Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 2020 Newsletter

Click here to access the April 2020 Newsletter for www.cumorah.com.

Updated Country Statistical Profiles - April 30th, 2020

See below for a list of country statistical profiles updated on www.cumorah.com.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Missing Country-Specific Statistical Numbers - Church Newsroom

For many years, I have contacted the Newsroom staff to alert them that several countries with a non-sensitive Church presence are missing from the Facts and Statistics page on the Church's official Newsroom site. Unfortunately, these efforts have yielded few results. Sometimes I receive a response saying that this information will used to help improve the site, whereas at other times I have received no response. There have been a couple instances when staff at the Church's Membership and Statistical Records Departments has provided myself or colleagues some of these missing data for research purposes. The staff has indicated that all of the non-sensitive data is provided to the Newsroom staff, including most of the countries that I have identified which should be published. The Church used to provide a more thorough and complete statistical breakdown by country, state, and province in the defunct Deseret News Church Almanac series, which reportedly ended after its 2013 edition due to a lack of interest and staff available to update it. In recent years, only a few countries have been added to the Facts and Statistics page, such as Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait, and Montenegro.

Here is a list of the missing non-sensitive countries that the Church does not publish statistical data for on its Newsroom site. Congregational data in terms of meetinghouse location are available for all of these countries on the Church's official meetinghouse locator:
  • Belarus
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Senegal
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom constituent countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Vietnam

I am requesting that those who are interested in obtaining these missing data to please complete this website feedback form provided by the Church and request that data for these countries be posted on the Facts and Statistics page. My hope is that if there are enough requests it will prompt the Newsroom staff to update the site with the missing country-specific data. The lack of information about the Church in these countries on the Facts and Statistics page not only makes it difficult to assess the size and growth of the Church in these locations, but it can also lead many to erroneously believe that there is no Church presence in these nations. Please make sure your responses are respectful.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Updating Country Statistical Profiles on Cumorah.com

I am currently updating the country statistical profiles on www.cumorah.com. I will be posting on my blog whenever I update country or state/province profiles. Also new for this year, I have included a comparative growth table that compares the number of members and congregations between Latter-day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists. Although there are many significant doctrinal differences, these three groups share a lot in common in terms of a centralized leadership headquartered in the United States, founding in the United States during the nineteenth century, and worldwide missionary-focused efforts. Thus, this table presents more of an apples-to-apples comparison to these three religious groups, and also shows what type of growth has been possible in different countries of the world. 

So far, I have updated the following countries with year-end 2019 data:

Sunday, April 12, 2020

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake - April 2020 Edition

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2019 and congregational and district totals are current. Estimated membership for mainland China and Pakistan is provided as official statistics are unavailable. The number of branches in mainland China is not provided due to the sensitive nature of the Church in that country. Previous lists of the countries with the most members without a stake can be found here.

  1. China - 12,500 members? - 12 districts
  2. Malaysia - 10,845 members - 31 branches - 6 districts
  3. Guyana - 6,264 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  4. Belize - 5,485 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  5. Pakistan - 5,000 members - 14 branches - 3 districts
  6. Armenia - 3,579 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  7. Malawi - 3,216 members - 8 branches - 2 districts
  8. Romania - 3,064 members - 15 branches - 2 districts
  9. Bulgaria - 2,440 members - 7 branches - 0 districts
  10. Cameroon - 2,245 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  11. Eswatini - 2,091 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  12. Poland - 2,058 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  13. Cook Islands - 1,865 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  14. Ethiopia - 1,803 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  15. Tanzania - 1,793 members - 8 branches - 1 district
  16. Suriname - 1,747 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  17. Sri Lanka - 1,631 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  18. Macau - 1,463 members - 2 branches - 1 district
As noted in the list from 2019, prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, Swaziland, and Cameroon as all of these countries have at least one district that is close to reaching the minimum qualifications for a stake to operate.  Low member activity rates, an insufficient number of branches in individual member districts, slow or stagnant growth, and few full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders will likely continue to delay the organization of stakes in other countries for several more years to come.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

UPDATED: The 10 Countries/Territories with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation

I have updated the list of the countries and dependencies with the most members without a temple with year-end 2019 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for April 2019, October 2018, April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007. I have put the country name in bold if that country has typically experienced rapid growth (annual membership growth rate of approximately 8% or higher) within the past two years. Also, all of the countries on the list are located in Asia, Africa, or Oceania.



1. Kiribati
  • 20,946 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 38 congregations (11 wards, 27 branches)
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
2. Uganda
  • 17,887 members
  • 3 stakes, 3 districts
  • 36 congregations (16 wards, 20 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Nairobi Kenya Temple announced)
3. Mozambique
  • 15,032 members
  • 4 stakes, 2 districts
  • 47 congregations (25 wards, 22 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Harare Zimbabwe Temple announced)
4. Liberia
  • 14,538 members
  • 5 stakes, 1 district
  • 54 congregations (38 wards, 16 branches)
  • Accra Ghana Temple (Freetown Sierra Leone Temple announced)
5. Madagascar
  • 12,887 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 42 congregations (16 wards, 26 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Harare Zimbabwe Temple announced)
6. Mongolia
  • 12,261 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations (12 wards, 12 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Shanghai China Temple announced)
7. Malaysia
  • 10,845 members
  • 0 stakes, 6 districts
  • 31 congregations (31 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Bangkok Thailand Temple announced)
8. Vanuatu
  • 10,210 members
  • 1 stake, 3 districts
  • 37 congregations (5 wards, 32 branches)
  • Suva Fiji Temple 
9. Republic of the Congo 
  • 8,542 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 27 congregations (17 wards, 10 branches)
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
10. Indonesia
  • 7,561 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations (15 wards, 9 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Bangkok Thailand Temple under construction)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Congregational Growth by Country: 2019

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2019. The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +185 (1.30% increase)
  2. Nigeria +73 (11.25% increase)
  3. Brazil +31 (1.47% increase)
  4. Peru +21 (2.77% increase) 
  5. Cote d'Ivoire +19 (8.23% increase) 
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo +15 (7.65% increase)
  7. Ghana +14 (4.46% increase)
  8. Bolivia +13 (5.06% increase)
  9. Philippines +12 (0.98% increase) 
  10. Mozambique +10 (29.41% increase) 
  11. Sierra Leone +10 (14.49% increase) 
  12. Ecuador +8 (2.62% increase) 
  13. Zimbabwe +7 (8.75% increase) 
  14. Kenya +6 (12.50% increase) 
  15. Australia +5 (1.65% increase) 
  16. Canada +5 (1.02% increase) 
  17. Kiribati +5 (15.63% increase)
  18. Liberia +5 (10.42% increase)
  19. Samoa +4 (2.53% increase) 
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 19 countries totals 448; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2019 (404). Five countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2019. Altogether, the net decrease in congregations in these 12 nations totaled 58. 
  1. Chile -22 (3.73% decrease) 
  2. Argentina -17 (2.26% decrease)
  3. Taiwan -9 (7.69% decrease) 
  4. Uruguay -5 (3.60% decrease) 
  5. El Salvador -5 (3.07% decrease)
Previous lists for annual congregational growth by country are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2019

The Church has released year-end 2019 membership and congregation totals for most nations with a reported Church presence. These statistics can be accessed on Church's official website at https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2019 (10% or greater) are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage, which is followed by the country's membership at year-end 2019. Countries in bold experienced an annual membership increase greater than 200 during 2019. 

  1. Montenegro - 56.5% - 36
  2. Mozambique - 22.5% - 15,032
  3. Angola - 19.0% -3,490
  4. Kazakhstan - 16.8% - 230 
  5. Benin - 16.0% - 4,018
  6. Togo - 12.3% - 5,320 
  7. Cyprus - 12.2% - 507
  8. Lesotho - 10.5% - 1,303
  9. Tuvalu - 10.5% - 296
  10. Luxembourg - 10.3% - 505
  11. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 10.1% - 68,871
Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership increase for the year 2019. Each country is provided with the numerical national increase in membership. Additionally, the percentage of total church membership increase is provided for each country. Lists are also available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. 70.8% of the 2019 net increase in Church membership can be attributed to the following 10 nations.
  1. United States - 39,203 - 15.6%
  2. Brazil - 35,319 - 14.1%
  3. Mexico - 25,756 - 10.2%
  4. Philippines - 20,045 - 8.0% 
  5. Nigeria - 14,864 - 5.9%
  6. Peru - 14,000 - 5.6%
  7. Argentina - 10,079 - 4.0%
  8. Chile - 6,847 - 2.7%
  9. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 6,308 - 2.5%
  10. Ghana - 5,484 - 2.2%
With the country-by-country breakdown for membership in 2019, it can be determined what countries were primarily responsible for the increase in membership growth in 2019 compared to 2018 (approximately 50,000). However, there was only one country where the Church reported a significantly larger increase in membership in 2019 than 2018, which was Brazil with a whopping 24,502 more members than the 2018 increase. The Church in the United States, which has been the country where the Church adds the most new members every year, was almost eclipsed by membership growth in Brazil. If this had happened, it would have marked the first year in Church history when there were more members added to Church records for a country outside the United States than in the United States. Unfortunately, this does not indicate an acceleration in membership growth trends internationally, but rather slowing membership growth rates in the United States. The annual increase in Church membership for the United States in 2019 was very close to what it was in 2018, and the annual percentage membership growth for the United States in 2019 was the lowest reported by the Church since approximately the mid-1800s. Although the number of members being added to Church records in the United States is nearing historic lows primarily due to decreasing birth rates in the Church, congregational growth rates remain good and indicate likely improving convert retention and member activity rates for the country as a whole.

Examination of the country-by-country membership data revealed no significant changes in membership growth trends in 2019 versus 2018 with a few notable exceptions. First, as already noted above, membership growth in Brazil was significantly higher in 2019 than 2018. The annual membership growth rate for the Church in Brazil for 2019 (2.53%) was the highest reported by the Church in Brazil since 2015. Second, the membership growth rate for the Church in Papua New Guinea in 2019 (9.12%) was the highest reported by the Church since 2011 (10.1%) and the second highest reported by the Church since 2002 (10.5%). The Church in Papua New Guinea now reports 30,825 members. Third, the Church in Mozambique reported an unprecedented year for membership growth, as Church membership increased by 22.5% to reach 15,032 members. This is the highest annual membership growth rate for the Church in Mozambique since 2004 when there were only 3,000 members. Fourth, annual membership growth rates in Cote d'Ivoire significantly slowed in 2019 to only 7.1% - the lowest annual membership growth rate in the country since 2011. In contrast, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire reported approximately 20% annual membership growth rates for several years in the 2010s.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Eight New Temples Announced - Analysis

Today, President Russell M. Nelson announced eight new temples to be built in the following locations:
  • Bahia Blanca, Argentina
  • Tallahassee, Florida 
  • Lubumbashi, DR Congo
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Benin City, Nigeria
  • Syracuse, Utah
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Shanghai, China
This post provides an analysis of these temple announcements.

Bahia Blanca Argentina Temple
The Bahia Blanca Argentina Temple will be the Church's fifth temple to be announced for Argentina, and the first temple to be built in southern Argentina. Previous temples were dedicated in Buenos Aires (1986) and Cordoba (2015), whereas the Church has announced temples for Salta (April 2018) and Mendoza (October 2018). The new temple will likely include 14 stakes and five districts in southern Argentina. Due to few stakes in the nearby area around Bahia Blanca, the size of the temple building will likely be small (under 20,000 square feet). The Church in Argentina has experienced slow membership growth for many years albeit annual membership growth rates have slightly accelerated for the past few years. However, the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) continues to slightly decrease year to year as units with few active members are consolidated into neighboring congregations. For more Church statistical data for Argentina, click here.

Tallahassee Florida Temple
The Tallahassee Florida Temple will be the Church's third temple in Florida. The Church previously dedicated temples in Orlando (1994) and Fort Lauderdale (2014). The new temple will likely include approximately 10 stakes in the Florida Panhandle, Jacksonville metropolitan area, southern Georgia, and southeastern Alabama. The size of the temple building will likely be small (under 20,000 square feet). The first and only stake in Tallahassee was organized in 1973. The Florida Tallahassee Mission was organized in 1971 and merged with the Florida Jacksonville Mission in 2019. For Church growth statistics in Florida, click here.

Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
The Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple will be the Church's second temple in the DR Congo after the dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple in 2019. The new temple will likely be built from local construction teams trained by the Church and utilized in the construction of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple and meetinghouse construction elsewhere in the country. The Church has experienced rapid growth in Lubumbashi and other cities in southern areas of the country. The first stake in Lubumbashi was organized in 1997 and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission was organized in 2010 from a division of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission. The new temple will likely service at least the six stakes in the southern DR Congo, and may also serve an additional six stakes and one district in the Kasai Region in the central area of the country (where the first stake was organized in 2011). As of year-end 2018, there were 62,563 members in the DR Congo, whereas at year-end 2008 there were only 20,883 Latter-day Saints in the country. The size of the temple building will likely be small (under 20,000 square feet). For more statistical data on Church growth in the DR Congo, click here.

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Temple
The Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Temple will be the Church's second temple in Pennsylvania after the dedication of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple in 2016. The new temple will likely include nine stakes in western Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia. There are three stakes in the Pittsburgh area, and the first stake in Pittsburgh was organized in 1969. The Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission was organized in 1975. The size of the temple building will likely be small or medium-sized (under 25,000 square feet) given the size of the likely temple district. Slow growth has occurred for the Church in the area likely to be covered by the temple district, although the most recently organized stake was created in 2014. For Church growth statistics in Pennsylvania, click here.

Benin City Nigeria Temple
One of the most likely locations to have a new temple announced for a number of years, Benin City has been a major powerhouse for Church growth in Nigeria. No other city in Nigeria has as many stakes as Benin City. The first stake was organized in Benin City in 1993 followed by two additional stakes created in 1997 and 2007. Since then, the Church has organized five additional stakes for a total of eight stakes in the city - two of which appear likely to divide in the immediate future. Benin City has one of the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints of any African city with one million or more inhabitants. There are 82 wards and branches in the metropolitan area - more than twice as many as one decade earlier. The average ward or branch in the city has 20,122 people within its geographical boundaries, indicating more penetrating outreach than any other city. The new temple will likely service at least 11 stakes and four districts in Edo State and surrounding areas. The new temple will be the third temple in Nigeria after the Aba Nigeria Temple (dedicated in 2005) and Lagos (announced in October 2018). The temple is likely to be a small or medium-sized temple of less than 30,000 square feet. For statistics regarding Church growth in Nigeria, click here.

Syracuse Utah Temple
The Syracuse Utah Temple is the 24th temple to be announced in Utah. The new temple will likely service approximately 25 stakes in Syracuse, Clearfield, and West Point. The first stake in Syracuse was organized in 1915. The Church in Utah has appeared to focus on temple districts having between 20-40 stakes rather than 40-80 stakes. The new temple is likely to be a large temple between 50,000-80,000 square feet. The Church in Utah experiences some of the highest temple attendance in the world as evidenced by the consistent announcement of new temples in the state. For example, two new temples were announced in Utah just last October (Orem and Taylorsville). For more information about Church growth in Utah, click here.

Dubai United Arab Emirates Temple
The Church has already posted an article about its plans to build the Dubai United Arab Emirates Temple. The Church in the Middle East and North Africa has two stakes in the Gulf States (Abu Dhabi and Manama Bahrain) as well as three districts headquartered in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. The Church organized its first stake in the region in 1983 and created a second stake in 2014. The new temple is likely to be a small temple under 20,000 square feet. Latter-day Saints in the Gulf States are overwhelmingly Europeans, North Americans, Filipinos, and South Asians. The temple will be the Church's first temple to be built in the Middle East. Membership growth rates have slowed dramatically in the United Arab Emirates in recent years. Click here to obtain more information about Church growth trends in the United Arab Emirates.

Shanghai China Temple
The Church's announcement of a temple in Shanghai, People's Republic of China (PRC) was a major surprise given that the Church operates under significant legal restrictions in the PRC, and there remains no stakes in the PRC at present. As noted by President Nelson's comments, difficulties with travel for PRC to the Hong Kong China Temple, combined with its current closure amid major renovations, appeared to in part prompt this announcement. The Church organized its first branches for PRC members in 2004 and today has a presence in most of the major cities. There appear to be at least 10,000 Latter-day Saints in the PRC, the vast majority of whom are likely PRC citizens. Shanghai is one of the three major Church centers in the PRC for both foreign and PRC citizens, the others being Beijing and Guangzhou. There are eight member districts in the PRC for PRC citizens, and four member districts in the PRC for foreign members.

Eight New Temples Announced

This afternoon, President Russell M. Nelson announced eight temples in the following locations:
  • Bahia Blanca, Argentina
  • Tallahassee, Florida 
  • Lubumbashi, DR Congo
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Benin City, Nigeria
  • Syracuse, Utah
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Shanghai, China
With these new announcements, there will now be 225 temples worldwide.

Increases in the Number of General Authority Seventies and Area Authority Seventies - April 2020 General Conference

Yesterday, the Church announced the calling of nine new General Authority Seventies and 58 Area Authority Seventies. Among the nine new General Authority Seventies, the Church called its first General Authorities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Nigeria: Thierry K. Mutombo and Adeyinka A. Ojediran, respectively. Prior to yesterday's announcement, the Church had only called two Black African men as General Authority Seventies, namely Elder Joseph W. Sitati from Kenya in 2009 and Elder Edward Dube from Zimbabwe in 2013. There were 92 General Authority Seventies (seven of whom were in the Presidency of the Seventy) prior to yesterday's announcement, whereas now there are 101 General Authority Seventies altogether. The number of General Authority Seventies in the Church has increased in recent years after many years of no significant increase. For example, there were 73 General Authority Seventies in late 1996, 80 General Authority Seventies in October 2005 and 81 General Authority Seventies in early 2013. For more information about General Authority Seventies, click here.

The Church reported 266 Area Authority Seventies prior to yesterday's changes in international Church leadership. With 58 new Area Authority Seventies announced and six Area Authority Seventies released, the worldwide total for Area Authority Seventies is now 318. The number of Area Authority Seventy has rapidly increased in the past 25 years from 137 in 1997 to 195 in 2005 and 224 in 2012. For more information about the role of Area Authority Seventy, click here.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

2019 Statistical Report

This afternoon, the Church reported the following statistics as of December 31st, 2019.

  • Membership: 16,565,036 (increase of 251,301 from 2018; a 1.54% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 30,940 (increase of 404 from 2018; a 1.32% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 3,437 (increase of 54 from 2018; a 1.60% annual increase)
  • Districts: 542 (decrease of 5 from 2018; a 0.91% annual decrease)
  • Missions: 399 (decrease of 14 from 2018; a 1.97% annual decrease)
  • Convert Baptisms: 248,835 (increase of 14,503 from 2018; a 6.19% annual increase)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 94,266 (decrease of 7,836 from 2018; a 7.67% annual decrease)
  • Full-time missionaries: 67,021 (increase of 1,884 from 2018; a 2.89% annual increase)
  • Church service missionaries: 31,333 (decrease of 6,630 from 2018; a 17.5% annual decrease)
The 2019 Statistical Report stands out for several major reasons in comparison to recent statistical reports.

First, 2019 was the first year since 2012 in which the rate of membership growth has accelerated instead of decelerated. Annual membership growth rates slowed between 2013 and 2018 from 2.36% at year-end 2012 to a mere 1.21% at year-end 2018. The annual membership growth rate for the Church in 2019 was the highest since 2016 (1.54% versus 1.59%). Country-by-country statistics will be needed to determine where this membership growth occurred. These data are usually released 1-2 weeks after General Conference.

Second, 2019 is the first year since 2014 that the annual number of convert baptisms has increased by a sizable amount compared to the prior year. The annual number of convert baptisms slowed in the mid- and late 2010s from 296,803 in 2014 to a low of 233,729 in 2017. The number of convert baptisms in 2019 was 14,503 more than the number of convert baptisms in 2018. The average number of converts baptized per mission in 2019 (3.71) was also the highest reported by the Church since 2012 (4.62).

Third, the discrepancy between the summation of increase in children of record and convert baptisms and the actual annual increase in Church membership significantly decreased in 2019 in comparison to 2018. Altogether, the Church reported 343,101 new members added through children of record (i.e. children born into the Church or added to records who are under age 8) and convert baptisms (i.e. individuals age 9 or older who join the Church and who were not previously removed from Church records by excommunication or resignation). The difference between year-end 2018 and year-end 2019 membership is 91,800, suggesting that at least this many people had their names removed from Church records during 2019. The last time the Church had this small of a discrepancy in children of record + convert baptisms and actual membership increase was in 2012 (53,476).

Fourth, the Church in 2019 reported its lowest number of children added to Church records since 2007 at 91,800. The Church consistently reported over 100,000 children of record added each year between 2008 and 2018. This statistic indicates declining birth rates among Church members, particularly in countries with the largest Church memberships like the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. The Church in Utah particularly has appeared to experience a significant decrease in birth rates as Utah is no longer the state in the United States with the highest birthrate even though Latter-day Saints constitute approximately two-thirds of the state population.

Fifth, the Church in 2019 reported its largest net increase in the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) since 2005. The annual congregational growth rate for 2019 was also the highest reported by the Church since 2015. Also, 2019 was the year with the most equal membership and congregational growth since 1996. Commensurate membership and congregational growth rates suggest stable member activity and convert retention rates as the creation of new congregations usually requires increases in the number of active members.

Sixth, the number of full-time missionaries serving in 2019 increased for the first time since the surge in the number of full-time missionaries serving in 2013 and 2014 caused by the reduction in the minimal mission age. This increase indicates that the Church has finally surpassed the artificial increase and decrease in the number of missionaries serving due to the double age cohort, and that perhaps a slight increase in young adults serving full-time missions may have occurred.

Seventh, the Church reported a significant decrease in the number of Church service missionaries serving in 2019. This statistic has increased dramatically in the past decade as there were approximately 23,000 Church service missionaries in 2012. I am unsure why this statistic has decreased and I would be interested in hearing ideas on what this may indicate.

Friday, April 3, 2020

2019 Statistical Report - Predictions

This weekend, the Church will release its 2019 Statistical Report with data as of year-end 2019. I do not see any significant changes in growth trends during 2019 compared to recent years with the exception of a major increase in the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) of approximately 400. Here are my predictions for the likely numbers to be reported:
  • Membership: 16.5-16.6 million
  • Wards and Branches: ~30,930
  • Stakes: 3,437
  • Districts: 542
  • Missions: 399
  • Dedicated Temples: 167
  • Convert Baptisms: 230,000-260,000
  • Full-time Missionaries Serving: 68,000
  • Church-service Missionaries: 35,000-40,000
  • Increase in Children of Record (ICR): 100,000-110,000
  • Net Annual Increase in Membership: 200,000-225,000
  • Membership and Convert Baptisms/ICR discrepancy*: 90,000-120,000
*This statistic is the difference between the summation of convert baptisms and increase of children of record, and the annual numerical increase for total church membership reported by the Church. This discrepancy in numbers constitutes members removed from church records due to death, excommunication, unbaptized children of record who reach age 18, and resignations.

Click on the "statistical report" label below to compare these numbers with previous statistical reports provided by the Church in previous years.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March 2020 Newsletter

Click here to access the March 2020 monthly newsletter for www.cumorah.com.