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 and 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 The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints began 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.