The Mormons

The following perspective on Mormonism was written 20 years ago for Forward in Christ, the official magazine of WELS, by Rev. Roland Ehlke.

Americans love a success story. And few rags to riches stories can match the rise of the Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). This home grown religion is multiplying by huge leaps. The LDS church's daily income is $4 million (1987 figure). And thanks to a highly successful media campaign, the church projects an image of almost perfect, clean-living families and freshly scrubbed, dedicated young missionaries in white shirts and black ties.

Mormon growth

Few, if any, American-based churches even come close to the accelerated growth of the LDS church. Every day two new chapels go up somewhere in the world and every two minutes one new member is baptized.

Founded in 1830, it took the church 117 years to reach one million members (1947). In the 43 years since then, the church has grown to seven million. The following figures represent the largest Mormon group, based in Salt Lake City; they are enough to make any evangelism-minded church member drool:

Year Membership
1949 1.08 million
1959 1.62 million
1969 2.81 million
1979 4.40 million
1989 7.00 million

Over 40,000 Mormon missionaries carry their gospel to more than 50 countries worldwide. Young Mormons dedicate two years to such activities; older Mormon couples give three years. (The Mormon missionary force is 79 percent young men; 13 percent young women; 8 percent couples.)

While some Mormon growth comes from such activities, a few other facts help put this in perspective. In recent years Mormon growth in the U.S. has slowed, thanks in part to a deluge of Bible-based, Christian material exposing the true nature of Mormonism. It now takes more man-hours, money and PR for each new American convert. Only about one in a thousand knocks at the door results in a conversion.

Yet the church continues to expand through rapid overseas growth and through "obstetrical evangelism." Mormons are known for their large families, surpassing Roman Catholics in the average number of children.

Mormonism gains converts best where its true nature is least known. Although it often comes across as another Christian denomination, the LDS church is really a pagan cult. This may be one reason that Mormon missionaries don't discuss some of the unique doctrines of their religion until after numerous visits.

LDS teachings and practices

Beneath the clean-cut, all-American exterior of Mormonism lies a Satanic set of doctrines. A few examples make this clear.