by John Turner
Mormons up a lot, mainline Protestants down quite a bit, and the overall rate of church affiliation falling.
The Association of Religion Data Archives recently released its 2010 Religion Census, providing yet another snapshot of the changing face of American religion.
Among the most interesting findings:
1) The robust growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I frequently read on LDS blogs that Mormon growth has stagnated. If so, such stagnation is coming on the heels of an astouding increase in membership:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gained the most regular members in the last 10 years, growing by nearly 2 million a total of 6.14 million adherents in 13,600 congregations.
Some of the church’s largest percentage gains were in places such as Tazewell County, Virginia; Bath County, Kentucky; and Big Horn County, Montana. As Romney makes his historic run to be the first Mormon president, there are few places on the 2012 campaign trail he will go where people are not close to a Latter-day Saint congregation or neighbors who share his faith.
2) The cratering of mainline Protestantism (an interesting story alongside Jason Lantzer's post below):
Mainline Protestant churches lost an average of 12.8 percent of adherents in the first decade of the 21st century.
3) A continuing disconnect between a Catholic church with an enormous membership and a small percentage of "active" members. Overall, Catholic membership declined slightly, to 59 million.
4) Increasing diversity across the entire country. Mormons are the fastest-growing religious group in some thirty states, but Salt Lake City has continued to become a more religiously diverse community.