As a guy who has been oddly interested in religion (but not interested enough to join a church) - don't all faiths evolve? All theologies change over time, churches generally grow closer together and get more accepted. OK this is a generalization and you can easily find a "counter example".
Over time the LDS will grow closer to mainline denominations and will creep away from beliefs that separate them from others. At some point, the Mormons will be no different from Methodists.
Just as Catholics from 1912 would not recognize the Catholic church today, just as ministers from mainline denominations from 1912 would not be comfortable in their churches today - in the future the LDS church will always be here but will be indistinguishable from Episcopalians and Baptists.
I believe you are right on the money. I did not expect this response right off the bat. I think Mormonism will become less distinguishable form other churchs in time. When I was a boy Jospeh Smith was the accented fountainhead of member consciousness. It was like fifteen years ago they started moving Jesus forward even changing the name "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints" to larger font where before Jesus Christ was the same print size. You hit the nail on the head. It is a slow erosion. Thanks for the comment.
"Over time the LDS will grow closer to mainline denominations".....
well personally I feel as long as JS is the nucleus of the church's belief they will remain "different". Take JS out of the equation and I might agree with you about growing closer to mainline denominations. It would literally take a denouncement of JS and the supposed gold plates.... and we all know that isn't going to happen.
Oh wow. What an interesting thing. Methodists accepting Joseph Smith. What ya been smoking today? And Baptists? I'm a universalist, but attend a Presbyterian church because it's so stinking liberal it's really fun, and I love their social justice stance, and I can tell you right here and now, Baptists would kill themselves before they would move towards a reformed denomination. They'd move towards charismatic perhaps, but the reformed churched baptize their infants, and shit almighty, find me a Baptist who's gonna do that. Or a Mormon for that matter. I don't like it, so I ignore it, because I have too many other things in common. And I personally don't believe baptism is necessary for anyone.
Besides continuing to become more mainstream, I think Mormonism, along will all religion, will be mostly dead in about 100 years. Science will continue to find answers to life and the universe, and each new generation will question religion more until believers will probably be only 1% of the number they are now.
Of course, I could be way wrong. It could take 1000 or more years instead of 100. Unlike myself, a lot of people seem to desire mystery, fantasy, magic, and woo in their lives.
History is not on your side! Religion has been around as long as people have been self aware. It has evolved - fewer people pray to trees and rocks today. Though some still do! Science answers many questions but cannot answer "why are we here?".
How many types of eagles are there? Many. How many types of cats? Many. Evolution has produced many answers to each niche in the environment.
It is sort of odd that one type of intelligent life did not evolve in Asia and one in North America (for example). There should either be many types of intelligent life or none.
That fact alone does not REQUIRE a creator but, to me, leaves the door wide open.
Religion, worship to a god or king-god has been with man since recorded time and before. There will always be those who prefer hope over truth and those that will testify to the other world because of the tricks the mind can play on some.
Religion has a tendency to grow via breakaways from another group. The rare times it is extinguished is usually due to the man with a bigger stick that has the power to say convert from your religion to mine or die. The Catholics wiped out all pagan and counter Christian thought in the west and the Middle East until certain individuals could rely on military support from their king, The Muslims did the same.
Even though the membership is growing (??) the rate of increase has been declining over the last 15-20 years. The year I joined the church over there were over 300,000 new members but i don't think they get that many nowadays do they? Eventually no new members will join and the rest will die off or leave the church. Next 100 years?
The church is clearly conscerned about an escalating disaffection with fundamentalist values that members, especially their youth, are experiencing. The next few years are going to be very interesting. These types of movements don't happen without intense resistance. How many can invision a march with banners down State Street. "Joseph Smith's church is not the one-and-only true church on earth."
A most interesting reply DoctorDahesh. Provocative and detailed. We may be seeing the beginnings of many doctrinal transitions currently. Like James J said, "There are two great religions native to American soil, The Mormon Church and the Harley Davidson motorcycle." People want to believe in something. Is the fear of freedom too deeply intrenched? When someone asked me if I believed in an after life it was a while before I could say, "I don't have enough information." Learning to be honest with myself after Mormonism (unlike you, Mormonism was my birth culture) was hard. The conditioning was almost indelible. We were not taught the answers, we were taught the questions and the answers. I enjoyed your thoughts. Thank you. www.michaeloborn.com
It will never happen. Too many people like the social structure, and don't spend squat amount of time studying. Women sure don't spend much time studying, what with being told to follow the prophet, blah blah blah. I really think for some people it's a good thing. Gives them reason to live. Like my 90 year old dad.