Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Likely New Stakes Outside of the United States and Canada

I have hesitated to provide a list of districts close to becoming stakes and stakes close to being split because I do not want people living in those areas to become disappointed when it does not happen soon or not at all. I just want to make it clear that these are my predictions and are not coming from anyone else in the Church (with the exception of input given by missionaries and members around the world). I created this list based on several factors listed below

  1. Number of congregations in a city/region
  2. How large of a geographical region a stake/district covers
  3. Number of baptisms and activity levels (if available)
  4. The maturity of the Church in the city/region (i.e. how long has the Church been established)

I'll start with South America and the Caribbean and add other parts of the world in future posts. Cities with stakes likely to split are in regular font; districts likely to become stakes are in italics. Number of current branches in districts are provided to the best of my knowledge.

BRAZIL - Campinas Temple District

  • Belo Horizonte
  • Campo Grande
  • Juiz de Fora
  • Niteroi
  • Rio Branco
  • Sao Jose do Rio Preto

BRAZIL - Curitiba Temple District

  • Curitiba
  • Joinville

BRAZIL - Porto Alegre Temple District

  • Canoas ~10 wards

BRAZIL - Recife Temple District

  • Belem
  • Fortaleza
  • Recife

BRAZIL - Sao Paulo Temple District

  • Sao Paulo


  • Chiclayo
  • Chimbote
  • Lima
  • Trujillo
  • Casa Grande - 6
  • Chincha - 6
  • Guadalupe La Libertad - 5
  • Tarma - 10


  • Loja - 6
  • Riobamba - 5


  • Bogata
  • Cartagena
  • Armenia - 7
  • Duitama - 6
  • Ibague - 5
  • Manizales - 7
  • Popayan - 5
  • Santa Marta - 5


  • La Paz
  • Santa Cruz
  • Guayaramerin - 6
  • Riberalta - 6
  • Tupiza - 6


  • Coronel Oviedo - 7
  • Encarnacion - 7


  • Guayana
  • Puerto La Cruz
  • Falcon - 5
  • La Pascua - 6
  • Valera - 8


  • Trienta y Tres - 6


  • Georgetown - 7
  • New Amsterdam - 6


  • Paramaribo - 6


  • Port of Spain - 11


  • Kingston - 5


  • San Cristobal
  • Santo Domingo
  • Azua - 6
  • Barahona - 7
  • San Juan - 6
  • San Pedro - 11

If anyone has information concerning districts close to stakehood or stakes close to splitting, feel free to leave a comment.

Fifth District Organized in Malaysia

A new district was recently created in East Malaysia in Miri, becoming the fifth in Malaysia and the third in East Malaysia. The new district likely includes the three branches in Bintulu and the branch in Sibu. I wrote recently on the strong likelihood of a district in Bintulu and I am surprised it is named after Miri. However, the branch functioning in Miri is strong and was the first to receive a Church constructed meetinghouse in the entire country. Many of the members in Bintulu speak Iban and the formation of this district will likely expedite the translation of the Book of Mormon in this language. Malaysia has seen some of the most impressive growth in membership in Asia in the last few years.

New Stake Created Recently in Mexico

The Pachuca Mexico South Stake became the first stake to be organized in Mexico this year. Just outside of Mexico City in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, Pachuca received its first stake back in 1984 and a second stake in 1996. Both of these stakes were considerably large prior to the split and it would not be out of the question to see another stake organized in this portion of the Mexico City Metropolitan area soon. As for Mexico City as a whole, there are 40 stakes which have "Mexico City" in its name, and another five located in the Federal District and Mexico State. Many of the stakes in Mexico City are quite large, with over 10 wards. A missionary commented that many of the stakes have not been split yet due to the lack of full tithe payers. Nonetheless, it might be that multiple stakes will be created on a single day in the near future in Mexico City (for instance, 15 stakes were created on one day back in 1975 in the Mexico City area). Conversions are happening at a rapid rate and a little over a year ago one of the missions baptized over 1,000 converts in one month! Church leaders from Salt Lake stepped in and counseled the mission to be sure these converts stay and build up the Church and consequently conversions have dropped.

The Mexico City Mexico Temple is currently under renovation and will not reopened probably until fall from what I figure (otherwise open house dates and rededication dates would have already been announced). A new temple in Puebla, Mexico is something I see as quite likely in the near future to support the growing and maturing membership. There are around 1.1 million members organized in 211 stakes and 41 districts. Mexico has the third most missions out of any country in the world with 21 and the second most temples (12). Also I am delighted to report the majority of missionaries serving in Mexico are Mexican. This helps strengthen future leadership in Mexico and aids in the efficiency of missionary work. Mexico does have less stakes and districts than Brazil (which has around 100,000 fewer members) but has around 200 more wards and branches. Again, this indicates that more stakes and districts are likely to be created soon.

I know the map above may seem a bit ridiculous, but I did my best to indicate stakes with yellow squares and districts with green squares. Keep in mind there are over 20 million people in Mexico City alone (don't get the illusion that everyone there is Mormon because of all the stakes; it's probably around 1% or so LDS).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Manaus Brazil Temple Under Construction

The new Manaus Brazil Temple is officially under construction according to the site . The groundbreaking ceremony was held on the 20th of this month and pictured are available at the above site. The temple was announced a little over a year ago and will serve members of the Church which live in the Amazon River Basin. The new temple will likely serve members not only in Manaus's eight stakes (three of which have been organized since 2005), but also other cities in northern Brazil (like Belem, Porto Velho, and Rio Branco) along with the three stakes in Iquitos, Peru. Missionary work has been very strong in Manaus; the first stake was organized just 20 years ago. More stakes are likely to be created here in the coming years as converts continue to join the Church. Members in the area have had to travel either to Sao Paulo, Recife or Caracas to participate in temple ordinances.

Since this post and the previous post were about Brazil, I will add some more exciting news about the Church in Brazil. The city of Barreiras located in the western part of the state of Bahia received its first branch recently. This is the first city in this region to receive a branch. The city has over 100,000 people and is rapidly growing. Much success has been seen as the Church moves into the interior of the country. Four or five years ago, the city of Caico (near Natal) had only one branch and a neighboring city had a branch as well. No district was organized. A year to two ago a stake was organized in Caico with five wards from a district which was formed during that time. Just last fall, the first stake was organized in the adjacent Brazilian state of Tocantins in Palmas. Hopefully Barreiras will see similar growth, especially with the help of members moving to the area. You can find Barreiras on the map below.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Districts Created in Brazil

It has been a couple years since the Church has created a new district in Brazil. Districts function kind of like simplified, small stakes in the Church and are made up of anywhere from two to a dozen or so branches. A district was created outside the capital city of Brasilia in a city called Planaltina. There used to be a couple wards in the city, but they have now become branches. The stake the wards used to belong to is still active. This new district will help to foster growth within Planaltina and reduce travel time for members to meetings. The second district organized in Brazil was in the city of Caruaru which is near Recife. This district was created after the same pattern as the district in Planaltina. The Church has 218 stakes, 52 districts and over one million members in Brazil. On the above map, yellow squares indicate stakes and green squares indicate districts. The red dots indicate temples.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On Vacation

I will not be posting any new material on this blog until the 23rd of June. I will be on vacation overseas.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

City Opens for Missionary Work in Hungary

Another city has been opened for the preaching of the Gospel in Hungary. Located near the capital of Budapest, Tatabanya will be opened by a set of missionaries for missionary work along with a unit of the Church. Around half a dozen cities have opened for missionary work in the past year, many of which received branches that have around 30-40 people attend each Sunday. As for conversions and baptisms, it does not seem they are happening at as fast of a rate as new cities being opened. However, they are happening and in places they have not occurred before.

New District to be Created in Armenia

Armenia will be divided into two districts on the 22nd of June. This will be the second district in the country. I have not been able to find information concerning whether the new district will be created from the original district in Yerevan or it will encompass branches in the north, but reflects steady growth in the country in the past decade. Membership has matured in Armenia and there is a need for more training of local Armenian Church leadership. A new district will provide members with opportunities to grow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Branch to be Created in Tanzania

For the first time ever, the Church is organizing a branch outside the capital of Tanzania. A branch will be organized in the city of Arusha (population 270,000), located in the northern portion of the country near Mt. Kilimanjaro. Senior couple missionaries report that over 20 members and those learning about the Church met for the first time in a hotel where a room has been rented for worship services. Before then, members met in a member's home. This is a very exciting development because this branch will be the first located in an area where the population is predominately Christian (the coastal areas of Tanzania are predominately Muslim). This has the potential for providing rapid growth in the near future. It also sounds like the Mission President of the Kenya Nairobi Mission, which includes Tanzania, will open the city for proselyting missionaries as well. There are still 15-20 cities with over 100,000 inhabitants without a congregation of the Church in Tanzania.

Tanzania's first district was created a couple years ago in Dar-Es-Salaam and a zone of missionaries currently serve there. The new branch will bring the total of branches in Tanzania to five and further reinforces the trend of the Church is expanding its influence into areas it has not previously been in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Tanzania's membership stands at over 800.

A city in Albania was also recently opened for missionary work just outside of Tirana in Kamez and a new proselyting area in Maputo, Mozambique opened as well.

The Church in Malaysia

One of the areas in the world the Church has grown and is growing rapidly right now is in Malaysia. Back in 2000 membership was only 1,300 and in 2006 was over 3,600. Not many new branches have been organized in the past five years. Most of the growth has been in East Malaysia among people of the Iban Tribe. Baptisms occur weekly in cities in East Malaysia like Bintulu. It is likely a district will be formed in Bintulu considering it is currently apart of the Kuching East Malaysia District (which stretches hundreds of miles) and there are three branches in the city. Growth is also occurring in West Malaysia primarily among immigrates to the area from Africa and Nepal. Missionary work is done carefully in this predominantly Muslim country and is focused on Christians of different faiths. The last new congregation created in Malaysia was in Kuching last year.
The green squares are branches and the yellow squares are where districts are based.