‘Mormon Land’: Unlike many faiths, the LDS Church is growing but not like it used to. A look at the hot spots and cold ones.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, participates in the launch of a pilot program to improve gospel literacy in Sierra Leone, June 2019.

A recent Pew Research report reaffirmed a rising trend: Americans, especially younger ones, are abandoning organized religion. It’s a phenomenon that cuts across denominations and is expected to continue.

But what about in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How is this missionary-oriented faith faring in its efforts to recruit and retain members?

Turns out, says independent researcher Matt Martinich, the Utah-based church is still growing, though the rate has been dropping for decades. He says the faith continues to boom in West Africa, for instance, but growth is stagnating in Northern Europe.

Martinich’s latest survey shows retention of new converts is improving — 50% in the U.S. and 49% outside of it — but country-by-country rates vary wildly, ranging from 80% in Congo to 33% in Uruguay.

Martinich discusses those findings and more in this week’s “Mormon Land.”

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