Tuesday, December 4, 2012

3,000th Stake Milestone Reached

Last Sunday, the Church created its 3,000th stake.  The Church designated the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake as its 3,000th stake as several new stakes were organized last Sunday.  On cumorah.com, I recently wrote an analysis on reaching the 3,000th stake milestone and factors that influence stake growth.  Please click here to access the case study on Google docs.  We are currently revamping the website and will post the case study on the website in the near future.

The Church reached its 1,000 stake milestone in 1979 and its 2,000 stake milestone in 1994. 

6 comments:

Mike Johnson said...

I enjoyed your write up.

I think one of the things that happened between the 2000th and 3000th stakes was the criteria for both wards and stakes were tightened up. When wards and stakes start out too small, there is too much of a risk that they will need to be discontinued. Raising the standards slowed down stake and ward growth and caused some consolidation. Thus, the 3000 stakes of today are more solid than the 2000 of 1995.

I also think 1877--the last year of Brigham Young's life--is key for stakes as we know them today. Prior to that stakes were (1) a designated point of gathering and (2) a judicial system for the Melchizedek Priesthood. At a conference in St. George in early 1877, Brigham Young outlined a new vision for stakes.

The 135 wards at the time were not associated with stakes. The ward bishops reported to the Presiding Bishopric through a number of "traveling bishops" appointed by the Presiding Bishopric to visit all the wards. Apostles lived in different areas of Utah and presided over their local area--often a county in Utah. High priest quorums were not associated with stakes. Officially, there were 10 stakes, although I have seen some evidence of 2 others, but all 10-12 were simply judicial structures. All existing stakes were reorganized that year and new ones created to form 20 stakes. All were in Utah except the Bear Lake Stake that was half in Utah and half in Idaho. The wards were placed under the stakes and the stake presidencies replaced the traveling bishops as the next higher authority to train ward bishops.

Stake presidents also became high priest quorum presidents in 1877 with all high priests inside each stake becoming members of the quorum.

Thus, much of how we understand stakes to function today actually began in 1877 in the last year of Brother Brigham's life.

Jeff said...

Mike--If you don't mind, what is your source for this? I'm doing some family history research of an ancestor of mine, who served as president of the Salt Lake Stake just before this change that you speak of, and would like to know more about these early organizational structures.

James W. Anderson said...

There is an old set of books titled 'Messages of the First Presidency', which has the major letters sent out from the beginning until the middle of the 20th Century. That would have some of the detail.

Another source would be the Journal of Discourses as I understand it, it was partially given at a gathering where someone would have gotten the talk down.

Also interesting to note is the fact that young men under 18 were not ordained to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood until about this same time.

The 1877 matter is mentioned in an article about high priests published in the Ensign about six or seven years back, as part of that series of articles about offices in the priesthood, other articles in that series may also have information.

Also before this time, a few stakes had 'presiding bishops' as a stake-level position, an ancestor of a friend of mine served as one of those. That was done away with at about this time or even before that.

Glade Tew said...

Regarding your list of 2012 new stakes, during 2012 the Laie, Hawaii YSA 1st and 2nd stakes were created. At the same time the BYU-Hawaii 1st and 3rd Stakes were ended. Perhaps the reason you have not included is because there was no net change in number of stakes.

Ed Clinch said...

LDS Church Stake growth is in many ways the best measure of the Church of Jesus Christ's outreach and population. Districts are not to be discounted, bit a stake certainly indicates real strength and numbers.
In 2001 at UCLA I did a study of the historical growth of stakes in Brazil from its inception up to around the year 2000, and then I did a cross-comparison of the first 60 stakes of both Chile and Brazil. My main professor was not too impressed, but he did say," I have this vision of stake centers all over Brazil!" he did not know very much about Chile, which is more my speciality. Intersestingly, many of the expanded new stakes of Chile in the 1990s were fused and reduced, but the original 60 remain the bulwarks of the country, if you will, while Brazil continues to go strong. How many do they have now? Chile is struggling to have 100, while it will most likely continue to be surpassed by neighbors Peru and Argentina.
Keep up the great reporting.
Love it.
PS: My nephew is is Waterloo, suburb of Sierra Leone, the country and city where my parents were married beforet joining the LDS Church, back in the 1960s.

Mike Johnson said...

Jeff, I wish I had better references at my finger tips at the moment and I appreciate Jame's excellent response.

I have been wracking my brains as to where I read the account. I believe the conference was actually the April General Conference and it was held in St. George. The temple was dedicated at that time.

Doing some searching of the ensign, there are a couple of hints about this change in the following articles:

http://www.lds.org/ensign/2005/06/the-high-priests-quorum

http://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/the-seventies-a-historical-perspective

There is a very complete account out there describing how this change kept the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve busy that year.

There is another hint in theme 5 of http://www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-teacher-manual/brigham-youngs-presidency-the-final-decade?lang=eng

I am continuing to try to dig up my original source.