Sunday, January 27, 2008

Likely Stakes soon to split

Before I begin this post, I wanted to mention that I found two more stakes created in 2007 for a total of 49 all together. There haven't been that many stakes created in a single year in nearly a decade!

In addition to providing a list of possible new districts posted a few weeks ago, I wanted to list some stakes which are likely to split in the next year or two. The order I have them in is not based on most likely to split to least likely to split but rather in geographic order starting with the United States.

United States
  • Willard Utah Stake (17 wards)
  • Cedar City Utah West Stake (14 wards)
  • Highland Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • La Verkin Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Lehi Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Lehi Utah North Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • Provo Utah Stake (14 wards)
  • Pleasant View Utah Stake (13 wards)
  • Payson Utah South Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • Santa Clara Utah Stake (14 wards, 1 branch)
  • Prescott Arizona Stake (13 wards, 2 branches)
  • Queen Creek Arizona South and East Stakes (both have 12 wards)
  • Tucson Arizona North and Rincon Stakes (both have 12 wards)
  • Kuna Idaho Stake (13 wards)
  • Sugar City Idaho Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • Meridian Idaho Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • Parker Colorado Stake (12 wards)
  • Greeley Colorado Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Laramie Wyoming Stake (13 wards)
  • Kearney Nebraska Stake (8 wards, 8 branches)
  • Keizer Oregon Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • Pasco Washington Stake (12 wards, 4 branches)
  • San Antonio Texas North Stake (15 wards, 1 branch)
  • Richardson Texas Stake (13 wards)
  • Carrollton Texas Stake (13 wards, 2 branches)
  • Huntsville Alabama Stake (13 wards)
  • Fort Myers Florida Stake (11 wards, 4 branches)
  • Buena Vista Virginia Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
  • Fredericksberg Virginia Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
  • Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
  • Louisville Kentucky Stake (10 wards, 5 branches)
  • New York New York Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)


  • Lubumbashi DR of Congo Stake (15 wards)
  • Eket Nigeria Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)


  • Tainan Taiwan Stake (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Kaohsiung Taiwan Stake (9 wards, 1 branch)

I will provide information about other large stakes outside of the United States on a future post.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Likely New Missions

Within the next month or so, the Church will announce any new missions being created this Summer following the new Mission Presidents' training at the MTC in Provo, Utah. Generally, the Church announces new missions from late January to mid-Feburary (especially if there's more than one). Something that I have tried to do recently is trying to predict where new missions will be established. To do this, I take several factors into account which are listed below.

  • Level of missionary activity in an existing mission
  • Level of member involvement in missionary work
  • Population living within a given mission (both LDS and total)
  • Government restrictions on proselyting (e.g. no street contacting)
  • Geographic size of a given mission

Many missions are created to minimize time taken for missionaries and mission leadership to travel throughout an existing mission. Sometimes missions created after this fashion may only contain less than a 1,000 members and not even an organized mission district (like in Russia). Othertimes missions are created because the number of people joining the Church is so large it demands more missionaries and leadership (like in Africa). Missions are even created in areas where Church activity is notably low in order to reactivate less active members (like in Chile). However a new mission is created usually in response to all of these factors put together. Below I will list the missions created in 2007 and discuss some likely reasons as to why they were created.

  • Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk
  • Sierra Leone Freetown
  • Puerto Rico San Juan East
  • India New Delhi

Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission:

This mission was likely organized for three main reasons. First, Ukraine is a large country for only two missions to cover. It took a long time for a mission president and missionaries to travel from Donetsk to Dnepropetrovsk where a district had been organized. Second, the membership in central Ukraine will get much more leadership training from a mission closer to them. Lastly, the population of Ukraine is nearly 47 million; more missionaries are needed to teach so many people. Furthermore, central Ukraine is home to many large cities which do not have missionaries or branches in them (like Kryvyy Rih with 690,000 inhabitants). Now with the new mission, cities like Kryvyy Rih will be more likely to open for missionary work.

Sierra Leone Freetown Mission:

This mission was organized for all of the reasons listed towards the beginning of this post. Sierra Leone was originally part of one of the Ghana missions, which was a considerable distance away. Sierra Leone baptizes around 1,000 people a year, making it one of the fastest growing countries for the Church in Africa. Furthermore, it is in the top five countries with the most members without stakes. The population of Sierra Leone and neighboring Liberia (which is also in the new mission) is about 10 million put together, giving the new mission one of the lowest ratios of missionaries to mission population in Africa. This mission will probably serve as a means for the Church in the future to move into surrounding countries which now do not have a current Church presence (like Guinea and Senegal).

Puerto Rico San Juan East Mission:

The reasons for why this mission was organized is very similar to the Sierra Leone Freetown mission. However, the largest difference is that the population for this mission as well as the realigned Puerto Rico San Juan West and Trinidad and Tobago Missions is quite small. The country in the area covered by these three missions which the largest population is Trinidad and Tobago with just over a million people. This is quite typical though for island nations and is something to be easily seen accross the South Pacific and Polynesia. For some reason the Church tends to do very well on islands in most parts of the world (e.g. Cyprus, Cape Verde).

I already wrote about the India New Delhi mission in an earlier post.

Possible New Missions

Below is a list of some likely cities/countries where new missions could be announced this year or in the next few years.

  • Nicaragua Managua(2nd)
  • Brazil Natal
  • Guyana Georgetown
  • Zambia Lusaka
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo Lumbumbashi
  • Malawi Blantyre
  • Tanzania Dar Es Salaam
  • Cameroon Yaounde
  • Togo Lome
  • Thailand Bangkok (2nd)
  • Cambodia Phnom Penh (2nd)
  • East Malaysia
  • Sri Lanka Colombo
  • Russia Krasnodar

As you might notice, all of these potential missions are outside of the United States and Canada. I don't see any new missions being created in this region for quite some time. Generally, a good ratio of population to missions is around 3 million per mission. The United States has over 300 million people, and 106 missions which works out to about one mission for three million people. Mexico is around one mission per five million people and Brazil is one mission per eight million people. It is likely that new missions will be organized soon in Brazil because the ratio is still quite large for a country with high missionary activity.

Keep in mind that a little less than one-third of all the missions in the Church are in the United States, with less than 5% of the world's population. I forsee that most missions in the next five years will be organized in Asia, Africa and Brazil.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Potential Mission Districts

Predicting when and where the Church organizes new mission districts can be very difficult. Sometimes districts mature into stakes, othertimes they are absorbed into surrounding stakes, dissolved or are split into two or more districts. These predictions are not taking into account previously existing, large, spread out districts becoming stakes.
Usually the growth of the Church in an area of the world begins with a few members moving to a city or region of a country where there are no members of the Church. They fellowship friends and associates and over time a group or a mission branch is organized. After several branches have been organized close to each other, a mission district can be organized. Finally, once the branches have grown to a considerable number (both the number of branches and the number of members within the branches) a stake can be established. Stakes generally have between 2,000 and 5,000 members; districts can have anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand members.
Below is a list of probable districts to be organized. The number of potential branches within the district is the number to the right of the name of the possible district.

Bintulu Malaysia 5
Bandung Indonesia 3-4
Coimbatore India 4
Rajahmundry India 5
Vanadzor Armenia 3
Krasnodar Russia 6
Vladivostok Russia 4
Irkutsk Russia 4
Nizhniy Novgorod Russia 3
L'viv Ukraine 4
Bratislava Slovakia 4
Fier Albania 4
Shumen Bulgaria 5
Arad Romania 5
Nyiregyhaza Hungary 4
Athens Greece 3
Addis Ababa Ethiopia 3
Eldoret Kenya 3-5
Marromeu Mozambique 3
Yaounde Cameroon 3
Ogwashi-Uku Nigeria 6
Nyenasi Ghana 3
Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast 3
Chalatenango El Salvador 4
Jacmel Haiti 3
Lakatoro Vanuatu 4
Tafea Vanuatu 3
Aoba Vanuatu 3

There are many cities in the world, especially in countries where the Church is very young, where there are two branches in the city. These cities will probably have districts organized in them within the next couple years and here's a list of some examples

Pointe Noire Republic of the Congo
Lome Togo
Chennai India
Zaporizhzhya Ukraine

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Recent Church Growth News

I decided I should periodically write some of the exciting news I come to find out regarding the growth of the Church occuring right now (or very recently). I'll give an update once a month or so of this nature.

Number of Branches in Suriname triples in the past year

At the end of 2006, there were two branches in the country of Suriname (Paramaribo and Wanica). One branch was organized around the Spring of 2007, the Blauwgrond Branch, and another two where organized a few months later, the Nickerie and Tamenga Branches. Finally, towards the end of 2007, the Uitkijk Branch was organized for a grand total of six in the country. I have not been able to find information regarding baptisms in Suriname for 2007, but in 2006 there was a noticable increase in membership. The second branch in Suriname, the Wanica Branch, was organized in the Fall of 2002.

New Branches in Cambodia

Less than a week ago, I was going through Church unit listings on and I noticed two new branches were created recently in Cambodia. What is so exciting about these branches is that they are in cities which have never had branches before, Siemreap and Kampong Thom. There is only one other city which has a branch in it that is a considerable distance from the capital city of Phnom Penh which is Battambang. Hopefully this indicates an increase in convert baptisms and activity among members, since the number of new branches created in Cambodia has declined in recent years along with baptisms.

47 New Stakes Organized in 2007 and Counting

From information provided by on temple district listings, I have found at least 47 new stakes created in 2007 and five stakes which were dissolved (three in California, one in Louisiana and one in Liberia). In 2007, 13 stakes were organized in Brazil, which is the highest number of new stakes organized in that country since 1998. Furthermore, in Peru, four new stakes were organized (all from mission districts) which is the largest number of stakes created in that country since 1997. Two-thirds of the stakes created were outside of the United States and Canada and the net increase for stakes in the United States and Brazil was almost the same (Brazil had two more).

Recently Organized Mission Districts

Something I have noticed over the past year or two is that the number of new mission districts being created has declined. Over the past year, the only new mission districts I know of that have been organized where in Oldenburg Germany, Nkawkaw Ghana, Monrovia Liberia and Monrovia Liberia Bushrod (both from the dissolved stake), Monte Plata Dominican Republic, and Nicosia Cyprus. Furthermore, 12 of the organized stakes in 2007 were created from mission districts, which indicates that the trend of declining mission districts which began in 2005 will continue. Of course it is a positive thing to have districts maturing into stakes (which require a lot of active, devoted LDS Church members) but the creation of new mission districts signifies the Church moving into areas of the world (or nations which it is already in) which it has not had a strong presence in before. The majority of districts are created in countries where there is a strong LDS presence, and decisions to form districts is made up to local, regional and global Church leadership.
I do have a list of potential districts to be organized, which I will save for a later date.

The New Delhi India Mission

The First Presidency organized the second mission in India last November which not only covers the northern half of India, but also Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. There are several reasons for why this new mission was organized.

  1. This very populated area of the world has very few LDS members; all of India has 7,000 and is the country in the region with the most LDS members. This mission will allow for more emphasis on training current Church leadership in New Delhi and Pakistan which have a small but active LDS membership. The mission president will also not have to travel as far as before to train and meet with missionaries and members.
  2. The growth of the Church in Sri Lanka and Malaysia has been impressive. Church membership in Malaysia jumped from 2,917 in 2005 to 3,633 in 2006 and Sri Lanka's membership has increased from 963 to 1,108 during that same time period. The new mission in India administers to several of the countries originally covered by the Singapore Mission such as Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Now the Singapore Mission is responsible only for Singapore and Malaysia. The India Bangalore Mission is now only responsible for Southern India along with Sri Lanka. This allows for more missionaries to be focused in this region along with more access for the mission president with missionaries and members.
  3. The two original missions covered very large regions of Asia; now the only mission which covers a very large area is the India New Delhi Mission and this mission has very few members in it (almost all of whom reside in the city of New Delhi or in Pakistan).