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Posted 12 Mar 2001   For week ended February 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Feb01

By Kent Larsen

Church of Jesus Christ (LDS Church) Now Fifth Largest

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- An analysis of data released Friday by the National Council of Churches and other sources shows that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now the fifth largest denomination in the United States. The NCC data comes from its 2001 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the most comprehensive source of Church statistics. But the data for the Church of Jesus Christ included in the book is dated December 31, 1999, and subsequent growth appears to have pushed the Church from sixth place to fifth.

The yearbook counts the Catholic Church as the largest in the US with 62 million members. The Southern Baptist Convention is next, with 15.85 million, followed by the United Methodist Church (8.37 million), the Church of God in Christ (5.49 million) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church (5.14 million). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is listed in sixth place with 5.11 million members as of the end of 1999.

However, in the intervening year, the Church of Jesus Christ has likely added about 85,000 members in the US, while the Evangelical Lutheran Church has been slowly loosing members for several years. As a result, the church likely became the fifth largest US denomination sometime in 2000.

Getting to fourth place will take some time, estimates made by Mormon News show. If current growth rates continue, it will take 3 to 5 years for the church to grow into fourth place and overtake the Church of God in Christ. After that, it is a long way to third place.


Yearbook traces church trends
Walnut Creek CA Contra Costa Times 17Feb01 N1
By Kevin Eckstrom: Religion News Service


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