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14 million Mormons and counting

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I see no reason to assume that the one-million-every-three-years rate will hold to that figure for the next 70 years. More growth seems more likely, as the missionary force continues to grow.

Stark's prediction seems pretty vague - he has a range of 200 million between his upper and lower estimates.

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I see no reason to assume that the one-million-every-three-years rate will hold to that figure for the next 70 years. More growth seems more likely, as the missionary force continues to grow.

Stark's prediction seems pretty vague - he has a range of 200 million between his upper and lower estimates.

The missionary force continues to grow? Really?

It was around 50K when I went on mine in 1994, and it continues to hover around 50K...

http://lds.org/church/statistics?lang=eng

I see baptismal rates decreasing rapidly in the future.

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It has been a long time from when I read anything by Stark but I seem to recall him saying that most of the growth would come not from baptisms but by birth rate. am I right to remember that or am I way off?

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I see no reason to assume that the one-million-every-three-years rate will hold to that figure for the next 70 years. More growth seems more likely, as the missionary force continues to grow.

Stark's prediction seems pretty vague - he has a range of 200 million between his upper and lower estimates.

Stark's prediction was based upon the assumption of exponential growth. Measured on a 10-year basis, the lower number was 30% growth every 10 years, and the upper number was 50% growth every 10 years.

The big flaw of his analysis is that the church isn't growing exponentially. The one-million-every-three-years has been around since the church was a lot smaller and had a lot fewer missionaries. It's working harder and harder to get the same number of converts.

Here is an article for your consideration:

http://www.lds4u.com/growth2/Index.htm

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The missionary force has grown since 1994, just not by a huge amount, and that has to do largely with the raising of the bar for qualifying to serve a mission. Do you think there will be "around 50,000" missionaries in 2030? Or 2050? I don't.

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The big flaw of his analysis is that the church isn't growing exponentially. The one-million-every-three-years has been around since the church was a lot smaller and had a lot fewer missionaries. It's working harder and harder to get the same number of converts.

Which would be in keeping with scriptural predictions about hunters being sent to more and more difficult places to find the chosen.

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The missionary force continues to grow? Really?

It was around 50K when I went on mine in 1994, and it continues to hover around 50K...

http://lds.org/churc...istics?lang=eng

I see baptismal rates decreasing rapidly in the future.

Indeed, the missionary force peaked at 61K in 2002! It was significantly reduced the following years (down to 51K) when the qualifications became more strictly checked and adhered to ("raising the bar"), and has been slowly decreasing nearly every year since then.

There is no real reason to believe that the Church's membership will soar or start growing exponentially. Neither statistical growth models, scriptures nor modern revelation back this up. I used to hope for such rapid growth as has been observed in south America to occur globally, and this is still possible if the Gospel takes off in India and/or China. But in areas where the Church is already strongly established, growth will likely not reach great heights.

In 1999 when President Hinckley gave his milestone address on missionary work ("Find the lambs, feed the sheep"), yearly convert baptisms had peaked at just over 300K a year. That number had remained fairly constant but slowly rising since the 1980s and up to that point. In his talk, Pdt Hinckely expressed his hope and belief that "with concerted effort [...], we could double that number!". He extended an invitation and a promise. I was really excited.

Yearly convert baptisms have been decreasing ever since that talk. It's sobering and could be considered depressing, but it's just a fact.

Last year I compiled a spreadsheet of Church growth indicators based on official numbers published by the Church. You can see this at this address.

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There is no real reason to believe that the Church's membership will soar or start growing exponentially. Neither statistical growth models, scriptures nor modern revelation back this up. I used to hope for such rapid growth as has been observed in south America to occur globally, and this is still possible if the Gospel takes off in India and/or China....

If I may quibble with one thing, the church did grow exponentially from its inception until some point in the late 80's. The exponential growth stopped just a few years after Stark noticed it. Stark's biggest problem was projecting it was going to go on for another 100 years without a valid explanation as to why.

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The missionary force has grown since 1994, just not by a huge amount, and that has to do largely with the raising of the bar for qualifying to serve a mission. Do you think there will be "around 50,000" missionaries in 2030? Or 2050? I don't.

Just a meager 1,000 missionaries or so in 16 years.... so by 2030 you should be around a 54,000. Not quite the growth you were trying to imply in your original post.

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The Deseret News published a story about the church's growth:

http://www.deseretne...d-counting.html

I wonder when Stark should back down? If the Church keeps growing at the 1-million-every-three-years rate that it has been growing at for the last few decades, then by 2080, it will have about 37,000,000--more than 40% less than the lower end of Stark's wide prediction band.

Why didn't you assume the logical solution, and use a percentage rate of growth?

Assuming a 3% rate fits historical growth and yields over 100M by 2080.

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Just a meager 1,000 missionaries or so in 16 years.... so by 2030 you should be around a 54,000. Not quite the growth you were trying to imply in your original post.

1,000 additional missionaries is growth.

I didn't specify any numbers.

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1,000 additional missionaries is growth.

I didn't specify any numbers.

HaHa gotcha good.gif

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Why didn't you assume the logical solution, and use a percentage rate of growth?

Assuming a 3% rate fits historical growth and yields over 100M by 2080.

The 1,000,000-every-three-years is the growth model proposed by the Church's spokesman in the article. I was just going with that.

Stark went with a constant percentage-rate-of-growth to get his projections, so some might say you are in good company. The reason why I don't go with that is because the growth rate has been going down. Here is a graph from that article I referenced:

Image2.gif

The growth rate has been going down. It was about 5% in 1980, about 4% in 1990, about 3% in 2000, and is now down to nearly 2%. Will it be 1% in 2020 and 0% in 2030? That's the trend we see in the growth rates.

A flat 3% per year doesn't fit the data because the church hasn't been growing at a constant rate like that--it's working harder and harder to keep getting 300,000 converts per-year.

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Analytics:

A one percent growth rate on 14 million is 1.4 million per year. We'd have a hard pressed just keeping chapels built at that number.

A zero percent growth rate would be harder to achieve.

China proper will soon open up to missionaries(I don't have the exact date). That country alone would require more than every missionary we have just to service it.

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1,000 additional missionaries is growth.

I didn't specify any numbers.

No but I did, I think you missed my post. I gave a link to a spreadsheet that shows serving missionaries per year from 1982 to 2009. That has been going down yearly for the last 4 years, not up.

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In any case, a discussion of convert baptisms (and children of record) is fairly meaningless without a concurrent discussion of retention and re-activation rates, neither of which are officially recorded. I don't really care about Stark's predictions if we continue being so pathetically incompetent at retaining those we baptise...

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It should not be a threatening concept at all for believing latter-day saints that Church growth has been decreasing and it is quite possible for Church growth to actually go negative with a net loss of membership per year. Depending on how last-days prophecy is interpreted, this should actually be expected.

Neither our decelerating growth nor the potentiality of loss in Church membership has any bearing on the veracity of the Gospel or the authenticity of Church authority.

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No but I did, I think you missed my post. I gave a link to a spreadsheet that shows serving missionaries per year from 1982 to 2009. That has been going down yearly for the last 4 years, not up.

So when do you think we'll be down to 0 missionaries then?

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nicolasconnault:

When several disciples left Jesus because of his teachings. The Savior asked the Apostles if they also would leave. So I expect some to leave the Church. But it is a problem. But I feel it isn't THAT big of a problem. We still build about 2 Ward houses every day just to handle the ones that do attend.

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Analytics:

A one percent growth rate on 14 million is 1.4 million per year. We'd have a hard pressed just keeping chapels built at that number.

A zero percent growth rate would be harder to achieve.

China proper will soon open up to missionaries(I don't have the exact date). That country alone would require more than every missionary we have just to service it.

Did you mean to say ten-percent growth rate?

There are certainly plenty of people in the world who haven't seriously considered your church's message. Whether very many of them would find the claims compelling is another issue.

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In any case, a discussion of convert baptisms (and children of record) is fairly meaningless without a concurrent discussion of retention and re-activation rates, neither of which are officially recorded. I don't really care about Stark's predictions if we continue being so pathetically incompetent at retaining those we baptise...

Excellent point. As an example, according to cumorah.com, in 2002 there were 520,000 Mormons on the rolls of the Church in Chile. When the government did a census and requested everybody to give their church afiliation, only about 100,000 people self-identified as Mormon. If 80% of the Mormons in a single country don't even consider themselves to be members, it is unlikely that they raise their kids as members, send the kids on missions, perform member-missionary work, and otherwise contribute to the church's growth.

If the Church were to achieve some membership goal, how meaningful would it be if the majority of the members didn't even self-identify as members?

http://www.cumorah.com/index.php?target=church_growth_articles&story_id=15

http://www.cumorah.com/index.php?target=church_growth_articles&story_id=36

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The Deseret News published a story about the church's growth:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700103390/14-million-Mormons-and-counting.html

I wonder when Stark should back down? If the Church keeps growing at the 1-million-every-three-years rate that it has been growing at for the last few decades, then by 2080, it will have about 37,000,000--more than 40% less than the lower end of Stark's wide prediction band.

There's a great deal of evidence that Mormon membership numbers do not reflect accurately those who are actually no longer attending the church - and haven't for years.

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Excellent point. As an example, according to cumorah.com, in 2002 there were 520,000 Mormons on the rolls of the Church in Chile. When the government did a census and requested everybody to give their church afiliation, only about 100,000 people self-identified as Mormon. If 80% of the Mormons in a single country don't even consider themselves to be members, it is unlikely that they raise their kids as members, send the kids on missions, perform member-missionary work, and otherwise contribute to the church's growth.

If the Church were to achieve some membership goal, how meaningful would it be if the majority of the members didn't even self-identify as members?

http://www.cumorah.c...les&story_id=15

http://www.cumorah.c...les&story_id=36

Not to mention that the national average attendance at sacrament meetings was a mere 57,000, barely more than 10% of the membership on record. As the article indicates though, Chile is probably an extreme example of high baptism / low retention. Still, the 520,000 members are on the rolls, so they contribute to the figure of 14 million.... I wonder how the rest of South America is?

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