Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather in Salt Lake City for the 186th annual general conference in the Conference Center Saturday, April 2, 2016.

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church had 15,634,199 members as of the end of 2015, said Brook P. Hales, secretary to the First Presidency.

Hales presented the church's annual statistical report on Saturday afternoon to the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church announces total membership once a year in April. The total always represents the number of church members at the end of the most recent calendar year.

A year ago, the church announced membership at the end of 2014 was 15,372,337.

At year's end, there were 74,079 full-time Mormon missionaries. A year earlier, there had been 85,147, a reduction of 13 percent. A decrease had been expected.

The number of missionaries remains 27 percent higher than the 58,500 missionaries who were serving in October 2012, when LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced the age change that allowed missionaries to serve at younger ages.

That announcement led to a surge in the number of missionaries that peaked at 89,000 as suddenly eligible 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds streamed into the mission field. The surge now has subsided, the executive director of the church's missionary department said earlier in the week.

Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Seventy also said the number of missionaries will gradually rise again.

"As that surge passed, we're now down to around 75,000 missionaries, which is where we think we'll stay for a period of time as that gradually increases," he said.

The number of church service missionaries rose, from 30,404 to 31,779.

Hales said the church has 3,174 stakes and 558 districts. The number of wards and branches rose to 30,016, up from 29,621 at the end of 2014.

The church had 418 missions at the end of 2015, Hales noted. Since the new year, the church has added a new mission in Vietnam and two in Africa, bringing the number of missions today is 421.

The number of operating temples rose to 149 from 144. The temples dedicated in 2015 were in Cordoba, Argentina; Payson, Utah; Trujillo, Peru; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Tijuana, Mexico.

Since the end of 2015, the Provo City Center Temple was dedicated and became the 150th operating temple.

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