Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Membership has not increased as rapidly as it did in 2008 in Mongolia since 2004, growing by 9.36% last year. A couple mission branches not a part of a district also exist in Khovd and Choibalsan, each of which have been steadily growing to 150-200 attending sacrament meeting every week. One of the challenges the Church in Mongolia has had in the creation of a stake has been that 70% of the members are single (according to an article published in the Church magazine the Ensign a year or two ago).
One interesting note about members who have served as missionaries from Mongolia and received their Patriarchal blessings in other countries where there are stakes and patriarchs: All but the tribe of Zebulun have been found among the declared lineage of Mongolia missionaries (as of December 2003). For more information, visit http://www.cumorah.com/index.php?target=gospel_topics&story_id=8.
What an exciting time for the Church in Mongolia!
The Church has grown rapidly in Paraguay for the past several years with membership climbing from 47,850 at the end of 2000 to 74,802 at the end of 2008. Congregations increased by 26 during this time period and for the past couple years we have seen very few new congregations created in Paraguay. Hopefully this indicates that many new congregations will be created in the coming year or two, especially considering that the most rapid growth in membership occurred very recently in 2006 and 2007.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
4. Sierra Leone
7. Cape Verde
13. Marshall Islands
Here are some interesting trends. If I were to make this list four years ago, there would only be four countries with over 6,000 members on this list and now there are eight. At the end of the year 2000 only two countries had over 6,000 members without a stake: Russia and Ukraine. Why haven't these countries had stakes organized in them yet?
One of the reasons why is that inactivity and member involvement in leadership has been a problem in some. Stakes take on great responsibilities with sending out missionaries, organization and temple work and require many priesthood holders who are willing and dedicated to take upon these obligations. Of course all of these countries have such leaders and members in them, but they have not been in a large enough quantity and concentrated into a small enough geographical area for the creation of a stake as of yet.
This leads into geography. Members in Russia are scattered throughout what is the largest country in the world. Although there are areas where members are concentrated, there still has been no stake organized. Most members live in the cities of St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Saratov. Other countries have a similar situation like Vanuatu and Malaysia.
Many of these 20 countries are close to having stakes organized in them soon. We have seen great growth in membership in areas where we have never had members of the Church before in the past 10 years. We had a similar situation 20 years ago where several countries had close to 10,000 members before the first stake was organized (like Ghana and Nigeria).
Also members in Minneapolis report that a new stake will be created in the city in the coming weeks. It is likely that one of the stakes that will be divided to created the new stake will be the Burnsville Minnesota Stake considering there are 10 wards and four branches within its boundaries.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Other stakes created recently in Italy were in Alessandria (2007), Rome (2005) and Verona (2008). The new stakes in Italy have not come as a result of recent membership growth but rather the result of maturing membership and consolidating branches to create wards and consolidating districts to create stakes. For instance back in 2000 there were 15 districts and three stakes in Italy. Church membership grew by a little over 1% last year to 22,886 members.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Although there are some 88,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Nigeria today in 260 congregations, only about 56% of the population lives in a state in the country where there is at least one congregation. However the Church has grown dramatically in the southeastern, highly Christian portion of the Church. Many of the areas the Church has not established itself in Nigeria yet are predominately Muslim and in the north. The Church established two missions in these regions in Jos and Ilorin in the early 1990s which functioned for only a year or two and were discontinued or relocated due to Christian-Muslim violence in the area. The Church still has members and functions in these areas, but we have not seen as strong growth there.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
- Miami - 5.5 million (12th largest U.S. city)
- Tampa - 2.825 million (18th largest U.S. city)
- Cleveland - 2.775 million (20th largest U.S. city)
- Pittsburgh - 2.35 million (22nd largest U.S. city)
- Cincinnati - 2.15 million (25 largest U.S. city)
- Indianapolis - 1.94 million (29th largest U.S. city)
- Milwaukee - 1.74 million (31st largest U.S. city)
- Charlotte - 1.72 million (32nd largest U.S. city)
- Virginia Beach - 1.67 million (33rd largest U.S. city)
- Austin - 1.66 million (34th largest U.S. city)
Many of these cities are not too far away from existing temples, which is one of the likely reasons there are no temples in these cities today. All of these cities have between 2-5 stakes.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Click on MAP VIEW to see membership totals around the world. The number of congregations in each country is also provided.
Below I have a list of the 20 countries in which membership is increasing at the most rapid rates for 2008. I have already written posts about the countries in which Church membership is growing the fastest for 2006 and 2007. The first number to the right of the country name is the percent growth rate and the number to the right of that is the total membership of the country.
- Guyana - 53.0% - 3,935
- Uganda - 47.2% - 6,919
- St. Lucia - 46.9% - 166
- St. Kitts and Nevis - 162
- Suriname - 24.8% - 1,057
- Malaysia - 22.0% - 5,646
- Martinique - 19.2% - 186
- Benin - 17.1% - 253
- Georgia - 16.3% - 178
- Tuvalu - 15.9% - 131
- Mozambique - 15.1% - 4,851
- Madagascar - 14.6% - 4,769
- Cameroon - 13.8% - 727
- Antigua and Barbuda - 12.4% - 181
- Slovakia - 12.1% - 139
- Turkey - 11.6% - 221
- Cyprus - 11.2% - 337
- St. Vincent - 11.2% - 427
- Namibia - 11.1% - 562
- Guam - 10.9% - 1,874
For 2007 I also provided a list of the 10 countries with the largest membership increases. I would also like to provide that information for 2008, which can be found below. The number to the right of the country is the difference in membership between 2007 and 2008. The percentage to the right of that indicates what percentage of the worldwide membership growth of the Church in 2008 was found in that country. Overall membership increased by 314,510 members in 2008. About 77% of the membership increase in the Church last year was just in these 10 countries.
- United States - 100,633 - 32.0%
- Brazil - 41,403 - 13.2 %
- Mexico - 36,343 - 11.6%
- Philippines - 19,930 - 6.3%
- Peru - 13,450 - 4.3%
- Argentina - 7,895 - 2.5%
- Chile - 6,006 - 1.9%
- Honduras - 5,492 - 1.7%
- Guatemala - 5,085 - 1.6%
- Colombia - 4,810 - 1.5%
For more information about membership growth trends in countries around the world over the past several decades, I direct you to www.cumorah.com and check out the LDS Country Database. For more information about growth trends for the entire Church, check out this article at www.mormontimes.com.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Last Summer the Church announced that it would no longer call North American missionaries to serve in Russia. That decision has been reversed recently, with many missionaries from the United States receiving their calls to serve in Russia. One of the problems contributing to this original announcement was new legislation in Russia requiring foreigners to leave the country periodically. It does not appear that the number of missionaries called currently will be enough to return to the number of elders and sisters serving in Russia before this decision was made. To illustrate the drastic drop in missionaries serving in Russia, the Russia Rostov Mission will have fewer than 40 missionaries serving within its boundaries in a couple months. Most missions have between 100-200 missionaries serving.
New Branch in Cambodia
I have long awaited the day the sole branch in Battambang, Cambodia would be split. It was recently divided into at least two congregations, making Battambang the third city in Cambodia to have more than one congregation. The Church News published articles four years ago highlighting the impressive growth in the area, yet the branch has not been strong enough to split until recently. There are currently 23 branches in Cambodia. Two cities were recently opened to missionary work in the past couple years in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom. Still no word on how close the north or south districts in Phnom Penh are to becoming stakes.
Burundi Now Part of The Uganda Kampala Mission
A fifth country has been added to the boundaries of the Uganda Kampala Mission. Burundi was recently added to the mission's jurisdiction. Originally organized in July of 2005, the Uganda Kampala Mission only included Uganda and Ethiopia initially. Since then Rwanda and the southern portion of Sudan had been added. The branch in Kigali, Rwanda has grown substantially from a dozen members a year ago when it was organized to 45 today. There are still no proselyting missionaries in Rwanda, Sudan or Burundi. A strong branch functioned in Burundi in the early 90s, but was dissolved once the government was overthrown a few years later. I have not heard if a branch has been re-established in the country yet, but I imagine that there are members who have been waiting for years for the Church to come back to Burundi.
Book of Mormon Translation Into Malaysian Approved
The Church has just given the approval for the Book of Mormon to be translated into Malaysian. There are likely over 5,500 members in Malaysia today, the vast majority of which live in East Malaysia and are not Malays, but other ethnicities or from the Iban tribe.
Manaus Brazil Temple Construction Temporarily Halted
Missionaries serving in the Brazil Manaus Mission report that construction of the temple in Manaus has been delayed following the excavation for the foundation. Church leadership in the city have set a goal of establishing four new stakes in the city before the temple dedication. Considering almost all the stakes in the city have been divided since 2005, this is a very ambitious goal to undertake. If four more stakes were created, there would be a total of 12 in the city. Manaus is a very high baptizing area of Brazil, with some stakes baptizing hundreds in one month. The first stake was created in Manaus in 1988. No word has been given for how long the construction of the temple will be set back.
More Potential New Temple Sites Added
I made a post a little over a month ago providing two maps with various cities in which future temples could be likely announced. I have added several more cities to the prediction map for the year 2020 in the United States because I neglected to do so beforehand.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
- 13,508,509 members
- 265,593 converts baptized in 2008
- 123,502 new children of record for 2008
- 2,818 stakes
- 348 missions
- 622 districts
- 28,109 wards and branches
- 52,494 missionaries serving
Membership growth overall slowed slightly during 2008 as a whole, and we saw some 14,000 less converts baptized compared to 2007. The number of congregations in the Church increased by only 282 in 2008, the lowest increase since 2003. Stakes increased by only 28, off of a nine year high of 45 the year before. Districts increased by four. The number of missionaries serving fell by only a couple hundred, but was reported to be currently around 53,000 in conference. It is saddening that the number of congregations has not increased worldwide by a greater number and evidences that inactivity and retention problems remain in much of the world where the Church is established.
The most surprising statistic given for me for 2008 was the increase of children of record. This was the largest increase we have seen in this statistic since 1982! In the 1990s, increase of children of record was typically between 70 and 80 thousand. Since 2003 this statistic has been between 90 and 100 thousand. This likely indicates that families in the Church are being better established outside of the United States.
Lastly I wanted to focus on a statistic which can be derived from the data provided by the Church. If you take the difference of membership in 2007 and 2008, you will come up with 314,510 members. However, if you add the number of converts and increase of children of record for 2008, you get a total of 389,095. So where did the 74,585 members go?
There are several reasons for this discrepancy. First off, some of these members have passed away and are no longer included in the number of members reported by the Church at conference. Secondly, some of these members were excommunicated from the Church. Some of these 74,585 members also voluntarily asked for the Church to remove their names from the Church's membership records. This number might also result from the Church maintaining its membership records and deleting duplicate or inaccurate records. Keep in mind that Church records in the United States and Canada are much more organized and up-to-date than much of the rest of the world, where most of the members of the Church now live. Believing that the Church is manipulating these numbers to make growth look less modest is unfounded and superficial.
The difference between the increase in membership and the sum of new converts and children of record tend to be between 30 and 80 thousand a year.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
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A mission in the Church tends to have anywhere from 50-200 missionaries proselyting within its boundaries, which serve under the direction of a mission president. The most rapid growth in the number of missions was during the 1970s and the 1990s, when the number of missionaries serving increased dramatically.
Missionaries from most of Europe, the United States, Taiwan, and Russia report that the Church is reducing the number of missionaries called to these areas. The Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission will also be combining with the Taiwan Taichung Mission this summer. I was rather surprised to hear that Taiwan is lowering the number of missionaries serving there considering it is the most productive modernized country in Asia for the Church. I would not be surprised to see a couple missions in the United States combine with other missions considering that roughly a third of the missions of the Church serve only 4.5% of the world's population. Currently the Church is seeing tremendous success in Africa (especially Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and South Africa) as well as areas of Brazil and Mexico to name a few.