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Posted by: woodsmoke ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 10:32AM

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Posted by: Drunk Sailor ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 10:48AM

It's been advertised at 14M for a long time now.

A grotesquely exaggerated number I believe. Therefore it's hard to quantify, as they lie about their numbers.

Some recent events do point to the perception of a catastrophic problem, on the part of the church. Why lower the missionary age?

You can find stats at different places but it's hard to say whats accurate.

They keep your name on the rolls until you are 110 years of age I believe which means quite a few of the 14M are long in their graves, but how many?

What about the delay in the resignation process? There are probably thousands of members that have resigned that haven't had their names removed yet.

What about the people counted that flat out don't go and are ward projects at best? They get counted too.

The real number is probably well under 6 million, but we would need a mole in the COB to know for sure. Cencus data between 2000 and 2010 would be telling for the U.S. anyway

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 10:57AM

A number of other countries, including Canada (see below) do.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 11:02AM

You're right, it has been stuck at 14 million for a very long time, which suggests that this is the furthest they can stretch their numbers. However, if they are not experiencing any real growth, it is soon going to be hard for them to even keep that lie up.

I expect to hear even more from the GAs about the dangers of apostasy, and the great and sinful falling away that is going to happen in the last days, in order for them to cover for this drop, when they finally have to start admitting to it. They will conveniently forget that they had prophesied that the church would fill the whole earth before Jesus's return, and even if the 14 million number were true, that isn't exactly a full earth out of a population of 6 billion.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 10:55AM

I don't have time to find it right now, but it was about 4 weeks ago that I posted it here.

The Cliffs Notes version:
As a percentage of the total Canadian population, self-identified Mormons in the Canadian Census declined 6.5% nationwide, 2001 to 2011.

In the two provinces with the highest percentage of Mormons in Canada to start with, the percentage of Mormons in Alberta declined 9.3% and the percentage of Mormons in BC declined 18.9%.

Canada is the only other nation with a 100+ year history of BIC Mormon presence, so it is the best proxy we have for how Mormonism is doing in the US.

Based on that, I'd say it is at least in slow decline in the US. In western Canada it is beyond slow decline. Looks more like a medium trot downhill.

[edit - here's the original post. Remember, I'm an INTJ. I tend to be obsessive about this sort of thing. :),934324,934324#msg-934324

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2013 11:08AM by Brother Of Jerry.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 11:07AM

All I have is anecdotal evidence, but it seems to me that the church is collapsing dramatically in the south. Conversions are few, long term conversions even fewer, and what growth is being experienced in some areas is being fueled only by the high Mormon birth rate, and the constant influx of migrants from Utah.

If you look at the leadership list from the 90s, in most areas, you see a lot of names of guys who have gone either inactive or have completely left the church. High Council seems to be the one calling that is best at destroying a strong TBMs testimony. Too bad they won't let my sisters on one.

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Posted by: lostinva ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 06:07PM

I was looking on the church website the other day to see if new wards/stakes have been formed or had closed in the Atlanta area. It seems that the original "Atlanta Ward" is now just a barely hanging on branch. I also noticed that most buildings that previously housed three wards bursting at the seams are now down to about two wards with one YSA or foreign language branch: all Spanish except one Vietnamese branch.

I was honestly surprised they built any new buildings in the past decade, but that also mirrored a time of rapid suburbanization, and the growth of wards and stakes really has only been cosmetic as the growth of Mormons in the area hasn't matched the overall population growth. It's almost as if they're building and expanding buildings to give the appearance of growth. I remember the branch I used to attend was in a full-sized building, but less than half-full all the time. Another branch I attended got a full-sized building, but then mysteriously split to form another branch in a very small, dumpy building when the numbers were never there. I don't know why they split honestly, because the numbers are low enough at the original branch I don't know how they keep the doors open. The only people there attending are move-ins from elsewhere, and that seems to be the case across the South: less and less organic converts and more and more move-ins.

Much of the growth in the Atlanta area had much to do with a series of families that joined in the 60's and 70's making it much higher in converts and their children than the usual Mormon church. Thing is, those of us from convert families are having a high number of disaffection: the children go inactive or leave entirely. Convert children including those BIC to convert parents are ostracized by the Utah move-ins, and it contributes to their inactivity and leaving. I guess that's why I experienced somewhat less ostracism for coming from a convert family, but the continued influx of those from Utah started to change that.

Neither me nor my brother are involved with the Mormon church at all anymore (it helps to have a brother that also left, but we're still grouped in with Mormons [not resigned] and rarely talk to each other). If I actually tried to come back to the Mormon church I'd promptly be exed. In almost all cases, the Utah families were really snobby and elitist, and the local convert Mormons secretly hated them. It did seem more and more that the local Mormons were from Utah and less and less the original Southern convert families.

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Posted by: Hold Your Tapirs ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 08:46AM

As a member living in the Atlanta area, I can confirm that attendance in my ward, and in the stake as a whole, is around 30-40%.

We are definitely in decline.

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Posted by: Notloggedin ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 12:54AM

Here are some graphs of the numbers of the past 40 years.

Most of these indicate a flatline or steady decline in the number of TBMs, even if the number claimed is growing.

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Posted by: Leah ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 11:05AM

Approx. 38,000 members on the books in Germany and a 15% activity rate with a dismal birth rate.

Almost the same figures for France.

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Posted by: snuckafoodberry ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 11:32AM

I look at it this way: Numbers don't always represent strength. If enough leaders crop up and say this is hooey, and children are growing up in the Information Age, it will be felt and having lasting long term effects which will result in damage. It is like a big game of You Sunk My Battleship.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2013 11:33AM by snuckafoodberry.

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Posted by: QWE ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 11:59AM

If you go by the people counted by the church (people on their membership records), it's increasing at a decreasing rate.

As for people attending church every Sunday, I can't really answer for. My ward personally, the number of people I see in Sacrament meeting is pretty much the same as before, maybe slightly less.

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Posted by: Out in England ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 12:21PM

I'd love to say that it's declining but all of the TBM families that I grew up with are largely all still in the morg. The children from those families (my generation) are now parents of teenage kids & those from my age group that were the first to marry are now sending their kids on missions.

Here in the UK, the good, strong convert growth was dying off by the early 1980s, the converts since then tend to be the needy who will never make Bishop/SP etc. Those callings now get taken by the children or Grandchildren of the converts from the 1960s & 70s

The odd convert that hangs around & the BICs are keeping the numbers pretty much constant from what I can see, no noticeable rises or falls when it comets bums on pews year on year.

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Posted by: GenY ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 01:33PM

On my mission it was supposedly around 13 mil. That was a little over 13 years ago. Not much growth over those intervening years compared to the heydays of the 80s-90s. With the occasional poor/needy/uninformed conversion and the population momentum in the Morridor the church will sadly keep growing.

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Posted by: michaelm (not logged in) ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 02:19PM

Special Report: Mormonism besieged by the modern age

"The LDS church claims 14 million members worldwide -- optimistically including nearly every person baptized. But census data from some foreign countries targeted by clean-cut young missionaries show that the retention rate for their converts is as low as 25 percent. In the U.S., only about half of Mormons are active members of the church, said Washington State University emeritus sociologist Armand Mauss, a leading researcher on Mormons. Sociologists estimate there are as few as 5 million active members worldwide."

Number of Faithful Mormons Rapidly Declining

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is losing a record number of its membership. A new report quotes an LDS general authority who said more members are falling away today than any time in the past 175 years."

Global Membership and Activity Rate by Year

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Posted by: nickname ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 02:38PM

I remember seeing a poll conducted here in the US that showed Mormonism (people who self-identified as Mormon, not the Morg's bogus number) growing, but only at about the same rate as the general population for the past 15 years or so. (Unfortunately, I didn't mark down the source, and now I can't find it. It was here on RfM that I saw the link, if someone else took note of it, I'd be very grateful for the source)

If I were to guess, I would say that in 200 years or so, Mormon membership numbers will look something like a bell curve. Right now, we are somewhere near the very top of it, right around the tipping point when the numbers start to drop.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2013 02:39PM by nickname.

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Posted by: crom ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 07:57PM

ARIS report page 7.

Estimated U.S. population that self identifies as mormon:

1990 2.487 million 1.4% of the population

2001 2.697 million 1.3% of the population

2008 3.158 million 1.4% of the population

This will include inactives who haven't moved on to disbelief.

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Posted by: nickname ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 10:19PM

Thats it! Thanks!

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 03:40PM

Had to take DW to SM today.
Smallest attendance I can remember.Around 80 or 90

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Posted by: honestone ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 06:34PM

And where was that?

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Posted by: Lostmypassword ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 06:39PM

Two stakes in my small California city. Parking lots are half empty on Sundays. Disbelieving Mormon neighbor has told me that the members have been told to park in the front lot, not the rear lot, so it "Looks full."

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 06:42PM

It's of course hard to tell, but my gut feeling is that they've peaked and will decline quite sharply soon. People are more well-informed now, and don't usually make any big decisions without Googling that stuff! I live smack dab in the middle of the Utah Morg, and here the issue is that young TBM couples are getting smart enough not to have a fricking litter of kids anymore, Many are stopping at two or three.

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 07:03PM

OVERALL they are growing, but barely enough to keep up with the general population growth.

They still get "convert" baptisms each year, somewhere between 200,000 to 400,000 a year. And they still get growth due to 8 year old baptisms.

The church is growing in Africa, the Philippines and Latin America.

The church is slowly dying in Europe, most of Asia, and the states not connected to Utah.

Most convert baptisms however do not pan out to be solid, "quality" members, so any "growth" the church reports is mostly due member births.

The LDS church used to have an exponential growth rate back in the 60's, 70's and 80's, however those days are over. There are so many people going inactive that any growth they do get is mostly cancelled out. They no longer are increasing their market share of the general population. Ten years later Mormons still only make up 2% of Americans.

It has been fairly agreed upon by members on this board that the church's 14 million "members" consist of approximately the following:

4.5 million active or partially active members
4.5 million inactive believing members
4.5 million people who do not self identify themselves as Mormon

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Posted by: squeebee ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 08:24PM

You know, one thing that is clear is that the church is just keeping up with the population growth rate, or maybe a little less. The morg keeps up with the birth rate as it were.

That said, the morg's birth rate is higher than that of the general population generally, and the more actively seeks new members.

So, in spite of active growth efforts, it barely keeps up with the general population. Makes you wonder what the attrition rate really is.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 08:31PM

I had to take DW to SM today. It was the smallest attendance I remember in the last 5 years About 90 out of around 600. Could be the heat or maybe vacations.

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Posted by: nickname ( )
Date: July 21, 2013 10:49PM

That's a really interesting article! It matches up well with my personal experience.

I remember on my mission, in the UK, the rule of thumb was that about 10% of members on the books were active. Probably somewhere around 20% ever came to church. There were probably more members on the books who had died or moved and we had lost track of them, then there were members who ever came to church. Most of the people in the ward couldn't even remember who most of the people on the ward list were, that's how long it had been since they had ever been to church. You'd ask the bishop about a name, and he'd be like, "Who's that? I've never heard of them!"

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Posted by: exmember ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 12:30AM

More mormon families are converting to JWs and Pentocostal churches.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 12:36AM

Oh, really. How come none of those converts post here?

We get exmos posting who are various flavors of Christianity, but JW or Pentecostal are not common flavors at all.

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Posted by: Alpiner ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 12:39AM

I've never met a JW ex-mo that didn't marry into it.

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Posted by: nickname ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 12:45AM

What makes you say that?

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Posted by: madalice ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 12:44AM

Video killed the radio star.
Google is killing Mormonism.

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Posted by: FredOi ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 05:20AM

Never met a single LDS who became jw in Australia. A very few went Pentecostal, a few in nZ go Pentecostal, mostly Polynesians.

Once you've worked out the LDS scam you aren't keen for Pentecostals imo

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 05:22AM

. . . and counting.

Uh-huh. You folks crunch the numbers--with deservedly healthy skepticism.

First, that head count, Mormon-style:

"'Mormon Church Membership Hits 15 Million'

"SALT LAKE CITY--The president of the Mormon Church says worldwide membership has hit 15 million, representing a three-fold increase over the three decades.

"President Thomas S. Monson announced the milestone during the opening session of the two-day Mormon Church conference Saturday morning.

"The bi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints brings 100,000 members to Salt Lake City. More than half of church members live outside of the United States.

"Monson says The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints began with 30 members in 1830, taking more than a century to hit the 1 million milestone.

"Matt Martinich, a member of the LDS Church who analyzes membership numbers with the non-profit Cumorah Foundation, says Church membership has tripled since 1982 when there were 5 million members."

("Mormon Church Membership Hits 15 Million," by Brady McCombs, "Associated Press," 5 October 2013, at:

Reason to doubt the Mormon Church's officially-declared claims regarding its supposed overall membership numbers is most recently based on the fact that LDS, Inc. was last year forced to retract exaggerated assertions it was peddling about supposedly pew-popping expansion in the United States.

Let's examine its unreliable record.

--The Mormon Church Has Its Predictably Misleading Way of Counting Some and Discounting Others

"'Change Lowers Mormonism's Growth Rate'

"If you suspected the newly released U.S. Religion Census overstated the LDS Church's growth rate, you were right. That's because, this time around, the Utah-based faith changed the way it reported its membership to the researchers.

"The once-a-decade study was assembled by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, which included self-reported data on adherents for 153 participating bodies.

"Its report pegged U.S. Mormon growth at 45.5 percent, jumping from 4,224,026 in 2000 to 6,144,582 in 2010. The 2000 figure, though, was much lower than the 5,208,827 listed in the LDS Church's almanac. If researchers had been given that figure, the percentage of growth would have been considerably smaller, closer to 18 percent.

"The LDS Church also supplied smaller Utah membership numbers to the state--figures government officials use for planning.

"Here's how the LDS Church explains the discrepancy between the 2000 Religion Census figure and its own almanac for the same year.

"'Total [LDS] Church membership numbers are derived from those individuals who have been baptized or born into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," spokesman Scott Trotter said Wednesday. "They are neither projections nor estimates.'

"Trotter acknowledged that, in past years, LDS membership figures reported to the census researchers "were understated."

"For those years, he said, the LDS Church 'left out numbers of members who, although baptized, were not currently associated with a specific congregation. This year, we included total membership numbers to more accurately reflect all of those found on Church records.'

"Dale Jones, a researcher on the Religion Census, said he wished the LDS Church had alerted him about the change in its reporting methods. But Jones, director of research services at the Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center in Kansas, said he had no problem with the shift.

"'Any group can define [its membership] however they like,' Jones said. 'Mormons are not the only ones to change, and it's not a big deal.'

"If the LDS growth rate slipped from 45 percent to, say, 20 percent, it would still put the Mormons at the top of the list"among Christian faiths, he said. 'I don't care if it's half as much. It's not the same story, but it's still a great story.'

"In fact, Jones said, reporting the LDS Church's entire membership list 'is closer to what most Protestants do.'

"In his own Nazarene faith, officials 'have an inactive members list as well, and we do include them in our total membership,' he said. 'In that sense, this move actually strengthens our case for saying our data is pretty comparable across denominations.'

"The LDS Church does not remove any name from the list unless the person is excommunicated, asks to be removed or is dead. That means that a large number of members remain on the rolls who no longer attend or even consider themselves to be Mormon.

"'We estimate that only 40 percent of LDS Church members in the U.S. attend church regularly,' said Matt Martinich, an independent researcher who studies Mormon demographics for 'That number varies by region--some areas have very high attendance like 70 percent and some as low as 20 percent.'

"Martinich gets that activity rate by comparing the ratio of members to congregations, LDS seminary and institute enrollment, and member and missionary reports.

"Unlike other studies, which track beliefs and attendance, the Religion Census attempts to count the actual number of people affiliated with U.S. congregations. For instance, it listed Utah's Catholic population at 160,125. But Catholics, who make up by far the state's second largest religion after the predominant Mormon faith, say the real figure is closer to 300,000."

("Change Lowers Mormonism's Growth Rate," by Peggy Fletcher Stack, "The Salt Lake Tribune," 18 May 2013, at:; see also, "Church Falsifies U.S. Membership Numbers for National Survey," posted by "Simon in Oz," on "Recovery from Mormonism" discussion board, May 2012, at;

--The Mormon Church's "15 Million" Claim Deserves Further Disbelief Since It Has a History of Releasing Highly-Questionable Membership Numbers (Which Serve to Disguise the Drop in the Rate of Convert Baptisms)

"'LDS Church Growth Statistics: Anomalies Since 1970'

"[In April 2013], the LDS Church released their statistical report for 2012 at their General Conference held in Salt Lake City. They release these reports every spring, and you can review the historical data . . . from the LDS General Conference archive . . . . Since the General Conference archive only goes back to 1971 (which includes 1970 data) we’ll only analyze data from 1970 onward.

" . . . It’s important to note that these figures are self-reported by the LDS Church and, as far as I know, the figures are not audited or verified by any third party. The information they choose to release--accurate or inaccurate as it may be--is all that’s available. Everything else is just guesswork . . . .

"Total LDS Church Membership

"First, let’s look at the self-reported total membership of the LDS Church over time.

[As the Mormon Church declares it], [t]here’s some strong growth here. The LDS Church grew from about 3 million members in 1970 to about 15 million in 2012, which means it grew five times larger in a little more than 40 years. [Graphing the numbers] appears to show some exponential growth but the trend has also been quite linear since about 1990 or so.

"Okay, so what about year-over-year change in membership? To get this information, I simply calculated the difference in total Church membership for each consecutive year. Nothing else was taken into account. . . .

"LDS Church Year-Over-Year Change in Membership

"[Graphing these numbers], [o]n average, it’s obvious that the LDS Church is adding an increasing number of members each year although it’s . . . pretty erratic . . . . Let’s smooth things out by graphing this data as a five-year rolling average.

"LDS Church Year-Over-Year Change in Membership: Five Year Average

"[Graphing in 5-year segments makes it] much easier to see . . . . There’s still an upward trend in year-over-year change in membership since 1970 but there’s also a notable downward trend since the peak in the early 1990s. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that the LDS Church is not growing (the first graph proves that) but that the number of members added each year is down from its peak 20 years ago.

"So, all this is showing growth trends in terms of members added--but what happens when we look at growth trends as growth rate?

"[Further graphing] shows the percentage of year-over-year change in membership compared to the total number of members, which is effectively the Church rate of growth. Again, we’re not being specific about anything other than the change in year-over-year membership. It could be due to missionary work or 8-year-old baptisms but this data is completely neutral.

"LDS Church Growth Rate: Percentage

"We’re seeing a downward trend but again it’s pretty erratic, so let’s smooth it out with a 5-year rolling average. . . .

"Over the past 40 years, the year-over-year rate of growth for the LDS Church has been slowing. This is to be expected because it’s easier for a small organization to display huge growth rates than it is for a large one. There are a number of reasons for this but a big reason is that each year it’s more and more likely that receptive converts have already joined the Church.

"Still, the LDS Church’s current growth rate of about 2.25% well outpaces the world population growth rate of 1.15% and the United States’ population growth rate of 0.72%. This means that if the growth rate held firm, every person in the world would eventually be a member of the LDS Church.

"This is highly unlikely, though, given the steady, predictable erosion of the LDS Church’s growth rate. However, it’s worth noting that, at the current growth rate, each year a (slightly) larger percentage of the world’s population belongs to the LDS Church. With about 6,973,700,000 people on earth, that means 0.21% of them are Mormon--or about 1 in 472. By next year, another 0.0045% of the world will probably be Mormon. Modest, no doubt, but growing, nonetheless.

"Missionary Work

"Evangelism is important in the LDS Church and their pursuit of new members is a proportionally gigantic effort. They have released self-reported conversion statistics as part of their annual reports since at least 1970 so we can take a peek at how the missionary effort is progressing.

"First, let’s take a look at total yearly convert baptisms, which means conversions coming from outside the LDS Church and not children of Church members. These are straight-forward numbers and no retention information is included [in this study]. . . .

"LDS Church Convert Baptisms

"[The provided] convert-baptisms graph generally corresponds with trends we’ve seen in previous graphs. Numbers of annual convert baptisms exploded from about 1974 until 1980 and again from 1985 until 1990. Since 1990, the trend has generally tapered downward with an obvious low spot in the mid-2000s. It has somewhat recovered in the past few years but the current number of annual baptisms still falls short of the rates seen during the 1990s.

"Now, let’s look at those same convert baptisms figures as a percentage of total reported Church membership. . . .

"LDS Church Convert Baptisms: Percentage of Total Membership

"When looking at the growth rate of convert baptisms, we see a definite downward trend. The recurring peak in the early 1990s appears here, too, but an even higher peak happens in 1980--showing just how effective, proportionally, the Mormon missionary effort was from the late 1970s until the early 1980s.

"Another way of saying this is that each year it’s probable that a smaller percentage of Mormons will be new converts than in previous years. This is pretty easily shown on a graph. In any given year, a certain percentage of Mormons will have been baptized within the past five years and we can display this trend, year by year, with [another] graph.

"LDS Church Percentage of Recent Converts (Past Five Years)

"Over time, new converts are becoming rarer in the Mormon Church. In 1980, nearly 1/5 of all members had been baptized within the previous five years. By 1990, the number had fallen to about 1/6 and in 2012 fewer than 1/10 of members had been baptized within the past five years. The opposite is true, too; More than 90% of all current LDS Church members have been Mormon for over five years (92.3%).

"Children of Record and 8-Year-Old Baptisms

"In the LDS Church, children are eligible for baptism when they turn eight years old. For statistical purposes, the Church has historically separated convert baptisms from child baptisms, probably to differentiate growth from missionary work versus growth from natural population growth.

"There’s some statistical trouble [with this approach], though, because the LDS Church hasn’t always counted growth from reproduction the same way through the years.

"In 1970--which is our statistical starting year for this study--the LDS Church reported the number of 8-year-old baptisms, as well as the number of children of record. I assume these two numbers show the number of children added to the official member tally (8-year-old baptisms) and the number of new babies which were blessed but not added to the membership tally (children of record).

"This reporting changed for 1984 when the LDS Church began reporting only 8-year-old baptisms and stopped reporting children of record. This continued until 1997 when the reporting reversed and the Church started reporting children of record and not specifically 8-year-old baptisms. This reporting continues from 1997 forward. It’s unclear whether the Church merely changed the title of the statistic or if they actually began counting a different set of people. We don’t know so we won’t assume that we know what’s going on. For our purposes here, we’ll only look at the numbers.

"To reflect these statistical inconsistencies, [a graph with more than one line is needed]. One line . . . shows the number of children of record, while the other line . . . shows the number of 8-year-olds baptized. . . .

"LDS Church Children of Record and 8-Year-Olds Baptized

"To be really honest, I don’t know what’s going on. There’s no way to be certain. There are a few things we can gather, however.

"First, things are trending upward for both metrics indicating that there are more children in the LDS Church each year, regardless of their classification.

"Second, it’s pretty apparent that the . . . line [for](children of record) . . . is unrelated to the other lines. It’s on a whole different trajectory and, to make things worse, it just stops until 1997 when the [children-of-record] term comes back but seems to more closely correspond to the '8-year-olds baptized' line.

"It seems far more plausible that the LDS Church may have just changed the terminology for 8-year-old baptisms to children of record and the [children of record line] in 1997 is just a continuation of the [same] line before it. It’s a little strange, though, because the line gets a lot more erratic and choppier after the change. Maybe that’s just real numbers and, again, we’ll never know for sure.

"One other thing we can know is how these rather inconsistent numbers look as a growth rate. This is the percentage of total membership that’s either an 8-year-old baptism or a change in children of record. . . .

"LDS Church Growth Rate for 8-Year-Olds Baptized and Children of Record

"Things are clear as mud here, too, but we can draw a lot of the same conclusions as before.

"First, we’re seeing an overall declining growth rate for these figures, regardless of how they’re classified. We can be quite confident in saying there are an increasing number of children in the LDS church each year but each year the percentage of the membership that is either an 8-year-old baptism or an increase in children of record is smaller.

"Statistical Anomales

"Now, I want to point out some interesting statistical anomalies found in the data. The . . . graph [for] Year-Over-Year Change in Membership shows the yearly difference in the total number of LDS Church members. I got this number by simply subtracting the previous year’s membership total from each year’s membership total since 1970. (For 1970, I subtracted 1969′s total, which is available from the LDS Church).

"Each year, the number is positive--meaning that each year there are more Mormons than the year before (at least since 1970) and we know how many more there are. We also have conversion and children of record statistics so we can readily compare conversion details to membership numbers as a whole.

"[A following] graph shows how the conversion numbers break down. . . . From the second graph in this entry (Year-Over-Year Change in Membership) we know how many more LDS Church members there are that year versus the year before; and for each year shown [on this graph], we’ll call that 100% since it’s the total growth.

"To break down this yearly 100%, we’ll take the percentage of the growth that’s due to convert baptisms [and to] 8-year-olds baptized and the total of the two. Together, each year, the two statistics should add up to about 100%, allowing some wiggle room for members who have died or left. However, these totals shouldn’t be too far from 100% because, well, you can’t convert more than 100% of the members added and you can’t add members that you don’t baptize.

"The green bars show the percentage of the total from convert baptisms; the blue bars show the percentage of the total from increase of children of record or 8-year-olds baptized; and the orange bars show the total of the two compared to the reported change in membership. Please note that before 1997 I counted 8-year-old baptisms for the blue bars and after 1997 I counted children of record because I didn’t have much choice. . . .

"LDS Church Growth Breakdown

"[THe graph showing these numbers] uncovers some very interesting anomalies in the data.

"For instance, in 1973 the Mormon Church membership was reported to have increased to 3,306,658 from 3,218,908 the previous year--a difference of 87,750 members. But the Church also reported that they had baptized 80,128 new converts and 52,789 8-year-olds (totaling 132,917)--or over 150% of the membership increase that year. That leaves 45,167 members unaccounted for. When looking again at the graph Year-Over-Year Change in Membership, we see that 1973 is the lowest year for increase in membership--the only year lower than 100,000.

"We see this same phenomenon quite a few times in the graph.

"In 2011, there were 91,350 members unaccounted for. Again, perhaps these members died or left but there’s a notable discrepancy between baptisms and increase in total church membership.

"Even stranger are years like 1989--when the total number of baptisms falls short of the Mormon Church membership increase for that year. The LDS Church shows a membership increase of 587,234 in 1989 but there were only 318,940 convert baptisms and 75,000 8-year-old baptisms--meaning that 193,294 members were added to the membership total that weren’t baptized.

"We see the same thing in 1990, in 1999 and in several years in the 1970s and 80s. The phenomenon hasn’t occurred in the past ten years.

"It’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on. Perhaps the LDS Church has had a difficult time keeping such vast records straight and the numbers show errors in their collected data or perhaps the Church has made some calculation mistakes in their yearly General Conference reports over the years.

"We know with certainty that a number of Mormon Church members die each year and those decreases could be reflected [in this analysis=.

"We don’t know whether the LDS Church removes resigned members or excommunicated members from their tally but if they do, that could explain some of the discrepancies.

"The LDS Church is growing. The Church adds a significant number of converts and baptized children to its membership total each year. From the first graph [in this analysis], you can see a strikingly linear growth chart showing that LDS Church growth is robust and will likely continue indefinitely. Even so, there is a notable decrease in the overall LDS Church growth rate, both among converts baptized and among children baptized."

("LDS Church Growth Statistics, Anomalies Since 1970," posted by 'RoundelMike," complete with graphs, 7 May 2013, at:

Let's keep things in perspective--one provided by none other than Marlin Jensen, the Mormon Church's official historian, who blabbed the truth at the expense of the LDS Church's official fiction to a group of Mormon college students, faculty and other Church members at Weber State University.

As reported by the Reuters News Agency:

"A religious studies class late last year at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, was unusual for two reasons:

"The small group of students, faculty and faithful there to hear Mormon Elder Marlin Jensen were openly troubled about the future of their Church, asking hard questions.

"And Jensen was uncharacteristically frank in acknowledging their concerns.

"Did the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know that members are 'leaving in droves?' a woman asked.

"'We are aware,' said Jensen, according to a tape recording of his unscripted remarks. 'And I'm speaking of the 15 men that are above me in the hierarchy of the Church. They really do know and they really care,' he said. . . .

"Jensen, the Church's official historian, would not provide any figures on the rate of defections but he told Reuters that attrition has accelerated in the last five or 10 years, reflecting greater secularization of society"

("Special Report: Mormonism Besieged by the Modern Age," by Peter Henderson and Kristina Cooke, Reuters News Agency, 31 January 2012, at:

The Mormon Church knows and cares, all right.

So much so that it's desperately fudging the numbers. Math for the Myth. It all adds up to subtracting credibility.

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Posted by: Deja Vue ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 06:55AM

I swear you must have a staff of twenty or so people working for you. I so enjoy the material and research you post. I may have some reservations at times but you are an anomaly. I have heard the saying, "Don't mess with Texas" but I thnk it's safer to mess with Texas than to mess you, your research, your intellect.

Thank you so much for your contributions (and the hours you must spend in compiling, analysing, coordinating, reviewing and presenting well researched and documented material. One day, I hope to meet you in person.. Until then, I will continue to follow your trail of perceptions and facts.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 09:22AM

"Dale Jones, a researcher on the Religion Census, said he wished the LDS Church had alerted him about the change in its reporting methods. But Jones, director of research services at the Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center in Kansas, said he had no problem with the shift.

"'Any group can define [its membership] however they like,' Jones said. 'Mormons are not the only ones to change, and it's not a big deal.'

This right here says it all to me. So any church can report whatever the hell they want. It’s no big deal. Just like Christ taught us to do right? Lie, misrepresent and hide the way the numbers were cooked because members are not spiritual enough to ‘understand’ the mysteries of god. We all do it that way so it’s all good right?

More attendee’s mean the church is more true right? God what a transparent load of BS! Lying about number of members to the public is the same lie as the SP who tells members to park in the lot closest to the public to protect members ‘testimony’ and to provide the façade to the world that “all is well in Gods kingdom”.

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Posted by: Anonymous User ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 09:10AM

If Church activity was flourishing why would Monson instigate a programme called "The Rescue" and make it his signature programme?

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: October 28, 2013 11:02AM

FAQ: "How many ex-Mormons are there?"

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