Comparing the Geographic Distribution, Growth and Statistical Reliability of Mormons, Adventists and Witnesses

During November I will be sharing a series of video presentations, rather than papers.
(Please note: the video does not show up in the preview image on the main page. Click the title above to see the video.)
This one was presented on 12 October 2019 at the Roy Branson Legacy Sabbath School class in Loma Linda, California.

3 thoughts on “Comparing the Geographic Distribution, Growth and Statistical Reliability of Mormons, Adventists and Witnesses

  1. Dear Dr. Lawson,
    I followed with interest your lecture on Mormons, Witnesses and Adventism, and was particularly interested in the ratio of census vs. church statistics. I am questioning the validity of the 1.34 ratio for Adventists based on my own experience as executive secretary in various parts of the world.
    In Quebec Canada, we had 3,800 members, but the Quebec government claimed that we had about 10,000 members. When i was associate secretary of the East-Central Africa Division, i did a similar study for that region, and estimated that for the 3 million people we had on the book, censuses in the region tallied close to 8 million. I have it from an Adventist consultant of the Rwanda government who helped them with tallying the numbers for their 1990 census that back then already, there were 1.5 million self-identifying Adventists (a figure that eventually was never released for political reasons). A ratio of 2.5 for most of the region is therefore quite conservative, and the same also in the Southern-African Indian Ocean region. That alone would translate into about 20.75 million people who say they are SDAs, considering that we have about 8.3 million on the books now for the two regions. I suspect that we would find similar ratios in many South-American countries and islands of the Caribbean and pretty much everywhere Adventism has been successful.
    Your findings about the level of education in Mexico are quite interesting also, and stand in stark contrast with the comparative level of education in the U.S., where according to Dr. Trim, 70% of Adventists have graduated from college, vs. only 12% for JWs, due to their stance against higher education in general. So it would be interesting to find out about other countries, as Mexico is perhaps not a representative country of the level of education our members enjoy, especially in Africa, as compared to the population in general, and most likely Witnesses, who are not likely to be better educated than the average population.

    Thank you for your work. I would love to see these numbers in greater detail (vs. on the screen of the presentation hall).


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Elder RIchli. The stats in the article are based on the most recent census data for every country where their census separates out the Adventist, Witness, and/or Mormon data that I was able to find–and I searched for data from every country. I gather that you saw a presentation of mine on this topic–perhaps at Loma Linda, or on the SPECTRUM website? The full paper, with its tables is available here on this site in print as it was published in a sociology journal.


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