@Hitch--but what are those numbers REALLY? Does anybody know the true SGI-USA population count? Since they are known to put everyone and the family pup besides actual members in a household on the list, who really does know?
@Shavoy--Yup, I remember all the shakabuku madness, particularly the February/August rush. The leaders were always soooo happy when it was a successful night and the projections were (close) to being met. And you brought up another truer-than-true fact: A lot of those Gohonzons ended up on the street and in the trash, or forgotten about.
There is no way of ascertaining the true SGI-USA population count. The cult keeps on its records every single person who ever signed up for a gohonzon, regardless of where they are now. In this respect, it's similar to the Mormons, who keep EVERYONE on file, even if that person has never attended anything other than his own baptism, even if it is *known* that he is now a Methodist or Muslim, until they calculate that this person has reached his 120th birthday (or, according to some sources, 110th). You know, out of sincere concern
for that member and being *ready* to welcome him back
as soon as he returns! To get your name off their membership rolls, you have to send them a letter demanding it. I believe it's the same in the SGI.
Now, those who have evaluated Mormon attendance statistics suggest that the actual membership is more likely:"In 2002, LDS unit growth fell further to 0.22%, less than one-seventh of the annual rate of world population growth. Those who insist that the low number of new LDS units being formed is a result of policy changes influencing unit size are uninformed: the average number of LDS members per unit has remained relatively stable, going from 439 per unit in 1973 to 431.7 in 1991 and 437 in 2001."
Hinckley lied about the numbers
"In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated: “We are experiencing a combined growth of converts and natural increase of some 400,000 a year. Every single year that is the equivalent of 160 new stakes of 2,500 people each.” This statement has been widely quoted as evidence of the Church’s rapid growth. In fact, the Church has never yet experienced a net gain of 400,000 members in a single year, nor has there ever been a year in the history of the Church when 160 or more stakes were formed. The highest stake gains ever were of 142 in 1995 and 146 in 1996, which were up from annual gains of 32-78 over the preceding decade. Over the most recent five-year period forwhich data are available (1998-2003), the Church gained a total of 119 stakes, or an average of only 24 stakes per year. The low number of congregations and stakes being formed reflects fractional retention of converts."
I suspect that the SGI-USA's position is *identical*.Over the next eight years, Polygamy Porter (a Mormon poster at the above site) attends the temple for family events, and each time is further perplex at the new ceremony and the changes that occurred in 1990.
RIGHT down to the "1990" detail!!Who's leaving the church? The young people. In droves. The number of people serving missions is way down because of the high costs of college. The cost of living has increased so much the average family in the church can't afford to send their kid on a mission and pay for college. The church seems to be popular with wealthy people with big egos to stroke. The middle class and the poor are leaving the church.
My father-in-law says the church is heading for another apostasy. He still believes in the doctrine but believes the church has become what Brigham Young said it would become in the last days. Wealthy and full of pride.
What's frustrating is I can't convince these people that the whole thing was false. They believe in Joseph Smith still. Oh well, they are right on the membership decreasing.
Look in the mirror, SGI!
Here is something from 2004, from NPR:As part of our series on new religious movements, NPR's Mandalit del Barco explores a modern version of Buddhism known as Soka Gakkai. It's an import from Asia, brought to the United States by Japanese war brides. In the 1960s, it caught on with anti-war hippies. Now it has more than 300,000 adherents in the United States, most of them middle class, from all ethnic groups.
Wow - only 300,000 by 2004?? I remember when we were planning on gathering 100,000 members in New Orleans in, what was it, 1991? Only to be told that New Orleans didn't have the infrastructure to handle that many tourists all at once! Perhaps it's more that there weren't that many members...