Mormon growth slows to its lowest level since 1937. Here’s why that’s great news.

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Lots of other denominations would be thrilled by a 1.7% increase, but for Mormons this represents the slowest growth in any year since 1937 (when it was 0.93%), so no one’s exactly throwing a party.

But don’t despair: there are some silver linings in this seeming cloud. To find out more, I spoke with Matt Martinich, founder of the LDS Church Growth blog. For over eight years now he has tracked just about every aspect of Mormon growth and loss, tracking baptisms, retention rates, and more.

RNS: What do you make of the 2015 Statistical Report which shows a slowing rate of LDS growth?

Martinich: Annual membership growth has steadily declined in the last 25 years. It used to be 4-5% a year, and now it’s only 1.7%. I don’t think it will decrease much more than to 1.5%, though.

RNS: The report notes that convert baptisms are down by more than 13%. Why has growth slowed so much?

Martinich: The biggest reason is the “centers of strength” policy, which has been in place since the early 1990s. There’s not much information about it, but it’s a policy where the church intentionally restricts its missionary activities to only a handful of places in the world.

Prior to the 1990s the Church would very aggressively and kind of indiscriminately open new areas for missionary work. A lot of the rapid growth in Latin America and elsewhere was due to that. But in the 1990s the idea became that the church needed to have a “center of strength” and be well established in at least one city in an area so that administratively there would be enough leadership to run the church.

The problem is that many of these areas never become centers of strength. So you have a number of cities where the church has been there for some time, and they won’t create new wards or branches unless existing wards or branches are split, which is not very effective for growth.

The church in the 1980s and 90s had pretty poor standards for baptism, and changing that has also been a huge aspect of why growth has slowed. Low qualifications for baptism resulted in a lot of converts who didn’t come to church and didn’t contribute much.

Some would argue that secularism has also contributed. The Internet has nothing to do with it: In some areas the Internet has increased growth, and in other areas it’s decreased growth. It has more to do with the function of secularism, not whether people have information about the church that is negative or incorrect.

RNS: The number of missionaries serving is also down by about 13%, but that doesn’t seem as surprising as the dip in convert baptisms. The “surge” in missionaries that began after the age change in October 2012 has run its two-year course.

Martinich: Right, the double cohort is pretty much gone now. So it looks like the number of missionaries has dropped a lot in the last year, but that’s misleading because of the surge.

What might be more accurate is to measure today’s number of missionaries against 2012, which is before the surge, and that’s an increase of about 15,000. That’s a sizable increase over such a short period of time.

RNS: A lot of those “surge” missionaries served in the United States. Was there a corresponding spike in baptisms here to reflect that higher number of missionaries?

Martinich: The answer is no. That was a frustration of mine, the surge. The reason they sent the bulk of that missionary group – a large portion were Americans – here in the US was that the US had the resources to accommodate such a surge, versus other countries where it would be hard to secure housing, get visas, etc. The US has 124 missions, the most of any country.

There were some good results in some areas, especially reactivation in the southwestern US. That was good news, and in my opinion that’s a lot better development in the long run than just baptizing new members.

There were certain countries where they experienced a significant increase in missionaries. In the Philippines the number of Filipinos serving missions doubled. There are countries that have historically sent very few people on missions, like Micronesia and some nations in Africa, where more people from those countries are serving than ever before.

RNS: You say in your blog that the good news about the statistical report is the creation of new wards and stakes, which is the largest increase in wards since 2005. What does that mean?

Martinich: Congregational growth and stake growth are the best measurements of the increase of active members. Those numbers really say a lot about active membership and leadership.

There’s a net increase of 60 stakes, the most new stakes created in any year since 1998, though there were also several stakes closed. That growth has happened all over the world.

This year, 2016, is an unprecedented year for growth [in stakes] so far. A second stake was created in Kenya last month, and the creation of two new stakes in Hong Kong will occur later this month. But despite these encouraging developments, most of Latin America remains stagnant.

RNS: So you’re saying that even though baptisms are down, the rate of already-baptized Mormons who are active and involved is increasing?

Martinich: In some areas, it is. The church in Mozambique has achieved good results improving convert retention and member activity rates. This success resulted in the organization of the first two stakes in that country during 2015.

The church has also achieved some marginal progress in some other nations with sizable numbers of Latter-day Saints such as Brazil, Guatemala, and Taiwan. Rapid growth is currently occurring in West Africa. However, many of the nations with the most Latter-day Saints continue to experience essentially stagnant growth, such as Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and the United Kingdom.


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  • I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship, my wife is LDS. We asked our son, when he turned 8 this year, to pray on which church to be baptized in, or if he wanted to be baptized at all. He prayed and the Spirit lead him to the Fellowship, even though he’d been going to the LDS branch of Mormonism for the past 7 years. Why? Because he didn’t feel the spirit in the LDS branch. Like it or not, the LDS branch isn’t the only one and it won’t grow without rich soil. Numbers don’t matter. The Spirit matters. The fruits matter. The LDS branch is fine for a lot of Mormons, the majority of us in fact, but it isn’t perfect and it isn’t going to be right for everyone. It shouldn’t be a numbers game. It should be about leading souls to Christ, wherever he takes them.

  • hotbabyboomer

    The real reason for the decline in Mormonism is the fact that Mormons are actually reading. Their brains are no longer accepting the lies.

  • Greg Davis

    Could the young boy also have been influenced by him having a closer personal relationship with his father and/or having developed closer friend relationships in the church his father attends? Children at the age of eight are truly the most influenced by their parents and like me who had been born to parents of different Christian faiths, Catholic/Lutheran mother & LDS father, I had to decide for myself when I became a young adult man since only one ( or maybe niether) could be the true Church of Jesus Christ that He personally guides thru a living Prophet & Apostles just like He did in His ancient Church as found in the N.T. of the Holy Bible. Through my very intensive study & sincere prayer as a follower of Jesus Christ I received a spiritual witness by the power of the Holy Spirit that like I had received in my youth a sure testimony of the truthfulness of the Bible and Jesus is the Christ, our Resurrected Lord & Saviour, so too that same Spirit revealed to me the truthfulness of the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ thru the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith and bringing forth the Book of Mormon, the Stick of Joseph, as a companion to the Bible, the Stick of Judah, (Ezekiel 37:15-19), and the prophesied restoration of the Lord’s Church which occurred in 1830 and known today as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

  • RaymondSwenson

    If the rate of LDS membership growth is 1.7% a year, then in 20 years there would be 40% more Mormons worldwide, about 21 million. In 80 years from now, that would be 58 million Latter-day Saints. Ranked against current national populations, that would be number 24, right behind France, the UK and Italy. By 2030, the 300th anniversary of the Church, membership would be 104 million. Meanwhile, current demographic trends show that world population will likely peak around 2060 and drop rapidly after that, due to low fertility. The Mormons will have a much larger role in the world, by sheer dint of population, in combination with the personal growth that Mormonism engenders. I know this will distress many people who don’t like Mormonism, while most Mormons don’t contemplate how our children and grandchildren are going to have a much more expansive role in the world than we have now.

  • Matt Martinich

    We will see Raymond. I think you meant to say by the year 2130 there would be 104 million Mormons. Yes, that seems like a likely possibility; however, it is very difficult to predict LDS growth rates for longer than 10 years. This is because of changes in church policies regarding the opening of previously unreached areas and nations to missionary work, the allocation of mission resources worldwide, and changes in the receptivity of populations to the Church worldwide.

  • Andrew

    Yeah, not going to happen. Membership in the church is basically at its peak. It may top out around 18-20 million, then it will decline. The truth is that it’s already declining, but this is simply masked by bogus numbers. The truth is there aren’t 15 million now, more like 5 million. Attendance is way less than 1/3.

    In my ward there are hundreds of members on the rolls who do not attend, and when visiting them they slam the door in your face, don’t know who we are, want nothing to do with us, don’t exist and can’t be found anywhere on planet earth, etc. But statistically we count them as members until they are 110 years old. Or so some insiders have said. Our church is one of the few in the world that has such an insanely culty exit process that requires notarized forms and letters to officially “leave.” Frankly, some believe that the church even counts people who have resigned. There isn’t a clear answer on that, where exactly do these numbers come from? That information isn’t made public. And it’s very important to understand this distinction.

    When we compare our numbers to other church’s, it’s an apples to oranges comparison. These statistical labels like “membership” and “converts” don’t mean the same thing to each organization. If Baptists say they have 15 million members, that means they have 15 million people regularly attending at whatever level they consider to be active. For us it means we believe there are 15 million people currently alive (110 or younger) who were at one time baptized and had a form with their name on it filled out, regardless of whether they actually set foot in one of our churches even a single time after that.

  • Morminion

    That slow steady drip is getting louder and more frequent.

  • Andrew

    I’ve been thoroughly involved in and studying missionary work for the past decade, and it’s getting worse not better. There is no putting lipstick on this pig. We need to be honest. Acting like there is any good news is a huge part of the problem. A few points.

    This 1.7% growth number is not truthful. Some 90% of new converts fall away. That’s just the fact.

    This business about new stakes is not the whole truth either. Yes, there are some new stakes, but also not mentioned are stakes that have closed in places like Utah and Japan. There is an entire ward that I served in as a missionary in Japan about 10 years ago which is completely gone now. Attendance was in the hundreds when I was there. I mean GONE. Not a branch or some small meeting in its place, 100% completely gone. All members inactive.

    Plus, a lot of this unit growth is fake. For example, in my area here in TX there is massive growth. But not because of baptisms. Over the past several years I’ve seen 4 new wards formed in my stake due to move-ins. People fleeing the economic decline in states like CA, OR, ID, UT, etc. Our baptism rates are horrible. Once every couple months there is a baptism. One of the new stakes mentioned in the link provided I am very familiar with, in San Antonio. It’s the same as with my area. This is not a few stake formed because of baptisms, let me assure you, it’s because of LDS transplants from other parts of the country.

    And not to be indelicate, but usually these people getting baptized are special needs kind of situations. Not always, but usually. An old person, a disabled person, perpetually underemployed, etc. And nothing wrong with that, I’m just pointing it out. Normal families, educated couples with children, aren’t joining the church. I guarantee you, if we assigned labels to those getting baptized and looked at the numbers on a pie chart, the baptism trends are not strengthening wards but burdening them with more work.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d like it if we spent more time on humanitarian kind of efforts, but that’s not actually what is happening. Baptism is a very ineffective vehicle to charity work, that’s not what it’s designed for. If we want to do that kind of work, we should spend less time on temple trips and more time at the homeless shelter, or whatever.

    What happens now is missionaries find some needy person, because it’s the only weirdo they can find to listen to them, bring them to church, baptize them, and then leave the local members with a mess to clean up. Then I’ve got some weirdo calling me for rides all the time like I’m a free taxi service and then guilt tripping me for money along the way.

    Sorry, I’ve gotten a bit ranty.

    Right now missionaries decide who gets baptized and who doesn’t, and they get their day to day marching orders from their mission president, and local leaders have no say either way. And yet at the same time missionary work is considered the ecclesiastical responsibility of local leadership, yada yada. There is a conflict of interest. And until that conflict is resolved, among other problems, missionary work will continue to be ineffective in terms of finding real converts. Among those who get baptized, very few stay active, and then even among those, very few strengthen the local units. Without exaggeration, maybe 1% of baptisms are true successes in the sense that we like to talk about in terms of the people we want to target and bring into the fold.

    The part about the baptism rate per missionary going down is also very important and related to this. This point seems to have been glossed over. The missionary force essentially doubled in size and yet baptisms didn’t go up AT ALL. Arguably they even went down. This isn’t a casual disappointment, this is a symptom of a HUGE problem. Many problems. Infective missionary program, saturated areas, low morale both among missionaries and members, ineffective teaching, a missionary program that isn’t actually so concerned with missionary work itself but is more about indoctrinating the missionaries themselves. This is a very broken system in just about every way.

    Real growth that exists is almost entirely in third world areas that both have high attrition rates, high inactivity rates, and also super high poverty rates that tend to create a burden on the organization at large. If we have decline in the USA with major growth in other areas, this is quickly heading to other problems. I guarantee you, if you could be a fly on the wall in the board room, the church doesn’t want massive growth in places like Africa. It certainly wants growth, but at a controlled rate, balanced with tithing revenue. The church is a massive bureaucracy that employs many tens of thousands of people, a large portion of the UT economy depends on it. Even a small dip in tithing can result in a shockwave of economic depression within UT and the church. So multiply declining revenue by increasing costs, do the math.

    I could go on and on… TLDR, the church is not being honest about its growth. In keeping with tradition it pretends that all is well in zion, that we’re the fastest growing religion in the world and all that. Hype prevails. Some day maybe we’ll accept reality, and that will need to happen long before we can start fixing these problems and correcting course.

  • Morminion

    Keep on spawning more minions.

  • Morminion

    Brilliant analysis… thanks for you insight.

  • Bill Fitzgerald

    8 years after the church was organized, there were 20,000+ members, so none of them would have been baptized as children. So lets see, what is that about a billion % growth without any baptized because their parents raised them excuse? The restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ is here to stay, The mobs could not stop Joseph. Obviously he was protected until the church was fully restored. Nobody can stop it. The Lord will have a Temple to return to. Actually he has already appeared in the Kirtland Temple and likely in many more.

  • Matt Martinich

    I agree with many of your points, but I don’t think the current situation is as dire as you present it. Yes, the “all is well in Zion” fallacy really fuels the problem even more. Rushed prebaptismal preparation continues to be a major problem, but a lack of member involvement in missionary work is the greatest deterrent. Convert retention rates after baptism are 40-70% one year after baptism for most missions currently. The highest retention and activity rates are in West Africa. These findings are based on approximately 1,300 surveys I have collected from recent returned missionaries from around the world.

  • 700 Club

    What bugs me in your analysis is your COMPLETE miss as to what YOUR responsibility is in all of this. It is the missionary’s primary job to teach and baptize people. It is your job and my job to invite people. I am one of those transplants…..just moved to Dallas, TX three months ago (McKinney, to be precise) from the Midwest (in full transparency I’m originally from Salt Lake City, Utah). I can’t believe the general attitude around here regarding member-missionary work. Meaning, it is non-existent. Can you honestly tell me the last time you invited your “normal” texas friends to church? Or to come over to your home for dinner with the missionaries? Or to read the Book of Mormon? Be honest, now…….. Exactly. I can’t stand your attitude and many people here in Texas seem to share it. Well, I’m not going to drink the Texas Tea or Kool-Aid or whatever you call it. Nope. I’m going to do my part, you watch. And hopefully you and others will follow my lead.

  • Thomas Johnson

    Andrew, when you consider that to join the LDS Church you have to agree not to smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs, to refrain from sex before marriage, and to pay 10% of your income to the Church, it is a miracle that the Church gets any convert baptisms. Society is becoming more wicked and it makes it harder and harder to get convert baptisms.

  • JacksonMM

    Your analysis is quite far-fetched… Assuming the most optimistic exponential growth for Mormonism and logistic growth for all other populations.

    At best, Mormonism will peak at 20 million in the 2040s. This estimate doesn’t even take into account all the demographic trends that will increasingly negatively impact Mormon stats. Millennials and third world populations will continue to have fewer and fewer kids and become more and more secular. Baby boomers will start dying out and will not be replaced by faithful grandchildren. The missionary force will dwindle no matter how young they send them out. The true historic and doctrinal issues will be translated into more and more languages.

    Sorry Raymond, but there will likely never be more than 20-30 million Mormons… And they will become a smaller and less influential sliver of the world population, along with many other religions.

    http://www.mormonism101.com/2015/04/number-of-mormons-to-peak-at-20-million.html?m=1

  • HoistDude

    Stake and new congregation growth are still the best measures and indicators of REAL church growth. Far gone are the days when the Church and its leaders even care about baptism numbers if they can’t lead to long-term active membership in the Church. This is one of the reasons why total growth rate (i.e., membership growth rate) has halved in the last decade, but REAL growth rate (i.e., activity growth rate) has doubled.

    Critics of Mormonism will say that the Church growth rate is slowing, but to anyone with half a brain, it is actually increasing. It does no good to the Church to baptize someone if two years later they are no longer attending Church, receiving a temple endowment, paying tithing, magnifying a calling, etc.

  • JohnnyLingo62

    If the LDS Church would be allowed to proselyte in China, you would see TREMENDOUS growth in a very short time. China is starving for spiritualism vs. materialism (I travel there 3-4 times per year and was a missionary in Taiwan in the early 80’s). The issue will be – are there enough missionaries and leaders to support the potential growth? Will China allow the potential growth without putting additional political restrictions on a growing organization like they did with the Falun Gong which was hijacked by political activists?
    As far as the number of “the Elect” that may be living on the earth at any one time, it is the missionaries duty to seek out and teach. If “every member is a missionary”, then all LDS should be engaged in living the gospel as they have covenanted so the Spirit may accompany and bear testimony of the truth. If members are not engaged in attending church meetings, then, over time they can become less intent on living the gospel principles which may cause them to lose the motivation or experience the happiness that comes by way of the Spirit while doing missionary work. If you read the prophet Zenos’ Allegory of the Olive Trees in Jacob 5 Book of Mormon, you can see that “the Lord of the Vineyard” (Savior) was continually “working” alongside his servants to cultivate and preserve “good fruit” to be stored up before the end of the world.
    The Savior works alongside those who want the same thing He does and will strengthen those that are willing and able to “thrust in their sickle” and work with full purpose of heart, mind and strength. I’ve seen many people re-activated as members when their perspective on life becomes more mature, when one of life’s questions arises and they are searching for answers, and they re-find the answers as members or missionaries contact them and they are touched by the Spirit, and the Spirit speaks to their heart and their lives are reignited with joy and a hope for greater happiness that LIVING the gospel and teachings of Christ provides.
    May God Bless.

  • HoistDude

    The REAL growth of the Church isn’t measured in baptisms, it is measured in new congregations and, most important, new stakes. People need to pay attention to the net new congregation and net new stake growth rate, which is actually approaching a new all time high this year in 2016 as was NEAR an all-time high record in 2015.

    First, the Church in the last decade has greatly improved its total membership reporting standards to the point where it now accurately reports for deaths and voluntary/involuntary membership terminations much more accurately — and, I might add, FAR more accurately than any other religion. A few years ago, the Church caught serious flak for using reporting standards for membership that (shock and gasp) EVERY other Church and religion on the face of the planet was using. (I know, the “horror.”)

    But, the Church actually took the (somewhat silly) criticism to heart and made the decision to more accurately report its numbers. This is one of the reasons why you see the total LDS Church growth rates slowing, but other Church growth rates (i.e., Seventh Day Adventists and JW’s) continue to remain high. (The LDS Church is now using a much more accurate measuring standard for total growth while the other denominations still continue to use an older (and much more inaccurate) system.)

    Second, and much more important, it does ZERO good to baptize someone if they are not going to remain active in the Church. This is especially true for Mormonism which believes strongly in a lay clergy and relies heavily on local leadership — perhaps more so than any other faith group. The point is this: despite what critics say, the Church can’t fudge the numbers when it comes to new stakes and, particularly, new congregations. New stakes and new wards simply cannot even FUNCTION if the requisite active membership and leadership is not present.

    So the takeaway is this:

    Yes, the total Church membership growth rate is decreasing. But, the REAL growth rate of the Church is nearing an all time high. Long gone are the days when the Church even cared about baptism (i.e., total growth) numbers. The only numbers that even matter to Church leadership these days are:

    1. Sacrament Meeting Attendance — A lot of people don’t realize this, but the ward clerk going up and down the chapel during sacrament meeting is not just tracking a number of people in attendance, he is actually tracking individual persons and actual families in attendance. For example, if Mr. Smith and his family are coming fairly regularly to Church, and some 400-500 other individuals are doing the same, then the time may be ready to open a new Ward.)

    2. Net New Stake Growth — This is BY FAR the best indicator of REAL Church growth (i.e., active growth) plus leadership capability growth. You simply can’t have new stakes without new stake presidencies, high councillors, high priests group leaders, stake YM presidents, stake primary presidents, and many many others. Given that the lifetime activity rate for high priests and their spouses, once they are ordained, is in excess of 97%, the creation of new stakes is a HUGE indicator of REAL and ACTUAL Church growth.

    2. Net New Congregation Growth. This is especially true with respect to new “Ward” growth as opposed to new “Branch” growth. In 2015, we saw not only 395 new congregations worldwide, but the VAST majority (i.e., over 90%) were Wards, not Branches. In 2016 so far, we are seeing a record-breaking year for new congregations and new Stakes. Again, thanks to a belief in and total reliance upon local lay leadership, you can be rest assured that the Church can’t make up those numbers. In other words, it is clear that while total baptism rates are decreasing, long-term active membership rates are actually increasing significantly

    3. Net new meetinghouses owned. This should be a given. Meetinghouses are not built by the Church unless the ACTIVE growth of the area demands new meetinghouses to be built. The Church built almost 100 new meetinghouses/stake centers last year worldwide. That statistic right there should tell you something.

    4. Net new temples built. Especially in Mormonism, a temple is a worthless building if there are no active members to serve as workers and attend as patrons. Net new temples built is a very good indication of the active and endowed membership growth. The Church increased its total new operating temples last year by almost 3%. Many of these temples were also built in areas that already had temples. Think about that for a minute.

    5. Net new temple endowments and sealings (which are tracked but are not reported at General Conference). These are tracked by the Church, but are not released at General Conference. The fact that new temples are being built, however, is a good indication rates of growth for new temple endowments and sealings are increasing as a whole worldwide.

    6. Net increase in temple attendance (which is not tracked at the individual member level, but at the attendance rate at each temple as a whole). Again, these numbers are not released at General Conference. However, the fact new temples are being built worldwide (and even in well-established areas that already have a temple) is a clear indication that temple attendance is increasing.

    If you really think about it, those are really the only numbers that matter. As the author stated, most Churches these days would KILL for a 1.7 percent annual increase in total membership. When taken into consideration that those number are actually VERY accurate (especially when compared to other religions), that is a lot of growth. Indeed, that is almost DOUBLE the approximate 1 percent growth rate of the world population in 2015.

    But that is really just the tip of the iceberg. The much more important statistic to note is that new stake and new congregation growth were up in 2015 around a full 2 percent. (Remember, reactivation rates are also not taken into consideration in baptism numbers.) New operating temples also grew by almost a full 3% This is the “real” and “active” growth of the Church. Even when speaking to the critics of Mormonism, you can’t argue with new congregation and new Stake growth — it is just impossible given the Church’s reliance on local lay clergy and local lay leadership. You also can’t argue with new temple growth, especially when they are built in areas that already have an existing temple.

    In the end, the REAL growth rate of the Church is actually about the same rate as it was in the 80s and 90s. The Church really never grew by 4-8% in the 80s and 90s because so many of those baptisms were people who never stayed active in the long term. Yes, fewer net individuals are joining the Church, but the net long-term retention and activity rates are much higher than they ever have been. Reactivation rates are also higher than they ever have been. Which, taken in total, is actually MUCH better for the Church.

    As an active member myself, I would much rather see the Church total growth rate decline and the real growth rate increase than the opposite. Wouldn’t you agree?

    In the end, Mormonism continues to not only grow in total membership much faster than the world population growth rate, but its actual and REAL growth rate is near an all-time high.

    Despite what the uneducated critics say, the growth rate of Mormonism will be just fine so long as active and real growth indicators continue to remain high — and, indeed, they are not only remaining high, but are actually increasing.

  • John Flaherty

    Thanks Andrew for filling in the details. It’s my observation that, due to redeemed and/or unredeemed conditions, people running major institutional faiths are guilty of tilting the humbers toward the positive. That’s because the careers of those tilting the numbers are at stake! “Professional Christians” I call them, having emerged from that particular sect.

    The guy being interviewed says it’s not the internet. I’m not going to swallow that. Anyone with an internet connection at Starbucks can cruise the myriad of opinions, articles and informational sources that make the supernatural faith groups -Mormons, Christians, Muslims- look like visitors from alpha centauri. Information is key when freeing people from cults… and really, under their finely constructed bureaucracies, rituals and financial wealth that’s all the major faiths really are.

    It seems to me that human beings are moving toward the establishment of their own belief systems for living out their lives. Do these systems incorporate ideas from the major faiths? Sure. Perhaps to be pleasing to a God who doesn’t care if you or your kid gets hit by a bus or screwed by a priest/pastor/elder, so much scurrying about like mindless ants is unnecessary?

  • Sashabill

    While we are at it, we may take a look at membership statistics of those churches which have gone the “politically correct” route — embracing concepts like inclusiveness, diversity, etc, while advocating liberal political positions.

    The Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) with a membership of about 2.8 million in the mid-1950s, has now declined to about 1.7 million. The United Methodists (UMC), at over 11 million in the mid-1960s, are now down to less than 7 million. The Episcopal Church, at about 4.5 million in the mid ’60s, has now lost fully half of its membership. The mainline Lutherans (ELCA, with about 5.5 million members when it was formed in the mid-1970s, is now down to about 3.8 million. The United Church of Christ (UCC) has experienced similar declines. The Unitarians, meanwhile, were at about 150 to 200 thousand in 1960 and are now still at about that same level. All of these churches have been . or are, moving in the “politically correct” direction (advocating for abortion, same sex marriage, “inclusiveness” etc); All, except for the Unitarians, are members of the National Council of Churches, which has been advocating liberal-left political positions since the 1950s. Most of them are experiencing significant absolute declines numbering in the millions. (This is despite that fact that the overall population of the United States is currently about 100 million more than it was in the mid ’60s.)