…compared to some other religions, Mormonism is not doing too badly. Mormonism’s US growth rate of .75 percent in 2017 — kept in positive territory by still-higher-than-average fertility among Mormons — is actually somewhat enviable when compared to, for example, the once-thriving Southern Baptists, who have bled out more than a million members in the last ten years. Mormonism is not yet declining in membership, but it has entered a period of decelerated growth. In terms of congregational expansion, the LDS Church in the United States added only sixty-five new congregations in 2016, for an increase of half a percentage point. In 2017, the church created 184 new wards and branches in the United States, but 184 units also closed, resulting in no net gain at all.
By some estimates (p.7), only about 30 percent of young single Mormons in the United States go to church regularly. The idea of the Mormon mission, however, is rising in import:
More than half of Mormon Millennials have served a full-time mission (55 percent), which is clearly the highest proportion of any generation; among GenXers, 40 percent served, and in the Boomer/Silent generation, it was 28 percent.
In contrast, “returning to the temple on behalf of the deceased” is falling (p.54).
Mormons are about a third more likely to be married than the general U.S. population, 66 to 48 percent. But note that 23 percent of Mormon Millennials admit to having a tattoo, against a recommended rate of zero (p.162).
And ex-Mormon snowflakes seem to be proliferating. For GenX, the single biggest reason giving for leaving the church was “Stopped believing there was one church”. For Millennials, it is (sadly) “Felt judged or misunderstood.”
That is all from the new and excellent Jana Riess, The Next Mormons: How Millennials are Changing the LDS Church.
Oxford University Press also sent me a copy of J. Brian O’Roark Why Superman Doesn’t Take Over the World: What Superheroes Can Tell us About Economics, which I have not yet read.