Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Stake to be Created in Jamaica this June

Missionaries serving in the Jamaica Kingston Mission report that the Church has approved the organization of the first stake in Jamaica during the weekend of June 7th and 8th. The Church has attempted to organize a stake in Jamaica for over a decade but has experienced challenges with member inactivity problems and few active, full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders. The approved organization of the stake signals some real progress in addressing these concerns within the past couple years.

Jamaica currently ranks as the country with the seventh most members without a stake.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2013 and congregational and district totals are current. Membership totals for mainland China and Pakistan are estimates as no official statistics are available. The number of branches and districts in mainland China is not provided due to the sensitive nature of the Church in that country.  Previous lists of the most countries without a stake can be found here.
  1. Cambodia - 12,223 members - 28 branches - 6 districts
  2. China - 11,000 members?
  3. Malaysia - 9,259 members - 34 branches - 8 districts
  4. Liberia - 8,081 members - 22 branches - 2 districts
  5. Mozambique - 6,900 members - 21 branches - 2 districts
  6. Vanuatu - 6,103 members - 31 branches - 3 districts
  7. Jamaica - 5,712 members - 19 branches - 2 districts
  8. Guyana - 5,474 members - 13 branches - 1 district
  9. Belize - 4,502 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  10. Pakistan - 3,700 members? - 13 branches? - 3 districts
  11. Romania - 2,990 members - 16 branches - 2 districts
  12. Zambia - 2,758 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  13. Bulgaria - 2,402 members - 9 branches - 0 districts
  14. Czech Republic - 2,396 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  15. Cook Islands - 1,844 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  16. Poland - 1,813 members - 14 branches - 2 districts
  17. Ethiopia - 1,807 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  18. Swaziland - 1,693 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  19. Malawi - 1,653 members - 8 branches - 1 district
  20. Benin - 1,439 members - 11 branches - 1 district
Prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in Cambodia, Malaysia, Liberia, Mozambique, Vanuatu, Jamaica, Belize, Zambia, and Benin as all of these countries has at least one district that is close to reaching the minimum qualifications for a stake to operate.  Low member activity rates, an insufficient number of branches in individual member districts, and few full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders will likely continue to delay the organization of stakes in other countries for several more years to come.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Congregational Growth by Country: 2013

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2013.  The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches is also provided:

  1. United States +124 (0.9% increase)
  2. Brazil +31 (1.6% increase)
  3. Nigeria +28 (8.0% increase)
  4. Ghana +20 (13.5% increase)
  5. Cote d'Ivoire +19 (35.8% increase)
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo +14 (12.1% increase)
  7. Philippines +14 (1.2% increase)
  8. Cape Verde +8 (34.8% increase)
  9. Canada +7 (1.5% increase)
  10. Australia +6 (2.1% increase)
  11. Benin +5 (83.3% increase)
  12. New Zealand +4 (1.9% increase)
  13. Portugal +4 (5.9% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 13 countries totals 284; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2013 (239). Nine  countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2013 including:
  1. Argentina -23 (2.8% decrease)
  2. Venezuela -12 (4.3% decrease)
  3. Peru -10 (1.3% decrease)
  4. Chile -8 (1.3% decrease)
  5. Uruguay -7 (4.4% decrease)
  6. Colombia -7 (2.6% decrease)
  7. Paraguay -6 (4.1% decrease)
  8. Mexico -5 (0.3% decrease)
  9. Papua New Guinea -4 (5.2% decrease)
Decreasing numbers of congregations in Argentina are particularly concerning as the Church has experienced a net decrease in congregations for several years notwithstanding church membership increasing by tens of thousands during this period. So far in 2014, many wards and branches have continued to have been closed in Argentina. It is important to note that unlike other countries in Latin America during the early 2000s, the Church in Argentina did not undergo a period of congregation consolidations during this period.

Membership by Country Statistics Released for 2013

Membership and congregation totals for nations with a reported LDS presence are now available on the Church's official website and can be found at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics. Data is available under the country profiles on the right side of the site.

The 20 countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2013 are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage which is followed by the country's LDS membership at year-end 2012. Countries in bold experienced a membership increase greater than 200. 
  1. Rwanda - 82.6% - 221
  2. Botswana - 40.4% - 3,021
  3. Benin - 33.1% - 1,439
  4. Togo - 24.0% - 2,307
  5. Dominica - 23.6% - 173
  6. Cote d'Ivoire - 21.4% - 22,576
  7. Liberia - 20.5% - 8,081
  8. Malawi - 16.3% - 1,653
  9. Cape Verde - 15.8% - 10,796
  10. Georgia - 15.7% - 250
  11. Mozambique - 14.4% - 6,900
  12. Angola - 14.2% - 1,436
  13. Sierra Leone - 12.1% - 13,078
  14. Swaziland - 11.2% - 1,693
  15. Vanuatu - 11.1% - 6,103
  16. Kazakhstan - 11.1% - 240
  17. Solomon Islands - 10.8% - 564
  18. Ghana - 10.2% - 57,748
  19. Grenada - 10.2% - 336
  20. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 9.7% - 37,909
Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical increase in membership for the year 2013. Each country is provided with the national increase in membership and the percentage of this increase out of total Church membership increase. Lists are also available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  71.6% of 2013 LDS membership increase can be attributed to the following 10 nations. 
  1. United States - 77,473 - 27.0%
  2. Brazil - 40,099 - 13.4%
  3. Mexico - 26,539 - 8.9%
  4. Peru - 16,110 - 5.4%
  5. Philippines - 12,951 - 4.3%
  6. Argentina - 9,876 - 3.3%
  7. Ecuador - 9,082 - 3.0%
  8. Nigeria - 8,141 - 2.7%
  9. Guatemala - 7,974 - 3.7%
  10. Honduras - 6,230 - 2.1%
I will post an analysis of 2013 congregational growth in the coming days.

First Official Branches Created in Tamale, Ghana

Opened to missionaries in February 2013, Tamale has a population of approximately half a million and is the most northern city in Ghana that has had full-time missionaries assigned. Multiple member groups were organized within the first couple months following the arrival of full-time missionaries in 2013. By early 2014, missionary reports indicated that as many as four member groups appeared to be operating. Few convert baptisms have occurred in the city as approximately 80% of the population is Muslim and missionaries were initially discouraged from teaching Muslims.

The Church recently organized two branches in Tamale, namely the Education Ridge and the Vitin Branches. These two branches only service half of the urban area of Tamale, suggesting that the two remaining member groups continue to operate but have not attained branch status.

See below for a map of LDS units in the Ghana Kumasi Mission.


View Wards and Branches in the Ghana Kumasi Mission in a larger map

Monday, April 7, 2014

Updated Missionary Numbers

The Church recently posted a brief article providing current figures for the number of full-time missionaries serving. As of March 31st, 2014, the Church reported the following statistics on its full-time missionary force:
  • 85,039 members serving full-time missionaries. This is 2,004 more than at year-end 2013; a 2.4% increase in three months. There were 65,634 full-time missionaries on April 4th, 2013.
  • 14,375 members who have received mission calls but not yet set apart. In April 2013, there were over 20,000 members who had received mission calls but had not yet been set apart.
  • 6,306 members working on their missionary application. In April 2013, there were approximately 6,000 members working on their missionary applications.
  • The full-time missionary force is currently 64% elders, 28% sisters, and 8% senior couples. In October 2013, the missionary force was 68% elders, 24% sisters, and 8% senior couples.
These statistics indicate that the number of members submitting missionary applications remains strong despite less substantial increases in the number of full-time missionaries serving. Perhaps the number of missionaries will continue to increase to over 90,000 by the end of 2014.