At Saturday's afternoon sesssion of General Conference, the statistical report was read. According to the report, which is being discussed here ,the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints added 285,047 members in 2005. But, the devil is in the details.
The average number of members per stake has been approximately 4,600 for the last few years. For example, in 2004, the church averaged 4,606 members per stake. In 2005, the church says it added 285,047 total members (93,150 children of record and 243,108 converts). But the church only added 36 stakes. Using the 4,600 number for members per stake, the church ought to have added about 62 stakes in 2005. Put another way, adding 36 stakes one would expect the total membership to have increased by about 165,600 rather than 285,047. One possibility is that the church has simply increased the member/stake ratio.
Another possibility is that the numbers don't quite add up. Another anomaly: converts and children of record account for a gross increase of 336,258 new members in 2005. The net increase in membership equals 285,047. The difference is 51,211. The church is saying, then, that only 51,211 members died, were excommunicated, or asked to have their names removed from the church rolls in 2005. Doing the math, it occurs to me that the church is saying that, on average, 2 members per ward or branch died or otherwise left the church in 2005. Does that sound right?