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NBC News: The Future of the Mormon Church? It's Latino

This week, NBC News took a fascinating look at how and why Church membership is growing among Latinos.

Membership is growing rapidly among Latino members, according to LDS Church statistics.

Though only 7 percent of Mormons are Latino, according to a Pew Research study, Spanish is the second largest language group in the Church with 3.3 members fluent in the language. By 2020, it is even predicted that Spanish will be the largest language group, according to lds.org

The reasons for the growth in membership varies, but some find instant ties with the Book of Mormon, which includes a history of the Lamanite people who are thought to have inhabited ancient America.

"Latino LDS members can look to the Book of Mormon and, in a sense, say - 'Hey, that's me!" said BYU professor and author Ignacio García in a recent interview with NBC News

Another component for the growth of the Church among Latinos is the members who often serve missions in Spanish-speaking countries or areas.

Nelda McAllister told NBC News, "Many times I tell LDS people that I am Hispanic, and they respond that they went on missions in Latin America, and say that they missed the warmth of Mexico, or Chile, or they want to speak Spanish with me." 

► You'll also like: My Story as an LDS Latina 

She added that the Church welcomes anyone, teaches of Christ, and nourishes families. 

From a membership of fewer than 9,000 members in 1950 and a membership of more than 200,000 in 1970 to a membership of 3,905,125 today, the Church in South America, and among Latino members all over the world, continues to grow at an incredible pace. 

Image from Getty Images