Saturday, July 28, 2012

Statistical Profiles on

We will be posting country-by-country LDS statistical data on in the weeks and months ahead.  Here is a sample graph displaying the growth in the number of temples announced, under construction, or operating in the United States from 1847 to 2011.  These statistical profiles will be integrated with other church growth-related resources such as the LDS International Atlas on Google Maps (see homepage) and church growth country profiles and case studies.

Potential New Districts

I realized the other day that it's been nearly two years since I provided a list of potential new districts.  I have provided previous lists in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.  The creation of new districts is significant to studying LDS Church growth as they usually signify the expansion of the Church into lesser-reached locations and indicate that local leadership is maturing to the point of holding greater administrative responsibilities.  Over time, districts can become stakes if they meet the minimal criteria required for a stake to operate.  Districts can be formed from portions of stakes or districts or from mission branches that were not previously assigned to a stake or district. 

I have categorized potential new districts by geographic area and have included the number of branches in parentheses next to each prospective district name.

New districts must be ultimately approved by the First Presidency.  Information used to compile this list does not contain any unauthorized information and I take full responsibility for this work.

  • Atta Nigeria (4) [Atta, Amaimo, Amakohia, and Umundugba Branches - all currently administered by the Owerri Nigeria Stake]
  • Awasa Ethiopia (2) [Awasa and Wendo Genet Branches; Shashemene and Chiko Groups - all currently administered by the Addis Ababa Ethiopia District]
  • Axim Ghana (3) [Agona Nkwanta, Axim, and Nkroful Branches - all currently administered by the Ghana Cape Coast Mission]
  • Bujumbura Burundi (3) [Bujumbura 1st, Bujumbura 2nd, and Uvira Branches - all currently administered by the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission]
  • Cotonou Benin (6) [Akpakpa, Finagnon, Fidjrosse, Gbedjromede, Gbegame, and Menontin Branches - all currently administered by the Benin Cotonou Mission]
  • Kenema Sierra Leone (3) [IDA, Kenema, and Simbeck Branches - all currently administered by the Bo Sierra Leone District]
  • Kilungu Hills Kenya (4) [Ilima, Kilili, Kyambeke, and Matini Branches - all currently administered by the Kenya Nairobi Mission]
  • Kitale Kenya (5) [Kitale, Mautuma, Misikhu, Naitiri, and Sikhendu Branches - all currently administered by the Eldoret Kenya District]
  • Mombasa Kenya (3) [Bamburi, Changamwe, and Mombasa Branches - all currently administered by the Kenya Nairobi Mission]
  • Pointe-Noire Republic of Congo (3) [Aeroporto, Mpaka, and Pointe-Noire Branches - all currently administered by the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission] 
  • Queenstown South Africa (4) [Queenstown and Sada Wards; Ilinge and Umata Branches - all currently administered by the East London South Africa Stake]
  • Guimaras Philippines (3) [Buenavista, Jordan, and Valencia Branches; also at least two groups in Comian and Sibunag - all units currently assigned to the Ililio Philippines Stake]
  • Tagudin Philippines (4) [Balaoan, Bangar, Luna, and Tagudin Branches - branches currently assigned to either the Candon Phillipines or San Fernando Philippines Stakes]
  • Thurso Scotland (4) [Kirkwall, Lerwick, Stornoway, and Thurso Branches - all currently assigned to the Scotland/Ireland Mission]
  • Cap-Haitien Haiti (4) [Cap-Haitien, Fort Liberte, Port-de-Paix, and Vertieres Branches - all currently assigned to the Gonaives Haiti District]
  • Chignahuapan Mexico (3) [Chignahuapan, Tetela, and Zacatlan Branches - all currently assigned to the Mexico Puebla North Mission]
  • Jacmel Haiti (3) [Jacmel, Meyer, and Tenier Branches - all currently assigned to the Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission]
  • New Amsterdam Guyana (6) [Bushlot, Corriverton, East Canje, New Amsterdam, Rose Hall, and Rosignol Branches]
  • Aoba Vanuatu (5) [Apopo, Lobori, Lolotinge, Lovutialao, and Navuti Branches - all currently assigned to the Luganville Vanuatu District]
  • Tanna Vanuatu (5) [Greenhill, Greenpoint, Saetsiwi, White Sands, and Whitegrass Branches - all currently assigned to the Port Vila Vanuatu District]
In the coming months and years, many districts may be organized in additional locations not listed above. These locations have a high potential for congregational growth and leadership development due to receptivity of the LDS Church and high rates of convert baptisms (generally), but have an inadequate number of congregations, few local leaders capable of staffing district callings, or have branches scattered over a large geographical area. Below is a list of less likely potential new districts. The creation of districts in these areas will depend on the creation of additional congregations and the development of self-sustaining local leadership.

  • Douala Cameroon (2) [Bonaberri and Douala Branches - both administered by the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission] 
  • Fianarantsoa Madagascar (2) [Fianarantsoa and Tsianolondroa Branches - both administered by the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission]
  • Francistown Botswana (1) [Francistown Branch administered by the South Africa Johannesburg Mission - two groups also operate in Gerald and Monarch]
  • Grand-Bassam Cote d'Ivoire (2) [Grand-Bassam 1st and 2nd Branches - both administered by the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission] 
  • Gulu Uganda (1) [Gulu Branch administered by Uganda Kampala Mission; member reports indicate the branch will divide in August]
  • Lilongwe Malawi (2) [Kauma and Lilongwe Branches - both administered by the Zambia Lusaka Mission]
  • Lira Uganda (2) [Adyel and Lira Branches - both administered by the Uganda Kampala Mission]
  • Marondera Zimbabwe (2) [Dombotombo and Marondera Branches - both administered by the Zimbabwe Harare Mission]
  • Mwene-Ditu Democratic Republic of the Congo (2) [Bondoyi and Mwene-Ditu Branches - both administered by the Luputa DR Congo Stake]
  • San Pedro Cote d'Ivoire (2) [San Pedro and Seweke Branches - both administered by the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission]
  • Windhoek Namibia (2) [Katutura and Windhoek Branches - both administered by the South Africa Cape Town Mission]
  • Chulucanas Peru (2) [Chulucanas and Morropon Branches - both administered by the Piura Peru Miraflores Stake]
  • Riohacha Colombia (2) [Maicao and Riohacha Branches - both administered by the Santa Marta Colombia District]
There are many more locations that may have districts organized in the coming months and years but were not included in these lists.  If you have any information on the organization of a new district, please comment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Stake to be Created in Italy in September

Members in Europe report that a new stake will be created in northern Italy this September from the Milan Italy Stake.  The Milan Italy Stake has grown to 10 wards and 2 branches as several branches have become wards within the past few years.  It is unclear whether the new stake will be created from other stakes in northern Italy like the Verona Italy Stake.

The Church in Italy also recently reversed an over decade long era of congregation consolidations.  Within the past two months, two new units were organized in Bergamo (Bergamo 3rd Branch) and Rome (Roma 5th Branch).  It has been several years or perhaps even a decade since the Church has created a new unit in Italy.  Members report that prospects appear good for the organization of additional new wards and branches in the largest cities.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Exciting LDS Church Developments in the Central African Republic

The mission president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission recently visited Bangui, Central African Republic to meet local members and church leadership, visit the President of the Central African Republic, and to assess conditions for opening the country to formal proselytism.  A news article with some more details on the visit can be found here.  The country profile and church growth analysis for the Central African Republic can be found here.

One of the poorest countries in the world, the Central African Republic supports a population of approximately five million and is landlocked in central Africa between Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Church initially established a presence in the early 1990s due to the enthusiastic efforts of an isolated expatriate Latter-day Saint.  Due to political instability and isolation from established LDS missions there has been no formal missionary activity in nearly two decades.  One of the members of the President's cabinet is the branch president for the sole LDS congregation in the country that operates in Bangui.  The number of members serving missions has increased in recent years and the first sister missionary recently began her service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission.

Mission leadership is hopeful that full-time missionaries can be assigned sometime in the next couple years to begin formal missionary activity in a process similar to the recent reopening of Burundi in 2010.

Other nontraditional Christian faiths have had an active presence in the Central African Republic.  In 2011, Jehovah's Witnesses reported 2,559 active members meeting in 53 congregations and Seventh Day Adventists reported 10,363 members meeting in 51 churches.  The LDS Church has a tiny presence limited to only 406 members and one branch.

Friday, July 13, 2012

LDS Missionary from Bangladesh Begins Missionary Service

The Church recently posted an interesting article on one of the first Bangladeshi Latter-day Saints to serve a mission.  Bangladesh numbers among the most populous nations without any Latter-day Saint missionaries assigned notwithstanding greater tolerance for Christian proselytism than many other Muslim-majority nations.  Only one small branch operates in the capital city, Dhaka.  A link to the article can be found below.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Concerning Results from 2010 Brazilian Census

The Brazilian Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística recently released 2010 census statistics on religious affiliation in Brazil.  The census found that 225,695 people identified as Latter-day Saint whereas the Church reported 1,138,740 members in Brazil in 2010.  These findings indicate that self-identified Latter-day Saints on the census account for only 20% of total membership officially reported by the Church in Brazil.  Furthermore, the percent of official LDS membership self-affiliating as Latter-day Saint on the census has declined over the past decade.  The 2000 Brazilian census reported 199,645 Latter-day Saints, or 26% of LDS membership reported for that year (775,822).  It is unclear whether there were any changes in reporting membership for various religious groups between 2000 and 2010 on the census, but other religious groups did not appear to exhibit any major increase or decline due to changes in reporting religious data.

The most concerning finding in comparing official LDS membership data and Brazilian census religious data is that the Church reported that membership increased by 362,918 members between 2000 and 2010 yet the censuses for these two years indicate a mere 26,050 increase in self-identified Latter-day Saints.  In other words, the increase in census-reported Latter-day Saints was only seven percent of the membership increase reported by the Church!

To the contrary, Protestants have experienced major growth reflected in both church-reported members and census-reported members.  In the past 30 years, the Brazilian census has revealed that the percentage of Protestants in the population increased from 6.6% to 22.2%.  LDS Church-reported membership constitutes less than one percent of the Brazilian population and census-reported LDS numbers comprise close to one-tenth of one percent of the total population.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

City Opens for Missionary Work in Georgia

Missionaries serving in the Armenia Yerevan Mission report that a second city has opened for missionary work in the country of Georgia.  With slightly more than 100,000 inhabitants and ranked as Georgia's fourth most populous city, Rustavi opened for proselytism last month and young elders and a senior missionary couple were assigned.  Rustavi is located halfway between the capital city Tbilisi and the Azerbaijani border.  The Church assigned the first young proselytizing missionaries in March 2006 and has performed missionary activity only in Tbilisi. Missionaries report that a group has been organized in Rustavi.  It is unclear whether there are any members living in the city.

The opening of a second city in Georgia to missionary work is a significant milestone that may indicate additional prospects to expand missionary activity to additional locations.  The delay of opening a second city to missionary work for six years is concerning and has possibly resulted in missed opportunities to establish the Church in more locations when local populations were more receptive to missionary activity.  Prospects for future growth in Tbilisi and Rustavi appear modest as receptivity continues to decline and no translations of LDS scriptures are available.  One positive development within the past few years is that the Church has translated several basic proselytism materials into Georgian and that the translation of the Book of Mormon into Georgia began within the past year.

Friday, July 6, 2012

First LDS Stake Created in Central Nigeria

A new stake was recently created in Nigeria.  The Abuja Nigeria Stake was organized from the Abuja Nigeria District and includes the following eight wards and three branches: The Bwari, Jabi, Kaduna, Karu, Kubwa, Nyanya, Suleja, and Wuse Wards and the Jikwoyi, Lugbe, and Mpape Branches.  One branch - the Abuja Nigeria District Branch - was closed with the creation of the stake as district branches do not function in stakes.  Click here to view the LDS International Atlas map of central and northern Nigeria.

The organization of the first stake in central Nigeria constitutes a major milestone for LDS growth in Nigeria as all previously organized stakes operate in southern and coastal areas of Nigeria.  Growth has been steady and sustained in Abuja, with new branches regularly organized and such a large number of branches becoming wards at the time the stake was organized.  There do not appear to be any likely prospects for outreach expansion into additional cities in central and northern Nigeria as the Church has organized very few new branches and wards in additional cities for the past decade.  Christian and Muslim violence in the region may deter any overt expansion of missionary activity into other populous, currently unreached cities in the region.  However, the organization of additional branches and wards in lesser-reached communities in Abuja appears likely in the coming years and may merit the organization of a second stake in Abuja in the not-to-distant future.

There are now 21 stakes and 20 districts in Nigeria.  The Asaba Nigeria District appears to be the district closest to attaining stakehood, with 12 branches currently operating.

Monday, July 2, 2012

New Stake in Japan

Two weeks ago, a new stake was created in Japan.  The Tokyo Japan South (English) Stake was created from the Tokyo Japan South (English) and Honshu Japan Military Districts.  The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: The Misawa Military, Tokyo 1st (English), Tokyo 2nd (English), Yokosuka Military, and Yokota Military Wards and the Iwakuni Military and Zama Military Branches.  The Tokyo Japan South (English) Stake was originally organized in 2003 with four English-speaking wards in the Tokyo area but was downgraded to a district in 2010.  It is unclear whether the new stake is technically considered a reinstated stake or a new stake altogether.

There are now 29 stakes and 13 districts in Japan.