Once there were Mormons.

Many years ago, in 1960, a young scholar, Jan Shipps, discovered a previously unknown ethnic group “the Mormons” in the wilds between the Midwest of Chicago and the West of California.

Created hundreds of years sooner than any other ethnic groups have ever formed due to the sequela of polygamy, they had a religious element but only 10% of them were active in the religion.

The group was unique in that you could join it rather than have to be born into it.

“Mormonism” was a high demand and high reward entity. It had a rich family, cultural and social environment.

Financially the institutional side was break even and often stressed.

At the same time, many of the leaders knew how to minister, even if they did not administer precisely or with great skill. Claims of authority were off-set by the way everyone knew each other and a doctrine and practice that rejected infallibility.

Service in the hierarchy was a sacrifice and a number of people turned down the call.

That legacy has passed into history and Mormons are no more.

Instead of an extended family there is now a church. While there are some who can minister, the hierarchy is chosen for ability to administer and for self-referential social connections.

It is now an expensive and high demand religion with a low return for the average member. For the hierarchy instead of great sacrifice required to serve in the leadership it offers the men involved a very high return.

Outside of a core group in each congregation (known as “the same twenty people” or “the same five families”) there is no rich or rewarding social milieu or socialization for members.

Church members receive just two hours of bland meetings a week and a chance to give janitorial service and sustain the same twenty people as they rotate positions.

At stake and general conferences, it is not unusual for sermons to contain a significant amount of context about social and family relationships between leaders. Such a focus can be interpreted as if the true concerns of the leadership is on their own social connections and position rather than on anything related to God.

The top leadership, a quasi-ethnic group of its own with many daughters’ husbands and sisters’ sons, has a rich financial and social interconnection that is not extended outwards to the common members.

The church is finally wealthy.

But there are no more Mormons.

What do you think?

  • What has replaced the extended family that the Church once offered?
  • Are “Mormons” now extinct?
  • What does a member now receive for their tithing compared to what the Church used to offer?
  • Where does the Church go now?