Tall Man, Short Hair
Date: May 03, 2012 12:29AM
I went back and decided to crunch the numbers for myself. Here are the actual numbers cited in the study at http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/D_1117.asp
As you can see, the church's self-reported numbers for 1990 and 2000 are in alignment with what we've been talking about.
The problem is with the press release issued by the reporting agency, The Association of Religion Data Archives. Specifically, their reporter, David Briggs. Here's the report he authored that is being reported globally: http://blogs.thearda.com/trend/featured/diversity-rising-census-shows-mormons-nondenominational-churches-muslims-spreading-out-across-u-s/
This press release is the culprit. Not the church, and not Peggy Fletcher Stack. Mr. Briggs compared 20 years of membership growth and attributed it in his article to 10 years.
The core data is correct and reflects the actual smaller growth we all realize to be accurate. Mr. Briggs made an error in his reporting.
That said, it should be noted that Mr. Briggs is a very respected journalist and I believe this was an honest -- albeit massive -- mistake. I have a feeling he will remember this day for the rest of his life.
ARDA lists a phone number and email address on their website. I called tonight and left a very polite message informing them that Mr. Briggs appears to have inadvertently attributed 20 years of growth to a 10 year period for the church. I also sent an email to that effect. It may be a good idea for all of us to leave similar messages and emails. Here's the contact info: