Counting Mormons

Study says LDS numbers inflated

The Mormon Church claims to have some 5.7 million members in the United States, which would make the Utah-based denomination the fourth largest church body in the nation after the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church. Often cited as one of the fastest-growing churches, with a clean-cut image and a focus on family values, the Mormon Church would seem poised to rival within a decade the size of the UMC, which has suffered declines in recent years and now has just below 8 million members.

But many researchers say that the official figures for Mormon membership in the U.S.—as well as the church’s claims of having 13 million members worldwide—are greatly inflated or overstated. At fault, studies say, is the church’s policy of counting as members nearly all baptized Mormons, including those who are lapsed in membership or who cannot be located.


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