14 million Mormons and counting

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  • jjepsen medical lake, WA
    Jan. 29, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    2008 LDS reported 13,363,000 membership; 2008 US cenus showed just 3,158,000 citizens attesting to be mormon. International numbers show the same extreme differences. The fact that the LDS church ONLY reports the total membership numbers (including inactive) without the "actual active" membership numbers; is an act in deception because it gives a false impression to the actual member activity.
    The fact that the LDS church has only about a 35% activity in attendence speaks volumes about the religion.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 4:09 p.m.


    I repeat, your experience is not representative of reality. Period.

    My numbers are not "theory" (as if that is a bad thing?). They are from the Correlation Department.

    If you, as Ward Membership Clerk, "cleaned up" your records so you could jack up your activity rates in Chandler (a hotbead of Mormonism), that is fine. But you did it by sending unknown records to Church Headquarters. That may make your ward look good, but it does nothing to fix the worldwide activity numbers which show an activity rate of around 30%.

  • ObamaRepublican Chandler, AZ
    Jan. 26, 2011 3:05 p.m.

    @ I am Lds2,

    I am not trying to prove or disprove any theory but the fact of the matter is that wards and branches purge their roles. I seen this type of clean up in every branch, ward and stake I have been part of from Europe, Mexico to the USA. Our number is at 72% because the books are accurate, and those that do not want to be counted have been removed.

  • erdoch Provo, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    Jehovah's Witnesses have some 18 million members and are growing at around the same rate the LDS Church is (they used to grow much faster but their growth rate has declined significantly in recent years). Since you pretty much have to be active to be a member, probably 95% or so are active.

    Seventh-Day Adventists have some 16 million members worldwide and are growing with about one million new members every year - almost three times as fast as the LDS Church. Their retention rate is around 70-75%. Both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the SDA's are better established internationally than is the LDS Church.

    I see the Church as growing well but not as good as we could. We need better convert preparation and less rushing for baptisms. Too many are lost to inactivity even within months of baptism. I believe Preach My Gospel was a significant improvement for missionary work but that more improvement is needed in the missionary program of the Church if we are to truly fulfill our destined goal to reach all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. As President Hinckley used to say, we have scarcely scratched the surface.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Jan. 26, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    Again you can argue numbers, inactives, or other churches all you want but who cares. Numbers dont matter they are just numbers. Whats matters is our duty as members to support each other especially our recent converts. As a missionary in Boston we had no problem with baptizing in a heavily catholic state. We did have problems however with retention of recent converts. I pleaded and begged members in each ward to fellowship our converts and develop their support system. When they did it did wonders for our converts when they didnt we would lose that person within a month or two of being baptized. I just urge and pray our members to be a friend to those who join. Other than that no one will stop this work from going forth. Its great to be alive and see the growth of the church but the work will never cease.

  • Penguin Inc. SLC, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    This church is terrific!!!!!!! You go, girl!

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 5:24 a.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska | 6:53 p.m. Jan. 25, 2011

    Just because two numbers are correlated does not mean that they affect each other - correlation is not causation. Sacrament meeting attendance and home teaching are both likely separate but independant measures of ward activity/faithfulness. Both numbers will either go up or down depending on the level of belief in the congregation.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 25, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    To those talking about numbers and statistics:

    Here is one tht isn't often quoted but in fact is pretty true.

    Sacrament attendance in a ward/branch at 40%. You will probably find that home teaching percentage combined for High Priest and Elders is right around the same number. Where other wards have 72-80% you may find the home teaching is close to the same. So there is a correlation between the two.

    Those who try to sway it away it is best if you look to yourself. How good are you at doing your home teaching? Do you really care about these families you have stewardship over. A Bishop I know once stated, "Those who don't want us to come really don't know they need us the most." To change retention numbers and attendance numbers is up to the membership not entirely the individual.

    By the way once your name is removed from the record of the Church you are no longer counted.
    It is your decision but remember you are the one who played with your eternal progression, not I or the Church.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Jan. 25, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    If the church were to take off of their rolls all the names of everyone who doesn't go to church regularly, or doesn't pay their tithing, or declined to specify their religion in a census, or any other omission, 1. this would be pretty much impossible and 2. the church would be accused of not caring about its members and being extreme religious nuts for "banishing" everyone who doesn't meet some impossible standard. The church cannot read the minds of every member in the world who doesn't want to have anything to do with the church anymore but doesn't bother to tell anybody. Sorry, we're not going to forget about you just because you don't come to church anymore. We care too much. Tell us to remove your name from the records, and we will. But please don't jump all over us because your visiting teacher didn't get the memo yet. It's nice to hear the church is growing, but honestly if the church didn't gain another single member from this point forward it wouldn't change my devotion to it.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    For those who can't leave the church alone; what is your opinion on all the other faiths????? Christianity is 2 billion strong going on two thousand years-----only a fool would try to undo what has already been done. If the church is divine, join it; if not, ignore it. Some seem not able to do either.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 2:42 p.m.


    Is this really what passes for logic among your friends?

    Think about it. Just because your ward has 72% activity does not mean ALL wards do.

    Activity rates in the Western United States (with the exception of California) are substantially higher than they are elsewhere in the world.

    Activity rates in the US are generally around 50%. In Utah, Idaho, Montana, and some California locations, activity rates are higher, and may be 72% as you claim.

    But on average, worldwide activity rates are around 30%.

    Please reassure me you understand that you are not representative of all LDS, and that your Ward is not representative of all LDS Wards?

    Such egocentric, ethnocentric, religiocentric thinking is exactly the problem among members that the Church is trying to overcome.

  • ObamaRepublican Chandler, AZ
    Jan. 25, 2011 1:48 p.m.

    A quick look at our ward list on Lds tools gave me a count of 389 members. Taking another look and counting those active put our little ward at 281 active members. 72% activity! To break some of the bogus comments on this board, Wards and Branches world wide clean up their books and remove those that are not active and do not want their names on the records.

  • HCW Mesa, AZ
    Jan. 25, 2011 1:21 p.m.

    I don't think we should concern ourself with numbers.
    according to the BOM our numbers will be few.

    1Ne 14:12

  • Lake Effect Springville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    @Tweedmeister - Will you PLEASE knock it off? Pipe down, or show some facts.

  • Bells Fulton, MO
    Jan. 25, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    We recently visited the town where we lived 25 years ago. At that time we started a new "Twig" of the church with 15 people. Many of those 15 were children under the age of 8. We were covered by one Stake that covered a very large area. Today, our "Twig" has 4 Wards and they are about to form another Ward. One Ward is a Spanish speaking ward (and it is not one of the western states..) Our one Stake is now two Stakes and they are in the process of forming a third Stake that coveres the former "Twig" area.

    This is now you can judge the growth of the church, not by numbers and active or inactive but by the visible physical growth. Obviously there has been great growth.

    As for a comment above about the conditions of the world slowing the growth and pulling missionaries out of areas....there are other ways that the gospel is now being carried to those who are listening. It will continue to grow and yes, there will be and there is a great falling away as noted by the level of inactive members. But growth will continue.

  • Lake Effect Springville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    @Scott Bradley - If you officially resigned from the Church, then you are not counted. Your name is removed from the books. My deceased father-in-law died years after having been ex-communicated. Twenty years after his death his family wanted to find out about re-baptism (for the dead). There was no record of him ever existing in any Church History available to his family or general membership.

  • Lake Effect Springville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    @LDS Revelations - I can think of twelve people in my own extended family who do not go to church, but who have said they believe in Mormonism. Many of them actually pay a full tithe, against the day of burning. Some others say they would like to attend church, but they have been offended by someone. There are none among them who do not believe it any more. They have felt the convincing power of the Holy Ghost.

  • Lake Effect Springville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    @brokenclay - Where did you get your statistics?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    To those who worry about the maintenance of the Chapels and Temples. Most of what we do is superficial at best. We vaccum the chapel, dust, clean the side walks, clean the restrooms, empty the trash and wash the windows. The maintenance of the electrical systems, doors, heating and air conditioning, plowing of the parking lots, landscaping, etc is generally done by a contractor. In some isolated instances the mowing of grass is done by a member of a ward/branch but is generally done by a contractor. It used to be that a contractor would do it all once a week, now it is done by the wards/branches as to the superficial cleaning. Why, because the chapel and building is generally in used several times a week thus it is not feasible for a contractor to do it once a week. It also gives the membership the opportunity to do something of service at the Church. It isn't a chore but service to the Lord.

    Temples are no different as we do superficial cleaning. Every six months the temples are closed for two weeks to allow deep cleaning. If investigators don't understand it is our fault.

  • MrsDownhomeAmerica Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 25, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    So...the official church count of members, active or not, but not those whose names are not on the records as members is around 14 million. Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, we need to examine growth patterns and prepare (with the funds available from those who do pay tithing) to build enough meetinghouses to house them all, and to maintain those places of worship. We are one of the few churches in Los Angeles that is mainting their houses of worship, many are in a sorry state of repair. We need to prepare to provide learning experiences for our people, and even food and clothing, on occasion. Just as it is unfeasable for the church to do all the preparing, and members are asked to be responsible for their own emergency preparedness, so we are going back to the old way of cleaning and maintaining the meetinghouses, to provide funds for others more in need, and get the members off their posteriors and make us producers of what we need, not just consumers.
    It's like a great wave rolling out to cover all the earth. It's a great ride! Try not to wipe out.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    There are more Mormons in the United States than Jewish people. However, the Jewish populations are concentrated in large cities. They have more recognized significance in the arts, business, and politics. The Mormons need to step it up in leadership, besides non-profit services. I would vote for a Mormon if qualified.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it." Matt. 7:14

    So what if we're .02%, or .002% percent of the population, or if other religions grow faster than us, or if we never approach the numbers of other religions, or if 60% or 80% or 95% of our members are inactive. Five of the ten virgins were found unprepared, and they were all believers.

    Salvation is an individual endeavor, with one requirement being that we make effort to love and lift those around us. Based on the natural instincts of man, and the difficulty of personal sacrifice and service, it appears the number of true believers who "find it" will be few indeed.

    Instead of arguing about numbers, let's thank the naysayers who revel in perceived low growth or activity rate, since they merely confirm that discipleship in the truth is a narrow way for only the devout few.

  • Disco Vega MoTown, CA
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    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.

  • tweedmeister Yakima, WA
    Jan. 25, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    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.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    @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.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    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.

  • Mr. One Two Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:38 p.m.

    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.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 7:07 p.m.

    @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.

  • Chester Drawers Park City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 7:07 p.m.

    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.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    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!

  • Scott Bradley Rigby, ID
    Jan. 24, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    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.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:49 p.m.

    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.

  • SegoLily Round Rock, Texas
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:37 p.m.

    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.

  • SLDrone Centerville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    "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.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    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.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    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.

  • tweedmeister Yakima, WA
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:44 p.m.

    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.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    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.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 3:26 p.m.

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

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    The stone cut without hands...

  • pikap1868 Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 3:03 p.m.

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

  • pikap1868 Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:58 p.m.

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

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:32 p.m.

    Dear pikap1868,
    You have it wrong.

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    One thing is certain: We (the LDS Church) has WAY more people as members who have been married or sealed in the temple. No other church can claim that.

    We have WAY more people who have been baptized for the dead than in any other church.

    We have MUCH higher percentage of our people who have been ordained to the priesthood. (Critics - read this one carefully - percentage.)

    We are doing fine - as measured by the standards of the Lord.

    The one statistic I am waiting for is the number of convert baptisms in the currently Arabic/Islamic countries.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    pikap1868 --- Yes - you have it wrong.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    "It would have been interesting to know as well what the estimated world population would be in 2080? If the percentage of LDS worldwide at that time is still the same as now, what's the difference?"

    Let's see... one site suggests 9.3 billion by 2050 with growth of about a billion every 20 years (higher over time due to declining birth rates) so about 10.8 billion in 2080 maybe. There's about 7 billion now so that's a 50ish% increase so if LDS members stayed at current global population percentage LDS membership would go from 14 million to about 21 million by 2080.

  • The 5th Element The High Plains of, Texas
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    It would have been interesting to know as well what the estimated world population would be in 2080? If the percentage of LDS worldwide at that time is still the same as now, what's the difference?

    Oh, and @ brokenclay, can you back up your stats? Just throwing out numbers doesn't make them true. And I thought Mormons were Christians too? I'm not sure about your "praying for oppression" in those countries either.

  • pikap1868 Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:37 p.m.

    Also, if that prediction of 270 million is correct, then it would be a correct assumption that the number of non-white members would drastically outnumber the white members, right? I'm asking because as I believe it, the LDS Church still believe that non-white people descendents of Cain, and if that is true, wouldn't that affect one if the core teachings of the Church? Please corrct me if I have this wrong.

  • apache1 Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    I am thrilled that we have reached the 14 million member mark, but the activity rate is far to low and the rate at which we loose new converts is much to high. I have seen so much of growth since I first joined the church in 1977. I hope to see much more growth before I die and hopefully the activity rate will rise and the loss of new converts will decrease, but I am most thrilled by the faithful members who have loved and kept his word and who are the engine that keeps this great work going forward.I am excited to be living in the last days and the future of this church is positive and bright, the opposition will continue and will grow in it's intensity, but the Lord is with us and we will move forward. The great hallmark of this church is it's unity and the strength of it's stakes and wards, and thus the growth although not as impressive as some other churches is moving in the right direction.

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    I think these projections are on the high side. Way high.

    First the actual number of active LDS currently is inflated. Are many of these people Mormon on paper? Maybe. Would they consider themselves Mormon if asked unlikely. The Church counts millions who have left and do not consider themselves LDS any longer but have not yet resigned.

    Future growth in the US is on a decline including the birth rate in the Church. It will result in growth but nothing like what seen over past decades. There is proselyting growth outside the US but retention is terrible.

    So I guess it depends on who you want to consider a Mormon. It's confusing because there's a different definition given inside the Church to members/leadership than is used for stats and PR.

  • pikap1868 Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    Why does it matter what the membership numbers will be in 2080? Oh that's right, almost all religions have a "There shall be only one" mentality... Sad we have to be competitive with our religions and denominations, especially with us American Christians.

  • Michael De Groote
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    Some estimates place the number of Jewish people worldwide at around 14 million -- about the same estimate for the number of Mormons worldwide. I'm not sure if this means anything in particular, but it is an interesting contrast.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    ClarkHippo - to your comments to Kimball Woodruff about racism in the early church, I really wouldn't go there. Unfortunately a lot of the opinions of the day were held by church leaders at those times as well.. and many of those claims unfortunately have solid historical support.

    But that said, the great thing is the church has largely moved past those beliefs and is moving forward. It is great to see congregations reflect our country as a whole, with segments of all cultures represented among us.

    Debates about inactivity and comparisons to other religions really are counter productive. Talk of attending church 156 times a year makes my head spin. I only go once a week, so I haven't figured out how in the world to attend church two more times a week. Those comments make no sense what so ever.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    @ SLDrone;

    You are spreading misinformation. While it is possible that there was a lawsuit in AZ, the practice of removing names from Church records on verifiable request, WITHOUT a church court goes back at least 15 years in my experience. Makes me doubt your other assertions, too.

    Of course, every half truth by definition has some element of truth.....

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Can we all agree the world is a changin'? 50 years ago Africa had dozens of dictators---today one or two. A billion people have come out of poverty in the last 20 years----clearly a huge blessing we can all cheer. If you are one of those who doesn't need Mormonism, there are many in the world who do.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    @brokenclay 10:33

    Not sure if comparing ALL of Evangelical Christianity verses the LDS Church is a fair comparison, especially because the LDS Church is a single denomination and Christianity consists of dozens and dozens of denominations.

    As for the comparison to denominations like the Assemblies of God, I doubt Thomas S. Monson or any other LDS Church leader is losing any sleep over that. They've never measure success compared to other church's numbers.

    I will say this however. When you consider the relentless attacks the LDS Church has been put under from the media, from other church's and from apostates since the beginning, I would say 14-Million is pretty good.

    When you consider the methods people have used to try and discredit the LDS Church, from extermination orders (Governor Boggs), to vicious attempts to deny LDS Church members seats in elected office (Reed Smoot) the forging of documents where the forger has been elevated to hero worship status by many LDS critics (Mark Hoffman), I would say 14-million is a pretty good number.

    Oh and being LDS isn't easy when you consider the Word of Wisdom as well.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    Mormonism hasn't fared well in any modern country where there is widespread/governmental religious persecution. What makes anyone think that they will fare any better in the Tribulation?

    Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, has been growing truly exponentially in the harshest religious environments in the world. There are perhaps 100 million Christians in China today, and their numbers continue to rise. These Christians pray that their government will continue to oppress them, for it purifies and strengthens them (1 Peter 4:1). For the same reason, they pray that American Christians will be overtaken with the same kind of persecution. Iran is experiencing incredible growth. Many Latin America countries now are up to 40 or 50% evangelical, and this has occurred only in the last few decades. The LDS are experiencing nothing like this, especially not in the harsh environments of the Islamic and communist worlds.

    What of other movements, like the SDA or Assemblies of God? The Assemblies of God, organized in 1914 (84 years after the LDS Church), reported worldwide membership of 63,090,251 in 2009, growing 2.5% with a 1,593,313 increase in membership.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    @Mountanman 6:27 - You got to serve two missions? I believe you, just curious to know your age at the time of your second mission.

    @Emily 8:05 - To answer your question, it is NO. If you have had your named removed from the records of the church, you are not counted as part of the 14-million. Neither are you counted if you have been excommunicated.

    And before anyone makes the silly claim I've heard more than once, NO, the 14-million does NOT count deceased people who have had their work done in the temple.

    @Kimball Woodruff 9:10 - I've always found it interesting how in one breath, some critics of the LDS Church will go on and on about the church's supposed "racist" doctrines, but then a few minutes later, these same critics attack the LDS Church's growth in places like South America and Africa among those where, "...information is hard to find."

    Quite interesting, don't you think?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:24 a.m.

    I hope they call me on another mission!

  • Michael De Groote
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    Activity is an interesting component of membership measurement. I don't think that activity has ever been a part of how the LDS Church has counted its baptized membership. This means that comparing growth from one year to another still works well.

    Regardless of activity rate percentages, the membership of the LDS Church has grown considerably whether you are looking at just the number of active members or at the number of all members.

    That growth rate also appears to still be way above Stark's lower estimates.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    TO Bluto:

    You say "Mormons are considered "Active" if they attend Sacrament 3 times a month or 156 times a year."

    How is 3 times a month equal to 156 times a year?

    I think there are a lot of people who don't go to church anymore. I also know there are a lot of people who don't believe it is true anymore but still go for either social reasons or because of family pressure. Most of my friends fall in the category of those who go but know it's not "true".

  • Iggle Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon is replete with examples of entire communities turning away from the Church, and it's written for our day, so why would we be surprised if the same thing happens today. I'm with the person who said just keep loving our neighbor and don't worry about numbers.

  • SLDrone Centerville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Name Removal has become quite common place. Subsequent to an Arizona law suit a few years ago and the rather large financial settlement paid by the Church the option of leaving voluntarily became an option, as opposed to being excommunicated. Now rather than putting yourself through some sort of kangaroo court you could simply announce your resignation, confirm it to a local authority and have you "name removed from the records". This option has become very popular. By some reports upwards of 60,000 names are removed each year. With a 20% erosion of the new convert number, and then the non retention rate upward of 70% worldwide, the numbers are drastically misleading.

  • In Arizona Mesa, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    Does it really matter how many are active or inactive? The article was focusing on the number of members only. To me this means that at one time over 14 million people made a covenant with God, or in other words, over 14 million people have something inside of them that can be re-kindled. It also says that many more millions also can have that opportunity! We all fall short but must keep trying.

  • Franjeado Lambare, Paraguay
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    Dear Kimball Wooduff, We in South America accept the Gospel because we are properly informed and have Faith, not because we do not have information.

  • Kimball Woodruff Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    Our best bet for growth is to pray that South America remains under-developed. The work goes forward best in regions where information is hard to acquire.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    Define ACTIVE....

    Catholics and Church of England members are considered "Active" if they attend Church 2 or 3 times a year..

    Mormons are considered "Active" if they attend Sacrament 3 times a month or 156 times a year.

    Catholics become members as infants, Mormons must be 8 years of age to be baptised.

    I love the critics who always chime in
    "Well, 6 out of 10 are not "Active".
    And then they equate inactivity with forsaken.

    Again, Define "Active".

    What these "Natterng Naybobs of Negativism" fail to mention is...

    That very few of the 14 million, (by percentage), ever "leave" the Church and disavow their membership.

    And those who do, are removed from the membership rolls.

    And they also fail to mention that activity with some members ebbs and flows throughout their lives.

    I never hear Catholics or any other Faith's membership so challenged.

    Of the 60 million Catholics in America, how many of them are attending 3 times a year, let alone, 156 times a year?

    When arguing statistics, always dig deep into the small details.

    The critics will always create a false perspective to suit their own narrative.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    I agree with many of the comments we focus so much on numbers, who cares? The church will continue to grow no matter what as long as every member does their best to be a missionary.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:42 a.m.

    In the past 30 years I have watched church activity in my area rise from 40% to 70%. More active people as temples and churches are more accessible. In my mission the branch is now a stake with hundreds of active members. Exponentially the increase of new members may decline but the true increasing numbers will never stop. Then there is China. In my travel and work to this country I find many spiritual people excited about their future again and a real yearning to connect with others. They will be great missionaries some day.

  • FlyingUte Murray, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    Forget the numbers the stats, the who's active, who's not. Love your neighbor! Be kind and generous, humble and serving, be active in your community. Do good continually.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    Numbers don't matter nor should they mean that much. It's much more important that lives are touched and changed for the better as people receive and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. I for one, am glad my family found the gospel and embrace it in our lives and have now passed it on to our children and will be for generations to come.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:18 a.m.

    @ Emily;

    People who have "officially resigned membership" are not counted as members, nor are those who have been formally excommunicated. There are records kept for them, in case they decide to return to the Church, so the proper processes and ministering can take place. But they are no longer counted as members.

    As far as the other half of your query, "active" does not necessarily mean tithe-paying. The Church counts as "active" those attending 75% of their meetings, so the estimates I have seen here of 40% active seem reasonable. But of the 60% non-active, I would guess that a third never come to church, while a third come sporadically, and a third come about half the time.

    Ultimately, numbers don't mean anything. It's all about the individual, and where they are in their spiritual development. Some people are technically "inactive" because they travel a lot for work (but "visit" other wards on the road). Some people go to Church every Sunday, but don't have family prayer or Family Home Evening. Some come once a month, but pay full tithes and attend the Temple regularly.

    It isn't all about the numbers.

  • Emily Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:05 a.m.

    I'm also curious how many of those 14 million are active, tithing-paying members and whether or not they count the people who have officially resigned membership.

  • amst plano, tx
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:00 a.m.

    How many we have is not as important as how many lives we are touching each and every day that leads to more good in the long run for most people in my experience at least.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Jan. 24, 2011 7:08 a.m.

    Some people think the Second Coming will have happened by 2080. Someone who knows someone we know there patriarchal blessing says they will live to see the second coming.

    We don't know when it is. When the signs of the times are fulfilled. Africa and latin America have a high growth rate. Europe is pretty low though. The church is still growing faster. Hopefully retention can be on the rise.

    I think baptisms are going down in Latin America. However retention is hopefully on the rise. Of course you can't always tell who will stay active and I don't think everyone will stay active. But good to keep retention up.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 24, 2011 6:27 a.m.

    When I served my first mission, we were told that for every person who rejected the Gospel in our mission, someone in Mexico or South America would join the church! Seems like that was accurate! I served my second mission in an Asian country and witnesses rapid growth there and we stuggled to find enough meeting houses for the growth! The caravan moves on!

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:40 a.m.

    re: atl134

    There is always China. :)

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:33 a.m.

    An even more important number is the percentage of active Mormons. Estimates are around 40 percent at best. Daniel Peterson is right when he says we cannot get smug about numbers. There is probably less than 6 million active members worldwide meaning we have a lot to do to both convert and reactivate.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:22 a.m.

    Two points:

    1. No one can accurately predict exactly how a specific religious denomination will grow in the future, since no one knows for sure what the future will be.

    For example, if you told people in 2001, after George W. Bush was sworn in as president that the next U.S. President would be an African American with the middle name of Hussein, who right then was serving as a state senator in Illinios, how many people would have believed it?

    2. 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.

    Of course, LDS critics mockishly describe this as "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" but these people don't fully understand exactly how many active priesthood holders you would need to create a new ward, let alone a stake.

    You need enough people to fill a new bishopric, ward clerk positions, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Primary and Young Men/Young Women presidencies, and that would require more than just a simple "rearranging."

  • true huddersfield, england
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:06 a.m.

    I am always surprised at headlines like this. For a start only 4 million of the 14 million are active members of the church. Many of the less-active do not even consider themselves members of the church as shown in may census details.

    Another important element to take into account is the prophesied "fall of Babylon" which is now taking place. As the sovereign debts increases, in the not too distant future complete and utter chaos will develop and it will no longer be safe for LDS missionaries to continue their labours.

    It nearly as if some church members do not take into account the fact that we live in the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and all the upheaval that will precede this glorious event.

    After all the scriptures teach that the Lord will come "In the beginning of the seventh thousand years-the preparing of the way before the time of His Coming. D&C 77:12. Note it says "The beginning" of the seventh thousand years which commenced in the year two thousand.

    Forget about the year 2080 the fall of Babylon is now taking place.

  • Stenar Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:42 a.m.

    9 million of those 14 million members are inactive.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:22 a.m.

    With declining birth rates worldwide and increased difficulty in gaining converts in first world locations (like Europe) I have difficulty seeing even his low end projection panning out for 2080.