Friday, July 1, 2016

June Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access our June monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.

46 comments:

Michael Worley said...

July may well be a slower month for church growth: general authorities are on vacation.

Michael Worley said...

(I mean more with respect to stake and ward creations, not the actual changing of people's hearts to be more like Christ.

John Pack Lambert said...

Only stake creation generally slows down in July since it require either 70 or apostles, most 9ften a general authority 70 and an area authority 70. Ward creation does need central approval but there is enough lag time and other factors that it will only be reduced in that mass conversions of branches to wards in district to stake moves will be few.

The Ile-Ife Stake makes me hopeful a Lagos Temple will be announced in October. With continued Church growth in Southwast Nigeria paired with sustained growth in the Southwest Nigeria should be able to support a 2nd temple. I would love to see a 3rd in Benin City but I think that will come after a Temple in Lagos.

John Pack Lambert said...

So with this new stake in Taiwan is all of Taiwan assigned to stakes or are parts of the country directly under missions?

John Pack Lambert said...

So with this new stake in Taiwan is all of Taiwan assigned to stakes or are parts of the country directly under missions?

John Pack Lambert said...

There appears to be a major typo in the newsletter. It has a heading saying first stske ib Ekiti State. Although I wish this was true it is not yet and only 1 branch exists in that state. This caused me to wonder if all the states of Mexico, Brazil and Australia have stakes and if so if anyone has ever figured out when or compiled a list of 1st stake by state for these countries as the Church Almanac used to do when it existed for the US.

John Pack Lambert said...

There appears to be a major typo in the newsletter. It has a heading saying first stske ib Ekiti State. Although I wish this was true it is not yet and only 1 branch exists in that state. This caused me to wonder if all the states of Mexico, Brazil and Australia have stakes and if so if anyone has ever figured out when or compiled a list of 1st stake by state for these countries as the Church Almanac used to do when it existed for the US.

John Pack Lambert said...

In the New Guinea case Tongan (some having moved to the US) senior missionaries are coming home to roost. In some ways the Church in Tonga is as strong as it is because in the 1960s when the Church had basically all US missionaries in Latin American countries Tonga had severe restrictions on forign missionaries. When Elder Groberg was mission president his mission was basically almost all young Tongan couples who supported themselves by farming while spreading the gospel. There was one month in which they baptized 1% of the population of Tonga. Of course the fact that Tonga has less population than the Salt Lake Valley and basically the Church was saturating the area with missionaries who had to figure out how to use their time either teaching or strenthrning members and investigators instead of going through the motions of mass contacting throgh tracting, street condacting or competing with other soapboxers, the later a common occurance in early 20th-century Brittain, may also have played a role.

Alex said...

The Taiwan Taipei Mission is completely covered with stakes, but the Taichung Mission still has one branch, the Makung Branch, that reports directly to the mission.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I read that 10 LDS families lost their homes in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, out of 2,400 facilities being destroyed. Also noted that the LDS chapel survived even though it was in a heavily burnt area.
On another note, some homes have burned in San Bernardino close to members in the Waterman Ward. Incidentally, the Waterman Ward is a newly combined version of the former 2nd and 4th wards of the San Bernardino Stake.

Mike Johnson said...

The Makung Branch is on an island in the Taiwan Strait.

John Pack Lambert said...

Today in my ward we had a family originally from Pakistan visiting. They have assylum here in the US because a Dad wrote a book that outraged the authorities because of not being supportive of Islam, or something along those lines.

Alexander Marvin said...

Hey, I wonder how Brexit will have an impact on growth in Europe. Considering that the UK has the largest population of members in Europe, could Brexit reduce the number of missionaries the church can send to Europe (other than the UK)?

Eduardo Clinch said...

I have suggested that the present other 27 members of the EU will look to expand to add a few other members-- 30 sounds like a nice round number; to potentially offset the loss of Britain. Also, Northern Ireland and Scotland may break off of England/Wales in order to re-join the EU. While a loss of England/Wales from the Union and becoming more like Norway, may affect many economically, and the LDS Church may face a few new challenges and hurdles with its missionary force regarding visas, but then again, my understanding of visas to elders and sisters was more based per country and not on EU status, like Italy having different policies than its neighbors...

We shall see, but hopefully stability and prosperity will continue along with church growth. Our ward is happy with our soon to be serving in France and Finland missionaries.

Pascal Friedmann said...

I have been very busy this summer, so I have significantly cut my internet usage (and with it, my reading and participation in this blog), so I'm not sure if this has been addressed here or not -- but there finally seems to be some movement in the construction of the Fortaleza Temple!

Pascal Friedmann said...

http://cop-den-mission.blogspot.com/2016/06/greenland-june-2016.html

And something else I just found -- apparently an exploratory visit by Mission leaders to Greenland. There is a Greenlandic-speaking Facebook page for the Church that targets both locals and expats who speak the language (in total worldwide less than 70,000 I believe). Over 2,600 like the page. If I'm not very much mistaken, it is run by an expat member living in Denmark. https://www.facebook.com/Jiisusi/

Sounds like great potential for sure!

Mike Johnson said...

Alexander, I don't think Brexit will have much of an impact on the growth of the church in Europe. Eduardo, I don't think anything changes from what is already in the program when it comes to enlargement.

The vote was for the UK government to initiate the withdrawal from two treaties: the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Abrogating these treaties still keeps the UK in many other European institutions that are not EU--and in particular the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights; the European Patent Office; and the European Space Agency--none of which are EU. Also I believe the UK will remain in the European European Economic Area and the European Research Area.

The EU does bring a lot to the table. I have followed the EU and the UK since the mid-1980s as a student at Cambridge. Its institutions have largely been modeled after the US. In particular, the EU is about breaking down barriers to four free movements: people, capital, goods, and services. Many in Britain objected to the free movement of people--the UK not having control over the entry of people with EU passports.

I think Alexander is raising the issue of free movement of people in the EU and whether that could hurt missionary and other work. I tend not to think so for several reasons. First, travel between the UK (or Ireland) to the rest of the EU still requires a passport. People travelled between countries fairly readily before the EU as it was. The UK is not a member of Schengen today (26 EU and a few non-EU countries are in Schengen where a passport isn't necessary). Travel between the UK and the rest of Europe is similar to travel between the US and Canada--passport but not really anything more and that will undoubtedly be the same for Britain and the EU after Britain leaves. The difference will be that UK citizens won't have an absolute right to move to anywhere else in the EU and citizens of the EU won't have the absolute right to move to the UK. But people will still be able to visit and to move--it just might be a little more complicated. Businessmen and students and educators will still move between countries and so will missionaries. It would have been smoother to have the current relationship in place, but I doubt it would changed much.

Eduard, the European Commission has a commissioner (currently Johannes Hahn of Austria) and a department dedicated to enlargement. They meet with a number of states and work with those that are interested in joining and in meeting the criteria. It takes years. Currently, Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are formal candidates for admission to the Union--Turkey since 2005 and Macedonia since 2012. The rules were set down in 1993. I don't see anything happening to change the already in place enlargement process.

Christopher said...

New ward and branch in Raymond Alberta Stake today, making 10 wards (all in town) plus a new branch (Assisted Living Facility.) Not bad for a small town of less than four thousand! I still think with the growth there that the stake will split in the upcoming years, perhaps taking in one of the neighboring communities. Time will tell.

miro said...

There might be a small effect of the Brexit to certain countries. In Greece and Switerland only European missionaries are serving. Not shure yet how this will affect missionaries from the UK serving in this countries, but it might have an effect. In the case of Switzerland Only missionaries from the EU get visas to serve. But there might be a treaty in place (after the UK left EU) that would still allow missionaries from the UK to serve in Switzerland. Another solution the church started to use, is that americans come for 2 transfers (less than 3 months) and leave for more than 3 months before they retrun again. This way they don't need visas for Switzerland.

Bryan Dorman said...

Things might be heading for a further realignment.

Russia just passed a law that in effect would ban all religious activity including proselytism outside of churches and other approved religious sites.

There are seven missions in Russia. If they closed down there would be room for more missions where they are needed, in West Africa for example. Or an increased presence in Asia visa permitting.

The law is nicknamed the Yarovaya law and passed the Duma with one dissenting vote out of 326.

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you, Christopher. My grandmother was raised in Raymond. I visited it once in 1986. I am glad to see the Church growing in Raymond.

miro, thank you for the comments on Switzerland and Greece. Switzerland on 1 April 2015 changed the rules for 27 EU member states and for Switzerland's fellow European Free Trade Agreement states (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein). Switzerland law explicitly excludes Croatia (which joined the EU in 2013) from the EU arrangements. There are now more requirements on EU-27 and EFTA states than before. Switzerland has served notice on the EU that quotas may be placed at any time, although apparently not yet. That said, citizens of EU (minus Croatia) and EFTA can live in Switzerland but must register and demonstrate an ability to support themselves without authorization for up to 90 days each calendar year. Citizens of EU(-Croatia)/EFTA member states have a streamlined application process for long term residence. Citizens of Croatia, like those of many other countries have a more complicated application process and there are quotas for these. I believe the UK will return to EFTA, which it was an EFTA member state before the 1973 accession to the European Economic Community). PM Cameron has called for a Norway+ relationship and that probably means membership in EFTA and the European Economic Area.

Switzerland is divided between the France Lyon Mission and the Munich-based Alpine German Mission (and one ward in the Italy Milan Mission), which probably facilitates the ability of the Church to supply missionaries to Switzerland under Swiss law.

I don't know about Greece but as an EU member state Greece is obliged to allow all EU citizens to move and take up residence on the same terms as Greeks.

Christopher Nicholson said...

@Bryan Dorman, where did you hear that? None of the articles I read about the law mentioned that or anything similar. They just say it will punish people for not reporting crimes and will store data on all their phone conversations. (I say "just" in a relative sense because it still sounds like a horrible law.)

Mike Johnson said...

Both Christianity Today and the 7th Day Adventists characterize the new laws the way Bryan did.

They passed the Duma on 24 June and the Federal Council on 29 June. Now it is for Putin to sign or veto each.

We continue to hear about these Russian laws. I will be content to wait to see what happens.

I thought i would put a face on the sponsor of the package of bills, Irina Yarovaya. http://polit.ru/media/photolib/2013/03/11/thumbs/98d308e56b95cd0ac9ac980031ef4aed_1362983462.jpg.600x450_q85.jpg

Deivisas said...

On Russia:

From the Church's Russian News Website (Use Google translator if necessary):
http://www.mormonnews.ru/article/mormony-rossii-postyatsya-i-molyatsya-o-svobode-veroispovedaniya

From a family member who's son could be affected by this: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/june/no-evangelizing-outside-of-church-russia-proposes.html

I'm very optimistic about the Church's future in Russia; and suspect that the advisory is well aware of the role that the Russians have to play in the kingdom of God:

The path to this significant day in Russian Church history traces back to the early days of the Restoration. In 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith called Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and George J. Adams on a mission to Russia “to introduce the fullness of the Gospel to the people of that vast empire, and [to this] is attached some of the most important things concerning the advancement and building up of the kingdom of God in the last days, which cannot be explained at this time.”1 However, the Prophet’s Martyrdom in 1844 interrupted plans to complete the mission, and the Prophet’s plans regarding the gospel destiny of “that vast empire” remained unfulfilled

Source: https://www.lds.org/liahona/2014/02/that-vast-empire-the-growth-of-the-church-in-russia?lang=eng

Deivisas said...

Elder Ballard was in Eastern Europe just in June and saw a bright future for the Church in Eastern Europe:

Estonian:
http://www.mormoonideuudised.ee/artiklid/apostel-m-russell-ballard-eestis

Latvian:
http://www.mormonnews.lv/raksti/latvij%C4%81-viesosies-apustulis-elders-balards

Lithuanian:
http://www.lds.lt/vyresniojo-m-raselo-balardo-patarimas

Ukrainian:
http://www.mormonnews.org.ua/%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%82%D1%8F/%D0%BF%D1%96%D0%B4%D1%81%D1%83%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%BA-%D0%B2%D1%96%D0%B7%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%83-%D0%B0%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B0-%D1%86%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B8-%D0%B2-%D1%83%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D1%83

John Pack Lambert said...

The new Russian law sounds harsh but it is not clear what exactly it will mean in practice. Of course a Russian law to ban extremist texts has been used to prosecute Jehovahs Witnesses, a group that rejects war. I hope there remains ways to share the gospel in Russia after the most recent round of repressive laws.

Tyler Sorensen said...

Bryan the law has always been against proselytizing in Russia also in other countries. The way around it is start "conversations" if the person accepts to talk about God that isn't proselytizing.

Bryan Dorman said...

@tyler sorenson

Thanks for letting me know about that. Even so this law does appear more severe.

Assuming you served in Russia (or eastern Europe for that matter, how did you get around that?

Christopher Nicholson said...

@Deivisas thank you for pointing out those articles. That is disturbing, and perhaps the fact that apparently none of the U.S.-based articles I had read earlier considered that aspect of the law worth mentioning should be disturbing as well.

Johnathan Whiting said...

While living in Idaho, I dated a Russian girl from Moscow who had converted in her homeland. She recently married an American LDS man. She had another Russian friend in Idaho who had done the same.

In the same ward, I had a friend from Sri Lanka who got baptized LDS.

My best friend served his mission in Spain and participated in the teaching and eventual baptism of a group of Bulgarians in Barcelona.

During my mission in Kentucky, I got to teach and baptize immigrants from Cuba.

Louisville, Kentucky was being used as a sort of "magnet city" for refugees and immigrants, especially from war-torn and oppressive nations. In the western metro area of Louisville, there was an enormous apartment complex where at least a dozen nationalities resided. This melting-pot complex was aptly named "The Americana," and provided subsidized housing for refugees.

In the Americana, I taught people from Cuba, Vietnam, China, Bosnia, Croatia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and other African nations.

In Lexington, Kentucky, I ran into a man from the Baltic States and I met a man from either Kyrgyzstan or Turkmenistan (I can't remember which) working as a horse trainer at Churchill Downs.

On the day the US declared war on Iraq in 2003, I was doing Spanish translation at the hospital in Louisville. There was an elderly man there who had just arrived as a refugee from Afghanistan. He had a Moroccan translator with him. While the news of the war was being flashed on the hospital television screen, I asked our Morroccan friend to translate "Welcome to America" to the Afghani man. I wanted him to know that he had come to a (relatively) safe place.

My experience has been that while the opressive nations continue to pass laws to inhibit personal human rights and religious freedoms, the Lord (in His own due time) will bring some of the oppressed out of those nations to lands where where they can receive the gospel. I believe also that many of these refugees' children will grow up in the gospel and be able to return to their native lands (at a future time when the oppressive nations allow it), and preach the gospel to their ancestral people's in own languages.

Many times we can't get our missionaries to them, due to anti-proselytism or other laws. Luckily, the Lord sends many of them to us.

I still have hope for the eventual opening of Cuba, China, Russia, India, some of the Islamic countries, and others.

Until then, the Lord is sending them to us in the US, Canada, Western Europe and other countries with more religious freedoms.

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

Cuba se abre el proximo ano para La Restauracion del Evangelio de Jesucristo. Ojala.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I believe you mean "año". Important distinction ;)

Bryan Dorman said...

Well Putin just signed the bill into law...

Joseph said...

Elder Bednar dedicated Cuba in 2012 and Elder Holland created the second Branch in 2014 https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-holland-creates-second-branch-in-cuba?lang=eng

Eduardo Clinch said...

I don't use special characters on my phone, at least not the Spanish enye or umlots or accents on letters, so the Spanish words are not authentic ad should be written. Interesting side note, in Portuguese they write anno and pronounce it more like the body part in Spanish.
Yesterday was the cumpleanos de mi mama, she served two full time missions, one in Cambodia and the other in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Now working el circuito fel cielo desde 2014. QDEP y mucho amor.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Thank you for posting the article about Cuba, Joseph. I'm excited for the progress I've seen with Cuba in the last decade or so since my mission.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I don't usually bother with the special characters either, but with that particular word I think it's worth the effort to do so ;)

I'm curious whether missionaries will have to be withdrawn from Russia altogether, or find a way to adapt. This seems to have happened very quickly so I wonder if they're suddenly just stuck in their apartments with nothing to do because they can't teach anybody. I know that what Satan intends for evil, God will use for good, and I think this will result in a strengthening of the Church in Russia and/or elsewhere, one way or another. Maybe the congregations will be forced to become entirely self-sufficient and not depend on North American leadership at all. Maybe the missionaries who would have gone there will now be sent to more productive areas of the world. Sadly there are still more people to reach than we have people to reach them.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

From the newsroom:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement Friday, July 8, 2016:

The Church recognizes a new law will take effect in Russia on July 20, 2016 that will have an impact on missionary work. The Church will honor, sustain and obey the law. Missionaries will remain in Russia and will work within the requirements of these changes. The Church will further study and analyze the law and its impact as it goes into effect.

Ryan Searcy said...

Call me pessimistic, but I think we will probably lose half of the mission in Russia.

My prediction of most likely missions to remain, considering geographical regions:

Russia Moscow Mission (Moscow + St Petersburg)
Russia Novosibirsk Mission (Novosibirsk + Yekaterinburg)
Russia Saratov Mission (Rostov-na-Donu + Samara)
Russia Vladivostok Mission

John Pack Lambert said...

From this article [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865657728/Mormon-missionaries-to-remain-in-Russia-despite-new-law-restricting-missionary-work.html] in the Deseret News, at least the one recent returned missionary and the one recent returned mission president who served in Russia are confident the law will not stop any actions the Church is currently conducting. I would have liked to see more comments from actual experts, with the conference on religious freedom currently going on at BYU, in theory it would be possible. Although I can see why Cole Durham might not want his actual views on such a law presented in a way that it could be spun as the Church attacking the law. The law may also make it harder for the Church to expand to new areas in Russia, but even that I am not sure of.

John Pack Lambert said...

India is open to preaching the gospel, but with their low numbers of visas, the Church can not expand very fast at present. With two stakes in the south (or is it 3 now, or soon to be 3), there is hope that the number of Indian nationals serving missions will pick up for more cities to be opened up.

In the case of Cuba, the thawing of relations between the US and Cuba, and the existence of several Latin American general authorities from countries on less unfriendly terms with Cuba, will hopefully allow the Church to establish more of a presence in the near future. The opening of a mission in Vietnam this year was a long time in coming. Evidently the Church was going to open a mission in 1994, but either due to a misunderstanding of what Vietnam would let missionaries do once they arrived, or a decision not to send large numbers of young fulltime missionaries to a country where they would not be able to teach the gospel in an open way in the near future, the Church backed off that plan, possibly because publicity to the planned mission in the Salt Lake Tribune may have caused authorities in Vietnam to back off from permissions they had given before, it is not at all clear, although some of the facts might be clearer in the future.

Myanmar looks to be close to opening up. Although the government there is militantly Budhist, it has mainly saved its religious venom for attacks on the Muslims. There are large numbers of Christians in Myanmar among the Karen, the Naga, and other non-Burman peoples. The Church has a Karen speaking branch in Salt Lake City. This might mean that the Church's intital outreach will be most successful among the Naga, Karen and other non-Burman peoples. However many of these people live in small out-of-the way villages which to be reached will require a different method than what is being seen in India, where most of the Church, except some areas reached early by Paul Thiavadros, is in very large cities. Eastern Malaysia is one of the few places in Asia where the Church has conducted significant outreach to indigenous peoples who have heavily converted to Christianity. Even in the Phillipines the presence of the Church is more heavily in urban areas and among those who have a somewhat Hispanicized culture as opposed to fully indigenous cultural groups. Although if Karen people from Salt Lake City get called as missionaries to Myanmar it will make opening missionary work there more doable. Among the reasons why the Church has not opened missionary work in Indian states like Nagaland and Mizoram, which are 90% plus Christian is because there are basically no Naga or other north-east of India converts elsewhere to send as missionaries. When the whole state of Mizoram has barely over 1 million people and its largest city has just under 300,000 it is hard to see that as a top location to send an extremely limited missionary force to, especially when a city like Lucknow has 2.5 million people and still has no LDS presence, in a state with almost 200 million people and no LDS presence.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Here is some info on the Russian law from a conversation I just had with my friend from Moscow:
Me: "Hey, Nastia! Have you heard anything about the new anti-missionary law back in Russia?"

Nastia: "Well, it's not really anti-missionary, missionaries are still allowed to talk to ppl, they must have certified paper from Church, common ppl can not discuss any religion on the street though. Yeah, I've heard about it before Putin approved it, I even signed a petition against that law. Missionaries still can do their work there, members of the Church can't and Jahova(whatever spell it...) witnesses would have to cut off on their preaching..."

Johnathan Whiting said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnathan Whiting said...

John Pack Lambert, thank you for your research about the church expanding into Cuba, India, Vietnam, etc. I find it helpful.

Mike Johnson said...

I don't think we are going to see a reduction of missions in Russia--largely because the missions are so spread out.

There are 100 congregations in Russia in the seven missions.

Russia St. Petersburg Mission: 10 congregations
Russia Moscow Mission: 22
Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission: 20
Russia Samara Mission: 18
Russia Yekaterinburg Mission: 9
Russia Novosibirsk Mission: 10
Russia Vladivostok Mission: 11

These are small and it is easy to see that missions could have as few as 30 missionaries. Many would be zones in other countries but are missions because they are so far apart.

I also think we should wait and see what the legislation actually means--that seems to be what the Church's response was about and not the doomsday statements from other groups.