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SALT LAKE CITY -- The president of the Mormon church says worldwide membership has hit 15 million, representing a three-fold increase over the three decades.

President Thomas S. Monson announced the milestone during the opening session of the two-day Mormon church conference Saturday morning.

The biannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings 100,000 members to Salt Lake City. More than half of church members live outside of the United States.

Monson says church was founded with 30 members in 1830, taking more than a century to hit the 1 million milestone.

Matt Martinich, a member of the LDS church who analyzes membership numbers with the nonprofit Cumorah Foundation, says church membership has tripled since 1982 when there were 5 million members.

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