Sunday, December 27, 2009

Potential New Districts

It's been over a year since I provided a list of potential new districts. I wanted to update the list as several potential districts listed have become districts and a few more potential districts need to be added. The number in parenthesis indicates how many branches would likely belong to the district. The 2008 and 2007 versions can be found if you click on the year.

  • -Daboasi Ghana (3)
  • -Axim Ghana (3)
  • -Lome Togo (3)
  • -Conotou Benin (3)
  • -Ogwashi-Uku Nigeria (5)
  • -Ozalla Nigeria (2)
  • -Yaounde Cameroon (4)
  • -Eldoret Kenya (3)
  • -Kilunga Hills Kenya (4)
  • -Kitale Kenya (4)
  • -Kisumu Kenya (2)
  • -Mombasa Kenya (3)
  • -Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo (2)
  • -Pointe-Noire Republic of Congo (3)
  • -Marromeau Mozambique (2)
  • -Windhoek Namibia (2)
  • -Luanda Angola (2)
  • -Blantyre Malawi (2)
  • -Tamatave Madagascar (3)
  • -Antsirabe Madagascar (3)
  • -George South Africa (2)
  • -Queenstown South Africa (4)
  • -Battambang Cambodia (2)
  • -Angoram Papua New Guinea (4)
  • -Malampa Vanuatu (3)
  • -Tafea Vanuatu (3)
  • -Athens Greece (3)
  • -Krasnodar Russia (3)
  • -Nizhniy Novgorod Russia (2)
  • -Vladivostok Russia (2)
  • -Voronezh Russia (2)
  • -Bratislava Slovakia (4)
  • -Lviv Ukraine (4)
  • -Simferopol Ukraine (4)
  • -Bluefields Nicaragua (2-3)
  • -Armenia El Salvador (2)
  • -Chalatenango El Salvador (4)
  • -Jacmel Haiti (3)
  • -Abasolo Mexico (2)
  • -Escarcega Mexico (2)
  • -Las Varas Mexico (3)
  • -Zacatlan Mexico (3)
  • -San Borja Bolivia (2)
  • -Gurupi Brazil (2)
  • -Porto Seguro Brazil (4)
  • -Sorriso Brazil (3)
  • -Vitoria de Santo Antao Brazil (2)
  • -Motupe Peru (2)
These potential districts indicate areas where the Church has either been recently established or where enough members may be present for the creation of a district. Many of these areas may be more prone to the creation of additional branches before the organization of a district, particularly if only two congregations are in the potential district.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

District Discontinued in Honduras

Another district has been discontinued in Honduras. The Tocoa Honduras District was discontinued, with both branches now belonging to the Olanchito Honduras District. The Olanchito Honduras District now has six branches. Three other Honduran districts were discontinued earlier this year in La Entrada, Santa Barbara, and Tela. Unlike other countries with districts, Honduras has had a large number of districts which only have two or three branches. The decision to discontinue these districts allows for limited local leadership to focus on individual branches and not a district or prepares districts which combined that now have enough congregations to become stakes. Districts which may mature into stakes in the coming months and years include districts in Olanchito and Santa Rosa de Copan. A new stake has not been created in Honduras since 1997.

Membership growth continues to increase. Last year membership grew at nearly 4.5%, significantly higher than most of the past decade. Unfortunately congregations have not grown this year, which may indicate poor retention.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The End of an Era: The Church in the 2000s and Beyond

With the end of the year and the decade rapidly approaching, I want to take some time to reflect on the progress the Church has made in the past 10 years compared to the previous decade. I also want to explore Church growth issues we may expect to see in the following decade.

Between 2000 and 2009 stakes increased by 323, half of which were created in the United States. Districts fell by around 20, congregations increased by around 2,650, missions climbed slightly from 333 to 344, and temples in operation jumped from 68 to 130. The number of full-time missionaries serving has likely dropped by 5,000.

Stake growth in the 2000s was significantly lower than in the 1990s when 803 new stakes were created. Congregational growth was also much higher in the 1990s, when 8,488 new congregations were created, more than three times as many as the 2000s. Missions also increased much more rapidly, growing by over 100. Instead of missionaries decreasing like in the 2000s, they increased by almost 19,000!

The Church experienced large differences between the 1990s and 2000s. In the 1990s the Church was established in most African countries it currently operates in and entered Eastern Europe. Greater establishment and outreach of the Church occurred in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile dramatic congregational and membership growth occurred in Latin America with greater outreach to smaller towns and rural communities. Congregations were often created with the bear minimum of active members to provide more opportunities for leadership and Church responsibilities for new converts in an effort to improve retention.

In the 2000s the Church spread to few new areas. Only a handful of countries were opened to missionary work, most of which have small populations and have seen limited Church growth (like Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Togo, and Benin). Few cities were opened for missionary work worldwide. Massive congregation consolidation occurred throughout Latin America, Eastern Europe, and areas of Central Europe. Greater emphasis began to be placed on member-missionary work. New congregations were often not organized until local members were self-sustaining. Missionary numbers dropped, likely due to a drop in the number of young men mission age combined with raising the standards for missionary service. Although the quality of missionaries and their teaching improved, this resulted in a drop of 10,000 in the missionary force.

I believe that the 2000s was a time for the Church to focus on developing greater local leadership, reform the missionary program, and strengthen the large number of new converts gained in the 1980s and 1990s. This occurred in the early 2000s when we saw a decline in the number of stakes in 2002 and increases of total congregations worldwide of less than 100 for two years in a row. During the 2000s the Perpetual Education Fund began in disadvantaged nations, providing education loans to members to improve their economic stability and provide greater wealth and skilled labor for their native countries. The decrease in missionaries serving is discouraging and requires greater focus from the Church in the United States and internationally in order to see greater increases in missionaries serving to allow the opening of new missions while continuing to maintain already operating ones.

The 2010s will be very exciting for the growth of the Church. In the past two years we have seen a major change in the outreach of the Church in Africa, Asia and Latin America with new cities opening for missionary work at an increased rate. Significant increases in missionaries serving from outside the United States have occurred, particularly in Africa and Asia. In Mongolia, the number of missionaries serving from that country increased from 30 two and a half years ago to around 226 currently. Problems with member involvement in missionary work will likely continue but hopefully improve, especially in the United States. One of the great keys I believe for greater health and growth in the Church will be in renewed, continued dedication of its members to have greater faith and involvement in the Church's missionary efforts.

In the 2010s I predict that we will see the following based on recent trends and my impressions:
  1. Temples announced, under construction or in operation will reach 200
  2. The number of missions will stay stagnant or slightly increase as missionary resources continue to shift from less productive to more productive areas.
  3. Convert baptisms will exceed half a million.
  4. The opening of nations in sub-Sahara Africa to the Church, mainly Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
  5. Greater growth of membership and congregations in countries for which the Church does not publish its presence.
  6. Many of the 430 unreached Brazilian cities of over 20,000 inhabitants opening for missionary work.
  7. Countries with over 100 stakes also including Peru, the Philippines, and maybe Argentina.
  8. An increase in the number of full-time missionaries serving exceeding 2000 levels.
  9. Greater outreach among unreached cities in India, Africa and Colombia.
  10. Steady congregational and membership growth in the United States continuing.
  11. Another period of rapid growth in Central America and South America in terms of membership and congregational growth. Rapid growth has begun again in Peru, Brazil and Mexico in the past few years.
  12. Greater mission outreach in the United States among minority groups, especially Iranians, Asians, and Africans.
  13. Congregational growth exceeding 500 most years.
  14. The ratio of membership to congregations continuing to increase, perhaps reaching 500.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Stake Created in Peru

On December 13th a new stake was created in Peru. The Chincha Perú Stake was reinstated with all six branches in the former Chincha Perú District turning into wards. The Chincha Perú District was first created in 1985 and became a stake in 1992. Part of the stake was made into the Cañete Perú District in 1997. The stake was discontinued in 1999 and returned to district status. In addition to Pisco and Ica, city of Chincha received heavy damage from a large earthquake in 2007. A significant amount of humanitarian aid and assistance was provided by the Church for several months.

The new stake becomes the seventh organized in 2009 in Peru. Several additional districts appear close to turning into stakes. There are now 94 stakes and 23 districts in Peru.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two Districts Discontinued

Two districts were discontinued in the Caribbean. The Oranjestad Aruba and Curacao Netherlands Antilles Districts were both discontinued, with their branches now reporting directly to the Puerto Rico San Juan West Mission. There were 458 members in three branches in Aruba and 889 members in five branches in the Netherlands Antilles at the end of 2008. Both of these districts were organized in 2004. The decision to discontinue these districts is likely due to inactivity and retention problems since these districts are distant from mission headquarters in Puerto Rico. These islands have seen some of the most rapid growth in membership in the past decade among countries/territories in the Caribbean with fewer than 1,000 members. Some of the most active, strong leaders may have been less able to assist in strengthening Church members in their local branches, contributing to these districts being discontinued.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Stake in Idaho

A new stake was created in Rigby, Idaho. I will provide the name and the number of congregations in the new stake once this information becomes available. The new stake is the 121st stake in Idaho and the third in the town of Rigby.

So far there have been 49 new stakes created in 2009.


There have been some reports on the Internet referring to this blog is an official Church site. The LDS Church Growth blog and other blogs affiliated with this site are not official Church sites.

Church Growth News from Botswana and Estonia


Missionaries serving in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission report that two cities are opening for missionary work in Botswana. Francistown, located on the border with Zimbabwe in the north, had its sole branch created in the early 2000s and has opened for missionary work. Sacrament attendance for the branch has climbed from the 40s into the 70s in just the past few months. Missionaries began more regularly visiting the branch and baptizing converts this year. A pair of senior couple missionaries are also serving in the city.

Mochudi has also opened for missionary work and a pair of elders are assigned to the city. No branch has been formed in Mochudi and members and investigators likely meet as a group or dependent branch.

The first young single adult (YSA) ward was also created in Africa in Gaborone, Botswana. The recently created Molepolole Branch now has over 70 attending Sunday meetings. There are now three wards and three branches in the country.


On the outskirts of Tallinn, the city of Keila has opened for missionary work. There are five branches in Estonia and six cities opened for missionary work.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New District in Nigeria

A new district was created last Sunday in Nigeria. The Okrika Nigeria District was created from one of the Port Harcourt stakes. Okrika was originally its own ward, which has become a branch. Additional branches are likely included in rural areas to the south or east of Port Harcourt. The Bonny Branch to the south on Bonny Island is likely also included in the new district. Indicated by three districts created this year, the Church in Nigeria has continued to strengthen and reach rural areas better than any other Africa nation.

There are now 16 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria. Still no word on the status of the Aba Nigeria Temple after its closure in August.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New District in Malaysia

A new district has been created in East Malaysia. The Sibu East Malaysia District was created from the Kuching East Malaysia District on November 29th and includes the three branches in the city of Sibu. With the creation of the new district, there are now six districts in the country.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

District and Branch Growth

One of the interesting phenomenons in the Church that has arisen in the past 60 years are long periods of time in which there is a steady increase in wards but no increase or a decrease in the number of branches. Such a trend has occurred from the early 1950s to 1986 and since 2000. At the end of 2000 there were 17,994 wards and 7,927 branches worldwide. Currently there are about 20,506 wards and 7,821 branches in countries in which the Church publishes its presence. The number of branches worldwide is likely around 7,930. Between 2000 and the beginning of December 2009, the number of wards increased by 2,512 while the number of branches remained nearly unchanged.

The number of districts in the Church has changed with the number of branches. By the end of 2000 there were 621 districts. At the end of 2008 there were 622 districts. Reasons for periods of no increase in the number of districts and branches is due to the district/branch creation rate equaling the rate at which districts turn into stakes, branches turn into wards, or districts and branches being discontinued.

An increase in districts and branches is of great interest in studying the growth of the Church because these typically indicate the Church moving into unreached areas of the world and establishing a local leadership presence. However a steady increase in districts and branches can also indicate that the Church in unable to mature enough in areas of the world for these to turn into stakes and wards.

In 2009 we have seen the most new districts organized in the Church since 2004. So far in 2009 we have had more districts created from mission branches than any year since the 1990s. There have been at least 20 new districts organized this year, 17 of which were from mission branches in areas in which the Church is just beginning to develop local leadership and greater membership strength. Below is a list of the known new districts created this year and previous years back to 2001. Districts which were created from a portion of an operating stake are in italics and new districts created from the portion of a discontinued stake are in bold. Districts which have since been discontinued are in red.


  1. Chişinau Moldova
  2. Arad Romania
  3. Cayenne French Guiana
  4. Oron Nigeria
  5. Ikot Ekpene Nigeria
  6. Yamoussoukro Côte d'Ivoire
  7. Miskolc Hungary
  8. Szombathely Hungary
  9. Bloemfontein South Africa
  10. Konongo Ghana
  11. Chennai India
  12. Coimbatore India
  13. Visakhapatnam India
  14. Sousa Brazil
  15. Baler Philippines
  16. Bonao Dominican Republic
  17. Cotuí Dominican Republic
  18. La Vega Dominican Republic
  19. Baghdad Iraq Military
  20. Addis Ababa Ethiopia
  21. Tzaneen South Africa
  22. Sibu East Malaysia
  23. Okrika Nigeria
  1. Pinotepa México
  2. Planaltina Brazil
  3. Caruaru Brazil
  4. Mamanguape Brazil
  5. Mbabane Swaziland
  6. Newcastle South Africa
  7. Miri East Malaysia
  8. Shanghai China International (English)
  9. Kabul Afghanistan Military
  10. Rigo Papua New Guinea
  11. Andahuayles Peru
  12. Huancavelica Peru
  13. Yerevan Armenia South
  14. Ibiono Nigeria

  1. Abomosu Ghana
  2. Richards Bay South Africa
  3. Sogod Philippines
  4. Ulsan South Korea
  5. Monte Plata Dominican Republic
  6. Oldenburg Germany
  7. Nicosia Cyprus
  1. Ponte Nova Brazil
  2. Teofilo Otoni Brazil
  3. Asaba Nigeria
  4. Luputa Democratic Republic of Congo
  5. Esteli Nicaragua
  6. Juigalpa Nicaragua
  7. Moscow Russia West
  8. Rafaela Argentina
  1. Juaziero Brazil
  2. Gramado Brazil
  3. Okpuala Ngwa Nigeria
  4. Dar es Salaam Tanzania
  5. Kitwe Zambia
  6. Gonzaga Philippines
  7. Burgos Philippines
  8. Roxas Philippines Isabela
  9. Kampong Cham Cambodia
  10. Calabozo Venezuela
  11. Canje Guyana
  12. Mariano Roque Alonso Paraguay
  13. Alto Hospicio Chile
  14. Esquel Argentina
  15. Erfurt Germany
  1. Izucar de Matamoros Mexico
  2. Chahuites Mexico
  3. Ariquemes Brazil
  4. Pouso Alegre Brazil
  5. Goiana Brazil
  6. Jequie Brazil
  7. Lagarto Brazil
  8. Palmares Brazil
  9. Parnaiba Brazil
  10. Agoo Philippines
  11. Baliwag Philippines
  12. Bongabon Philippines
  13. La Caroleta Philippines
  14. Curacao Netherlands Antilles
  15. Oranjestad Aruba
  16. Paramaribo Suriname
  17. Caleta Olivia Argentina
  18. Santa Teresita Argentina
  19. Tres Arroyos Argentina
  20. Managua Nicaragua Tipitapa
  21. Togliatti Russia
  22. Katowice Poland
  23. Basse Terre Saint Kitts and Nevis
  1. Guanajuato Mexico
  2. Akure Nigeria
  3. Beira Mozambique
  4. Gweru Zimbabwe
  5. Kananga Democratic Republic of Congo
  6. Lusaka Zambia
  7. Maputo Mozambique
  8. Ballestros Philippines
  9. Bauang Philippines
  10. Camiling Philippines East
  11. Camiling Philippines West
  12. Mangaldan Philippines
  13. Mapandan Philippines
  14. Ipoh Malaysia
  15. Kuching East Malaysia
  16. Georgetown Guyana
  17. Coyhaique Chile
  18. La Union Chile
  19. Gualeguaychu Argentina
  20. Fort Stockton Texas
  21. Aracati Brazil
  1. Bangui Philippines
  2. Bambang Philippines
  3. Vigan Philippines
  4. Phnom Penh Cambodia South
  5. Gerehu Papua New Guinea
  6. Goroka Papua New Guinea
  7. Kuriva Papua New Guinea
  8. Oro Papua New Guinea
  9. El Triunfo Ecuador
  10. Riberalta Bolivia
  11. Puerto Suarez Bolivia
  12. Coquimbo Chile
  13. Coronel Chile
  14. Lebu Chile
  15. Linares Chile
  16. Melipilla Chile
  17. Ovalle Chile
  18. Parral Chile
  19. San Fernando Chile
  20. Talagante Chile
  21. Vaiparaiso Chile West
  22. Canada de Gomez Argentina
  23. Volgograd Russia
  24. Basse-Terre Guadeloupe
  25. Christ Church Barbados
  26. Linstead Jamaica
  27. Montego Bay Jamaica
  28. New Providence Bahamas
  29. Likasi Democratic Republic of Congo
  30. Itapeva Brazil District
  1. Pirassununga Brazil
  2. Sao Borja Brazil
  3. Sao Gabriel Brazil
  4. Aguilar Philippines
  5. Bangued Philippines
  6. Biliran Philippines
  7. Calasiao Philippines
  8. Phnom Penh Cambodia Central (Vietnamese)
  9. Jeju Korea
  10. Carupano Venezuela
  11. La Paz Argentina
  12. Ushuaia Argentina
  13. Krasnoyarsk Russia
  14. Omsk Russia
  15. Nueva Tolten Chile