Comments about ‘The majority of Mormons live outside the US’

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Published: Friday, Aug. 30 2013 1:45 p.m. MDT

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I have mixed feelings about this. 14 or even 15 million is a very small number compared to the world population, and trying to make it sound impressive to non-members is a losing proposition. Also, mentioning the Mormons in Sweden and Ireland, in my mind, only draws attention to how extremely few of them there are. I think my institute teachers had a better approach when they told us quite candidly that the LDS Church is a very small one with a long way to go. Granted, it will continue to grow, but I don't think we can expect it to ever be particularly large by the world's standards, and I don't think we should try to pretend it is now.

Buena Vista, VA

It is no longer a "Utah Church" yet we see videos played at the general YW meeting showing a girl going to do baptisms for the dead before school. That's great! But I suggest a new video showing youth outside of Utah going to early morning seminary (since we don't have released time, and the nearest temple from our town is 3 hours away, or more depending on traffic) before school. That would help the Utah youth realize how blessed they are. (Our local seminary students actually put together such a video.)


There are indeed more members of the Latter-Day Saint faith in other nations today, and those in the United States were themselves gathered from many lands. It is an international faith whose message will reach all nations eventually.

We should not confuse the Church, or its culture, with that of the USA, although the New Jerusalem will be built here when the land is cleansed of its iniquities.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Yes, the numbers show that more LDS live outside of the United States.

But the numbers also show that MOST people on the rolls of the Church no longer attend any meetings or have anything to do with the Church, especially outside of the U.S., and many people on the rolls of the Church do not even identify themselves as LDS.

IF you are going strictly by the numbers.


What is the fastest growing church in the U.S.?

born in37

A Scientist. I love it when someone throws statements out without any supporting documentation. Where are these "numbers" of which you speak? There is absolutely no way to track numbers like that. Interviews? How many? What were the demographics? Of course, it's true that retention and inactivity are challenges within the LDS church, but without actual numbers, it's a wild guess as to how many remain active within or without the U.S. Also, how do know that "many" do not even identify themselves as LDS? Nonsense. Pure nonsense.

Provo, UT

A Scientist: It doesn't matter. They are still considered members unless they have their names removed from the records.

Charlottesville, VA

HEADLINE! NEWS FLASH! The majority of Mormons live outside the US!

Thanks, Deseret News, for that up-to-the-minute information. What else happened in 1996?

Florissant, MO

There is a problem of members remaining active in the church, what church? I believe this is a problem within most religions. If you google what is the fastest growing religion in the US, it says Islam. But also the younger generation are turning away from their belief in Christ and following religion. I am a Mormon, but I am happy if people are practicing any religion that teaches to do good, this world is in great need of that.

Washington, UT

It is NOT true that most members have nothing to do with the church. Some members may be less active, or may have drifted into inactivity, but they are still members, they still associate with members, and with the church, subscribe to church magazines, have children who attend, have children who serve missions, they attend the baptisms of their grandchildren, they are home taught by local priesthood, and are still members in many other ways.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I like the Mormons, They have good intentions.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Even in the US, activity rates average below 50%. That means "most" Mormons are not active, which means they have very little to do with the Church on a regular basis.

Outside of the US, activity rates average less than 30%, and worldwide (including in the US), a significant number of people whose names are on the membership rolls do not self identify as LDS in polls such as those conducted by Pew, Gallup, and many others.

These facts are readily available to anyone who takes a small effort to look.

Denial does not become you, Saints.

Salt Lake City, UT

Good, now if only people would stop obsessing as if being a liberal is contrary to the gospel when most nations outside the US are outright socialist.

Sacramento, CA

How do you define "active". Can a person be "active" and attend church twice a year?

G L W8

To paraphrase an old axiom: "There are lies, 'you know what' lies, and statistics." What can statistics, especially those taken from polls, tell us? They can only describe conditions as they existed at the time of the study and are restricted to responses to the questions on polling surveys. They cannot accurately describe how individual responders (in this case, "active" or "inactive" LDS membership) in the study feel, form opinions, or act over time. Statistics are of limited use. Those who draw conclusions from them must be careful not to extrapolate beyond the conditions imposed by the statistical study. That's true for both sides of the issue from earlier comments. Those of a scientific frame of mind must be just as careful as those interested in the religious activity aspects of this article.

Waco, TX

To A (The) Scientist and others interested in activity rates. For by blog (shameless plug) "Blu Principles," I used seminary enrollment data, Church membership data and country demographic data to estimate seminary activity rates by country. Using these rates as a proxy for Church wide activity suggests that about 6 million people worldwide affiliate with the Church. This is a little higher than reported by PEW and probably reflects that disaffiliation increases slowly as a person ages. If my numbers are correct, about 60% of seminary students are enrolled in the U.S., but a significant number, 2.3 million, attend in other countries where transportation is more costly and the programs, less developed. Also, many countries place legal regulation on the Church and other non-traditional, meaning those not in European Christianity in 1400, lowering retention rates and affiliation rates.

Although activity rates are lower in other countries, it is not uniformly so. Countries in Africa, Europe and the South Pacific also have seminary enrollment rates similar to the U.S.

Finally, Church membership accounting practices may over report people who affiliate with the Church but a consequence of this reporting method is an underestimation of growth.

Provo, UT

Wacoan: If your name is on church records you are a member

Waco, TX

Thank you snowman. I hope you are holding up through the summer. It is 99 degrees in Waco right now and the heat index stands at 110.

I know that you are a member if your name is on the records of the Church. I am a happy Ward Clerk, and I do admit that I have spend an hour or two hunting down addresses. By disaffiliated, I refer to members who do not associate with the Church, do not attend on Sunday, avoid home teachers and worse. Some leave comments about how the Church is falling apart on Deseret News.

Aurora, CO

With this new stat it makes you wonder how long it will be before Heavenly Father calls a Prophet that is not a white anglo American?

Waco, TX

Hey J.D. Technically, it happened. John Taylor was born in 1808 in England. He moved to Canada in 1832. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a German, is on the current short list.

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