As part of a larger study on religious values, diversity, and immigration, the Public Religion Research Institute released an infographic which shows the age range of religious affiliations throughout America. Concerning the infographic, Tony Jones in his blog post on Patheos titled “Bye-Bye Millenials” stated,

Here, in living color, we see the church’s failure to engage an entire generation.

You’ll notice that it [the infographic] also undermines the evangelical claim that they’re doing better with younger generations than progressive Christians. You’ll see that’s not true. In fact, the evangelical drop is more precipitous than the mainline drop — they’ve also got further to fall. [1]

Evangelicals Experience Decrease, Other Faiths Witness Increase in Number of Millenials

LDS Singles GroupWhile the evangelicals may be experiencing a decrease in the retention rate of the younger generations, other Christian groups are maintaining their numbers, and even in some cases, are increasing in the number of members of their congregations who are a part of the younger generations. Jana Riess in her article, “Mormons gaining ground in the 18 to 29 age group,” commented, “Black Protestants are holding steady; nonwhite Catholics are exploding; and Mormons (of all ethnicities combined) have moved from a 2% share in the 65+ age group to a 3% share among that generation’s grandkids.” [2] She also carefully notes that one of the main differences between Mormonism and other mainline religious groups is that the trend of disaffiliation within Mormonism often occurs later than sooner in life.

Why Mormons Tend to Remain True to the Faith

Mormon Family Attending ChurchThere are several reasons why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently referred to as the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) do not disaffiliate until later in life, if they disaffiliate at all. Perhaps one of the main reasons is the strong emphasis that is placed on the importance of family in the LDS faith. Whereas in some other faiths it may be more prevalent for either the younger generation to attend church alone, or have only a few of the family members who attend church regularly, Latter-day Saint families are very close knit and not only attend Sunday services as a family, but also participate in many Church activities as a family. Because of that strong family unity and a devotion to their faith, they are less likely to disaffiliate at an early age, although there are some who do.

Mormon Missionary MilestonesIn her article, Riess cites that the “fresh influx of tens of thousands of young Mormon missionaries, both men and women, due to changes to the missionary program of The Church of Jesus Christ in October 2012 which lowered the age requirements for service, may be another reason that the LDS Church is able to increase its number of Millennials. By August 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ had announced that there were 75,000 young men and young women serving full-time missions. In October 2013, the number of full-time missionaries worldwide had increased to more than 80,000, indicating an increase of 22,000 from October 2012. That dramatic influx of new missionaries led to the opening of 58 new missions (there are now a total of 405 missions), and also prompted the opening of a Missionary Training Center in Mexico.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that family, faith, prayer, devotion, and service are essential for their spiritual progression. Parents instill these principles into the hearts of their children – those of the rising generations – in hopes that they will never stray from the path that leads to eternal life. By so doing, The Church of Jesus Christ is able to continually witness an increase in the retention of Millenials.

About Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.

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