Monday, July 14, 2014

Cumorah.com Back Online!

Cumorah.com is back and functioning well thanks to our website designer Zeeshan Ahmad. For those of you who may be less familiar with our website, here's a brief synopsis of what resources you can access:
  • Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac - We have posted the country and regional profiles on our book for several years now. These profiles examine geography, demographics, history, culture, economy, religious freedom, the status of LDS outreach in the most populous cities, LDS history, membership growth, congregational growth, activity and retention, language materials, meetinghouses, health and safety, and humanitarian and development work. An analytical section also examines how contextual factors have influenced LDS growth trends. Over 200 countries, dependencies, and territories worldwide are examined in this work. Although most of the profiles have not been updated in two or three years, I will be posting the most recently updated profiles on the site within the coming months, which are current as of mid-2013.
  • Law of the Harvest: Practical Principles of Effective Missionary Work - David Stewart has provided his entire book for free on .html and .pdf formats. I just noticed the.pdf format for download is not working and we will get the issue resolved as soon as possible.
  • LDS International Atlas - This web-based atlas uses Google Maps to display the Church's missions, stakes, districts, wards, branches, and known member groups. There are also country-by-country maps displaying the most populous cities without an LDS presence, the status of LDS outreach by each ethnolinguistic group with 100 or more people, and the estimated number and percentage of members by administrative division (i.e. province or state). The atlas is updated on a daily basis.
  • Case Studies - We have posted approximately 180 case studies that examine a wide array of topics pertaining to LDS growth and missionary work. Older case studies are listed alphabetically and can be found here, whereas more recently written case study are categorized by topic and can be accessed on the homepage.We will be adding 20 additional case studies on the coming weeks that were recently written.
  • Missiology Encyclopedia - This online encyclopedia identifies, defines, and analyzes nearly 80 terms of interest to the study of LDS growth and missionary work. Most of the encyclopedia entries are posted on the site, with the remainder to be posted in the coming months.
  • Monthly Newsletters - Since October 2012, we have posted a monthly newsletter that provides updates on recent LDS growth and missionary developments. Recently added or updated articles and resources on cumorah.com are also identified. 
  • Quotes to Live By Quotation Database - Over 2,000 quotes compiled by David Stewart that supplement practical and effective missionary programs.
  • Multilingual Scriptures - Compare books in two different language versions of your choice.
  • LDS Gospel Library E-texts and LDS and World E-texts - 225 e-texts available in 30 categories.
  • Non-English LDS Resources - Translations of various missionary materials in many languages.
  • LDS Missionary and International Links - English and  non-English.
  • Photos - We will be posting thousands of international photos in the coming months.
  • Additional Articles - Some of these articles or works in progress include David Stewart's LDS Church Growth, Member Activity, and Convert Retention: Review and Analysis and Discussions with My Friend: An Introduction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Future Resources - We have been working on an introductory guide to the study of missiology (Missiology Guide) and a Review and an Analysis of the Hastening the Work of Salvation Initiative, including its influence on LDS growth trends and missionary work.
If you have any suggestions on the development of additional resources, please comment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Aggressive LDS National Outreach Expansion Begins in Kiribati

Missionaries serving in the isolated Micronesian country of Kiribati report that the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission has begun an aggressive national outreach expansion initiative that has thus far resulted in the opening of three islands to missionary activity, including Maiana, Nonouti, and Onotoa. Multiple member groups have opened on Maiana and Nonouti to improve accessibility to the Church and capitalize on local populations exhibiting high receptivity to LDS outreach. Missionaries report plans to open additional islands to proselytism in the coming months once larger numbers of missionaries are assigned to the mission. Additionally, senior missionaries report that preliminary plans are underway to reconfigure the two Tarawa stakes to accelerate growth as receptivity remains high, but local leadership development problems have prevented the creation of additional congregations.

Historically, the Church in Kiribati has experienced some of the lowest member activity rates among countries in Oceania with 1,000 or more members as only 25% of members self-reported being LDS on the 2005 census. Missionaries report that some wards on Tarawa have over 1,000 members on their records. Although inactivity and convert attrition remain serious problems, there have been some recent improvements as 32% of nominal LDS membership self-identified as LDS on the 2010 census. Official LDS membership for Kiribati currently constitutes 16.3% of the national population, although 2010 self-reported membership constituted only 4.66% of the national population. Although the Church's Moroni High School on Tarawa has served as an effective proselytism and public affairs tool, the Church has continued to strongly rely on Church Education System (CES) employees to staff lay leadership positions. At one time, CES employees comprised the entire stake presidency of one of the stakes on Tarawa!

I am currently writing a case study that provides a geospatial analysis of LDS growth in Kiribati, examines 2010 census data for religious affiliation, and analyzes recent church growth developments. I anticipate that this case study will probably be posted on cumorah.com in August sometime, and hopefully in the next couple weeks cumorah.com will be back up and running.

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Stakes Created in Nigeria and Utah; New District in Kiribati

Nigeria
On June 29th, the Church organized a new stake in Nigeria. The Enugu Nigeria Stake was organized from the Enugu Nigeria District and seven of the branches in the former district now pertain to the new stake. Information regarding which branches became wards remains unavailable. One branch was closed as part of the district becoming a stake (Enugu Nigeria District Branch) and two branches were reassigned directly to the Nigeria Enugu Mission (Nsukka and Obollo-Afor). The Enugu Nigeria District was previously one of the two oldest districts in the country (the other being the Onitsha Nigeria District), and was organized back in 1988.

There are now 25 stakes and 20 districts in Nigeria.

Utah
On June 29th, the Church created a new stake in Riverton. The Riverton Utah Western Springs Stake was organized from a division of the Herriman Utah, Riverton Utah Harvest Park, and Riverton Utah South Stakes and includes the following seven wards: the Castlewood, Herriman Rose, Riverton 19th, Western Springs 1st, Western Springs 2nd, Western Springs 3rd, and Western Springs 4th Wards.

There are now 572 stakes and one district in Utah.

Kiribati
On June 20th, the Church created its first district on Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, Kiribati. The Kiritimati Island Kiribati District includes the following five branches: the Banana, Fanning Island, London, Tabwakea 1st, and Tabwakea 2nd Branches. The Church organized two new branches as part of the creation of the new district, namely the London and Tabwakea 2nd Branches. The Church has experienced rapid growth on Kiritimati since the first branch was organized in 1999 with slightly more than 100 members. Today the Church reports approximately 1,200 in five branches (four branches in Kiritimati, one on Fanning Island); a significant number considering the combined population for Kiritimati and Fanning Islands numbering less than 8,000.

There are now two stakes and one district in Kiribati.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Survey Request - LDS Growth in Your Area

I am making a final push with this survey to gather additional data from Latter-day Saints to assess the implementation of the Hastening the Work of Salvation initiative. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. So far I have received 88 responses. Some of the diverse places represented in this sample include Belarus, Laos, and Namibia, although the vast majority of respondents have been from the United States.

Click here to start the survey. Your responses will be solely used for research purposes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June 2014 Cumorah Newsletter

Click here to access our June 2014 newsletter for cumorah.com.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stake Discontinued in Japan


The Church recently discontinued a stake in Okinawa, Japan. Originally organized in 1999, the Ginowan Japan Stake was consolidated with the Naha Japan Stake. The stake had only four wards and one branch prior to the consolidation. Three wards and one branch were closed as part of the consolidation, resulting in the Naha Japan Stake currently nine retained congregations (six wards and three branches). Although Okinawa has the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints of any administrative prefecture in Japan, the Church has experienced some of the lowest activity rates in Japan in this prefecture. The Church once operated a mission in Okinawa from 1990 to 1996, and appeared to close the mission due to low productivity.

There is now one stake and one district in Okinawa, and 28 stakes and 13 districts in Japan.

I wanted to add that the Church has only discontinued one stake thus far in 2014 and has created 36 new stakes so far for the year.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cumorah.com Still Down

I wanted to make a post after I have received many questions regarding cumorah.com. We are currently working on resolving some long-term technical problems we have had with the site over the years to ensure that it is more stable and sustainable for all of the resources we have on it. I will make a post to let everyone know once the site is back up.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Maps Displaying Status of LDS Outreach by Major Metropolitan Areas Complete

I have just completed a project for The Cumorah Foundation mapping over 500 metropolitan areas worldwide with one million or more inhabitants and the status of LDS outreach in each location. Please see below for all of these maps. The purpose of this project was to emphasize the importance of reaching these major population centers and how LDS growth has significantly varied from major metropolitan area to major metropolitan area. In addition to detailed LDS statistics, each city has a brief analysis of successes, opportunities, and challenges for growth.

North America


View Major Metropolitan Areas in North America in a larger map
Latin America and the Caribbean


View Major Metropolitan Areas in Latin America and the Caribbean in a larger map
Oceania


View Major Metropolitan Areas in Oceania in a larger map
Europe, Central Asia, and Siberia


View Major Metropolitan Areas in Europe, Central Asia, and Siberia in a larger map
East Asia (Excluding China)


View Major Metropolitan Areas in East Asia (Excluding China) in a larger map
China


View Major Metropolitan Areas in China in a larger map
South Asia and Southeast Asia


View Major Metropolitan Areas in South Asia and Southeast Asia in a larger map
Middle East and North Africa


View Major Metropolitan Areas in the Middle East and North Africa in a larger map
Sub-Saharan Africa


View Major Metropolitan Areas in Sub-Saharan Africa in a larger map

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Stakes Created in Germany, Utah, and Zimbabwe; New District in Mexico; District Discontinued in Argentina

Germany
Last Sunday, the Church created a new stake in Germany. The Friedrichsdorf Germany Stake was organized from a division of the Frankfurt Germany Stake and includes the following six wards and one branch: the Friedrichsdorf, Hanau, Usingen, Wetterau, Wetzlar, and Wiesbaden Ward, and the Koblenz Branch. The organization of the new stake marks the first time the Church has created a stake in Germany since 1987 and suggests that there have been improvements increasing the number of active members in some areas of the country. The Church in Germany has also advanced one branch to a ward and created a Spanish-speaking branch within the past six months. There are now 15 stakes and three districts in Germany.

Utah
Two Sundays ago, the Church created a new stake in Hooper, Utah. The Hooper Utah Pioneer Trail Stake was organized from a division of the Hooper Utah Stake and includes the following six wards: the Freedom, Fremont, Hooper Landings, Muskrat Springs, Pioneer Trail, and Wildwood Wards. There are now 571 stakes and one district in Utah.

Zimbabwe
Two Sundays ago, the Church created a new stake in Harare. The Harare Zimbabwe South Stake was organized from a division of the Harare Zimbabwe and Harare Zimbabwe Marimba Park Stakes and includes the following five wards and two branches: the Chitungwiza, Highfield 1st, Highfield 2nd, Mbare, and Queensdale Wards, and the Epworth and Zengeza Branches. There are now three stakes in the Harare metropolitan area and six stakes and two branches in Zimbabwe. Prospects appear favorable for the announcement of a temple in Harare sometime within the next decade.

Mexico
On June 8th, the Church created a new district in Chihuahua State. The Cuauhtémoc México District was organized from a division of the La Sierra Mexico District and the Chihuahua Mexico Chuviscar Stake and includes the following five branches: the Anahuac, Cuauhtémoc, Guerrero, La Junta, and Reforma Branches. There are now 227 stakes and 37 districts in Mexico.

Argentina
The Church recently discontinued the Tandil Argentina District. Organized in 1990, the Tandil Argentina District included five branches - all of which now pertain to the realigned Olavarría Argentina District for a total of 10 branches in the district. The move was likely done in preparation for a stake to be organized in the area. There are now 73 stakes and 32 districts in Argentina.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Details on New Stakes in Argentina, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Philippines; New Districts in Liberia and Sierra Leone

Argentina
On June 1st, the Church created a new stake in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Buenos Aires Argentina Chacabuco Stake was organized from a division of the Buenos Aires Argentina Congreso and Buenos Aires Argentina Liniers Stakes and includes the following five wards: the Almagro, Nueva Pompeya, Parque Chacabuco, Parque Patricios, and Villa Soldati Wards. The new stake is the third new stake to be organized in the Buenos Aires area since 2011. There are now 26 stakes in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area.

Currently there are 73 stakes and 33 districts in Argentina.

Cambodia
On May 25th, the Church created its first two stakes in Cambodia. This marks the second time in Church history when a country has had its first two stakes organized on the same day, the other country being Ghana in 1991. The Phnom Penh Cambodia North Stake was organized from the Phnom Penh Cambodia North Distirct and includes the following five wards and one branch: the Pochentong, Teuk Laak, Teuk Thla, Tuol Kok, and Tuol Sang Ke Wards, and the Sen Sok Branch. The Phnom Penh Cambodia South Stake was organized from the Phnom Penh Cambodia South District and includes the following five wards and one branch: the Chaktomuk, Steung Mean Chey 1st, Steung Mean Chey 2nd, Steung Mean Chey 3rd, and Toul Tom Pong Wards, and the Phnom Penh 13th (English) Branch. Two districts continue to operate in Phnom Penh, namely the Phnom Penh Cambodia Central (Vietnamese) and Phnom Penh Cambodia East Districts. As a way of celebrating this historic milestone, my family celebrated by making a cake!


There are now two stakes and four districts in Cambodia.

Cape Verde
On May 25th, the Church organized its third stake in Cape Verde. The Sao Felipe Cape Verde Stake was organized from the Fogo Cape Verde District. Details on which branches became wards are still not available; I will post these as a comment once I obtain this information. The Church continues to experience rapid growth in Cape Verde as evidenced by the Church organizing its first stake in 2012 and its second stake in 2013. The Praia Cape Verde Stake also appears likely to divide at any time as the stake now has 10 wards and five branches.

Cote d'Ivoire
On June 1st, the Church organized a new stake in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. The Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon South Stake was organzied from the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon Stake (now renamed Niangon North) and includes the following six wards: the Azito, Coprim, Niangon 1st, Niangon 2nd, Sideci 1st, and Sideci 2nd Wards. There are now six stakes in the Abidjan area, with another stake or two likely to be created in the next year. The Church in Cote d'Ivoire is currently experiencing the most rapid LDS growth in the world as membership increased by over 20% in 2013 and the number of congregations in the Abidjan area has nearly doubled within the past three years.

Jamaica
On June 8th, the Church organized its first stake in Jamaica. The Kingston Jamaica Stake was organized from the Spanish Town Jamaica District and includes the following six wards and two branches: the Boulevard, Constant Spring, Linstead, Portmore, Spanish Town 1st, and Spanish Town 2nd Wards, and the Kingston and Old Harbour Branches. There is now one stake and one district in Jamaica.

Mexico
On June 15th, the Church organized a new stake in Estado de Mexico State. The Lerma Mexico Stake was organized from the Metepec Mexico Stake and includes the following five wards: the La Crespa, Lerma, Tecnologico, Tianguistenco, and Totoltepec Wards. There are now 227 stakes and 36 districts in Mexico.

Nigeria
On June 15th, the Church organized a new stake in western Nigeria. The Ibadan Nigeria District became a stake. Details on which branches became wards remains unavailable, but will be posted as a comment to this post once I obtain this information. The establishment of the Ibadan Nigeria Stake is a major LDS growth development in Nigeria as it is the first stake to be organized in the Yorubaland region outside of Lagos and the district was previously one of the oldest districts in the country.

There are now 24 stakes and 21 districts in Nigeria.

The Philippines
On June 15th, the Church created two new stakes in the Philippines. The Dumaguete Philippines District became a stake, although details on which branches became wards remains unavailable. I will post this information as a comment once it becomes available. The Taguig Philippines Stake was also organized from a division of the Makati Philippines East, Parañaque Philippines, and Pasig Philippines Stakes and includes the following six wards: the Bicutan, Bonifacio 5th, Signal Village 1st, Signal Village 2nd, Taguig 1st, and Taguig 2nd Wards.

There are now 90 stakes and 81 districts in the Philippines

Liberia
On June 8th, the Church created its third district in the Monrovia area. The Paynesville Liberia District was organized from the Monrovia Liberia District and includes the following five branches: the Gardnersville, New Georgia, Paynesville 1st, Paynesville 2nd, and Tinker Village Branches. Boundaries for the Monrovia Liberia and Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island Districts were also realigned. There are now three districts in Liberia. The mission president reports that new branches will be organized in the Monrovia area within the near future.

Sierra Leone
On June 1st, the Church organized a new district in Bo, Sierra Leone. The Bo Sierra Leone East District was organized from the Bo Sierra Leone District (now renamed Bo West) and includes the following four branches: the Lewabu, Messima, New Barracks, and Sewa Road Branches. The decision to create the new district has come on the heals of the creation of a second district in the Freetown area (Kossoh Town) and likely indicates plans to organize additional branches. There is now one stake and five districts in Sierra Leone.