I recently read a post from the mormonmissionblog that reported a recent article in the Washington Post (I coincidentally work for them) on the challenges the LDS church faces.  In the article it discusses the decline in the number of converts to the LDS faith (a decline of 8% to 3%), the poor retention rate of LDS converts (One in three stays active), and the rise in converts to other faiths such as Seventh-Day Adventists and other Evangelical faiths.

This causes me to ask a few questions:

1. Are the numbers accurate that the conversions have fallen from 8%-3%?

2. What can be done to increase retention?

3. Why are people going to other churches

4. How should the LDS church feel about people are converting to other christian churches?

I will address these issues in a series of posts.  The first is addressed below:

Are the Numbers Accurate?

I’m not sure where they got the numbers from, but according to the LDS Newsroom, the conversions continue to be very strong at around 800 members per day as announced in this video by Elder Ballard.  Further graphs of church growth can be found here

As shown in the graph it appears the church’s growth has exploded in the past 10 years rather than tapered.  The article does mention that the church has “tighter recruiting standards” now, which could lead to lower conversion rates.  I do know that when I was on my mission in 1996 there were around 50,000 full-time missionaries and today there are about the same.

Overall, I would say that the church shouldn’t worry about not having enough converts with a growth rate of 800 per day. 

The question is how accurate is the Washington Posts statistical information?  Does anyone know? (Maybe a more important question is does it even matter? : )