Saturday, April 29, 2017

Second Stake in Liberia

The Church is organizing its second stake in Liberia this weekend according to multiple reports I have received. I have not been able to confirm which district is advancing into a stake, but it appears that it will be the Monrovia Liberia District. The Church reestablished a stake in Liberia in November 2016. There are currently three districts and one stake in Liberia.

I will provide more details on this new stake, as well as other new stakes and districts recently organized in the last couple months, within the near future. I have not posted about new stakes and districts organized in March and April as I am still awaiting details on congregations within several of these organizations.

April 2017 Newsletter

Click here to access our April 2017 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com in regards to recent LDS growth developments.

Friday, April 28, 2017

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Latter-day Saints without a Stake or District

The Church in 2016 and thus far in 2017 has organized its first district in a couple nations where no districts or stakes previously operated, namely Lesotho (February 2016) and Rwanda (March 2017). As a result, I wanted to update my list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake or district. Previous lists for this measure can be found here. For those who may be unfamiliar with what a district is, please refer to our Missiology Encyclopedia entry for "district" that can be found here.

Each country or territory with at least 200 members without a stake or district is provided below with the number of members (as of year-end 2016), number of congregations (at present), and current, if any, affiliation with another stake or district. Countries in green appear likely to have their first districts/stakes created in the near future. Countries in yellow generally have a large number of recent converts and few active priesthood holders to hold leadership positions, but have a high likelihood for districts to be organized in the coming years. Countries in red have problems with member inactivity or too few members to create a district in the foreseeable future. Countries in blue pertain to other stakes or districts and do not appear likely to become their own districts due to reasonably close proximity to their current stake or district headquarters. Countries in dark blue have a poor likelihood for the organization of a district due to few members spread over large geographic areas.

  1. Bulgaria - 2,429 members - 9 branches
  2. Bahamas - 1,029 members - 3 branches (includes Turks and Caicos Islands)
  3. Northern Mariana Islands - 786 members - 1 ward - part of the Barrigada Guam Stake
  4. Greece - 772 members - 3 branches
  5. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 653 members - 2 branches, 1 group
  6. Qatar - 625 members? - 2 wards, 1 branch - part of the Abu Dhabi Stake
  7. Burundi - 604 members - 3 branches 
  8. US Virgin Islands - 597 members - 2 branches
  9. Curacao - 550 members - 1 branch - part of the ABC District based in Aruba 
  10. Turkey - 513 members - 7 branches 
  11. Mauritius - 512 members - 3 branches - part of the St. Denis Reunion-Mauritius District
  12. Palau - 505 members - 1 branch
  13. Luxembourg - 431 members - 1 ward - part of the Nancy France Stake
  14. Grenada - 416 members - 1 branch
  15. French Guiana - 403 members - 1 branch 
  16. Saint Lucia - 351 members - 2 branches, 1 group?
  17. Kuwait - 315 members? - 1 ward - part of the Manama Bahrain Stake
  18. Jersey - 305 members - 1 ward - part of the Poole England Stake
  19. Niue - 301 members - 2 branches
  20. Laos - 300 members? - 2 branches 
  21. Isle of Man - 299 members - 1 ward - part of the Liverpool England Stake
  22. Saint Maarten/Saint Martin - 281 members - 1 branch 
  23. Iceland - 277 members - 2 branches
  24. Republic of Georgia - 265 members - 1 branch, 1 group
  25. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 238 members, 1 branch
  26. Antigua and Barbuda - 230 members, 1 branch
  27. Tuvalu - 229 members, 1 branch
  28. Cayman Islands - 216 members, 1 branch
  29. Central African Republic - 216 members, 1 branch 
  30. Kazakhstan - 212 members - 2 branches
  31. Martinique - 212 members, 1 branch, 1 group
  32. Gabon - 200 members?, 2 branches
Of these 32 countries and dependencies, 10 previously had a district including Bulgaria (2), the Bahamas, Greece, Curacao, Palau, Mauritius, French Guiana, Turkey, Niue, and Iceland.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Percent LDS by Country - 2016

Below is a list of all of the countries and dependencies/territories of the world with the percentage of Latter-day Saints in each location as of 2016. Countries with an asterisk indicate that LDS membership figures are estimated due to no official LDS membership data released to the public. Previous data from 2008 can be found here. 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.

ASIA

THE CARIBBEAN


EUROPE






MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA


NORTH AMERICA

OCEANIA


SOUTH AMERICA


SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Significant Member Activity Improvements in the Philippines

Scores of surveys completed by Filipino members during the past week indicate significant, long-term improvements in member activity rates in the Philippines. Local reports indicate that most wards generally have between 100 and 300 active members, with many wards currently reporting at least 200 members in attendance. This is a significant finding as the number of active members in many Filipino wards is becoming more consistent with the Church in countries where the Church exhibits greater self-sufficiency in leadership and church administration such as the United States and western Canada. Many branches in districts also reported significant improvements in church attendance. Some members state that meetinghouses are unable to adequately accommodate those who attend sacrament meeting services, resulting in some members standing in the back of the chapel due to a lack of seats.

The Church in the Philippines reported that sacrament meeting attendance has steadily increased within the past five years. Sacrament meeting attendance totaled more than 125,000 in late 2013, indicating that the average ward or branch had 109 people in attendance. In contrast, the Church reported nearly 116,000 attending church services in late 2011. However, the average ward or branch had 599 members on its records in 2013 (e.g. total church membership divided by the number of congregations). Thus, no more than 20% of LDS membership in the Philippines appeared to regularly attend church at the time. By late 2015, the Church in the Philippines indicated that sacrament meeting attendance had reached 146,000 - a 26% increase within the past four years. In contrast, LDS membership increased by 10% during this four-year period. These most recent numbers suggest that significant improvements in member activity have occurred within recent years. The average ward or branch in late 2015 had 121 people in attendance. Thus, member activity rates in the Philippines may have slightly increased to as high as 22-24% at present given these sustained recent improvements in sacrament meeting attendance statistics reported by the area presidency and the results of recent surveys completed by local members. More information from the area presidency can be found here.

It is also interesting to note that the Church in the Philippines used to experience high member activity and convert retention rates. During the mid-1970s, the Church in the Philippines appeared to experience activity rate well over 50%. Attendance at some major meetings with church leaders nearly equaled the number of church-reported membership for the Philippines at the time. However, decades of quick-baptism tactics and leadership development problems between the 1980s and 2000s have posed significant challenges for sustaining growth and maintaining acceptable convert retention and member activity rates. These recent developments for the Church in the Philippines indicate that significant improvements in member activity and convert retention rates are possible even in nations with low member activity and convert retention rates, especially if mission and area leaders sustain the needed vision and motivation to help these efforts succeed. However, progress to improve activity rates are often slow, especially in a nation like the Philippines where there are a three-quarters of a million members and comparatively few convert baptisms.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Countries with the Highest Members-to-Units Ratio: 2016 Figures

The members-to-units ratio is a statistic ascertained by dividing church-reported membership by the total number of congregations. Countries with high member-to-unit ratios invariably experience low member activity rates as there are an insufficient number of active members to create additional congregations.

Below is a list of the 24 countries and dependencies with the highest members-to-units ratios for 2016 (more than 600 members per unit). Forty-two percent (42%) of LDS membership in 2016 resided in these 24 countries. The 2013 list can be found here. The 2014 list can be found here.
  1. Chile - 973
  2. Nicaragua - 879
  3. Bolivia - 803
  4. Northern Mariana Islands - 786
  5. Ecuador - 785
  6. Peru - 772
  7. Colombia - 768
  8. El Salvador - 760
  9. Uruguay - 743
  10. Honduras - 733
  11. Panama - 732
  12. South Korea - 730
  13. Mexico - 703
  14. Dominican Republic - 680
  15. Venezuela - 678
  16. Paraguay - 671
  17. Brazil - 659
  18. Kiribati - 656
  19. Costa Rica - 633
  20. Guatemala - 622
  21. Philippines - 616
  22. Portugal - 609
  23. Guam - 608
  24. Hong Kong - 607

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rapid LDS Growth in West Africa Continues

The Church in West Africa continues to experience unprecedented growth. Area leadership estimates that the Church in West Africa will reach 100 stakes by 2018. This indicates that there may be as many as 25 new stakes organized in West Africa during the next 18 months. Growth has been driven by increasing numbers of convert baptisms, leadership development, and increases in active membership. For example, church membership in West Africa increased by 10% during 2016 - the third highest annual membership growth rate for the region since 2002. Thus far in 2017, the Church in Nigeria has reported a net increase of 28 new wards a branches - more than any other country in the worldwide church for 2017 thus far. If this rate of congregational growth is sustained for the remainder of 2017, there may be as many as 100 new wards and branches organized in Nigeria. Since the beginning of 2017, the net increase in wards and branches by country has been as follows: 10 in Cote d'Ivoire, six in Ghana, four in Sierra Leone, one in Benin, and zero in Liberia, Senegal, and Togo.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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 2016 and congregational and district totals are current. Estimated membership for mainland China and Pakistan is provided as 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 countries with the most members without a stake can be found here.

  1. China - 11,000 members?
  2. Malaysia - 10,010 members - 33 branches - 6 districts
  3. Guyana - 5,674 members - 12 branches - 1 district
  4. Belize - 5,332 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  5. Pakistan - 4,200 members? - 13 branches - 3 districts
  6. Armenia - 3,612 members - 11 branches - 1 district
  7. Romania - 3,059 members - 16 branches - 2 districts
  8. Malawi - 2,486 members - 8 branches - 2 districts
  9. Bulgaria - 2,429 members - 9 branches - 0 districts
  10. Angola - 2,123 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  11. Poland - 1,940 members - 12 branches - 3 districts
  12. Swaziland - 1,940 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  13. Ethiopia - 1,916 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  14. Cook Islands - 1,843 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  15. Cameroon - 1,628 members - 13 branches - 1 district
  16. Suriname - 1,545 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  17. Tanzania - 1,516 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  18. Sri Lanka - 1,436 members - 3 branches - 1 district
  19. Macau - 1,429 members - 3 branches - 1 district
Prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, Swaziland, and Angola as all of these countries have 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, slow or stagnant LDS growth, 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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

UPDATED: The 10 Countries/Dependencies with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation

I have updated the list of the countries and dependencies with the most members without a temple. Membership data is as of year-end 2016, whereas stake, district, and congregational data are current.  Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007.

1. Nicaragua
  • 95,768 members
  • 11 stakes, 4 districts
  • 111 congregations
  • Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple
2. Papua New Guinea
  • 25,856 members
  • 2 stakes, 11 districts
  • 75 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
3. Puerto Rico
  • 23,328 members
  • 5 stakes, 0 districts
  • 41 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
4. Russia
  • 23,328 members
  • 3 stakes, 9 districts
  • 99 congregations
  • Helsinki Finland Temple, Kyiv Ukraine Temple, Seoul Korea Temple
5. Kiribati
  • 18,368 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 30 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
6. Sierra Leone
  • 17,671 members
  • 1 stake, 6 districts
  • 59 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
7. American Samoa
  • 16,180 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 41 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple
8. Uganda
  • 15,157 members
  • 3 stakes, 0 districts
  • 28 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
9. Cambodia
  • 13,716 members
  • 2 stakes, 4 districts
  • 29 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
10. Cape Verde
  • 13,504 members
  • 3 stakes, 2 districts
  • 42 congregations
  • Spain Madrid Temple

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Congregational Growth by Country: 2016

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2016.  The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +65 (0.5% increase)
  2. Cote d'Ivoire +52 (40.0% increase) 
  3. Nigeria +46 (10.1% increase)
  4. Ghana +33 (13.5% increase)
  5. Brazil +17 (0.8% increase) 
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo +16 (10.5% increase)
  7. Guatemala +10 (2.4% increase) 
  8. Philippines +10 (0.8% increase)
  9. Sierra Leone +10 (15.4% increase)
  10. South Africa +9 (5.4% increase)
  11. Canada +8 (1.6% increase) 
  12. Samoa +8 (5.5% increase)
  13. Liberia +6 (25.0% increase)
  14. Nicaragua +6 (5.8% increase)
  15. Angola +4 (57.1% increase)
  16. Cape Verde +4 (10.5% increase)
  17. Taiwan +4 (3.5% increase)
  18. Zimbabwe +4 (5.6% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 18 countries totals 312; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2016 (288). Six countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2016. The reason that the Church reported a net decrease of five branches in Turkey was due to the discontinuation of administrative branches to service each nation within the boundaries of the Central Eurasian Mission.
  1. Peru -15 (2.0% decrease) 
  2. Venezuela -9 (3.5% decrease) 
  3. Colombia -8 (3.0% decrease) 
  4. Turkey -5 (41.7% decrease)
  5. Dominican Republic -5 (2.5% decrease)
  6. Chile -4 (0.7% decrease)