In the latest episode of Mormon Stories Podcast, Marco Meiling, active and believing LDS church member in the Netherlands, reports on the beginning of a major contraction of the LDS Church in Europe. Mark Johnson from the U.K. also joins, along with listener questions and comments from around the world — all confirming a global trend towards decline and consolidation outside of Utah and the developing world.
From Marco’s original message to me:
Have you heard yet about a big push to consolidate the units in Europe?
We are having closing after closing being announced. Yesterday a closing was announced, and the Stake President stated there are 800 units in Europe which are considered too weak and would need to merge. We have 1163 units in Western Europe according to Cumorah.com.
Holland with 34 wards will close 5 at least this year. In Holland the Church is phasing out all wards which don´t have a purpose-built Chapel.
Temple-attendance here is down 60% compared to 2000. However the amount of recommend holders went up 200%. So what do we make of this? A temple is a way for the Church to increase revenue. So even with less people, the Church can make a higher turnover.
The main reason given is that these units are too weak to run programmes aimed at the youth. and small units demand too much from the few members. Research has shown that people and families benefit form larger wards, and families are less burdened. That why the policy direction. Of course the longer travel will cause problems for some menbers. Assistance will be needed.