- "[Growth] is the single greatest problem we have."
- "We are reeling under the implications of the growth that we have in this Church."
- "A week ago Thursday we created 15 stakes...the week before it was 12." [in reference to temple meetings at Church Headquarters]
- "We are talking about double-digit stakes every week of our lives."
- "It is like a bucking bronco."
- "In the middle of all that occasionally, rarely...we dissolve a stake. That is so unusual..it doesn't happen very often."
I have made previous posts on this blog regarding accelerating stake growth in 2016. So far I have confirmed 27 new stakes that have been created in 2016 with an additional seven stakes that will be created or that may have already been created. To put this into perspective, the Church has reported an average net increase of 47 stakes within the past 10 years. If the Church were to organize at least 10 new stakes every weekend for the rest of 2016 (excluding the weekend of the October 2016 General Conference, the month of July when few, if any, new stakes are organized, and the last two weekends of the year), the Church would organize an additional 280 stakes during 2016 for a grand total of over 300 new stakes for the entire year. If this were to occur, it would be twice the Church's previous record for the most new stakes organized in a single year set back in 1996 when 148 new stakes were organized. I can verify from my own research that the process of discontinuing stakes is unusual for the Church as a whole (aside from the early 2000s when dozens of stakes were discontinued in Latin America). The Church has discontinued an average of 4.5 stakes a year since 2008.
The creation of new wards and branches has slightly accelerated thus far in 2016, with an average of nearly 14 new wards or branches organized a week. However, the rate of wards and branches being discontinued appears to have slightly increased as approximately seven wards or branches have been discontinued a week. New wards and branch creations have occurred all over the world, but mostly in the United States, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Nearly all wards and branches discontinued thus far in 2016 have been in the United States and Latin America.
I am not sure if Elder Holland's comments on "double-digit stakes every week of our lives" means that this will literally happen or be consistent (even though he uses the word "every" in the comment). He acknowledges in the video that the rate of stake creations frequently fluctuates.
Time will tell to determine whether stake growth will continue to accelerate, or whether this acceleration in 2016 is a temporary one. Accelerated congregational growth will be absolutely essential for the Church to accelerate the creation of new stakes in the coming months and years ahead. Stakes generally administer five to 12 congregations.