Population and growth rate
"Worldwide Church membership continues to grow, reaching 12,560,869 in 2005. According to the 2005 Church statistical report, the Church has 2,701 stakes, 52,060 missionaries, and 122 temples in operation. In 2005 more than 240,000 converts joined the Church. Currently 341 missions are established throughout the world." 
"According to the Church’s Member and Statistical Records Division, first-generation members made up 64% of total Church membership as of July 2006 Per David Stewart, 70% to 80% are inactive." "Sociologist Armand Mauss estimates that 50 percent of LDS converts within the United States stop attending within a year of conversion, and 75 percent of foreign converts fail to attend after a year."
Mormons and media outlets frequently appeal to their religion's growth rate as an evidence of its truthfulness. Mormon author David G. Stewart, Jr. writes on the recurring theme and the overstatements that often accompany it:
- "The rapid growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a frequent and recurring theme in the secular media. The claim that the Church of Jesus Christ is the 'world's fastest growing church' has been repeated in the Los Angeles Times, Salt Lake Tribune, Guardian, and other media outlets, while sources claiming that the LDS Church is the 'fastest growing in the United States' are too numerous to chronicle. Sociologist Rodney Stark's 1984 projection has been widely cited: 'A 50 percent per decade growth rate, which is actually lower than the rate each decade since World War II, will result in over 265 million members of the Church by 2080.' In Mormons in America, Claudia and Richard Bushman claimed, 'Mormonism, one of the world's fastest-growing Christian religions, doubles its membership every 15 years.'
- "Latter-day Saint media have also lauded rapid church growth. The LDS Church News has described international LDS growth with a litany of superlatives, including 'astronomic,' 'dynamic,' 'miraculous,' and 'spectacular.' The claim that the LDS Church is the 'fastest growing church in the United States' has been repeated in the Ensign and LDS Church News. In a recent General Conference, the Church of Jesus Christ was described not only as being prolific, but also as retaining and keeping active 'a higher percentage of our members' than any other major church of which the speaker was aware.
- "A closer examination of growth and retention data demonstrates that LDS growth trends have been widely overstated. Annual LDS growth has progressively declined from over 5 percent in the late 1980s to less than 3 percent from 2000 to 2005. Since 1990, LDS missionaries have been challenged to double the number of baptisms, but instead the number of baptisms per missionary has halved. During this same period, other international missionary-oriented faiths have reported accelerating growth, including the Seventh-Day Adventists, Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God, and Evangelical (5.6 percent annual growth) and Pentecostal churches (7.3 percent annual growth). For 2004, 241,239 LDS convert baptisms were reported, the lowest number of converts since 1987. The number of convert baptisms increased to 272,845 in 2006, but both missionary productivity and the total number of baptisms remained well below the levels of the early 1990s. Even more cause for concern is the fact that little of the growth that occurs is real: while nearly 80 percent of LDS convert baptisms occur outside of the United States, barely one in four international converts becomes an active or participating member of the Church. Natural LDS growth has also fallen as the LDS birth rate has progressively declined. LDS church membership has continued to increase, but the rate of growth has slowed considerably."
 Mormonism in America
- "5.5 million members reside within the United States—where the Church is ranked as the second-fastest-growing church, according to the 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches" .
 Rodney Stark's famous projection
- "Using past patterns of growth as a baseline, religious sociologist Rodney Stark has projected an LDS population of 265 million by the year 2080. Using this projection, Stark has predicted that the LDS Church will become the next major world religion." -Encyclopedia of Mormonism 
 Sobering inactivity rates
- "While LDS activity rates in the United States are among the highest of any country in the world, less than half of members on the rolls are active. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism reports: 'Canada, the South Pacific, and the United States average between 40 percent and 50 percent [attendance at sacrament meeting].' (Source: Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, 1992, 4:1527.)
- "Marginal retention of new converts, and especially potential priesthood holders, remains a serious challenge:
- "'For the U.S. as a whole, only 59% of baptized males ever receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. In the South Pacific, the figure drops to 35%; in Great Britain, 29%. In Mexico (with almost 850,000 members) the figure is 19%; and in Japan, only 17% of the male members ever make it past the Aaronic Priesthood.' (source: Lowell C. Bennion and Lawrence Young, Dialogue, Spring 1996, p.19.) " 
 Baseball and gravestone baptisms
"This came directly from the top and was done in the '60s. The idea was to get youth who would grow up to be leaders. Baseball and soccer leagues were formed by the missionaries. To participate there was an'initiation' (baptism)." 
- "[T]his is the fastest-growing religious element in the United States and in the world, almost." -Gordon B. Hinckley, The New Yorker, "Lives of the Saints" (2002) 
- "Such converts have helped the Church rank among the fastest growing Christian religions in the world today — the Church now has more than 12 million members in 160 nations, has grown by as much as 50 percent per decade over the past 50 years, and is enjoying a current average growth rate of three percent per year." -LDS.org 
- "If this religion was man-made, why has it grown to more than 12 million members world-wide in less than 200 years?" 
- "In 1957 there were about 800,000 Protestants in Korea. This had more than doubled by 1968 (1,873,000) and had scored further by 1978 (5,294,000). The Catholic church also enjoyed a surge in its growth, rising from 285,000 (1957) to 751,000 (1968), then to 1,144,000 (1986)... It is now estimated that at least 50 million of the 450 million population of south and central America are Protestants. And the trend is growing." McGrath, The Future of Christianity, p. 31, 37
- "Many other religions are growing faster than Mormonism, and it is unclear how Mormonism would have a competitive advantage over those religions. Despite increasing the member base and missionary force by 50% over the last decade, the church has been unsuccessful at increasing the number of baptisms by even 1%. When we look at the actual growth rate of the church from 1983 to 2000 there is strong statistical evidence that the slowing growth is due to an underlying trend rather than random fluctuations." -Roger Loomis 
- "[I]n 1989, the church operated 228 missions that produced 318,940 converts. In 1999, there are 333 missions in operation that produced only 306,171 converts." 
- "As LDS author and retired CES Director Grant Palmer pointed out in his podcast interview with church member and MormonStories.org founder, John Dehlin , the church is 'hemorrhaging' members. Why? As Palmer said, Latter-Day Saints are going on the Internet and discovering, much to their shock, that what the church taught them about Joseph Smith, early church history, and other aspects of Mormonism is far from the truth. According to Palmer's source in Church HQ, about 100,000 members are resigning each year, and Greg Dodge, the man responsible for processing resignations and excommunications has had to double his staff from five people to ten! Two of the 100,000 (approx.) for 2006 include Jerrell Chesney and his wife, president and matron of the Oklahoma City Temple. The Chesneys joined the church in 1970 and served in various church callings over the years. Reportedly, they feel that the church betrayed their faith and abused their trust; many good people with years of experience in the church have felt the same way." 
- "For instance, official church statistics report that in the two year interval between 2000 and 2002–the years relevant to the census data used above–Argentina added one stake and 19,500 new members. Venezuela also gained one stake and 16,320 members. Church-wide, however, the average number of members per stake is 4370. In the U.S. there are only about 4000 members per stake. Thus, based on the church-wide mean, Venezuela added over three stakes’ worth of members for its one new stake, and Argentina added the equivalent of four stakes’ worth of members for its new stake. In this same two year span, neither Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala or Honduras added a single new stake, but between them they added 38,185 (or almost 9 stakes’ worth) of new members. Colombia lost a stake through consolidation–going from 23 to 22–but added 6385 members. Peru lost a stake as well, but managed to add 19,731 new members. Finally, Brazil lost 3 stakes and a total of 190 congregations (88 wards and 102 branches) through consolidation between 2000 and 2002, yet added almost 66,000 new members–going from 743,182 to 808,940. The only explanation for the countervailing pattern of stake consolidation and membership growth in these nations is that rates of convert retention in Latin America are extraordinarily low." - Rick Phillips, "Rethinking the International Expansion of Mormonism," Nova Religio 10(1):52-68, August 2006.
- The Church reports 27,064 congregations worldwide among 12,560,869 members, which comes out to be 464 members per congregation. In actuality, most of the world consists of tiny wards and branches that have nowhere near 464 members. [Citation needed]
- The US increase of Mormons is slower than population growth. This is significant when one considers that Mormons typically have larger families themselves. [Citation needed]
- "[Rick] Phillips uses recent census data from Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and New Zealand to attempt an answer to this question. According to the data, the number of self-professed Mormons is between 23-58 percent of the number claimed by the church. (Australia 47.5%, Austria 57.1%, Canada 58.4% (lower outside Alberta), Chile 27.3%, Mexico 23.2%.)" 
- ↑ http://www.bloggerofjared.com/2007/03/15/1st-generation-members-and-retention/
- ↑ http://www.newsweek.com/id/105857/page/2
- ↑ Stewart, Jr., David. The Law of the Harvest: Practical Principles of Effective Missionary Work, p. 17.
- ↑ Cumorah Project International LDS Database: United States. Available online here.
- Largest Latter-day Saint Communities
- From the Salt Lake Tribune
- LDS Stake Growth 1830-2004
- Statistical Reports with Charts
- Map of Predominant Religions Per U.S. County
- American Religious Identification Survey
- Map Gallery of Religion in the United States
- LDS Church now ranks 4th largest in U.S. (Deseret News)
- A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S. (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)
- Keeping members a challenge for LDS church, by Peggy Fletcher Stack - "Mormon myth: The belief that the church is the fastest-growing faith in the world doesn't hold up"
- In Our View: Don't kill messenger on LDS statistics (The Daily Herald)
- Mormon Church Growth, by Roger Loomis
- Why won't you take Gamaliel's advice in Acts 5:34-42 and leave our church alone?, by Rob Sivulka
- Was Gamaliel's Advice in Acts 5:38 Biblically Sound?, by Bill McKeever
- Top 10 Largest Highly International Religious Bodies
- Does the LDS Church really have 12 million members? (MormonInformation.com)
- A modern prophet goes global - "The Mormon faith is spreading. But is it a world religion?"
- Is the LDS Church Really the Fastest Growing Church? (MormonInfo.org)
- LDS Church Reports Growth, by Sharon Lindbloom
- Witnesses, Adventists outpace LDS growth, by Kristen Moulton (Salt Lake Trib)
- LDS Church second-fastest growing religion in the nation, by Valerie Housley
- LDS (Mormon) Stake Growth 2005
- Activity in the Church, by Perry H. Cunningham
- Review: Phillips, "Rethinking Expansion" (ByCommonConsent.com)
- 1st Generation Members and Retention
- Even More on LDS Church Statistics
- Becoming a world faith, by Brittanie Morris
- LDS Church Growth, Member Activity, and Convert Retention: Review and Analysis, by David Stewart