Thanks largely to a surge of converts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reached a membership milestone last year, topping 17 million worldwide.
Overall membership rose by 197,061 to 17,002,461, according to 2022 statistics released during Saturday’s General Conference, a 1.17% bump from the 16,805,400 reported the previous year.
Convert baptisms swelled last year by 26% to 212,172, up from 168,283 in 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions continued to ease. During the height of the pandemic, in 2020, convert baptisms plunged to 125,930.
These numbers remained behind the 248,835 recorded in 2019.
Last year’s convert tally “has nearly recovered to pre-COVID levels,” independent researcher Matt Martinich writes at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, “although the lowest year for the number of convert baptisms (2017) was still nearly 20,000 more than what was seen in 2022.”
Baby blessings, which add infants to the Utah-based faith’s rolls as “children of record,” were virtually flat at 89,059 in 2022, a dip of 10 from the prior year and well below the six figures that were common earlier in the past decade.
“The church experienced a significant decrease in this statistic prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which dropped from 122,273 in 2012 to 94,266 in 2019,” Martinich notes. “...The encouraging aspect of the 2022 figure for the increase in children of record is that this number has stabilized” since the global health crisis.
In other fresh stats from the end of last year, the church reported:
• 62,544 proselytizing missionaries.
• 31,330 congregations.
• 27,070 senior service missionaries.
• 2,736 young service missionaries.
• 3,521 stakes (regional clusters of congregations).