Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 2016 Monthly Newsletter

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Ryan Searcy said...

Does this mean that Burma will soon be taken off of the "sensitive" list? It is wonderful to hear that there will be a second branch in Yangoon soon!

Eduardo Clinch said...

I wonder how Burmese compares in difficulty compared to Thai, Khmai, or Vietnamese, especially for us Westerners.
Sometimes I wonder how language in general impedes growth and progress. Greece is a place where the Church does little growth but I question how much of that lack is due to communication in the native tongue.
Anybody out there with thoughts on really difficult languages?

Grant Emery said...

Everything I know is anecdotal. I've had two girlfriends who served in Japan, and they said that missionaries come home only able to stumble through a Gospel conversation in Japanese, whereas someone learning a romance language generally comes home decently comfortable in the language.

I will say that the UK has over 150,000 members, whereas other comparable western European countries are closer to 30,000 or 40,000. I've often wondered if that is greatly due to language.

Grant Emery said...

Everything I know is anecdotal. I've had two girlfriends who served in Japan, and they said that missionaries come home only able to stumble through a Gospel conversation in Japanese, whereas someone learning a romance language generally comes home decently comfortable in the language.

I will say that the UK has over 150,000 members, whereas other comparable western European countries are closer to 30,000 or 40,000. I've often wondered if that is greatly due to language.

Kevin Cottrell said...

I served my mission in Thailand right before it opened to young Elders, so I learned Thai. But, then I decided to learn Burmese at grad school.
Burmese is more difficult I would say, but any language can be learned, especially on a mission to that country.
You're right though in that it makes it hard to learn a language when there isnt much pedagogy developed in the way of language learning and the lack of many church materials. There are now a handful of American RMs though that served in Burma as branch support who picked up the language pretty well and can be good MTC teachers. I've heard they are currently working on the Book of Mormon translation though.
Church growth in Burma will probably be at a faster pace than the 50 years in Thailand have been, especially because Burma already is a religiously diverse country and Christianity is big among many of the rural ethnic groups.
However, because of scarce resources available, the church in Burma will probably be like many African countries where it takes a while to soread out from the big cities. Especially since it is still part of the Thailand mission, there are only so many missionaries to spare. The Thai mission covers the 67 million people in thailand (though only about half the country has access to a branch), plus the church in Vientianne Laos and the church in Burma.
It will be great for the branch in Yangon to split though. The active priesthood holders are already live in three main regions of the city, making it for an easy split, then there will prob also be enough English speaking members for an English speaking branch too.
In addition, they an probably at least get a group started in Mandalay, as I believe one of the active male returned missionaires who also graduated from BYU-Hawaii has now moved up to Mandalay for work.
One concern though, is that the government keeps passing laws that limit freedom of religion, though they are mostly aimed at preventing Buddhists from becoming Muslim. Just something that may or may not have a future impact.
All in all though, super exciting that they can proselyte openly now. I expect people to be pretty open to it. Not sure how much of a boom can happen in the next year, though, as the Thailand mission is stretching its resources thin somewhat already, but hopefully that'll be worked out soon.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Good points. Language influences culture, and it is no accident that US forces and agencies trust Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand more than other governments simply because we understand them faster and easier, ultimately engendering trust. Perhaps this occurs with many missionary efforts.

Iris and Craig said...

Seminole branch became a ward today in Oklahoma.

Iris and Craig said...
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Gnesileah said...

As recently as March 2015, CDOL listed two sensitive branches in, or administering to, Myanmar: the Yangon Branch and the Thailand Bangkok Mission Myanmar Branch, separate from the non-sensitive Thailand Bangkok Mission Thailand Branch. Currently, LDS Maps shows the latter as covering all of Myanmar and portions of Thailand.

MainTour said...

Any language using the same alphabet as English (most Romantic languages) is a lot easier to learn than others (such as many Asian languages). Knowing the alphabet goes a long ways to teaching yourself the language in personal study time by reading the Book of Mormon in your new language.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I know reading Arabic is generally easier than listenening or speaking for many. My professor at BYU miraculously learned fluent Arabic in his mission in Lebanon after being assigned French and crash coursing in Armenian. He helped translate the Book of Mormon into Arabic, Dilworth Parkinson.

John Pack Lambert said...

I knew one of Dilworth Parkinson's sons while I was at BYU.

The organization of the group in a new city in Surinam is excipting. It makes me wonder how many groups there are in the Church.

John Pack Lambert said...

The language issue is why we really need as many missionaries as possible who have native languages other than English.

That said, I don't think that the UK membership is largely based on language. The Church has had a strong, established presence in the UK from the 1830s. This has more to do with political than linguistic issues.

While the Church lost lots of its early members in the British Isles to emigration, back in the 1920s that is where "Every Member a Missionary" was inagurated.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Church does have a Karen-speaking branch in the South Salt Lake Stake. Karen is a language spoken in Burma. It might be possible to send some missionaries from this branch to their ancestral homeland and ancestral people in the Karen regions of Burma.

It should be remembered that the initial start of the LDS Church in Britain was through family connections of people who had joined the Church in Canada.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the other hand, in New Zealand at least at the end of World War II the LDS Church was overwhelmingly Maori. This was caused by various factors, but the willingness of missionaries to learn Maori helped. It would have in theory been easier to focus all missionary efforts ojn the majority, English-speaking, white population. In fact this is what was done for the first few years of missionary work in New Zealand.

Mike Johnson said...

Kano and Maiduguri, Nigeria, are in high violence areas where the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been very active. Kano state has implemented Sharia law and has driven out most non-Moslems. I doubt we will see much proselytizing in either city for a long time.

soc. man I am ---------------- said...

I happen to know personally the first ever native Karen speaking missionary. She is currently serving in Hong Kong.

Joseph said...

Unit Update
24 Jan
Maceió Brazil Colina Stake (W:5)
Aeroclube Ward
Boa Vista Ward
Clima Bom Ward
Colina Ward
Paraíso Ward

Zango Branch, Luanda Angola District (B:6)

31 Jan
Copperbend Ward, Eagle Mountain Utah Silver Lake Stake (W:6)
Cruzeiro do Sul Branch, Goiânia Brazil South Stake (B:1, W:5)
Hall Creek Branch (Spanish), Beaverton Oregon Stake (B:3, W:7)
Hyrum 16th Ward, Hyrum Utah North Stake (W:10)
Liberty Hill Ward, Round Rock Texas Stake (W:9)
Middleton 10th Ward, Middleton Idaho Stake (B:1, W:11)
Middleton 11th Ward, Middleton Idaho Stake (B:1, W:11)
Riverbend Branch, West Haven Utah Stake (B:2, W:6)
Sawtooth Creek Ward, Meridian Idaho Paramount Stake (B:1, W:10)

YTD 53(10.6/week*5) +12 - Total 34,231(+12)
Africa 8, 15.1% (+1) - Total 1778 (+1)
Asia 1, 1.9% (0) - Total 932 (0)
America Central 2, 3.8% (0) - Total 3923 (0)
America North 27, 50.9% (+3) - Total 9351 (+3)
America South 4, 7.5% (+2) - Total 6344 (+2)
Europe 0, 0% (0) - Total 1715 (0)
Pacific 1, 1.9% (0) - Total 2731 (0)
Utah & Idaho 10(7), 18.9(13.2)% (+6) - Total 6917(5706)(+6)

Totals no-sensitive (Net 9)
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 149 418 3,179 545 22,594 7,343 34,253
Us/Can 10 81 131 1,604 10 12,598 2,055 16,489
US n/a 73 124 1,556 7 12,261 1,906 15,927
Utah n/a 15 10 579 1 4,707 326 5,638
Canada n/a 8 7 48 3 337 149 552
Out 15 68 287 1,575 535 9,996 5,288 17,764

Eduardo Clinch said...

Did Dil Parkinson's son serve a foreign language mission or study other languages at college?

Ryan Searcy said...
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Ryan Searcy said...

Does anyone have any predictions on which countries might get their first stake this year?

Luanda Angola District (6-8 branches)

Cotonou Benin District (12 branches)

Yaounde Cameroon District (7 branches)

Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island District (9 branches)

Mbabane Swaziland District (6 branches)

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia District (7 branches)
Miri Malaysia District (6 branches)

Novosibirsk Russia District (9 branches) ~ I have Siberia separated from Russia to get an accurate total by continent.

Cayo Belize District (7 branches - 12 combined)

Zagreb Croatia District (6 branches)

Prague Czech District (6 branches)

Bucharest Romania District (11 branches)

Georgetown Guyana District (7 branches - 13 combined)

I feel that most of these places has grown in the last few years, with some adding at least 2 branches since 2014. I believe I heard somewhere that Pakistan might get a stake this year or next.

Dave said...

I would guess Benin, Liberia, Belize, and Romania. I've been expecting each of them for at least a couple of years. But I don't have first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground in any of these.

Ryan, good post!

Matt said...

The information I have suggests Benin, Swaziland, Angola, Malaysia, and Belize seem most like to have their first stakes organized, in that order.

Christopher said...

Why has Belize been such an outlier in slower growth compared to the other C.A. countries? I often wondered that while I served my mission in Honduras.

Christopher said...

Why has Belize been such an outlier in slower growth compared to the other C.A. countries? I often wondered that while I served my mission in Honduras.

Kevin Cottrell said...

I've had that question about Belize before too. I would imagine the thing with Belize is that the population of the whole country is only 330,000. That's less than the country of Brunei. Or like the population of the Lincoln Nebraska metropolitan area. Honduras, meanwhile, has over 8 million people.

James Anderson said...

One interesting fact came out of Rootstech today, Shipley Munson, who works at FamilySearch and who created the conference, said they had at least one registrant each from Myanmar and Pakistan, out of 37 countries where registrants came from. 26k total, including Family Discovery Day participants, are registered for some part of the conference.

Alex Compton said...

I've know local Malaysian leaders have been hoping for a stake being created every year since 2012. I think priesthood leadership and/or retention has been the problem for East Malaysia; slow growth/low membership in West. But I've been thinking the requirements would've been met by now.

Alex Compton said...

I've know local Malaysian leaders have been hoping for a stake being created every year since 2012. I think priesthood leadership and/or retention has been the problem for East Malaysia; slow growth/low membership in West. But I've been thinking the requirements would've been met by now.

Will said...

Culturally Beliz is very different from the rest of Central America. Kind of like Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana. Colonialism affected these countries very differently (non-Iberian colonizers mostly) and this probably has a significant impact on missionary work and Church growth.

Will said...
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Eduardo Clinch said...

I guess there could be some children of Lehi Book of Mormon blessings that go towards the Latinos that perhaps some Anglos and others are not answering to. England in the 1840s was a wild place for conversion, which I guess may have to do with the leadership of the tribe of Ephraim. Manassah is now moving strongly. And the other 10 are progressing, too, I suppose.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am thinking the model for Church growth in Belize is more to be found in places like Jamaica then Honduras. These are places that were not really opened up until after 1978. Even in Brazil the percentage of Church members is much lower than other parts of South America.

Jamaica finally got a stake last year. Still, Belize has a very small population that makes things dificult. I am actually surprised Belize is not part of the Caribbean Area.

Ryan Searcy said...

Cape Verde beats Belize by about 167,000 people, but has 3 stakes and 2 districts versus Belize's 2 districts.

Bunko said...

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Dallas, Texas Stake is splitting today, and so it was!

The Irving Texas Stake was created from 5 Wards from the Dallas Texas Stake and one Ward from the Carrollton Texas stake (Dallas 6th). There are 6 units:

Irving, Texas Stake:

Grand Prairie 1st Ward
Grand Prairie 2nd Ward
Pioneer Ward (Spanish)
Shady Grove Ward (Spanish)
Irving Ward
Dallas 6th Ward (From Carrollton Texas Stake)

What's left of the Dallas Texas Stake is now:

Corsicana Ward
Desoto Ward
Kessler Park Ward
Mountain Creek Ward
Oak Cliff 1st Ward (Spanish)
Waxahachie 1st Ward
Waxahachie 2nd Ward
Duncanville YSA Branch
Waxahachie 3rd Branch (Spanish)

Now if only my stake (Allen Texas - 13 units) would split already!

Joseph said...

Unit Update
10 Jan
Nova Vida Branch, Luanda Angola District (B:8)

17 Jan
Prenda Branch, Luanda Angola District (B:8)

24 Jan
Ilovu Branch, Durban South Africa Stake (B:6, W:5)

31 Jan
Berat Branch, Adriatic South Mission (B:5, S:1)
Nungua 3rd Ward, Tema Ghana Stake (B:2, W:8)
Parkside Ward, Round Rock Texas Stake (W:9)

YTD 58(11.6/week*5) +5 - Total 34,237(+6)
Africa 12, 20.7% (+4) - Total 1783 (+5)
Asia 1, 1.7% (0) - Total 932 (0)
America Central 2, 3.4% (0) - Total 3923 (0)
America North 27(should say 28), 48.3% (0) - Total 9352 (+1)
America South 4, 6.9% (0) - Total 6344 (0)
Europe 0, 0% (0) - Total 1715 (0)
Pacific 1, 1.7% (0) - Total 2731 (0)
Utah & Idaho 10(7), 17.2(12.1)% (0) - Total 6917(5706)(0)

Totals no-sensitive (Net 9)
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 149 418 3,180 545 22,597 7,348 34,262
Us/Can 10 81 131 1,604 10 12,599 2,055 16,490
US n/a 73 124 1,556 7 12,262 1,906 15,928
Utah n/a 15 10 579 1 4,707 326 5,638
Canada n/a 8 7 48 3 337 149 552
Out 15 68 287 1,576 535 9,998 5,293 17,772

Chapman117 said...

Deseret News is reporting that the current number of sisters serving is 20000.

MainTour said...

What is the average number of sisters serving before the Age Change?

Ryan Searcy said...

Can we get some new lists?

Stake Splits Outside U.S. and Canada - November 2015, so it is pretty recent

Districts To Become Stakes - December 2014

Stake Splits Inside U.S. and Canada - ?

I was thinking about some of the larger stakes in the U.S. and see where splits could be made. I was thinking about the Meeker Colorado Stake and how large it is. I think it would most likely separate into the Craig Colorado Stake (6,1) and the Rifle Colorado Stake (6,2). The potential stake in Craig would most likely be the new one, whereas Rifle would be a rename. Both stakes would be assigned to Vernal (I checked).

Joseph said...

Unit Update
Jan 17
Tarawa Kiribati North District (B:6)
Abaokoro Branch
Abatoa Branch
Buota Branch
Tearinibai Branch
Temaiku 1st Branch
Temaiku 2nd Branch

Jan 24
Abatoa Branch, Tarawa Kiribati North District (B:6)

Jan 31
Ahenema Kokoben Branch, Kumasi Ghana Bantama Stake (B:6, W:11)
Temaiku 2nd Branch, Tarawa Kiribati North District (B:6)

Feb 7
Boeckman Creek Ward, Lake Oswego Oregon Stake (W:10)
Brenu-Akyirim Branch, Ghana Cape Coast Mission (B:13, D:1, S:3)
Kendall Square Branch (Mandarin), Cambridge Massachusetts Stake (B:4, W:12)
Lake Forest Ward, Lake Oswego Oregon Stake (W:10)
Northridge SA 1st Ward, Orem Utah Northridge Stake (W:8)
Rivers Edge YSA Branch, Albuquerque New Mexico North Stake (B:2, W:6)
Sandton Ward, Johannesburg South Africa Stake (B:1, W:9)
Sundance YSA Ward, Mesa Arizona YSA East Stake (W:8)
Tallahassee 6th Ward, Tallahassee Florida Stake (B:6, W:7)
Trillium Creek Ward, Lake Oswego Oregon Stake (W:10)
Verdigris Branch, Bartlesville Oklahoma Stake (B:3, W:9)

YTD 73(12.17/week*6) +15 - Total 34,240(+3)
Africa 15, 20.5% (+3) - Total 1786 (+3)
Asia 1, 1.4% (0) - Total 932 (0)
America Central 2, 2.7% (0) - Total 3923 (0)
America North 35, 47.9% (+7) - Total 9356 (+4)
America South 4, 5.4% (0) - Total 6337 (-7)
Europe 1, 1.4% (+1) - Total 1714 (-1)
Pacific 4, 5.5% (+3) - Total 2734 (+3)
Utah & Idaho 11(8), 15.1(11.0)% (+1) - Total 6918(5707)(+1)

Totals no-sensitive (Net 9)
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 149 418 3,180 546 22,601 7,354 34,273
Us/Can 10 81 131 1,604 10 12,602 2,058 16,496
US n/a 73 124 1,556 7 12,265 1,909 15,934
Utah n/a 15 10 579 1 4,709 325 5,639
Canada n/a 8 7 48 3 337 149 552
Out 15 68 287 1,576 536 9,999 5,296 17,777

Mike Johnson said...

An interesting article in Turkish Weekly on the Church in Turkey and in other countries:

John Pack Lambert said...

That is a very interesting article from the Turkish weekly. One issue to point out, young missionaries serving service missions would only be assigned somewhere in Turkey or elsewhere in west or central area if they already lived there. Single service missionaries are given calls where they can remain in their current residence. However overall the article was very insightful.

I am glad to see the Lake Oswego stake in Oregon get 3 new wards. Angola is also looking up. Hopefully we will see a stake there this year, but leadership might not be quite ready for that yet.

Any clue on how long it would take to get from Luanda to the Johanesburg Temple by either driving or flying, and what percentage of the average yearly income members who do such travel would be looking at. Another question, have there been many Angolans who have served missions?

Ryan Searcy said...

According to Google, it is a 3h and 20m flight from Luanda (LAD) to Johannesburg (JNB). As for driving, it shows there is construction going on the highway right as you get into South Africa, and shows a driving time of 44h. Angola will most likely be serviced by the Kinshasa Temple once it is finished in 2018 (they said it should take 2 years to build).

John Pack Lambert said...

The report on the next set of 8 new mission presidents. The first is a couple from Parana Stake in Brazil (not far from Curitiba) called to preside over the mission in Goiania (not far from Brazilia). The husband served his mission in Belem (in the north of Brazil). Their last name is of German origina, although the wife's last name Bonetti looks Italian to me, but they were both born in Brazil and seem to have multi-generational connections. The husband's mother's maiden name was Elias. Actually, the wife's maiden name was Brasil, her mother's maiden name was Bonetti.

The next couple is the De Leons, from Nampa Idao, sent to the Mexico City Northwest Mission. Sister De Leon was born in Mexico. Brother De Leon, named Daniel and son of Eligio and Catalina nee Cuevas was born in Moses Lake, Washington. He is of Hispanic, probably Mexican, origin. Brother De Leon served his mission in Salt Lake City and sister De Leon served in the Boston Massachusetts Mission. He was born in 1960.

The next are the Graysons from Monroe, Louisiana, called to preside over the Macon Georgia Mission. Brother Grayson is a retired pharmacist who was born in New York City in 1951. Sister Grayson was born in Oceanside, California. To me this looks like appointing a couple with some sense of the region. I would love to see a mission president here in Michigan from Chicago or Cincinatti, instead of the unending run of mission presidents from Utah and Idaho we have had since 1997, before which we had one who came out from Alberta, although he was raised in Saskatchewan.

Next are the Hiatt's going from Sandpoint, Idaho to the Phillipines. Brother Hiatt was born in Protland in 1959. Sister Hiatt was born in Sandpoint. They recently got done serving a mission, but where is not specified.

We then get a Utah couple sent to California followed by a couple from Bogata Columbia sent to preside over a mission in Ecuador.

Next we have a retired FBI agent and his wife, currently living in Tucson, Arizona called to preside over the San Antonio Mission. Both places you have large Hispanic populations. Brother Polley was also born in Tucson and served his mission in Spain. His wife was born in Phoenix, Arizona.

The last couple comes from Utah, where they were also both born, and is being sent to preside over the Cincinnatti Ohio Mission. The husband did serve in the Michigan Lansing Mission.

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding is that South Africa also makes it hard for those from countries like Angola to come in as visitors, fearing they will stay and become undocumented immigrants. I would imagine that even if the distance is not that much different to Kinshasa, the ease of traveling would be. Especially since overland Kinshasa only involves going across one international border. From Luanda to Johanesburg involves at least going through Namibia as well, and the shortest way would actually involve going through both Botswana and Namibia.

Looking at the map Kinshasa to Luanda is about 1/3rd the distance of Luanda to Johannesburg, and might even be a better saving if you look at drive time.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the way from Luanda to Kinshasa it appears the only city one would pass through with even an LDS branch is Matadi, a city of 250,000 or more with just one branch. About 40 kilometres straight west of Matadi is Boma, a city of 160,000 without a branch. The Matadi branch appears to be the only one in Bas-Congo, a province with 4 and a half million residents. The Kimbondo Branch, the furthest west stretching branch of any in a Kinshasa stake, may take in a small part of the very far north-east fringe of the province. However Ksangulu, a city of 27,000 people 35 km from Kinshasa in Bas-Congo province does not have any branch at all, although it may have an LDS group.

The Church still has huge growth potential in West and Central Africa just by extending outreach to new places, often not very far from current centers of strength. Hopefully a 3rd mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will allow the Kinshasa mission to have the resources to increase the Church presence beyond the Metro-Area of Kinshasa itself.

John Pack Lambert said...

The organization of the Verdigris Branch in the Bartlesville Stake is encouraging to me that the Church is still reaching out and forming new branches in the US.

Mike Johnson said...

LDS Maps shows Verdigris in a small area outside of any stake. Right clicking on Verigris shows that the area belongs to the Arkansas Bentonville Mission, the Tulsa YSA branch, and the North America Southwest Area, but no other congregation or stake or district. It appears to be a very small farming community.

Now that a branch is organized and assigned to a stake, I plan to see how LDS maps will depict the area once the changes come in. I didn't think we had anyplace left in the US outside of a stake or district. I wonder if the full area not covered by a stake or district became the branch or just a piece of it.

Ryan Searcy said...

Mike Johnson, that's usually how LDS Maps does it when a ward or branch is created or discontinued. It will sometimes show as outside any stake or district, but after a while, it will be correct. For example, the Cooley Park Ward was discontinued in one of the Mesa stakes, and the ward shows up as outside any stake or district. As far as places in the US outside a stake or district, the Martin's Cove Branch in Wyoming is the only branch in the US that is not part of a stake or district. It was formerly part of the Casper Wyoming Stake prior to the creation of the Wyoming Mormon Trails Mission. As for Canada, all of Nanuvut is now part of the Canada Montreal Mission Branch. Newfoundland and Labrador as well as St Pierre and Miquelon (owned by France) are divided into 3 branches in the Canada Halifax Mission. A Majority of Quebec is not part of a regular, English stake, though if you select 'French' it will show all of Quebec under the two French stakes around Montreal.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I would venture to say many people born in Oceanside, CA who are church members were probably military families, particularly Marines at Fort Pendleton. That said, the missionary president's wife born there may have been raised a lot of places other than there. I guess it would be closer to Utah, which may be relevant to those she and her husband interact with.
In the eternal scheme of things folks from LDS dominated areas need spiritual growth as do those in small minorities, and hopefully Utah and eastern Idaho mission presidents in places like the Midwest or Northeast bring their gifts and impacts to their people as the locals do for them.
Being from Indiana, I have been encouraged to see more Hoosier mission and temple presidents called in recent years as the church matures.
It is interesting to see Utah mature as a more pluralistic place in recent years as its diversity has increased and the influence of members grows. I do think that sometimes we think in terms too much of Member v. Non-member, and all of us should be more inclusive in our outreach. Then again that is often hard to do while we try to maintain our own values and practices.

Pascal Friedmann said...

Verdigris is not too small, actually, and the city is growing at fairly rapid speed. The current population should be 6,000 or so, perhaps more. It is still very encouraging to see growth continue in the Tulsa area, driven by both convert baptisms and good retention rates. Of course, the general economic growth of the area helps as well.

soc. man I am ---------------- said...

I lived in Tulsa about 15 years ago. Verdigris is a nice a rea. If I moved back to the area that is where I would consider moving.

John Pack Lambert said...

So is all of Quebec funtionally in a branch, or are there parts of northern Quebec where if man moved there with a wife and 3 children, one a teenaged boy, they would allow them to form their own group.

In Alaska there is the Anchorage Bush Branch, which although part of a stake is made up of people way out on the fringe and not able to physically assemble for sacrament meeting.

John Pack Lambert said...

My expereince in Utah was actually seeing more attempts at non-preselyting outreach and friendship by Church members than elsewhere. It is limited however to BYU units and a ward in downtown Salt Lake City, but all the ones I was in considered the needs of those not baptized more than units elsewhere.

Part of the problem in Utah is that a lot of people are not just not-LDS, but beligerant former Latter-day Saints who take every chance to attack the LDS Church. The extreme was SLC's former mayor, Ross Anderson, who reversed his position on a department store relocating out of downtown once the LDS Church bought a particular mall.

From an ethno-cultural persepctive, Utah is much more diverse than it was 60 years ago. However I am boutful the percentage of active LDS members is much different, and might be higher.

1 of Utah's congresspeople is clearly a sign of ethno-cultural diversity. That is Mia Love, who is a Latter-day Saint (converted at age 21 or so) whose parents immigrated from Haiti. Utah's Attorney General, Sean Reyes, is of Filipino, Hawaiian and Japanese descent. Although to be fair Utah has had a noticeable Japanese population for over 70 years.

Another sign of growing diversity is BYU's first non-white head football coach. Kalani Sitaki is an ethnic Tongan, born in Tonga, but largely raised in various places in the US. I believe Hawaii, Arizona, Missiouri (in Metro St. Louis) and then he played at BYU and served a mission in the Oakland California Mission.

Some of the diversity in Utah is largely non-LDS. While some Bosnians who have settled there have joined the Church, I have no indication it is a significant number. Conversions of South Sudaneese refugees have been higher from what I have been told, but are probably still only a small percentage of this group.

I would love to see more racial diversity in Utah, more African-Americans in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and probably more Hispanics, and lots of other things. However there is progress being made even if not as fast as I at times wish.

There was an immigrant from Ghana in my stake who served his mission in Salt Lake City.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Utah is 40 % non-LDS, which in 2016 is well over a million inhabitants. While there are formidable quantities of belligerants in opposition (a few of whom I know personally, some family and others...) there are 5 or 6 thriving missions baptizing usually more than any US missions.
Incidentally, my Virginia based DC South mission has a goal to baptize 300 converts. This would surpass the # of 2015.

Pascal Friedmann said...

I have also made the experience that most of those vocally opposing the Church (they are not very large in number overall) are no candidates for convert baptism since they are either current or excommunicated members. Especially in places like Salt Lake City, Ogden, and southern Salt Lake County (which combine for over 1/3 of Utah's total population), there are large numbers of people who are religiously uncommitted and open. Some who I have encountered have made a credible case to me that they have never heard of the Church.

All in all, Utah continues to be a great place for growth in the Church, and since I moved here six years ago, I believe the process has actually been speeding up.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually there are 9 missions in Utah not counting the Temple Square Mission.