In a recent press release, the LDS Church leadership (or at least its PR staff) acknowledges the growing problem of Millenials dropping away from organized religion. Not necessarily from spirituality, but from the formal institutions.
The release proposed one possible solution to this exodus. Extensive use social media.
The press release quotes Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from a speech he gave at Brigham Young University in August 2014.
I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth — messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy — and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.
I disagree with the emphasis of Elder Bednars message. Simply spamming the social media world isn’t really a useful solution. What is a viable solutions is developing a message that resonates with existing and future members. I would suggest that it is the message not the method of delivery.
Social media is obviously an important technology to broadcast the message, but it is more important to have a message that’s relevant to the 21st century. The current emphasis on the following is misplaced:
- Obsession with LBGTQ issues. Continuing to hammer on them is driving young members away in droves and making missionary work more difficult in areas like western Europe.
- Concentration on the trivialities of the Word of Wisdom. Consideration should be given to a message like “moderation in all things.”
- Emphasizing the dead over the living. Soon over half of the membership will be living in developing countries. Let’s figure out how to do more for member living in difficult situations around the world.
- Not emphasizing the true message of Christ enough: helping your neighbor.
The LDS Church needs younger leaders who understand the issues that burn in the hearts of younger (and older) members. Until that happens, youthful members will continue to gravitate toward the “nones.”