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Africa, Caribbean lead way in LDS growth

The LDS Church is growing fastest in Africa and the Caribbean, while the United States, Brazil and Mexico continue to add the most new members.

So say new 2009 statistics released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many significant developments for the Utah-based church are imbedded in the numbers, said Matt Martinich, a Mormon researcher in South Korea who has been tracking the faith's global efforts on his Web site ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com since 2006. He is working with Las Vegas physician David Stewart to produce a comprehensive LDS almanac examining Mormon growth, as well as strengths and challenges facing the faith in more than 150 countries.

The church's U.S. growth is unsurprising, particularly in Western states such as Utah, New Mexico and Colorado, considered part of the "Mormon Corridor." The church counted 84,866 new U.S. members, including children and converts. Utah alone added 26,710.

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