Saturday, May 21, 2016

New Stakes Created in Argentina, Arizona, Australia, Benin, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, the DR Congo, Nigeria, Tennessee, and Utah; District Reinstated in Ukraine; Stake Discontinued in Idaho; Districts Discontinued in the Czech Republic and Papua New Guinea

I have gotten a bit behind with all of the new stake creations. Here we go!

Argentina
The Church organized a new stake in Cordoba Province on May 8th. The Bell Ville Argentina Stake was organized from the Bell Ville Argentina District: The new stake includes the following five wards and four branches: the Arroyito, Bell Ville, General Paz, Lamadrid, and San Francisco 1st Wards, and the Las Varillas, Leones, Marcos Juárez, and San Francisco 2nd Branches.

There are now 75 stakes and 29 districts in Argentina.

Arizona
The Church organized a new stake in the Mesa area on May 1st. The Mesa Arizona Flatiron Stake was organized from a division of the Apache Junction Arizona Stake (renamed the Peralta Trail Arizona Stake) and the Mesa Arizona Salt River Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Boulder Mountain, Ironwood, Ocotillo, Signal Butte 1st, and Twin Knolls Wards, and the Adobe Branch (Spanish).

There are now 105 stakes in Arizona.

Australia
The Church organized a new stake in the Sydney area on May 1st. The Sydney Australia Prairiewood Stake was organized from a division of the Liverpool Australia and Sydney Australia Fairfield Stakes. So far, confirmation is available for only four of the wards assigned to the new stake: Green Valley 1st, Green Valley 2nd (Samoan), Prairiewood 1st, and Prairiewood 3rd (Samoan). It is likely that one or two additional wards are assigned to the new stake.

There are now 40 stakes and eight districts in Australia.

Benin
The Church organized its first stake in Benin on April 24th. The Cotonou Benin Stake was organized from the Cotonou Benin Stake. Missionaries report that the new stake includes eight wards and six branches. However, there is currently only confirmation on four branches that have become wards: Cococodji, Fidjrosse, Finagnon, and Menontin.

There is now one stake and no districts in Benin.

Bolivia
The Church organized a new stake in southern Bolivia on May 15th. The Tarija Bolivia Tabladita Stake was organized from a division of the Tarija Bolivia Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Central, Cuatro de Julio, Panamericano, Senac, and Tabladita Ward. Tarija now numbers among four other cities in Bolivia where the Church operates at least two stakes within a single city.

There are now 28 stakes and eight districts in Bolivia.

Czech Republic
The Church organized its first stake in the Czech Republic on May 15th. The Prague Czech Republic Stake was organized from the Prague Czech Republic and the Brno Czech Republic Districts. The new stake includes the following six wards and seven branches: the Brno, Hradec Kralove, Jicin, Ostrava, Prague, and Plzen Wards, and the Ceske Budejovice, Jihlava, Liberec, Olomouc, Trebic, Uherske Hradiste, and Zlin Branches. As part of the creation of the new stake, the Brno Czech District was discontinued.

There is now one stake and no districts in the Czech Republic.

DR Congo
The Church organized its fourth stake in the Kasai Region of the central DR Congo on April 24th. The Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake was organized from the Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo District. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Bipemba, Dibindi, Diulu, Misesa, Muya 1st, and Muya 2nd Wards, and the Tshikama and Tshitenge Branches. Mbuji-Mayi will also headquarter the Church's third mission in the DR Congo this July.

There are now 14 stakes and three districts in the DR Congo.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake in southeastern Nigeria on May 1st. The Ikot Eyo Nigeria Stake was organized from the Nsit Ubium Nigeria Stake (renamed Ukat Aran Nigeria Stake) and the Ibesikpo Nigeria District. The new stake includes the following four wards and six branches: the Ikot Ekwere, Ikot Eyo 1st, Ikot Eyo 2nd, and Ikot Eyo 3rd Wards, and the Ikot Akpan Abia, Ikot Ebre, Ikot Esen, Ikot Oku Iyan, Ikot Udofia, and Ndikpo Atang Branches. It is likely that one or more of these six branches have also been advanced into wards but this information may not be available due to delays in the Church updating this information. It is significant to note that Ikot Eyo is the location of the Church's first branch organized in Nigeria in 1978. The population of the local government area (LGA) of Nsit Ubium may be as high as 5-10% LDS at present due to steady growth within the past three and a half decades.

There are now 34 stakes and 19 districts in Nigeria.

Tennessee
The Church organized a new stake in Tennessee on May 1st. The Cookeville Tennessee Stake was organized from a division of the McMinnville Tennessee and Madison Tennessee Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Burgess Falls, Cookeville, Crossville, Jamestown, Lebanon 1st, and Tompkinsville Wards, and the Lebanon 2nd (Spanish), Livingston, and Sparta Branches.

There are now 12 stakes in Tennessee.

Utah
The Church organized a new stake in Utah County on May 15th. The Saratoga Springs Utah Mount Saratoga Stake was organized from a division of the Saratoga Springs Utah Crossroads Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Riverside 1st, Riverside 2nd, Saratoga Springs 7th , Saratoga Springs 10th, Sunrise Meadows 1st, Sunrise Meadows 2nd, Sunrise Meadows 3rd, and Sunset Haven Wards.

There are now 579 stakes and one district in Utah.

Ukraine
The Church reinstated a district in central Ukraine. The Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District was organized from four mission branches that pertained to the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission. The new district includes the following five branches: the Dnepropetrovsk Livoberezhna, Dnepropetrovsk Pobedy, Dnepropetrovsk Tsentralny, Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District, and Zaporizhzhia Branches.

There is now one stake and four districts in Ukraine.

Idaho
The Church recently discontinued a stake in Idaho. The Moscow Idaho University Stake was discontinued. Most wards in the former stake were student married wards and these congregations were consolidated with family wards in the Moscow area.

There are now 126 stakes in Idaho.

Papua New Guinea
The Church recently discontinued a district in Papua New Guinea. The Kuriva Papua New Guinea District was discontinued and all four branches in the former district were reassigned to the neighboring Gerehu Papua New Guinea District. Over 500 members attended the conference when the districts were consolidated (click here to access a news article on this conference). The decision to consolidate the districts appeared motivated from continued declining LDS growth in the Port Moresby area and a possible effort to organize a second stake in the region within the near future.

There are now two stakes and 11 districts in Papua New Guinea.

106 comments:

Tom said...

As a lover of delicious meat products, I think the 'Flatiron Stake' is the funniest stake name I've ever heard of.

coachodeeps said...

Thank you, Matt, for all the updates and your diligence keeping this blog!

Downtownchrisbrown said...

Thanks for the updates. Small note, there is a typo on Benin, it says the Cotonou Benin Stake was formed from the Cotonou Benin Stake.

John Pack Lambert said...

Is there any chance that Pullman Washington will get a seperate stake from Moscow Idaho. Also was that stake in Saratoga speings the 1st organized in Utah this year?

John Pack Lambert said...

Is there any chance that Pullman Washington will get a seperate stake from Moscow Idaho. Also was that stake in Saratoga speings the 1st organized in Utah this year?

Eduardo Clinch said...

Is it possible that the new New London Stake in Connecticut would take 10 units from Rhode Island? I heard about this today at church from a guy who attends in RI.

Michael Worley said...

To confirm, yes: New London CT stake will be created from the Providence RI stake and one ward in the Hartford CT stake.

Michael Worley said...

This stake will be created June 12.

Mike Johnson said...

The Providence Rhode Island Stake has 10 wards and 6 branches, 7 of which units meet in Connecticut. The Stake Center is actually near New London. It is entirely possible that a new New London Connecticut Stake could take in a large number of units from the Providence Rhode Island Stake, but most would likely be units in Connecticut.

Perhaps the stake center will move back to Providence.

Providence Rhode Island Stake 1230 Flander Rd, Mystic, Connecticut
Groton Ward 1230 Flander Rd, Mystic, Connecticut
Central Falls 3rd Branch (Portuguese) 1230 Flander Rd, Mystic, Connecticut
Westerly Branch 1230 Flander Rd, Mystic, Connecticut
Waterford Ward 12 Dunbar Road Quaker Hill, Connecticut
Quaker Hill Branch (Spanish) 12 Dunbar Road Quaker Hill, Connecticut
Norwich Ward 597 Scotland Road Norwich, Connecticut
Ashford Ward 525 Ashford Center Road Ashford, Connecticut
Warwick Ward 1000 Narragansett Parkway Warwick, Rhode Island
Warwick YSA Branch 1000 Narragansett Parkway Warwick, Rhode Island
Narragansett Ward 1240 Boston Neck Road Narragansett, Rhode Island
Newport Ward 177 Miantonomi Avenue Middletown, Rhode Island
Providence 1st Ward (Spanish) 241 Webster Avenue Providence, Rhode Island
Providence 2nd Branch 275 Westminster St Ste 200 Providence, Rhode Island
Central Falls 1st Ward 445 Broad Street Central Falls, Rhode Island
Central Falls 2nd Branch (Spanish) 445 Broad Street Central Falls, Rhode Island
Scituate Ward 551 Central Pike Scituate, Rhode Island

Eduardo Clinch said...

So is the current Providence Stake center located in CT and the creation of the new RI stake will now be located in (headquarted) in RI for the first time?
Cool. I thought the LDS temples map was wrong all this time.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Or rather, the old stake becomes the new stake in CT, while the old stake in name of Providence will finally be located in the smallest state. Maybe not now but in the 1990s only two US states had majority organized religions: Utah and Rhode Island. RI used to be 51 % Catholic. Interesting numbers of Portuguese and Spanish speakers in this region. I am aware of decent numbers of Cabo Verdeans around there.

Christopher Nicholson said...

The new Yamoransa Ghana Stake is probably the same as the anticipated Cape Coast Ghana (2nd stake) listed in the sidebar.

phxmars said...

The New London Stake most likely will have Waterford, Norwich, Ashford, Groton, Quaker Hill (Spanish speaking), & Westerly (RI). I don't know which unit from Hartford would go to New London without a boundary change (which is quite possible), all have their major population hubs (as far as members go) pretty close to Hartford as they are currently laid out. Middletown is the best bet with Glastonbury being a close second.

Mike Johnson said...

I think the New London stake will be considered the new creation, even though the stake center from the Providence stake will end up in the New London stake. The Providence stake will be the continuation of the old stake and the stake center (my guess) will be in either Warwick or Providence)

Mike Johnson said...

So much for my comparing Wales and Connecticut. Both had two stakes officially, and a stake headquartered in Connecticut or Wales--with stake centers in each state/country. So, Connecticut goes to three official stakes (and was mentioned earlier good chunk of a New York stake). The Chester England Stake has a majority of units in Wales and the stake center in Wales, but is officially and England stake.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Who's on first? New London already had the stake center, right? Or was the ldstemples map wrong? The naming and location certainly are confusing.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Just now checked the LDS temples map and it appears to have the Providence stake center in Warwick, RI. Created in 1977 and maybe the last US state to have a stake created? Perhaps that map wad off for a while, I don' t know. Should be all straight by June.

Ryan Searcy said...

We are doing great! At this time last year, only 17 stakes were created.

John Pack Lambert said...

Rhode Island is no longer majority Catholic but remains the most Catholic state. That didn't stop the state legislature from passing a law redefining marriage as no longer a man/woman institution despite very strong opposition from the Catholic diocese. Rhode Island and southeelrn Massachusetts originally got most of their Portuguese speakers from the Azores. Many came there with the whaling industry. Whale ships would stop in the Azores to fill up their crews. Rhode Island in 2010 was the only US state where the largest Hispanic group was those from the Dominican Republic. However I am sure a higher % of the population in New York is from the DR. The northeast US that is those states from Pennsylvania and Delaware north and east has lots of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans although especially in New Jersey and New York there are noticable populations from just about every Latin American country. It is telling that the first Peruvian general authority, Juan Uceda was living in New Jersey when called.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Yorktown New York stake only has one unit based in New York. It is virtually a Connecticut stake. I really am surprised it has not been renamed the New Canaan or the Stampford Stake. It was originally named when it included the part of the Westchester New York Stake beyond the Bronx and also included much of what is now an additional stake that includes West Pointe whose name I am not sure of it might be called the Newburgh New York Stake. In addition I have the impression that at some point more units in Connecticut were transfered from the New Haven to the Yorktown Stake.

On another note I wonder if any units from Hingham Stake will be transfered to the Providence Stake. I am also hoping that the Hartford Mission will be revived in 2017 but that Springfield syake will go to Hartford Mission while Providence Stake will stay in Boston Mission. This would make sense since the Portuguese speaking population is spread from Boston to Providence although in Boston it is more Brazilian immigrants while in southern Massachuseets and Rhode Island it is more Cape Verdean immigrants plus descendants of Azoreans who have retained a distict culture.

John Pack Lambert said...

Rhode Island got its first stake in March 1977. North Dakota didn't get a stake until August 1977.

Eduardo Clinch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Searcy said...

Something that I have been wondering about for a while, but just now getting around to asking it. The stakes in Puno and Juliaca, Peru are both assigned to Cochabamba in Bolivia. How come the Juli district (which is between Puno and Cochabamba) is assigned to Lima? I am just curious before the Arequipa temple is built (which may take 5 years from now).

Eduardo Clinch said...

While there are many Dominicanos in NYC, I wonder if the overall population percentage is higher in Rhode Island. Interesting. The city of New York has millions but I wonder about the whole state. Are there as many Puerto Ricans in NY and its neighbors as there are in the island of Puerto Rico? Maybe that only applies to more New Yorriquans in the Big Apple than San Juan, PR.

In the DC area Central Americans and Bolivians/Peruvians are the biggest Hispanic populations. The Leesburg Spanish speaking elders had a drought of converts for a while but had some success last year, 2015. Loudoun County continues to grow in all ethnicities, especially south Asians, but a wide variety of all of the world's groups. Just met a sister who helped with the translation of the Book of Mormon in her native Mongolian.

Christopher said...

Rumblings are going on up here in Southern Alberta of reorganizing Stake boundaries and a possible new Stake in the upcoming months. Raymond Stake is bursting with 9 wards and and probably two new wards with the new developments. The very close and neighbouring towns of Stirling and Welling have two wards each and have been assigned to Lethbridge and Magrath Stakes, but I could see that changing up. I have heard President Nelson is coming in two weeks to meet with several the Stake Presidents in the area. It will be interesting to see the developments as this area grows. (President Nelson's second wife is from Raymond, and it makes me wonder if he has been assigned to help with a new Stake due to that connection.) The Church in Southern Alberta has always had strong and stable growth.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Faith-promoting rumblings. I like it! Go Canada! Maybe some folks from Fort MacMurray wish to re-locate to

Mike Johnson said...

My Grandmother was from Raymond.

Christopher said...

Raymond is one of those places that a lot of Mormons can trace to in some way, at least in North America. A Mormon town that had big families and lots of children and (until recently) maintained a constant population, which means that Raymond's greatest export has been Latter-day Saints. I grew up there. I am curious who your grandmother was, Mike.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Two good southern Alberta families I know of are the Taggs and the Bevans. Man, can they play basketball. (By the way, b-ball is an LDS stereotype of sorts, but southern Alberta has produced some of the best I've seen).
Fort MacMurray up northeast only has one ward, I think. I hope they are all right.How far to the next meetinghouse, I wonder?

Christopher said...

Yes, I know some Taggs and Bevans. Athletics, specifically basketball, been a part of Southern Alberta culture since the beginning. It can get pretty intense.

Fort McMurray people have fled to neighboring towns, and I imagine most are in Edmonton. The chapel was not damaged by the fire directly, though I can imagine smoke damage and such that will need to be taken care of before the town opens up again and people filter back. No one was harmed in the fire, but plenty of people lost their homes.

Steven Kent said...

Ryan, I served a mission in La Paz. Travel around Lake Titicaca and crossing the international border is relatively easy, so it makes sense to have those stakes travel to Cochabamba instead of to Lima. I have no idea why the district is still assigned to Lima. My guess is that once Arequipa is complete, however, all of them will be re-assigned there.

phxmars said...

I believe that travel between Puno/Juliaca Peru and Cochabamba is completely paved highway save the Lago Titicaca ferry crossing (and even now there might be completely paved highway around the lake now) allowing relatively inexpensive bus travel. This is not the case for travel to Lima to which it is still safer to travel by air if you can afford it. Bus travel is available between Juliaca and Lima; it is not the safest and the trip is very long and arduous.

Joseph said...

Unit Update



May 1
Dakar Branch, Africa West Area (B:2, M:14, S:63)

May 8
Kabanda Branch, Luputa Democratic Republic of Congo Stake (B:5, W:7)
Kalubanda Branch, Luputa Democratic Republic of Congo Stake (B:5, W:7)
Penhalonga Branch, Mutare Zimbabwe District (B:7)

May 15
Saratoga Springs Utah Mount Saratoga Stake (W:8)
Riverside 1st Ward
Riverside 2nd Ward
Saratoga Springs 7th Ward
Saratoga Springs 10th Ward
Sunrise Meadows 1st Ward
Sunrise Meadows 2nd Ward
Sunrise Meadows 3rd Ward
Sunset Haven Ward

Tarija Bolivia Tabladita Stake (W:5)
Central Ward
Cuatro de Julio Ward
Panamericano Ward
Senac Ward
Tabladita Ward

Colina Azul Ward, Goiânia Brazil South Stake (W:7, B:1)
Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District Branch, Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine District (B:5)
Elk Ridge 10th Ward, Elk Ridge Utah Stake (B:1, W:10)
Expansul Ward, Goiânia Brazil South Stake (B:1, W:7)
Favona Road 2nd Ward (Tongan), Auckland New Zealand Penrose Stake (W:7)
Fazendinha Branch, Alphaville Brazil Stake (B:3, W:6)
Henderson 2nd Ward, Rexburg Idaho Stake (B:1, W:12)
Maffere Branch, Aboisso Cote d'Ivoire District (B:6)
Oakbrook Ward, Rexburg Idaho Stake (B:1, W:12)
Rexburg 7th Ward, Rexburg Idaho Stake (B:1, W:12)
Santaquin 21st Ward, Santaquin Utah Stake (B:1, W:11)
Shasha Ward, Lagos Nigeria Egbeda Stake (W:7)
Villa Juarez Branch, Aguascalientes México Stake (B:3, W:5)

May 22
Bayangol Ward, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake (B:1, W:8)
El Encino Branch, Aguascalientes México Stake (B:3, W:5)
Fautaua 2nd Ward, Papeete Tahiti Stake (W:6)
Florida 2nd Branch, Soweto South Africa Stake (B:2, W:7)
Ijesha Ward, Lagos Nigeria Yaba Stake (B:1, W:8)
Marbella Ward, Mesa Arizona Eastmark Stake (W:9)
Masina 5th Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Mokali Stake (W:10)
Mason Creek Ward, Meridian Idaho South Stake (W:12)
Ridgecrest Ward, Spokane Washington Valley Stake (W:11)
Satellite Beach Ward, Cocoa Florida Stake (W:8)
Valley View Ward, Spokane Washington Valley Stake (W:11)


YTD 292(13.9/week*21) = +33 Total 34,379(+12) (Net 177 61%)
=======YTD == % of YTD Chng Total
Africa =87 =====29.8% (+11) 1856 (+11)
Asia ====6 ===== 2.1% (0)== 937 (+1)
Am C == 23 ===== 7.9% (+2)= 3938 (+2)
Am N == 92 ==== 31.5% (+5)= 9375 (+1)
Am S == 18 ===== 6.2% (+4)= 6335 (+1)
Europe = 7 ===== 2.4% (+1)= 1713 (+1)
Pacific 21 ===== 7.2% (+2)= 2746 (+1)
U&I 38(26) 13.0(8.9)% (+7)= 6937(5720)(+4)

Totals no-sensitive (Net +20)
=====Areas -Temples ==Miss Stakes Dist =Wards Branch Totals
Global- 25 ==== 150 ===419 =3,206 =544 22,710 =7,348 34,402
Us/Can- 10 ===== 82 ===131 =1,615 ==10 12,642 =2,044 16,534
US --- n/a ===== 74 ===124 =1,567 ===7 12,304 =1,895 15,971
Utah-- n/a ===== 16 ====10 ===579 ===1 =4,720 ===327 =5,653
Canada n/a ====== 8 =====7 ====48 ===3 ===338 ===149 ===553
Out---- 15 ===== 68 ===288 =1,591 =534 10,068 =5,304 17,868

John Pack Lambert said...

It looks like the Rexburg Idaho Stake is about ready to be split.

James Anderson said...

True, and might there be a 3-for-2 in the offing in that area also? Take a ward from another as part of ensuring numbers hit the Handbook standards?

Ryan Searcy said...

I think if the Rexburg Stake were to split, it could be named after Benson, since there are 4 wards in that part of the stake, probably need to wait for a couple more. In addition, I think the Rexburg South Stake could be renamed Lyman, because looking at LDS Maps, the stake doesn't cover any of Rexburg.

Tom said...

Joseph, what do M and S mean in the parentheses after the Dakar branch listing?

Ryan Searcy said...

I believe M is Missions and S is Stakes.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Due to the growth of numbers of students at BYU-Idaho I am sire that added jobs have come to the area. Does anyone know what they will top out at? My friend from Castle Rock WA once interviewed for a police job there but as a non-member got the vibe he was in terra non-grata. He now serves up in Alaska, I wonder how many LDS are in the community up there.
But back to Rexburg, looks like this part of Idaho will continue to grow, especially with a temple. Perhaps a larger college atmosphere (including grad schools) also attracts more retirees, as I have seen in some university towns.

John Pack Lambert said...

Here http://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2016/5/26/floods-of-muslim-converts-to-christianity-the-daily-beast-scratches-the-surface is an article from Get Religion covering several articles about Muslims joining various Christian Churches in northern Europe in large numbers. I remembered reports on here of large numbers of Iranian immigrants joining the Church in I believe Hamburg, or was it Bonn, in recent months, and so thought this might provide some broader insight.

Joseph said...

"I believe M is Missions and S is Stakes."
corect

TempleRick said...

You need to be a pretty hardy retiree or a snowbird to settle on Rexburg (aka "the Iceberg") for retirement. Rexburg actually has the lowest median age in the nation at 23.3. The enrollment cap at BYU-I has been raised every year for several years. In 2014, President Kim Clark said that the number of students is expected to rise to 20,000 by 2018. I've heard rumors (though not from any reliable source) that the plan is to let BYU-I grow as large as BYU, which has about 30,000 students. We shall see. The BYU-Idaho Center, which is basically a smaller version of the Conference Center, has a seating capacity of 15,000. The Marriott Center on BYU's campus has a seating capacity of 22,700.

MainTour said...

My niece is just finishing a mission in Berlin Germany. From her weekly letters it seems that she was teaching more foreigners/refugees than native Germans.

Eduardo Clinch said...

My co-brother-law served in the Munich Mission (which included parts of Austria) in the early 1990s and his primary success was teaching Romanians; immigrants accross Europe getting baptized is not new. Africans in Paris, Chinese in Norway...
It reminds me a bit of Latinos in parts of the United States.

John Pack Lambert said...

However immigrants is one thing, Muslims is another. Although I have known a few Muslim converts in the US, none of whom were immigrants. They were all African-Americans though, and most had been raised Christians.

On the Rexburg issue, the cap on enrollment does not neccesarily represent a cap on student related populations. For example, BYU has long had something like 30% of student married. However almost twice as many male as female students were married. True a lot of these non-student wives were graduates, but it still means more people than otherwise. With the new mission ages, the married percentages of male and female students at BYU may soon balance. Still you will have students who have non-student spouses. When I lived in Wymont we not only had cases where only the husband was a student but a few where only the wife was a student. Thus the increase in enrollment at BYU-Idaho may well be less than the increase in families of students. This is especially true since the place shifted from 2 to 4 years.

John Pack Lambert said...

We should be more specific and say things like Malians or Ivorians or Congolese in Paris, unless we are going to just say Asians and be no more specific for converts in Norway.

Michael said...

"The boundaries of the four missions in Idaho will be realigned to allow missionaries in the area to serve and work with Church members more effectively.

Stakes in the Twin Falls and Mini-Cassia regions will be transferred to the Idaho Boise Mission, the Idaho Twin Falls Mission will be renamed the Idaho Idaho Falls Mission, and stakes in the Rexburg and Idaho Falls regions, which were previously in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, will be transferred to the Idaho Idaho Falls Mission.

These adjustments will take effect on or around July 1."

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865655077/Mission-boundary-realignments-in-Idaho.html

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

African nationality designations have always seemed less meaningful to me because the country borders were drawn arbitrarily without regard for language, tribe, ethnicity, or basically any other unifying factor. I doubt even Africans can tell by looking at each other or hearing each other speak which countries they're from. And he probably was referring collectively to people from several nations anyway. Having said that, of course, I appreciate people remembering that Africa is a continent and not a country.

Letting BYU-I grow to 30,000 may be a good idea, as I recall Elder Holland saying last year that the main BYU has no room to grow any larger, and that's going to disappoint a lot of prospective students.

David Todd said...

Although since that time, BYU has acquired a large chunk of land in what is currently Provo High School. With that land, it may be possible for BYU to expand slightly.

Eduardo Clinch said...

In Paris and other parts of France I think of primarily Francophones like Congolese, Ivoreans, and my friend Joseph in Bordeaux encountered many Senegalese and Malians. Many of whom I am sure were Muslim but I am not sure how many he taught. My parents served in the Peace Corps in Togo and Sierra Leone. Just met a lady from the latter to at the dentist.
My friend Mike baptized a Chinese lady in Oslo, that was a specific example that came to mind.
Speaking academics, instead of Nevada or Illinois I think some private LDS administrators ought to set up a school in Mesa or Gilbert along the lines of SVU.
Last note about stake growth: Ashburn has stake conference June 26. We don't baptize in great numbers but our numbers are high...Where will the next northern Virginia stake center be?

Levi said...

John, Christopher

Something to add to the discussion.

I am a student at BYU Idaho and I have witnessed a lot of the resent growth. The on-line enrollment and available courses have grown very significantly, much more than the on campus enrollment. I have a former classmate that has completed his masters degree and returned to teach an online course. Very few of the online faculty may be located in Rexburg. I had a course this last fall where the instructor lived in Twin Falls and my wife had an instructor that lived in Utah.

Mike Johnson said...

I am an online BYU-I instructor and I live in Virginia.

James said...

Just wanted to post with some late-breaking temple-related news, with my thanks to Rick Satterfield for keeping up-to-date. For details, please see my blog or the LDS Church Temples website. (How's that for a teaser?)

James said...

Sorry. My blog address (for those who don't know) is stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com. The LDS Church temples site address is ldschurchtemples.com. I suspect (though I don't know for sure) that the TempleRick posting here may be that same Rick Satterfield who maintains the LDS Church Temples site. Either way, I send him my thanks for keeping up such a wonderful website.

James said...

Just confirmed that TempleRick is Rick Satterfield. Nice to know that he's on blogger. Brother Satterfield, thanks for maintaining such a great website and for these important updates.

Ryan Searcy said...

I just peeked at a list of most populous metropolitan areas in the Americas. All cities in the Top 25 have temples except for Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It would be lovely if they got a temple soon, but I doubt it will happen before Rio de Janeiro is finished, and probably longer if a temple was announced in Brasilia.

Michael Worley said...

This blog post may be of interest to readers of this blog:

http://michaelsthoughtsandideas.blogspot.com/2016/05/two-indications-of-positive-lds-church.html

Snippet:

"

One narrative about the my faith is that it is too "conservative"/"pious"/"rigid" for modern society, and that, for this reason, activity rates in more liberal/secular areas are declining. (See Footnote 1). Let me suggest that, contrary this narrative, the LDS Church has shown an increased success in going 'to the rescue'-- that is, helping those who have left church activity feel Christ's love through the institution of the church, and return to full fellowship.


Two sources confirm this: First, the number of stakes being created each year has been high worldwide for the last several years, and appears to be accelerating this year. Second, Elder Cook said in April 2015 that the number of resignations is at historic lows, and John Dehlin (hardly a church supporter) agreed with him."

James Anderson said...

One of the Africa West Area stakes indicated has been created. Facebook page with post, the stake is in Kinshasa. Has photo of the conference where it was created. Name of new stake, units involved, or anything as to what stake or stakes it drew from was given.

https://www.facebook.com/Mission-SDJ-De-Kinshasa-1553496784890515/?fref=nf

Other things show up that could be of interest at times on this page too.

Michael Worley said...

The Kinshasa stake is great news! But is Kinshasa in the Africa West Area? or the Africa Southeast Area? This stake may not be one of the indicated "boom" of Africa West stakes next month, but one in addition.

Also, I'm curious how we got confirmation of so many Africa West stakes? They just showed up on the list one day, and I'd love the story behind the confirmation.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Michael Worley said...

Ohhappy,

Many more are being reactivated than are leaving; I trust Elder Cook.

And that's all I have to say on the matter.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Michael Worley said...

Oh, you make fair points about the ambiguities. But I think I make fair points too.

Michael Worley said...

I've had hundreds of debates on social media over the years; I don't want to get into a dispute over this here. I'd rather my positions speak for themselves rather than a back and forth.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Ohhappydane33 said...
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Michael Worley said...

I stand by what I have said. Ohhappydane33 makes legitimate points as well.

Michael Worley said...

We need to make room in our culture for both different ways of expressing opinions as well as differing opinions. Ohhappydane is welcome to critique me further. I will not respond.

I remain, however, interested in knowing how Matt came to know about the new stakes in the Africa West Area next month.

Mike Johnson said...

The Church provides enough statistics to get an upper bound on resignations.

Each year, the Church publishes statistics worldwide and in each country and US state and Canadian province the numbers of members of record, as well as the numbers of convert baptisms and new children of record.

For the worldwide statistics: (membership for year y-1 + baptisms for year y + new children of record for year y) - (membership for year y) = (members who have died in year y + members whose names have been removed from the records of the church in year y).

We routinely have people suggesting the numbers of resignations in a given year as well above the total of those who have died and those removed from the records.

The country/state/province statistics have the added factor the net immigration because people move out or in different areas.

John Pack Lambert said...

Kinshasa is in the Africa South East Area, so an additional stake there would not be one for the Africa West Area.

I have to wonder if the church will rearange Africa from two to three areas soon. Although with overall membership much below some areas in Latin America it might not, but the South-East Area covers a large number of countries, and Kinshasa would seem to be a potential point for a third area.

John Pack Lambert said...
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John Pack Lambert said...

In my ward today we were told about "Just Serve" which is being implemented here in South-east Michigan. It has also been implemented in the Toledo, Ohio area, I know that because one of my LDS related google alerts pick up a Toledo Blade article on the initiative.

One question that was brought up was why is the Church doing this when there are other volunteer placement sites. One person said because the president of the Church recieves revelation.

I would however argue that the truth is that the Lord prepares people to be in the right time and right place. President Monson was bishop of a ward in Salt Lake City at the time of the Korean War that was ground zero for low income refugees coming from Germany, and also had lots of widows, plus the cutting edge of migrants from the South Pacific to Utah. He has mentioned having some boys from Samoa come to his ward who Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the 12 told him to keep an eye on. His ward also had the only Spanish-speaking ward in Utah at the time meeting in its boundaries. President Monson grew up eating tacos made by his Latino friends mothers in a day and time when few people in the US knew what a taco was. He also grew up with a mother who would regularly feed those who came in by the rails, his house being between two railroad lines.

However I still think we can deduce why the Church is sponsoring JustServe. To begin with, the goal of JustServe although ultimately to involve those beyond the Church is to get Church members out of their comfort zone yet in a way they can do so to actually help people. I can not see the Church sponsoring at the level it is pushing JustServe a wedsite unless it has control.

Secondly, the control allows for vetting towards goals the Church really wants. One key provision is no direct fundraising. The member of our ward who is also the stake public relations chair and the person who has to approve requests for at least the area of our stake, maybe a bit bigger, told of one he has placed on hold because as currently written it would involve volunteers in fundraising.

The last reason to launch a new site is because the nature of some online work is more gets done with more dissemination of knowledge.

There may also be issues of the cost to use the site. I am not familiar with other volunteer placement sites and if they charge for posting. Of course the main issue is that I am not familiar with such sites. Up until today I would have just tried contacting organizations directly, but that is often very ineffecient. Also, one thing I might sign up to do is help with a downtown development authority parking count. This appeals to my meticulous love of making detailed reports but it is not a service project I would have imagined even existed.

Proselyting is not allowed on the projects, but I still think they will lead to a positve image of the LDS Church that will make missionary work easier in the long run.



Eduardo Clinch said...

A word about "boring". I did a Masters at UCLA in Latin American Studies, rubbing shoulders with and discussing fascinating subjects, issues, and trends, with emminent scholars and social scientists and future world policy makers, although the average Joe might consider the whole lot of them as boring.
To each his own, but facts, assessments, analysis, and projections that reflect reality and in this case growth will always be supremely interesting for those dedicated to the fields discussed in this forum.
What was fascinating to Spock on Star Trek may not have captured the imagination of anyone else, but I trust that a person possessing genuine intellect will be interested in what is shared here. Otherwise, maybe get a pole and fishing if that is what floats your boat. I love demography, cultures, geo-politics, and LDS practices and doctrine. Samuel Clemens thought the Book of Mormon was boring, but then again there aspects of his life where he certainly did not have answers to the earth's issues; the LDS church and its doctrine has very high and bold claims that may not be true to many but the experiment continues and seems to be working for more all the time, especially in less developed nations which is fantastic.
Has Mark Twain helped Africa or Mongolia? Something to be said about the Mormons...
Fascinating stuff. Exciting, if you really wrap your mind around it. But there will always be detractors. Rest in peace Mr. Twain. The ether in print moves on.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I apologize for my typos and faulty grammar. Academic rigor is of the essence for the purpose of revisions and editing, creating true finished products of value. Thanks for correcting those flubs in your own readings.

Jeff said...

John--That was harsh, judgmental, and really unnecessary. I haven't posted here in a while, but typically enjoy reading the comments. Yours, however, was totally out of line.

Michael Worley said...

I agree with Jeff. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/10/doctrine-of-inclusion?lang=eng&_r=1

Matt said...

Let's keep it civil everyone... No need for such hostility on a blog that discusses LDS Church growth ;)

As for the question on the new stakes in the Africa West Area, senior missionaries report that nine new stakes will be organized in the Africa West Area from April through July. I am assuming that the remaining six stakes to be created will be organized in June, so I have them listed on the side bar as such. I have no information on which countries they will be created in, but I would guess that all countries with an LDS presence in the area appear likely except for Benin and Senegal.

There does not appear to be a wide range in the number of wards in stakes organized in 2016. Although a handful of stakes created thus far this year appear to have only four, or even three wards, this appears to be due to delays in updating the official church directory. For example, the Barranca Peru Stake currently has three wards and three branches according to the Church's official directory, whereas member reports I have received indicate that the stake has five wards and one branch.

As for whether member resignations are increasing or decreasing, I have no idea. I could see support for both arguments. Unfortunately we have such limited information that it makes it difficult to make a ballpark estimate. I remember when I tried to estimate the number of member excommunications in a single year. I think I originally said 20,000, but I was contacted by some church leaders who told me that this number seemed pretty high based on information they had access to. It is interesting to note such significant increases in the discrepancy between the combined annual increase of converts baptized and children of record increase in comparison to the actual net increase of membership. This discrepancy has surpassed 100,000 for the last two years, which suggests an increase of removed unbaptized children of record from membership records, excommunications, member resignations, and/or deaths.

Michael Worley said...

Could deaths be on the rise? I mean, the baby boomers are getting older.

Ryan Searcy said...

Well, it looks like the Fortaleza Brazil Temple might actually be starting to build!

James Anderson said...

We had three funerals in six weeks in my ward, which has two senior housing complexes and some others living in homes in the ward. Deaths may be up in more established areas of the Church, on account of aging populations within the membership in those areas.

ND Reynolds said...

In 2015, my ward had 4 deaths and 0 births. In 2014, we had 1 death and 1 birth. In 2014, we had 1 child of record baptism and 0 convert baptisms. In 2015, we had 1 convert and 1 child of record baptism.
I'm actually surprised we've had so few deaths. My ward is fairly geriatric, and the housing stock in the area is wildly overpriced so younger members are more apt to move to other areas.
But I have seen a lot of growth in less-active members becoming reactivated.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Without trying to be too controversial, I do believe that thousands of former LDS members have voluntarily removed their names from Church membership in the last few years, while others have newly joined or become re-activated. Overall Stake growth continues to expand, which is a sign of real robust growth, regardless of the numbers of the stake numbers. The sheep hear His voice, and there will always be those opposed. (See the original 12 selected by Joseph Smith, Jr.)

The Lord ultimately wants 12,000 worthy high priests from each tribe of Israel, so if we cap out among North Americans who tend to be of Ephraim, so be it. Jesus wants as many of us as He wants we Him, but there are many sheep and goats, wheat and tares. We can only pray to be among His chosen, and the rest will sort itself out. But never stop inviting others to share. Or keep going to the Lord through His covenants and ordinances.

alien236 said...
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Christopher Nicholson said...

I think that anti-Mormon stuff on the internet has lost most of its shock value. I have no way of quantifying this, but based on anecdotal observation and how long the internet has been around by now, I think that most of the major things are fairly well-known and members are less likely to lose their testimonies over "new", shocking information (or misinformation). I suspect that it peaked a couple years ago with the Jeremy Runnells fiasco and is now on the decline. Of course initiatives like the Church's "Gospel Topics" essays, which are now being taught as part of a required institute course, should help a lot with that over the long term as well. So I believe statements that the rate of resignations has decreased, and I think that's primarily why.

I'm just mildly curious why Orem, Utah isn't brought up on lists of likely new temples. Obviously distance isn't an issue but it has twenty-five stakes, and the Provo Temple to which it is currently assigned is still one of the busiest in the Church, yes? Or did the Provo City Center Temple already take care of that?

I just made a new friend from Israel who will be here in Utah for just a few months before going back. At first I was excited to share the gospel with her because she's probably never been exposed to it, but then I realized that if I did so and she accepted it, she would probably be disowned by her family and lose all her friends when she got back, and I would feel awful. Any thoughts on how to handle it?

P.S. I'm impressed with the number of comments on this post. I wonder what the record for this blog is.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Eduardo Clinch said...

I went to BYU when a Jordanian student wanted to be baptized but was not allowed to do so while attending; she had a Muslim father, even though her mom was Christian. I would be open with her, whether Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. I attended Muslim services with my friends in Provo and got a lot out of it.
Might be cool to go to a Utah mosque or synagogue. I like going to both when the occasion arises.

Christopher said...

Hey, whoah slow down there Happydance. Be nice! Even when someone isn't nice to you. We are all trying to get along here. :)

Eduardo Clinch said...
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Anonymous said...

When I start to wonder about certain things, I find it helpful to 'study' the core doctrine (the word doctrine used in the purest sense) and strive diligently to live the basics well (ie: pray/repent sincerely, improve my relationship with God, Love (charity) others, listen a few hymns I feel like listening to). Basically starting where I actually am and not where I think I should be. I find the scripture to be true that "he that doeth truth cometh to the light" to be true. When I live the very basics (according to my actual belief) it grows quite quickly to encompass other core doctrines, with a spiritual feeling.

I find much of people's issues with church teachings are due to the people not striving to live what they at that time actually believe to be true, and therefore it is less likely for them to receive the items questioned by the spirit. How can we possibly accept doctrine that does not make sense to us by reasoning without having the spirit? Even if we do use reasoning without the spirit to arrive at a conclusion that something is true, the strength of the belief has the shaky foundation of reason alone. By the way, there are some teachings that I don't understand even when I am in the spirit and am open to understanding... Sometimes I therefore only live a teaching to the extent I understand how to based on leaders guidance, and when I do I often gain a different understanding of the item that leads to my living the actual true principle being taught or learning about an intersecting principle that makes me realize the teaching I was thinking about was actually not true. Other times I continue to not understand something. I am not the type to be anxious or have a "just in case" or "Hedge around the law" mentality. I believe the atonement covers cases where I misapply or under-apply the gospel with true intent while the "here a little, there a little, precept upon precept" thing works itself out. Jesus himself: D&C 93: 12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace 'for' grace; 13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace 'to' grace, until he received a fulness; - Notice the 'for' and the 'to' (I added the 's).

Anonymous said...

Much of the issue is that people don't really realize that the gospel is actually quite "simple and easy to understand" - a line from the 1st discussion before "Preach my Gospel" - Like the original U.S Constitution that now has precedents and precedents based on precedents, etc, etc, that now don't align with the original U.S. Constitution, so we can do with the church and gospel if we are not careful.

Often people don't appear to think when reading the scriptures and instead just read them based on what they think they say. For example: D&C Section 1:38 "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." - If you read this it states that Lord's word is the Lord's word regardless of the source - as a person is being the Lord's servant during the moment the person teaches the Lord's word. Unfortunately people often believe the word "servants" in the scripture is limited to a subset of higher ups in the church and that if something is said by a higher up, people debate whether or not it is "scripture" . the point is that the Lord's word is the Lord's word, not that everything certain types of servants say is always the Lord's word.

Another example: Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." - I hear this scripture read time and time again using the word "weaknesses". However the word in the scripture is "weakness". It is impossible to make "a" weakness strong but a weak think can be. Think of this: "God made my addiction to xyz strong" - this makes no sense to say this. However, as mentioned, he makes weak things strong for us, for example: our weak faith, our weak will, weak resolve, weak love, weak [enter godlike attribute here].

Eduardo Clinch said...

Also, criticizing or calling into question the Lord's anointed and what they state is a right we are free to entertain but I would be really careful how you do it. We can all have our various opinions but following the brethren is a tenet of our faith. Insulting each other has little use here, but I will say if anyone accuses others of deception or false witness those are serious claims that maybe do not have much relevance on this forum, although I can see some of the assertions may be pertinent to the discussion of growth and how progress is perceived and related.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Eduardo Clinch said...
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Christopher Nicholson said...

Funny, for being "boring" this blog sure has held Dane's attention for quite a while. Feel free to go mock mine too, I've been trying to boost traffic :) http://christopherrandallnicholson.weebly.com/blog

Eduardo Clinch said...

Dane, we are all hypocrites in our own way, so maybe grow up a little? I am not trying to point you out specifically but I know myself well enough to tell you truthfully that I am far from perfect, no one on the planet is and blaming others has its limits. Go ahead and bad mouth whomever you want all you want, and may God bless you.
If you think this forum is in fact boring, I havn't counted but there are billions of other websites.
Have anything to contribute about LDS growth? Thanks for any thoughts or enlightenment.
If the apostles are out to mislead and deceive maybe I posit my faith in another belief-system. Maybe Marx or Lenin have the answers. Good luck. If I come across as sanctimonious, sarcastic, and abrupt, I probably am.
And some of the above counsel is the best I have ever seen; we would all do better to heed it.

Eduardo Clinch said...

As always, sorry for the double feeds.
No one has responded to where to put the newest northern Virginia stake center? The new Tall Cedars building is built to expand into one... But I don't know if that is the best geographic place.

Mike Johnson said...

I don't know what you mean, Eduardo, "put the newest northern Virginia stake center?"

Taking the 6 stakes covered by the Washington DC South Mission plus 3 stakes that were formerly covered by that mission:

Fredericksburg Virginia Stake 13 wards and 2 branches
Mount Vernon Virginia Stake 13 wards
Ashburn Virginia Stake 12 wards
Centreville Virginia Stake 10 wards and 1 branch
McLean Virginia Stake 9 wards
Oakton Virginia Stake 9 wards
Woodbridge Virginia Stake 9 wards
Winchester Virginia Stake 8 wards and 2 branches
Annandale Virginia Stake 8 wards

Units alone are not the only issue. These 9 stakes have enough wards to meet the ward requirement of 14 stakes. Any of these stakes could probably supply wards to a new stake.

John Pack Lambert said...
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Jeff said...

I think we'd all prefer it if you let Christ be our judge. Your method of defending the faith tends to drive people away rather than the opposite.

John Pack Lambert said...
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John Pack Lambert said...

3 of the last 4 people I can think of who have died in my ward had only moved there recently to live close to relatives before dieing. The other was a child who may have been classified as a still birth.

I think Orem does not show up on suggested temples because Provo just got a second one, and the Church has only seen one new stake in Orem in the last decade or so. The growth of UVSC does not seem to have resulted in any new YSA stakes in that time, although with the student population not being as concentrated as at BYU it is hard to say. I do know when I was at BYU the student wards tended to have UVSC students in them. Of course, I was only there for the announcement of the tighter area for BYU approved housing and not for its full implementation. I was also not there for the shift to UVU. I did from my going to UVSC and talking to lots of students there learn that some students from out of state lived in places like Pleasant Grove and commuted in.

I seem to recall that they have formed an additional YSA stake in Provo since the intial forminf of such, mainly centered in south Provo, so my guess is that it has more working YSAs, but it may have some UVU students. Probably very few BYU students, but probably a few who live with family and a few who are exempted from having to live in BYU approved housing, I believe grad students and students over 25 do not have to live in BYU approved housing if they are single, but I may be misremembering.

Lehi on the other hand keeps on getting new stakes, as do Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs, and Herriman, so that seems to be the growth area that could in theory most easily support a new temple.

John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder how often the Church delays splitting wards due to not having buildings to have new wards meet in. That may be the case in Boston area where severe opposition to a new chapel in Brookline, Masachusetts caused the Church to abandon that sight. In some cases it may not be that wards could not split, but that it is determined to be easier to have fewer wards meeting in a building and is felt that the main gain would be a new building so more members can travel less distance to Church.

There is a couple in my ward that were initially introduced to the Church through internet searches. So the internet has lots of pluse too.

The Seminary program is phasing out Scripture Mastery and replacing it with doctrinal mastery. Elder Ballard in introducing this program to CES leaders in Febuary explained that it is motivated by living in an era when we can no longer control what information about the Church youth are exposed to and need to prepare them for lots of exposure in their current lives.

I still think too many people in the Church in places like Michigan operate as Utah expatriates. There is a family in my ward that has been here 2 years and still has Utah plates on their car. I also have heard mothers in another ward talk about how their plan is basically to send their children "out west" to find a spouse. After all the work we have done to create a viable YSA program here in Michigan it is a bit disheartening to hear this as the only option looked to.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Our church is Utah-centric for a few reasons, but things are changing generation after generation. I knew a lot of people in California with Utah license plates because that was cheaper for them. Some transplants keep former or home state plates because of the hassle of registration; at military bases you typically see plates from all 50 states.

Jeff said...

"I would rather have a smaller Church than one full of backbiters who do not believe in the truth." So you oppose current Church policy (which is about inclusion and keeping people on the records except in very rare cases of persistent and public apostasy), and therefore oppose the prophet. Is that what you're saying? Have you been chosen to call out everyone that you think doesn't believe the truth, the truth as you understand it, that is? Do you wish you had the power of excommunication? Also, the "No one can call me judgmental because that would be judgmental" defense doesn't pass muster, I'm afraid. Reread your original post and see if it doesn't sound judgmental. If you believe that the work of the Lord will move forward regardless of how much we humans screw things up, then (in my opinion at least) you shouldn't be so quick on the trigger. And maybe you'd forgive HappyDance for his needless dig about your blog, rather than call him a backbiter and all that (after all, you basically called him an apostate, which was pretty bad). And maybe you'd come to understand that there is a high degree of variance as to how honest and faithful Latter-day Saints view various types of statements and remarks made by general authorities. That is a serious question and the answer is not as easy as you make it out to be, as anyone who has studied the history of the Church can tell you. You bring a lot to these blog comments, but as Matt stated above, let's keep it civil. All of us. You can have the last word if you want it--I'm ready to move on.

Ray said...

This blog is amazing! I've never seen over one hundred comments in the seven years I've actively followed comments on this website. Always good information given and thoughtful points made. As always, many thanks to Matt for making it all possible, and yes, let's please keep our discourse civil!