COVID affected the growth of the LDS Church as convert baptisms fell almost 50% –

COVID affected the growth of the LDS Church as convert baptisms fell almost 50%

Global Faith membership increased 0.6% to 16.6 million.

(File photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A Latter-day Saint baptism prior to the pandemic in Africa.

Last year, growth hit a COVID-19 wall for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially among new converts.

Total membership increased by 98,627 to 16,663,663, according to 2020 statistics released Saturday as part of the faith’s 191st Annual General Conference. That’s a 0.6% increase from the 16,565,036 reported for 2019.

But, with tens of thousands of full-time missionaries released or reassigned last year, convert baptisms fell to 125,930, up from 248,835 in 2019, a drop of nearly 50%.

Many members also delayed baby blessings, as Sunday services were interrupted for a time, so fewer children were added to the lists.

The church reported 65,440 registered children in 2020. That’s nearly 31% down from the 94,266 added to the membership count from the previous year.

Despite the struggles related to the pandemic, the number of Latter-day Saint congregations around the world rose to 31,136, up from 30,940 in 2019, an increase of 0.6%.

Senior Latter-day Saint leaders have noted the challenges proselytizers have faced during COVID-19.

In some cases, they “teach outside, socially estranged,” Apostle Gary E. Stevenson told a Brigham Young University audience last month. “In other places, where there are more restrictions, missionary teaching originates in missionary apartments, which are done virtually.”

In February, a fellow apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, encouraged missionaries in a worldwide virtual devotional to “get creative” in their efforts to “help people learn about the Savior of the world.”

Uchtdorf told the young Latter-day Saints not to “neglect the principles and practices tested before the pandemic, but to learn, add, and adapt the technological advancements that the Lord has provided to accomplish his work in his time and in his own time. weather”.

Independent researcher Matt Martinich, who tracks church demographics at, recently predicted the anticipated decline in growth, although the steep drop in converts was much more than he anticipated.

As vaccines increase and coronavirus cases decline, Martinich expects those metrics to rebound this year “as conditions begin to normalize in many of the countries where the church operates.”


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