Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recently Completed LDS Church Growth Case Studies

At, we have recently posted several additional case studies that examine various topics pertaining to missionary work and church growth.  These case studies include:
Any feedback on these case studies is appreciated and can be given as a comment under this post.


Ed Clinch said...

I try clicking on these links and sometimes I get the title, or nothing. Is it me?
On a more missionary note, this blog does a wonderful job in taking into account world wide growth. I like to see the personal stories of individuals going on missions, the bishops who support them, counsel them, the missionary leaders, the quorums, etc.
Sometimes it might be nice to feature these people's first person accounts, even though it seems more anecdotal, it may cut to crux of real issues more.
I have a nephew in Sierra Leone right now, his blog is very informative. Although biased, of course.
I wish I had a blog during my mission.
Peace from Afghanistan.

Matt said...

You can view these case studies in any web browser except Internet Explorer. We are in the process of revamping the site to permit users to use Internet Explorer to view these resources.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Just a thought on the case studies in general, the list of them all is getting rather long and confusing. I recommend sorting them by topic or something.

Matt said...

We will be categorizing the case studies (analysis of growth, ethnic group, church policies, ect) and reorganizing the website in the coming months to be more user friendly. Thank you for the feedback.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Nicaragua have a temple yet?

JonErik said...

Thank you for making some of the case studies available to those of us using Explorer. Will it be possible to go back now and reformat the prior/older studies so that they work in Explorer? Thank you for your efforts

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you for these case studies. I find them interesting.

One thing I have been wondering about is the continual reductions in area presidencies since 2004. I am wondering if you have thought about the implications.

In 2004, the Presidency of the Seventy was released from being executive directors and were given responsibility for all the areas worldwide and in particular for the 11 in the United States and Canada (with each member of the Presidency being responsible for 1-3 of these areas). In effect, 11 area presidencies disappeared, but that doesn't appear to have had much of an impact on the work in the United States and Canada.

In 2006, the Caribbean Area was created by division of the North America Southeast and a new Presidency called. This brought the total number of areas in the Church to 31, 20 with presidencies.

In 2007, the 2 areas in Mexico and 2 in Brazil were merged into a single area in each with over a million members each. Areas dropped to 29 and area presidencies to 18.

In 2008, this trend continued with the Europe Central and Europe West areas merging into a Europe Area and the Australia and New Zealand/Pacific Islands areas merged in a new Pacific Area.

Also, in 2008 North America East merged into North America Northeast and North America Southeast, dropping to 10 areas in the United States and Canada administered directly by the Presidency of the Seventy.

In 2008, a new Middle East/Africa North Area was created, with two Salt Lake-based general authorities (and a Salt Lake-based Area Seventy), although not designated a presidency.

Net result is 27 areas, of which 16 have presidencies.

In 2009, South America Northwest was created by the merger of South America North and South America West areas, resulting in 26 areas, with 15 presidencies.

In 2012, South America South Area absorbed the Chile Area and now contains Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile. Now there are 25 areas with 14 presidencies.

In general, we think of church growth in terms of the number of stakes and wards increasing. But, at the area level with a trend of reducing the number of area presidencies, I wonder if we can think of church growth the same way.

In 2006, with 31 areas and 20 presidencies, there were 37 general authorities in those 20 presidencies and 23 area seventies. There was at least one area seventy in all presidencies except for Europe East. In 2012, we now have 14 presidencies, with all 42 members general authorities in the 1st or 2nd quorums. We have experienced an increase in general authorities assigned to manage the church outside of the US and Canada and the number of area seventies have increase as well. The areas, particularly those outside of the US and Canada also contain department that mirror the Presiding Bishopric departments (physical facilities, finance, welfare services, etc.) as well as a director of temporal affairs to manage them, and CES and public affairs directors all rolled in an area council run by the area presidency. So, these support services are being consolidated overseas. The numbers of area seventies and mission presidents per area presidency has gone up substantially.

I am really curious about what the impact of the reductions in areas means. The obvious is less oversight for area seventies, mission presidents, and stake presidents. Is this because leadership at this level (which for area seventies and stake presidents and increasingly for mission presidents is local) is becoming more experienced and capable of operating with less oversight? Can area temporal affairs organizations properly support a larger church populations--more buildings being built and more need for welfare services to name just two?

Do you think the vision is to eventually eliminate all area presidencies? Say Mexico and Central America merging in the near future, with South America South and South America Northwest merging?

Interested in your thoughts?

Mike Johnson said...

Also about area presidencies, it may have been on this web page where a call was made for 6 church colleges to be established in cities like Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, etc.

I thought, great idea. And five of the six identified cities have an area presidency residing in it with all of the area temporal affairs, CES, and public affairs support. And the sixth--Santiago, Chile--did as well until 1 August 2012.

I think it makes a lot of sense to have church universities around the world. The Perpetual Education Fund is designed to support members in education goals and the Church does seem to like having attached religion courses (seminary and institute) rather than have the church responsible for the full educational program. But, I do think it would be great to have LDS colleges in at least come of the cities where an area presidency resides.

One last point. There are more than 350,000 enrolled in seminary or about 90,000 in each year. This is the target for missionary work. About half are male and if 45,000 went on a mission each year, there would be 90,000 elders. A tiny fraction of the 45,000 females in each class go, but with the change to 19, a higher fraction could go.