Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
As for Stakes created outside the United States, the Church News has not provided any information yet and lds.org hasn't updated their temple district listings since the beginning of the year.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Above are three different prediction maps for where possible future temples could be located. The red squares are the existing/under construction temples, the yellow squares are announced temples, and green squares are likely temples. The first map is from 2008-2012, the second from 2013-2017, and the last 2018-2023. If you click on the map, you will be able to see it much better.
Below is a map of Bulgaria; a country which provides the best example of this phenomenon. Click on the map in order to see it more clearly. Each green square is a branch.
Notice how the largest city, Sofia, has several branches organized in it and that branches are scattered fairly evenly throughout the country.
Here are some exciting recent developments of the Church in Eastern Europe.
New Branches in the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and Georgia
Branches have recently (last 12 months or so) been estabished in the following cities.
- Jelgava, Latvia
- Parnu, Estonia
- Shkoder, Albania (see earlier post)
- Kosice, Slovakia
- Tbilisi, Georgia (second branch in city, the Avlabari Branch)
- Alexandria, Romania (last June)
- Pula, Croatia
- Subotica, Serbia
- Kremenchuk, Ukraine
Church Launches New Latvian Website
In the past week or so, the Church has launched a country website for Latvia. It is in Russian and Latvian, and is found at http://www.jezuskristusbaznica.lv/ .
Lastly, I wanted to conclude that the activity rate in these nations are actually not as low as you might think. The LDS Church News stated in the Church Almanac that there are over 1,000 temple recommend holders in Ukraine and the temple has been under construction in Kyiv for the past six months. Furthermore, there are two stakes in Eastern Europe: One in Ukraine and the other in Hungary. The Church is close to organizing stakes in St. Petersburg, Russia ; Kharkiv, Ukraine ; and Donetsk, Ukraine. As for Future missions, Serbia, Romania and Ukraine seem most likely. It will be interesting how soon missionaries will be placed in newly independent Kosovo. I imagine that Kosovo will be included with the mission in Albania, since the majority of the population is Albanian.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Now for some statistics. A little over 84% of Church membership resides in North and South America (including the Caribbean) and almost 86% of the Church's stakes. Out of the 125 currently operating temples, 31 are outside of North and South America. The Church has established itself in every country in the Western Hemisphere (excluding Cuba) and the Southern Hemisphere (except East Timor, Rwanda, Burundi, The Seychelles, and Comoros). In Europe, the Church has a presence in every country except Macedonia and Bosnia (from what I have found).
This post is by no means criticizing anything Church leaders have said, but rather I am making a point that although we do have members residing in most of the countries of the world, most of the members live in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Something I have found interesting is how well the Church has grown in island nations. For example, the country in Africa with the highest percentage of members is Cape Verde and is around 2% and the country with the second highest is less than 0.2%. The countries which have the highest percentage of members are island nations concentrated in the South Pacific like Tonga (46%) and Samoa (36%). The Church has grown the most in Europe in the British Isles with over 100,000 members more than the country in Europe with the second most members (Spain with around 41,000 members). The Philippines has the most members out of any of the countries in the Eastern Hemisphere with around 600,000. I believe this is a fulfillment of prophesy in 1 Nephi 19:16, "Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea."
Here is a list of all of the countries in the Northern part of the Eastern Hemisphere with no Church presence. I define this as meaning no branches established and no membership reported. Countries in italics means that the country is predominantly Muslim (which tend to not allow other religions to proselyte or publicly practice).
Friday, February 8, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
- Kinshasa DR of Congo (28 wards, 5 branches in three stakes)
- Harare Zimbabwe Stake (10 wards, 2 branches)
- Takoradi Ghana Stake (9 wards, ~4 branches)
- Maracay Venezuela Stake (12 wards)
- Guayana Venezuela Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
- Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake (11 wards)
- Belem Brazil (25 wards in three stakes)
- San Cristobal Dominican Republic Stake (7 wards, 7 branches)
- Santo Domingo Dominican Republic (65 wards, 10 branches in 8 stakes)
- Chimbote Peru (20 wards in two stakes)
- Chiclayo El Doradu Peru Stake (~10 wards)
Number of Translations of the Book of Mormon Reaches 106
Within the past month or so, the Church has finished several translations of the Book of Mormon. The new language in which the Book of Mormon was translated (which has never had an official translation before) was Yoruba, a language spoken by around 25 million people in western Nigeria. This is a much needed tool in this part of the world. Yoruba speaking areas of Nigeria have five missin districts organized in them and two stakes (both located in Lagos). Hopefully the Book of Mormon fully translated into Yoruba will be the stimulus to turn some of these districts into stakes soon.
The other language in which the Book of Mormon was translated in was Urdu, the most widely spoken language in Pakistan. Selections of the Book of Mormon were published in 1988 and now the entire Book of Mormon has been translated. Pakistan is home to one mission district and probably less than a 1,000 members. The Church does not publicly publish information about the Church in Pakistan due to the political climate there. The India New Delhi Mission was just organized a couple months ago and administers to Pakistan.
The Book of Mormon in Mongolian has just been released with footnotes in it. The original translation for the book was published in 2001. The Book of Mormon in Igbo, according to the http://www.ldscatalog.org/ site, is listed as a new item (even though it was translated back in 2000). It was probably either retranslated or footnotes were added.
Although not listed on any of the Church's websites, I have found out that the Book of Mormon translation in Serbian is getting close to completion. As for my personal predictions for new translations of the Book of Mormon to come in the next couple years, Iban, Malay, Burmese, Nivacle, Marathi and various African languages seem quite probable.
New City Open for Missionary Work in Albania
I just found out from a returned missionary that the city of Shkoder, Albania just opened for the preaching of the Gospel a couple months ago. There are four missionaries working in the city. Shkoder is the first city to open in the northern portion of the country.
Elder Uchtdorf Comments on Missionary Work in Africa
The Associated Press wrote an article about the growth of the Church and convert retention. The article is informative, not biased and provides interesting information from Elder Uchtdorf, an apostle of the Church, concerning missionary work in Africa. The article quotes him, stating
"Uchtdorf also said that in areas with fast growth potential, the church must grow "slowly and in a natural, healthy way" so that local congregational leaders are well grounded in doctrine. 'In some parts of Africa, we could baptize full villages,' said Uchtdorf, 66. "We could immediately explode our membership. We're going slowly to have sufficient leadership."
This provides much evidence to contradict the statement made by many critics of my faith that all we are trying to do is add members for numbers' sake. Areas of Africa which Elder Uchtdorf is alluding to probable consist for nations like Mozambique, DR of Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone. It is very important for new converts to have capable leaders which are firmly grounded in doctrine and testimony in order to produce greater growth for years to come. The url for this article was http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g5oVE-Zihw_HRrBEzf1UbVyDSj6gD8UHMTF00
This is all I have for this update for this past month.