podcast, host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Joanna Brooks, Tresa Edmunds, and Jared Anderson explore this issue of a church seemingly in danger of losing a generation of young people. Why are today’s youth failing to feel connected to the church in the way members of earlier generations were? What has shifted in society, and the experiences and mindsets of today’s “Millennial” generation? Can this exit trend be slowed or stopped—and if so, how? The panel even discusses “s-s-sex” a little bit at the end (inside joke for regular Mormon Matters listeners). This podcast contains no final “answers,” but it sure is a lively discussion! After listening, we hope you’ll join in the conversation below!