Saturday, March 31, 2012

2011 Statistical Report Released

The Church released its statistical report for 2011 in General Conference today.  Below is a summary of church statistics reported in comparison with the statistical report for 2010:
  • Membership: 14,441,346 (increase of 309,879 from 2010; a 2.19% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 28,784 (increase of 124 from 2010; a 0.43% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 2,946 (increase of 50 from 2010; a 1.73% annual increase)
  • Districts: 608 (a decrease of six from 2010; a 0.98% annual decrease)
  • Convert Baptisms: 281,312 (increase of 8,498 from 2010; a 3.11% annual increase)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 119,917 (decrease of 611 from 2010; a 0.51% annual decrease)
  • Full-time missionaries: 55,410 (increase of 3,185 from 2010; a 6.1% annual increase)
  • Church service missionaries: 22,299 (increase of 1,486 from 2010; a 7.1% annual increase)
The surge in the number of members serving full-time missions was the greatest change in the statistical report for 2011 compared to statistical reports for years within the past decade.  If this trend is sustained for 2012, the Church may be able to make greater headway in opening additional areas of the world to proselytism without significantly redistributing available mission resources from less productive areas.  The increase in the number of stakes in 2011 was greater than any year for the Church since 1998.  The number of converts baptized increased slightly from previous years in the past decade and the increase of children on record was sustained around 120,000 which has been the average for the past few years.  The number of church service missionaries also significantly increased.

The most concerning statistic reported for 2011 was the number of congregations; a mere 124 more than 2010.  Few new congregations organized during 2011 suggests ongoing convert retention problems.  Commensurate congregational and membership growth rates suggests high convert retention whereas in 2011, the percentage growth in membership was five times greater than that for wards and branches.  One cause for significantly reduced number of new congregations organized in 2011 was the consolidation of scores of YSA wards and branches in Utah and Idaho in preparation to create YSA stakes.  However, even if these consolidations had not occurred, the increase in units would still have been lower than any year since the early 2000s.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Updated Potential Temple Sites Map

In preparation for any possible temple announcements tomorrow in General Conference, I have updated the map displaying the locations of potential future LDS temples. These locations were identified based on a variety of factors that often predict new temple announcements such as distance from the nearest LDS temple, number of stakes potentially serviced by a new temple, current temple utilization trends as indicated by the number of endowment sessions scheduled at the nearest temple, and duration of an LDS presence. None of these temples have been officially announced by the Church. Five additional locations were added to the map for this latest update, including Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; Harare, Zimbabwe; Maracaibo, Venezuela; Pensacola, Florida; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Your comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged.

View Potential New Temples in a larger map

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First YSA stake outside Idaho and Utah to be Created in Virginia in April

In an article published by the Deseret News, the Church reports that the first YSA stake outside of Idaho and Utah will be organized in Virginia to service the young single adult population attending universities in the area such as Southern Virginia University.  The new stake will include seven wards in western Virginia.  For more information, please refer to the article that can be accessed here.

New Stakes Created in Mexico, Samoa, and Uruguay


A new stake was created in Queretaro, Mexico. The Queretaro Mexico El Sol Stake was organized from the two previously operating stakes in Queretaro and includes the following five wards: The Cimatario, El Sol, Hidalgo, La Joya, and Tejeda Wards.  The Church has experienced more rapid growth in Queretaro than in most other major cities in central Mexico as indicated by the Church organizing the first stake in the city in 1995 and the second stake in 2000.  With the exception of Mexico City, most major cities in central Mexico have had only one new stake organized within the past 15 years.

There are now 225 stakes and 36 districts in Mexico


For the first time since 1996, the Church created a new stake in Samoa.  The Savaii Samoa Pu'apu'a Stake was organized from the Fagamalo Samoa and Savaii Samoa Stakes.  The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: The Lano, Moesavili, Patamea, Pu'apu'a, Saasaai, and Saipipi Wards, and the Samalaeulu Branch.  There are now six stakes on the island of Savaii; none of which appear close to splitting in the near future.  A couple stakes appear close to splitting on the main Samoan island of Upolu however.

The LDS Church now has 17 stakes and no districts in Samoa.


The Church created a new stake in Uruguay for the first time since 2003.  The Montevideo Uruguay De La Costa Stake was organized from the Montevideo Uruguay East Stake and includes the following six wards: The El Bosque, El Pinar, Lomas de Solymar, Parque del Plata, Salinas, and San Jose de Carrasco Wards.  The Church has no other stakes which appear close to splitting, but missionaries report that the district in Treinta y Tres may become a stake in the near future.

There are now 17 stakes and four districts in Uruguay.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Proselyting LDS Missionaries Assigned to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Last week, missionaries report that six young missionaries were permanently assigned to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time.  Four missionaries (two elders and two sisters) were assigned to the Sarajevo Branch and two missionaries were assigned to the Banja Luka Group.  Several Bosnians have already joined the Church through the efforts of the handful of members in the country and senior missionary couples within the past year.  The Adriatic North Mission services Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Missionaries also report that plans are underway to assign the first proselyting missionaries to Macedonia and Montenegro within the next couple months.  The Adriatic South Mission services these two countries.

Two New Stakes Created in Benin City, Nigeria

Two weeks ago, the Church created two new stakes in Benin City, Nigeria. The Benin City Nigeria Ugbowo and Benin City Nigeria Siluoko Stakes were organized from the Benin City Nigeria New Benin and Benin City Nigeria Ihogbe Stakes. The Benin City Nigeria Ugbowo Stake includes the following eight wards: The Adolor, Edaiken, Evbareke, Eweka, Okhoro, Oluku, Ugbowo 1st, and Ugbowo 2nd Wards and the Benin City Nigeria Siluoko Stake includes the following six wards: The Egor, Ogida, Orominyan, Uwelu 1st, Uwelu 2nd, and Uwelu 3rd Wards.

The Church has experienced rapid growth in Benin City. The first stake was organized in 1993 followed by additional stakes in 1997 and 2006. At present, there are five stakes in Benin City; more than any other city in Nigeria.  For more information on the background of LDS growth in Benin City including historical maps of congregations and an analysis of successes, opportunities, challenges, and future prospects for growth, refer to a case study I recently wrote for that can be found here.

There are now 20 stakes and 21 districts in Nigeria.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

District Discontinued in Colombia

A district was recently discontinued in Colombia. The Girardot Colombia District was discontinued and consolidated with the neighboring Ibague Colombia District. As part of the merger of the two districts, the Church closed two of the five branches in the city of Ibague and one of the two branches in Girardot. There are now seven branches in the Ibague Colombia District.

The recent growth trends for the Church in Colombia have been mixed. Some areas have had new branches and wards organized or branches mature into stakes, such as in southern Bogota where a new stake was organized at the end of 2011. In other areas such as Ibague and Girardot, steady congregational decline has occurred. However, there has not appeared to be any cities that have closed to missionary work within the past couple years and a couple cities were recently opened to missionary work for the first time in northern Colombia. The creation of a fifth mission in July may be prompted by renewed efforts to expand national outreach into the scores of cities with over 20,000 inhabitants. The new mission may also provide more resources to address convert retention and member reactivation struggles.

There are now 29 stakes and 11 districts in Colombia.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Stake in Brazil

A new stake was created in northeastern Brazil in Pernambuco State. The Caruaru Brazil Stake was organized from the Caruaru Brazil District and the Recife Brazil Jardim São Paulo Stake and includes the following five wards and two branches: The Boa Vista, Caruaru, Catende, Gravatá, and Mauricio de Nassau Wards and the Camocim de São Félix and Jardim dos Pinheiros Branches. The Caruaru Brazil District was originally organized in 2008 from the Garanhuns Brazil Stake.

There are now 14 stakes and one district in Pernambuco and 243 stakes and 46 districts in Brazil

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Stake in Mexico

A new stake was created in Hidalgo State, Mexico. The Tezontepec México Stake was organized from the Valle del Mezquital México Stake and includes the following six wards: The Ixmiquilpan, Mixquiahuala, Panuaya, Presas, Santiago Tezontlale, and Tezontepec Wards. The LDS Church has achieved rapid growth in Hidalgo State in the past five years as the number of stakes in the state increase from four to eight. Like the rest of the country, the LDS Church in Hidalgo State has experienced little congregational growth within the past two years however.

There are now 224 stakes and 36 districts in Mexico.

Monday, March 5, 2012

First District to be Created in Cameroon

Missionaries report that this Sunday the first district of the Church in Cameroon will be organized in Yaounde.  It is unclear whether the new district will just include the four branches in Yaounde or also the two branches in Douala.  The Church has experienced steady growth in Cameroon over the past decade as membership has increased from slightly over 100 to over 1,000 today and from a single branch to six.  Currently the Church in Cameroon has the second most members of any country without a stake or district after Botswana.

Prospects appear highly favorable for the organization of a separate LDS mission in Cameroon in the near future, although there have been no formal plans announced by the Church.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

List of New Missions Announced

Below is a list of new missions announced in the Church News today:
  • Colombia Medellin
  • Ghana Kumasi
  • Mexico Xalapa
  • Mexico Puebla North
  • Nevada Reno
  • Vanuatu Port Vila
  • Utah Salt Lake City Central
  • Utah Salt Lake City West
Unlike recent years when several new missions have been announced, the Church has announced only one mission consolidation:
  • Russia Moscow West
The total number of LDS missions will therefore increase from 340 to 347.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced to Africa West Area leaders that the Church would be creating seven or eight new missions in Africa this year.  With two missions announced, it appears that another five or six new missions will be created later this year and announced by the Church at a later date.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New District in Cambodia; Districts Discontinued in Russia, Venezuela, and Brazil


The Church created a new district in Cambodia last Sunday.  The Phnom Pehn Cambodia East District was organized from the Phnom Pehn Cambodia South District and includes the following four branches: The Chamkarmorn, Kean Svay, Ta Khmau 1st, and Ta Khmau 2nd Branches.  Four branches were retained in the Phnom Pehn Cambodia South District.

It is unclear why the Church created a fourth district in Phnom Penh as missionaries have reported that mission leadership was striving to create two new stakes in Phnom Penh sometime this year.  The creation of the new district may indicate that additional branches will be organized in the two districts or that the Vietnamese-speaking district may be consolidated with Cambodian-speaking districts.  At present, the only district in Phnom Penh with enough branches to become a stake is the Phnom Pehn Cambodia North District which has six branches.

The Perm Russia District was discontinued earlier this year.  The decision to close the district appeared motivated to consolidate resources and increase the number of active members in the city into a single branch.  There are now 10 districts and one stake in Russia.

The La Fria Venezuela District was discontinued and all four branches pertaining to the former district were reassigned to the San Cristóbal Venezuela Pirineos Stake.  Within the past couple years, the Church has experienced an increase in congregational growth in southwestern Venezuela.  The consolidation of the district with the neighboring stake may have been prompted to provide more local resources for the four branches and facilitate each of the branches to become wards in the stake.  There are now 33 stakes and seven districts in Venezuela

A district was discontinued in southern Brazil.  The Santiago Brazil District was closed and one of the three branches in the city was discontinued.  The two remaining branches in the city now pertain to the Brazil Santa Maria Mission.  Slow membership growth and few active members likely prompted the closure of the district and one of the branches in the city.  There are now 242 stakes and 47 districts in Brazil.

Two New Missions in Utah; New Mission in Nevada

This summer, the Church will create two new missions in the Salt Lake City area and one new mission in Reno, Nevada. At present, the Reno metropolitan area is assigned to the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission.

LDS missions in Utah are among the highest baptizing in the Church; the decision to create additional missions in a state already headquartering five LDS missions to service less than three million people who are approximately two-thirds nominally LDS appears linked to meeting the teaching needs for the large number of investigators in the state. Many missions in Utah baptize hundreds of converts a month whereas most missions in the United States baptize less than 50 converts a month. In other words, missions in Utah are among the most efficient as most investigators are member referrals. The Church in Utah also supplies the worldwide church with large numbers of missionaries, making Utah one of the most self-sufficient areas in the Church in terms of meeting its own missionary needs. In recent years, the Church appears to have created new missions in areas which are becoming more self-sustaining in meeting their own missionary needs and closing missions in areas which are less self-sustaining in supplying local members to serve full-time missions.

I will provide more details on these three new missions once they become available.

Eight New Missions; One Mission Discontinued

The Church will create at least eight new missions this summer and consolidate one, resulting in the number of worldwide LDS missions increasing from 340 to 347. I will provide more information on the new missions once it becomes available.