Conversion rate lags behind Mormon missionary increase

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2013, file photo, Mormon missionaries walk through the halls at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. A record number of young Mormons signed up for missions after church leaders lowered the minimum age in 2012, but new figures show the onslaught of proselytizing Latter-day Saints didn't lead to an equally dramatic spike in converts. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A record number of young Mormons signed up for missions after church leaders lowered the minimum age in 2012, but new figures show the onslaught of proselytizing Latter-day Saints didn't lead to an equally dramatic spike in converts.

Statistics released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints indicate there were 296,800 converts last year. The figure marked a 9 percent increase from two years ago, even though the number of missionaries increased by 44 percent.

The 85,150 missionaries serving at the end of last year were the most in Mormon history.

However, the average number of people converted per missionary, per year dropped to about 3.4 in each of the past two years - down from an average of five the previous decade, church figures show.

Mormon