Church Growth seen as an Indicator of the Divinity of the LDS movement

Membership statistics from http://www.fullerconsideration.com/membership.php



Membership Statistics
Around 1980, a number of church leaders expressed the belief that the LDS church was growing rapidly and that this growth was an indication that the movement was true and lead by the divine. In this post, we attempt to supply the reader with these quotes for reference. The vast majority of these claims were made during a 2 year window (1979-1980). They may have been repeated on a local level, but not at a church-wide meeting since this time.

Here are the quotes:

1970

Gordon B. Hinckley – Apostle

The days of which our forebears spoke are upon us. These are days of prophecy fulfilled; and I, with you, am grateful to be alive and a part of this vibrant, marvelous work which is affecting for good so many people in so many parts of the world.

This growth is not a victory of men; it is a manifestation of the power of God. I hope we shall never be proud or boastful concerning it. I pray that we shall ever be humble and grateful.[1]

1979

Spencer W. Kimball

In the decade of the seventies, we have seen great strides in the growth of the Church. The Lord continues to bless his Church, and this growth will accelerate in the future.[2]

1980

David B. Haight – Apostle

The motivating force behind the sustaining and vigorous growth of the Church is that it is true. It is God’s plan.[3]

Ezra Taft Benson – Senior Apostle

That the Church of Jesus Christ would have an inconspicuous beginning and then enjoy phenomenal growth was likewise predicted. Jesus used the comparison of the small mustard seed to describe the early beginning of His church. But eventually, He declared, that insignificant seed would become a great tree and many would find refuge in its branches (see Matt. 13:31–32).[4]

James E. Faust – Apostle

Why does this church grow and flourish? It does so because of divine direction to the leaders and members.

…Why has this Church grown so dramatically over these 150 years? Why does it continue to grow at an ever-increasing pace? It does so in large measure because of divine revelation and inspiration.[5]

Bruce R. McConkie – Apostle

But amid it all, the work of the Lord rolls on. The gospel is preached and the witness is born. The elect of God forsake the traditions of their fathers and the ways of the world. The kingdom grows and prospers, for the Lord is with his people

Truly the world is and will be in commotion, but the Zion of God will be unmoved. The wicked and ungodly shall be swept from the Church, and the little stone will continue to grow until it fills the whole earth.[6]

2014

Deiter Uchtdorf – First Presidency

There will be times when it may appear that things are going badly for the truth of God—that the evidence of the world contradicts God’s utterances. For my part, I have learned to be patient, knowing that in the end things will work out. God’s kingdom will continue to grow. (It is his work, he will succeed).[7] The truth will continue to flourish and spread throughout the earth. Sometimes all it takes is a little faith and a little (more) patience.  (Stay calm, and carry on. That is good council at times.)

In general, discussions about the “Growth of the church” in general conference have decreased over the last several decades.

Usage of the term “Growth of the Church” in General Conference

[1] 1970, Hinkley.  https://archive.org/stream/improvementera7306unse/improvementera7306unse_djvu.txt

[2] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1979/04/applying-the-principles-of-welfare-services?lang=eng

[3] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/he-is-not-here-he-is-risen?lang=eng

[4] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/a-marvelous-work-and-a-wonder?lang=eng

[5] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/communion-with-the-holy-spirit?lang=eng

[6] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/the-coming-tests-and-trials-and-glory?lang=eng

[7] Uchtdorf in 2014 – https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/transcript-president-uchtdorf-addresses-church-history-symposium#_edn20 and https://youtu.be/4rc5GyF5i3Y?t=39m40s

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