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Church membership is declining in 21 US states. Find out who lost the most.

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Also: LDS real estate wealth exceeds $128 million in Idaho.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Oakland Temple of Faith. The Utah-based religion has seen its membership in California drop nearly 3% in the past two years.

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Church Growth: The State of the States

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

While the church has seen small gains in membership growth over the past two years globally (up 0.8%) and nationally (up 0.6% ) in the midst of a global pandemic, more than 40% of US states (21 plus the District of Columbia) saw their numbers decline during that time.

California (down 2.84%), North Dakota (down 2.28%) and Washington (down 2.03%) were the biggest percentage losers from the start of 2020 to the end of 2020. of 2021, reports independent demographer Matt Martinich at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.comwhile New Jersey (down 0.03%), Louisiana (down 0.13%) and Nebraska (down 0.17%) saw the smallest declines.

The biggest percentage gainers were South Dakota (up 6.48%), Arkansas (up 5.32%) and Tennessee (up 4.79%).

Utah, home to the faith’s headquarters and the largest number of Latter-day Saints of any state, saw its membership grow 1.66% (the 14th highest nationally) to 2,161,526 .

California (734,989) and Idaho (471,241) had the second highest numbers of Latter-day Saints, according to Martinique’s blogwhile the District of Columbia (3,136), Rhode Island (4,283), and Vermont (4,655) had the fewest.

How much the church owns in Idaho

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Pocatello Idaho Temple, one of six existing Latter-day Saint temples in Idaho. Three more are planned.

The Gem State is a fairly profitable gem in the church’s real estate portfolio.

the Idaho Statesman — drawing from a national database Truth and Transparency Foundation and published in The Salt Lake Tribune – revealed the Utah-based faith owns nearly 60,000 acres in Idaho worth at least $128 million.

The 1,050 church properties in Idaho include churches, temples, farmland and industrial sites, the Statesman discovery, nearly half of which is valued at nearly $45 million but exempt from taxes.

The six existing Gem State temples have no value attached.

The total number of church tracts in Idaho ranks third among states, behind only Utah and California, and its 58,000+ acres ranks eighth.

Nationally, The Tribune reported, the church and its affiliated operations own nearly 16,000 parcels, totaling 1.7 million acres and worth nearly $16 billion. That makes the denomination the fifth-largest private landowner in the nation, according to the database (which doesn’t cover all of the religion’s U.S. properties).

General Conference live from Africa?

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Latter-day Saints from the Democratic Republic of the Congo at their temple in the capital Kinshasa.

If the church continues to thrive in parts of Africa at the current rate—a big if, of course—when could it boast more Latter-day Saint congregations than North America?

Data Scientist Stephen Cranney wondered and did some basic math. He discovered that this “highly speculative” change would occur in about 30 years.

“Perhaps at some point in the next half-century we will broadcast General Conference from Accra [Ghana’s capital]“, he writes in a Time and seasons blog post. “…Whatever the exact numbers, it is hard to see a situation where Africa does not become an important part of the culture and institutions of the church in the long term.”

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