The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will become the nation’s third largest religious body in about a decade, if current trends continue.
According to the 2009 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, there were 7,931,733 United Methodists in the U.S. in 2007 and 5,873,408 Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons.)
The LDS church is growing at an annual rate of 1.63 percent, the yearbook states. The Methodists are shrinking at an average rate of 0.8 percent.
I’ve run the math and, if I’m doing it right, it appears that Mormons will surpass Methodists in the year 2020.
This assumes that the Methodist church keeps shrinking [as it has each year for decades] and that the Mormon church keeps growing at a constant rate [the rate fluctuates somewhat from year to year. In 2006, for example, it grew 1.56 percent and in 2005, it grew 1.63 percent.]
To see the Yearbook’s numbers, click here.
Minor shifts could accelerate or decelerate the shift, but it’s hard to imagine it not occurring sometime in the next 20 years.