- 13,508,509 members
- 265,593 converts baptized in 2008
- 123,502 new children of record for 2008
- 2,818 stakes
- 348 missions
- 622 districts
- 28,109 wards and branches
- 52,494 missionaries serving
Membership growth overall slowed slightly during 2008 as a whole, and we saw some 14,000 less converts baptized compared to 2007. The number of congregations in the Church increased by only 282 in 2008, the lowest increase since 2003. Stakes increased by only 28, off of a nine year high of 45 the year before. Districts increased by four. The number of missionaries serving fell by only a couple hundred, but was reported to be currently around 53,000 in conference. It is saddening that the number of congregations has not increased worldwide by a greater number and evidences that inactivity and retention problems remain in much of the world where the Church is established.
The most surprising statistic given for me for 2008 was the increase of children of record. This was the largest increase we have seen in this statistic since 1982! In the 1990s, increase of children of record was typically between 70 and 80 thousand. Since 2003 this statistic has been between 90 and 100 thousand. This likely indicates that families in the Church are being better established outside of the United States.
Lastly I wanted to focus on a statistic which can be derived from the data provided by the Church. If you take the difference of membership in 2007 and 2008, you will come up with 314,510 members. However, if you add the number of converts and increase of children of record for 2008, you get a total of 389,095. So where did the 74,585 members go?
There are several reasons for this discrepancy. First off, some of these members have passed away and are no longer included in the number of members reported by the Church at conference. Secondly, some of these members were excommunicated from the Church. Some of these 74,585 members also voluntarily asked for the Church to remove their names from the Church's membership records. This number might also result from the Church maintaining its membership records and deleting duplicate or inaccurate records. Keep in mind that Church records in the United States and Canada are much more organized and up-to-date than much of the rest of the world, where most of the members of the Church now live. Believing that the Church is manipulating these numbers to make growth look less modest is unfounded and superficial.
The difference between the increase in membership and the sum of new converts and children of record tend to be between 30 and 80 thousand a year.