Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Five Encouraging LDS Missionary and Church Growth Developments for 2013

On cumorah.com, I just posted a new case study highlighting what I believe to be the five top encouraging LDS growth developments for 2013.  These developments include:
  1. The Worldwide Surge in the Full-time Missionary Force and Hastening the Work of Salvation
  2. Website Launched for the Church in China
  3. Rapid Growth in West Africa
  4. Progress Achieving "Real Growth" in Central and Western Europe  
  5. Translations of the Book of Mormon Completed in Malay and Slovak
Click here to access the case study to read more about these developments.

26 comments:

Mike Johnson said...

The Caldwell 12th and 14th Wards, Caldwell Idaho East Stake, were created on 29 December. There are now 9 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Caldwell 1st Ward
Caldwell 2nd Ward
Caldwell 3rd Ward
Caldwell 5th Ward
Caldwell 8th Ward
Caldwell 9th Ward
Caldwell 12th Ward
Caldwell 14th Ward
Caldwell 15th Ward
Caldwell YSA Branch

Michael Worley said...

So, um, why did they create a 15th Ward when there wasn't a 12th and 14th Ward? old wards get renamed?

Mike Johnson said...

I don't know. I know the Caldwell 15th Ward was created in September 2007. The Caldwell 11th Ward was created in 2003. The Caldwell 16th Ward was created in February 2013. The 11th and 16th wards are in the Caldwell Idaho Stake.

Caldwell 1st, 2nd, through 16th exist, with the exception of 13th. So, until two days ago, the 12th, 13th, and 14th wards were missing from the sequence. There is a Cardwell YSA Branch (created in 2004 and covering both Cardwell stakes), which may originally have had the number 12, 13, or 14.

There are 4 non-Cardwell wards and 1 non-Cardwell branch in the Cardwell Stake, but the last to be created--the Marsing 2nd Ward--was created in 1994, so I suspect none of them had a Caldwell name and a number between 12 and 14 in the 2003 to 2007 time frame.

It is possible that some consolidation occurred between 2007 and 2014.

There is a good possibility, however. The Middleton 5th and 6th wards of the Middleton Idaho Stake are just to the north of the two Caldwell stakes. They were created in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and may at one time have been Caldwell wards in the 12-14 range, but with boundary adjustments were renamed Middleton wards. I don't know, however. The Middleton stake was created in 2007. If so, the Caldwell YSA Branch (April 2004) would have been the 12th Branch, while the Middleton 5th Ward (August 2004) would have been the 13th Ward.

With 21 wards, plus several branches, in 2007 in what are now the 2 Caldwell stakes and the Middle stake, I can see the creation of the Middleton Stake with 4 Middleton wards and 2 Caldwell wards and then subsequently renaming the 2 Caldwell wards. Just speculation, don't really know and just trying to piece together a puzzle.

Mike Johnson said...

The Yenagoa Nigeria District, Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission, was created on 29 December. There are 4 branches in the district:

Iboghene Branch
Onopa-Ovom Branch
Opolo Branch
Yenezuepie Branch

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Hope it is alright to put this in. We have just got another chinese national missionary in our ward. We have had a number in the last 2 years and there were 4 into our mission and a number into a near by mission he told me about some interesting developments. Not sure whats sesitive or not so sorry in advance is thishas to be deleted. But thought it was interesting

Matt said...

Aaron and Kamyra-

I appreciate your sensitivity to the Church in China. I am very interested in obtaining any information you may have obtained from talking to missionaries serving from mainland China as I have been privately documenting all information I have obtained on this subject. If you could email me information you have received to Matt.Martinich@gmail.com it would be greatly appreciated and I will keep this information private until the Church openly publishes statistical data on its presence in mainland China among PRC citizens.

Mike Johnson said...

The Afaha Inang Branch, Ikot Akpaden Nigeria Stake, was created on 29 December. There are now 9 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Asong Ward
Awa Iman Ward
Ikot Akpaden Ward
Ikot Ekong Ward
Ikot Isighe Ward
Mkpat Enin Ward
Ndiko Ward
Okom Ward
Udo Ward
Afaha Inang Branch
Nung Oku Ekanem Branch

Mike Johnson said...

Are the Chinese nationals being called on missions from China to outside China?

As I understand it, a large number working and/or studying in the US, Canada, UK, or Australia have been converted and then have returned to China. It could make sense that some Chinese nationalists converted outside of China have subsequently served missions. It is harder to imagine nationals inside China getting calls to outside China.

Now, I would think that missionaries, which meet people daily and often provide tidbits of their backgrounds, would make it hard to keep the information sensitive.

Ray said...

We had a Chinese national missionary serve in my previous ward 3 years ago, and someone in the ward said last month that there are 73 branches in China. The CDOL reports 152 units: 34 in Hong Kong, 17 in China, and 101 in Taiwan.

Here is the CDOL report of unit growth for Dec.2013:

+14 W&Br; + 30 W - 16 Br + 8 stakes - 4 districts
US, + 27; + 35 W - 7 Br + 1 stake
Outside US, - 13 W&Br; - 4 W - 9 Br + 7 stakes - 4 districts

For 2013:
Total unit growth + 256 W&Br; +312 W - 56 Br + 45 stakes - 20 districts + 58 missions + 1 temple

2013 US + 131 W&Br; + 149 W - 18 Br + 12 stakes + 0 districts + 17 missions + 0 temples

2013 Outside US + 125 W&Br; + 163 W - 38 Br + 33 stakes - 20 districts + 41 missions + 1 temple

Areas of Greatest Growth 2013:

Utah + 52 W&Br; + 51 W + 1Br + 6 stakes + 1 mission
Africa + 113 W&Br; + 67 W + 46 Br + 6 stakes + 0 districts

Nations Outside US with Greatest Growth:
Nigeria + 31 W&Br, T 378
Brazil + 31 W&Br, T 1972
Ghana + 21 W&Br, T 168
Cote d'Ivoire + 20, T 72
Dem. Rep. Congo + 15, T 130
Philippines + 14, T 1148
Cape Verde + 8, T 31
Togo + 8, T 14
Canada +7, T479
Australia + 6, T 296
Benin + 5, T 11

Nations Posting Largest Decrease:
Argentina - 23, T 792
Venezuela - 12, T 269
Peru - 9, T 777
Chile - 8, T 614
Colombia - 7, T 266
Uruguay - 7, T 152
Paraguay - 6, T 139
Mexico - 5, T 1980
Papua New Guinea - 4, T 73

Note: Last year 8 units were added to the yearend totals (all from Africa) when statistics were announced in April Conference because of a lag in reporting.

It's also worth noting that several countries show relatively little increase but had numerous branches elevated to ward status, such as Spain, which had only 2 additional total units (138 to 140) but an increase of 11 wards.

Ray said...

More observations on 2013 growth:

The CDOL actually shows 154 units in China and Taiwan, counting 2 branches in Macao.

In addition to the wards and branches shown in the CDOL, there are close to 100 branches in nations which are currently not reporting, and dozens of groups of members which are also not accounted for in the daily CDOL.

Many of these groups are in Ghana and other West African nations, as well as a sizable number in the Philippines. Several of these groups are shown in the Cumorah Church atlas pages.

Growth by continent with prior year's figures:

Africa + 113 W&B; 2012 +101
Asia + 19; 2012 +18
Australia & the Pacific + 15; 2012 + 14
Europe + 12; 2012 -4
North America +139; 2012 + 86
South America - 42/ 2012 - 11
T + 256; 2012 T + 204

Ray said...

More thoughts on 2013 statistics:

Congregational growth for 2013 over 2012 was 25.5%, although it may be a bit higher because of all the groups and other unreported units.

Although stake creation declined in 2013 vs. 2012 (+45 net new stakes vs. + 59 for 2012), there are several oversized stakes in the US (in Utah, Texas, Arizona, and other Western states) that are very close to splitting.

In several locations new stakes can be formed from two or more large neighboring stakes.

The Church Areas of greatest growth in 2013:

Africa West + 89 (2012 + 67)
North America Southwest + 42 (2012 + 37)
Brazil + 31 (2012 +1)
Utah Salt Lake City + 22 (2012 +8)
Philippines +14 (2012 +16)

Areas of negative growth:

South America South - 44 (2012 - 11)
South America Northwest - 29 (2012 -1)
Mexico -5 (2012 -15)
Europe East -4 (2012 -12)

The slight difference in the Philippines is misleading due to the large increase in unreported new groups.

The decline in western South America is also somewhat inaccurate because of numerous branch and ward consolidations that took place for purposes of leadership development.

There were actually 4 new stakes created in South America Northwest and 3 more in 2012, as well as 3 new stakes created in South America South in 2012.

John Pack Lambert said...

It pays to write things down.

Back when stake website ward lists were accessible to all, I compiled a directory of wards and branches that listed all wards by stake in the US, with the exception of the very few that had no website at all.

From this I learned that at one time there was a Caldwell 14th branch that was a Spanish speaking branch. There were also Caldwell 12th branch in the Caldwell East Stake and Caldwell 13th branch in the Caldwell Stake that were both YSA branches. They were later both renamed to be Caldwell YSA 1st and 2nd branches sometime late in 2011 or early in 2012.

When the Middleton Stake was formed they took all the Middleton named wards from the old Caldwell North Stake, and moved all Caldwell named ones to the Caldwell East Stake.

Mike Johnson said...

The Great Basin YSA Branch, Ely Nevada Stake, was created on 29 December. There are now 5 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Ely 1st Ward
Ely 2nd Ward
Ely 3rd Ward
Lund Ward
McGill Ward
Garrison Branch
Great Basin YSA Branch
Smith Valley Branch (Correctional Facility)

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Mike the missionaries I mentioned are all Chinese nationals from mainland china. We had two about two years ago as we had some Chinese students in our ward boundary to be taught. This new elder is from mainland and said another 3-4 in the Brisbane mission came in his intake as well as a few to the Sydney missions. One very interesting things was he said a sister was one of them and I have not heard of a sister come from mainland china yet. His English is not very good but I will speak with him soon and let Matt know and post what I can.

Pascal said...

A returned Mission President from Canada also shared the story of a Sister from the mainland who served in his Mission, Mandarin-speaking. Sister Missionaries from the Chinese Mainland "happen", I guess, at about the same ratio as the global one between Elders and Sisters. Something I've always wondered about is who is clerically responsible for their Missionary paperwork, since there are no stakes and no Mission Presidents in China. Do those individuals have to travel abroad for their interviews? It would be interesting to have information on that process.

Also, exciting news for Ely (besides the fact that I've known about it for about three months). It's great to see this YSA branch finally happen there. I'm really good friends with the Stake President's family and I've been told about the struggle they've had keeping ANY YSA's in Ely for decades. The Church is pretty much a recognizable minority in White Pine County and I believe it still is the nominally least LDS of any counties that border Utah in all its neighboring states. I'd say it's 10% at the very most, and then it's large and virtually unsettled for the most part. Quite a fascinating place, but for LDS youth, not so much. Now there's two mines and the prison, so there's actually fairly well-paid work for those with less formal education, but still, I hear most people working in these places aren't LDS. Most of "our" youth still moves away, mostly to Utah. Indeed, I've heard some people say that if Ely spoke a foreign language, we could have at least two Ely-an speaking YSA wards in the Ogden area. Could well be true...

Mike Johnson said...

According to the Association of Religious Data Archives, White Pine County, Nevada, at the end of 2010 had:

3,069 Catholics (30.6%) in 2 congregations

2,688 LDS (26.8%) in 6 congregations

140 Southern Baptist (1.4%) in 2 congregations

114 United Methodist (1.14%) in 2 congregations

62 Episcopal (0.62%) in 1 congregation

44 Assemblies of God (0.44%) in 1 congregation

12 Foursquare Gospel (0.012%) in 1 Congregation

plus small numbers Bahai and Church of the Nazarene.

The total county population was 10,030.

I find it interesting that when we lived in Fallon (Churchill County), members used to claim that 25% of the population were members. It was obvious that it was closer to 10% (at the time 6 wards in population of about 25,000) and the ARDA data in 2010 confirms that (2,786 or 11.2%). This contrasts apparantly with White Pine County, where about 25% of 10,000 are members, but they think they are only about 10%. Of course, active members or average sacrament meeting attendance might have been about 10% of the population.

Pascal said...

Well, Ely has three wards (none of which are particularly large in size). I attended the Ely 1st Ward (the nice part of town) one weekend and I would have estimated attendance to be around 100. Granted, this was also during college fall break this past year and a lot of the young adults came home for that. On average, it is probably closer to 80 or 90 and I feel like it would be hard to fit more people into the chapel. The three wards in Ely also cover most of the surrounding farms south of McGill and the small Indian reservation north of town. All in all, I felt a lot more like I was visiting a western movie set than a typical LDS Great Basin community whenever I went to Ely. There's probably more cowboys and outlaws than Mormons in Ely proper. I might be wrong since obviously, my account derives from conversations with Priesthood leaders and their families, as well as some limited personal observation.

McGill and Lund especially seem to be a totally different story, and so are the small farming communities that lay east towards Snake Valley. My guess would be that, despite the much less dense population, those areas actually account for the majority of White Pine County's LDS membership.

Mike Johnson said...

I appreciate the comments about the local YSA and that they disperse. Fallon has a lot more members and more opportunities than Ely for YSA, but YSA disappear and scatter as well. Fallon has no YSA branches. It is significant that the Ely Stake is able to get a YSA branch set up. So, if two wards (each 125+ of active signals) could theoretically be set up in Ogden, it begs the question why Ogden? Weber State? Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College?

Another community with a similar issue is the Maopa Valley area around Logandale, a heavily LDS area in eastern Clark County. The leadership there has been concerned about YSA leaving. They started preparing for a college to try to attract them. Called Desert Valley Academy while in the planning stages, once they open, they plan to rename as Desert Valley College. I note they plan to now open in the Fall of 2016. Originally, it was going to open in 2011, but the bad economy put those plans on hold. But, the idea is to provide incentive for the young people to stay home.

Looking more at White Pine County, NV, strictly going by numbers of reported "adherents" the Catholic and LDS populations are similar in size, dwarfing all others in the county.

In Ely, the stake center houses the Ely 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wards. Less than a half a mile away is the Catholic Sacred Heart Parish. The Catholic parish is on a lot that looks like it is twice the size of the lot with the LDS building, however, a majority of the lot (judging from the satellite view on google maps) appears to be undeveloped. The Catholic church building, itself, is somewhat smaller than the LDS church building, but there is a second, long and thin building alongside the church. The pastor undoubtedly lives in the second building, or part of it. Together, both buildings appear to be about the size of the LDS meetinghouse. There are 121 parking spots for the LDS building and 75 for the Catholic parish. 3 wards meet in the LDS building. According to the Las Vegas Diocese website, mass is served once in the parish on Sunday at 8:30. There is also a Saturday night vigil service. My guess is, looking at all this a lot less attend the parish than attend the 3 wards in the stake center.

To the north, in McGill, is another LDS meetinghouse with the McGill ward (and now also the Great Basin YSA Branch). The second Catholic congregation is St. Michael's Mission in McGill. While the McGill Ward building appears to be a typical LDS ward building, St. Michael's mission appears to be a lot smaller. The Pastor of Sacred Heart is also the Chaplain of St. Michael's, so this priest has to travel there to conduct services.

To the south is Lund, a location that is almost entirely LDS and the land, as I understand it, is LDS owned, given to the Church as part of the settlement for confiscations by the federal government in about 1899. The Lund Ward is in this area.

There is also the correctional facility branch roughly between Ely and McGill. The Garrison Branch is located in Utah and ARDA would have counted its congregation and membership in Millard County, Utah.

The Catholic parish (and its associated mission--sort of like a dependent branch or group) has about as many adherents as the entire Ely Nevada Stake. But, I doubt they come close to what the stake does in actual participation.

Pascal said...

The Ogden area (and Weber State) are particularly interesting for youth from Ely since Weber State has been recruiting quite heavily in this area, especially historically. They come for the same reasons I went to Weber State (it's an affordable and academically decent four-year university). When you look at the demographic makeup of the student population there, you will notice that out-of-state students are clustered around a certain few rural areas of the western United States. White Pine County is one of them. Far south-eastern Idaho, between Bear Lake and Soda Springs, is another one. And then there's northeastern Colorado and northern Wyoming and so forth. Those students tend to choose Weber State at an abnormally high frequency because quite frequently, it's the only school actively recruiting in those areas. This seems to have decreased recently but family ties appear to still play a big role in choosing a school. My old YSA ward in Ogden was about 10% from White Pine County, at least as far as active members were concerned. This being said, most YSA wards in Ogden are quite small, with somewhere between 50 and 80 attending. My own ward was on the latter side, if only during the school year.

I really appreciate your insights on the buildings in comparison to the Catholic parish. The Ely Stake Center is probably the smallest Stake Center I have ever seen, including during my travels abroad. The first meeting times for the wards that meet there are 9, 11 and 1, so the relatively low number of parking spots probably supports the notion that attendance numbers are not sky-high.

Mike Johnson said...

I agree, 121 parking spots is not a lot, especially for a stake center.

Our ward building in Virginia has 140. The two wards meeting in the building cannot overlap because we each need most of the parking lot. We had an hour and a half in between to make it work. But, with the division of the ward and the new ward meeting in a nearby building, we have just switched to a schedule with a half an hour in between. As the other ward left early because they could not figure out how to turn the heat on in the building, we didn't get a chance to see how this will work. Other buildings in our stake have over 200 parking spots and the stake center a lot more than that.

The Chatelain's said...

Ely looks to have lots of off street parking, and takes up an entire block.

Mike Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Johnson said...

The Nkawkaw Ghana District, Ghana Kumasi Mission, was created on 5 January. There are 3 branches in the district:

Mpraeso Branch
Nkawkaw 1st Branch
Nkawkaw 2nd Branch


The Columbus 4th Ward, Indianapolis Indiana Stake, was created on 5 January. There are now 9 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Columbus 1st Ward
Columbus 2nd Ward
Columbus 4th Ward
Franklin Ward
Greenwood 1st Ward
Greenwood 2nd Ward
Indianapolis 1st Ward
North Vernon Ward
Shelbyville Ward
Columbus 3rd Branch (Spanish)


The Igbogbo and Itamaga branches, Lagos Nigeria Stake, were created on 5 January. There are now 6 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Ikeja Ward
Ikorodu Ward
Ogba Ward
Ojodu Ward
Surulere Ward
Yaba Ward
Akute Branch
Igbogbo Branch
Itamaga Branch


The Lehi 47th Ward, Lehi Utah East Stake, was created on 5 January. There are now 12 wards in the stake:

Lehi 4th Ward
Lehi 11th Ward
Lehi 14th Ward
Lehi 17th Ward
Lehi 19th Ward
Lehi 20th Ward
Lehi 29th Ward
Lehi 34th Ward
Lehi 36th Ward
Lehi 46th Ward
Lehi 47th Ward
Sego Lily Ward


The Pioneer Branch (Spanish), Auburn Washington Stake, was created on 5 January. There are now 6 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Auburn Ward
Game Farm Ward
Green River Ward
Lake Holm Ward
Mill Pond Ward
White River Ward
Olympic Branch (Marshallese)
Pioneer Branch (Spanish)


The River Ridge 10th and 11th wards, South Jordan Utah River Ridge Stake, were created on 5 January. There are now 11 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

River Ridge 1st Ward
River Ridge 2nd Ward
River Ridge 3rd Ward
River Ridge 4th Ward
River Ridge 5th Ward
River Ridge 6th Ward
River Ridge 7th Ward
River Ridge 8th Ward
River Ridge 9th Ward
River Ridge 10th Ward
River Ridge 11th Ward
Legacy Branch (Retirement)
Legacy House Branch (Care Center)


The Sharon Ward, Charlotte North Carolina South Stake, was created on 5 January. There are now 9 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Catawba 1st Ward
Catawba 2nd Ward
Fort Mill Ward
Monroe Ward
Pineville Ward
Providence Ward
Sharon Ward
Waxhaw Ward
Weddington Ward
Lancaster Branch
Pineville 2nd Branch (Spanish)

Mike Johnson said...

The Hardin Valley Ward, Knoxville Tennessee Stake, was created on 5 January. There are now 7 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Farragut Ward
Hardin Valley Ward
Knoxville 1st Ward
Maryville Ward
Pellissippi Ward
Sevierville Ward
West Hills Ward
Knoxville YSA Branch
Loudon Branch
Rockwood Branch

Mike Johnson said...

To create a YSA ward, it requires at least 125 active members. YSA, however, often have a lot of choices when it comes to attending church, and many find themselves having to work Sundays, so it isn't surprising if ward attendance is below the active member requirement to form a ward.

In contrast, a YSA branch requires at least 50 active members.

I looked at the 24 counties that border Utah, using the Association of Religious Data Archives for the end of 2010. In 16 of these counties, the LDS Church had the most adherents. In 6, the LDS Church was second (in all cases to the Catholic Church) in adherents. In two, no LDS presence is mentioned. Now, ARDA counts adherents based on the county where the church building is located, regardless of where the individual adherents may live. The Catholic Church had a presence in 23 of the 24 counties, coming in 1st (7 counties) or 2nd (16 counties) in adherents in all 23. Southern Baptists were 1st once and 2nd twice.

White Pines County is 8th among the 24 counties in terms of LDS adherence rate--only 7 counties had a higher LDS adherence rate--4 in Idaho, 2 in Wyoming, and Lincoln County, NV.

Ed Clinch said...

Here in the Ashburn VA Stake, there is the Shenandoah YSA Ward, but the membership numbers seem to be low according to the 125 formula. It should be a branch by attendance/records, but I think because of strong married priesthood presence they have a bishopric and keep it a ward.
They used to meet in my Sterling building, but now meet at the stake center in Ashburn. Our stake is very vibrant and strong and getting a new chapel (stake center potential) in South Riding/Aldie, but the YSA "Ward" and our sister Sterling Ward have low attendance, as alluded to. I think all the other wards (which are in good number now) are high.

On a missionary note, the stake had 51 convert baptisms in 2013, which slightly exceeded the collective goal. I think that 2014 will be better, as my Algonkian Ward had a low number and we should do better this year. There is so much building and move-in growth in Loudoun County that we get new members from elsewhere all the time.
But yes, the Shenandoah YSA group is small, unlike the Colonial YSA units some 25ish miles away near DC.

But good things are happening as far as LDS progess in numbers here.