That random dude, pictured above, announced the church's growth statistics during the afternoon session of General Conference today. Here are some of the numbers (as of the end of 2013) that he related to us:
- Total church membership: 15,082,028
- Children of record added: 115,486
- Converts added: 282,945
Here is some relevant information that he didn't explicitly state:
- Total church membership at the end of 2012: 14,782,473
- Net growth during 2013: 299,555
- Net growth during 2013 as a percentage: 2.02%
What's interesting is that, as a solid number, this is the church's smallest growth since 2005. As a percentage, it's an even more damning statistic. According to LDSstatistics.com, it would be the church's tiniest increase since 1974. But according to Wikipedia, it would be Mormonism's most pitiful expansion since 1947.
While that's cool news to those of us who don't want the church to roll forth to fill the whole earth, it's also not exactly a slam dunk. Dialogue between Mormons and ex-Mormons tends to be filled with a lot of bias and lots of accusations of distorting facts. Considering that the numbers in those two links don't line up with each other properly until 1998, it wouldn't be hard for a defender of the faith to claim that the statistics are unreliable. A simple uncorroborated claim that the church inflates its own numbers wouldn't be enough to combat that assertion.
I couldn't find any church-sponsored source of historical membership data, although I wasn't going to spend all day looking into it. If anyone knows where to find it, I'd love to be able to verify my theory that 2013 was a monumentally awful year for the church.