The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with total church membership of 16,118,169 members is known as the LDS Church or, informally, the Mormon Church. It is a Nontrinitarian, Christian church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. Newly released figures from the LDS Church show that its rate of growth has slowed considerably over the last few years, and in 2017 is just under 1.5%. From 2013, when the percentage of growth was 2.03%, growth rates have been decreasing until today.
“This is the fewest converts we’ve had in 30 years,” said Matthew Martinich, founder of the LDS Church Growth blog (which tracks Mormon growth and retention internationally) and project manager for Cumorah.com. “I think that’s a big concern.” The Church added 233,729 new converts in 2017, when that figure was closer to 300,000 just four or five years ago.
On the other side, ward and branch creation is stagnant, which is one more area of concerns among the members of the LDS Church. “The increase in congregations was the lowest we’ve had since 2011,” said Martinich. “That’s mostly because of the U.S.”
According to ldschurchgrowth.blogspot:
“...the Church continues to report decelerating membership growth rates in several countries that support the largest church memberships. For example, the Church reported a significant slowdown in membership growth in the United States during 2017 as church membership increased by only 0.75% - the lowest annual membership growth rate for the Church in the United States in perhaps as long as a century… Moreover, growth rates in these countries strongly affect world membership growth rates. For example, LDS membership in the six countries with the most members (the United States, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Chile, and Peru) constitutes 71% of total church membership worldwide. Thus, even small changes in growth rates in these six nations significantly influence world membership growth rates. Lack of member-missionary participation, ineffective proselytism approaches, and the increasing influence of secularism on society appear primarily responsible for these trends.”
In Mormon statistics, everyone who has been baptized will continue to be counted as members until age 110 unless their death date is known or they go through the formal step of officially removing their names from the records.
Regardless of the decline in membership, Martinich is not discouraged. “Stake growth continues to be a lot higher than in the last decade or so,” says Martinich. “And that’s encouraging.” How is that possible, if new wards and branches aren’t being created? Martinich says the answer lies in a more robust activity rate among people who are already members. Also, in the last 5 to 10 years “in most countries with the largest church memberships, the congregations there now are about as large as congregations in the U.S.” This is another sign of vitality that’s not reflected in the statistical report, Martinich highlights.
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