Multiple missionaries serving in the Armenia Yerevan Mission report that last Sunday the Church discontinued the Yerevan Armenia Stake in a special stake conference. Organized in 2013, the stake has been returned to district status and all wards have been downgraded to branches. Missionaries report that the primary reason the stake was discontinued was due to improper handling of church administrative responsibilities by members and local church leaders. Many of the previous church leaders were released from their callings during the conference. Missionaries indicate that a large portion of members attending the conference, perhaps as large as one-third to one-half of those in attendance, left the conference early after the announcement was made that the stake was discontinued in protest of the decision.
This marks one of the few times in LDS Church history that the Church has discontinued a stake in a nation where only one stake previously operated. Most recently, the Church discontinued its sole stake in Monrovia, Liberia in 2007 due to similar problems as reported in Armenia. The news of the stake discontinuation in Armenia is disappointing and points to chronic problems with a lack of "real growth" and spiritual maturity among many members in the region. The Church in Eastern Europe has experienced similar problems with local members and church leaders becoming inactive after similar administrative changes have been made. It appears that the Church has yet to adequately address the cultural challenge of retaining church leaders in the region after they are released from a calling, or properly rectifying problems with church leaders not following policies for local church administration.
Click here to access the LDS statistical profile for Armenia.