Church Growth 2012


Earlier today I posted this article and I made a mistake in numbers.  While I don’t like being wrong I don’t like erroneous info on any of my sites even more.  I want to correct the information I posted at the end of this article.  My promise to everyone who reads my blog or sites is that if there’s anything wrong on anything I publish I will publicly apologize and correct the information.  This is the third time this has happened in 19 years of ministry so I want to be sure it’s understood I do keep my promises!

I don’t know what I wasn’t thinking!  Membership numbers for the LDS Church in 2010 was 14.13m not the 6m+ I had written about.  I knew this already but why it didn’t cause a red flag to wave in front of me is a mystery.

The 6m estimate for 2010 is what the Church claims are the number of members in the U.S.   I don’t want this error to become the focus, rather it should be on the Church.

Oh how I love and appreciate the friends of Life After Ministries!!  A good friend of ours e-mailed this morning (May 3, 2012) to express his concerns over an article that appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune (see his e-mail below).  His concern is warranted and was a confirmation to me that I wasn’t imagining what I had read from other articles.

The numbers game that the Church plays has been referred to by some as a shell game or using the same “etch a sketch” Romney uses.  See for yourself in the three articles I’ve listed here of how they do the bait and switch so you can make up your own mind.  One thing is certain in my mind; I don’t believe anything they have to say.  Telling the truth works wonders for your credibility and it’s looking like the Church doesn’t know where to begin searching for that all elusive godly feature.

Hi Michelle,

I hope all is well with you.  I’m sure you’ve seen the recent news about the Mormon Church’s growth rate.  I’ve done quite a bit of checking on it and have corresponded with Peggy Fletcher Stack at the Salt Lake Tribune.  It turns out the entire episode has been driven by another lie propagated by the church.

As you know, initial reports showed the church is growing at a 45% rate from 2000 to 2010.  But they’re not.  They submitted falsified numbers to the survey to artificially inflate the numbers.  Here’s Ms. Stack’s follow up article:

And here’s my longer explanation that I posted on an exmo board:

The church’s desperation is showing. Read this very carefully, as I just got confirmation from Peggy Fletcher Stack about this:

The church submitted to the survey an entirely new number for their year 2000 membership. This number is different AND LOWER than they publish in their own almanac. The reason this number is lower is that they removed about a million members who they say had no specific congregation affiliation at that time.

BUT, and this is the most important part.

WITHIN THE SAME DATASET, they used an entirely different method of accounting for the 2010 member numbers to include EVERYBODY who has ever been born or baptized into the faith — including those who are not currently assigned to any congregation.


By artificially creating a lower starting number (A NUMBER THEY HAVE NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED USING AN ACCOUNTING METHOD THEY DO NOT CURRENTLY USE AND HAVE NEVER USED BEFORE), the church gives the entirely false impression that they are growing at a faster rate.

If a national company used two entirely different accounting methods within the same report to give the appearance that their profits were double what they actually were, we’d be reading stories about investigations and indictments. It is a willing and very public attempt to falsify the data.

We all need to understand the evidence of desperation that this gives us. We’re seeing into the soul of an organization coming to terms with its own very public death. There was likely a group of men sitting at a table facing the excruciating fact that if they submitted accurate numbers to this survey, it would show the world they have stopped growing. So they did what the church always does. They decided to change history and create a lie. Again.

They decided to use new numbers that conflicted with their own published numbers. Even though they had to know their lie would be quickly exposed, it was better than telling the truth. And they got the mileage from it that they wanted. At a time of unrivaled visibility around the world, headlines splashed that the Mormon Church is once again the fastest growing religion. As Winston Churchill said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

I’ve already emailed a number of the journalists that initially reported this and at least one has replied that “modifying numbers in a survey” isn’t that big a deal. They’ll stand by their initial report. The church admirably played the media, and largely won.

God bless you, Michelle!


“An Occasional Contributor”

Here’s the second link I promised and excerpts from Peggy Fletcher Stack’s article –

“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.”

Ms. Stack goes on further to explain the studies and numbers this way:

“Graphing activity: When the Graduate Center of the City University of New York conducted an American Religious Identification Survey in 2001, it discovered that about the same number of people said they had joined the LDS Church as said they had left it.”

With all that being said I also read in the SL Trib a few days ago something that made me wonder…  Here in part is what they said;

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported an increase from 4,224,026 U.S. members in 2000 to 6,144,582 members in 2010, a 45.5 percent jump.

That is “far and away the largest gain reported by any [Christian] group,” the report noted, not just in percentage but also in actual numbers.

Of course, many of these states — Rhode Island, Connecticut and Mississippi, for instance — have relatively tiny Mormon populations, so adding even a small number of members can produce a large jump in percentages.

Catholics showed the largest gains in 11 states, including in Nevada, Colorado and Texas, and the Assemblies of God set the pace in three states (Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania).”


So if the Church had 4.2m in 2000 and they had 6.1m in 2010 why aren’t people gasping at the numbers they’re claiming they have now?

It’s 2012 and the Church is claiming they’ve more than doubled the numbers in 1.5 years.  If I’m reading this incorrectly somebody stop me.  PLEASE!  According to the official website of the LDS Church there are 14.4m + members of the Church today (5/3/2012).