LDS Church Membership Numbers

Sometimes critics complain that the Church misrepresents its size because the reported number of LDS members includes a large percentage of inactives (the implication is that inactives are not believers, a questionable assumption).

Anyway, the LDS Church recognizes that issue and is upfront about it. Don’t let critics get away with implying that the Church is less than forthright in its representation of church membership.

According to the National Council of Churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the second-fastest-growing church in the United States. However, despite its increasing numbers, the Church cautions against overemphasis on growth statistics. The Church makes no statistical comparisons with other churches and makes no claim to be the fastest-growing Christian denomination despite frequent news media comments to that effect. Such comparisons rarely take account of a multiplicity of complex factors, including activity rates and death rates, the methodology used in registering or counting members and what factors constitute membership. Growth rates also vary significantly across the world. Additionally, many other factors contribute to the strength of the Church, most especially the devotion and commitment of its members.

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6 comments on “LDS Church Membership Numbers

  1. Bobby says:

    Hey James, I am finally commenting on your cool blog, took me long enough.

    But anyway the point you made about inactives not being believers being a questionable assumption is interesting. While I agree many inactives will still fully believe I think another issue is the reality that many actives dont believe. Percentage wise this number is no doubt quite low however I have heard of cases of active members having lost their belief in the LDS church sometimes years ago but carrying on in the church due to fear of reprisals within family if they go, or appear unfaithful

    this website is devoted to this subject, have you ever listened to the Mormon expression podcast? Interesting listening with a lot on this subject.

    To be fair this issue does not have any bearing at least to me on whether the LDS church is true or not, but is interesting nonetheless.

  2. James says:

    Neither of us are in a position to read the minds of inactive members of any church. I served my mission in Brazil and I met LOTS of “inactive” Catholics who had very strong testimonies of their church. I’m absolutely sure there are Mormons like that (and I know some).

    As I just alluded to, this is not a uniquely Mormon issue. In any religious organization, be it Mormon, Catholics, or Protestant, you are going to find (a) actives who believe (b) actives who don’t believe (c) inactives who believe and (d) inactives who don’t believe. It says nothing at all about the truth of that religion. If anything, it serves as a commentary on human nature, not on the religion.

    I am familiar with John Dehlin and his efforts at StayLDS. I have opinions of it, but I’ll reserve them for another time.


  3. James says:

    In this vein, here is an article that discusses the phenomenon of Evangelical pastors who are secretly unbelievers:

  4. Bobby says:

    Thats all cool James, like I said it has no bearing on the truthfulness of LDS or any other faith, just interesting stuff.

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