‘Mormon Land’: How, where and why LDS membership is booming in some places and shrinking in others

Church growth is soaring in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other parts of Africa, but the rolls are declining in 21 U.S. states.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Latter-day Saint faithful stand as top church leaders leave the Conference Center after the morning session of General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022. The church reported it now has more than 16.8 million members worldwide.

Growth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bounced back a bit last year after taking a pandemic plunge in 2020. The global faith saw its overall membership rise by 0.8% during 2021 to top 16.8 million.

Africa has led the way, accounting for 10 of the 14 fastest-growing nations in terms of Latter-day Saint growth the past two years.

In the United States, from the start of 2020 to the end of 2021, membership increased 0.6% to exceed 6.7 million. South Dakota, Arkansas and Tennessee grew the fastest, while California, North Dakota and Washington were the biggest percentage losers. In fact, 21 states plus the District Columbia actually saw their membership tallies shrink.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

On this week’s show, Matt Martinich, an independent researcher who dutifully tracks these statistics and more for the websites cumorah.com and ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, discusses the ups and downs and ins and outs of church growth and how the membership is booming in some places and dwindling in others.

Listen here:

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