Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Progress in Mongolia

Missionaries serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission report several significant church growth developments. The Church will organize its second stake in Mongolia in late May from the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East District. Most, if not all, six branches in the district are expected to become wards. Additionally, two new wards will be organized in the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake - one of which from a branch advancing into a ward. The Church also organized a new ward in the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake within the past month.

These developments signal good progress with strengthening local leadership, augmenting the number of active members, and addressing problems with convert attrition and member inactivity that have stifled the growth of the Church in Mongolia within the past decade. The Church previously experienced some of its most rapid growth in a Buddhist country in Mongolia during the 1990s and 2000s. However, membership growth rates continue to be very low compared to previous years. Nonetheless, the Church reports one nominal member per 266 people in Mongolia - higher than any other country in mainland Asia.

Click here to access the LDS statistical profile for Mongolia. A map of LDS units in Mongolia can be found here. Click here to access a case study on stagnant LDS growth in Mongolia (written in 2013).

40 comments:

Ryan Searcy said...

Phenomenal! Maybe we will see a temple to service Mongolia and Siberia in a few years!

Jerimiah Bullfrog said...

This is fantastic news. I am hoping that Mongolia gets a temple soon.

L. Chris Jones said...

Awesome, my wife is from Mongolia.

L. Chris Jones said...

Awesome, my wife is from Mongolia.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Very cool, we have a neighbor who is Mongolian; we should get her a Book of Mormon in that language...

I know a guy from Florida who went to Indiana University after his Mongolian mission because it offers more Uralic and Altaic Studies related to Mongolia. Interestingly, there is a Tibetan/Mongolian community there, the Dalai Lama's brother Norbu lived there until his death a few years ago. Big shrine and center on the southeast side of town.

I wonder if the percentage of returned missionaries is still so high... It used to be like 100 out of 1,000 members had served LDS missions.

John Pack Lambert said...

At one point when I was serving in the Las Vegas Mission we had over 10 missionaries from Mongolia. My last companion on my mission was from Mongolia.

John Pack Lambert said...

At one point when I was serving in the Las Vegas Mission we had over 10 missionaries from Mongolia. My last companion on my mission was from Mongolia.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just looking through the list of LDS Church distribution centers. I found one in Zimbabwe. That is i teresting since most are by temples.

Mike Johnson said...

Wonderful.

I figured strength was brewing, but would take time. I think a number of missionaries from Mongolia may have found ways to live in other areas after their mission.

I wonder why the Khovd Branch (in western Mongolia) is part of the Ulaanbaatar West Stake.

The following are sorted (most to least) in population.

Provinces Population (2010 Census) Area (km²) Density (/km²) Capital LDS units
Ulaanbaatar 1,240,037 4,704.40 263.59 Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake (minus Khovd Branch, much of Sogino Ward, and a small part of Jargalant Branch) and American Denj, Sansar, Sukhbaatar, and parts of the Bayanzurkh, Baganuur and Nalaikh branches, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East District
Khövsgöl 114,926 100,628.82 1.14 Mörön Moron Branch, Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
Övörkhangai 101,314 62,895.33 1.61 Arvaikheer
Selenge 97,585 41,152.63 2.37 Sükhbaatar Selenge and Zuun Kharaa branches, Darkhan Mongolia District
Darkhan-Uul 94,625 3,275.00 28.89 Darkhan Shine Darkhan and Khuuchin Darkhan branches, Darkhan Mongolia District
Orkhon 90,700 844 107.46 Erdenet Erdenet 1st and 2nd branches, Darkhan Mongolia District
Bayan-Ölgii 88,056 45,704.89 1.93 Ölgii
Töv 85,166 74,042.37 1.15 Zuunmod Parts of the Bayanzurkh, Baganuur and Nalaikh branches, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East District and portions of Songino Ward and Jargalant Branch, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake
Arkhangai 84,584 55,313.82 1.53 Tsetserleg
Khovd 76,870 76,060.38 1.01 Khovd Khovd Branch, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake
Bayankhongor 76,085 115,977.80 0.66 Bayankhongor
Uvs 73,323 69,585.39 1.05 Ulaangom
Dornod 69,552 123,597.43 0.56 Choibalsan Choibalsan Branch, Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
Khentii 65,811 80,325.08 0.82 Öndörkhaan
Zavkhan 65,481 82,455.66 0.79 Uliastai
Ömnögovi 61,314 165,380.47 0.37 Dalanzadgad Oyu-Tolgoi Branch, Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission (eastern part of province)
Dornogovi 58,612 109,472.30 0.54 Sainshand
Bulgan 53,655 48,733.00 1.1 Bulgan (portion inside Erdenet 2nd Branch, Darkhan Mongolia District)
Govi-Altai 53,590 141,447.67 0.38 Altai
Sükhbaatar 51,334 82,287.15 0.62 Baruun-Urt
Dundgovi 38,821 74,690.32 0.52 Mandalgovi
Govisümber 13,240 5,541.80 2.39 Choir

Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission Branch (southwest part of Ulaanbaatar, Ovorkhangai, Bayan-Olgil, some of Tov, Arkhangai, Bayankhongor, Uvs, Kentii, Zavkhan, most of Omnogovi, Dornogovi, much of Bulgan, Govi-Altai, Sukhbaatar, Dundgovi, Govisumber)

Ulaanbaatar is not province or part of a province.

The Opinion said...

I found out tonight in a ward council training meeting with Elder Zwick that preach my gospel will get an update due out in 12 to 18 months. Also the St George temple is going to be renovated. He made that in passing as he talked about the Provo city temple.

Mike Johnson said...

It appears that the Selbe Ward, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake was split on Sunday 15 May 2016.

The same missionary with statement also says that Mongolia got a new stake on 15 May 2016.

http://jenniferhansenmongolia.blogspot.com/

Mike Johnson said...

The quote from Sister Hansen:

We got a new stake!!! Woo!! The Selbe ward (Sister Gardiner and I's ward- thank you very much ;)) got split so now we're in charge of both! Wuuuuuuut. We've got big plans for this transfer so get a lot of work done. If we can get one more stake then the possibility for a temple increases a lot. This last weekend was stake conference. We already knew that our ward was splitting, but we didn't know for sure if we were getting a new stake, so that was a wonderful surprise!

Mike Johnson said...

Another Mongolian Missionary report about what was announced at the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake conference:

We have some exciting news in Mongolia though!!!! During Stake Conference, it was announced that we will have another Stake!!!! This means that there are now 2 Stakes in Mongolia!!! It was so awesome! The district that we had here now became a Stake. We weren't thinking that this would become a Stake, we were surprised when we found out that this is how we gained another Stake because we were thinking that the Stake we already had was going to split into 2 so it was cool when we found out our districts became a Stake. This is awesome because hopefully before I go home, our big Stake will get enough MPs (Melchizedek Priesthood) and then will be able to split and then we will have 3 Stakes! Then we will hopefully get another Stake in the countryside up in Darkhan and then we will have 4 and then once we have 4 Stakes in Mongolia it shouldn't be much long before they will be able to build a temple here!!! I am so excited the work is progressing so much here! I look forward to everything that will be able to happen these next couple of years!

http://mongolianotmagnolia.blogspot.com/

Mike Johnson said...

Yet another Mongolian Missionary report from this past weekend:

Saturday and Sunday was Stake conference. Selbe split into 2 and Jargalant became a ward. So we have 8 wards and one branch in our stake. Hopefully if we get a few more MPs we can split the stake before I go home! And the other big announcement was the east district became a stake! So we’ve got 2 out of the projected 4 stakes by 2019. Exciting stuff. The work here is crazy. And all of our investigators came!

https://reasontorejoice.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/conferences-upon-conferences/

Ryan Searcy said...

A little off topic, but I wonder if there will be a district created from the northern part of the Luputa DR Congo Stake. The area has 4 branches, 2 of which were created 2 weekends ago.

Mike Johnson said...

This missionary says that what was announced at stake conference will happen next week:

The work in Mongolia is growing so much! In the last month, one ward was split in two, and at stake conference, they shared some new news ... next week, another ward will be split, one branch will become a ward, and the east district in Mongolia will become a stake! That means Mongolia only needs one more stake to get a temple!!!!! Ahh, we are all so excited! And in regards to my own work in Enhktaivan- we have so many people to meet with that we don't even have enough time to meet with them all and we continue to gain more and more and more!! We gained two more families this week! It's so incredibly exciting to see the work progressing so much in the country as well as just in our own ward... I LOVE MONGOLIA!!!!

http://sisteremilyharker.blogspot.com/

John Pack Lambert said...

There is no absolute rule on how many stakes a country needs to get a temple so saying three stakes will give them a temple is a bit much. Russia has 3 stakes and no temple. puerto Rico has 4 or 5 stakes and no temple. Nicaragua 7 stakes and no temple. Mongolia may well get a temple announced when there are 3 stakes in Upam Baatar especially if Darkhan also gets a stake but that has to do with a lot of factors. Nicaragua has an open border with Honduras. Puerto Rico has open travel to the mainland US. It is assigned to the DR Temple which is much closer than Hong Kong is to Mongolia. Still considering how far the temple is from members in Lagos and Benin City it is hard to see why Mongolia would be a higher priority.

John Pack Lambert said...

One of the branches in the Ulambaator West Stake is in Khovd which is over 800 miles drive from Ulambaator. I see that branch more likely to be split multiple ways to form a district if it grows than to be made a ward in its current stake.

John Pack Lambert said...

This tells me Ulambaator West Stake needs at least two more wards to meet the minimum ward numbers to split.

Mike Johnson said...

Interesting possibility Ryan. The stake has 7 wards and 5 branches and is fairly compact, but who knows. I am sure it will depend on whether the 7 wards and the branch to remain in the stake meet the criteria to be a stake.

I have been wondering when the adjacent Mwene-Ditu Democratic Republic of the Congo District to the west will become a stake. There are six branches in the district all tightly packed with multi-branch buildings. I would think to have split up so many branches in close proximity that these branches would be large.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission to be created this summer is to gain five stakes and a district in this area. The mission will start with a solid core.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Mongolia needs a temple. Or three.

Mike Johnson said...

John, of course, your analysis about Mongolia is probably right on. As I mentioned in my first post in this thread, I wonder why the Khovd Branch is in the Ulaanbaatar West Stake. The branch covers the entire province which is a fairly large area. This branch didn't use to belong to the stake. I wonder if there is some personal connection. Otherwise, I would expect the Khovd Branch to be a mission branch. The arrangement is strange. I do wonder if that branch will grow into a district in the near future.

As for the number of stakes in Mongolia before they get a temple, the missionaries tell slightly different stories about whether it is three or four stakes to qualify for a temple. I think in the remote area of Mongolia,it is possible that the saints have been challenged to grow to 3-4 stakes with the idea that they would have enough members for a temple. A temple in Mongolia would probably serve the at least one district in Russia.

I am excited for them that they are seeing growth. Mongolia grew very fast and then the stake was created in 2009 and growth has slowed. Of course, in 2010, the number of foreign missionaries was cut substantially in Mongolia, so the mission is relatively small in numbers. All foreign missionaries are English teachers officially. And the majority of missionaries appear to be sisters.

I for one continue to remind myself that I should not be opposed to potential temples elsewhere because I desire one in Virginia--the state with the largest LDS population without a temple and larger than any country in LDS population or stakes without a temple. Sometimes I wonder why Connecticut gets a temple with 2 stakes (3 if you count the Providence Rhode Island stake which is mostly in Connecticut and the stake center is in Connecticut), when Virginia has 20 stakes and could potential grow a few more in the near term. Yes, we have the Washington DC Temple where I serve every Saturday, but it is a real pain to get there and 12 of the stakes are further away than mine.

Yes, the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake will need 10 wards to split or pick them up from elsewhere which may be hard then to form a stake from the district to the north, but with three recent ward creations (at least by the next week or so) and the possibility of other ward splits on the horizon, that criteria could be satisfied soon. Two of the missionaries talk about having almost enough Melchizedek Priesthood for two stakes and that probably was mentioned in the conference. Two expressed the hope that the stake would split before they go home.

I for one am just excited to hear that Mongolia is growing.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

Yep, sometimes it is hard to keep perspective. I sometimes complain about the 4.5 hours I need to drive to get to a temple, then I realize that in some places (like Ulaanbaatar) it's more than 4.5 hours on a plane, and then they need to get to the temple.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Thanks for your dedicated service. Alaska is a big place.Punta Arenas has 4th or 5th generation members who are very isolated, like some Pacific islanders.

John Pack Lambert said...

How much time does it take to get from the Hong Kong Airport to the temple. In the case of Lisbon the temple seems to have been intentionally put close to the airport. This is probably to make attendance easier for those from the Azores, Maideira, and for the time being probably Cape Verde as well, although Cape Verde is hopefully going to get its own temple soon.

I do wonder if Pnta Arenas is a place that could benefit from a small temple like the ones built in 1998-2001. Maybe even more so the Monticello model than the slightly larger ones later built.

phxmars said...

Connecticut has 4 stakes (2 proper, the Prov RI [5 wards and 1 branch in CT] and Yorktown, NY (6 wards in CT) Stakes) although the latter may or not be in the temple district. The Hartford temple will also have the Springfield, MA and Albany NY Stakes + 1 more NY stake I would think.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I seem to remember hearing, probably from someone on this blog, that Cape Verde would get a temple when it had five stakes. And missionaries used to report that Thailand would get a temple when it had three stakes in Bangkok, but apparently the church leaders changed their minds (it would be interesting to know why).

Mike Johnson said...

Cape Verde has 3 stakes (and 2 districts) so not at 5 stakes yet.

Thailand has two Bangkok stakes so not quite there yet either. Nor do I see such claims as a promise by the church only somebody's assessment of what it would take. We have had area seventies in Richmond say that if the saints near Richmond would increase thei number of names they take to the temple, there could be a temple near Richmond, VA. But, the Church can only afford to fund so many at a time.

I never know what the source of such statements are. The fact that several missionaries said the when Mongolia get 3 or 4 stakes it will get a temple all when discussing stake conference suggests that somebody (stake president, mission president, visiting area or general authority--although none of the missionaries mentioned such a visiter) must have said something about that in stake conference. It kind of makes sense. You want enough stakes to staff the temple. That said the Halifax Temple has two stakes in its district, so it may not make that many.

Deivisas said...

Ukraine got a Temple with just 1 Stake, so it's all in God's timing and wisdom.

Ryan Searcy said...

Got an email from a friend in the MTC who will be serving in Romania. He said the MTC (in Provo) currently has the very first Sister Missionary serving from Turkey.

James Anderson said...

The matter of member faithfulness is a clear issue associated with planning for future temples. We heard that in Tucson, leaders were told that before one was announced there, they would have to build up sacrament attendance and full-tithe-paying member statistics.

But that might not be all either, the key indicators leaders have access to are likely all used. Those are the numbers that are sent back to Church headquarters each quarter, and are likely exactly the statistical data used in part to determine where and when a temple will be announced.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Membership in Punta Arenas is probably stalwort but few in numbers. People coming there from neighboring wards have to fly and it still costs a lot of money that most southern Chileans and Argentines have hard time affording. Lots of isolation in Patagonia where temple patronage might be somewhat of a dream.

John Pack Lambert said...

Ukraine didn't even have a stake when the temple was announced. The Bern Swizerland and London England Temples were byilt with no stakes in their temple districts. New Zealand got its first stake when the temple was dedicated which was also the 1st stake not in Mexico, Canada or the US. Hawaii has the record longest time of a temple without a stake. It went well over 10 years that way. Even when my grandfather was a missionary there during World War II there was only one stake and the temple was dedicated before my grandfather was born.

John Pack Lambert said...

Are there 3 or 4 stakes in Thailand at present? I am guessing the Cambodian stakes also counted towards getting that temple.

That said I am hoping with two stakes there will be more Indians serving missions and the Chuelrch will be able to open more areas to missionary work. There are lots of cities in India with millions of resudents and no LDS Church presence.

John Pack Lambert said...

Are there 3 or 4 stakes in Thailand at present? I am guessing the Cambodian stakes also counted towards getting that temple.

That said I am hoping with two stakes there will be more Indians serving missions and the Chuelrch will be able to open more areas to missionary work. There are lots of cities in India with millions of resudents and no LDS Church presence.

John Pack Lambert said...

Ukraine didn't even have a stake when the temple was announced. The Bern Swizerland and London England Temples were byilt with no stakes in their temple districts. New Zealand got its first stake when the temple was dedicated which was also the 1st stake not in Mexico, Canada or the US. Hawaii has the record longest time of a temple without a stake. It went well over 10 years that way. Even when my grandfather was a missionary there during World War II there was only one stake and the temple was dedicated before my grandfather was born.

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

Are we tracking the new stake in New London, CT, that will have some Rhode Island wards?

John Pack Lambert said...

There will be a new stake in New London? This is exciting. It will also increase the # of stakes for the Hartford Temple.

John Pack Lambert said...

There will be a new stake in New London? This is exciting. It will also increase the # of stakes for the Hartford Temple.