The Secular Transition: The WorldwideGrowth of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses,and Seventh-day Adventists*
Ryan T. Cragun
University of Tampa
Queens College, CUNY
A question that continues to attract researchers in the sociology of religion is what factors lead toreligious growth. This article examines three well-known Christian religious groups that share manycharacteristics (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 mostcountries 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 bothsupply- 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 severalcountry-level characteristics. We conclude that socioeconomic development of countries ultimatelyleads to a secular transition, curtailing the growth of these religious groups.
Mormonism; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Seventh-day Adventists; secularization; religiouseconomies model.
*Direct correspondence to Ryan T. Cragun, University of Tampa, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd,Tampa, FL 33606, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientiﬁc Study of Religion. We wantto thank David Voas, David Knowlton, Rick Phillips, and Henri Gooren for reading earlier draftsof this paper and commenting on them. Dan Gazzano helped aggregate data on the Seventh-day Adventists.
The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Associationfor the Sociology of Religion. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:email@example.com.
Sociology of Religion 2010, 00:00 1-25
Sociology of Religion Advance Access published April 9, 2010