12 million? 12 million active members?
I doubt it.
Many people suspect that the Mormon church lies about the membership lists. There are a variety of ways that it cheats and defrauds in this respect.
It counts people who attend once and are never seen again. It probably still counts the people who were tricked into membership during the infamous "basketball" scam on the late 1950s and early 1960s, and other similar scams.
And there are rumours of "rogue" missionary elders who used various tricks to bump up baptismal records without people even knowing that their names were being used.
It is suspected that it counts people who have resigned from the church or who were excomunicated for whatever reason.
And the fact that they count dead people as members, too. (Do they count everyone who has EVER being a Mormon in that 12 millon total figure?)
For every one of us ex-Mormons who have felt able to take that final step to actually resign our membership, there must be mant others who do not consider themselves as Mormons who would be scandalised to find out that the Mormon Church still very much thinks of them as being members of record.
I wondered how many people I know who have stopped being Mormons, yet who are still counted as Mormons by the Mormon church.
I know of at least 70 people in my former branch/ward who, although they would certainly not consider themselves as Mormons are still considered such by the Mormon Church.
How many former Mormons in the same situation do you know? It is possible that as I live in Britain, and, as such, outside Utah, that the ratio there (1 to 70) is higher than it would be in Utah.
But for the sake of debate, let's suppose that my experience is not unique. So, let's extrapolate those figures. for every 1,000 Mormons that take the step of resigning, there would be another 70,000 that would not consider themselves Mormons but would show up on the membership records of the Mormon church.
Does anyone know how many members have resigned? I doubt it. I would not be surpised to find out that the Mormon Church has the exact figures. Members of records, members who are "lapsed", dead, etc.
So the Mormon Church is full aware that the 12 million figure is a lie.