The Secular Transition : The Worldwide Growth of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Adventists
Sociology of Religion
Association for the Sociology of Religion
A question that continues to attract researchers in the sociology of religion is what factors lead to religious growth. This article examines three well-known Christian religious groups that share many characteristics (i.e., supply-side factors): Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists. Membership data from these groups were gathered from 1960 through 2006 for most countries around the world. Membership growth rates were analyzed while controlling for country- level characteristics (i.e., demand-side factors). The results of this analysis indicate that both supply- and demand-side factors are important in determining growth. The strongest predictors of growth are: growth momentum in a country, the level of economic development, and several country-level characteristics. We conclude that socioeconomic development of countries ultimately leads to a secular transition, curtailing the growth of these religious groups.