By Romrik Joshua Flores, Moroni Channel
Bonifacio Global City Taguig, Philippines
For the past few years, the LDS Church has seen an increase in membership of approximately 1.7%, but according to Religion News its the slowest growth rate of the church since 1937.
In an interview of Matt Martinich, he states that the annual membership growth has steadily declined in the last 25 years. It used to be 4-5% a year, and now it’s only 1.7%. I don’t think it will decrease much more than to 1.5%, though, he said.
It is also reported that convert baptism are down by 13%. Martinich told in an interview that the biggest reason of it is the “centers of strength” policy, which has been placed since the early 1990's. Prior to the 1990's, the church has opened new areas for missionary work, thus slowing the membership growth inside the United States.
A lot of the rapid growth in Latin America and elsewhere was due to that. But in the 1990s the idea became that the church needed to have a “center of strength” and be well established in at least one city in an area so that administratively there would be enough leadership to run the church, Matt said in an interview. [But] the problem is that many of these areas never become centers of strength. So you have a number of cities where the church has been there for some time, and they won’t create new wards or branches unless existing wards or branches are split, which is not very effective for growth, he added.
But despite slowed membership growth, last year's report has the highest increase since 2005 and that the rate of members within the Church are becoming more active in terms of convert retention and member activity rates.
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