Saturday, March 26, 2016

Worldwide Stake Growth Accelerating in 2016

The Church organized at least six new stakes on March 20th - the largest number of new stakes organized on a single day since June 15th, 2014 when seven new stakes were organized. Thus far, the Church has organized 21 new stakes in 2016 - the largest number of new stakes created during the first three months of the year since 1998 when 24 new stakes were organized during the first quarter of the year. Accelerated stake growth in 2016 has thus far appeared attributed to steady growth in the United States and a few Latin American countries (e.g. Brazil, Guatemala). It is too early to tell whether this recent surge in new stake creations will continue. It is also unclear whether this increase is indicative of larger numbers of convert baptisms, more self-sufficient and better qualified local church leadership, and/or improved convert retention and member activity rates. However, reports I have received indicate that several new stakes will be organized in the next month or so, including two new stakes in Hong Kong, a new stake in Honduras, and the Church's first stake in Benin.

70 comments:

Ohhappydane33 said...

Although encouraging, it appears that most of these recently created stakes were long overdue, such as the ones in San Antonio for instance, and it seems as if the Church has sort of finally gotten around to splitting ones they should have already done. So I would be surprised if this trend continues for the rest of 2016.

Matt said...

I agree. Seems like a lot of these stake splits have needed to occur for at least a year or two. I received a report that many stake creations were delayed due to a backlog caused by aging Quorum of the Twelve members or vacancies in 2015. We will see how the rest of the year looks. Congregational growth rates thus far have been about the same as last year.

Bunko said...

Does it matter that we are seeing more stakes this year because of lag? Last year was also a good year for new stakes. Even if the reason is because of lag I don't think that should diminish from how awesome it is.

Dave said...

There are still plenty of stakes large enough to be split out there. The constraint is possibly the expense of building new stake centers, or perhaps the number of active Melchizedek Priesthood holders.

Eduardo Clinch said...
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Eduardo Clinch said...

Delays and lags are all in due course. I have a feeling that there are a lot more convert baptisms and subsequent lessons taught on the other side of the veil than this side.
Numbers on the earth may not favor the true church till a long time from now.
But it is cool to witness some dynamic and global growth.

John Pack Lambert said...

Per this article from the Church News http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865650282/United-in-the-gospel-2-Singing-in-the-General-Womens-Meeting-choir.html the women in the choir at the General Women's Conference this evening were natives of 52 countries and combined had 20 native languages. They were drawn from 7 Salt Lake Area Stakes, including the one with a Swahili-speaking branch. Some of the sisters involved had virtually no knowledge of either English or reading music. In the first practice they had to have the director slow down her speaking because she was going way to fast for the interpreters. This may well represent more native languages and more native countries than one generally gets in the MTC choir.

John Pack Lambert said...

Why would aging members of the Quorum of the 12 or vacancies in the Quorum cause delays in splitting stakes? We are long past the days when members of the quorum of the 12 were sent to create all new stakes. In the late 1990s stake organizations seemed to have been done by one general authority or on occasion area seventy. Now the standard is to have two men involved it seems, often one general authority and one area seventy, but on occasion two general authorities, and I think occasionally 3. This is done not just for organizing new stakes but also calling new stake presidencies.

John Pack Lambert said...

In general it seems stakes are often created before stake centers are built. I know the Ann Arbor Michigan Stake existed for almost 30 years before it had a stake center. On the other hand I think they may have built the stake center for the Lebanon Pennsylvania Stake or whatvever it was exactly called before creating the stake.

If there is a building issue it is probably more holding back on splitting wards until new buildings are built, and minimum numbers of wards for new stakes. This may be causing delays in creating new stakes some places, but it is not what delays splitting stakes with more than enough wards to split.

Matt said...

The information I was provided from a member in a recently divided stake indicated that vacancies in the Quorum of the 12 resulted in the approval process to create new stakes becoming backlogged. Yes, it is true that very stakes are organized by apostles these days.

Michael Worley said...

While I think the data supports a slowing of church growth particularly in Aug.-Oct 2015, and I tend to agree that the work that the 12 must do to approve the creation of a new stake (no matter who is sent to organize the stake) probably contributed to the delay, there is another side to this.

2015 and 2014 had net new stakes of +60 and +63, respectively, the highest net creation of stakes since this blog's record keeping began in 2007/2008. So even if the 2016 numbers are representing the clearing of a "backlog," we're still on place for +65 this year (assuming the church reverts to the 2015 mean for the last three quarters of 2016). This would make 2-3 years of tremendous growth in stake units, which is a great sign that this is not a statistical fluke.

That said, April stake creations seem to be on pace for another strong month, so this could be a new normal.

John Pack Lambert said...

I have to say with the organization of a second stake in Kenya last weekend I now predict the announcmeent of a temple for Nairobi, Kenya this year. Between Kenya and Uganda there are now 4 stakes, the same number that Thailand and Cambodia had when a temple was announced for Bankock, and also the number that Haiti had when a temple was announced there.

Eduardo Clinch said...
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Eduardo Clinch said...

Another note about China: the Boxer Rebellion some 100 plus years ago was a dramatic and violent movement not just against "Westernism", but against Christianity and its establishment. I am not sure how many Christians were killed and made flee (both foreigners and natives), many of them missionaries in their own right, but it definitely had an effect on Christian's peoples hold in the land of the Han. And it has had an effect ever since, I would argue. The Falun Gong movement was heavily cracked down on by the PRC more recently, while not even "Western" in origin. The fallout of the government's hold on the people is a continually developing story.
My son asked me if we (LDS Church) will set up a mission in Cuba now. We have Vietnam, why not? Cuba could support multiple missions, eventually multiple temples. They (some) may like to hear about the early attempts at the United Order and the mandated Law of Consecration.
One last note about the Far East and Christianity: Hiroshima was the strongest Christian part of Japan prior to 1945. It seems the Lord's efforts with the Japanese, Koreans,Chinese and other East Asians have had frustrations and delays for decades and centuries if not millenia, but things will continue to progress. Communism, heralded as an enemy by so many of Church leaders, perhaps most notably Ezra Taft Benson, has had its effect, but things continue to develop. And it seems the Church in Taiwan is doing all right.
Ok, that's all. (Let's not discuss India or Indonesia).

Alex Compton said...

Eduardo, I have a feeling that Singapore is a bit more of a slow grower than Thailand in SE Asia. Combination of the smaller number of people and their general lack of receptivity.

I would imagine it might take a bit of time to establish a mission in Cuba. If I am remembering correctly, having missionaries in Vietnam was almost like an off-the-books thing for a while. And Cuba still seems to have some very public, violent demonstrations against those they perceive to be against the government.

Lastly, I think the stake growth is amazing. Whether it is due to more convert baptisms, a higher % retention of the same number of baptisms, or increased reactivation, it is a very promising sign. To echo Bunko and Michael, backlog or not, we are still seeing tremendous growth in the form of stake creation. With this increased growth, only 8 temples that are not under construction (and one of those has a groundbreaking date), and 5 temples to be dedicated by the end of the year, I would imagine we see 5-8 temples announced this year

Tom said...

Guys I don't know if the backlog theory holds up. From what I can tell, in 2015 far more stakes were created after Elder Scott became incapacitated (April?) President Monson announced that he needed to slow down, and then we lost Perry in May. If workload on the remaining healthy leaders was causing a backlog, I would expect a dramatic slowdown in stake creations starting in May and accelerating as Packer died in August and then remaining slow into October when the new Apostles were sustained. Just the opposite is true though. Stake creation sped up as there were fewer available apostles remaining.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Of all southeast Asia, maybe the biggest growth will occur in Vietnam or Myanmar. There has been some faster growth in Cambodia than Thailand, it seems, but it seems like Thailand while now celebrating 30 years and has a temple is perhaps the slowest grower of all these nations. Maybe even Laos will see more dynamic growth. It will be interesting to see how fast the new Vietnam Mission will grow.
Great news about two new stakes in Hong Kong. China: are we a decade away from missions in the mainland?
I recall a few years ago Mongolia having a high number of native returned missionaries in their first thousand members. Are they still growing quickly compared to other new mission fields or did they hit a slow patch?

Eduardo Clinch said...

I am not sure why some comment posts double show and then when I deleted one the first of two showed up later. Apologize for the non-sequitors.
Singapore is an interesting case. What about Brunei?

Joseph said...

There have been 23 completely new Stakes and Districts Created as of today. That's 1.9/week, last year there were 72 new stakes and Districts or 1.4/Week.

Net growth through the 20th is 26 Stakes and Districts (23 new +3 Upgrades or reinstatement) or 2.2/week.
2015 net 79, 1.5/Week
2014 net 70, 1.3/week
2013 net 40, 0.8/week
2012 net 59, 1.1/week
2011 net 55, 1.1/week

Net unit Growth is 9.4/week this year


Unit Update Through March 26
Maracanaú Brazil North Stake (W:5)
Jereissati 2nd Ward
Maracanaú 1st Ward
Novo Maracanaú Ward
Novo Oriente 1st Ward
Novo Oriente 2nd Ward

Mpintsin Ghana Stake (B:4, W:5)
Daboase Branch
Eshiem Branch
Essipon Branch
Shama Branch
Kojokrom Ward
Mpintsin 1st Ward
Mpintsin 2nd Ward
Nketsiakrom Ward
Sofokrom Ward

Kisima Ward, Kisanga Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (B:5, W:8)


YTD 167(13.9/week*12) +3 - Total 34,315(+1) (Net 113 68%)
Africa 44, 26.3% (+2) - Total 1813 (+1)
Asia 3, 1.8% (0) - Total 934 (0)
America Central 12, 7.3% (0) - Total 3931 (0)
America North 62, 37.8% (0) - Total 9376 (-1)
America South 9, 4.9% (+1) - Total 6339 (+1)
Europe 5, 3.0% (0) - Total 1713 (0)
Pacific 9, 5.5% (0) - Total 2739 (0)
Utah & Idaho 22(18), 13.4(11.0)% (0) - Total 6928(5717)(0)

Totals no-sensitive (Net +3)
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 150 419 3,192 549 22,657 7,348 34,340
Us/Can 10 82 131 1,609 10 12,629 2,055 16,526
US n/a 74 124 1,561 7 12,291 1,906 15,963
Utah n/a 16 10 579 1 4,717 327 5,650
Canada n/a 8 7 48 3 338 149 553
Out 15 68 288 1,583 539 10,028 5,294 17,814

Alex Compton said...
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Alex Compton said...

When I served in the Singapore Mission, Brunei was off limits for missionary work. The only exception was when a member would being an investigator across the border into Malaysia. They could then be taught and baptized. Not sure if any of this has changed, but pretty sure no missionaries are in Brunei. Almost completely Muslim.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I am not sure why some comment posts double show and then when I deleted one the first of two showed up later. Apologize for the non-sequitors.
Singapore is an interesting case. What about Brunei?

Iris Evans said...

My parents retired in Rigby, Idaho. A small town 15 min outside of Rexburg. And they said church leaders split their ward yesterday, and created the Rigby 19th Ward which will officially start the 10th of April due to conference. I think they are in the Rigby East Stake?

Ray said...

Rigby has had steady growth over the years with the first stake organized over 108 years ago to create the Rigby East Stake. It was first divided 70 years ago and then again just 6 years ago when the Rigby South Stake was formed. This stake has 5 Garfield wards, so it's possible that there will be a Garfield Stake in coming years like the Middleton Stake was created from one of the Caldwell Stakes.

The Middleton stake in just nine years has grown from 6 wards to 11 wards and one branch, as the Boise metropolitan area has experienced substantial growth.

John Pack Lambert said...

My prediction for this conference is 3 new temples announced in Brasilia, Brazil; Nairobi, Kenya; and Lehi, Utah.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Port Harcourt Nigeria East Stake is at 13 wards and a branch. I think it will almost certainly split in the next few months. With the large number of stakes in Nigeria I could also see a temple announced for Benin City. This would easily take in the 7 Benin City Stakes, the Warri Nigeria Stake, and also the 5 Lagos Stakes plus 2 other stakes in the Lagos Mission, for a total of at least 15, with a core 8 that would stay even with a future Lagos Temple. Lagos they will probably hold off on until there are either more stakes in Lagos or a few of the districts in that mission become stakes. On the other hand, a Lagos Temple would be a closer temple for people in the country of Benin, which might get a stake very soon. I am not sure if Lagos or Accra would be a closer temple for those in Togo.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Cape Coast Ghana Stake with 13 wards and 1 branch is probably also likely to split very soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

The two stakes in Kumasi Ghana have 19 wards and 13 branches between the two of them. This makes it seem possible that the two stakes might be realigned into three in the near future.

Fredrick said...

In case no one saw this, two more temples are scheduled for dedication before the end of the year: Star Valley, Wyoming and Hartford, Connecticut. That's five temples scheduled for dedication before the end of 2016 - the others are Sapporo, Japan, Philadelphia, PA and Fort Collins, CO.

With that, I do believe more temples will be announced this conference.

My top predictions are (1) Lehi, Utah, (2) Managua, Nicaragua, and (3) Bentonville, Arkansas, with (4) Jacksonville, Florida as another possible temple.

I am staying away from potential third temples that would take away from another temple that's scheduled to lose stakes in its district by the scheduled completion of a second temple.

(i.e. Richmond/Washington,DC/Philadelphia or Pocatello/Idaho Falls/Star Valley or Nairobi/Johannesburg/Durban and Kinshasa or Colorado Springs/Denver/Fort Collins)

James Anderson said...

Far northern Utah County would depend on how busy Mount Timpanogos still is after losing much of Orem to the Provo Temple in the realignment that was necessitated by completion of the Provo City Center Temple.

Right now the south boundary is at Orem's 1600 North, also in spots a street in Lindon, Utah. South boundary of Provo Temple is with one exception of one resident stake and some BYU student stakes (YSA stakes) Provo Center Street. The current north boundary for Mount Timpanogos is likely somewhere near the county line.

Wednesday saw Provo City Center run an extra endowment session, the number in the session was small, it was all those who due to space could not get into the normal 7pm session. The possibilities of extra sessions for that reason are built into the temple's schedule.

An article posted to ksl.com does indicate though that people are leaving Salt Lake County for Utah County on account of job growth, obviously people would prefer to be closer to their employment, and a lot of it is due to new hiring by tech companies, as well as other tech companies moving into the north county area.

Fredrick said...

Yes, north Utah County is growing like crazy especially in Lehi, Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain which is why I think they will announce a temple in Lehi shortly. Layton's another possibility too since Ogden serves 65 stakes (while Mt. Timp serves 55 stakes). Heck, maybe they'll announce temples for both Layton and Lehi.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I read that Brunei is about 10% Christian, around 2/3 Muslim, with the rest being Buddhist or "self directed". I guess it boils down to a question of government permission, as a free country like Sierra Leone is around two thirds Muslim.
How about East Timor? That is mostly Catholic, I think.
Incidentally, with the recent Lahore Easter bombing, Pakistan has some 3 million Christians.

John Pack Lambert said...

The LDS Church has 3 districts in Pakistan if I remember correctly, and it is rumored a stake may be created there this year. The Church's presence in Pakistan is highly sensitive and not much talked of.

With East Timor my understanding was that the Church had sent senior missionaries there.

On the issue of the Nairobi Temple taking stakes from the Johannesburg Temple. As I see it, Nairobi is so far from Johannesburg, that I doubt members in Kenya and Uganda make it to the temple regularly. I believe in 2000 at one point the Mexico City Temple had something like 8 or so temples being built in its district. The Oakland Temple lost temple workers to the Fresno, Reno and Medford Temples all at about the same time. Johanesburg Temples has 76 stakes and districts under it to the Washington DC Temple only having 43.

James Anderson said...

The Mexico temples of the late 90s was part of the 30+ temples that President Hinckley announced, all save a couple were very small, and while he said that eventually they might be expanded, so far none have been.

Most run only a few sessions a week, mostly in the evenings. Costa Rica runs only a dozen or so sessions a week.

Nexuci;s road system is not the greatest, and it's not advisable to travel it at night due to the criminals that frequent some areas. That was part of it. Most cities have more stakes now but there are still those that are not fully there for a larger temple, but the size of the smaller ones makes it easier to run with few workers and fewer operating hours.

Shawz said...

This just doesn't jive with the process a it is laid out in the handbooks. There is a committee that does the hard work before it goes to the 1st presidency.

Ondansetron said...

Why would only the number of Melchizedek priesthood holders factor in to your reasoning? Do women not count, out those of lesser priesthood?

Ondansetron said...

And yet, AND YET, the total number of active members stagnates or even lessens; especially in developed countries. You can add or split stakes all you want, but you're losing even more on the back end of the production line.

Ondansetron said...

And yet, AND YET, the total number of active members stagnates or even lessens; especially in developed countries. You can add or split stakes all you want, but you're losing even more on the back end of the production line.

Ondansetron said...

Why would only the number of Melchizedek priesthood holders factor in to your reasoning? Do women not count, out those of lesser priesthood?

Bryan Dorman said...

Ondansetron: There are parameters that must be met for a new branch, ward, district, or stake to be formed.

The first number that is looked at is the number of members within the geographical area (min = 1900 for a foreign stake, 3000 for a USA/CAN stake.

You must have an absolute MINIMUM of 100 Melchizedek priesthood holders that are full tithe payers.

Every ward within the stake must have a MINIMUM of 15 MPFTPs.

There are areas of concern. When you baptize 300k converts you should form at least 100 stakes a year. We form about half that. That would indicate that active membership is increasing percentagewise to the whole.

Bryan Dorman said...

Ondansetron: There are parameters that must be met for a new branch, ward, district, or stake to be formed.

The first number that is looked at is the number of members within the geographical area (min = 1900 for a foreign stake, 3000 for a USA/CAN stake.

You must have an absolute MINIMUM of 100 Melchizedek priesthood holders that are full tithe payers.

Every ward within the stake must have a MINIMUM of 15 MPFTPs.

There are areas of concern. When you baptize 300k converts you should form at least 100 stakes a year. We form about half that. That would indicate that active membership is increasing percentagewise to the whole.

Michael Worley said...

The total number-- and percentage-- of active members is growing; everyone from Quentin L. Cook to John Dehlin is agreed on this.

Fredrick said...

While the Church announced a temple recently for Ivory Coast, I doubt they will announce a temple anytime soon for Nairobi, Kenya. The Church is going very slowly in Kenya compared to Ivory Coast, which seems be adding 1 or 2 new stakes every year.

Ray Felsted said...

A new ward was created in Tonga on Easter Sunday, the first new ward in Tonga in nearly 3 years. Congregational growth has been slow but steady in Tonga over the last 10 years or so, amounting to only 13 new wards totaling 134 with the new ward. At the same time, however, there have been dozens of Tongan wards and branches created throughout the US, New Zealand, and Australia in recent years.

Mike Johnson said...

Bryan you provided some good answers to the questions about stake and congregational growth. I would only add that the standards have gone up a few times in the past two decades. Until about 2010, in North America, the membership requirement for a stake in North America changed from 2500 to 3000--this happened just when my stake hit 5000 and was about to apply for the stake to be split. We are now about 5600. The standards also went up about 2000 or the late 1990s. Thus, stake creation today is against higher standards than what we had in the 1980s and most of the 1990s.

Mark A. Holloman said...

This past Sunday all the wards from the Reno Nevada Stake were informed that the Reno Nevada Stake will be split on April 10, 2016. The other two stakes in the Reno region are also quite large and could be split in the near future as well.

Ray said...

The original Reno Stake was formed in 1941 and split in 1961 to create the Sparks Stake. The Reno North Stake then followed in 1974, so this will be the first new stake in the Reno area in 42 years. The Carson City Stake dates from 1978 and the Winnemucca Stake from 1981. The two Fallon stakes were created in 1970 and 1987, so it will have been 29 years since the last new stake was created in northwest Nevada, no doubt due to the stricter standards referred to in Mike Johnson's post above.

Fredrick said...

Funny! I heard from a disgruntled source (don't even ask-she's just stupid and angry) that the three stakes in the Reno area (not counting Carson City) would be split up to create FIVE stakes. This person alleged that the Church was creating additional wards and making new wards smaller than their usual size. The result would be TWO additional stakes in the Reno area.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Someday I hope the church restructures to meet the pattern revealed to Joseph Smith. Stakes are 15,000 - 20,000 people, and they are completely independent churches, financially and legally. Apostles and seventies just set them up and advise them, traveling without purse or scrip. There should be no centralized church bureaucracy.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I wonder why the Church's critics are so desperate to convince themselves that the Church is in decline. If they knew how to be logical, they could admit that it's growing and still believe it to be false.

OC Surfer said...

Good call.. considering the 1000s of new jobs and families moving in because the new Tesla plant.

Reno, Reno North, and Sparks Stake all have 9 to 11 wards each. Going to 5 stakes with six wards in each stake is very doable.

OC Surfer said...

Good call.. considering the 1000s of new jobs and families moving in because the new Tesla plant.

Reno, Reno North, and Sparks Stake all have 9 to 11 wards each. Going to 5 stakes with six wards in each stake is very doable.

Ray Felsted said...

Christopher Bigelow, There were 7 stakes organized in 1840 (Crooked Creek, also called Ramus, Freedom, Geneva, Lima, Mount Hope, Quincy, and Springfield), which had few members and usually only one congregation. Nauvoo Stake was organized in 1839. All were closed in 1841, except for Lima Stake, which lasted until 1845, and Nauvoo Stake which was closed in 1846 (and then was reinstated in 1979).

Kirtland Stake was created in 1834 and discontinued in 1841 but reinstated in 1983. In Missouri, Clay-Caldwell Stake was organized in 1834 and discontinued in 1839, Adam-Ondi-Ahman Stake was only in existence for about half of 1838, and the St. Louis Stake was formed in 1854, discontinued in 1858, and reinstated in 1958. Other historical stakes were San Bernardino, CA, 1851-1857, reinstated 1935, and Carson Valley, NV, 1856-1858, reinstated 1978.

The original Salt Lake Stake was organized in 1847 and grew to scores of wards when it was finally divided in 1900 to create the Granite Stake, and then in 1904 into the Ensign, Liberty, and Pioneer Stakes. Wards were very large then, too. A friend who passed away a few years ago was Bishop of the 24th Ward (now in the Salt Lake Riverside Stake), and he told me in the early 1950s it had 2200 members at its peak.

Ray Felsted said...

Correction to last post: the Twenty-ninth Ward of the Salt Lake Riverside Stake, not the 24th Ward.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Ray, I'm not sure what your point is. If we followed the revealed pattern, each stake of 15,000-20,000 people would be divided into 24 districts of 625–833 people (one district for each "temple" in the stake). Each district would be divided into four branches, each with 160-210 people. Each branch is presided over by an elder. Hmm, that comes out to 96 branches in a stake. Now, why is the number 96 familiar? Oh yeah, each stake has 96 presiding elders! (See D&C 107.) And guess what, each stake has only one bishopric. That's a stake level position, not a ward position and not a churchwide position.

The way things have evolved, our stakes are way too small and way too controlled by a nonscriptural central church headquarters. And our wards are too big.

According to the work of David Hall, the correct pattern (which I've only touched on a few points of here) can be found by triangulating together the following revelations, using Joseph Smith's stake plot as the matrix:

• Organizational structure: D&C 20, 25, 84, 107, and 131; “Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book”
• Multipurpose community buildings: D&C 88, 94, and 95; “Plan of the House of the Lord”
• Economic system: D&C 42 and 51

Hall is developing a secular, nondenominational interpretation of the pattern: http://newvistafoundation.org/

Michael Worley said...

Christopher Bigelow:

Bear in mind, many on this forum, myself included, bear considerably more weight to present teachings on church government than past teachings.

While I respect your view, it seems somewhat off-topic. I know the Prophets and Apostles are inspired men. But if every prophet since Joseph has deferred from God's plan for stakes (as you seem to allege), then I fail to see why your suggestion of a wholesale revision of the inspired structure fits in a discussion that almost assumes that God in heaven leads LDS Church leaders in setting policy.

Christopher Bigelow said...

OK, if you deem it off topic, I'll bow out. My view is that God gave the right stake pattern to Joseph Smith, and the church is obviously still trying to figure it out...

Eduardo Clinch said...

Christopher: it is interesting that Joseph Smith received different plans than now practiced. He also got revelation for the United Order and plural marriage, and was told Christ would return when he was in his 80s. So some things adapt over time. As far as organization I always thought it was key for bishops to know all their members and stake presidents to know as many as possible as well. As to centralized leadership in our faith, I always thought the 1st predidency and Quorum of 12 were the Lord's annointed for the world.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Christopher: it is interesting that Joseph Smith received different plans than now practiced. He also got revelation for the United Order and plural marriage, and was told Christ would return when he was in his 80s. So some things adapt over time. As far as organization I always thought it was key for bishops to know all their members and stake presidents to know as many as possible as well. As to centralized leadership in our faith, I always thought the 1st predidency and Quorum of 12 were the Lord's annointed for the world.

Michael Worley said...

Joseph, as far as I know, was only told he would see Christ if he lived that long.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Right, and we know that was not the case. My point is that everything revealed back in the 1830s and 1840s is not meant for all times. And many successive apostles and prophets are very aware of that, as we believing members should be.

Nairobi and Uganda and Zimbabwe should get temples. And India. And Indonesia.

BryceisBibleMan said...

News from Billings Mt, the church is planing on building a new meetinghouse about a mile down the street from the Temple, to House some of the wards, a report from the stack prisdent said that some of the wards in the stack need to be split soon, and that the new meetinghouse is needed so that they could split several of the wards soon.
I remember back to when I was there on my mission that the wards on the west end of the city was growing fast, and had a high active rate with a lot of move ins as will having a good number of baptisms.
I hope this means that the Billings stack is getting clouse to being split.

BryceisBibleMan said...

News from Billings Mt, the church is planing on building a new meetinghouse about a mile down the street from the Temple, to House some of the wards, a report from the stack prisdent said that some of the wards in the stack need to be split soon, and that the new meetinghouse is needed so that they could split several of the wards soon.
I remember back to when I was there on my mission that the wards on the west end of the city was growing fast, and had a high active rate with a lot of move ins as will having a good number of baptisms.
I hope this means that the Billings stack is getting clouse to being split.

John Pack Lambert said...

One thing that seems to mitigate against faster growth in Tonga is large rates of members moving from the country to other countries, primarily New Zealand, Australian and the United States. There are stakes in Australia where two thirds of the stake presidency is Polynesian.

One think we have to consider in movement of members, is many converts find it hard to stay active if they remain in the same networks they were in before baptism. For some, the easiest way to split from these networks and develop a true connection to the Church is to move away from where they lived to a new location.

John Pack Lambert said...

The reason to believe in a living prophet and living apostles is to believe they can and do receive revelation to guide the Church today, and we are not bound to guide the Church based on the precedents set up by Joseph Smith. God speaks to men in their own language, and he organizes his Church, especially in the matters of organization and structure, to meet the need of the people at the time of organization.

The Church as set up by Joseph Smith always had a central First Presidency.

Anyone who has paid any attention to the problems faced by the Episcopal Church because of their less than fully centralized organization would not wish fiscal disunion on anyone.

If you want to see how and in what ways stakes are independent compare them to districts. Districts are fully under missions in an administrative sense, and district presidents can not give temple recommends, that is done by mission presidents.

These issues don't just apply to eccelsiastical organization. We follow the Word of Wisdom as set down by Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant, not the approach to it as set down by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Revelations do not need to be fully codified in scripture to be binding on us, especially when they are made part of the temple recommend process.

John Pack Lambert said...

Not only was Joseph Smith only told if he lived to age 87 he would see Christ, but in explicating it he admitted he did not known what that meant.

God not only speaks to man in his own language, but leaves much to our own interpretation. The phrasing "Borders of the Lamanites" in the Doctrine and Covenants do not reflect a commitment by God in insiting that all Native Americans are in some way Lamanaites, they just reflect an understanding of the people of 19th-century America that the Native Americans were essentially all one group. God speaks to man in his own language, so he tells them things they will understand, even if it is not fully correct to later generations.

On the issue of why the requirement is for Melchezidek Preisthood holders, in most cases you have more active males than females. It is true that one of the counselors in the elders quorum presidency in my ward has a non-member wife. However we also have at least two sisters in the ward who are active and have non-member husbands. In general there are more active women than men in the LDS Church, although not as much a discrepancy as in some religious groups.

In my stake, this is actually one of the things most different in the urban and suburban units. The urban units have a much higher number of active sisters to active brethren compared to suburban units.

Aaronic priesthood holders are either new in the Church, recently activated, or youth. There are a lot of stake and ward callings that they cannot fill. If you have a lot of active adult Aaronic priesthood holders in a unit, you will either in a short time have lots more Melchizedek priesthood holders, or have people who come out to Church regularly but have issues they need to work to overcome. So in most cases in a short time you will be ready to split.

Beyond this, leaders look at and consider more than just the basic numbers is making decisions on when, where and how to split units.

John Pack Lambert said...

The history of stakes in complex. In 1930 it is true some stakes, like the Liberty Stake in Salt Lake City, had over 20,000 members. On the other hand the Monticello Stake in south-east Utah had only 3 wards and no branches. No stake at present is that small.

It was not until the 1920s that stakes were formed in California, the first stakes in areas that did not have intentional Mormon settlements that lasted until the present. It was not until 1958 that stakes were formed outside North America (at least if you count Hawaii as part of such by virtue of being part of the US), and not until 1961 that a stake was formed that functioned in a language other than English.

1961 was also the first year General Conference was translated.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

I am actually really surprised no new temple was announced in the Layton and Kaysville areas. There is a ton of growth right now in Kaysville, Farmington, West Layton and Syracuse. The Ogden and Bountiful Temples are bursting at the seams they are so busy.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

In reading the comments, I just wanted to point out the difference between total growth and real growth. The Church keeps track of both. The total growth of the Church is measured in membership. The REAL growth of the Church is measured in new stakes and districts at a macro level. At a micro level, it is measured in new wards and branches (i.e., congregations).

Based on the data, the Church is not only growing in total membership, but is also growing in active membership (i.e., real growth). In fact, the percentage rate of real growth in the Church is much higher than the percentage of total growth.

So the Church is growing both in number of members (i.e., total growth) and activity (i.e., real growth). Moreover, activity (i.e., real growth) is growing at a faster rate than the additional number of baptisms (i.e., total growth). Even critics of the Church agree with this.

My point: the Church is far more concerned about active growth than total growth. It does no good to baptize someone into the Church only to have that person never enter a temple or, worse, become inactive. While total growth rates have slowed, active growth rates have both stabilized and even increased. So, not only is total Church membership growing, but activity rates are growing as well. The Church is most pleased with the latter over the former.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

Stake and new congregation growth are still the best measures and indicators of REAL church growth. Far gone are the days when the Church and its leaders even care about baptism numbers if they can't lead to long-term active membership. This is one of the reasons why total growth rate (i.e., membership growth rate) has halved in the last decade, but REAL growth rate (i.e., activity growth rate) has doubled.

Critics of Mormonism will say that the Church growth rate is slowing, but to anyone with half a brain, it is actually increasing. It does not good to baptize someone if two years later they are no longer attending Church, receiving a temple endowment, etc.