Peggy Stack has a very interesting article in the Salt Lake Tribune today that confirms what some keen observers have been suggesting online for a few years now: The Mormon Church is being outstripped in growth by other faiths, and is struggling to maintain converts.
One study, conducted in 2001, showed that the Church was losing members as fast as it was gaining them; in other words, no growth whatsoever. Other studies aren’t quite as cynical, but do show Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists beating Mormonism in growth, but more significantly, walloping us in retention.
My two questions: First, what accounts for this? Why can’t we keep members? Are we too lenient in our rules for letting people join? Second, and more interesting to me, what will the reaction of Church members be? We stake a lot of our pride on being #1 — will this news be brushed aside as somehow inaccurate or unworthy of our attention? Or will it be taken seriously and will steps be taken to correct any perceived problems?