In April, the Miller Eccles group welcomed Dr. David Stewart and Matthew Martinich, authors of a new Church almanac that provides an in-depth look at membership, retention, activity and much more, to speak about the idea of the church being the fastest growing church in the world.
From the Miller Eccles website: Chances are we’ve all heard someone say, “We are the fastest growing church in the world; sometime during this century we’ll be bigger than the Catholics.” Indeed, some 30 years ago, renown non-Mormon sociologist Rodney Stark published a groundbreaking article called “The Rise of a New World Faith” in which he suggested the conceivable possibility that there could be more than 265 million Mormons by 2080 and that our numbers could rival other world faiths such as Islam, Buddhism, historic Christianity, and Hinduism. In 2001 the U.S. News and World Report ran a cover story about “The Mormon Moment” in which it stated, “By almost any measure, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the world’s richest and fastest-growing religious movements.” Other publications have made similar observations.
What are the facts surrounding Church expansion? Are we growing faster than any other religion? Where is this growth occurring? Where is it not? What are the reasons for growth or stagnation, as the case may be? What are the results of various programs the Church has undertaken to stimulate growth?
Dr. David Stewart, who served a mission in Russia, and Matthew Martinich, who served in South Korea, have made it their mission to investigate and analyze the growth of the Church and to determine where the truths and myths are. Their work culminated this year in the publication of their Church almanac, Reaching the Nations, a prodigious two-volume work based on careful analysis of official reports, as well as thousands of unofficial reports from members and leaders throughout the globe.