February 27, 2020

When counting Mormons is as difficult as counting Jews

Since today is Super Bowl Sunday , I had plenty of time to blog after church (never seen a game, never will). This week is when Mormon bishops worldwide have to send a report to Church headquarters that declares the tithing status of each member of their wards (congregations) for last year. Every member is listed as either full-tithe payer, partial-tithe payer, non-tithe payer, or exempt (e.g., missionaries). Every member with an income is expected to tithe 10% of it to the church, and each member needs to be accounted for in the report. Members are supposed to meet with their bishop at the end of the year to declare their tithing status, but most do not. There are 648 members on my ward’s roster, and our tithing report was 12 pages long.

Since our average Sunday church attendance is around 130 souls, that means that there are around 500 members in my ward boundaries who either seldom or never come to church. In light of this depressing reality, I admire someone like Professor Ira Sheskin, an expert in finding and reaching out to Jews through phone surveys.