Three and a Half Years

That’s all it would take for Mormon missionaries to knock on every door in the US.

Don’t ask me why, but the question popped into my head one day: How long would it take for Mormon missionaries to knock on every door in the US? I finally sat down and did some “back of the napkin” estimates and came up with the following numbers:

Total Households in 2010 = 114,235,996

Total Households minus Mormon households = 112,735,996 (subtracted 1.5 million households)

Missionaries = 20,000

Households Knocked per Day = 10

Days to Knock Every Household = 1,127

Years to Knock Every Household (including p-days) = 3.602

I have no idea why or how this information would be useful, but I thought it was interesting. Here’s the spreadsheetI used to make the calculations in case anyone wants to fiddle with the numbers.



I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

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8 Responses

  1. ff42 says:

    Households Knocked per Day = 10 seems a bit low, bump this up to 36 (every 15 minutes for 9 hours) and we magically get all households knocked in one year.

  2. chanson says:

    Is the 20,000 figure the total number of Mormon missionaries? So your calculation requires abandoning all the foreign missions?

  3. profxm says:

    The total number of missionaries is around 53,000, worldwide. I estimated the number of missionaries serving in the US based on the number of missions (about 100) and the average number of missionaries per mission (about 200). And since membership in the US is now less than half the total, I thought 20,000 sounded about right.

  4. chanson says:

    So they could knock on every door in the US every one to three years. Do they?

  5. leftofcentre says:

    @ 4: Doubtful. I suggest that they probably concentrate their efforts on economically depressed urban areas. It would seem reasonable that baptismal success rates would be higher amongst people who found the missionaries’ mythical stories less problematic, or weren’t immediately skeptical of earnest faces full of ‘gee shucks’.

  6. profxm says:

    Yeah, I doubt the missionaries try to get everyone. They won’t go after people in rural communities or the particularly wealthy. leftofcentre was quite accurate – they target the urban poor.

  7. muucavwon says:

    Although branch presidents and bishops often encourage missionaries to go knock in wealthy neighborhoods to bring in stable families. Missionaries know that no one in those neighborhoods feels a need to gain “greater happiness” through a Mormon message, so the missionaries go back to the slums where people let them in and listen to them.

    My greenie and I imagined that in the future, all missionaries would have iphones with an Area Book app linked to google maps, so after every house you knock, you fill in: interested/not interested/not home, names of residents, phone number, names of missionaries who attempted contact, date/time, good times to visit (note: it would be important that only missionaries who originally contacted used residents’ names on follow up visits; otherwise residents would become freaked out). The “not home” function would allow you to deduce people’s schedules and try back at a different time of day/week, until you finally track them down, and they have the chance to reject the Truth.

    Then after every single person on earth has been offered the gospel, the prophet would be able to return and report, “Lord, using technology to further Thy work, we have offered all of Thy children a chance to accept Thy restored gospel. The four horseman will find the records of who to destroy in the attachment I just emailed you. Thou art merciful and kind unto all those who worship Thee O Lord! Amen.”

    Google has given us the tools–let’s get the second coming ushered!

  8. profxm says:

    Thank you, muucavwon, for showing how my calculations could, in fact, be useful. When LDS Inc. develops that app, I want credit for helping them estimate the amount of time required to contact everyone in the US. 😉

    In all seriousness, I think you probably just gave someone at Church headquarters an idea. How long until missionaries are required to bring a tablet with them on their missions that will run a “mission app” for the purposes you outlined. Creepy!

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