Monday, May 27, 2024

Tshiluba Translation of the Book of Mormon Complete

The Church recently completed its Tshiluba translation of the Book of Mormon that can be accessed here. Tshiluba is the primary language spoke in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - an area that has experienced some of the most impressive growth in the Church. Tshiluba is spoken by approximately 6-7 million people.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Juba Branch Reopens in South Sudan

Today, the Church reinstated the Juba Branch in South Sudan. The Juba Branch was initially organized in November of 2009, but the branch closed in 2013 due to civil war and political instability. A member group operated in Juba prior to the reinstatement of the new branch. The new branch is under the direct supervision of the Uganda Kampala Mission. The population of South Sudan is approximately 11-13 million people. So far, there do not appear to be plans to assign full-time missionaries to South Sudan.

Prospects for rapid growth appeared favorable in the late 2000s prior to independence. At the time, the Church operated the Juba Branch with groups in additional cities such as Akobo and Nyamlel. There were groups of several thousand who requested baptism but were not baptized due to a lack of church infrastructure in the country, most notably in remote Nyamlel. Official church operations ceased by the mid-2010s due to war. Nevertheless, progress has been made with outreach among South Sudanese living abroad. A senior missionary couple began South Sudanese-specific outreach in Salt Lake City in 2019, and a Dinka/Nuer-speaking branch opened in 2021. The Church has had many South Sudanese converts join the Church in the United States, Uganda, Kenya, and Australia in particular. The first South Sudanese branch operated in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid-2000s, but the branch closed by the late 2000s.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Guinea-Bissau Assigned to the Cape Verde Praia Mission

The West African country of Guinea-Bissau was recently assigned to the Cape Verde Praia Mission. This marks the first time that Guinea-Bissau has been assigned to a mission, as the country has been under the administration of the Africa West Area through the Africa West Area Branch for many years. Guinea-Bissau has a population of approximately 2.2 million. Muslims constitute half of the population, whereas Christians and followers of folk religions comprise most of the other half of the population. The Church reported 45 Latter-day Saints in Guinea-Bissau as of year-end 2013, but there has never been an official congregation of the Church that has operated in the country. More recent membership information is unavailable. The assignment of Guinea-Bissau to the Cape Verde Praia Mission may signal imminent plans to establish an official Church presence in the country.

Guinea-Bissau ranks among the poorest and least economically developed countries of the world. Poverty is widespread and its porous borders have often attracted illegal activity, especially with drug smuggling into Europe. Moreover, the lack of an official United States diplomatic presence in the country has likely deterred area leaders to pursue formal proselytism in the country given the Church has often heavily relied upon American mission and area leaders to expand missionary activity into previously unreached areas. Nevertheless, there are excellent opportunities for growth if missionary work and a formal Church establishment are pursued in Guinea-Bissau, as there is religious freedom, little conflict between religious groups, and widespread use of several languages such as Portuguese, Bissau Guinean Creole, and Pulaar (a Fulani language). Moreover, many Bissau-Guineans have joined the Church in Europe, particularly in Portugal. The assignment of the country to the Cape Verde Praia Mission permits Portuguese mission resources to be utilized in Guinea-Bissau, as there are no other Portuguese-speaking countries West Africa.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Unprecedented Growth in East Africa

Within the past 2-3 years, the Church has begun to experience unprecedented growth in East Africa where countries have historically ranked among the least reached in the world by Latter-day Saints (and among the slowest growth for the Church in Africa). In this post, I will briefly summarize historical growth trends in East Africa, describe current growth trends and significant developments, and offer predictions for the foreseeable future.

INTRODUCTION

East Africa is traditionally defined as containing countries that stretch from Eritrea, South Sudan, and Ethiopia in the north, to Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the south, to Zambia, Madagascar and Indian Ocean nations in the east, and Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda to the west. With a population of approximately half a billion people, East Africa is the most populous region of Africa and has presented many opportunities for growth which have not been taken advantage of by mission and area presidencies for decades. Consequently, extremely few mission and area resources have been allocated to East Africa notwithstanding political stability, religious freedom, and enormous populations that have often been receptive to the Latter-day Saint gospel message in the past 25 years. For example, in 2000 there were only three missions in all of East Africa that were headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya (organized in 1991); Harare, Zimbabwe (organized in 1987); and Antananarivo, Madagascar (organized in 1998). In fact, several of these nations did not have a Church presence established until relatively recently, such as Malawi (2000), Rwanda (2008), and Burundi (presence reestablished in 2010 after a brief period of an official presence in the early 1990s). Several nations today do not have any official branches, such as South Sudan (used to have one branch for a couple years in the late 2000s/early 2010s), Eritrea, Djibouti (used to have a military branch), Somalia (used to have a branch in Mogadishu primarily comprised of foreigners), Comoros, and Mayotte (officially part of France; very small branch used to operate until approximately 10-15 years ago). With only a few exceptions, most of the countries in East Africa have generally reported slow to moderate membership and congregational growth rates. Also, the Church has generally reported a presence in only a handful of cities in most East African countries. Rural communities in East Africa are almost entirely unreached by the Church. The only examples of branches functioning in rural communities in East Africa are in a few isolated locations in Kenya, Madagascar, and Uganda.

The creation of the Africa Central Area with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya in 2020 has been a major catalyst that has appeared primarily responsible for the recent surge in growth that has occurred in most of the countries in East Africa. Prior to the creation of the new area, there were only two administrative areas in Africa: the Africa West Area and the Africa Southeast Area (later renamed the Africa South Area). Although the Africa Central Area also includes Central Africa, the area's headquarters in East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya has appeared to favor greater focus and expansion into East Africa more than Central Africa due to closer geographic proximity. Furthermore, the number of missions in East Africa has increased significantly from 3 in 2000 to 5 in 2010 and 9 in 2020. By mid-2024, the Church will have 11 missions in the area. Another major catalyst for recent growth in some countries has been greater use of local languages rather than English, such as Swahili and Kinyarwanda.

SUMMARY OF RECENT GROWTH DEVELOPMENTS

See below for a summary of many of the recent developments in regard to rapid growth in East Africa. Click on the country name that is in bold to access the updated statistical profile on cumorah.com (most profiles have been updated with 2023 figures, and the ones that have not been updated yet will soon be updated).

  • Burundi - The number of branches has doubled from four to eight since January 2024. The Church organized its first branches in four additional cities since January, including Cibitoke (location where a mission president visited hundreds who wanted to join the Church approximately 13-14 years ago but were told to wait until the Church is better established), Gitega, Muzinda, and Ngozi. Never in the Church's history in modern times has the Church in a country gone from official branches in only one city to five cities within so short a period of time. Church membership grew from 823 in 2021 to 1,541 in 2023. The Bujumbura Burundi District was created in 2021, and today there are four branches in the district. The population of Burundi is 13.2 million.
  • Ethiopia - Three new branches were organized in Addis Ababa in 2022 and 2023. A new group was just organized on the outskirts of Addis Ababa in Burayu. The population of Ethiopia is 127 million.
  • Kenya -  Annual membership growth rates have been sustained at 9-10% for 2022 and 2023. Membership grew in 2023 at the fastest rate reported since 2009. The number of wards and branches increased from 54 at year-end 2021 to 69 at present. The Church organized its first branches in six cities/towns/villages in 2023. A third stake was organized in Nairobi in 2023. The population of Kenya is 55.1 million.
  • Madagascar - Church membership increased by 7.1% in 2023 - the highest annual percentage growth rate for membership since 2012. Two new stakes have been organized since 2022, and there are now four stakes and two districts. The population of Madagascar is 30.3 million.
  • Malawi - Church membership increased by 23.4% in 2023 - the highest annual percentage growth rate for membership since 2011. There are now 4,776 Latter-day Saints in Malawi. The number of branches in Malawi increased from 8 to 13 between 2020 and 2023. The population of Malawi is 20.9 million.
  • Mozambique - Church membership increased by more than 6,000 in 2023 to 24,733 by the end of the year - a 34.1% annual increase and one of the largest annual net increases in membership for the entire worldwide Church. Mozambique ranked as the country with the highest membership growth rate in 2023 among countries with publicly released membership totals. Mozambique is also the East African country with the second most Latter-day Saints. However, Church-reported membership comprises a mere 0.073% of the population (one Latter-day Saint per 1,371 people). The number of wards and branches in Mozambique increased by 23.2% in 2023, as there were 13 new wards/branches organized. There are 18 cities with an official ward or branches - 6 of which had their first ward or branch organized since 2022 (and all six of these cities are located in southern Mozambique). Two new stakes and one new district were organized in Mozambique in 2023. The population of Mozambique is 33.9 million.
  • Rwanda - The number of branches has increased from four to nine since 2021, and the first branch outside of Kigali was created in Nyamata in 2022. The Rwanda Kigali Mission was organized in 2022 to service Rwanda, Burundi, and some eastern portions of the DR Congo. Church membership in Rwanda increased from 843 in 2021 to 1,537 in 2023. The population of Rwanda is 14.1 million.
  • Tanzania - Church membership increased by nearly 1,000 in 2023 which was a 32.3% annual increase - the highest reported by the Church in Tanzania since 1998-1999 when there were less than 500 members. The Church reported 3,969 members as of year-end 2023. The number of branches has proliferated from 10 in 2020 to 27 today. Most of these new branches have been organized in Dar Es Salaam where there are now 18 branches. Three new districts have been organized since 2022 in Dar Es Salaam (Chang'ombe), Arusha, and Mwanza. The number of cities with an official branch has increased in the past three years from 3 to 5 with the creation of branches in Moshi (2021) and Dodoma (2023). The population of Tanzania is 67.4 million.
  • Uganda - The Church organized its first branches in three previously unreached cities in 2023 and 2024 (Bukomero, Kalisizo, and Mbarara), thereby increasing the number of cities/towns/villages with at least one ward or branch to 18. The population of Uganda is 48.6 million.
  • Zambia - Church membership increased by 11.2% in 2023 to 5,906 - the most rapid membership growth reported by the Church in Zambia since 2014. A third branch was created in Kitwe. The population of Zambia is 20.6 million.
  • Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe became the first country in East Africa to reach 100 official congregations during 2023, as the number of wards/branches increased from 91 to 100 during the year. Church membership increased by 7.8% in 2023 - the highest annual membership growth rate seen in Zimbabwe since 2013. The Church organized its first branches in five cities between 2000 and 2023, raising the number of cities/towns/villages with a ward or branch to 26. Zimbabwe is the East African country with the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population, at 0.25%, or one Latter-day Saint per 404 people. The population of Zimbabwe is 16.7 million.

PROSPECTS FOR FUTURE GROWTH

Growth conditions in East Africa remain highly favorable, and prospects appear good for continued rapid growth so long as reasonably high member activity and convert retention rates are sustained (and the amount of resources allocated to the area continue to increase). Here is a list of likely developments within the next 2-5 years that I believe are likely for East Africa given recent growth trends and future opportunities for growth:

  • Continued National Outreach Expansion:
    • Prospects appear most favorable in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar for the opening of many cities, towns, and villages to missionary work and creating branches.
    • Area and mission leadership may begin to expand outreach in countries where there has been little to no expansion in the past decade, such as Malawi and Zambia.
    • Ethiopia appears unlikely to have much outreach expansion until a solid center of strength is established in Addis Ababa and the district becomes a stake.
  • The Reestablishment of the Church in South Sudan: I have received reports that the Juba Branch may be close to reinstatement. The Church recently obtained registration with the South Sudanese government. Conditions for growth appear highly favorable. South Sudanese have been uniquely receptive to the Latter-day Saint gospel message and often join the Church in other countries, including in East Africa such as Ethiopia and Uganda.
  • The Creation of the First Stakes in Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Rwanda: All of these countries appear likely to have stakes organized in the next 2-5 years, as there are emerging center of strengths that are approaching the minimum requirements to become stakes. 
  • Adoption of Kirundi as an Official Church Language in Burundi and Chichewa as an Official Language in Malawi: Based on the most recent information I have received, Church activities and services remain to be conducted in French and Swahili in Burundi. However, Kirundi is the primary language spoken in Burundi. With the establishment of branches outside of Bujumbura, it appears likely that we will see a transition to Kirundi similar to what was seen in the past few years in Rwanda when the official language of Church operations transitioned from English to Kinyarwanda. The Church in Malawi also seems likely to utilize Chichewa as its official language given this is the predominant language spoke in the country, including in both Church centers in Blantyre and Lilongwe.
  • The Creation of More Missions: Locations that appear most likely to have new missions organized in East Africa during the next 2-5 years include:
    • Bujumbura, Burundi to service Burundi (currently assigned to the Rwanda Kigali Mission)
    • Eldoret, Kenya to service western Kenya (currently assigned to the Kenya Nairobi Mission. The Kenya Nairobi Mission will divide this summer to create a second mission based in Nairobi).
    • Lilongwe, Malawi to service Malawi (currently assigned to the Zambia Lusaka Mission).
    • A second mission in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (currently one mission for the entire country). 
    • A second mission in Kampala, Uganda (currently one mission for the entire country).
    • Third mission in Zimbabwe (most likely scenario appears to be a second mission in Harare). 
  • Additional Temple Announcements: The following locations appear most likely to have temples announced within the next five years (although many of these are likely in 4-5 years out and not in the immediate future). I have ordered these from most likely to least likely to be announced.
    • Kampala, Uganda - Uganda is the country with the most Latter-day Saints without a temple announced or dedicated. Kampala appears one of the most likely locations in the world to have a temple announced in the immediate future.
    • Maputo, Mozambique - There are now three stakes in Maputo, and long distance from Beira suggest that a separate temple in Maputo is highly likely. The Church in Mozambique has experienced some of the most rapid growth in the worldwide Church in the past decade. All seven stakes in Mozambique have been organized since 2015, and more stakes appear likely to be organized in the foreseeable future.
    • Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - There have been two stakes in Bulawayo since 2023, and a third stake appears likely in the foreseeable future. Distance from Harare and a mission in Bulawayo both appear to make Bulawayo a good candidate for a future temple.
    • Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania - Similar to the situation with the recent announcement of the Luanda Angola Temple, the Church in Tanzania has experienced rapid growth in both membership and the number of congregations. The creation of two stakes in Dar Es Salaam appears likely within the next 2-4 years. 
    • Kigali, Rwanda - With sustained rapid growth, the creation of a stake appears likely in the next 1-3 years. A second stake may be a possibility by 2028 or 2029. A temple in Kigali appears more likely than in Burundi due to a highly concentrated membership in Kigali that has also been members of the Church longer (and with historically higher activity rates) than in Burundi.
    • Lusaka, Zambia - This location may be a candidate for a temple, but this would be much more likely if there were two stakes in Lusaka. Unfortunately, the Church in Lusaka has experienced no increase in the number of wards since the stake was organized in 2015.
    • Bujumbura, Burundi - A more remote possibility, Bujumbura may have a temple announced by 2029, especially given rapid growth in neighboring cities in the DR Congo, many of which have had branches just recently organized in the past year (i.e., Bakara, Bukavu, Goma, Kavumu, Kalemie) and where most speak Swahili (commonly spoken in the Bujumbura area). 
    • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The most remote prospect, Addis Ababa may be a site for a temple announcement in 5 years, but this will depend on whether the Church can achieve sufficient growth and member activity to create a stake with prospects of a second stake in the foreseeable future. However, the Church in Ethiopia has struggled for decades with leadership development and low member activity rates which have been exacerbated by a lack of a mission in the country until 2020 and difficulties with full-time missionaries becoming proficient speakers of Amharic.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Membership Growth by US State for 2023

See below for a list of annual membership growth rates by each United States state for the year 2023. Previous lists are available for 2017, 2018, the biennial period of 2020-2021, and 2022. It is important to note that annual membership growth rates by state have improved beyond what was seen immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, there were only five states reporting a net decline in membership for the year (there were 22 during the 2020-2021 period, whereas there were 13 in 2018 and nine in 2017). The states that had the highest percentage growth rates for membership in 2023 were similar to the states reported in 2022, including New York (most rapid membership growth rate since 2002) and South Carolina (most rapid membership growth rate since 2007). The Church in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee continued to report some of the highest membership growth rates in decades in these states. Rhode Island ranked at the top of the list, with membership increasing by over 10% in 2023 (and the highest reported in that state since the mid-1990s). With one of the smallest memberships of any state, Rhode Island is sensitive to even relatively small fluctuations in membership (there were 4,796 Latter-day Saints in Rhode Island as of year-end 2023). California continued to report a net decline in membership (which has occurred year over year since 2014), although this was near zero for the first time in many years (0.05% decrease in membership for 2023). The rate of membership decrease in California was highest during the 2020-2021 period (-2.84%), and membership decline has generally ranged from 0.2-1.0% within the past decade. Membership growth rates in Utah continue to be near historic lows, at a mere 0.78% in 2023. As noted in my analysis for 2022, members moving away from Utah in larger numbers may partially explain low membership growth rates in that state. However, declining birth rates in the Church also likely contribute to slowing membership growth in Utah. Finally, the state with the greatest decline in membership was New Hampshire (-4.92%). However, it is unclear whether this may have been due to membership records or one or more congregations switching from New Hampshire to a neighboring state rather than an actual decline in membership in the area. 

See below for a list of states and the District of Columbia ranked by membership growth rate for 2023:

1. Rhode Island 10.23%
2. South Carolina 3.57%
3. Arkansas 3.46%
4. New York 3.24%
5. Missouri 3.18%
6. Tennessee 3.10%
7. Nebraska 2.80%
8. New Jersey 2.66%
9. Florida 2.61%
10. Delaware 2.19%
11. Georgia 2.08%
12. Indiana 2.06%
13. Iowa 2.05%
14. North Carolina 1.98%
15. Texas 1.93%
16. Oklahoma 1.92%
17. Kentucky 1.86%
18. Maryland 1.84%
19. Alabama 1.78%
20. Wisconsin 1.74%
21. North Dakota 1.70%
22. Massachusetts 1.67%
23. Maine 1.62%
24. Pennsylvania 1.59%
25. West Virginia 1.52%
26. District of Columbia 1.48%
27. Illinois 1.44%
28. Virginia 1.37%
29. Ohio 1.22%
30. Connecticut 1.21%
31. Minnesota 1.18%
32. Alaska 1.11%
33. Kansas 1.11%
34. Michigan 1.09%
35. South Dakota 0.93%
36. Hawaii 0.91%
37. Arizona 0.79%
38. Utah 0.78%
39. Montana 0.68%
40. Louisiana 0.63%
41. New Mexico 0.55%
42. Mississippi 0.49%
43. Idaho 0.47%
44. Nevada 0.45%
45. Colorado 0.32%
46. Washington 0.15%
47. Oregon -0.02%
48. California -0.05%
49. Vermont -0.15%
50. Wyoming -0.16%
51. New Hampshire -4.92%


Sunday, April 28, 2024

List of Countries with the Most Latter-day Saints with One Temple

Below is a list of countries with the most members with only one temple planned or dedicated:

1. Dominican Republic

  • 149,655 members
  • 22 stakes, 9 districts
  • 203 congregations (146 wards, 57 branches)
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple (dedicated in 2000)
2. El Salvador
  • 129,963 members
  • 22 stakes
  • 155 congregations (127 wards, 28 branches)
  • San Salvador El Salvador Temple (dedicated in 2011)

3.  Uruguay

  • 108,060 members
  • 18 stakes, 2 districts
  • 130 congregations (97 wards, 33 branches)
  • Montevideo Uruguay Temple (dedicated in 2001)

4.  Nicaragua

  • 101,907 members
  • 12 stakes, 4 districts
  • 109 congregations (71 wards, 38 branches)
  • Managua Nicaragua Temple (under construction, announced in 2018)

5.  Paraguay

  • 100,121 members
  • 11 stakes, 9 districts
  • 133 congregations (62 wards, 71 branches)
  • Asunción Paraguay Temple (dedicated in 2002)

6. Cote d'Ivoire

  • 63,058 members
  • 20 stakes, 12 districts
  • 262 congregations (154 wards, 108 branches)
  • Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple (under construction, announced in 2015)

7.  Panama

  • 61,980 members
  • 7 stakes, 4 districts
  • 75 congregations (43 wards, 32 branches)
  • Panama City Panama Temple (dedicated in 2008)

8.  Costa Rica

  • 54,473 members
  • 10 stakes, 1 district
  • 80 congregations (60 wards, 20 branches)
  • San José Costa Rica Temple (dedicated in 2000)

9.  Portugal

  • 47,916 members
  • 7 stakes, 1 district
  • 62 congregations (41 wards, 21 branches)
  • Lisbon Portugal Temple (dedicated in 2019)

 10.  Zimbabwe

  • 41,262 members
  • 9 stakes, 1 district
  • 100 congregations (63 wards, 37 branches)
  • Harare Zimbabwe Temple (under construction, announced in 2016)

Some observations about this list.

First, several of these countries appear highly likely to have a second temple announced in the immediate future, including the Dominican Republic (Santiago), El Salvador (Santa Ana), and Cote d'Ivoire (Yamoussoukro). However, most other countries do not appear likely to have a second temple announced for the foreseeable future due to low member activity rates and membership and stakes clustered in the city where a temple already operates, such as in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Nevertheless, Zimbabwe (Bulawayo), Portugal (Porto), and Uruguay (a city in central or northern Uruguay) are countries with a moderate likelihood of a second temple announcement.

Second, there are major discrepancies in member activity rates among this list of countries with the most members with only one temple, although most of these countries have very low member activity rates. This is well illustrated by significant differences in the number of stakes and congregations between countries with similarly-sized memberships. For example, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire has 63,058 members organized into 262 congregations, 20 stakes, and 12 districts, whereas the Church in Panama has 61,980 members organized into 75 congregations, 7 stakes, and 4 districts. Countries with higher activity rates are more likely to have a second temple announced before countries with a lower member activity rate. 

Third, the top 10 countries with the most members with only one temple tended to have their first temple dedicated either in the early 2000s or announced/dedicated in the late 2010s. This has correlated with periods of an increase in temple construction.

Fourth, most of these countries (seven) are located in Latin America.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

New Temples Announced in April 2024 Part II: Inside the United States

Yuma Arizona Temple

The Yuma Arizona Temple will be the Church's seventh temple in Arizona following the Mesa Arizona Temple (dedicated in 1927), the Snowflake Arizona Temple (dedicated in 2002), The Gila Valley Arizona Temple (dedicated in 2010), the Gilbert Arizona Temple (dedicated in 2014), the Phoenix Arizona Temple (dedicated in 2014), and the Tuscon Arizona Temple (dedicated in 2017). Thus, the Yuma Arizona Temple is the Church's first temple to be announced in Arizona since President Nelson became president of the Church and since the Church began its period of temple construction expansion. Currently, there is only one stake in Yuma which has seven wards and five branches. However, at one time the Yuma Arizona Stake appeared likely to divide, albeit two wards were discontinued in 2016 followed by another ward more recently. Moreover, the Church used to operate a stake in nearby El Centro, California, although this stake was discontinued in 2023 and the congregations in the former stake were reassigned to the El Cajon California Stake. The new temple will likely service members in the Yuma Arizona Stake (organized in 1958), eastern El Cajon California Stake, the Lake Havasu City Arizona Stake (organized in 1976), the two stakes in Mexicali (organized in 1977 and 1987), and one stake in San Luis Río Colorado (organized in 2009). Thus, although added to my list of less likely locations to have a temple organized in 2022, Yuma was a surprising location for the next new temple to be announced in Arizona, as there are several other locations with more stakes that appeared likely to have a temple announced (e.g., Queen Creek, Goodyear, Flagstaff). The Church reported 442,879 Latter-day Saints in Arizona as of year-end 2023. Yuma is currently assigned to the San Diego California Temple. Arizona ranked as the state with the 38th most rapid membership growth in 2023 at 0.79%.

Houston Texas South Temple

The Houston Texas South Temple is the Church's ninth temple in Texas and its second temple in the Houston metropolitan area. Other temples in Texas include the Dallas Texas Temple (dedicated in 1984), the Houston Texas Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Lubbock Texas Temple (dedicated in 2002), the San Antonio Texas Temple (dedicated in 2005), the McAllen Texas Temple (dedicated in 2023), the Fort Worth Texas Temple (announced in 2021), the Austin Texas Temple (announced in April 2022), and the McKinney Texas Temple (announced in October 2022). The new temple will likely service 8-10 stakes in southern Houston and surrounding areas. The current Houston Texas Temple district has 22 stakes. The southern Houston area has generally experienced slow, but steady, growth within the past couple decades, whereas the Church has reported generally rapid growth in northern areas of the Houston metropolitan area. The Church reported 385,600 Latter-day Saints in Texas as of year-end 2023. South Houston was added to the list of less likely locations to have a temple announced in February 2023. Texas was ranked as the state with the 15th most rapid membership growth in 2023 at 1.93%.

Des Moines Iowa Temple

The Des Moines Iowa Temple is the Church's first temple to be announced for Iowa. Prior to the announcement, Iowa was the state with the second most Latter-day Saints without a temple, as there were 29,285 members as of year-end 2023. Church membership grew by 2.05% in 2023 - the highest seen since 2015. Iowa ranked as the state with the 13th most rapid membership growth in 2023. Overall, the Church in Iowa has reported slow to moderate growth rates for the past 2-3 decades. The most recently organized stake was the Des Moines Iowa Mount Pisgah Stake which was organized in 2016. There are three stakes in the greater Des Moines metropolitan area (one of which is in Ames and organized in 1995). The first stake in Des Moines was created in 1970. The new temple will likely have five stakes assigned to the temple district (two of which are in eastern Iowa in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City). Stakes in the Des Moines area are assigned to the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple, whereas stakes in eastern Iowa are assigned to the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.

Cincinnati Ohio Temple

The Cincinnati Ohio Temple is the Church's third temple in Ohio following the Columbus Ohio Temple (dedicated in 1999) and the Cleveland Ohio Temple (announced in April 2022). The first temple dedicated in the Church in this dispensation was in Kirtland, Ohio, which was recently reacquired by the Community of Christ, although this temple was never a fully functioning temple like other temples in the Church today. The temple in Cincinnati will likely have at six stakes assigned from Cincinnati (3) and Dayton (3). The first stake in Cincinnati was organized in 1958 (followed by two more stakes in 1985 and 2004), whereas the first stake in Dayton was organized in 1970 (followed by two more stakes in 1979 and 2021). The Church has experienced slow, but steady, growth in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. The Church recently acquired property in the northern Cincinnati metropolitan area that appears to be a likely site for the new temple. Stakes in the Cincinnati area are assigned to the Columbus Ohio Temple (which currently has 18 stakes assigned) and the Louisville Kentucky Temple (which currently has nine stakes assigned). Ohio ranked as 29th for membership growth in 2023 (1.22%). Cincinnati was added to the list of less likely locations to have a temple announced in September 2022.

Honolulu Hawaii Temple

The Honolulu Hawaii Temple is the Church's fourth temple in Hawaii following the Laie Hawaii Temple (dedicated in 1919), the Kona Hawaii Temple (dedicated in 2000), and the Kahului Hawaii Temple (announced in October 2023). Except for the North Island of New Zealand, Oahu is the first island in Polynesia to have a second temple announced. Honolulu is the only location I added in March 2024 to the list of less likely locations to have a temple announced that had a temple announced this past conference. The reason why I added Honolulu to the list was due to greater accessibility to the temple where half of the island's Latter-day Saints reside. Also, a temple in Honolulu would permit the temple in Laie to just serve the stakes in Laie and BYU-Hawaii. The new temple will likely service six stakes in southern Oahu, which would leave five stakes assigned to the Laie Hawaii temple (all of which are located in Laie). The first stake in Honolulu was organized in 1955, whereas the first stake in Laie was organized in 1935. Slow to stagnant growth has occurred on Oahu within the past couple decades. Hawaii ranked as the state with the 37th most rapid membership growth rate in 2023 (0.91%), and this percentage growth rate for 2023 was the highest seen in Hawaii in nearly a decade. The most recently organized stake on Oahu was at BYU-Hawaii in 2004.

West Jordan Utah Temple

The West Jordan Utah Temple will be the Church's 29th temple in Utah following the St. George Utah Temple (announced in 1871, dedicated in 1877), the Logan Utah Temple (announced in 1876, dedicated in 1884), the Manti Utah Temple (announced in 1875, dedicated in 1888), the Salt Lake Temple (announced in 1847, dedicated in 1893), the Ogden Utah Temple (announced in 1967, dedicated in 1972), the Provo Utah Temple (announced in 1967, dedicated in 1972), the Jordan River Utah Temple (announced in 1978, dedicated in 1981), the Bountiful Utah Temple (announced in 1990, dedicated in 1995), the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple (announced in 1992, dedicated in 1996), the Vernal Utah Temple (announced in 1994, dedicated in 1997), the Monticello Utah Temple (announced in 1997, dedicated in 1998), the Draper Utah Temple (announced in 2004, dedicated in 2009), the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple (announced in 2005, dedicated in 2009), the Brigham City Utah Temple (announced in 2009, dedicated in 2012), the Payson Utah Temple (announced in 2010, dedicated in 2015), the Provo City Center Temple (announced in 2011, dedicated in 2016), Cedar City Utah Temple (announced in 2013, dedicated in 2017), the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple (announced in 2017, dedicated in 2023), the Layton Utah Temple (announced in 2018, scheduled for dedication in 2024), the Red Cliffs Utah Temple (announced in 2018, dedicated in 2024), the Deseret Peak Utah Temple (announced in 2019), the Orem Utah Temple (announced in 2019, scheduled for dedication in 2024), the Taylorsville Utah Temple (announced in 2019, scheduled for dedication in 2024), the Syracuse Utah Temple (announced in 2020), the Lindon Utah Temple (announced in 2020), the Smithfield Utah Temple (announced in 2021), the Ephraim Utah Temple (announced in 2021), and the Heber City Utah Temple (announced in 2021). West Jordan was the only temple that was not officially on my list of likely temples to be announced, although it is very close to where I predicted a temple that was not announced (the Cottonwood Heights/Holladay/Sandy area). I was also surprised that this temple was announced instead of the long anticipated temple in the Herriman area where the Church acquired land approximately 15-20 years ago. The new temple will likely be within five miles of each of the three nearest temples in the area, including the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple (43 stakes in temple district), the Jordan River Utah Temple (62 stakes in temple district - many of which will be reassigned to the new Taylorsville Utah Temple), and the Taylorsville Utah Temple (anticipated to have 37 stakes in temple district). The decision to announce the new temple has followed the pattern of having large Utah temples to have 20-25 stakes per temple district at a minimum. The new temple will likely have 20-30 stakes assigned depending on how the temple district boundaries are drawn. The first stake organized in West Jordan was created in 1927.

Lehi Utah Temple

The Lehi Utah Temple will be the Church's 30th temple in Utah. The Church has reported rapid growth in the Lehi area within the past two decades, as scores of new stakes have been organized in Lehi and surrounding cities in north Utah County. Lehi has been a location listed on my temple predictions map as a more likely location to have a temple announced for many years. The new temple will likely have 20-30 stakes assigned to the temple district. Stakes in the Lehi area are currently assigned to the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple (34 stakes assigned) and the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple (42 stakes assigned). The first stake created in Lehi was organized in 1928. Utah ranked as 39th for membership growth rates by state in 2023 at 0.78%, which was at nearly the same percentage as for the year 2019 (0.79%). With 635 stakes in Utah at present, the average temple will now have 21.2 stakes assigned to each temple district.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Updating Country Statistical Profiles on Cumorah.com

I will be updating the country profiles on cumorah.com in the coming weeks. Click here to access the updated profile for Angola with statistics through 2023.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake - April 2024 Edition

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2023 and congregational and district totals are current. Estimated membership for mainland China and Pakistan is provided as official statistics are unavailable. The number of branches 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 - 12,500 members? - 12 districts
  2. Malaysia - 11,086 members - 24 branches - 5 districts
  3. Guyana - 6,834 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  4. Pakistan - 6,000 members? - 15 branches, 4 districts
  5. Belize - 5,631 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  6. Malawi - 4,776 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  7. Tanzania - 3,969 members - 27 branches - 4 districts
  8. Armenia - 3,572 members - 7 branches - 1 district
  9. Romania - 3,103 members - 15 branches - 1 district
  10. Cameroon - 3,071 members - 16 branches - 2 districts
  11. Bulgaria - 2,414 members - 7 branches - 1 district
  12. Eswatini - 2,253 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  13. Ethiopia - 2,193 members - 8 branches - 1 district
  14. Poland - 2,178 members - 11 branches - 1 district
  15. Cook Islands - 1,888 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  16. Suriname - 1,848 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  17. Sri Lanka - 1,674 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  18. Lesotho - 1,562 members - 6 branches - 1 district 
  19. Burundi - 1,541 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  20. Rwanda - 1,537 members - 9 branches -1  district

As noted in the list from 2023, prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, Eswatini, and Cameroon as all of these countries have at least one district that is close to reaching the minimum qualifications for a stake to operate. However, additional countries also now appear likely to have stakes organized in the next 1-2 years, including Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Suriname. As noted in previous posts, low member activity rates, an insufficient number of branches in individual member districts, slow or stagnant 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.

Monday, April 15, 2024

UPDATED: The 10 Countries with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation - April 2024

I have updated the list of the countries with the most members without a temple using year-end 2023 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for May 2023, April 2022, March 2022, November 2020, April 2020, April 2019, October 2018, April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007. Countries in Italics do not have a stake. Mongolia was removed from this list given the announcement of the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia Temple in October of 2023. Zambia has since ascended to the list to replace Mongolia. Benin is the country on the list with the most recent Church establishment. The first branch created in Benin was organized in 2005. Countries that may ascend to this list in the coming months and years include (in order) Malawi, Botswana, Ireland, Tanzania, Armenia, Trinidad and Tobago, Albania, Romania, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, and New Caledonia.

 1. Uganda

  • 22,318 members
  • 3 stakes, 3 districts
  • 43 congregations (18 wards, 25 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Nairobi Kenya Temple under construction)
2. Malaysia
  • 11,086 members
  • 0 stakes, 5 districts
  • 24 congregations (24 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Singapore Republic of Singapore Temple announced)

3.  Togo

  • 7,141 members
  • 3 stakes
  • 26 congregations (19 wards, 7 branches)
  • Ghana Accra Temple

4.  Jamaica

  • 6,846 members
  • 1 stake, 1 district
  • 18 congregations (6 wards, 12 branches)
  • Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple

5.  Guyana

  • 6,834 members
  • 0 stakes, 2 districts
  • 12 congregations (12 branches)
  • Caracas Venezuela Temple

6. Marshall Islands

  • 6,762 members
  • 2 stakes
  • 13 congregations (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • Suva Fiji Temple (Tarawa Kiribati Temple announced)

7.  Benin

  • 6,140 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 30 congregations (21 wards, 9 branches)
  • Accra Ghana Temple (Lagos Nigeria Temple announced)

8.  Federated States of Micronesia

  • 5,940 members
  • 1 stake, 1 district
  • 22 congregations (5 wards, 17 branches)
  • Yigo Guam Temple 

9.  Zambia

  • 5,906 members
  • 1 stake, 2 districts
  • 17 congregations (6 wards, 11 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Harare Zimbabwe Temple under construction)

 10.  Belize

  • 5,631 members
  • 2 districts
  • 12 congregations (12 branches)
  • Guatemala City Guatemala Temple (Coban Guatemala Temple scheduled for dedication)