Saturday, April 3, 2021

2020 Statistical Report

This afternoon, the Church reported the following statistics as of December 31st, 2020.

  • Membership: 16,663,663 (increase of 98,627 from 2019; a 0.60% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 31,136 (increase of 196 from 2019; a 0.63% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 3,463 (increase of 26 from 2019; a 0.76% annual increase)
  • Districts: 537 (decrease of 5 from 2019; a 0.92% annual decrease)
  • Missions: 405 (increase of 6 from 2019; a 1.25% annual decrease)
  • Convert Baptisms: 125,930 (decrease of 122,905 from 2019; a 49.4% annual decrease)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 65,440 (decrease of 28,826 from 2019; a 30.6% annual decrease)
  • Full-time missionaries: 51,819 (decrease of 15,202 from 2019; a 22.7% annual decrease)
  • Church service missionaries: 30,527 (decrease of 806 from 2019; a 2.57% annual decrease)

I will post an analysis of these numbers in the coming days.

37 comments:

L. Chris Jones said...

I anticipate an increase in 2021 as covid restrictions begin to relax.
I also hope that due to the more virtual nature of this conference, as many more nations are broadcasting conference on their local TV and radio stations unlike we've never had before, there may be an increasing growth of people who happen to watch our conference
who otherwisee would not. I saw an article the other day that up to 70 Nations who may or may not have had conference before will be having it broadcasted on their local stations other than just at local meeting houses.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am surprised how much some of these n UK mbers have fallen, but considering we had 3 months of Church not functioning at all and were not back to normal by the end of the year I am not that surprised.

Unknown said...

Also reported in Deseret News : https://www.deseret.com/faith/2020/4/4/21208248/lds-general-conference-april-2021-mormon-statistics-member-count-how-many

Jim Anderson said...

The children of record decrease was a known issue recently, as a seventy said when he attended a stake conference to preside recently that the week of his visit, the seventies at Church headquarters had, as part of their meeting, the Primary General Presidency speak on the subject. Those leaders noted the big falloff, and wanted the seventies to do what they could as they went out.

In Ghana, a stake president shared the frequencies in his area that would run GC, three total FM stations plus a national network on TV in the area covered by the stake, not sure if all sessions are being run or if it was only one or two. The mission president, although the rest of the conference was in English, had his talk translated in Twi, which also explains the accent heard there commonly.

Noel said...

3 months of not normal?

Here in the UK (possibly most of Europe) meetings have been disrupted over a year.

L. Chris Jones said...

Noticing that the speakers and person saying the prayers are being introduced by naming thier home countries.

nojensen said...

Twenty!

nojensen said...

Twenty!

nojensen said...

Twenty!

nojensen said...

Twenty!

nojensen said...

Twenty!

John Pack Lambert said...

Here in Michigan we had no meetings in person from March 8 to July 24. We have not yet returned to having in person second hour. My parents have not been to in person meetings since March 8, 2020, wmexcept one Sunday my Dad gave a talk. So I probably undersold disruption.

John Pack Lambert said...

You have to bear in mind the Sunday morning session was framed as a missionary outreach one. They really wanted us to invite out friends of other Faith's to watch it. Thus they had the sister missionary give the explanatory introduction before CV the start and some other unique features.

Emperor said...

I was really hoping we'd see a return to larger numbers.
But it appears this trend is locked in.
I mean, I was there in 2014. I remember how broken the system was even then.
The mission program is sadly failing. And it needs aggressive reforms.
But there's so many mid level functionaries that block change. It's not the apostle that are to blame.

The missionary department and people below them refuse to make all but the most mild of changes or improvements and just tell missionaries to "work harder" or "be more faithful". But they don't do common sense things that would improve baptism rates. Miracles DO happen but God isn't going to do a miracle to get you to your appointment on time if you refuse to put gas in the car when there's gas cans sitting in the garage.

And numbers continue to drop, every single year.
They won't even stop mandating that we wear suits everywhere. That was standard in the 1950s and made sense then, but in 2021 it's offputting and weird.

The ability to wear business casual would go a long way at making people more comfortable in talking to missionaries. It wouldn't single handedly reverse the trend, but it would open doors otherwise shut. Pull the suits out for more formal occasions like church, teaching appointments or baptisms but let them dress business casual when finding.

And loosen up the restrictions on what media they can read and enjoy, give them more personal time to be human and do mental and emotional self care. When I was on my mission they wanted us to be "on" 24/7 and it just led to rapid burnout and made me less effective in doing the actual work. They overburden missionaries with a bunch of extra scheduling bologna. They micromanage them to an absurd degree. Let them be human. Let them relax. Respect their agency. If it's good enough for a temple worthy member of the church, it should be acceptable for a missionary on their day off.

P day isn't enough. P day isn't even a full day. It's 8 hours. You have to cram in shopping, laundry and a whole bunch of other krap in there and you don't even get the evening to relax. Either make P day a whole day or let them have an actual day off. I often heard "You're not here to have fun, you're here to work." That's great, but people aren't machines. I'm not asking for spring break. I want to read the local newspaper or watch a G rated movie and not feel guilty.

No, even in the evening, you gotta go find people. How can such a system work?

Adam said...

My friends who didn't serve missions out of high school didn't decide to not serve because they wouldn't be able to watch TV. It is because the hadn't developed sufficiently strong testimonies during their high school years. Maybe if some Elders were allowed to play video games in the MTC they wouldn't have gone home. That's what they were really missing right?

There have always been Elders that relaxed more than P-day, or the rest of the week, self-created looser rules on media, played video games at internet cafe's depending on the region. But surprisingly, they were never the compansionships that brought the people until Christ when compared with any other companionship in their district. Weird correlation huh?

I know a lot of Elders serving right now that are depressed, but it has much more to do with reduced proslyting hours and opportunities due to Covid restrictions. Instead of being out 10 hours a day they are stuck in their apartment often all but 4 hours a day. That is what gets someone depressed. Having more TV to watch won't fix that.

Having approximately 20% of missionaries leave early due to strict rules (though that's certainly not why all leave) and have 80% with a much stronger presence of the spirit with them is still likely much more productive than keeping 100% and have each missionary be significantly less efficient.

John Pack Lambert said...

The claim the numbers of converts baptisms drop every year is false. 2019 had more convert baptisms than 2018. The missionary department has made significant changes in the last few years, creating the position of area mission advisor.

There have also been major changes in the use of technology.

There is a hugely better emphasis on getting newly baptized people to do baptisms for the dead as soon as possible.

There are probably many improvements in many areas that could be made, but there is a general attempt by most of the people involved to imrprove how things happen and function.

John Pack Lambert said...

The vast majority of missionaries go home early due to health issues, be they mental, emotional or physical. I went home early due to issues related to my mental and emotional health. I wish I had approached some issues differently on my mission, and thought about some things differently. It has been 19 years, and I still regret going home 3 months early, and still with there had been a better way.

I am hopeful Covid restrictions can lessen now.

On my mission even when I had a senior companion who was the laziest possible and did virtually no work we still baptized. We had super comitted Polynesian members in some area who would find ways to share the gospel and basically force us to come along and teach the person they had set up to be taught.

You can have success in sharing the gospel with missionaries who are not dilligent workers. You can have missionaries who are the most dilligent and faithful ever who do not get results. We also need to avoid rushing and pushing too hard. Elder Palmer from New Zealand both illustrated that his father waited a year to get baptized, but when he said he was ready the missionaries seem to have rushed him at that point, which proved the wise decision in the long run.

I really was glad when President Ballard told missionaries to stop route challenging for baptism early on without being guided by the spirit.

I am not as negative about this years numbers as some seem to be. We knew everything would be down. California I think was still banning indoor worship at the end of the year. Some Latin American countries have had policies that made it impossible to have live church meetings for a long time. Wards having live meetings only every few weeks and things like that in some cases after the first of the year, means that if the minimum three sacrament meetings before baptism is being interpreted as live meetings people will wait longer to be baptized.

My branch had either 2 or 3 convert baptisms last year. One of those is a man who is engaged to be married to a sister in our branch, she is the one who introduced him to the gospel. I believe they plan to marry in the temple. If so, this will be the first couple to be married (as opposed to sealed) in the temple in my branch where they are both African-Americans. My wife was only the second African-American sister from the branch to marry in the temple. The other had for a time been her roommate, and married a white guy she met at BYU-Idaho. Keep in mind that our branch has existed for 27 years, and the population in our boundaries is over 75% African-American. In the Detroit part of the branch, the population is over 95% African-American.

So yes, the progress we have seen is some of the best ever, even if the numbers are not as high as some past years, the actual progress into true deep gospel living is more there now than it has been in the past. The fact that the brother who is about to get married this year was able to get baptized without having to immediately marry his female friend first represents a huge achievement in broad living of the law of chastity of a type that is unprecedented. Maybe I should not be so harsh on what is at times formalizing common-law marriage, but I still think the developing case I mentioned is a very good sign.

We also have several brethren in the temple prep class. That class they are doing in person just after sacrment. At least two of the brothers in it I do not think have the technology to connect to a remote class, and in person classes are just plain better.

Cody Quirk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Jim Anderson

I know I mentioned him on a previous post, but I just met a man who speaks Twi! He married a friend of mine and just moved to the states from Ghana (after waiting for a U.S. visa for two years). He's from Kumasi, so we both chose that one on our temple wishlists (and Temple Brackets, thanks to Corey). We were both very pleased when it was announced, along with the others.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Noel

Sorry to hear that meetings in the UK and Europe have been disrupted for so long. Hope you all can get back to some semblance of normalcy sooner, rather than later. :)

Cody Quirk said...

I'm thinking 'Emperor' is an anti-mo' troll; he/she claims the church doesn't currently allow a more liberal dress policy for the missionaries when in fact the church relaxed their dress policy for such not too long ago; along with other inaccurate things that he/she claims about the church and missionary work here.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Emperor

I like your ideas about business casual for tracting attire. It was nice to see the recent change regarding slacks in the Sister Missionaries' dress attire.

You make some fairly good points about burnout and pushing the Elders (and Sisters) too hard. Since my mission, I've been diagnosed with extreme anxiety (bipolar disorder really, as well as other sensory processing issues). Looking back, the anxiety of pushing myself so hard (and being pushed by others) on my mission triggered several neurosis that I'm still dealing with today.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my mission and still have fond memories of it (certain parts of it), and I'm still an active temple worthy member, but I agree with you that we have far too many extreme expectations that we put on our youth, sometimes that are counter-productive.

There came a point in my mission where a companion suggested I read two books: "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People." I devoured them (especially the "Friends" one). Like you and many of our youth, I knew the Book of Mormon and the other Scriptures very well, but I didn't know how to relate to other people (and I hadn't yet been diagnosed with severe social anxiety yet, which I found out later that I had).

I had to actually manually teach myself both how to relate to other people and how to just relax and be a relatable person, past the off-putting salesman veneer that we often expect out of missionaries.

I agree with you that the missionary program needs reform. I think we have the spiritual aspect down. We hammer spirituality into our youth thru years of mutual and seminary. I hope we can find a balance between teaching our youth how to be diligent in the gospel and good psychology and how to take care of their mental health.

Perhaps my case is different (although I've met plenty of other former missionaries who had similar anxiety issues as I have), and I don't know if actually allowing them to watch more TV or play games is the answer, but I do think we need to encourage them to talk about themselves and relate to other members and potential members as real people (along with talking about the Gospel), opening up about their hobbies and interests, building confidence and a sense of self. I think that can lead to more lasting conversions (both converts on the mission and the personal conversions of the missionaries themselves).

After all, President Hinckley did say all members need a friend, a calling, and to be nurtured by the Good Word. I think we oftentimes forget the friend part, and just try to will or coerce or force both ourselves and others into the Gospel.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Adam

I agree with you that missions should still be about sacrifice and work and learning discipline.

On my mission (or shortly thereafter), I, as others probably have before me, discovered the seeming contradiction between the two scriptural quotes of "be anxiously engaged in a good cause" and "it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.". (D&C 58: 27-28 & Mosiah 4:27)

It took me years of experience, but I believe the Lord was trying to teach us to keep a balance between the two teachings: be diligent, but also know your limits and be patient.

Missions are inherently anxiety-inducing from my experience, and for those 80% you mentioned (the ones who are already being diligent and striving as hard as they can), I believe it would do us some good to instill in them a sense of patience and even relaxation techniques where applicable. For the slacker missionaries, they could probably use some extra motivation.

I think it's important to train our mission presidents to be able to recognize the difference better - maybe recognize that some missionaries are struggling because they're pushing themselves way too hard to be good and righteous, and not direct so many motivational speeches at them, but help them to accept their efforts in a way that doesn't drive them to over-exertion (both mentally and physically).

Perhaps starting at the top: by giving the leaders and area authorities and mission presidents more sensitivity and soft skills and psychological training and resources would be a big help. To me (and possibly others), it could be a nice break from the way missions are sometimes treated as a business.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Emperor & Adam

Sorry about the long dissertations, guys. As you can tell, the mission was very influential on me (as I'm sure it was on the both of you, as well).

Out of curiosity, where did you both serve? (my mission was Louisville Kentucky, Spanish-speaking, 2002-04)

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@JPL

Nice to hear about the progress in your Detroit Branch, even with the pandemic going on.

Brett Stirling said...

Real mature. Someone brings up
Valid points based on experiences and you just dismiss them as a troll. Grow up.

Cody Quirk said...

Plus the missionary work of the church wasn't failing either; before COVID hit the conversion numbers and stake/district growth that been increasing, and it will go back to that trend once the restrictions are done away with. Look at the stats on this website; you and 'Emperor' are flat wrong.

Emperor said...

I'm encouraged by these changes. But they aren't enough. My bad for being wrong about the numbers. But the trend is still negative.

Emperor said...

Iowa. 2013-2014. I had a terrible mission president and abysmal experience at the Provo MTC. A house of pharisees if there ever was one. I'm still active and love my faith. But Utah is wicked to the core. Not the church as an institution, but the members.

John said...

I wish I felt better about the accuracy of the report, particularly total members and new children of record. I was membership clerk in three different wards, followed by sixteen years as stake membership clerk. Now that I've been stake financial clerk for almost three years, I can vouch for the simple fact that there is much more scrutiny by the Church over finances, than there is on keeping membership records up to date and accurate.

I tried to do my part at the ward level, and monitor things at the stake level, but the follow-through often just isn't there. It isn't just the clerks' fault, though - members and leaders have a responsibility too.

Cody Quirk said...

My other commented was not posted. I included a link showing that the church officially announced relaxing the dress code for missionaries last year, further showing Emperor's additional errors in his claims.

André Freire said...

And the Chrich is paying for some local TVs in some controls to rebroadcast it live. Here in Brazil we had the Saturday afternoon session and Sunday morning this year. Last October, the Sunday morning session was also broadcast in open TV here.

Cody Quirk said...

You were also wrong about the dress code as well. Just admit that you got an axe to grind against the church.

Cody Quirk said...

Again, my post on Emperor's falsehood on the dress code was not posted. Do you also have an axe to grind against the church like Emperor does, Brett?

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Emperor

Sorry to hear you had a rough time on your mission. :(

Eduardo said...

Emperor, the Church members in Utah are not rotten to the core. That is balderdash. I know of a former missionary from West Valley who forced a friend home from their mission in Hawaii, but that is a rare example.
I had that jerk named Green or Green has reformed, who knows?
But most Utahns who are members are good folks. You have examples of these rotten apples?
I know hundreds if not thousands that are awesome.

Eduardo said...

A trainer in Hawaii, maybe Maui, tormented and bullied his companion so much he quit after 6 weeks. The then mission president did not transfer him, and he left his mission. Green or Greene was the culprit. I have a hard time with people like that. I hope he has matured since, but what a terrible legacy . Both young men from Utah. The one who left his mission early has been doing better, but it was a blow to his faith.