Friday, May 04, 2012

Church growth rate overstated

Excerpts of Change lowers Mormonism's growth rate by Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune (see here for related story and here for a discussion on LDS demographics)
Only 40% of Mormons in the U.S. attend  church  regularly, says researcher.

If you suspected the newly released U.S. Religion Census overstated the LDS Church's growth rate, you were right. That's because, this time around, the Utah-based faith changed the way it reported its membership to the researchers.

The LDS Church also supplied smaller Utah membership numbers to the state — figures government officials use for planning. Its report pegged U.S. Mormon growth at 45.5 percent, jumping from 4,224,026 in 2000 to 6,144,582 in 2010. The 2000 figure, though, was much lower than the 5,208,827 listed in the LDS Church's almanac. If researchers had been given that figure, the percentage of growth would have been considerably smaller, closer to 18 percent.

[Church spokesman] Trotter acknowledged that, in past years, LDS membership figures reported to the census researchers "were understated."

For those years, he said, the LDS Church "left out numbers of members who, although baptized, were not currently associated with a specific congregation. This year, we included total membership numbers to more accurately reflect all of those found on church records."