Monday, December 7, 2015

First LDS Branches Created in Benue State, Nigeria

The Church organized its first official congregations in the Nigerian state of Benue in November 2015. Branches were organized in the major cities of Makurdi and Otukpo. Located northeast of Enugu, Benue State is inhabited by approximately 4.3 million people and comprises the homelands of the Tiv people. The Tiv were previously the most populous, predominantly Christian people native to Nigeria that did not receive LDS outreach within their homelands. The establishment of an official LDS presence in Benue State is a significant development for the Church in Nigeria. The last time the Church organized its first branch in a previously unreached state was in Bayelsa State in 2009.

There remain four Nigerian States - Adamawa, Ekiti, Kogi, and Taraba - where Christians appear to constitute at least half the population yet no LDS congregations operate. Nine additional Nigerian states, all located in northern Nigeria, do not have an LDS presence but have predominantly Muslim populations.

See below for a map of LDS outreach in the Nigeria Enugu Mission - the mission that services Benue State.


Joseph said...

Unit Update
22 Nov
Divo Cote d'Ivoire District (4 Branches)
Divo Branch
Konankro Branch
Lakota Branch
Plateau Branch

29 Nov
Mozal Ward, Maputo Mozambique Stake (9 Wards)

6 Dec
Corner Canyon 9th Ward, Draper Utah Corner Canyon Stake (9 Wards)
Luneta La Paz Branch, Tolosa Philippines District (10 Branches)
Suncrest 12th Ward, Orem Utah Suncrest Stake (11 Wards)
Vanderbiljpark Branch, Vaal South Africa District (6 Branches)

YTD 606(12.48/week 49) +7 (Net 0)
Africa 173, 28.5% (+3) - Total 1767 (+3)
America North 136, 22.5% (+1) - Total 9330 (+1)
America Central 42, 6.9% (0) - Total 3918 (0)
America South 54, 8.9% (0) - Total 6341 (0)
Asia 18, 3.0% (0) - Total 927 (0)
Europe 27, 4.5% (0) - Total 1716 (0)
Pacific 47, 7.8% (+1) - Total 2728 (+1)
Utah & Idaho 109(88), 18.0% (+2) - Total 6912(5700) (+2)

Totals no-sensitive (Net 0, no change to these numbers)
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 148 418 3,164 547 22,536 7,358 34,196
Us/Can 10 81 131 1,595 10 12,563 2,070 16,460
US n/a 73 124 1,548 7 12,226 1,921 15,899
Utah n/a 15 10 580 1 4,694 330 5,630
Canada n/a 8 7 47 3 337 149 551
Out 15 67 287 1,569 537 9,973 5,288 17,736

With Sensitive
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 148 418 3,164 558 22,540 7,449 34,302

Pascal Friedmann said...

The groundbreaking dates for the Barranquilla and Kinshasa temples have been set. The latter, especially, came at a relatively surprising time. As for the renderings, Barranquilla looks a lot like Tijuana. Kinshasa looks down-to-earth I would say. Exciting times! Particularly for central Africa.

James Anderson said...

Newsroom article for the two temple groundbreakings.

The Kinshasa design is actually a throwback to some 80s designs, right now it's just a little simpler than most of those. And definitely a re-use of many elements of the Tijuana design in front, although the balcony may not exist in this one.

The backlog, if you do not count the delayed Fortaleza temple, is down to eight and some of those may well have some things they are working through to get those started up. So, I can see more announcements coming at April Conference.

These look also to be 30k square-foot temples, so they will be quicker to get up, Tucson is similar to Kinshasa in layout although the spire and dome are larger. So it will take roughly two years, meaning they will be done in 2018 at some time that year.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I've written this a while ago but I am excited for the Concepcion temple in Chile. I served in the that area, Pedro de Valdivia Ward of the Concepcion Stake, and I know some members that will live closer to the temple than the ward house!
Chile is an exceptional country with about 600,000 members, but most are less active. I hope and pray that this new temple awakens the spiritual lives of many. When I served there in the early 1990s there were two missions that would be served by a Concepcion Temple; now there are three. That probably covers around 200,000 members, with only 20 to 30 thousand be considered active in the faith.
I returned twice to the country for a total of 9 months, once living in Chillan and the other time in Angol. Lots of faithful members in those places, but like everywhere lots of need for re-energizing. It takes about two-three hours from those cities to get to Concepcion, and what awesome bus trips those will be.

I love to see the growth in poorer nations like in Africa and India. India still has 300 million people without water and/or electricity? How many does sub-Saharan Africa have, which are mostly Christian and animist?

We need more missionaries. Sign me up again.

John Pack Lambert said...

Of course the length of time for Kinshasa to be built may depend on available labor and other constraints.

I know that the government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been putting up some road blocks to build the temple.

On another note, Durban was announced at the same time as these other two temples and unless I missed something still has not had a ground breaking.

John Pack Lambert said...

This is an interesting article highlighting the Church's inner-city missionaries in Salt Lake City and their outreach to people who have come from all over the world, including countries such as Congo and Burundi.

My stake has what is called the Personal Storehouse Project, which is built on the same pattern. Initially it only had missionaries assigned to the 3 wards and 1 branch that include parts of Detroit. However recently a couple in my ward was called to serve as PSHP missionaries in our ward. This reflects the fact that there are members in our ward in need of various levels of help and guidance in matters of education and employment.

I know multiple members of my ward are in BYU-Idaho pathway classes. This program has expanded a lot of late and I think will bring many great benefits to the Church.

John Pack Lambert said...

This passage in the Deseret News article on Elder Holland's recent trip to the Middle East I found interesting. "and Brother R. David McMillan of the Church’s Middle East Desk and his wife, Sister Brenda McMillan." I don't think I have ever seen a reference to the Church having a "desk" in this way. I wonder what this "Middle East Desk" is.

Gnesileah said...

Temple designs during the last few years have been stunningly beautiful and detailed in their architectural detail. Tijuana and Barranquilla are excellent examples of this. I had looked forward to the release of the artist's rendering of the Kinshasa Temple, wondering how it would incorporate native Congolese elements. It is much more plain looking than I was hoping for. It looks similar to the Freiberg Germany Temple. There isn't even an Angel Moroni on the Kinshasa design, which along with Paris, would be the only temples built since, when, Seattle?, that still don't have an Angel Moroni. Upon reflection, I think the Church has intentionally chosen an unassuming design, which is more suitable for this region. Perhaps government restrictions are at play too, but imagine if the Church built a Rome Temple look-a-like in Kinshasa. It could become a target, as I think a gold-plated statue would too. The interior will be gloriously beautiful, I am sure, and most importantly, the Spirit will dwell there, which makes everything beautiful.

Gnesileah said...

LDS Maps used to list the phone number to the Middle East Desk on LDS Maps when you clicked on most parts of the Middle East/Africa North Area. I was traveling to Morocco once, so I called the Middle East Desk and received information on LDS meetings in Rabat (branch) and Casablanca (group). The Desk was quite helpful, although I would be curious to know what else they manage.

Gnesileah said...

Whoops. Sorry to clog this comment board. Seattle has an Angel Moroni. It appears every temple built since the Oakland Temple (1964) currently has an Angel Moroni. My parents were married in that temple, and I hope an Angel Moroni gets added to it one day.

John Pack Lambert said...

In the article on Elder Holland's visit to the Middle East they mentioned 3 branches of the Ammon Jordan District. Does anyone know what branches these are, and if they mainly consist of Middle Easterners, Americans, Filipinos or other groups?

John Pack Lambert said...

Not only could an overly-ornate temple be a direct target for attack in some countries, but giving the impression that the Church is well off might make other buildings and missionaries targets to some thieves if they perceive the Church as such.

Beyond this, there are issues of available materials in a country and wanting to get the temple done in a reasonable amount of time. Especially in a country like the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it is very hard to travel to any temple, although members do so especially for marriages.

Anyone know if the Church has plans to build an MTC in Kinshasa? This would probably majorly reduce the cost of missionary service for Congolese members.

Ryan Searcy said...

These are the 3 branches of the Amman Jordan District
Amman 1st Branch
Amman 2nd Branch (English)
North Jordan Branch

Steve Crandall said...

It is a little surprising to see the Kinshasha design without an Angel Moroni statue. While it was not originally a required part of a temple design, it has become so automatic that an exception is unexpected.

When the Church first announced a large group of smaller temples (April 1980), Angel Moroni statues were not part of the design. As I understand it, a writer in an Atlanta newspaper (where one of the temples was to be built) commented that he was disappointed that the design was so much less grandiose than the Mormon temples he was used to seeing. (Remember that the first temple on the East Coast was built in Washington D.C. and dedicated just a few years before the Atlanta announcement.) The Church, in response to this critique (and perhaps many others, even in the Church, were thinking the same thing) redesigned the temples and Atlanta (along with Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Sydney Australia, and Santiago Chile) received an Angel Moroni.

Up until that time, only Salt Lake, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.—all huge, landmark temples—had an Angel Moroni statue. Tokyo, Seattle, Jordan River, and Mexico City were all under constuction. Tokyo's design did not include an Angel Moroni (it was added later), but I believe the other three all had Angel Moroni statues at their dedication. Can anyone tell me if those statues were part of their original design? Or were they added in response to the redesign of the smaller temples? I can see the Mexico City temple being given a statue in its original design, as it was also intended to be a large, landmark temple.

Since that time, nearly every temple has had an Angel Moroni as a part of its original design and most of the temples built previously have had the statue added (if the design is able to accomodate it). If I remember correctly, neither Freiburg nor Manhattan had Angel Moronis initially, but were added later.

Ryan Searcy said...

Looking at the Temple facts from LDS Church Temples:

It looks like Seattle had an Angel from the beginning (it was near an airfield, which required the spire to be shorter, and a beacon light at the base of Moroni).

I cannot say for Jordan River or Mexico City.

The site says the Idaho Falls Temple was the first to receive an Angel Moroni after dedication in 1983.

James Anderson said...

As to angel statues, the Church also tried white fiberglass statues, but those were soon found to really show dust and pollutants that would settle on some surfaces and because the angel statues were white this matter would be obvious to the casual viewer, so they went back to the gold ones within a year or two.

This was done as part of the 'small temple' program where we saw all of those go up in very short order, usually a year from groundbreaking to dedication. Early pictures of the first few of these completed show the white fiberglass statues.

Mike Johnson said...

The Kinshasa Temple is to be built largely using labor from returned missionaries, who were to be trained in construction trades for the temple and for meeting houses that would serve them in their professional lives. If that is still the plan, that might explain the design.

Randy Nash said...

I don't see the Tuscon Arizona South Stake listed in the compilation of stakes created in 2015.

phxmars said...

It looks like a Tucson West stake was created, not a Tucson South stake. On LDS maps, it also seems to be a non-contiguous stake divided by a ward in the Marana AZ Stake.

James Anderson said...

West Stake was created about ten years ago from other stakes in the area including North Stake and Tucson Stake. There could be a screwup on the maps site that will be corrected to reflect what may be there as a result of last Sunday in the near term.

Joseph said...

Colorado Springs East Stake has two GAs for their Stake conference this coming Sunday and our SP is having us verify things in the new Boundary and Leadership tool. So possibly changes coming in the Springs.

Unit Update
8 Nov
Nova Serrana Branch, Betim Brazil Stake (2 Branches, 6 Wards)

29 Nov
Anapog Branch, Bogo Philippines District (6 Branches)

Dec 6
Calgary Alberta Bow River Stake(8 Wards)
Auburn Bay Ward
Elliston Park Ward
Mahogany Ward
McKenzie Ward
New Brighton Ward
Sunridge Ward
Valley View Ward
Willow Park Ward

Cristalina Branch, Valparaíso Brazil Stake (1 Branch, 6 Wards)
Discovery Park Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Highland Hills Stake (12 Wards)
Rexburg Married Student 36th Ward, Rexburg Idaho Married Student 2nd Stake (11 Wards)
Saijo Branch, Hiroshima Japan Stake (5 Branches, 5 Wards)
The Bridges Ward, Gilbert Arizona San Tan Stake (10 Wards)

YTD 614(12.53/week 49) +8 (Net 7) - Total 34,180
Africa 173, 28.2% (0) - Total 1767 (0)
America North 133, 21.2% (+3) - Total 9329 (-1)
America Central 42, 6.8% (0) - Total 3917 (-1)
America South 56, 9.1% (+2) - Total 6342 (+1)
Asia 19, 3.1% (+1) - Total 928 (+1)
Europe 27, 4.4% (0) - Total 1716 (0)
Pacific 48, 7.8% (+1) - Total 2729 (+1)
Utah & Idaho 110(88), 17.9% (+1) - Total 6913(5700) (+1)

Totals no-sensitive
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 148 418 3,165 547 22,542 7,358 34,203
Us/Can 10 81 131 1,595 10 12,565 2,069 16,461
US n/a 73 124 1,548 7 12,229 1,920 15,901
Utah n/a 15 10 580 1 4,696 330 5,632
Canada n/a 8 7 47 3 336 149 550
Out 15 67 287 1,570 537 9,977 5,289 17,742

With Sensitive
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 148 418 3,165 558 22,546 7,449 34,309

Matt said...


I never knew you lived in my stake! I thought we were still over 1,000 members short from dividing even though we have 12 wards and one branch. Any word if the Colorado Springs North Stake is also going to be involved with the stake conference this weekend? If so, then I see a stake split more likely as a fifth stake in Colorado Springs could include units from both the east and north stakes.

Joseph said...

Sorry, should have been more clear. I'm in Fountain Stake (3rd Ward) and this is grape vine through my Bishop, so big salt shaker. Would love to get together IRL some time though.