Thursday, March 27, 2008

Statistical Report for 2007 and growth trends in the LDS Church

In a little over a week, the Church will present the Annual Statistical Report for 2007 in General Conference. I am very excited to see the numbers for last year for a variety of reasons. First of all, convert baptisms have been on the rise worldwide. From 2003 to 2005, there were around 240,000 convert baptisms and membership increased around 280,000 members. In 2006, there were nearly 273,000 convert baptisms and in increase of about 308,000 members. The Church Almanac for 2008 reports that as of October 1st, 2007 Church membership was at 13,116,784 members, increasing at a rate of 2.57% a year (up from previous years). If membership increased at the same rate for the remaining three months of 2007, we should expect membership to be somewhere around 13,200,000 members for the end of the year.

Last year (2007) there were over 200 new congregations created in the United States, which was around the same amount for the previous year. The increase in congregations for 2006 worldwide was 388, 417 for 2005 and 433 for 2004. The largest increase in congregations since the organization of the Church was in 1979 with 1,632. Determining the growth of the Church by new congregations being organized is one of the most reliable tools. Active members are needed to fill leadership in new congregations, which come from convert baptisms altogether (in other words, if it weren't for convert baptisms, the creation of new congregations would equal the dissolution of previously existing ones). The systematic increase in congregations in the United States dispells the notion that the number of people coming into the Church is equaling the number leaving it.

However, the percentage growth that the Church enjoyed in the 70s and 80s is not nearly what it is today. I do believe we are seeing some phenomenal growth in certain areas of the world. However, there are a lot more inactive members of the Church now than 20 or 30 years ago and that brings down the growth rate for the Church.

My predictions for 2007 are that there were 2,789 stakes, somewhere around 27,900 congregations, over 100,000 increase of children on record, and around 320,000 converts baptized.

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