Tuesday, April 26, 2016

10+ New Stakes to be Created Each Week?

LDS apostle Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was recently quoted in a meeting with young single adults in the Dallas area in regards to unprecedented growth in the number of new stake creations. This meeting occurred last Sunday, April 24th. A video of the conference can be found here. Elder Holland begins to discuss stake growth around 54 minutes into the video. Here are some quotes that I found particularly interesting:
  • "[Growth] is the single greatest problem we have."
  •  "We are reeling under the implications of the growth that we have in this Church."
  •  "A week ago Thursday we created 15 stakes...the week before it was 12." [in reference to temple meetings at Church Headquarters]
  • "We are talking about double-digit stakes every week of our lives."
  • "It is like a bucking bronco."
  • "In the middle of all that occasionally, rarely...we dissolve a stake. That is so unusual..it doesn't happen very often."
When I first watched this video, I first thought that Elder Holland was reporting that 12 new stakes were created on April 10th and 15 new stakes were created on April 17th. However, after reviewing the video it appears that he is referring to meetings to approve new stakes in the coming months. Based upon reports and research I have conducted, most of these new stakes appear most likely to be organized in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, and Sub-Saharan African. Many of these new stakes appear likely to be districts advancing to stake status, particularly in locations such as the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

I have made previous posts on this blog regarding accelerating stake growth in 2016. So far I have confirmed 27 new stakes that have been created in 2016 with an additional seven stakes that will be created or that may have already been created. To put this into perspective, the Church has reported an average net increase of 47 stakes within the past 10 years. If the Church were to organize at least 10 new stakes every weekend for the rest of 2016 (excluding the weekend of the October 2016 General Conference, the month of July when few, if any, new stakes are organized, and the last two weekends of the year), the Church would organize an additional 280 stakes during 2016 for a grand total of over 300 new stakes for the entire year. If this were to occur, it would be twice the Church's previous record for the most new stakes organized in a single year set back in 1996 when 148 new stakes were organized. I can verify from my own research that the process of discontinuing stakes is unusual for the Church as a whole (aside from the early 2000s when dozens of stakes were discontinued in Latin America). The Church has discontinued an average of 4.5 stakes a year since 2008.

The creation of new wards and branches has slightly accelerated thus far in 2016, with an average of nearly 14 new wards or branches organized a week. However, the rate of wards and branches being discontinued appears to have slightly increased as approximately seven wards or branches have been discontinued a week. New wards and branch creations have occurred all over the world, but mostly in the United States, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Nearly all wards and branches discontinued thus far in 2016 have been in the United States and Latin America.

I am not sure if Elder Holland's comments on "double-digit stakes every week of our lives" means that this will literally happen or be consistent (even though he uses the word "every" in the comment). He acknowledges in the video that the rate of stake creations frequently fluctuates.
Time will tell to determine whether stake growth will continue to accelerate, or whether this acceleration in 2016 is a temporary one. Accelerated congregational growth will be absolutely essential for the Church to accelerate the creation of new stakes in the coming months and years ahead. Stakes generally administer five to 12 congregations.

Monday, April 25, 2016

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 2015 and congregational and district totals are current. Membership for mainland China is an 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 countries with the most members without a stake can be found here.

  1. China - 10,000 members?
  2. Malaysia - 9,725 members - 34 branches - 6 districts
  3. Liberia - 9,675 members - 24 branches - 3 districts
  4. Guyana - 5,648 members - 13 branches - 1 district
  5. Belize - 5,152 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  6. Pakistan - 4,000 members - 13 branches - 3 districts
  7. Romania - 3,043 members - 16 branches - 2 districts
  8. Czech Republic - 2,503 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  9. Bulgaria - 2,424 members - 9 branches - 0 districts
  10. Malawi - 2,143 members - 8 branches - 2 districts
  11. Angola - 1,908 members - 10 branches - 1 district
  12. Ethiopia - 1,903 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  13. Poland - 1,861 members - 13 branches - 3 districts
  14. Swaziland - 1,837 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  15. Cook Islands - 1,835 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  16. Suriname - 1,483 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  17. Cameroon - 1,480 members - 11 branches - 1 district
  18. Tanzania - 1,456 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  19. Macau - 1,410 members - 3 branches - 1 district
Prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Liberia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Swaziland, and Angola 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, 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 23, 2016

New Stakes Created in Arizona, Nevada, New Zealand, and Washington; New District Created in Brazil; Stake Discontinued in Utah

Arizona
Two new stakes have been organized in Arizona within the past two weeks.

The Queen Creek Arizona Central Stake was organized on April 10th from a division of the Queen Creek Arizona Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the

The Gilbert Arizona Gateway Stake was organized on April 17th from a division of the Gilbert Arizona San Tan and Gilbert Arizona Williams Field Stakes. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the

Nevada
The Church organized a new stake in the Reno area on April 10th. The Reno Nevada Mount Rose Stake was organized from a division of the Reno Nevada Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Foothill, Galena, Lakeside, Mount Rose, South Meadows, and Washoe Valley Wards, and the Sierra Branch (Spanish). The new stake is the first new stake organized by the Church in the Reno area since 1978. Members report that a second new stake will be created in the area in June.

There are now 38 stakes in Nevada.

New Zealand
The Church organized a new stake in the South Island of New Zealand. The Dunedin New Zealand Stake was organized from the Dunedin New Zealand District. The new stake includes the following four wards and four branches: the Dunedin 1st, Dunedin 2nd, Oamaru 1st, and Oamaru 2nd Wards, and the Gore, Invercargill, Queenstown, and Timaru Branches. The Dunedin New Zealand District was originally organized in 1892 and was the second oldest district in the worldwide Church. The Dunedin New Zealand Stake is the Church's second stake to be organized on the South Island of New Zealand where the Church has a significantly less prominent presence compared to the North Island. Visiting church leaders challenged members and leaders in the Dunedin New Zealand Stake to divide the stake within the next 10 years.

There are now 30 stakes and two districts in New Zealand.

Washington
The Church organized a new stake in the Tacoma area on April 17th. The Tacoma Washington South Stake was organized from a division of the Tacoma Washington Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Buena Vista (Spanish), Chambers Creek, Lincoln, Mountain View, Sunset, and Wapato Park Wards. The Church maintained 12 wards in the Tacoma Washington Stake for nearly a decade prior to the division of the stake. The decision to divide the stake may indicate success with increasing the number of active members in the area, or renewed efforts to reactivate members and provide more penetrating LDS outreach in the area. Contrary to some reports, the Church has never discontinued a stake in the Tacoma area. Rather, the Church in 2006 renamed the Tacoma Washington Stake to the Gig Harbor Washington Stake and renamed the Tacoma Washington South Stake to the Tacoma Washington Stake.

There are now 60 stakes in Washington.

Brazil
The Church organized a new district in Rio de Janeiro State. The Três Rios Brazil District was organized from a division of the Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake. The new district includes the following three branches: the Paraíba do Sul, Três Rios, and Vila Isabel Branches. All three branches previously operated as wards in the Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake. The Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake has been significantly reduced in size as a result of the organization of the Leopoldina Brazil District in 2015 and the organization of the Três Rios Brazil District in 2016. Currently there are six wards in the Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake.

There are now 259 stakes and 39 districts in Brazil.

Utah
The Church recently discontinued a stake in the Magna area. The Magna Utah Central Stake was discontinued and the six wards that previously pertained to the stake were reassigned to the Magna Utah East and Magna Utah South Stakes. The Church has experienced slight congregational decline in the Magna area within the past five years due to active members moving away from the area.

There are now 578 stakes and one district in Utah.

Monday, April 18, 2016

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 2015, 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 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007.

1. Nicaragua

  • 92,152 members
  • 10 stakes, 5 districts
  • 104 congregations
  • Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple
2. Papua New Guinea
  • 24,780 members
  • 2 stakes, 12 districts
  • 78 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
3. Puerto Rico
  • 23,191 members
  • 5 stakes, 0 districts
  • 41 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
4. Russia
  • 22,720 members
  • 3 stakes, 9 districts
  • 101 congregations
  • Helsinki Finland Temple, Kyiv Ukraine Temple, Seoul Korea Temple
5. Kiribati
  • 17,462 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 30 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
6. Sierra Leone
  • 16,155 members
  • 1 stake, 5 districts
  • 51 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
7. American Samoa
  • 16,149 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 41 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple
8. Uganda
  • 14,289 members
  • 2 stakes, 0 districts
  • 27 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
9. Cambodia
  • 13,349 members
  • 2 stakes, 5 districts
  • 30 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
10. Kenya
  • 12,898 members
  • 2 stakes, 4 districts
  • 45 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple

Friday, April 15, 2016

First LDS Stake in Benin to be Created on April 24th

I have received confirmation that the Church will organized its first stake in the West African country of Benin on April 24th. The Church in Benin has experienced some of its most rapid growth among nations that have opened to missionary work since 2005. Currently the Church reports one district, 14 branches, and 2,255 members. To contrast, the Church reported only one branch and 95 members in 2005. The Church organized the Benin Cotonou Mission in 2011.

Congregational Growth by Country: 2015

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2015.  The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +142 (1.0% increase)
  2. Brazil +42 (2.1% increase) 
  3. Nigeria +38 (9.1% increase)
  4. Ghana +37 (17.9% increase)
  5. Cote d'Ivoire +36 (38.3% increase)
  6. Philippines +20 (1.7% increase)
  7. Mexico +17 (0.9% increase)
  8. South Africa +9 (5.7% increase)
  9. Democratic Republic of the Congo +8 (5.5% increase)
  10. Taiwan +8 (7.6% increase) 
  11. New Zealand +7 (3.3% increase)
  12. Zimbabwe +7 (10.9% increase)
  13. Australia +6 (2.0% increase)
  14. Sierra Leone +6 (15.4% increase)
  15. Russia +5 (5.3% increase)
  16. Samoa +5 (3.6% increase)
  17. Canada +4 (0.8% increase)
  18. Papua New Guinea +4 (5.6% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 18 countries totals 422; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2014 (395). Five countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2014 including:
  1. Venezuela -12 (4.5% decrease) 
  2. Peru -10 (1.3% decrease)
  3. Dominican Republic -6 (2.9% decrease)
  4. Germany -5 (2.9% decrease)
  5. South Korea -4 (3.2% decrease)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Membership by Country Statistics Released for 2015

The Church has released 2015 membership and congregation totals for nations with a reported LDS presence. These statistics can be accessed on Church's official website at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics. Data is available under the country profiles on the right side of the site.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2015 (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, and 2014. 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 2015. Countries in bold experienced a membership increase greater than 200. 

  1. Montenegro - 183.3% - 17
  2. Solomon Islands - 24.5% - 794
  3. Rwanda - 22.4% - 344
  4. Cote d'Ivoire - 19.2% - 32,258
  5. Benin - 18.8% -2,255
  6. Togo - 17.1% - 3,279
  7. Burundi - 13.5% - 597
  8. Angola - 13.3% - 1,908 
  9. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 12.3% - 47,929
  10. Saint Lucia - 11.6% - 338
  11. Malawi - 11.0% - 2,143
  12. Turkey - 10.6% - 439
Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership increase for the year 2015. Each country is provided with the numerical national increase in membership. Additionally, the percentage total Church membership increase accounted by each country is provided. Lists are also available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. 73.3% of the 2015 net increase in LDS membership can be attributed to the following 10 nations. 
  1. United States - 65,389 - 25.0%
  2. Brazil - 37,362 - 14.3%
  3. Mexico - 26,233 - 10.0%
  4. Philippines - 17,531 - 6.7%
  5. Nigeria - 12,044 - 4.6%
  6. Peru - 11,231 - 4.3%
  7. Argentina - 6,049 - 2.3%
  8. Guatemala - 5,508 - 2.1%
  9. Ghana - 5,367 - 2.0%
  10. Ecuador - 5,312 - 2.0%
It is also interesting to note that LDS membership in 2015 increased by more than 5,000 for the first time in two nations: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (+5,240 members) and Cote d'Ivoire (+5,206 members).

I will post an analysis of 2015 congregational growth this weekend.

The Most Populous Countries Without an LDS Mission

Below is a list of the most populous countries where no LDS mission operates. Population figures reported were retrieved from the CIA World Factbook. The name of the mission that administers each country is provided for nations assigned to LDS missions. LDS membership figures are estimates for some nations. Precise membership data reported is current as of year-end 2014. All other LDS statistics reported are current as of April 2016. Countries listed in bold do not appear to have any legal obstacles for the Church to overcome in order to organize a mission.

1. Pakistan - 199 million - India New Delhi Mission 
  •  ~4,000 members
  • 13 branches 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 3 districts 
 2. Bangladesh - 169 million - India New Delhi Mission 
  • ~50 members (estimate)
  • 1 branch 
  • 0 stakes
  • 0 districts 
 3. Ethiopia - 99.5 million - Uganda Kampala Mission 
  • 1,854 members 
  • 5 branches 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 1 district 
 4. Egypt - 88.5 million
  • ~150 members (estimate)
  • 1 branch 
  • 0 stakes 
  •  0 districts 
 5. Iran - 81.8 million
  • less than 50 members (estimate)
  • 0 branches 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 0 districts 
 6. Burma (Myanmar) - 56.3 million - Thailand Bangkok Mission 
  • ~150 members (estimate)
  • 1 branch 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 0 districts 
 7. Tanzania - 51.0 million - Kenya Nairobi Mission 
  • 1,336 members 
  • 6 branches 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 1 district 
 8. Algeria - 39.5 million
  • less than 10 members (estimate)
  • 0 branches 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 0 districts 
 9. Iraq - 37.0 million
  • less than 100 members (estimate)
  • 1 branch 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 0 districts 
 10. Sudan - 36.1 million - Uganda Kampala Mission
  • less than 20 members (estimate)
  • 0 branches 
  • 0 stakes 
  • 0 districts
Of these 10 nations, the Church appears most likely to organize missions in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burma (Myanmar), and Pakistan. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Districts Likely to Become Stakes in the Near Future

Many of the Church's new stakes are organized from districts. Districts are administrative organizations that services two or more branches. Districts have limited autonomy and are closely supervised by the mission president who acts in many ways as the stake president. For more information about districts, please see cumorah.com's Missiology Encyclopedia on districts.

Below are a list of districts that appear likely to become stakes within the near future. Predicting which districts are likely to become stakes is challenging as there are many criteria that must be met which are not reported to the public such as the number of active, full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders, the number of active members, and the number of branches that meet the criteria to become wards. Consequently, I have developed a three-tiered system to help more accurately predict which districts may become stakes. This system ranks the district from one to three (1=highly likely, 2=very likely, 3 somewhat likely) based on the likelihood of whether the district will soon become a stake. Information I have gathered to generate this list has come from studying congregational growth trends, obtaining reports from members and missionaries, and analyzing LDS growth trends in surrounding stakes and districts.

The previous list from late 2014 can be found here.

AFRICA

  • Abomosu Ghana (7 branches) - 1
  • Akamkpa Nigeria (7 branches) - 3
  • Antsirabe Madagascar (8 branches) - 2
  • Asaba Nigeria (7 branches) - 3 
  • Bo Sierra Leone East (7 branches) - 3
  • Bo Sierra Leone West (8 branches) - 3
  • Chyulu Kenya (10 branches) - 3
  • Daloa Cote d'Ivoire (8 branches)
  • Ekpoma Nigeria (10 branches) - 1
  • Eldoret Kenya (9 branches) - 3 
  • Ijebu-Ode Nigeria (8 branches) - 3
  • Ikot Ekpene Nigeria (7 branches) - 2
  • Ile-Ife Nigeria (11 branches) - 1
  • Kissy Sierra Leone (9 branches - 1
  • Koforidua Ghana (9 branches) - 2
  • Kolwezi Democratic Republic of Congo  (7 branches) - 3
  • Likasi Democratic Republic of Congo (10 branches) - 1
  • Luanda Angola (8 branches) - 2
  • Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of Congo (8 branches) - 1 
  • Monrovia Liberia (6 branches) - 2
  • Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island (9 branches) - 2
  • Mutare Zimbabwe (6 branches) - 3
  • Newcastle South Africa (7 branches) - 3
  • Okpuala Ngwa Nigeria (8 branches) - 3
  • Onitsha Nigeria (11 branches) - 1
  • Paynesville Liberia (6 branches) - 2
  • San Pedro Cote d'Ivoire (7 branches) - 3
  • Toamasina Madagascar (5 branches) - 3
  • Twifo Praso Ghana (7 branches) - 2
  • Vaal South Africa (6 branches) - 3
  • Yaounde Cameroon (7 branches) - 3
ASIA
  • Agoo Philippines (7 branches) - 2
  • Aguilar Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Alaminos Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Baliwag Philippines (5 branches) - 3
  • Bambang Philippines (6 branches) - 3 
  • Bogo Philippines (6 branches) - 3 
  • Burgos Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Camiling Philippines West (6 branches) - 3
  • Cauayan Philippines (7 branches) - 1
  • Chia Yi Taiwan (6 branches) - 1
  • Gingoog Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Guimba Philippines (6 branches) - 2
  • Iba Philippines (8 branches) - 2
  • Iriga Philippines (6 branches) - 2
  • Kuala Lumpur Malaysia (7 branches) - 2 
  • La Carlota Philippines (7 branches) - 1
  • Ligao Philippines (6 branches) - 2 
  • Mindoro Oriental Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Morong Rizal Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Naic Philippines (8 branches) - 1
  • New Delhi India (7 branches) - 3
  • Olongapo Philippines (7 branches) - 1 
  • Pamplona Philippines (7 branches) - 3
  • Panabo Philippines (5 branches) - 3
  • Phnom Penh Cambodia East (5 branches) - 3 
  • Placer Philippines (8 branches) - 3 
  • Rajahmundry India (5 branches) - 3
  • Roxas Philippines Isabela (6 branches) - 3
  • San Antonio Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • San Carlos Philippines (7 branches) - 3
  • San Jose Mindoro Philippines Occidental (6 branches) - 3
  • Santa Cruz Zambales Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Solano Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Surigao Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Tagum Philippines (6 branches) - 3
  • Toledo Philippines (8 branches) - 3
  • Tolosa Philippines (10 branches) - 2
  • Udorn Thailand  (8 branches) - 1
  • Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East (5 branches) - 2
CARIBBEAN
  • Azua Dominican Republic (6 branches) - 3
  • Barahona Dominican Republic  (7 branches) - 3
  • Mandeville Jamaica (5 branches) - 3
  • San Pedro Dominican Republic (8 branches) - 3 
CENTRAL AMERICA
  • Cayo Belize (7 branches) - 2
  • Granada, Nicaragua (5 branches) - 3
  • Los Tuxtla México (9 branches) -2
  • Manzanillo México (7 branches) - 3
  • Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua (5 branches) - 3
  • Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa Guatemala (9 branches) - 3
  • Senahu Guatemala (8 branches) - 2
  • Solola Guatemala (7 branches) - 2
  • Tamaulipas México Río Bravo (5 branches) - 3
  • Ticul México (8 branches) - 3
EUROPE
  • Algarve Portugal  (7 branches) - 3
  • Novosibirsk Russia (9 branches) - 2 
  • León Spain (7 branches) - 3
  • Santiago Spain (8 branches) - 3
NORTH AMERICA
  • Laredo Texas (7 branches) - 2
  • Traverse City Michigan (7 branches) - 3
OCEANIA
  • Kwajalein Marshall Islands (5 branches) - 3
  • Namoneas Chuuk (9 branches) - 2
  • Taveuni  Fiji (12 branches) - 3
  • Townsville Australia (6 branches) - 3
SOUTH AMERICA
  • Alto Hospicio Chile (6 branches) - 3
  • Apucarana Brazil (5 branches) - 3 
  • Armenia Colombia (6 branches) - 3
  • Boa Vista Brazil (5 branches) - 2
  • Botucatu Brazil  (6 branches) - 3
  • Concepción Argentina (6 branches) - 3
  • Coronel Oviedo Paraguay (8 branches) - 2
  • Corrientes Argentina (6 branches) - 3
  • Florida Uruguay (6 branches) - 3
  • Guadalupe Perú La Libertad (6 branches) - 3
  • Ibague Colombia (7 branches) - 2
  • Juazeiro Brazil (5 branches) - 2
  • Loja Ecuador (6 branches) - 3
  • Manizales Colombia (5 branches) - 3
  • Necochea Argentina (7 branches) - 3
  • Ovalle Chile (7 branches) - 3 
  • Paita Perú (5 branches) - 3
  • Palmira Colombia (7 branches) - 3
  • Popayan Colombia (5 branches) - 3
  • Rio Paraná Argentina (6 branches) - 3
  • Santa Marta Colombia (8 branches) - 2
  • Santa Rosa Ecuador (7 branches) - 2
  • Talara Perú (5 branches) - 3
  • Tarapoto Perú (5 branches) - 3
  • Tarma Perú (7 branches) - 3
  • Três Corações Brazil (8 branches) - 2
  • Tulua Colombia (6 branches) - 3
  • Virú Perú (5 branches) -3

Monday, April 4, 2016

New Temples Announcement - Analysis

Belem, Brazil
The Belem Brazil Temple is the Church's ninth temple to be announced in Brazil and the second temple to be announced for the Amazon Basin. Missionaries serving in the Brazil Belem Mission have speculated that a temple would be announced in Belem for many years due to distance from the nearest operating temple in Manaus. The new temple is the Church's first temple in Para State - previously the third most populous Brazilian state without a temple with 8.2 million inhabitants. The Belem Brazil Temple will likely service 10 stakes and two districts in the eastern Amazon. There are currently five stakes in the Belem metropolitan area.

The Church in Brazil continues to report steady growth in many areas. Potential for future growth remains high. A recent article in the Deseret news noted that Elder Claudio R.M. Costa stated, “My vision for the church in Brazil in 50 years is 1,000 stakes and hundreds of missions.” Currently the Church in Brazil has 259 stakes, 38 districts, and 34 missions. Prospects appear favorable for the announcement of additional temples in Brazil within the coming years in locations such as Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, and Salvador. Brazil currently ties with Canada as the country with the third most temples.

Quito, Ecuador
Ecuador was previously the country with the most members with only one temple prior to the announcement of the Quito Ecuador Temple. There are currently six stakes in the Quito metropolitan area. The new temple will likely service 12 stakes and one district in northern Ecuador.

The new temple has a special significance due to its close proximity to the Otavalo (Imbabura Highland) Quichua people. The Otavalo have exhibited strong receptivity to the Church since proselytism began in the late 1960s. Missionaries and members report that the two stakes in the small city of Otavalo number among the strongest and most self-sufficient in the Church in Ecuador. For more information on LDS outreach among the Otavalo, click here.

Lima, Peru (Second Temple)
The Lima metropolitan area is the Church's first metropolitan area outside of the United States to have two temples as a result of the announcement of a second temple in Lima. The official name for the new temple has yet to be released. The Church in Lima operates 42 stakes - the second most stakes in any metropolitan area outside of the United States after Mexico City, Mexico. The current Lima Peru Temple is located in the La Molina District on the east-central side of the metropolitan area. North-central Lima, such as in the Independencia or Los Olivos neighborhoods, appears the most likely location for the future temple. The new temple may service 20-30 stakes in the Lima area. A case study that examines LDS growth trends in Lima can be found here.

There are now four temples in Peru announced or in operation. Peru now ranks as the country with the sixth most temples.

Harare, Zimbabwe
The Harare Zimbabwe Temple is the Church's seventh temple to be announced in Africa. Based on year-end 2014 membership data, the Church in Zimbabwe was the country with the second most members without a temple prior to the April 2016 announcement. The Church in Zimbabwe has experienced more conservative growth than many other nearby African nations although periods of rapid growth have occurred. There are currently six stakes, two districts, and 72 official congregations (35 wards, 37 branches). There are currently three stakes in Harare. The Church organized its first stake in Zimbabwe in 1999. At least eight stakes and seven districts in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and northern Mozambique appear likely to be assigned to the new temple.