Journal Article

The Secular Transition: The Worldwide Growth of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists*

Ryan T. Cragun and Ronald Lawson

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 71, issue 3, pages 349-373
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srq022
The Secular Transition: The Worldwide Growth of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists*

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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.

Keywords: Mormonism; Jehovah's Witnesses; Seventh-day Adventists; secularization; religious economies model

Journal Article.  9792 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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