Mormon bean counting doesn’t always add up …

January 11, 2010

I just received my annual copy of the Church Almanac for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and am struck by just how precise it is when it comes to counting its worldwide membership.

Let’s start with the statistical profile at the start. It says total membership as of Jan 1, 2009, was 13,508,509. That’s pretty specific for a headcount that exceeds the population of many of the world’s countries.


Membership in the United States — the birthplace of the Mormon faith — was put at 5,974,041. Mexico has the second largest national membership at 2,092,389. It would seem no rounding up or down with these folks though total membership in South America was a nice roundish 3,278,400.

In Africa, a growth area for Christianity and Islam, the flock was put at 280,828. The Middle East is a region where, unsurprisingly, the Mormons have made little headway. There the faith’s numbers were put at 3,161.

On a national level, it is only when the number falls below 100 that an exact figure is not used. So, just looking at some of  the Ls, one finds church membership in Latvia of 1,025, in Lesotho 606, in Liberia 5,039 and in Liechtenstein “fewer than 100.”

But they even include specific population percentages and ratios. Thus we are told that Mongolia’s 8,444 members account for 0.28 percent of the population or one in every 360 Mongolians.  Moldova’s 285 members are 0.006 percent of its national population or one in 15,161 Moldovans.

In the western U.S. state of Utah, which is the Mormon stronghold, 68 percent of the population is LDS.

Many faiths try and tabulate their numbers though I know of few which attempt to do it in such a finely-tuned manner.

However, I did catch one error in their bean counting. The statistical profile on the front gives the worldwide total and then two breakdowns — one regional, the other by administrative area.

The total membership by administrative area adds up to the 13,508,509. But the regional breakdown adds up to, well,  14,446,054.

A mortified spokesman for the church checked the numbers as well and confirmed the error. After he made some checks with the LDS statistical staff they determined the regional totals had been botched by the publisher.

So I had not uncovered a few hundred thousand extra “Saints”. The error would only be noticed by someone who bothered to count up the regional numbers and is of course absolutely harmless. But with such a precise organization one would expect it will not be repeated in the future ….


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Fortunately, we’re not beans. :-)

We’re deeply loved children of our Heavenly Father. The servants of God care for His children, as shepherds care for sheep – as the Savior cared for his lambs.

We come to know each other, but at the same time, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are all given well defined, specific responsibilities in caring for each other.

Record keeping is a crucial part of knowing whom we serve.

The Book of Mormon records that in the early Christian Church in the Americas, newly converted members were numbered among the people of the Church, and their names were taken, in other words, recorded:

Moroni 6:4 “And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.”

This is consistent with the Savior’s admonition to Peter, repeated three times in John 21:15-17 :

John 21:17 “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

Again, this is consistent with the Lord’s command to Ezekiel, His prophet, to be a watchman, and to transmit the Lord’s warnings to the people. It is the responsibility of the Lord’s prophet:

Ezekiel 33:
7 “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”
8 “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
9 “Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

Posted by Think_About_It | Report as abusive

So the Mormons are missing a few beans?

Not exactly news, is it?

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