"The Church doesn't release records on how many people have their names officially removed from Church records. Also, many people who 'leave' the Church simply stop going to Church, but still have their names on Church records and are technically considered baptized Mormons. Retention rates depend on the area, but in most places in the U.S., about 50% to 75% of baptized Mormons are actively practicing the religion. In other countries the number is usually lower, about 30-60%. The Church has 13,824,854 members worldwide, and 28,424 congregations. This would mean each congregation should have about 486 members. In reality, the average congregation size is about 250-300. That means that only about 50-60% of baptized Mormons actively participate in their congregations.
"Quite a small number of people actually leave the Church and have their names taken off the records of the Church. For example, in 2009, Church membership increased from 13,508,509 to 13,824,854. Thats an increase of 316,345 people. There were 280,106 converts baptized and 119,722 children born. That is 399,828 people. So we can assume 83,483 people left the Mormon Church in 2009."
Good find AThinker! What we don't know for sure is how many of those ~80,000 ex-members are from death, reaching 120 years from their birth date, excommunications or resignations/name-removal. It would be interesting to know how those breakdowns all looked. Too bad the LDS church has to be so secretive about their numbers. Just goes to show how much they stress preserving an image and illusion of strength, despite having little.
"This would mean each congregation should have about 486 members. In reality, the average congregation size is about 250-300."
I think whoever wrote this line was just pulling numbers out of his ass for that last part. Active congregation size for large wards within Utah may be 250 to 300, but not for the entire worldwide church. I've lived, and served as a missionary, in numerous locations that have only small branches of fewer than 50 active members. And since there are more church members outside the US than within, one can only assume that the 250-300 number cannot possibly represent a real worldwide average. Heck even in Salt Lake a couple of years ago, I visited a ward in which a family member was speaking, and counted only 103 heads in the congregation (including the half dozen of us visiting).
I did some research several months ago comparing overall church membership growth to overall unit (ward/branch) growth. And it turned out that wards and branches are only growing about 38% as fast as overall membership (over the past couple of decades). With that, I deduced that worldwide church membership is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 38% active (perhaps as high as 55-60% in some areas of the intermountain US, but only 10-15% in much of Latin America and Africa). What this means is that if there are 486 members per unit (actually 493 as of year end 2010), and each unit averages 38% attendance, then there are about 185 members (187 in 2010) actively attending on any given Sunday (someone please go to church and count heads and tell me how close I am).
Just my $.02
That's only if those kids/people actually participate in tithing ceremonies, and such.
Through this site, if we take it at face value, the cult takes in about 6 billion dollars a year, but every building gets a small budget, even after sending the cult thousands to millions every month.
Here, the site tells us what that money is being spent on, such as a 3 billion dollar mall in Salt Lake City, but also says that the cult will not show their books to the populace. It also backs up the first site, to a degree.
@Bar Kockhba - Actually you CAN count those children, because the church adds them to the membership records, and counts them on the attendance rolls. They will remain on the membership records as long as they are baptized, at age 8. If they are not baptized at 8, they are still counted on the rolls, but on their 9th birthday, their membership status changes to "unbaptized child of record" and are STILL counted on the records of the church. The only way for that person to NOT be counted on church records is name removal, which means that for all real intents and purposes, babies of Mormons become church members REGARDLESS of baptism.
It's only converts who become members of the church at baptism.
I know this from my time as Elders quorum secretary. I was in charge of organizing and gathering all the reported home teaching statistics. I had a ward roster that included the names of every member, what priesthood level they currently held (if any), and categorized totals at the bottom. Under the priesthood category, if it was a woman or young child, instead of "Elder" it would just say "Member". Even the young children were labeled "Member". And based on the numbers I added, children of record, under age 8, were counted as regular members on the list, therefore I have to assume that church headquarters also includes them in the overall membership statistics they report each April.
I don't remember 250-300 people actively attending any ward I went to. In Ohio it was maybe 100-150 at the most.
That only happens if they combine wards, or remove certain ones. Such as the Single's ward down where I was at. They had a total of five Single's Wards, and got rid of four. No idea why, and I'm not one to care, but a couple friends, along with my sister, got stuck with about 350 members in one sitting. Now, it is about 200, because everyone scattered.
Whatever the figures, I dont really care....all I know is that it is one less because I made the effort to resign and ask for confirmation of my resignation. To me, that is all that counts... It was just sooooo liberating when I had done that. I must admit though sometimes I cannot quite understand it why people say they have "left the church" but know they are still considered members because they have not taken that final step....could it be a case of "uncertainly"? Just wondering.
I haven't removed my name yet. I honestly don't know if I ever will. It has absolutely nothing to do with uncertainty. I am certainly atheist. However, that being said let me explain. In the 1990's I belonged to Columbia House record club. In order to belong to the club I made an obligation to order a certain number of CD's in a year. I did that. Afterwards, for the longest time Columbia House would continue to send me mail at least once a month, which for the most part went in the garbage. I never ordered anything again, and eventually they forgot about me.
This is the closest I can explain regarding Mormonism. I don't hate the mormons like oh so many exmos. In fact I have many fond memories of times that I was mormon. I liked the youth camps, boy scouts, most of my friends are still mormon, and my entire family is. So I just don't have that anger that so many (and I will admit justifiably so) do.
I filled my obligation to the church, which I know is arguable that in reality I had no obligation to them, but I did my time anyways. I have heard the plethora of horror stories of people trying to quit. The beaurocratic process that must be endured, that for me (and I say this only for me...I know others feel much differently) wouldn't really change how I feel one way or another if they have my name or not.
Just my 2 cents.
Been there. Kept them there as a resource for times of emergency if I needed a ride, if I needed food or other financial help. I knew they would give if I asked. I was raised to believe they had to take care of you whether you were active or not. But I realized that I wasn't being true to myself because this made me feel like a potential User.
You message was in fact, my last reason to hang on to membership. It was my last toenail in the door so to speak. I sent my resignation letter out today. I felt skippy happy all the way to the mailbox and am uber glad I have done everything I can to cut any tie to them.
Best wishes in letting go!
Make that 2 less Enlightened.