Thursday, November 27, 2008

Recent Church Growth News and Potential Mexican Temples

New stake in Brazil

According to a missionary serving in the Brazil Belem Mission, the Imperatriz Brazil District has become or will shortly be made into a stake. The Stake will consist of five wards located in the Brazilian state of Maranhão. Only one stake has existed in this state in São Luís, which is one of the poorest in Brazil. This stake is the only stake (so far) this year that has been created in Brazil. If anyone can please validate that a stake has been created in Imperatriz, I would appreciate it (the Church's temple district listings still list it as a district in the Sao Paolo Brazil Temple District).

Record Number of baptisms in Trinidad and Tobago and portions of Brazil and Argentina

Missionaries have reported that the West Indies Mission will surpass its highest baptizing month. As of last Sunday, there have been 211 baptisms and confirmations. In Brazil and Argentina, at least a couple missions have set new records for baptisms. This is good news and hopefully we will also see an increase in new congregations in these areas in the coming year or two.

Strong missionary activity in East Malaysia

The city of Sibu, East Malaysia recently had over 50 investigators attend Church meetings, dozens of whom have slated baptismal dates. There are plans next year to divided the branch into three branches. This will make Sibu a likely candidate for a district forming in the coming year or two. Six young elders serve in the city.

President Monson prophesies of additional temples in Mexico

On his trip to rededicate the Mexico City Mexico Temple after extensive renovations, President Monson spoke concerning the building of temples in Mexico.
After rededicating the temple, President Monson spoke of his love for the
Mexican people. The church will continue to grow here, he said — and so will
temple building efforts in Mexico.
"There will be more," he said.

I found it exciting that he made such a prophesy in a country with 12 temples currently operating. Mexico is the country with the second most temples after the United States (which now has 70 temples announced, under construction, or operating). Brazil, with the third most members after the U.S. and Mexico, only has six temples announced, under construction or operating and more stakes than Mexico (but Mexico has the second most congregations with almost 2,000).

So now the big question: Where will future temples in Mexico likely be built? Below is a list of potential Mexican temples, with the number of stakes and districts they could serve.

  • Aguascalientes Mexico (7 stakes, 1 district)
  • Cuautla Mexico (11 stakes, 3 districts)
  • Culiacan Mexico (7 stakes, 3 districts)
  • Puebla Mexico (12 stakes)
  • Reynosa Mexico* (7 stakes, 1 district)
  • Tijuana Mexico (9 stakes, 1 district)
  • Torreon Mexico (7 stakes, 3 districts)

*Indicates some of the stakes in potential temple district would be in the United States

These cities seem most likely to receive a temple because each has had stakes for a couple decades, are far enough away from another pre-existing temple, and often have stakes which grow quickly or are close to dividing. Other cities which could be potential candidates are Chihuahua and Juchitan, but a temple in either of these locations would serve less than five stakes.

I added Tijuana as well considering it is difficult for members to cross the border into the U.S. and attend the temple in San Diego. I appreciate a fellow blogger pointing out the possibility of a temple in this Mexican city.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Branch Created In The Most Populous Indian State

The first branch of the Church was recently created in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the city of Noida. This is a significant development for the Church in India because Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in the country with over 190 million inhabitants. Noida is less than five miles away from the border of Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, which makes this a little less impressive, but nonetheless marks a big step towards the Church being established in Uttar Pradesh. The New Delhi India District now has five branches with the creation of this branch. The population of Noida is around 300,000 and missionaries serve in the city.

There are at least a couple groups also in the India New Delhi Mission, one of which is in Rajastan.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stake and District Maps

Recently I discovered how I can use to create maps of the stakes and districts of the Church from around the world. I am in the process of creating these maps, and I will post them on this blog once they are completed. Once again, yellow and green markers indicate stakes and districts respectfully.

It might take a few seconds for the maps to come up with the markers.

Central America (excluding Guatemala)

View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Stake in Idaho

Another new stake was created last Sunday in Ammon, Idaho. The Ammon Idaho North Stake was created from a division of the two existing stakes in Ammon. I wanted to thank one of the readers of this blog for this information. There have been four stakes organized in Idaho this year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Stake in Idaho

A new stake was recently created in Rexburg, Idaho. The Rexburg Idaho Henry's Fork Stake was created on November 2nd from the Rexburg Idaho North and Sugar City Idaho Stakes. There are eight wards in the new stake. There have been 17 new stakes organized in the United States this year and an additional 10 outside the United States.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Non-African Missionaries Return to the Ivory Coast

This past summer, the countries of Benin and Togo were transferred from the Ghana Cape Coast Mission to the Abidjan Ivory Coast Mission. Furthermore, with the mission re-alignment, non-African missionaries are now being called to serve in the Ivory Coast. Non-African missionaries left the country four years ago and have not returned since due to civil war and instability in the government. The growth of the Church has been consistent and strong in the Ivory Coast, with membership growth rates varying between 8 and 14% since 2000. The first stake was organized in the capital back in 1997 and two more stakes were organized in 2000 and 2006. Within the past couple years, several cities had branches formed in them (like Divo and San Pedro). It seems likely that a district will be organized in Yamoussoukro, considering there are now a few branches in the city.

There are around 12,500 members in the country and five cities with over 100,000 inhabitants without a branch or missionaries.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Potential Districts

Last winter I made a list of potential new districts which might be organized in the near future. I wanted to update that list and you can find the different districts which I think are likely to be created in the coming months and years. Also, I wanted to mention that 13 new districts have been created this year.


  • -Yamoussoukro Cote D'Ivoire
  • - Lome Togo
  • - Ikot Ekpene Nigeria
  • - Ogwashi-uku Nigeria
  • - Yaounde Cameroon
  • - Addis Ababa Ethiopia
  • - Eldoret Kenya
  • - Kilunga Hills Kenya
  • - Mombasa Kenya
  • - Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • - Pointe-Noire Republic of Congo
  • - Marromeau Mozambique
  • - Bloemfontein South Africa
  • - Windhoek Namibia
  • - Luanda Angola
  • - Blantyre Malawi
  • - George South Africa
  • - Polokwane South Africa
  • - Queenstown South Africa
  • - Toamasina (Tamatave) Madagascar


  • - Chennai India
  • - Coimbatore India
  • - Rajahmundry India


  • - Krasnodar Russia
  • - Nizhny Novgorod Russia
  • - Ulan-Ude Russia
  • - Vladivostok Russia
  • - Voronezh Russia
  • - Lviv Ukraine
  • - Simferopol Ukraine
  • - Athens Greece


  • - Abasolo Mexico
  • - Escarega Mexico
  • - Zaragoza Mexico


  • - Bluefields Nicaragua
  • - Jacmel Haiti

Districts Close to Stakehood

In the past month or so, there have been a number of districts (which are administered to by the Mission President of the area) that are close to stakehood or who are trying their hardest to become a stake by the end of the year or in the next couple years. According to several missionary blogs, in order for a district to qualify to become a stake there needs to be at least 99 active elders who are also full tithe-payers. There also needs to be a least 1,900 members. I do not know if this is the standard for everywhere in the world or of this is completely correct, but it made sense to me when I heard it considering there has not been a stake created with less than 1,900 members in it to my knowledge. It also made sense to me because with 99 elders, there would be an entire elders quorum (which can be up to 96 elders...see Doctrine and Covenants 107) plus three additional elders for the Presidency.

As for these districts which are trying their best to fit the criteria for a stake, here is a list of a few of them.

  • -The Tirana Albania District has a goal of becoming the first stake in southeastern Europe in the next three years. There are currently almost enough members for a stake, but activity levels are too low right now. One of the major goals of this district is to increase member activity as well as active, full tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
  • -As mentioned in an earlier post, the Santa Marta Colombia District is applying for stakehood. Pray that the members in the area will qualify for a stake of Zion. This is a plead from a missionary currently serving in the city.
  • -The Ulaanbaatar Mongolia District is currently working with trying to re-activate less active or inactive returned missionaries. An article in the Ensign from several months ago stated that one of the big obstacles in Mongolia is that the majority of the members are single (70%) and young. There are 10 branches in the district.
  • -I have repeatedly mentioned how the Port-of-Spain Trinidad and Georgetown Guyana Districts are really focusing on becoming stakes. Things are looking good for them right now and hopefully the members can fulfill the final necessary requirements.
  • -The Planaltina Brazil District was recently created and is also trying its hardest toward becoming a stake in the near future. Missionaries and Church leaders are particularly focusing on increasing active Melchizedek Priesthood holders. There has also been a lot of talk about a potential temple in Brasilia, to which Planaltina is a suburb of.
  • -The Colima Mexico District is also trying its hardest to becoming a stake by the end of the year. It seems more likely that it will be made into a stake next year and missionaries and primarily working to increase active, full tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
  • -The Phnom Penh Cambodia North and the Phnom Penh Cambodia South Districts are preparing their branches toward becoming wards. Cambodia is the country with the second most members without a stake.

If you wish to provide information about other districts close to becoming stakes or have any corrections to what I have said, feel free to leave a comment.

City Opens For Missionary Work In Ukraine

Within the past couple months, missionaries have begun teaching the Gospel in the city of Zhytomyr, Ukraine. Located around 100-125 miles west of Kyiv, Zhytomyr received its first branch in the city as well. This is a significant development because it has continued the trend of cities opening for missionary work in Eastern Europe. Zhytomyr was also the city in Ukraine with the second most inhabitants without a branch or missionaries in the city (population 278,000). It is exciting to see this city open for missionary work and now 16 cities in Ukraine with over 100,000 inhabitants do not have a branch or missionaries. Other cities which have recently opened for missionary work in Ukraine include Khmel'nyts'kyy and Kremenchuk. Kremenchuk has not had a branch in the city yet considering there are less than 10 members who are active in the city.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Districts Dissolved in Colombia and Panama

The Pitalito Colombia and Puerto Armuelles Panama Districts were recently dissolved. The district in Pitalito, Colombia had four branches in it back in 2001 and the district in Puerto Armuelles, Panama had three branches back in 2002. It is likely that both districts were absorbed into other districts in the surrounding area. The growth of the Church has slowed substantially in both locations. A stake was dissolved in Cali, Colombia earlier this year. In Panama, we have seen many branches being combined, especially in the western half of the country. Baptisms in Panama did increase during 2007 compared to the last several years. Colombia is experiencing growth in the north part of the country, and the district in Santa Marta put in paperwork to Church Headquarters for becoming a stake, hopefully before the end of the year. As for potential stakes in Panama, the Alcade Diaz Panama District would seem as the most likely since it comprises many branches outside Panama City.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Future Membership Growth

Last Saturday I gave a presentation to CES employees and seminary teachers in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming about the growth of the Church. One of the teachers attending asked if there are any places in the world where we might see the kind of dramatic growth that we saw in the 1980s and 1990s in Latin America and the Philippines. This is a very difficult question to answer because membership growth rates can fluctuate drastically. However I wanted to take some time to address this question and to start I will review some of the growth that occurred in the past 25 years. The countries listed in Table 2 all will have over 100,000 members of the Church by 2010. I also provide projected membership for each of these countries until 2040. If you click on the table, it will open in a new window and be easier to read.

You can see some amazing growth has occurred in these countries since 1980. The Dominican Republic went from just 1,000 members to over 100,000 members in 2006. Membership in Brazil and Peru increased by a factor of 10. Membership in the United States has also doubled in the past 25 years. It is likely that we will find the bulk of the future growth of the Church in these 19 countries.

There are areas of the world which have high potential to experience strong growth in the next 20 years. These countries are in Africa, South America, and Asia. These are listed in Table 1.
These growth projections are based on how membership in countries which have over 100,000 members behaved when their memberships were smaller as well as their growth rates for the past eight years. I believe that these projections provide an accurate view of what the distribution of Church membership will look like in the coming decades with the exception of Paraguay and Malaysia. I imagine membership growth in Paraguay will slow in the coming years considering 1% of the population is already a member of the Church and Latin American countries tend to grow much slower once around 1-2% of the population is converted. As for Malaysia, there is always the possibility that membership could reach over half a million in the next 20-30 years, but unlikely considering the vast majority of the rapid growth the Church is experiencing there is due to immigrants and the native peoples on the island of Borneo joining the Church.

The most likely countries that we will see strong membership (and congregation) growth are mainly Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana. These countries resemble the growth seen in South America in the 1980s the most (even though it is not quite a strong as it was then).

Table 1

Table 2

Thursday, November 6, 2008

City Opens For Missionary Work In Slovenia

According to a missionary serving in the Slovenia Ljubiana Mission, the city of Novo Mesto now has missionaries serving in it. The population of the city is around 21,000 and was the city with the fourth most inhabitants without missionaries or a branch in the country. Currently there are three other branches functioning in the country and around 350 members. The Church has recently received much more exposure due to a recently completed chapel in the capital.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

District Created in Papua New Guinea

A new district was recently created in Rigo, Papua New Guinea. The district comprises several branches in the area and is about 40 miles southeast of the capital, Port Moresby. Several mission branches have existed in the area for quite some time and are finally incorporated into a district. Two districts were recently dissolved in Papua New Guinea, one being in the Capital city and the other in Isumo (which is near Daru). There are currently 7 districts and one stake in the country.