New figures from the Mormon church show that a record increase in missionaries didn't lead to an equally dramatic spike in converts.

Statistics released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints show there were nearly 300,000 converts last year. The figure marked a 9 percent increase from two years ago, even though the number of missionaries increased by 44 percent.

Mormon church spokesman Eric Hawkins said a number of factors may contribute to fewer baptisms per missionary, including a world that is increasingly secular.

Mormon scholars say the decline is most likely because many of the new missionaries went to North American areas that were already flush with Mormons. They say it may also show that missionaries are focusing on bringing inactive members back into the faith.