Monday, April 18, 2016

The 10 Countries/Dependencies with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation

I have updated the list of the countries and dependencies with the most members without a temple. Membership data is as of year-end 2015, whereas stake, district, and congregational data are current.  Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007.

1. Nicaragua

  • 92,152 members
  • 10 stakes, 5 districts
  • 104 congregations
  • Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple
2. Papua New Guinea
  • 24,780 members
  • 2 stakes, 12 districts
  • 78 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
3. Puerto Rico
  • 23,191 members
  • 5 stakes, 0 districts
  • 41 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
4. Russia
  • 22,720 members
  • 3 stakes, 9 districts
  • 101 congregations
  • Helsinki Finland Temple, Kyiv Ukraine Temple, Seoul Korea Temple
5. Kiribati
  • 17,462 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 30 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
6. Sierra Leone
  • 16,155 members
  • 1 stake, 5 districts
  • 51 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
7. American Samoa
  • 16,149 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 41 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple
8. Uganda
  • 14,289 members
  • 2 stakes, 0 districts
  • 27 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
9. Cambodia
  • 13,349 members
  • 2 stakes, 5 districts
  • 30 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
10. Kenya
  • 12,898 members
  • 2 stakes, 4 districts
  • 45 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple


Christopher Nicholson said...

Well, I thought activity rates were really poor in Russia, but it has nearly as many congregations as Nicaragua with about a quarter as many members... though I guess that could just indicate how bad things are in Nicaragua.

Levi said...

Well Nicaragua has 10 stakes and Russia has 3 stakes, so that is why.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

Russia also has 7 missions. The others on the list only have 1 or maybe 2. For this reason alone, my bet is on a Moscow, Russia temple very soon. New and remote areas of the gospel can support a temple much easier if you have 2.5 to 7 times the number of full-time mission presidents, youth missionaries, and senior missionaries.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

Though, to be honest, I could see a new temple announced for all of these areas and also India in the next 10 years.

L. Chris Jones said...

More of Russia's congregations are branches where Nicaragua has more wards.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

It is true, Nicaragua and Moscow are both probably at the top of the list for potential new temple sites -- as is Papua New Guinea and possibly Kenya.

Puerto Rico is too close to the temple in the Dominican Republic as is America Samoa to the temple in Samoa. My guess is it will be at least 10 years before either of these gets a new temple unless growth drastically changes. Kiribati poses a unique challenge since relatively nobody would be much closer with a new temple regardless of where you put it. Moreover, a temple in Papua New Guinea would help serve Kiribati as well. As a result, I am guessing 10 or more years for Kiribati as well.

Sierra Leonne probably needs at least one more stake and one more mission. Uganda would be served by a temple in Kenya. Cambodia is too close to the new temple in Bangkok.

So yeah, my bets are on Russia, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea and Kenya in that order. Sierra Leonne will also get a new temple eventually (probably in the next 5 years), but there needs to be 1 more stake and one new mission first is my guess. The others are probably not likely to get temples anytime soon.

Of course, the Lord knows where he needs his temples -- so this is all just speculation in good fun. :)

Eduardo Clinch said...

Hopefully a new mission in Sierra Leone would mean serious expansion north into Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia. Things have been slow up there.

David Todd said...

If Novosibirsk becomes a stake, Mongolia gets another stake, and there is progress made in the central Eurasian mission (particularly Kazakhstan) I could see Mongolia getting a temple- with at least Irkutsk and Novosibirsk from Russia assigned to its district.

Bryce said...
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Christopher said...

They just created a new stake in New Zealand on Sunday. My wife's cousin was called as the new President, which is kind of cool since he was a missionary there years ago from Canada. He moved back there with his family to teach law.

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

And I see now this is old news from a previous comment thread. Still, gotta throw some Canada pride in there.

christian avila said...


Christian Jesús Navarro Bravo said...

I hope that Nicaragua has its temple pretty soon.

Mike Johnson said...

I just learned that the Sparks Nevada Stake will be split in June making a total of five stakes in the Reno/Sparks area.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I'll mention something about Central America, that a friend has a new program going called Youth Education Program (YEP) where peoples' donations go to youth in Guatemala to fund their schooling. David "adopted" 3 teenage boys and is coordinating it with an LDS bishop down there.This could get big and go to other countries...

Reed said...

Reed Wahlquist wrote: Those not familiar with Nicaragua's tumultuous past may wonder how it can be that the Church has not placed a temple in a country with nearly 100,000 members and many stakes and wards. A few notes I took at the time may explain the hesitation to place a sacred temple in Nicaragua: "By 1977, there were about 3,000 Saints in Nicaragua. During that year revolution and civil war broke out. In November 1977, the Sandinistas attacked Managua and Masaya. It was a P-day and two missionaries were out taking pictures with tripods. The Guardia Nacional thought that the two elders were Sandinistas, setting up a mortar. They were captured, interrogated, and soon released.
A. By September 15, 1978, 37 full-time missionaries were withdrawn from the country. The remaining missionaries were instructed to stay in their apartments and the Red Cross helped to make contact with them by amateur radio. By September 20, the remaining 13 missionaries had been brought out of the country, some with the assistance of Peace Corps volunteers. Ensign, Feb.1979, Nov.1978;
B. During the traumatic years through the 1980s, Church leaders had difficulty getting into the country. In 1982, the Sandinistas accused LDS missionaries of participating in CIA-directed plots. For a time all meetinghouses were shut down. Some were confiscated, ransacked, or destroyed. (Ensign, October 1982)
C. During the following years of war, the Church growth slowed greatly. Church members struggled without missionaries and buildings. In 1989, the Managua Stake was discontinued, placing the Nicaraguan Saints under mission leadership. Still without buildings to meet in, the Saints were organized into home units called "Nucleos." The father of each active family was authorized to organize his own Nucleo which consisted of his family and neighboring single members. The sacrament would be administered, short talks given, hymns sung, and a Sunday school lesson taught. "The Church is doing as well as can be expected in difficult circumstances," seeking refuge from the war between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-backed Contras. (Church News, Jan. 17, 1987, April 21, 1990.)

D. During 1989 Elder Gardiner H. Russell of the Seventy flew to Managua and met with government officials His objective was to have the Sandinistas recognize the Church and return the church buildings. The Minister agreed to return two chapels, and for missionaries to receive visas. The Saints took turns using the available buildings. A branch would meet in their Nucleos for three Sundays per month, and meet together in the building once per month. (Ibid.)

E. The Nicaragua Managua Mission re-opened in 1989, with Mexican missionaries.

F. "Economically, Nicaragua is having even more difficult times and the people are suffering various kinds of adversity. They may not always have shoes or ties, but they attend church. Because of the war, we met in home-based Church meetings for a decade. But now we have begun meeting in branches again." (Ensign, Jan.1995, p. 79.)

It may be that conditions will soon warrant the announcement of a temple for Nicaragua. The Saints have certainly waited long for such an event! Reed

Eduardo Clinch said...

I'll mention something about Central America, that a friend has a new program going called Youth Education Program (YEP) where peoples' donations go to youth in Guatemala to fund their schooling. David "adopted" 3 teenage boys and is coordinating it with an LDS bishop down there.This could get big and go to other countries...

James Anderson said...

Just saw this and it came from a Facebook page run by a stake in the Houston area. They had a sudden and massive storm Sunday night into Monday April 17/18 that dumped by 2pm local time on the 18th 17 inches of rain, it would force the closure of the temple there for at least today.

The temple will be CLOSED Tuesday, April 19th
Below is a message sent out by President Hayes, the Houston Temple President.
"Wanted to make sure you all knew the temple is still "high and dry." Looking at the watershed today, reminded me of some close calls in the past, though this one may not quite make the "100 year" mark [Front door to the ancillary building].
While the temple is fine, it is a problem to access it since Cypresswood Drive on both sides and Champions Forest Drive at the bridge are impassible. The only access in and out of the temple is from the north and into the service entrance. Because of that and important concerns for safety of patrons and workers, the temple will remain closed through Tuesday. We have every expectation to return to a full schedule on Wednesday."

James Anderson said...

Photo, showing how far up the water came.

Tyler Sorensen said...

Russia is impossible right now due to certain government regulations allowing entry to any building at any time. Also activity rate is pretty dismal and I would bet full tithe payer rates are not where they need to be either

Deivisas said...

Church Creates Dunedin New Zealand Stake
132nd Latter-day Saint stake organised in the Pacific Area

John said...

"Russia is impossible right now due to certain government regulations allowing entry to any building at any time"

I've heard that story about France, Italy and Zimbabwe, and they're all getting temples.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

The best indicator of REAL and ACTIVE church growth, in my opinion, is net new stake growth, net new congregation growth, and net temple attendance growth. The last statistic I understand is tracked but not released in General Conference, but is a major indicating factor in deciding to build new temples.

So, three things should indicate active and real growth rates:

(1) Net New Stakes Created
(2) Net New Congregations Created -- (especailly if they are "wards" and not "branches")
(3) Net New Operating Temples Built/Announced

To me, it would seem the Church is growing faster in REAL growth than it arguably ever has in its history.

James Anderson said...

Missionaries in the San Pedro Sula Honduras East Mission are reporting that in leadership, their mission president emphasized some things on working with the less-actives and many companionships are beginning to focus on that more than just street contacting.

That may be why we're seeing less baptism numbers, because they are working more with bringing back less-actives, and less-actives are all too common in many areas of the world.

I think also President Monson mentioned in October 2013 an extremely low home teaching stat out of the Osaka Japan area, and I've heard similar stories of that here and elsewhere also.

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

The Church throughout the world is trying to work harder on less actives and the family. Families that stay together raise children who are the most likely of all members to stay active in the gospel long-term. Second to child baptisms are reactivated members, whom also rarely experience a relapse into inactivity once reactivated.

Michael said...

The Church has announced the name of the new temple in Peru will be the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple.

James Anderson said...

Got the name of the second temple in Lima. It will be known as the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple.


As to the emphasis mentioned just above on the family and less actives, the family is obviously key, based on other things in the first set of clips from the Sabbath Day training from last year. Both trainings are on now.

Deivisas said...

Elder Ballard will be in Eastern Europe the 2nd week of June and in Latvia on June 8th:

Steven Kent said...

I see that the Church has announced the president and matron for the Fort Collins Temple. Has there been a similar announcement for Sapporo and Philadelphia? They're both scheduled to open before Fort Collins.

Joseph said...

UNit Update
17 April
Gilbert Arizona Gateway Stake (W:8)
Chaparral Ward
Cooley Station Ward
Gateway Married Student Ward
Meadowview 1st Ward
Meadowview 2nd Ward
Pecos Park Ward
San Tan 1st Ward
San Tan 2nd Ward

Tacoma Washington South Stake (W:6)
Buena Vista Ward (Spanish)
Chambers Creek Ward
Lincoln Ward
Mountain View Ward
Sunset Ward
Wapato Park Ward

Três Rios Brazil District (B:3)
Paraíba do Sul Branch
Três Rios Branch
Vila Isabel Branch

Ayigya Ward, Kumasi Ghana Dichemso Stake (B:8 W:10) looks ready to split
Bárcenas 2nd Ward, Villa Nueva Guatemala Stake (W:6)
Coronado 3rd Ward, Gilbert Arizona San Tan Stake (W:7)
Farmington 23rd Ward, Farmington Utah South Stake (W:10)
Kimbwala 2nd Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngaliema Stake (B:1, W:10)
Pioneer Ward, Ridgefield Washington Stake (W:7)
Shing Mun Ward, Hong Kong China Kowloon Stake (B:1, W:8)
Tezoyuca Ward, Galeana México Stake (B:2, W:5)
Tuul Ward, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake (B:2, W:6)
Vincenz Ward, Gilbert Arizona Williams Field Stake (W:6)

YTD 220(13.8/week*16) +13 - Total 34,350(+5) (Net 148 67%)
Africa 62, 28.2% (+2) - Total 1831 (+2)
Asia 5, 2.3% (+2) - Total 936 (+2)
America Central 17, 7.7% (+2) - Total 3934 (+2)
America North 77, 35.0% (+5) - Total 9380 (0)
America South 12, 5.5% (+1) - Total 6337 (-1)
Europe 6, 2.7% (0) - Total 1714 (0)
Pacific 14, 6.4% (0) - Total 2746 (0)
Utah & Idaho 27(21), 12.3(9.5)% (+1) - Total 6930(5717)(0)

Totals no-sensitive (Net +5)
Areas Temples Miss Stakes Dist Wards Branch Totals
Global 25 150 419 3,198 549 22,685 7,349 34,375
Us/Can 10 82 131 1,613 10 12,636 2,050 16,532
US n/a 74 124 1,565 7 12,298 1,901 15,969
Utah n/a 16 10 578 1 4,718 327 5,650
Canada n/a 8 7 48 3 338 149 553
Out 15 68 288 1,585 539 10,049 5,399 17,843

Matt said...

Hey Joseph, could you email me at


Steven Kent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Pack Lambert said...

The big question on whether Nicaragua is likely to get a temple soon is what is the time and distance involved getting to the Tegucigalpa Temple? Nicaragua is the only of these countries I see getting a temple announced before they get more stakes.

John Pack Lambert said...

Another issue in comparing activity rates in Nicaragua and Russia is that Nicaragua has a lot more wards. In general wards have more active members than branches. Sometimes 10 times as many active members. So number of congregations is generally a poor way of judging number of active members.

John Pack Lambert said...

With the St. Petersburg Stake being relatively close to the Helsinki Temple, I do not see Moscow getting a temple until there are at least 2 stakes in that city.

In fact only Nicaragua and Kiribiti do I see getting a temple in the next 14 years (by the 200th-anniversary of the organization of the Church), although New Guinea might pull it off in that time frame. Cambodia might to, but there would need to be something on the order of 8 stakes there for it to be likely. Puerto Rico activity rates would have to turn around, which would probably take an end of active member drain to the mainland. Kenya might well be on the radar for having a temple at least announced by 2030, but this will require a move from the focused centers of strength policies in the Africa South-east Area to the more Church planting policies going on in the Africa West Area. I think we will see these changes. I don't see Uganda having a temple by 2030 but I might be too much a skeptic.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually I think Sierre Leone will at least have a temple announced by 2030. Still, there are no countries anywhere in Africa where the Church has come close to saturating the country with missionary outreach. Well, except maybe Swaziland, but not really. Even South Africa has large swaths where there are no branches.

John Pack Lambert said...

I would guess Guinea is more likely to have the Church expand into it from Ivory Coast than Sierra Leone. They both have French influences, while Sierre Leone was British. On the other hand Sierra Leone is majority Muslim, so it is a model for Guinea. Sierra Leone is estimated to be between 70% and 80% Muslim. Guinea is 85% Muslim. Turkey on the other hand has a population where 99.8% are registered as Muslim. Put another way Sierra Leone is more Muslim than Utah is Mormon, Guinea is about as Muslim as Utah County is Mormon, and Turkey is more Muslim than BYU is Mormon, by a significant margin. Although Mormon to Muslim percentages are comparing two very different things. Turkey for example has huge Alewite populations, a group that is somewhat similar to the Shi'ite.

Gambia is 90% Muslim, primarily Sunni, but there are Shi'ites, who are mainly Lebanese immigrants and their descendants. However the country gaurantees the right of citizens to practice any religion they choose. So it appears there may not be any law against conversion away from Islam, but may be high social pressure against it.

Senegal is 94% Muslim. Guinea Bissau is 50% Muslim, 10% Christian and 40% following animist beliefs. Togo where the Church has grown quite fast in the last decade or less, is 29% Christian, 20% Muslim and 51% followers of animist beliefs per 2012 estimates.

Ivory Coast, where the Church has had the most sustained large scale growth since 2010, is a minority Christian population country. 38.6% of the population is Muslim, 32.8% is Christian and 28% is animist. Other data put the indigenous beliefs at 11% and 16% at irreligious. As late as the 1970s though a majority of Ivory Coast's population was animist.

John Pack Lambert said...

I can see Mongolia getting a temple by 2030, but that will require more than just one stake in the country.

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding is the Church built the temple in Guatemala with a law in place allowing government access to any building at any time. The plan was if desecrating incursion occurred the temple would be rededicated, but to my knowledge this never had to happen. So the government access law in Russia would probably not be a deal breaker if the Church had 100 stakes there or maybe even 10.