Saturday, April 2, 2022

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Growth

It is Saturday, April 2, 2022 and we are in the middle of General Conference which has been wonderful. The Church just published its annual statistical summary for 2021. The good news is we grew by 141,737 members in 2021 following a COVID dampened 98,627 additional members in 2020. The bad news is our growth rate in 2020 (.60%) and 2021 (.85%) fell below the world growth rate (2021 = 1.03%) for the first time since the Great Depression. Here is the graph (as with all images on this blog, click to enlarge):

Blue = Church Membership Growth Rate
Red = World Population Growth Rate

Global population growth has been steadily declining from the 2% range in the 1970's and 80's to about 1% today. During most of my lifetime, Church growth has been comfortably higher than the global counterpart. That changed in the last two years when COVID impaired Church growth rates under 1% have lagged world growth. The solution? More effective online messaging with the Book of Mormon as the star of the show. The 1989 spike that stands out on the graph above was the year we were all anxiously engaged flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon in response to Pres. Benson's prophetic call.

I have been very busy the last couple of years running Book of Mormon Central (BMC). Hence, the paucity of posts to this blog. At BMC, we have been patiently improving our online messaging. Here are some recent graphs:

Book of Mormon Central Key Performance Indicators

The Book of Mormon is so unique and fascinating it has the power to incite curiosity. At BMC, we are experimenting with various ways to do that. For example, Evidence Central now has over 320 concise, illustrated articles describing reasons we believe the Book of Mormon is beautiful, miraculous, and true. And a handful of those articles have videos published on the remarkable Evidence Central YouTube channel.

It was comforting today to have half the seats in the Conference Center filled (the Church purposely limited attendance to 10,000 per session). It felt good to see the General Authorities and General Officers sans masks. The 404 missions around the world are getting better at post pandemic online messaging. I was in a meeting at the Lehi Family Search Center a few days ago. Andrew Parker, Marketing Manager for Roots Tech, reported that Roots Tech 2021 was seen by 1.1 million people. Roots Tech 2022 was seen by 22 million. The Church is a magnificent, amazing, beneficent organization with vast resources. The growth issue will get resolved, and the Book of Mormon will be an important part of the solution.

Elder Tad. R. Callister was in my office a couple of weeks ago. I showed him our Abraham and Sarah video that went live on Valentine's Day and now has over 475K views. I explained that it was made primarily by twenty-somethings. He leaned back in his chair and asked, "Why doesn't BMC make a trailer for the Book of Mormon?" Everyone in the room snapped to attention. Of course. We could do that. BMC was made for that. It has been two weeks, and I have seen five pilot Book of Mormon trailers. None has grabbed my attention, so I haven't shown any of them yet to Elder Callister. I was on a Zoom call yesterday with Parker Walbeck, a bona fide video superstar who served his mission in Uruguay. We (the Church and its independent advocates such as BMC) will improve our online messaging.