Thursday, June 13, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Federated States of Micronesia

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for the Federated States of Micronesia. The Church has reported moderate growth in the country since its initial establishment in the mid-1970s. Today, Church-reported membership constitutes six percent of the national population. Since 2000, the greatest growth and progress has occurred in Pohnpei where the first stake in the country was organized in 2014 despite only four branches on the island in 2000 (today there are five wards and four branches). The Church in Chuuk has reported inconsistent progress and no new branches organized since the mid-1990s. However, the Church has tried for many years to strengthen the Church in Chuuk to organize a stake in the foreseeable future. See below for the future prospects section of the article:

The Church has achieved moderate growth in the Federal States of Micronesia despite high church activity and discipleship in other Christian denominations. Much of this growth has come with the Church concentrating large amounts of missionary resources on a nation with a small population that has been historically receptive to Christianity, and the greatest recent successes have been overwhelmingly concentrated on Pohnpei. Receptivity of the Church has varied by island group in recent years, with Pohnpei exhibiting the strongest receptivity and church growth as evidenced by the number of congregations increasing from four to nine since 2000, and other island groups showing little or no growth. Self-sustaining church growth in the coming decades will require less reliance on foreign full-time missionaries in an era of limited missionary manpower to staff island nations of just a hundred thousand like Micronesia. Consistent increase in the number of priesthood holders and the development of fully functioning branches entirely staffed by local members will be required for the district in Chuuk to become a stake over the medium term. Congregation planting approaches in Chuuk and on Pohnpei may lead to greater increases in active membership and national outreach. The few congregations on Yap and Kosrae make branches vulnerable to dissolution unless active members do not emigrate and active membership remains stable or increases. Outreach in the outer islands such as Mortlock Islands, Namonuito Atoll, Nomwin Atoll, Pulusuk, Ulithi Atoll, and Woleai Atoll may occur in the foreseeable future if primarily headed by local church leaders and mission leadership. However, many of these remote, sparsely populated islands will likely remain unreached for years or decades to come if any Church presence is established at all one day.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

New Stakes Created in the Philippines (2), Utah (2), Argentina, and Mexico; Stakes Discontinued in Chile (3) and Taiwan

Philippines
The Church has organized two new stakes in the Philippines.

The Baliwag Philippines Stake was organized from the Baliwag Philippines District. Organized in 2004, the former district had five branches at the time it became a stake on May 26th. All five branches appear to have become wards in the new stake.

Today (June 9th), the Church organized a new stake from a division of the Lipa Philippines Stake (organized in 2001). The Batangas Philippines Stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Batangas 1st, Batangas 2nd, Bauan, Rosario, and San Jose Batangas Wards, and the Ibaan Branch.

Additionally, the Church is scheduled to organize at least three more new stakes in the Philippines before the end of the month. Two of these stakes will be located in Iriga and Orion. I have not yet been able to confirm the location of the other new stake to be organized.

Currently, there are 111 stakes and 66 districts in the Philippines.

Utah
The Church organized its fifth Tongan-speaking stake in Utah on May 19th. The Orem Utah 2nd (Tongan) Stake was organized from a division of the Provo Utah Wasatch (Tongan) Stake (renamed Provo Utah 1st (Tongan) Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards and one branch: the American Fork 2nd Ward (Tongan), Eagle Mountain 13th Ward (Tongan), Eagle Mountain 14th Ward (Samoan), Lehi 41st Ward (Tongan), Lehi 42nd Wad (Samoan), Orem 8th Ward (Tongan), Orem 13th Ward (Samoan), and Pleasant Grove 10th Ward (Samoan), and the Saratoga Springs 12th Branch (Tongan). It is unclear why the Church did not organize a Samoan-speaking stake instead of a second Tongan-speaking stake, albeit Tongan and Samoan-speaking units are often included in the same stakes in the United States.

The Nibley Utah West Stake was organized from a division of the Nibley Utah Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Nibley 6th, Nibley 7th, Nibley 8th, Nibley 9th, Nibley 10th, and Nibley 12th Wards.

There are now 602 stakes and one district in Utah.

Argentina
The Church organized a new stake in southern Argentina on June 2nd. The Tierra del Fuego Argentina Stake was organized from the Tierra del Fuego Argentina District. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Andino, Austral, Chacra, Monte Olivia, and Ushuaia Wards, and the Puerto Williams and Rio Grande Branches. Church leaders have prepared the district for many years to become a stake. For example, in 2014 the Church discontinued the Ushuaia Argentina District and combined it with the Rio Grande Argentina District to prepare the southernmost region of Argentina for a stake. With two stakes in the Tierra del Fuego region of South America (the other located in Punta Arenas, Chile), prospects appear favorable for a small temple in this isolated region of the world.

There are now 78 stakes and 28 districts in Argentina.

Mexico
The Church organized a new stake in Puebla, Mexico on June 2nd. The Puebla México Ometoxtla Stake was organized from a division of the Puebla Mexico Cholula Stake and Tlaxcala Mexico Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Almecatla 1st, Almecatla 2nd, Coronango, La Joya, and Ometoxtla Wards, and the Xoxtla Branch. The new stake is the Church's third new stake organized in the greater Puebla city area during the past decade. Unlike other major cities in Mexico, the Church in Puebla has reported steady congregational growth and no discontinued stakes. The Church announced a temple for Puebla in 2018.

There are now 221 stakes and 47 districts in Mexico.

Chile
Local members in Santiago report that three stakes were discontinued on June 2nd. These stakes include the Santiago Chile Gran Avenida Stake (organized in 1993), Santiago Chile Las Araucarias Stake (organized in 1995), and Santiago Chile O'Higgins Stake (organized in 1992). Unlike other areas of Santiago, the Church in southern Santiago has struggled with very low member activity rates for many years without noticeable success with improving church attendance. It is unclear how many wards were discontinued as part of the changes, but perhaps as many as 10-20 wards were closed in the process of the stake consolidations. Other areas of Santiago reported average-sized church attendance for South America (generally 75-150 active members) with some improvements in increasing church attendance in recent years. The decision to close these three stakes in southern Santiago does not appear related to any recent church growth developments, but rather a long overdue administration change in an area where mission and stake efforts to revitalize missionary work have been unproductive. Additionally, local members noted concerns with socialization problems at church in some units affected by the changes due to few active members. Several church meetinghouses will be sold due to these changes. This marks the first time since 2005 that a stake has been discontinued in Chile.

There are now 74 stakes and 16 districts in Chile.

Taiwan
For the first time in Church history, the Church has discontinued a stake in Taiwan. The Pingtung Taiwan Stake, organized in 2010, was discontinued and retained units were combined with the two Kaohsiung stakes. Southernmost Taiwan has struggled for many years with lower activity rates and a greater lack of church growth compared to other cities in Taiwan. These changes appeared associated with a lack of growth since the Kaohsiung Taiwan North Stake was organized in 2015, and problems associated with stakes and wards running with fewer than the minimum number of active members needed to properly operate. The Asia Area appeared to make an emphasis about five years ago to organize wards with fewer active members, likely in an effort to reduce travel times and assist in reactivation efforts (such as in Hong Kong). Additional ward and stake consolidations may occur in other areas of Taiwan, albeit reports from return missionaries indicate wards with more active members and with better growth trends in other major cities such as Taichung and Taipei compared to Kaohsiung. Thus, it appears more likely that some additional ward consolidations may occur if the Asia Area is placing an emphasis on the establishment of wards with larger numbers of active members. However, the greatest impact on recent church growth trends in Taiwan is a significant reduction in membership growth rates during the past five years to only 1-2% a year versus 3-10% a year in the 2000s. The Church in Taiwan has also historically struggled with very low member activity rates, which delayed the establishment of stakes in several areas of the country.

There are now 16 stakes in Taiwan.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Updated Country Profile - American Samoa

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for American Samoa. Unlike other nontraditional Christian denominations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American Samoa has achieved steady, significant growth in recent years. The Church reports more than 16,000 members, five stakes, 43 congregations, and one announced temple despite a tiny population of only 50,000. There are only sixteen villages where the Church does not operate a ward or branch specific for these villages. As much as 95% of the population appears reached by the Church.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

May 2019 Newsetter

Click here to access our May 2019 newsletter for www.cumorah.com detailing recent Church growth developments and updated resources on our website.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Percent Members by Country - 2018

Below is a list of all of the countries and dependencies/territories of the world with the percentage of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in each location as of 2018. Countries with an asterisk indicate that membership figures are estimated due to no official membership data released to the public. I have made these estimates on my own without unauthorized data. Previous data are available for 2008, 2016, and 2017. Population figures were obtained from the CIA World Factbook for all locations except of overseas departments of France. Population data for French overseas collectivities/departments was accessed via http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/OA or the most recent government source.

Please click on the table to be able to read the data. Unfortunately I have to upload these tables as pictures with blogger.

ASIA




CARIBBEAN/ATLANTIC ISLANDS

EUROPE




MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA


NORTH AMERICA





OCEANIA




SOUTH AMERICA




SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Tuvalu

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Tuvalu. With a mere 11,000 inhabitants, Tuvalu has had a Church presence since 1985 and is assigned to the Fiji Suva Mission. Moderate membership growth has occurred since the late 2000s as Church membership increased from 131 in 2008 to 268 in 2018. Also, there were eleven young adults who served full-time missions at the same time from the only branch in the country as of the mid-2010s. See below for the Future Prospects section of the article:

Moderate membership growth since the late 2000s and a significant increase in the number of young adults who serve full-time missions are positive developments that may indicate a breakthrough reaching the Tuvaluan population. Time will tell whether new converts and returned missionaries will remain active, increased membership growth will be sustained, and additional congregations will be organized as greater numbers of local priesthood leaders are trained. Restricting the number of full-time missionaries to a single companionship may be in the best interests of maintaining local member involvement in missionary work and leadership until additional congregations are organized.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Stakes Created in Canada, Guatemala, Nigeria, and the Philippines; New District Created in Cote d'Ivoire

Canada
The Church organized its second YSA in Canada in Calgary, Alberta on May 5th. The Calgary Alberta YSA Stake was organized from stakes in the Calgary area and includes the following six wards: the Brentwood YSA, Carburn Park YSA, Edworthy Park YSA, Highland Park YSA, Pine Creek YSA, and Priddis Valley YSA Wards. The new stake is the Church's eighth stake in Calgary.

There are now 26 stakes in Alberta, and 51 stakes and 3 districts in Canada.

Guatemala
The Church organized its second Q'eqchi'-speaking stake in Guatemala on May 5th. The Chulac Guatemala Stake was organized from the Chulac Guatemala District (organized in 1992). The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Buena Vista, Chulac, Corralpec, Sajonte, and Semuy Wards, and the Searanx and Sepamac Branches. The Church's first Q'eqchi'-speaking stake was organized in Senahu in 2017.

There are now 50 stakes and 13 districts in Guatemala.

Nigeria
The Church recently organized a new stake in Abia State. The Umuahia Nigeria South Stake was organized from a division of the Umuahia Nigeria Stake. Information on which wards and branches are assigned to the new stake is currently unavailable; however, the stake had seven wards and eight branches prior to division. Thus, it is likely several branches became wards or new wards were organized in order for the new stake creation to occur, or some units from the Okpuala Ngwa Nigeria Stake were included in the new stake. The Umuahia Nigeria Stake was originally organized in 1996, but the stake was discontinued and divided into two districts in 2005 (Umuahia and Okpuala Ngwa). The Umuahia Nigeria Stake was reinstated in 2014, whereas the Okpuala Ngwa Stake was organized in 2015. Significant congregational growth has occurred particularly in the Umuahia Nigeria Stake since its creation.

There are now 57 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria.

Philippines
The Church organized a new stake in Nigeria on May 5th. The Camarin Philippines Stake was organized from a division of the Novaliches Philippines Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Bagong Silang 1st, Bagong Silang 2nd, Camarin 1st, Camarin 2nd, and the Sampaguita Wards. There are now 29 stakes in the Metro Manila area.

There are now 109 stakes and 67 districts in the Philippines

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new district on April 28th. The Danané Cote d'Ivoire District was created from missions branches in the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission. The new district includes the following three branches: the Danané 1st, Danané 2nd, and Mahapleu Branches. The new district is the Church's third new district organized in Cote d'Ivoire in 2019, and all three of these new districts are located in the Montagnes District, where the Church operated no districts before 2019. Missionaries report plans to organize additional branches and districts in the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission. Likely locations for future districts include Issia, Meagui, Saioua, Sinfra, and villages in rural communities nearby Daloa and Yamoussoukro. For example, there are currently plans to organize a second branch in Issia, and possibly a second branch in Saioua. A second branch was recently organized in Sinfra, and two new branches were recently organized in Meagui. Also, several new wards/branches appear likely to be organized in Daloa given recent reports from missionaries.

There are now 14 stakes and 15 districts in Cote d'Ivoire. In contrast, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire reported only three stakes and one district in 2009. Thus, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire has by far experienced the most rapid growth within the international Church during the past decade. Given recent growth trends, it appears likely that the Church may announce a second temple in Abidjan considering half of the Church's 12 stakes in the city are ready to divide, the relatively small size of the temple for the rapidly growth Church in the country, historically high levels of temple attendance, and distance from the temple site in Cocody to many of the members in Abidjan. This would be an extraordinary development if another temple were announced as the Church only recent started construction on the Church's first temple in the country, the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple. Yopougon appears the most likely candidate for Abidjan's second temple given this area of the city has five stakes and is on the west city of the metropolitan area, whereas Cocody is located on the east side of the metropolitan area.

Updated Country Profile - New Caledonia

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for New Caledonia. The Church has maintained an official presence in New Caledonia since 1961 yet reports fewer than 2,500 members and only one stake. New Caledonia has the fourth lowest percentage of Church members of any country or territory in the Pacific at 0.86%. Nevertheless, New Caledonian members are known for their faithfulness with regular temple attendance. The Church in New Caledonia has persistently experienced problems with its expansion outside of Nouméa primarily due to tribalism, leadership development problems, and small target populations. See below for the Future Prospects section of this article:

Slow membership and congregational growth in New Caledonia since the 2000s and difficulties with sustainable expansion of the Church into additional areas generate a mediocre outlook for church growth in the coming years. Additional cities may have branches or wards organized, particularly in the Nouméa area where the Church is the strongest and where most New Caledonians reside. However, the outlook for expansion into other areas of the islands appears unfavorable given persistent struggles with leadership development and tribalism in rural communities. The opening of additional cities to proselytism through efforts initiated by stake leadership, greater numbers of local members serving full-time missions, and stronger member-missionary approaches are needed to reverse slow church growth trends.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April 2019 Monthly Newsletter - Cumorah.com

Click here to access the April 2019 monthly newsletter for www.cumorah.com.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

UPDATED - Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2018

I previously posted on the countries with the highest membership growth rates during 2018. These data came from the Church's Newsroom site at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics. However, I have obtained additional year-end 2018 membership totals that I want to include in an updated post as there are eight additional nations that experienced an annual membership growth rate of 10% or higher during 2018.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2018 (10% or greater) are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage, which is followed by the country's membership at year-end 2018. Countries in bold experienced an annual membership increase greater than 200 during 2018. Countries in red are ones added to this list with additional official membership data I have recently obtained.

  1. Guinea - 103.3% - 61 
  2. Senegal - 63.6% - 108
  3. Cuba - 47.5% - 357
  4. Oman - 30.5% - 107
  5. Rwanda - 25.7% - 749
  6. Montenegro - 21.1% - 23 
  7. North Macedonia - 20.6% - 41
  8. Angola - 19.3% - 2,933
  9. Bosnia and Herzegovina - 15.9% - 80
  10. Israel - 15.3% - 332
  11. Gabon* - 15.3% - 151
  12. Togo - 14.6% - 4,736
  13. Mozambique - 13.3% - 12,274
  14. Solomon Islands - 12.8% - 1,240
  15. Benin - 11.5% - 3,463
  16. Turks and Caicos Islands - 11.4% - 147
  17. Cote d'Ivoire - 11.1% - 48,776
  18. Morocco - 10.5% - 95
  19. Sint Maarten - 10.4% - 277
*Membership total only reflects one of the two branches as one of the Gabonese branches is incorrectly reported under the Republic of the Congo.

Also, see below for membership totals for additional countries not reported on the Church Newsroom site.
  • Bahrain - 223
  • Belarus - 511
  • Bermuda - 197
  • British Virgin Islands - 138
  • Mali* - 9
  • Qatar - 537
  • Vietnam - 2,466
*Membership appears to comprise those who live outside of the Bamako Branch under the Africa West Area Branch. The Bamako Branch is incorrectly reported under Cote d'Ivoire. However, membership in Mali appeared to increase by more than 100% during 2018. Local members report that membership nationwide appeared to be around 80-100 at year-end 2018. There were 42 members in Mali as of April 2018.