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Several Salt Lake Tribune articles about the reality of membership growth in the LDS Church

Interesting series of articles. One excerpted, links only to two others for now.

Keeping members a challenge for LDS church
Mormon myth: The belief that the church is the fastest-growing faith in the world doesn't hold up

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune


The claim that Mormonism is the fastest-growing faith in the world has been repeated so routinely by sociologists, anthropologists, journalists and proud Latter-day Saints as to be perceived as unassailable fact.

The trouble is, it isn't true.

Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 12 million members on its rolls, more than doubling its numbers in the past quarter-century. But since 1990, other faiths—Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal groups—have grown much faster and in more places around the globe.

And most telling, the number of Latter-day Saints who are considered active churchgoers is only about a third of the total, or 4 million in the pews every Sunday, researchers say.

For a church with such a large, dedicated missionary corps constantly seeking to spread its word, conversion numbers in recent years tell an unexpected story.

According to LDS-published statistics, the annual number of LDS converts declined from a high of 321,385 in 1996 to 241,239 in 2004. In the 1990s, the church's growth rate went from 5 percent a year to 3 percent.

By comparison, the Seventh-day Adventist Church reports it has added more than 900,000 adult converts each year since 2000 (an average growth of about 5 percent), bringing the total membership to 14.3 million. The Assemblies of God now claims more than 50 million members worldwide, adding 10,000 new members every day.

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