Monday, June 20, 2016

New Stakes Created in Argentina, Arizona, Brazil, Connecticut, Cote d'Ivoire, Nevada, Utah, and Washington; Stakes Discontinued in California and Utah

Argentina
A new stake was created in Argentina on June 19th. The Lujan Argentina Stake was created from the Lujan Argentina District. Most of the seven branches in the former district have appeared to become wards in the new stake.

There are now 76 stakes and 28 districts in Argentina.

Arizona
A new stake was created in Arizona on June 12th. The Mesa Arizona Clearview Stake was organized from a division of the Mesa Arizona Kimball East and Mesa Arizona Skyline Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Baywood, Brimhall, Century Gardens, Desert Vista, Ellsworth, and Hampton Wards.

There are now 106 stakes in Arizona.

Brazil
A new stake was created in Brazil on June 12th. The Juazeiro do Norte Brazil Stake was organized from the Juazeiro do Norte Brazil District. Most of the six branches in the district appear to have been organized into wards.

There are now 260 stakes and 39 districts in Brazil.

Connecticut
On June 12th, a new stake was organized in Connecticut for the first time since 1981. The New London Connecticut Stake was organized from a division of the Hartford Connecticut, New Haven Connecticut, and Providence Rhode Island Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Ashford, Cromwell, Groton, Madison, Norwich, and Waterford Wards, and the Quaker Hill (Spanish) and Westerly Branches.

There are now three stakes in Connecticut.

Cote d'Ivoire
A new stake was organized on June 12th. The Grand-Bassam Cote d'Ivoire Stake was organized from a division of the Port-Bouet Cote d'Ivoire Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Adjouffou, Bonoua, Gonzagueville, Grand-Bassam 1st, Grand-Bassam 2nd, and Jean-Folly Wards. There are now nine stakes in the Abidjan metropolitan area.

There are now 10 stakes and seven districts in Cote d'Ivoire.

Nevada
A new stake was created in the Reno metropolitan area on June 12th. The Sparks Nevada West Stake was created from a division of the Sparks Nevada Stake (renamed Sparks Nevada East Stake). The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Eagle Canyon, El Rancho, Marina, Royal Heights (Tongan), and Sun Valley Wards, and the Vista Branch (Spanish). There are now six stakes in the Reno metropolitan area.

There are now 39 stakes in Nevada.

Utah
Two new stakes have been created in Utah thus far in June. One stake has been discontinued.

The Provo Utah Freedom Stake was created from a division of the Provo Utah East and Provo Utah South Stakes. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Freedom 1st, Freedom 2nd, Freedom 3rd (Spanish), Provo 1st, Provo 6th, Provo Peak 3rd, and Provo Peak 11th Wards.

The Mapleton Utah West Stake was organized on June 12th from a division of the Mapleton Utah, Mapleton Utah North, and Spanish Fork Utah Maple Mountain Stakes. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Legacy Farms, Maple Highlands, Mapleton 10th, Mapleton 12th, Mapleton 17th, Mapleton 19th, Mapleton 22nd, and Spanish Highlands 2nd Wards.

Organized in 1991, the Salt Lake Monument Park North Stake was discontinued on June 12th. Retained congregations were reassigned to the Salt Lake Monument Park Stake.

There are now 580 stakes and one district in Utah.

Washington
A new stake was created on June 19th in the Spokane area. The Spokane Washington Mount Spokane Stake was organized from a division of the Spokane Washington, Spokane Washington North, and Spokane Washington Valley Stakes. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Beacon Hill, West Valley, Shiloh Hills, Greenbluff, and Foothills Wards and the Friendship Park (Marshallese) Branch.

There are now 61 stakes in Washington.

California
The Church discontinued a stake in San Diego on June 12th. Organized in 1962, the San Diego California Sweetwater Stake was discontinued and retained congregations were reassigned to the Chula Vista, San Diego California, and San Diego California East Stakes.

There are now 155 stakes in California.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

First Official LDS Branch Organized in Ekiti State, Nigeria

Last Sunday, the Church organized its first official branch in the Nigerian state of Ekiti. Assigned to the Nigeria Benin City Mission, the Ado Ekiti Branch was organized in the city of Ado Ekiti. Ado Ekiti was previously the sixth most populous Nigerian city without a known LDS presence prior to the organization of the new branch. The city of Ado Ekiti supports 450,000 people - approximately the same population size as Colorado Springs in the United States. There are 2.8 million people in Ekiti State where the population appears evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.

The Church in Nigeria has recently made significant progress in regards to national outreach expansion. The first branches have been organized in several additional large cities within the past two years, including:
  • Makurdi - 355,000 inhabitants (first branch created in late 2015)
  • Otukpo - likely more than 100,000 inhabitants (first branch created in late 2015)
  • Oyo - 370,000 inhabitants (first branch created in spring 2016)
  • Sapele - 300,000 inhabitants (first branch created in mid-2014)
  • Ugep - likely more than 200,000 inhabitants (first branch created in spring 2016)
With over 181 million inhabitants, Nigeria continues to present excellent opportunities for the Church to expand outreach despite religious violence in central and northern areas of the country. The greatest challenge to realize this potential will be limited mission resources allocated to the country and the Church's rapid growth in major cities (e.g. Lagos, Port Harcourt, Benin City) siphoning available missionary manpower.

See below for a map of the Nigeria Benin City Mission

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Over 50 New Stakes Organized in 2016

With the creation of at least five new stakes last Sunday, the Church has surpassed 50 new stakes organized in 2016. I have confirmed the organization of at least 51 new stakes as of June 12th, 2016. I have received reports of at least eight additional stakes to be organized in the coming months. Based on growth trends during the first six months of 2016, it appears likely that the Church will organize at least 100 new stakes during 2016 - the largest number of new stakes organized in a single year since 1997. The rate that the Church has discontinued stakes has appeared to remain steady for the past decade. The Church has, on average, discontinued one stake for every 10 stakes it creates. Thus far in 2016, there have been six stakes discontinued.

Here is a list of new stakes organized thus far in 2016:

1. San Antonio Texas Cibolo Valley - Jan. 10th, 2016
2. Vero Beach Florida - January 10th, 2016
3. Barranca Peru - January 17th, 2016
4. El Paso Texas Chamizal - January 17th, 2016
5. Maceió Brazil Colina - January 24th, 2016
6. Palermo Honduras - January 24th, 2016
7. Ridgefield Washington - January 24th, 2016
8. San Antonio Texas La Cantera - January 24, 2016
9. Rio Verde Brazil - January 31st, 2016
10. Irving Texas - February 7th, 2016
11. Linda Vista Guatemala - February 21st, 2016
12. Managua Nicaragua Las Américas - 2/21/2016
13. Chandler Arizona South - February 28th, 2016
14. Mesa Arizona Red Mountain - March 6th, 2016
15. Enumclaw Washington - March 13th, 2016
16. Ipswich Australia West - March 20th, 2016
17. Maracanaú Brazil North - March 20th, 2016
18. Mpintsin Ghana - March 20th, 2016
19. Nairobi Kenya West - March 20th, 2016
20. Palmer Alaska - March 20th, 2016
21. Sherman Texas - March 20th, 2016
22. Queen Creek Arizona Central - April 10th, 2016
23. Reno Nevada Mount Rose - April 10th, 2016
24. Dunedin New Zealand - April 17th, 2016
25. Gilbert Arizona Gateway - April 17th, 2016
26. Tacoma Washington South - April 17th, 2016
27. Cotonou Benin - April 24th, 2016
28. Mbuji-Mayi DR Congo - April 24th, 2016
29. Cookeville Tennessee - May 1st, 2016
30. Ikot Eyo Nigeria - May 1st, 2016
31. Mesa Arizona Flatiron - May 1st, 2016
32. Sydney Australia Prairiewood - May 1st, 2016
33. Bell Ville Argentina - May 8th, 2016
34. Ikot Ekpene Nigeria - May 15th, 2016
35. Prague Czech Republic - May 15th, 2016
36. Saratoga Springs Utah Mount Saratoga - 5/15/2016
37. Tarija Bolivia Tabladita - May 15th, 2016
38. Yamoransa Ghana - May 22nd, 2016
39. Abuja Nigeria North - May 29th, 2016
40. Kinshasa DR Congo Ngaba - May 29th, 2016
41. Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East - May 29th, 2016
42. Cedar Park Texas - June 5th, 2016
43. Guatemala City San Cristóbal - June 5th, 2016
44. Hong Kong China Lion Rock - June 5th, 2016
45. Hong Kong China Kowloon East - June 5th, 2016
46. Provo Utah Freedom - June 5th, 2016
47. Grand-Bassam Cote d'Ivoire - June 12th, 2016
48 Juazeiro do Norte Brazil - June 12th, 2016
49. Mapleton Utah West - June 12th, 2016
50. New London Connecticut - June 12th, 2016
51. Sparks Nevada West - June 12th, 2016

Below is a list of stakes discontinued in 2016:

1. Salt Lake Sugar House
2. Magna Utah Central
3. Moscow Idaho University
4. Yerevan Armenia
5. Salt Lake Monument Park North
6. San Diego California Sweetwater

Friday, June 10, 2016

Rapid Growth Accelerates in Cote d'Ivoire

The Church in Cote d'Ivoire continues to not only report rapid growth, but accelerating growth during the first five months of 2016. The Church has reported a net increase of 24 official congregations since January 1st - an 18.5% increase in less than six months. Here is a list of some of the most noteworthy developments:
  • The number of cities with an official ward or branch has quintupled in the past five years from six to 32.
  • The Church organized its first branch in the city of Adzope in early 2014. Currently there are nine branches in the Adzope Cote d'Ivoire District - five of which are in Adzope. The Adzope Cote d'Ivoire District was organized last February.
  • The Church organized its first branch in Aboisso in 2013. Today there are nine branches in the Aboisso Cote d'Ivoire District - three of which are located in Aboisso.
  • There are now eight branches in Daloa - a major city where the Church organized its first branches in early 2014.
  • The Church has recently begun to aggressively expand into small cities and towns, primarily in southeastern areas of the country. Examples include:
    • Ayame
    • Azaguié (first branch organized in mid-2015, second branch recently organized)
    • Bangolo
    • La Me (location of the Ahoutoue 2nd Branch)
    • Maféré 
  • The Church organized its first branch it the second most populous city of Bouake in early 2015. Currently there are five branches in the city.
  • Three of the eight stakes in Abidjan currently have 12 wards. All three of these stakes appear likely to split before the end of the year. One of these stakes, the Abobo Cote d'Ivoire East Stake, was organized less than 18 months ago.
  • Annual membership growth rates for Cote d'Ivoire have been sustained at 19-21% a year since 2013.
The recent growth of the Church in Cote d'Ivoire appears to stand as the most impressive LDS growth achievement for the worldwide church in decades. The full-time missionary force is comprised of native African members and the Church is remarkably self-reliant in meeting its own administrative needs. Native members consistently serve as mission presidents in the country. The rapid expansion of the Church into previously unreached areas stands as a quintessential model for other nations to establish the Church. These findings indicate that the Church in Cote d'Ivoire is likely to continue these trends and replicate the rapid growth the Church experienced in the Philippines and Latin America during the 1980s and 1990s, but with significantly fewer resources allocated, much high convert retention and member activity, and robust self-sufficiency in local church leadership.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New Stakes Created in Guatemala, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Texas; District Created in Nigeria

Guatemala
The Church organized a new stake in Guatemala City on June 5th. The Guatemala City San Cristóbal Stake was organized from a division of the Guatemala City Mariscal Stake. The new stake includes at least four wards and one branch: the Balcones, Panorama, Peronia, and San Cristóbal Wards, and the Jerusalén Branch. It is likely that the Jerusalén Branch became a ward when the stake was organized, or that another ward or two will be assigned to the newly organized stake. The new stake is of special interest because it was organized from a division of the Guatemala City Mariscal Stake - a stake that includes congregations from only stake to ever be discontinued in Guatemala City: the Guatemala City Monte María Stake (discontinued in 2008).

There are now 46 stakes and 16 districts in Guatemala.

Hong Kong
The Church organized two new stakes in Hong Kong on June 5th.

The Hong Kong China Kowloon East Stake was organized from a division of the Hong Kong China Kowloon (renamed Hong Kong China Kowloon West) and the Hong Kong China (renamed Hong Kong Island China) Stakes. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Kowloon City, Kwun Tong, Po Lam, Tseung Kwan O, and Tsim Sha Tsui Wards. The new stake is technically a reinstatement of the original Hong Kong China Kowloon East Stake that operated between 1980 and 2006.

The Hong Kong China Lion Rock Stake was organized from a division of the Hong Kong China Kowloon (renamed Hong Kong China Kowloon West), the Hong Kong China (renamed Hong Kong Island China), and Hong Kong China Harbour Stakes. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Cheung Sha Wan, Ngau Tau Kok, Sham Shui Po, Shatin, and Tai Wai Wards.

There are now six stakes and one district in Hong Kong.

Nigeria
A new stake was created in Akwa Ibom State. The Ikot Ekpene Nigeria Stake was organized from the Ikot Ekpene Nigeria District on May 15th. Information on which branches became wards in the former district remains unavailable. However, most of the seven branches have appeared to become wards. The Ikot Ekpene Nigeria District was organized from a handful of mission branches in the Ikot Ekpene area in 2009.

There are now eight stakes and three districts in Akwa Ibom State.

A new district was organized in Enugu State on June 5th. The Nsukka Nigeria District was organized from the following three mission branches: the Nsukka 1st, Nsukka 2nd, and Obollo-Afor Branches. Rapid LDS growth has occurred in the Nigeria Enugu Mission within the past five years as all three stakes and two of the four member districts were created during this time period.

There are now 36 stakes and 19 stakes in Nigeria

Texas
The Church organized a new stake in the Austin area on June 5th. The Cedar Park Texas Stake was organized from a division of the Austin Texas, Austin Texas Oak Hills, and Round Rock Texas Stakes. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Carriage Hills, Cedar Park, Cypress Creek, Marble Falls, and New Hope Wards, and the Llano Branch. With only five wards and one branch, the new stake is one of the stakes with the fewest congregations organized in Texas within the past 15 years.

There are now 70 stakes and three districts in Texas.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

New Stakes Created in the DR Congo, Ghana, Mongolia, and Nigeria; New District Created in Brazil

DR Congo
The Church organized a new stake in Kinshasa on May 29th. The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngaba Stake was organized from a division of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Mont Ngafula Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Lemba, Livulu, Makala, Mont Amba, Ngaba, and Yolo Wards. There are now eight stakes in the Kinshasa metropolitan area, with several additional stakes likely to be organized in the near future.

There are now 15 stakes and three districts in the DR Congo.

Ghana
The Church organized a new stake in Ghana on May 22nd. The Yamoransa Ghana Stake was organized from a division of the Cape Coast Ghana Stake and five mission branches in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. The new stake includes the following six wards and five branches: the Green Hill, Moree 1st, Moree 2nd, Nkanfoa, Yamoransa 1st, and Yamoransa 2nd Wards, and the Abakrampa, Abura Dunkwa, Asebu, Mankessim 1st, and Mankessim 2nd Branches.

There are now 17 stakes and 11 districts in Ghana.

Mongolia
The Church organized its second stake in Mongolia on May 29th. The Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East Stake was organized from the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East District and a portion of the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the American Denj, Bayanzurkh, Sansar, Selbe, and Sukhbaatar Wards, and the Baganuur and Nalaikh Branches. With the organization of the new stake, all 12 LDS congregations in the city of Ulaanbaatar have reached ward status.

There are now two stakes and one district in Mongolia.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake in central Nigeria on May 29th. The Abuja Nigeria North Stake was organized from a division of the Abuja Nigeria Stake (renamed Abuja Nigeria South Stake). The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Bwari 1st, Bwari 2nd, Kaduna, Kubwa 1st, Kubwa 2nd, Mpape, and Suleja Wards. One of the most rapid instances of a stake dividing after its organization, the original Abuja Nigeria Stake reached stakehood in 2012.

There are now 35 stakes and 19 districts in Nigeria. With the organization of the new stake, Nigeria surpassed Venezuela as the country with the 13th most stakes in the world. Nigeria is also the country with the most stakes with only one temple.

Brazil
The Church organized a new district in Minas Gerais State on May 29th. The Patos de Minas Brazil District was organized from three branches that previously pertained to the Brazil Brasilia Mission. Branches in the new district include: California, Guanabara, and Patos de Minas. All three branches operate within the city of Patos de Minas. Patos de Minas is one of only a few cities in Brazil within the past decade where the Church has successfully established multiple branches and organized a district.

There are now 259 stakes and 40 districts in Brazil.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access our May monthly newsletter for cumorah.com that details recent LDS Church growth developments and updated or new resources provided by The Cumorah Foundation.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

New Stakes Created in Argentina, Arizona, Australia, Benin, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, the DR Congo, Nigeria, Tennessee, and Utah; District Reinstated in Ukraine; Stake Discontinued in Idaho; Districts Discontinued in the Czech Republic and Papua New Guinea

I have gotten a bit behind with all of the new stake creations. Here we go!

Argentina
The Church organized a new stake in Cordoba Province on May 8th. The Bell Ville Argentina Stake was organized from the Bell Ville Argentina District: The new stake includes the following five wards and four branches: the Arroyito, Bell Ville, General Paz, Lamadrid, and San Francisco 1st Wards, and the Las Varillas, Leones, Marcos Juárez, and San Francisco 2nd Branches.

There are now 75 stakes and 29 districts in Argentina.

Arizona
The Church organized a new stake in the Mesa area on May 1st. The Mesa Arizona Flatiron Stake was organized from a division of the Apache Junction Arizona Stake (renamed the Peralta Trail Arizona Stake) and the Mesa Arizona Salt River Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Boulder Mountain, Ironwood, Ocotillo, Signal Butte 1st, and Twin Knolls Wards, and the Adobe Branch (Spanish).

There are now 105 stakes in Arizona.

Australia
The Church organized a new stake in the Sydney area on May 1st. The Sydney Australia Prairiewood Stake was organized from a division of the Liverpool Australia and Sydney Australia Fairfield Stakes. So far, confirmation is available for only four of the wards assigned to the new stake: Green Valley 1st, Green Valley 2nd (Samoan), Prairiewood 1st, and Prairiewood 3rd (Samoan). It is likely that one or two additional wards are assigned to the new stake.

There are now 40 stakes and eight districts in Australia.

Benin
The Church organized its first stake in Benin on April 24th. The Cotonou Benin Stake was organized from the Cotonou Benin Stake. Missionaries report that the new stake includes eight wards and six branches. However, there is currently only confirmation on four branches that have become wards: Cococodji, Fidjrosse, Finagnon, and Menontin.

There is now one stake and no districts in Benin.

Bolivia
The Church organized a new stake in southern Bolivia on May 15th. The Tarija Bolivia Tabladita Stake was organized from a division of the Tarija Bolivia Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Central, Cuatro de Julio, Panamericano, Senac, and Tabladita Ward. Tarija now numbers among four other cities in Bolivia where the Church operates at least two stakes within a single city.

There are now 28 stakes and eight districts in Bolivia.

Czech Republic
The Church organized its first stake in the Czech Republic on May 15th. The Prague Czech Republic Stake was organized from the Prague Czech Republic and the Brno Czech Republic Districts. The new stake includes the following six wards and seven branches: the Brno, Hradec Kralove, Jicin, Ostrava, Prague, and Plzen Wards, and the Ceske Budejovice, Jihlava, Liberec, Olomouc, Trebic, Uherske Hradiste, and Zlin Branches. As part of the creation of the new stake, the Brno Czech District was discontinued.

There is now one stake and no districts in the Czech Republic.

DR Congo
The Church organized its fourth stake in the Kasai Region of the central DR Congo on April 24th. The Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake was organized from the Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo District. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Bipemba, Dibindi, Diulu, Misesa, Muya 1st, and Muya 2nd Wards, and the Tshikama and Tshitenge Branches. Mbuji-Mayi will also headquarter the Church's third mission in the DR Congo this July.

There are now 14 stakes and three districts in the DR Congo.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake in southeastern Nigeria on May 1st. The Ikot Eyo Nigeria Stake was organized from the Nsit Ubium Nigeria Stake (renamed Ukat Aran Nigeria Stake) and the Ibesikpo Nigeria District. The new stake includes the following four wards and six branches: the Ikot Ekwere, Ikot Eyo 1st, Ikot Eyo 2nd, and Ikot Eyo 3rd Wards, and the Ikot Akpan Abia, Ikot Ebre, Ikot Esen, Ikot Oku Iyan, Ikot Udofia, and Ndikpo Atang Branches. It is likely that one or more of these six branches have also been advanced into wards but this information may not be available due to delays in the Church updating this information. It is significant to note that Ikot Eyo is the location of the Church's first branch organized in Nigeria in 1978. The population of the local government area (LGA) of Nsit Ubium may be as high as 5-10% LDS at present due to steady growth within the past three and a half decades.

There are now 34 stakes and 19 districts in Nigeria.

Tennessee
The Church organized a new stake in Tennessee on May 1st. The Cookeville Tennessee Stake was organized from a division of the McMinnville Tennessee and Madison Tennessee Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Burgess Falls, Cookeville, Crossville, Jamestown, Lebanon 1st, and Tompkinsville Wards, and the Lebanon 2nd (Spanish), Livingston, and Sparta Branches.

There are now 12 stakes in Tennessee.

Utah
The Church organized a new stake in Utah County on May 15th. The Saratoga Springs Utah Mount Saratoga Stake was organized from a division of the Saratoga Springs Utah Crossroads Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Riverside 1st, Riverside 2nd, Saratoga Springs 7th , Saratoga Springs 10th, Sunrise Meadows 1st, Sunrise Meadows 2nd, Sunrise Meadows 3rd, and Sunset Haven Wards.

There are now 579 stakes and one district in Utah.

Ukraine
The Church reinstated a district in central Ukraine. The Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District was organized from four mission branches that pertained to the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission. The new district includes the following five branches: the Dnepropetrovsk Livoberezhna, Dnepropetrovsk Pobedy, Dnepropetrovsk Tsentralny, Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District, and Zaporizhzhia Branches.

There is now one stake and four districts in Ukraine.

Idaho
The Church recently discontinued a stake in Idaho. The Moscow Idaho University Stake was discontinued. Most wards in the former stake were student married wards and these congregations were consolidated with family wards in the Moscow area.

There are now 126 stakes in Idaho.

Papua New Guinea
The Church recently discontinued a district in Papua New Guinea. The Kuriva Papua New Guinea District was discontinued and all four branches in the former district were reassigned to the neighboring Gerehu Papua New Guinea District. Over 500 members attended the conference when the districts were consolidated (click here to access a news article on this conference). The decision to consolidate the districts appeared motivated from continued declining LDS growth in the Port Moresby area and a possible effort to organize a second stake in the region within the near future.

There are now two stakes and 11 districts in Papua New Guinea.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Progress in Mongolia

Missionaries serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission report several significant church growth developments. The Church will organize its second stake in Mongolia in late May from the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East District. Most, if not all, six branches in the district are expected to become wards. Additionally, two new wards will be organized in the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake - one of which from a branch advancing into a ward. The Church also organized a new ward in the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake within the past month.

These developments signal good progress with strengthening local leadership, augmenting the number of active members, and addressing problems with convert attrition and member inactivity that have stifled the growth of the Church in Mongolia within the past decade. The Church previously experienced some of its most rapid growth in a Buddhist country in Mongolia during the 1990s and 2000s. However, membership growth rates continue to be very low compared to previous years. Nonetheless, the Church reports one nominal member per 266 people in Mongolia - higher than any other country in mainland Asia.

Click here to access the LDS statistical profile for Mongolia. A map of LDS units in Mongolia can be found here. Click here to access a case study on stagnant LDS growth in Mongolia (written in 2013).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Locations for Humanitarian Service Missions

The Church publishes a weekly newsletter entitled "Senior Missionary Opportunities Bulletin" that contains up-to-date information on current needs for senior couples to serve full-time missions. All types of senior missionary couple opportunities are listed in the bulletin such as with the Church Education System, the Temple Department, Welfare Services, Auditing Department, and so on. The weekly newsletter can be accessed here.

Recently, the Church has added several new locations for humanitarian service missions in the bulletin. These locations include:
  • Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Kurdistan, Iraq
  • Senegal
The Church has never appeared to assign senior missionary couples on humanitarian assignment to these three locations. Although these assignments are focused on humanitarian service and development projects, often times the assignment of humanitarian senior missionary couples proceeds or coincides with the establishment of an official church presence. Notable examples include Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma (Myanmar), Gabon, the Republic of Georgia, Kosovo, Laos, Macedonia (FYROM), and Turkey. Although the prospective assignment of senior missionary couples to these three locations is encouraging for the Church to expand its worldwide influence to meet humanitarian needs and lay the groundwork for an official LDS presence one day, only Senegal appears to have realistic prospects for proselytizing, full-time missionaries to be assigned. Iraqi Kurdistan presents many safety and religious freedom challenges, whereas the Church in Kyrgyzstan has experienced challenges with obtaining legal recognition for over a decade. However, the 2014 Kyrgyzstani court ruling that the law requiring 200 adult citizen members for a religious group to register with the government as unconstitutional suggests improved prospects for the establishment of a member group or branch in Bishkek (click here to access a case study on the Church in Kyrgyzstan).