Monday, February 8, 2010

Another New Mission to be Created

Missionaries report that a new mission will be created in Utah. The Utah St George Mission will likely be created from a division of the Utah Provo Mission. St George has a large non-LDS population that is rapidly growing. I will provide more details once they become available.

19 comments:

Ryan said...

I would have thought that St. George already had a mission.

Odell said...

Please state the level of non-Mormon residents in the St. George area.

It seems to me that the LDS church is withdrawing its missionaries from first world areas (where I assume potential investigators have internet access) to (a) third world areas (where an independent review of Mormonism would be more limited) and to (b) areas where tithing is being generated as the third world members cannot generate the same level of income needed to operate the LDS church.

Odell Campbell
Oklahoma City

Odell said...

Washington County, Utah, in which St. George is located, actually has a very small non-LDS population. Statistics place the LDS population of the county at 78.45, the 19th most LDS county within the United States.

(See http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_lds.html)

Odell said...
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Odell said...

Here is some more interesting information. The U.S. Census Bureau lists 3,140 counties or county-equivalent administrative units in the United States. With Washington County, Utah being the 19th most LDS county in the United States, that would mean that there are some 3,121 counties less LDS in the United States than Washington County, Utah. So, if the goal of mission location is non-LDS areas, then St. George, Utah is one of the worst places to open a new mission.

Matt said...

Washington County is still predominantly LDS but I imagine that the percentage of LDS members is decreasing. Growth has slowed dramatically in the past couple years as a result of the economy, but many are still moving to the area. I don't have any statistics which are current and I imagine that the statistics you provided were either from 2000 or are estimates. Utah and areas with a high percentage of Church members are very productive for missionary work as nearly all the converts come from member referals. It is not uncommon for missions in Utah to have a couple hundred baptisms a month. I don't think it would be strange to see an additional mission or two in the Western United States. The Arizona Mesa and Arizona Tempe Missions each had over 1,000 baptisms last year with high retention according to missionaries.

rfelsted said...

Odell, the LDS percentage of Washington County was 69,4% 3 years ago and has probably dropped a bit since then with the large spillover from the Las Vegas area and southern California. (The website you cited gave information from 1990.)

This mission will probably serve Washington, Iron, Kane, San Juan, and Grand Counties with close to 100,000 non-LDS population. I have heard that the Provo Mission was the most successful mission in Utah, partly because of the missionary success in the St. George area.

Jeff said...

That's pretty funny Odell. I never knew that St. George was a non-first-world locale without internet access. I wonder why it has had one of the highest population growth rates in America during the past decade. And no, the LDS Church does not set out to convert rich people for tithing purposes, as much as you might like to believe that.

That aside, I am surprised at this announcement. It certainly does not fit Matt's explanation of local leadership and membership now filling the role of missions/missionaries. And 100,000 non-LDS population is very small for an entire mission. On the other hand, I have always been surprised at the high baptism rates of the Utah missions and this announcement is clearly a reflection of this success. (Personally I had been waiting for a resurrection of the 'Home Mission,' but I guess that won't be happening, at least not now.) As always, thanks for the updates!

--- said...

The reason for all these funny comments spilling on the blog of late is because this blog has been linked from Exmormon.org, a notorious anti-mormon website known for making tedious accusations against the church.

As you can see, they all think "internet access slows growth", "the church is declining", and that "the church works only to get tithing". Of course at the same time they call us "deluded", but believe baloney things like that!

Plus I am glad this new mission was announced, because on the same website they were all laughing at "16 missions to be continued", without realising that other ones would be created. It's a good sign overall that growth in utah is still going, even though some have been mislead that "the church is declining in utah", simply on the basis that non-LDS groups migrate into Utah and grow faster.

Odell said...

Jeff:

Wasn't try to be funny, usually it requires too much work. If you re-read my original comment I opined that missions are being relocated to 3rd world areas (think Africa, South America) and to areas where tithing being generated (think St. George).

At this point I don't think it is any secret that LDS missionary baptisms are practically non-existent in developed nations. Having served a mission in South America, I realize that many join the LDS church to appease the missionaries investigators befriend (and then quickly go inactive). Numbers may be easy in South America and Africa, but members there don't pay tithing. I suspect a new mission in St. George isn't about church growth, its about revenue entrenchment.

Just some words from a realist and pragmatist.

--- said...

Odell,

you are wrong. Growth none exsistent in developed nations? Oh yes this is why the United States had 93,000 converts in 2008, and an estimated 18% rise in 2009 (taking it over 100,000). So your claim is wrong. Does that sound like non exsistent to you?

Ridiclous. How dare you accuse this church of doing missionary work to make money, what a scandalous and childish accusation to make.

You are not a "realist" spouting nonsense.

James said...

This may be a weird question, but I'm wondering since they're opening a mission based in St. George. Are LDS missionaries sent to the FLDS areas like Colorado City/Hilldale? Or are those areas totally off limits to missionaries?

Kim Siever said...

I assume sch a mission would extend outside Washington County. I assume, it would include the stakes in Cedar City, Kanab, and Blanding.

Ragrding Matt’s comment of productivity, I just want to make note that per-stake baptismal rates in Utah are extremely low. Some stakes are lucky to see one baptism per year.

--- said...
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fish said...

Perhaps but I'm french and I can see wards close each year and not new open near Paris. I think the church has a very big problem and the apostals might be too old or so far from how comand an international church. It is time to wake up search the divine will!!! Move, go throw the world and see what people really need. Not tears each sunday at the church but some spiritual strength, education and a goal.

rfelsted said...

To ---___

Thanks for letting us know about the link with the website that is so adversarial. It explains a couple of recent negative posts.

To think that the internet is a means of stopping growth and that the Church will only flourish in nations where there is little access to the internet is preposterous. There are millions of people who go online to read Gospel messages, prepare lessons, find sources for talks and sermons, and to just generally find inspiring messages and information. And as to tithing, has the poster considered how precious is the "widow's mite?" Blessings from the payment of tithing come to all who follow this commandment.

Of course there will always be those with schadenfreude at the occasional slowdowns in the growth of the Church, but as a recent poster said, "No unhallowed hand" will hold back the work of the Lord and His anointed ones.

Michael said...

Keeping our focused on promised blessings--long-term growth, and not on perceived promises--short term growth, or ease of life for church members (which may or may not happen)-- Is the way to deal with times the statistics don't seem to match up with the faith.

In the end, people have agency and must accept both Christ and the church on an individual basis.

Jared T. said...

I'm excited by this news. I served in teh Utah Provo Mission from 2001-2003 and in St. George for 6 months. There is certainly enough work in S. Utah for this type of move.

James, when I was there, the Fundamentalist areas were off limits. However, my comp and I while in Delta taught a family in Oak City that had come out of Fundamentalism. They (and any with Fundamentalist background seeking baptism) had to have an interview with an apostle (in their case, Elder Worthlin) before their baptism was approved.

PS: Ex-Mo's need to get a clue.

tanja said...

I served in the Utah Provo Mission from 2005-2007. At the time (and I assume it still holds true), it was the highest baptizing English speaking mission in the world. As a mission, there were about 200 baptisms per month (so about 2500 per year), which is less than some (non-English obviously) places in South America or the Philippines, but is a huge number compared to places in Europe, for example. I think the church is simply adding more missions where the missionaries are successful, and combining missions, where there is less success, ie baptisms. I don't think there is any other motivation. Despite what many people may think, as a missionary in Utah, I taught lessons all day long, every day. In many missions that's not true, and so I am not surprised at all that the mission is being divided. To me it is similar to how the church keeps adding temples in Utah. They have to do it because in places like the Provo Temple, I have personally waited 4 hours to do baptisms. It's no wonder so many temples have been built in Utah in recent years, and I think the Provo mission is being divided for similar reasons.

As far as polygamists go, missionaries are absolutely not allowed to enter such communities (or they'll get sent home), though we could teach anyone who had already left such a community and was living in a non-polygamist community/environment. If the person wanted to get baptized, it was no simple matter however - they would often have to wait at least a year because of various delays and are required to be interviewed by an apostle beforehand, who must give his approval.