Comments about ‘14 million Mormons and counting’

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Published: Monday, Jan. 24 2011 9:00 a.m. MST

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Layton, UT

Ok, since I have it wrong, which I figured, set me right. What am I wrong about?

Layton, UT

Walt, that's because everything you listed is uniquely Mormon.

Salt Lake City, UT

The stone cut without hands...

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

287M members is still small compared to the global population number. What's that projected to be in 2080?

Salt Lake City, UT

Hey, some of you LDS people out there, relax, you don't need to get defensive, most people aren't out to get you, and the few that are have no real power. Don't worry so much what other people think. If you like your religion, good on you, practice it and be happy. Try to get that chip off your shoulder. Remember though, when you, or your church, get involved in issues that have a political side to them there will be people who are going to disagree with your stance, comes with the territory.

Yakima, WA

My father died in 1966 in obscurity. I have the satisfaction that he'll finally cease to be carried on the LDS church member rolls when he is 110 years old--in 2016! How many other people like my father are listed as members? I'm listed among the numbers even though I resigned a few years ago. Likewise my three sons. The numbers given in general conference are badly skewed and meaningless.

As for speed of growth, here's a simple baseline: The Seveth-Day Adventists began in 1863, 33 years after the birth of Mormonism and already count (with meaningful numbers) 16 million members. I would really like to see Mormons finally put to rest the notion of being "the world's fastest growing religion." Roman Catholics alone add millions to their membership rolls annually just in births, as do various sects of Islam. Seen as a so-called "world church," Latter-day Saints are small potatoes indeed.

Clearfield, UT

Apparently Deseret News doesn't like opposition to these misleading numbers and won't post opposing comments or opposing numbers!

The American Religious Identification Survey gave Non-Religious groups the largest gain in terms of absolute numbers - 14,300,000 (8.4% of the population) to 29,400,000 (14.1% of the population) for the period 1990 to 2001 in the USA. In Australia, census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics give "no religion" the largest gains in absolute numbers over the 15 years from 1991 to 2006, from 2,948,888 (18.2% of the population that answered the question) to 3,706,555 (21.0% of the population that answered the question).

There is much data that says that atheism is the fastest growing belief system.

According to the Churchs Member and Statistical Records Division, first-generation members made up 64% of total Church membership as of July 2006 Per David Stewart, 70% to 80% are inactive. Sociologist Armand Mauss estimates that 50 percent of LDS converts within the United States stop attending within a year of conversion, and 75 percent of foreign converts fail to attend after a year.

ex missionary
Sandy, UT

I agree with ClarkHippo | 4:22 a.m. Jan. 24, 2011

"As an active Latter-day Saint, I see the true measure of growth in my church coming not only from the number of people baptized each year, but also from the number wards and stakes created."

He goes on to talk about how many priesthood holders are needed for new units. I also agree with that point.

Other have made the point that the membership number does not represent true growth because it includes inactives, people who no longer self identify as mormons, and people who have died but haven't had their records updated (I've read that if the church doesn't know if you've died or not they keep you on record until your 110th birthday).

To me it seems unit growth (branches, wards, and stakes) is the only published number we can rely on to judge church growth. Membership numbers do not accurately gauge true growth.

Centerville, UT

"If we baptize someone and fail to retain them we have done them no favor, in fact we have done them a huge disservice" -Gordon B. Hinckley

Seems as it the Church is doing a "huge disservice" to about 75 or 80% of it's convert joiners.

Round Rock, Texas

So with 14M members, I assume most are paying tithing, why do we have to clean the buildings now?
I had invited a couple friends to church and when they saw the sign up sheet I explained it to them the best I could. But when they got to the point in the discussions about 10% tithing they got a bit upset about that & didn't want to finish the discussions. (Well, that and the fact that if their children got married in the temple that their grandparents/aunts/uncles would not be able to come.) It seems to me that if the church could find it in their hearts to make just a couple of changes then we could easily out pace churches like the 7th day adventists.

ex missionary
Sandy, UT

So what do we know about unit growth? Well, the church publishes the number of stakes, districts, wards and branches every year in conference so it is very easy to calculate the yearly growth. I did the calcalutions, here are the numbers for yearly growth in wards and branches.

1997 - 4.63%
1998 - 3.45%
1999 - 0.94%
2000 - 0.47%
2001 - 0.65%
2002 - 0.23%
2003 - 0.36%
2004 - 1.62%
2005 - 1.54%
2006 - 1.41%
2007 - 1.26%
2008 - 1.00%
2009 - 1.11%

So, it looks like the church grows at a little over 1% per year. United Nations says that world population grows at 1.17% per year and US population grows at 0.97% per year.

It seems the church grows at about the same speed as the general population. The missionary program and high birth rates do enough to replace disaffected members but do not contribute any substantial growth. The metaphor of treading water comes to mind.

Scott Bradley
Rigby, ID

Thank you for crunching the numbers. I've done this as well and found, that if the trend continues, the LDS Church will start growing slower than the normal population. This is not good for the Church. The Amish have given a clear-cut example of what happens to "righteous" people who are not able to persuade followers. Inbreeding and genetic diseases abound.

For the record, I resigned from the church. Yet the Church blatantly lies about its membership numbers (Sorry - any other word for this is inaccurate. It is a lie.). I and others will continue to be counted as a "member" until 110 years old.

The Atheist
Provo, UT

Yep. At the risk of bragging, I must smile a bit smugly at the facts: the numbers clearly show MY "faith" is growing faster than any other!

And we don't even organize, send out missionaries, or anything!

Cest la vie!

The truth is, we are all born atheists just as we are all born NOT believing in Santa Claus.

You have to be indoctrinated to believe such unnatural, irrational, absurd things as religion proclaims.

The religious story does not hold water, and more and more people are realizing it.

That fact can only be good for societies around the world!

Chester Drawers
Park City, UT

A lot of comments are "how are we going to rebaptize those 9 million who are inactive" and "I'm so excited to see us grow, grow, grow!" and I wonder.. why? If someone has left the church, it's likely because it didn't work for them, or they found something better. Why not let it go? Not everyone needs to be LDS, and the number of members you have does not make your religion any better. And you all seem to take this "grow grow grow" mentality with you in ever facet of life- just look at how St George is starting to become a wasteland. Just calm down, there's no need to grow as fast as possible.

Tooele, UT

@tweedmeister 4:44

You said - "I would really like to see Mormons finally put to rest the notion of being "the world's fastest growing religion."

Would you be so good as to cite an example of ANY LDS Church leader that has ever made this claim? Would you be so good as to cite ANY evidence whatsoever where the LDS Church as ever advertised this claim?

The only people I hear ever make the, "world's fastest growing religion" claim are critics of the LDS Church, who claim it is something repeated again and again yet they never cite a single, actual source.

PLEASE show me a source for this claim.

Mr. One Two
Layton, UT

Congratulations LDS church... by your own numbers you now make up .002% of the worlds population and .02% of the U.S. Population. Leaves a lot of room for growth.

Glendora, CA

When I first arrived in Germany, in 1976, beginning my mission, in the Germany Frankfurt Mission, there was a total of 36,000 members in that nation.
Today, it is still at about 36,000.
Europe ain't happening.

ex missionary
Sandy, UT

@ClarkHippo | 7:07 p.m. Jan. 24, 2011

You're moving the goalposts. He said he would like to see mormons lay off on the "fastest growing church" myth. He didn't say church leadership had ever officially made that claim.

I don't know if church leadership has ever said anything like that or not. I do know that I heard it all the time at church 20 years ago. Even today, I still hear it every once in a while. I think the idea is faith confirming for some members.

Yakima, WA

For Clark Hippo: When has the church NOT made this claim. I've heard it from the pulpit too many times to count, and most of all one hears it from an unusual source--The Press, simply because they're passing on what they've been told and don't have the energy to fact-check.

Your comment is almost a bit of an ad hominem (is that how you spell it?) attack. Don't look to me for an explanation of this trend. And your comment is also reminiscent of things like, "When did we ever say that American Indians were all Lamanites?", which has become a comment of choice. Similarly, "When did we ever say that Blacks were inferior to Whites?" (Answer: For some 14 decades.) Granted, the latter two are actually well-documented, while the talk about "fastest growing religion" is and always has been mere hearsay from random members in the church. I'd just like to see people knock it off.

Disco Vega
MoTown, CA

Love another, do the right thing, the Chruch is true and nothing will stop the work of God from moving forward...that's the way it is folks!...live with it.

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