Friday, April 8, 2016
LDS Church Growth 2015
Interesting results from the statistical report of the church. The total growth was 1.7%, the lowest rate since 1937. The total membership increase (261,862) is the smallest since 1987. It's also the first time that church has seen back-to-back years of less than 2% growth since 1946-47.
With what limited stats they read over the pulpit, one has to extract information from what they provide. For instance, I take the total membership announced, factor in the children of record and converts added, and from there can conclude how many leave the records each year, but it's unknown how many leave by request (excommunication/resignation) or death.
The problem is that the numbers reported don't add up. In 1999, the numbers would indicate that not only did no one die or resign from the church, but an additional 8000 members magically appeared.
Be that as it may, this is the second year in a row that the church lost over 100,000 members. This is less than 1% of the church population, and if we assume that one member dies for every two children of record that come each year, this would put the resignation number around 50,000. Even then 2012 had an unusually low turnover number.
The church hasn't seen any population growth from the sudden surge of missionaries after the age limits were changed. This is the third year in a row that the converts per missionary ratio is under 4.
The total church membership is growing. The ward count goes up, so there's no measured increase in inactivity either. The church is still on pace to cross the 16 million mark in worldwide membership in 2017. Another way to look at it would be that church membership has doubled since 1990, tripled since 1983.
I also found this site helpful in analyzing the numbers.