Fudging Facts and Figures - Faking Out God

Confess your miscalculations, exaggerations, fudging on your church reports, missionary reports, temple attendance, home and visiting teaching reports in the box below Help out those "Angels Silent Notes Taking." Please submit your reporting story in the box below.

Inflating Numbers and Egos

12/01/2006 by Bob

My physician was a stake president's counselor when I was a ward clerk in another stake. Whenever I came in for an appointment, he'd share creative ways to inflate the numbers.

For example, third-quarter (i.e. July-September) average sacrament meeting attendance was used by the church to calculate ward budgets. Since the annual primary sacrament meeting was always by far the best attended (all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and deadbeat dads would visit to watch their "little ones" perform), this stake moved all the primary sacrament meetings forward from October to September so that they would count in their averages.

When I was at BYU, my home teachers would visit me on the last day of every other month at about 11:45 PM and stay until 12:15 AM. In one half-hour visit, they'd tally me for two months as home taught! It ticked me off at the time, but I figured that if they didn't want to come, I didn't want them, so I never said anything. BTW, they never bothered to make appointments. A couple of times, my roommate had to wake me up from a sound sleep so they could "home teach" me.

Lies About Church Growth

10/18/2005 by Wendy and others from the www.exmormon.org bulletin board.

Lies about church growth in Yakima, WA by Wendy

I would like to set the record straight about the Terrace Heights ward. They manipulated their attendance numbers to get the bigger building. Just before my parents moved away I was visiting and they told me how they were doing it. There are two sacrament services at that ward house one in English and one in Spanish. They would have anyone who spoke Spanish and their families attened both services and count them twice as having attended sacrament meeting. This way they could get the bigger building and more money for the budget from Salt Lake.

I remeber thinking this was dishonest but as a TBM (True Believing Mormon) gave it little thought.

"Puffing" the numbers to get a bigger building by Mr. Eyepatch

I "served" in the Germany, Hamburg Mission ('87-'89 Cardon, Paul, Cannon). I was in the town of Bielefeld for about 8 months. During that time period the church was considering building a new chapel for the area. At the time the Bishop was presented with three possible building plans, "McChurch A," "McChurch B" or "McChurch C." The bishop was going out of his head trying to tweak the numbers enough to warrant receiving "McChurch B" from SLC. The current numbers only justified "McChurch A."

I remember that he called us in and gave us a list of about 700 people. This was the entire membership list for the area. Mind you, we only had about 70 - 80 people show up to church on any given Sunday! Our instructions from the Bishop were to visit everyone on the list, "dust them off" and get their asses to sacrament meeting.

Even at the time I thought, "Shoot, if you're going to cheat, just cheat by sending in fake numbers. Why go through the actual hassle of tricking people into attending?" And this was the thought-process coming from an elder (me) who *never* once misreported his own weekly numbers. I was shocked at the numbers game. Jeez, was I naive!

I've thought about this many times since then. I get the feeling that the whole project was scrapped. I thought that the existing building was really quite nice and didn't need to be replaced. Mr. Eyepatch (hanging head in shame thinking about his "mission".)

Yep, I've seen it first hand by Shane AK

I grew up in a very small town in Alaska and the Branch President did the same thing so we could get a "real" (although very small) Mormon chapel. I remember we had to have at least 40 people show-up for sacrament meeting every Sunday for three months.

We started having dinners after church so we could invite our friends. We were all pushed into going out and dragging some inactive with us to church. I hated this because my parents pushed me to be "friends" with a kid my age that I really didn't like.

The Branch President was also a Mason or a Shriner or whatever group it is that also does the Rainbow Girls. It turns out that the Rainbow Girls (like cub scouts) have to fulfill service requirements and so our BP made some kind of deal where if they came to church they got credit for different stuff. I even remember one girl standing up in sacrament (non-member, of course) and presenting some kind of art project to us!

I also remember sitting in that crappy old house we used to meet in at 10:30 just silently waiting for church to start. If there weren't enough people the men would take off and try and drag somebody back with them! Needless to say, the meetings never started until there were 40 warm bodies sitting on metal folding chairs.

They got their building but the funny thing is that not only did attendance immediately go back to what it was before but about a year later it dropped even further. The thing about Mission Field brahches is that they are usually made-up of two or three transplants (large Mormon families) and a smattering of locals. Well, when one of the families with 6 kids moved away it drastically changed the size and feel of the branch.

That was in the late 80's and from what I hear they still don't have the numbers to justify that building!

fudging the Home Teaching numbers by Leah

I remember how,during a dinner, a ward clerk once laughingly admitted to fudging the Home Teaching numbers for a very long time.

So one new guy he reported to turned out to have been in Military Intelligence, and somehow the guy saw at first glance that the numbers could not be correct.

The ward clerk thought it was funny how this new guy caught on right away when no one else ever did.

I, on the other hand, was a TBM at the time and I remember being quite stunned that

a) someone would do this in the first place

b) someone would laugh about getting caught

Was I naive or what.

I got two examples by I cannot reveal it at this time

The Sendai Japan mission was on the verge of closing, so the mission president told all the missionaries this. He told them if the baptisms didn't go up, the mission would close. The missionaries worked harder than ever and in the ward I was in they started baptizing all of these newly arrived Chinese people. These people couldn't speak Japanese or English, but the missionaries were able to commit them to baptism through the 'spirit'. They never showed up after baptism, but the mission survived.

The other example...They were building a new stake center and wanted a pipe organ. In order to get this, the stake choir has to be a certain size. Suddenly the stake choir was booming with members. Guess what happened after the organ was installed.

This numbers-fudging is Standard Operating Procedure throughout the church by Randy J

In the early '80s, I was the clerk in a ward that had a 'phase two' building, and we wanted to add the gym etc. The requirements were to average 175 attendance at sacrament meeting, and have 25% full-tithe-payers. We were one of the most thriving wards in the stake, but our attendance hovered around 160-170.

So I pumped up the numbers by simply adding in the members from our ward who were on stake assignments to other wards (high councilors etc.) Of course, I also added in the stake visitors from other wards who attended our ward. If that didn't do it, I just added another five or ten and made the attendance average over 175. I also counted pregnant women whose due dates were within the time frame for the building qualifications as two people.

The ward got their addition built, but 21 years later, it hasn't grown enough to justify splitting it or expanding any more.

Also, while we were in the process of leaving the church around 1997, our stake was split. The SP, to whom I had served as a counselor when he was bishop, was a total "numbers" guy. He wanted to make the numbers look good to SLC, and he wasn't subtle about how to accomplish it.

When the stake was split, he wanted to get a new stake center built, to make it appear that the stake was growing rapidly. So he instructed a couple of dozen members who lived on the outskirts of our large ward to attend the small branch about 15 miles up the interstate where he wanted his new chapel built. They did so, and that attendance got them qualified to build a temporary chapel, which is an office-looking building about 60 feet square, with a stupid-looking steeple stuck in the middle of its flat roof.

Their thinking was that after the new ward grew large enough, they could build a nice full-sized stake center with gym etc., and sell the sqaure building as office space. Problem is, the ward didn't grow. Seven years later, they're still meeting in that goofy-looking square building which sits amongst medical and other commercial buildings.

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I served in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission in the early 80's under the dictatorial leadership of one President Patrick Brian. In one area I served, in Parsons, Kansas, my companion and I lived in the upstairs apartment of the branch president's "mortuary". No kidding...the branch in Parson's, KS met in a former mortuary each Sunday! Well, in one of our hair-raising midnight adventures thru that creepy place, my companion and I stumbled upon a 27 inch color television. It started with just brief viewings but quickly escalated to spending entire evenings and some afternoons watching the precious tube. One night, while we were glued to the TV, the branch president's old bag of a wife decided to come practice on the organ in the next room. With no way out, we spent the next 2 hours huddled in total silence, trying not to laugh out loud, with the TV on mute. I'm sure our weekly reports glossed over the 15 hours a week of TV watching. - 02/06/2004 - anon


One of my mission companions got recruited by a local basketball team. I wasn't interested in playing, so I would sit on the bleachers while he played (full court, of course). Every time this happened, someone curious would ask my companion something about the church, and probably, someone curious in the bleachers would ask me some sort of question to. Boom: two discussions right there! At least, that's what we'd tell ourselves. - 09/18/2003 - from ShakespeareWales


I didn't watch much of the last conference. I did see quite a bit of the Morg PR drivel in between. Hinckley made a comment I found very interesting. He's such an idiot. In reference to his being at the Morg helm at the completion of 100 Morg temples he said with self congratulatory aplomb:"It was a period of unprecedented growth..... one which we will not likely ever see again!"

Most good members would just be hyper ventilating over being part of the "unprecedented growth" in the "Lord's" work. However, there is more meaning in this comment for the more analytical. The Morg's mission by its own account is to fill the earth as per the infamous and oft cited "stone from the mountain" story hijacked from the book of Daniel. The earth being completely filled with Moromnism is so Jesus can come again.

Exponential growth is an integral part of getting Jesus back here in a timely manner. With this mandate Wouldn't the second 100 Mormon Temples be a simple matter of course, coming more swiftly than the first 100 if things are going according to god's plan?

100 new temples just in china alone would only be a nice start for a religion truly called to fill the earth. In fact for a religion that is Heaven bent on taking over the world and then handing it off to Jesus, 1000 Mormon Temples would just be another cozy mile post on divinely mandated world religious domination. Apparently Profit/Prophet Hinckley is a little out of touch with just how big his Lord's world really is. Where's the prophetic vision? - 05/02/2003 - Pat McKitrick


I live in a large city in the Eastern half of the United States. Our baptism figures in our ward have plunged unbelieveably:

Early 1990's - around 90 each year.
Late 1990's - around 30 each year.
This year 2002- 4 baptisms so far.
Of course we still have a few days left before the end of the year.

Retention? less than 10%. And only 1 of the 4 (25%) is still active from this year's meager crop of conversions. So I guess that represents a big jump. Yep. One retention is a big jump. BTW, no new families have been baptised since the 1980's in this ward. - 12/13/2002 - anon


As a missionary in the England London Mission, once a week in district meeting you had to report on your "sucess" for the week. The number of lessions taught, investigators found, hours proslyting and other items. I hated going to DM's since my numbers were always low. Then one week when I reported at DM, I gave the DL some numbers that really WOWed him. Of course these numbers were pulled out of the sky and supported by names in the phone book, but it made the DL happy. It also made me happy since I didnt have to hear the work and pray harder cheerleading BS. The phone accounting method worked so well, I used itfor the rest of my mission, thereby reducing the number whinning sigificantly. - 10/25/2002 - anon


Current demographic studies indicate that the total number of humans who have ever been born on the earth approximate 115 billion. Historians have estimated that less than 6% of all humanity have kept written records and less than half of those kept any kind of geneological records. Simply put, even if we did all the temple work for the dead that could possibly be done, it would amount to less than 3% of the human family. That is if we did all that is possible to do and then how many of those dead humans would accept the work done for them? Aren't there better things to do with the money and time that is expended on this futile work for the dead? - 09/29/2000 - anon


On my mission there was this thing where if you got 10 discussions and ten referals in a week you got a golden pin that showed all the other missionaries what a weenie-heady you were. My trainer had it in his head that as long as he mentioned Joseph Smith & the Book of Mormon, he was basically giving a discussion. I can't tell you how many times he gave lucky investigators such "discussions" through slammed doors, over the phone (before it was quickly hung up) and even two occassions where we were being chased down a stairwell in an apartment building(one of those times it was by a very big dog). Needless to say we usually put in the best numbers in the district. Believe it or not, one week I think we taught 30 "discussions." - 09/26/2000 - anon


I once had a bishop who got fed up because the vast majority of his ward was inactive. Made home teaching stats look REALLY bad. So, he contacted all of the people who weren't coming to church and asked them if they didn't want to be members anymore. They didn't so he promptly and efficiently removed their names. Poof, a ward with all members active and close to 100% home teaching. Scandalized all the other members, including yours truly at the time, but no one ever made much noise. - 06/14/2000 - Letting Go


I went on my mission exactly one year after the so called revalation giving the blacks the presthood. I had the enjoyment or being in the MTC at the samer time that both of them were there. The Fist black missionary was from Canada and a quite educated young man. The first "AMERICAN" black missionary was from Missisipi and I think did have the same testamony that the other guy had. One time he came to are cultural meeting because his compaion was coming to are mission. When he was asked to give the prayer he said. " I anit even goning to this mission and did give the prayer. This not the funnest thing though. Opon ariving in the Qutio Equador mission I was sent to a district in North Quito. I was apired with two missionaries one from america the other was from a town in Equador named Esmaraldas. His name was Elder Alvarado. Now if this guy wasn't black them Cain wasn't black. For the longest time I questioned who was the first black missionary preisthood holder. Alvarado told me that he had been a member since he was a young boy and had been an elder for a year before he went on his mission. Did this guy have some special revelation? - 05/26/2000 - anon


My wife's former visiting teachers didn't want to visit her anytime other than mid-afternoon on a weekday, but this was exactly the time my wife was at her waitressing job. So once a month every month they would come in during the middle of the noon rush, place their order with her, eat, and leave. I guess they thought that making brief eye contact was enough to count as having fulfilled their "100% complete" statistic. - 02/04/2000 - anti-Anti-Nephi-Lehi


Although I felt terribly guilty about it at the time, in a certain area while on my mission I never could refuse some former investigators' regular invitations to play tennis. Rather than admit a gaping hole in our stats, I reported these hours as "proselyting time," since we were, technically, "building relationships of trust" with these people according to the "Missionary Guide." Funny, but my junior companions didn't seem to mind. Imagine that. - 02/02/2000 - anon


As a missionary it was amazing how many study hours were spent using the Book of Mormon as a pillow. - 02/01/2000 - anon

Comment Section

Look around this country, at this world. There are FAR WORSE tragedies in our communities than what the Mormons are doing. Have a website to support our troops, to demand better health care, to end the tobacco and liquor industries from targeting young people. Do that instead. Please. This planet is running out of time. - 08/28/2008 - Robert Southern, Chehalis, WA.

Congratulations...your parents must be really really proud of their little boy, however, your Father weeps...! - 04/12/2008 - Bob

I find it amazing you have nothing better to do than complain. - 03/01/2008 - David

To all of you ladies and gents (brothers and sisters), Feel better now? Nice to see that "free agency" is alive. Best of Luck and let's see how this all "pans out". In the mean time, let's just be kind to all... Adios - 10/21/2007 - EX TDM missionary and recently returning from an extended stay in the world...


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