Why More Missionaries Doesn't Mean More Baptisms (Yet)

by | Apr. 28, 2014

The stats are staggering.

In the year and a half since the LDS Church lowered the minimum age for full-time missionary service, the Utah-based faith has seen its proselytizing force swell from 58,500 to more than 83,000. That’s a 42 percent leap.

The number of convert baptisms last year grew to 282,945, up from 272,330 in 2012. That’s an increase of — less than 4 percent.

How can that be? Why would a surge of 25,000 additional eager and earnest suit- and dress-wearing, scripture-packing, pamphlet-peddling young "elders" and "sisters" not translate into a similarly dramatic jump in the number of Mormons on membership rolls?

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