Thursday, June 2, 2016

New Stakes Created in the DR Congo, Ghana, Mongolia, and Nigeria; New District Created in Brazil

DR Congo
The Church organized a new stake in Kinshasa on May 29th. The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngaba Stake was organized from a division of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Mont Ngafula Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Lemba, Livulu, Makala, Mont Amba, Ngaba, and Yolo Wards. There are now eight stakes in the Kinshasa metropolitan area, with several additional stakes likely to be organized in the near future.

There are now 15 stakes and three districts in the DR Congo.

Ghana
The Church organized a new stake in Ghana on May 22nd. The Yamoransa Ghana Stake was organized from a division of the Cape Coast Ghana Stake and five mission branches in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. The new stake includes the following six wards and five branches: the Green Hill, Moree 1st, Moree 2nd, Nkanfoa, Yamoransa 1st, and Yamoransa 2nd Wards, and the Abakrampa, Abura Dunkwa, Asebu, Mankessim 1st, and Mankessim 2nd Branches.

There are now 17 stakes and 11 districts in Ghana.

Mongolia
The Church organized its second stake in Mongolia on May 29th. The Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East Stake was organized from the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia East District and a portion of the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the American Denj, Bayanzurkh, Sansar, Selbe, and Sukhbaatar Wards, and the Baganuur and Nalaikh Branches. With the organization of the new stake, all 12 LDS congregations in the city of Ulaanbaatar have reached ward status.

There are now two stakes and one district in Mongolia.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake in central Nigeria on May 29th. The Abuja Nigeria North Stake was organized from a division of the Abuja Nigeria Stake (renamed Abuja Nigeria South Stake). The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Bwari 1st, Bwari 2nd, Kaduna, Kubwa 1st, Kubwa 2nd, Mpape, and Suleja Wards. One of the most rapid instances of a stake dividing after its organization, the original Abuja Nigeria Stake reached stakehood in 2012.

There are now 35 stakes and 19 districts in Nigeria. With the organization of the new stake, Nigeria surpassed Venezuela as the country with the 13th most stakes in the world. Nigeria is also the country with the most stakes with only one temple.

Brazil
The Church organized a new district in Minas Gerais State on May 29th. The Patos de Minas Brazil District was organized from three branches that previously pertained to the Brazil Brasilia Mission. Branches in the new district include: California, Guanabara, and Patos de Minas. All three branches operate within the city of Patos de Minas. Patos de Minas is one of only a few cities in Brazil within the past decade where the Church has successfully established multiple branches and organized a district.

There are now 259 stakes and 40 districts in Brazil.

74 comments:

James Anderson said...

Looking at a map of Patos de Minas shows a substantial sized city of probably around half a million. Located it to tag the cemeteries for eventual photographing by users of the website I got the Google Maps display of it from. (any data captured would after transcription, go on FamilySearch and two other of the big genealogical websites). Family history data could aid missionary work in the future anywhere for that matter, not just in this instance.

Here's that map (the cemeteries won't show until sometime on 6/3/16). The first one was full so they started another on the edge of this city.

https://billiongraves.com/cemetery-map/?lat=-18.591261&lon=-46.511639&zoom=14

What does 'Patos' mean? It's the Spanish and Portugues word for 'duck'. Like Jacarei, SP, which was named beause early settlers found so many crocodilians there, this one was likely named for the fact that a lot of ducks might have been there. 'de Minas' was added to differentiate this one from any other cities with 'Patos' in the name elsewhere in the country.

John Pack Lambert said...

Patos de Minas name does refer to ducks. It originated in 1826 from land on a ranch donated by Antonio and Luisa Guerra. The city is rated as one of the top socio-economic cities among the largest 5,000 in Brazil. 99% of the streets are paved and 97% of residents get treated water. In 2010 it had a population of 146,416. That was in an area of 1.2 square miles. This makes me think that there may be urban development beyond the limits of the city, which may mean that this population may not be the most accurate for understanding the over all urban area population. These figures and information are from the Wikipedia article on Patos de Minas.

John Pack Lambert said...

Patos de Minas name does refer to ducks. It originated in 1826 from land on a ranch donated by Antonio and Luisa Guerra. The city is rated as one of the top socio-economic cities among the largest 5,000 in Brazil. 99% of the streets are paved and 97% of residents get treated water. In 2010 it had a population of 146,416. That was in an area of 1.2 square miles. This makes me think that there may be urban development beyond the limits of the city, which may mean that this population may not be the most accurate for understanding the over all urban area population. These figures and information are from the Wikipedia article on Patos de Minas.

John Pack Lambert said...

In Mexico Elder Benjamin de Hoyos, the area president, has called on members to oppose the atempt to make marriage no longer a man/woman institution on a national basis. He gave the specific talk at a conference in Puebla, but it has been distributed to all congregations with a request it be read in Sacrament meeting. As a Mexican national, Elder De Hoyos was the right general authority to do this. If the first presidency or an apostle had done this it would be seen in some circles as American imperialism. We may be to the point where virtually everyone who was part of the 3rd Convention is dead, but the strong nationalist sentiment that resents the Church being run by Americans can still come up, so having a Mexican as Area President and especially having him lead out on social/political issues is key.

Here is the main source I have on it http://kutv.com/news/local/defeated-in-the-us-lds-church-takes-fight-against-same-sex-marriage-to-mexico It is a flawed article that incorrectly calls Elder De Hoyos an "Area Authority". Since this is a Utah station, I have to say since incorrect identification is a sign of not understanding what is going on.

Here is the Mexican LDS newsroom posting of Elder De Hoyos's talk in Spanish http://www.saladeprensamormona.org.mx/articulo/presidente-de-la-iglesia-en-mexico-se-pronuncia-ante-propuesta-de-ley-de-matrimonio-del-mismo-sexo

I have been trying to find information on this at the Deseret News, but they seem to not have run anything on it yet. The wording of some LGBT cause articles seems to suggest this involves an attempt by the Church to get members in the US to contribute to the effort in Mexico. This is a lie. I think this is why the Church has only published material in Spanish on the issue. Americans and even Mexican citizens in the US participating is not what the Church wants, they want any efforts done by Church members in Mexico.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Surrey British Columbia Stake will begin holding sacrament meeting in Hindi this Sunday. http://www.peacearchnews.com/community/381706551.html It appears to me that this will esentially be a group under the ward that Jaynas Prasad is bishop of. Unless they formed a Hindi-speaking ward, but the mention of "at the same time as", makes me think this is a group within an existing ward.

John Pack Lambert said...

While it appears to be true the Church does not conduct worship services in India in Hindi, it does have brnaches/wards that are designated as Kannada, Tamil and Telugu speaking.

However even in the south of India most units are designated as English speaking.

John Pack Lambert said...

I just looked at the LDS map for Nigeria (clasic version). The Abuja Stake has been updated to be listed as the Abuja Nigeria South Stake. However the map still shows all the wards in the South Stake, and does not show Kaduna etc in a seperate stake yet.

John Pack Lambert said...

Jaynas Prasad is the Bishop of the Surrey 3rd Ward. Well, unless there is more than one Bishop Prasad in the Surrey Stake. This is a geographical ward so I am guessing that what the article speaks of will be a group under the Surrey 3rd Ward. The other ward that meets in the building, the Delta Ward, has a bishop with the last name of Teixeira, a Portuguese last name.

Bryan Dorman said...

I can vouch for this. Elder De Hoyos is a citizen of Mexico, specifically from Monterrey. Elder Pieper is American but with MX roots. Elder Valenzuela is from the Colonies of Chihuahua.

The 3rd Convention died off a long time ago. But there are a few members especially in the leftist south of the country and in CDMX that don't like the Yankee influence too much.

But nearly all Mexicans agree that marriage is a man woman institution. 2000 different churches came forward with a pact defending religious freedom. The LDS were signitories.

Very few Mexican members support SS marriage.

Christopher Nicholson said...

It's good to see the Church not giving up the fight, and taking an interest in the legislation of countries besides the US. I'm sure it happens more often than this, but news coverage creates the impression that it's only concerned about legislation in the US and mostly in Utah.

Looks like several more wards will need to be organized in Hong Kong in order to create two new stakes. Maybe the English district will be made into a stake and have its name changed.

Mike Johnson said...

Baganuur and Nalaikh are both districts of the City of Ulaanbaataar and the branches named for these city districts cover the respective city district. Baganuur is a former military base and is not contiguous with the city but still part of the city-considered to be one of the most industrialized parts of Mongolia. Nalaikh is part of the contiguous city, but the branch extends outside of the city, as does the Songino ward, which extends much further from the city than the Nalaikh Branch.

The 9 districts of the City of Ulaanbaataar are Baganuur, Bagakhangai, Bayangol, Bayanzurkh, Chingeltei, Khan Uul, Nalaikh, Songino Khairkhan, and Sukhbaatar--many of which now give names to many of the 14 wards and branches based inside the City of Ulaanbaataar.

Eduardo Clinch said...

LDS Today has a SL Tribune link referencing the Church advocating traditional marriage.
I like the idea of a stake having fewer than 10 wards; allowing stake leaders and members be more unified and known to each other.
I hope northern Virginia gets a new stake soon: I think the numbers are there...

Ryan Searcy said...

Here is an article about the Sacrament Meetings in Hindi AND Punjabi

http://www.mormonnewsroom.ca/article/bc-mormon-congregation-now-holding-worship-services-in-hindi-and-punjabi

Christopher said...

I like the idea of smaller wards more than less units in a Stake. I know there are problems financially with making smaller wards, but speaking about our ward and most of the wards I have been in in North America, it is harder to get to know everyone and feel united when there are so many members. It is more likely for people to fall between the cracks, you know; smaller congregations you notice when someone stops coming. Our ward is one of the largest I have been in; right now it has over 500 members; a few inactive, but the vast majority is active. With smaller wards I feel it easier to fellowship and nurture inactives, too.

Christopher said...

I like the idea of smaller wards more than less units in a Stake. I know there are problems financially with making smaller wards, but speaking about our ward and most of the wards I have been in in North America, it is harder to get to know everyone and feel united when there are so many members. It is more likely for people to fall between the cracks, you know; smaller congregations you notice when someone stops coming. Our ward is one of the largest I have been in; right now it has over 500 members; a few inactive, but the vast majority is active. With smaller wards I feel it easier to fellowship and nurture inactives, too.

Gracie said...

I was in a great big ward in Milan just before the second stake was created there and it was a united ward. I recently left a ward so small that it is too small, really, to function as a ward anymore. (We were always expecting to be combined with a neighboring small ward, but that still hasn't happened.) This small ward was the most jealous, divided ward I've ever heard of. Getting smaller all the time! So in my experience, unity is a choice any size of ward or stake can make. That's just my experience.

Eduardo Clinch said...

LDS Today has a SL Tribune link referencing the Church advocating traditional marriage.
I like the idea of a stake having fewer than 10 wards; allowing stake leaders and members be more unified and known to each other.
I hope northern Virginia gets a new stake soon: I think the numbers are there...

Christopher said...

What are the minimum requirements for a ward right now in terms of MPH and membership?

Mike Johnson said...

Ward: 15 Active full tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders (both North America and outside of North America. 300 Members (North America) or 150 (outside)

John Pack Lambert said...

I know the Church got involved in the defense of man/woman marriage in Argentina as well.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually most people who had been part of the 3rd convention came back into the LDS Church as part of a meeting held by President George Albert Smith, the first ever visit of a sitting LDS President to Mexico, in the late 1940s.

John Pack Lambert said...

One stake split I am surprised has not been done is that of the Safford and Thatcher Arizona Stakes into 3 stakes. Safford Stake has 11 wards and 3 brnaches, Thatcher has 12 wards. True, 4 of those wards and one branch in the Safford Stake are YSA units, and the other two branches in Safford are a care center branch and a correctional facility. Still that is 23 wards all together, with 19 non-YSA wards. It is only 3 miles between the cities so there is not a distance reason to not split the stakes.

Ohhappydane33 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Like I said before, please keep comments civil and pertinent to LDS Church growth. If disrespectful and unrelated comments continue, I may need to change the settings on the blog for commenting. I really don't want to do that because I value all of the input and dialogue, but I am tired of these inappropriate comments.

Gracie said...

The Book of Mormon will be published in Nepali this fall. The translation was started several years ago, independently, by Girish Chandra Ghimire, President of the Crossroads Square (Nepali) Branch of the South Salt Lake Stake. He was the primary translator. This announcement was made by Stake President Marchant at the Adult Session of the South Salt Lake Stake Conference earlier this evening.

It is pretty exciting, after a long time in the works.

Eduardo Clinch said...

One suggestion for the nature of our comments on this blog: I have read in many journalistic sites the warning/caveat language to keep the comments germaine to the blog topics and not use invectives or other negative communication to include personal attacks... Not sure if that will be the key to prevent such phenomenon. I apologize for any personalizing in a negative fashion and commit to not do it.
Another note on negativity or wording: I question the use of "apostasy" with the church growth in Armenia in the previous post.
Across the 186+ year history of the LDS church there have been apostates, meaning people who joined the faith and then actively took up voices or arms against it. Having lived in Chile in a span of 15 years spanning both centuries, I know hundreds of thousands of Chileans have fallen away after baptism but I hesitate to label many of the them definitive apostates.
An anecdote as an example: in my first area in Mulchen we taught and baptized a young man named Claudio Orlate who soon after recanted and confessed to a Catholic priest. I don't know if his name was ever removed from the roles, but my point is I would not deem him an apostate, per se.
In Santa Juana a year later we had a branch first counselor Eduardo Santibanez (since deceased in 21st century) who fell away and attended a local Pentecostal congregation where his wife had been for close to 3 decades. So Eduardo, having been a local leader of an LDS branch, might be considered an apostate in that respect.
Do we have evidence that that has happened in Armenia? Have former priesthood leaders left for other faiths? Not trying to be too critical, but I think this question is pertinent to the definition of how we use apostasy versus retraction and less activity, which in my opinion is far more common in our faith.
Cool news about Nepal. The tragic earthquake has perhaps opened up more LDS opportunities there and abroad.

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you, Gracie, that is exciting news about the translation of the Book of Mormon into Nepali.

boo said...

I am visiting Beirut and went to the branch 2 hours ago . The district president was there and announced the formation of a branch in Damascus Syria last Sunday.It has 9 members. I spoke with at least 2 members who went with him to organize the branch. You heard it here first. Bellamy.

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you, Bellamy. A branch in Damascus. Wonderful.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I don't see any disrespectful or inappropriate comments on this thread. Perhaps my comment was misinterpreted as a criticism, but it was not one.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

I think it was the deleted comment, but I didn't see it so I'm not sure

James Anderson said...

The Syrian branch is likely the first since the 1950s, back about and after the time that Elder Carlos Asay, who would later serve om the Seventy, served there.

He played on the mission basketball team, who played and beat just about every local team, but the locals still appreciated that they would play them anyway.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just reading a little about Bakht Singh, the man who turned Christianity into a deeply routed movement in India. In the LDS Church there was Paul Thiavadros, who I may be misspelling his name, who met on occasion with both Elder Kimball and Elder Hinckley over several years before getting approval to be baptized, who also lead many others into the Church. The first two stakes in India being in Hyderabab and Bengaluru is largely a lagacy of his work.

With severe restrictions on the number of foriegn missionaries the Church can send to India, the best hope is for more missionaries from within India, especially from the two stakes. I also have read that missionaries of Indian descent tend not to be counted against the quota, so the work of Bishop Prasad and others in British Columbia and elsewhere will hopefully pay off not just in conversions there but more missionaries in India. I would love to see more missions in India in 2030 than currently exist in the whole continent of Africa, but just reaching the current number of missions in Nigeria would be encouraging.

MO said...

Cedar Park Texas Stake was created today.

Johnathan Whiting said...

I agree. I find smaller wards require you to be more active and gives more people a chance to have leadership or teaching callings. It's easy to get lost or overlooked in a big ward.

Johnathan Whiting said...

I agree that "apostasy" was probably not the best term to use in reference to the previous article about the church in Armenia. Especially without more specific information about the situation.

Deivisas said...

Cedar Park is in the Austin area. Add this to the 2 Stakes in Austin and the 2 in Round Rock, and that puts 5 Stakes in the Austin area! We may yet see a temple announced in Austin Texas in the next few years :)

Deivisas said...

With the organization of the Cedar Park Texas Stake today, this marks an unprecedented point for the members in Texas. Not only is this the 1st time in Texas History that 6 Stakes have been organized in 1 year, but we are only halfway through the year 2016! According to LDSChurchTemples.com the previous record for Stakes organized in Texas in 1 year was when 4 stakes where organized within a single year in the following years: 1981, 1983, 2008, & 2014.

http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/statistics/units/united-states/texas/chronological/

BYULAW said...

I wouldn't be surprised if another stake was created in the Houston area this calendar year. The Cypress, Klein, and Houston Texas North Stakes have a combined 32 wards and 1 branch. It wouldn't be too hard to arrange it so that there could be 4 stakes of 8 wards each. I don't know if they are close to the requirements to split, but it seems possible. Another possibility, although there are less wards among them, could be in the Dallas area with the Richardson, Dallas Texas East, and Heath Stakes having a combined 30 stakes and 1 branch. I've been fascinated with how well the church is doing in Texas over the past 10-15 years. It has really had a lot of stakes created in that time.

Michael Worley said...

the two anticipated Hong Kong stakes have been created

Ryan Searcy said...

I've been fooling around with a couple of maps with the stakes in the Dallas area, and I find there is enough wards to comfortably create 5 new stakes (though I have no idea about membership in each). What do you guys think? I have it separated into 3 maps, as I think the possibility of a new mission in the Dallas area is possible, most likely in Frisco. All congregations placed in a different stake have been labeled.

Dallas - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QlZ3WUX_wP9l9c7JscDPblzRy_Q&usp=sharing

Carrolton Texas Stake
Dallas Texas Stake
Dallas Texas East Stake
Garland Texas Stake (renamed from the Richardson Texas Stake)
Heath Texas Stake
Irving Texas Stake
Plano Texas Stake
Waxahachie Texas Stake (new)
Wylie Texas Stake (new)

Fort Worth - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FtPyiuEx2sNyY8Fpd0P00mOq5X4&usp=sharing

Alliance Texas Stake
Arlington Texas Stake
Colleyville Texas Stake
Fort Worth Texas Stake
Fort Worth Texas South Stake (new)
Keller Texas Stake (renamed from the Hurst Texas Stake)
Lewisville Texas Stake
Weatherford Texas Stake

Frisco - https://drive.google.com/open?id=13y0hAOpCiGzCDzYdopQIlsyQL7w&usp=sharing

Allen Texas Stake
Denton Texas Stake
Denton Texas East Stake (new)
Frisco Texas Stake
Frisco Texas Shawnee Trail Stake
McKinney Texas Stake
Prosper Texas Stake (new)
Sherman Texas Stake

Ryan Searcy said...

I should also note that all of the wards and branches are color coded by type.

Wards - dot
Branches - blank

English - Green
Spanish - Pink
Tongan - Light Blue
Marshallese - White
YSA - Blue

I feel I should also note the Dallas area has a large number of YSA and Spanish congregations

Spanish - 12 Wards, 4 Branches
YSA - 7 Wards, 5 Branches

Eduardo Clinch said...

I have some LDS Texas pride in the Spanish speaking missionaries that went to Dallas in 1993. One of the elders taught and baptized the sister of a friend of mine from Provo, last name Arroyo.
In the 1990s there were Lone Star State parties at BYU; I hear they were well attended with over 500 Texans at BYU campus.
I guess the percentage of LDS in Texas is above the national average, which is always a good sign. Way to go, Texas!
Best of luck with the flooding.

John Pack Lambert said...

In theory 30 wards could make 6 stakes, since only 5 wards are required for a stake, and they could make 5 with plenty of room. So 3 stakes with 32 could easily become 5 stakes of 6 to 7 wards. This is assuming that none of the wards are close to being split.

John Pack Lambert said...

With 12 YSA units in the Dallas Area, I wonder if it would make sense to create a YSA stake.

Idon't think they will create a Spanish-speaking stake. The trend is away from such. The Church has discontinued at least 4 such stakes, leaving only 4 if I count correctly. 2 in California, 1 in Florida and 1 in Texas are no longer Spanish-speaking. In Flordia a stake was discontinued, but a new stake has been created in the general area since then. In Houston area they repurposed a Spanish-speaking stake as a geographical one. Previously they had formed a new stake in part from wards that were previously in an all Spanish stake. In California technically only one Spanish-speaking stake was discontinued, but the other one absorbed a geographical stake, and then lost some of its Spanish-speaking units to surrounding areas.

TempleRick said...

Excellent work, Ryan! I really like your proposals. They are well thought out and beautifully presented. Thank you for sharing.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I have a special place in my heart for India thanks to the many wonderful Indians I've met here at Utah State. Only a couple of them have converted, to my knowledge, but whether Hindu, Christian or atheist, I have found them to be very respectful of my beliefs and to have no taboo against discussing them. A little while ago I received this Facebook message from one of them who has moved on to California: "fyi... I met 2 kids on their mission (1 from Boise and the other from some eastern European nation, can't remember) they were walking straight to me and started introducing themselves and where they were from (all this outside my apt, couple of blocks apart) and then half way through they give up hope and are like do you even know Joseph Smith? They left with a smile on their faces with my address ONLY for them to come back and get some food / hang out or get some help / assistance while they were here (they were kids, young) and not try to convert me (I was ok with prayers etc and I really wanted to help them out).
They left very happy seeing a brown man (Indian) so learned about Mormonism and the principles it stood for. The Boise kid was honestly moved... Kudos to you, I got all that info from you :) not from your book, but everything you once talked to me :) Hugs and tc and holler if you need anything."

So the low number of missionaries in India makes me very sad and I wish there were something I could do to help. I read one of the mission presidents saying that if we had the same proportion of missionaries to population in North America, we would only have 35 to 40 missionaries on the whole continent.

I grew up in a small branch in one of the last remaining districts in the US (Potsdam New York) and although I think it was good for helping me develop my own testimony, I didn't like having such a small number of youths. There were two feasible dating options, neither of whom I had anything in common with, and we had to drive four hours down to Albany to have any youth conferences or other activities of decent size. On the plus side, it *was* close-knit, and the few youths there were all like siblings (another reason why I wouldn't want to date them), but there was also a fair amount of tension within the branch between the politically liberal and politically conservative members who both thought their view was the gospel view. It usually manifested in passive-aggressive remarks made by people giving lessons. So a smaller congregation doesn't always lead to unity. It was a mixed bag for me.

An "apostate" is technically just someone who leaves a religion. Technically all of our converts from other faiths are apostates from those faiths. I think Matt was referring to them not following the proper procedures and protesting their calling releases. Still, it has become a rather pejorative term so avoiding it in most cases couldn't hurt.

David Todd said...

I'm from the dallas texas area. There is definitely the membership necesary in my area for a new stake (Keller/alliance/colleyville).

My brother is planning to move to the prosper are at the end of the year when he graduates from chiropractic school. It is exploding with growth, so I honestly expect a stake there within the next year or two. At least a few new wards don't know much about the Dallas section.

BYULAW said...

Completely off topic; sorry to hijack the thread I just don't know where else I'd find this information. I'm interested to know if anyone on here is familiar with the process of selecting a mission president. Some research I've done online suggests that: "It is the job of the area Seventies to become aware of and recommend couples whose circumstances would allow them to serve. Then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve will interview the couple . . . ."

I've been compiling spreadsheets of mission presidents and the information published by the LDS Church News (e.g. ward, stake, occupation, age, where they are called) about every mission president as far back as I can go, and I've noticed a few trends in the past 30 years or so. One of my hypotheses is that mission presidents from Utah tend to come from certain stakes based in part on whether area Seventies, general authorities, and/or close family members of general authorities live in those stake boundaries. I have several other hypotheses for other areas of the world, (e.g. work for the church directly, work for companies that work closely with the church, etc.) but I am working on the stake boundary hypothesis for the moment.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet with what I've compiled, but it has been really fun learning about all the people that the Lord calls. This little hobby has given me some interesting insight into how revelation works and how our leaders are prepared.

John Pack Lambert said...

Well, there was a couple called from my ward to preside over a mission in New Zealand and I do not think you could pick any claim that they were in any way connected with the Church in employment. The husband worked in human resources for General Motors. The only other couple I can remember being called from my stake in my lifetime the husband was an Orthopedic Surgeon.

I am hesitant to guess that personal connections are the reason that mission presidents get called from certain stakes more often. My first guess is that certain stakes can A- better afford to loose top leadership and B- have more members who are in a good position to leave as mission president. I also have to wonder how meaningful the stake at the time a couple leaves to serve as mission president is. For example does the stake that Elder and Sister Teh are listed in have any meaning, since they only took up residence there after he became a general authority?

BYULAW said...

John,

Thank you for your thoughts. Part of the reason I don't know what to do with my findings is because there do appear to be several trends. For example, while there has been a handful of mission presidents from the ~90 stakes on the west side of I-15 (in Salt Lake County specifically) over the past 30 years, quite a large discrepancy appears to exist between the the amount of mission presidents called from the west side when compared to the ~81 stakes on the east side of the valley (specifically, the further east and north east you go, the more mission presidents tend to be called--I'm still adding up exact numbers). This specific finding is likely due to the east side of the freeway being traditionally more affluent than those on the west; but as the homes on the east side of I-15 (particularly northeast side) have gotten older and in some cases run down over the past 30 years, I would've expected a shift towards calling mission presidents from the south part of the valley (e.g. South Jordan, West Jordan, Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, and even Draper, though Draper is east of the freeway it is still having some development) but that hasn't really happened. The theory of the stakes that can "afford to lose leadership" being the source of more mission presidents doesn't seem to hold true in Utah. The stakes from which they keep getting called are generally in decline with respect to the number of active members since families with children tend to want newer and larger houses, newer schools, etc.

Some individuals with an already weak testimony would probably point to these trends as diminishing the importance of revelation. I do not want to encourage that in any way. At first I wasn't sure what to think about the trends, but soon realized that of course there would need to be some sort of method to selecting them. I am positive that the apostles do not go down the membership records of millions of members and try to see if a name stands out from the rest, (what I would call uninformed revelation) but instead have a "network/pool" or whatever you want to call it from which to select mission presidents.

You mentioned President Hudson not having worked for the church. I want to point out that no matter what trends I find, there will obviously be outliers; otherwise, if there weren't, I would probably question the role of revelation. In no way am I suggesting that if a person does XYZ that they will for sure become a mission president, nor am I suggesting that all mission presidents have specific backgrounds. But there are tendencies that exist.

Perhaps you are right in that the "working for the church" connection is more commonplace outside of North America. I am still trying to sort through everything I have to determine if there is such a connection; it is still a hypothesis.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I would guess that stake presidents feed lists of viable candidates to area authorities, then those seventies prayferfully consider who to send as recommendations to the Quorum of the 12. Languages and backgrounds matter, of course. It's probably good to check on the wives, but maybe the stake presidents and area authorities already did somewhat.
Recently Peter Scholtz (spelling should be good) was called to Riberao Preto Brazil. It was cool to hear how he interviewed with Elder... One of the newest ones, who explained it was his first time conducting such an interview!
Ashburn Stake 1st Counselor (Virginia), worked in commercial business.
Another mission president from my home state of Indiana may not have been church employment, would have to check. Brownsburg, Indianapolis West Stake.
Ashburn has another out as president in Singapore.

Mike Johnson said...

I believe the process starts with a recommendation by a stake president.

I heard it described once as follows: Find somebody who lives the commandments, thoroughly understands the gospel, cares about people, with a very strong testimony and then call her husband as a mission president.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I would also think that the needs and openings around the world help dictate the qualifications for being presidents.
North America has well over 500 million inhabitants; maybe there are 30,000 full time missionaries here? India would be better to have 50 missions, for sure. But progress is happening. Temples will come.

BYULAW said...

It may be true in some cases that a stake president recommends someone; however, many stake presidents are called as mission presidents and I cannot envision many of these individuals recommending themselves. For this reason I kind of bought into the idea that the recommendation probably comes from the area authority. However, I still do not know for sure if that is where the process starts.

My hypothesis began with the idea that when serving in leadership myself, I often select individuals as counselors or for other positions based on who I know, what I know about that person, whether I think that person would be good for the calling, and what impacts the calling might have on their family. Then after I have narrowed down the individuals, then I pray and try to receive an answer as to whom I should call. Usually the individuals that are called come from the narrowed down list that I had been considering, although sometimes not.
I assume area authorities follow a similar method. However, in order to make the first few "cuts" as it were ("cuts" is probably a bad word but I can't think of a better one right now), an area authority would likely need to have heard of or be familiar with the individual in order to answer those questions. Typically mission presidents are in a good position financially, this is a tough one to judge because people can appear to be financially stable but might have a lot of debt. It is impossible for me to know how this determination is made, and if tithing or fast offerings are used in any way to provide an indication of this; although, I would guess an area authority has some general knowledge about which stakes pay a lot in tithing or fast offerings so that could potentially play into it. Typically mission presidents fall within a certain age range, and typically they have served in leadership callings on a stake level either in a presidency or on the high council. So, that would narrow the list somewhat, but that would still leave hundreds of individuals on the list at least in the Utah area (probably less so in developing countries). So, to reduce the list further, I hypothesized that maybe who they know personally, and what they know about the person factors, into their thought process. If that is the case, they probably follow the same pattern I use in trying to receive revelation and usually the individuals they call will come from that group of individuals, but sometimes not. This could potentially lead to a "clustering" of mission presidents from certain stakes in Utah. It is also possible that those related to general authorities are often considered based on this same idea, that they know the person, know their financial means, the impact it would have on their families, etc. Still too early for me to know for sure, but it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Eduardo Clinch said...

My mission president was a former stake president and apple orchard farmer from around Yakima, Washington. I would like to know in your database what percentage of of mission prez's were associated with Church Education. My wife's Spaniard mission pres in Spain was.
My mom's first president in Cambodia was retired US military; need to find out what the one in Indonesia was...

Christopher Nicholson said...

I wonder how it's even possible to organize a branch in Damascus with Syria being basically the most violent country in the world right now. And I wonder why they would organize a branch rather than a group if there are only nine members. Are they expecting it to grow soon?

Ryan Searcy said...

My understanding is that the branch in Damascus was previously a group.

Now, a bigger question is, would the branch be reportable or sensitive?

phxmars said...

If I recall correctly, stake presidents are regularly asked about members who would make potential mission/temple presidents, particularly if the church is looking for someone with language skills.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I just heard from a local member that the area president announced that the Rajahmundry India Stake will be organized this year. That makes my day!

TempleRick said...

Great news!

John Pack Lambert said...

However the people called as mission presidents tend to have few if any children at home. The population in the south valley may generally be younger than missionary age. Also in some areas you may not have many upcoming church leaders but lots of experienced ones. In the south valley you would call such mem to lead newly split stakes in the north you dont need as many stake presidents so you call mission presidents.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think you have to bear in mind working for the Church could be a cause of effect. Especially in positions like regional CES director the Church recruits people with the spiritual and administrative experience that can also be used to run a mission. On the other hand it is hard for people in some peofessions to leave for 3 years. Thise who work for the Church can come back.

John Pack Lambert said...

The may 10th Church news has an artist from Tonga called as mission president in New Guinea and a cosmetc laboratory supervisor from Chile called. The other two from outside the US are seminary/institute coordinators. However two of the 4 from inside the US also work full time for the Church.

John Pack Lambert said...

BYU's religious studies center published a book that is available online that is about the administrative organization of the Church. It has a chapter on the missionary department. It actually gives a lot of details about how mission presidents are selected. I don't remember how exactly they select the target lists but they compile lists of many more mission presidents than needed with all sorts of data and then I think the missionary executive commitee takes it from there. It is a very interesting read if one wants to understand how the missionary department runs alrhough a few years old so may not reflect exactly how things are done but it was written after preach my gospel came to be if I remember so that means it is not old.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Church may spread better in the longrun in India if it is first built by missionaries who have been trained deeply in the gospel in the west but have familial connections to India. Also by members who join the Church while studying in the USA etc and then go back and share the gospel. So maybe Hindi speaking missionaries in Chicago, Houston, Vancover BC and London is the best step forward today in building the Church in India. With many of the Indians in the west fkurnt in English especially those who are the students who will go back it may not seem worth the effort to learn Hindi. But do they understand religious concepts well enough in English. I kbow in my mission there were Spanish-speaking missionaries who feared that native Spanish speakers taught in English didnt have a strong enough vocabulary to understand what they were taught in English even if they knew enough English to function well as a member of a cleaning grew a chef a carpenter or on occasion even a lawyer.

John Pack Lambert said...

How many active full tithe paying mel priesthood holders do you need for a branch? If the 9 people are 4 couples and a single man all forign nationals with business or gov assignments all the men returned missionaries you could have 5 aftpmph which is I am sure quite enough for a branch. Groups are normally formed when your only endowed members are missionaries and most members were baptized since last Tuesday except one who was baptized at age 13 in the big city, AKA Abijan, but moved away a month later and has not been to church in the intervening 17 years.

John Pack Lambert said...

Alternatively the Damascus branch might have two local families of 3 and 2 and 4 aftpmph forigners posted to Damascus who left wives and children in safer locations.

John Pack Lambert said...

Now what would really be impresive would be if the Church created a branch in Raqqa the caoital of the Islamic State.

Mike Johnson said...

Branch in a stake needs 4-6 AFTPMPHs.

Branch in a mission is lower. It was something like about 5, but they could be Aaronic Priesthood holders.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think though currently the Church does not want to make a branch without having one Mel priesthood holder, and I think they have lengthened the time from baptism to being given the Mel priesthood from what we saw in a few cases in Detroit in the 1990s, which was at times less than a month. The Church has also decided to try to avoid having full-time missionaries serve as branch presidents. Still I think the key as to why Damascus got a branch with so few members while places like Daloa waited a while with growing groups before moving to branch status is that you have very strong moved in members in Damascus, but I could be wrong.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I can't wait for April Fool's next year when it will be reported that all Iraqi Yazidis and Indian Dallits convert to the LDS Church in a month span, thus boosting our membership by 300 or so million in 28 days! Why not throw in the Druze and Parsis? And the majority of their stake and mission leadership? South Sudanese, of course.

John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder if any Dallits in India have converted. My guess is some have. Realistically the Dallits would probably constitute at least 95% of those listed groups.

Eduardo Clinch said...

The Economist reported around 2002 or so that the Indian Dallits were holding a convention and would vote to convert en masse to Christianity or another religion beyond Hinduism, as they do not count within the caste system. We need to send them our missionaries in ever bigger numbers.