Friday, September 12, 2014

New Temple Prediction Map

As part of my biannual tradition to discuss likely predictions for new temples that may be announced in General Conference, I have included my most recent map of locations which I think are most likely to have temples announced within the foreseeable future. I have not added any new locations to this map within the past six months as there have not appeared to have been any major developments during this period that would warrant additional locations to be added to the map. However, the formation of new stakes in Southeast Asia and Cape Verde during this period suggest that both of these locations appear more probable for future temples in the coming years.

Based on President Monson's statements last conference about the Church concentrating on completing temples that have already been announced or that are under construction, I do not predict that any temples will be announced this coming October General Conference. However, if any temples are announced, I would predict the following five as the most likely based on recent church growth developments:
  1. Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
  2. Praia, Cape Verde
  3. Puebla, Mexico
  4. Pocatello, Idaho
  5. Bangkok, Thailand or Phnom Penh, Cambodia

View Potential New Temples in a larger map

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

General Conference Talks in Other Languages

Several news media outlets such as the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune report that beginning this October General Conference, the Church will permit speakers to give their talks in their native language. Cited as an example of the internationalization of the LDS Church, this change in policy has been long overdue and may improve the perception of the compatibility of the Church with other cultures and societies. Additionally, this development may indicate that additional progress will be made with the calling of General Authorities who do not speak English at all in the coming months and years ahead.

The Church has made some significant progress translating its General Conference proceedings to a wider audience. In 1988, General Conference was translated into only 12 languages (see article). Currently the Church reports that proceedings are translated into 94 languages, although only 70 of these languages can be accessed via the Church's website.

Utilizing English as the Church's language for administration has significantly simplified its operations, but has also conveyed a sense that it is Ameri-centric and reinforces centralization. I am curious what steps the Church will take to translate General Conference talks given in the speaker's native language into languages other than English. I imagine that these talks will likely be translated first into English, and then into other languages. The Church has utilized Spanish translations for many years to translate talks into Amerindian languages such as Aymara, Q'eqchi', and Quichua, and this pattern would likely be easiest and most efficient for translation. However, like a game of telephone, nuances and deeper meanings may be lost through this process, which creates challenges for maintaining doctrinal purity and ensuring translations are accurate.

On a topic related to translation work, the Church recently updated its statistical page on mormonnewsroom.org and now reports 189 published languages. This new total is 13 higher than the total provided in 2011. Unfortunately, the Church has not published a comprehensive list of all languages into which it has translated at least one church material. If anyone has information on what languages have recently had materials translated, please comment. See here for my missiology encyclopedia entry on "Languages with LDS Materials."


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First New Stake Created in Chile Since 1998

Last Sunday, the Church organized a new stake in Chile. The Coquimbo Chile Stake was organized from the Coquimbo Chile District and most of the six branches became wards. This marks a significant development for the Church in Chile as no new stakes have been organized in the country since the massive consolidation of 42 stakes between 2000 and 2005. The creation of the Coquimbo Chile Stake may signal at least some tangible improvements in member activity rates in some locations. However, the Church in Chile has experienced a net decline in the number of wards and branches thus far in 2014, indicating ongoing problems with rectifying some of the most problematic member activity and convert retention problems ever experienced in the worldwide Church.

There are now 75 stakes and 21 districts in Chile.

Second Stake Created in the Republic of the Congo

Last Sunday, a new stake was created in the Republic of the Congo. The second stake to ever operate in the country, the Makelekele Republic of Congo Stake was organized from a division of the Brazzaville Republic of Congo Stake and includes the following five wards: the BaCongo, Guynemer, Kinsoundi, Makelekele, and Mfilou Wards. The Church originally organized the Brazzaville Republic of Congo Stake in 2003.

Monday, September 1, 2014

First LDS Member Group Opens in the Northern DR Congo

Mission leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission report that a member group now assembles in Kisangani and that 32 converts were recently baptized into the group. The operation of the Kisangani Group constitutes the first time that the Church has operated in the northern half of the DR Congo and has occurred shortly after the Church organized its first member group in Bukavu located near the Burundi/Rwanda border.

See below for a map of known LDS congregations in the DR Congo outside of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.



View Wards and Branches outside of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi (DR Congo) in a larger map

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 2014 Cumorah.com Newsletter

Please click here to access our August edition of our monthly newsletter for cumorah.com. The newsletter provides updates on recent church growth and missionary developments, locations opened or closed to the Church, and new resources posted on our website.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Stakes in Florida and Utah

Last Sunday, two new stakes were created in the United States.

In Florida, the Church organized a new stake in south Florida. The Boynton Beach Florida Stake was organized from a division of the Pompano Beach Florida Stake and includes the following five wards: the Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, and West Palm Beach (Spanish) Wards. The creation of the new stake may signal progress in the Church rectifying past inactivity problems and accelerating "real growth" in the area as the Church discontinued a stake in south Florida back in 2008 (Miami Florida Spanish).

There are now 27 stakes in Florida.

In Utah, the Church organized a new stake from the Alpine Utah North Stake. The Draper Utah Suncrest Stake includes the following six wards: Eagle Crest 1st, Eagle Crest 2nd, Eagle Crest 3rd, Suncrest 1st, Suncrest 2nd, and Suncrest 3rd Wards. There are now 573 stakes in Utah.

Friday, August 1, 2014

July 2014 Newsletter

Click here to access our July 2014 newsletter for cumorah.com providing updates on recent LDS missionary and church growth news, and recently added resources to our website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Four Branches in Techiman, Ghana

As part of a continued emphasis by missions in the Africa West Area to implement a church-planting approach colloquially called "The Sunyani Model," the Ghana Kumasi Mission has recently organized its third and fourth branches in the medium-sized city of Techiman, Brong Ahafo Region. The Church orchestrated the opening of Techiman to missionary activity in mid-2013 and simultaneously established multiple member groups to hasten outreach expansion and maximize the saturation of LDS proselytism efforts. These efforts have yielded good results just a year later, asare now four branches that are each led by a local branch president. If the Church were to have followed a more traditional approach to opening Techiman to proselytism that advocates for splitting branches once they become too large to effectively administer, it would have likely taken many years or even a decade or more for four branches to operate in the city.

See below for a map of the four Techiman branches.


View Wards and Branches in the Ghana Kumasi Mission in a larger map

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cumorah.com Back Online!

Cumorah.com is back and functioning well thanks to our website designer Zeeshan Ahmad. For those of you who may be less familiar with our website, here's a brief synopsis of what resources you can access:
  • Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac - We have posted the country and regional profiles on our book for several years now. These profiles examine geography, demographics, history, culture, economy, religious freedom, the status of LDS outreach in the most populous cities, LDS history, membership growth, congregational growth, activity and retention, language materials, meetinghouses, health and safety, and humanitarian and development work. An analytical section also examines how contextual factors have influenced LDS growth trends. Over 200 countries, dependencies, and territories worldwide are examined in this work. Although most of the profiles have not been updated in two or three years, I will be posting the most recently updated profiles on the site within the coming months, which are current as of mid-2013.
  • Law of the Harvest: Practical Principles of Effective Missionary Work - David Stewart has provided his entire book for free on .html and .pdf formats. I just noticed the.pdf format for download is not working and we will get the issue resolved as soon as possible.
  • LDS International Atlas - This web-based atlas uses Google Maps to display the Church's missions, stakes, districts, wards, branches, and known member groups. There are also country-by-country maps displaying the most populous cities without an LDS presence, the status of LDS outreach by each ethnolinguistic group with 100 or more people, and the estimated number and percentage of members by administrative division (i.e. province or state). The atlas is updated on a daily basis.
  • Case Studies - We have posted approximately 180 case studies that examine a wide array of topics pertaining to LDS growth and missionary work. Older case studies are listed alphabetically and can be found here, whereas more recently written case study are categorized by topic and can be accessed on the homepage.We will be adding 20 additional case studies on the coming weeks that were recently written.
  • Missiology Encyclopedia - This online encyclopedia identifies, defines, and analyzes nearly 80 terms of interest to the study of LDS growth and missionary work. Most of the encyclopedia entries are posted on the site, with the remainder to be posted in the coming months.
  • Monthly Newsletters - Since October 2012, we have posted a monthly newsletter that provides updates on recent LDS growth and missionary developments. Recently added or updated articles and resources on cumorah.com are also identified. 
  • Quotes to Live By Quotation Database - Over 2,000 quotes compiled by David Stewart that supplement practical and effective missionary programs.
  • Multilingual Scriptures - Compare books in two different language versions of your choice.
  • LDS Gospel Library E-texts and LDS and World E-texts - 225 e-texts available in 30 categories.
  • Non-English LDS Resources - Translations of various missionary materials in many languages.
  • LDS Missionary and International Links - English and  non-English.
  • Photos - We will be posting thousands of international photos in the coming months.
  • Additional Articles - Some of these articles or works in progress include David Stewart's LDS Church Growth, Member Activity, and Convert Retention: Review and Analysis and Discussions with My Friend: An Introduction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Future Resources - We have been working on an introductory guide to the study of missiology (Missiology Guide) and a Review and an Analysis of the Hastening the Work of Salvation Initiative, including its influence on LDS growth trends and missionary work.
If you have any suggestions on the development of additional resources, please comment.