Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Stakes Created in Nevada, Uganda, and Utah; District Created in the Philippines; District Discontinued in the Philippines

Nevada
The Church organized a new stake in Henderson, Nevada on January 22nd. The Henderson Nevada Anthem Hills Stake was organized from a division of the Henderson Nevada Anthem Stake (renamed the Henderson Nevada Carnegie Stake). The new stake includes the following six wards: the Amador, Anthem, Inspirada, Madeira Canyon, Seven Hills, and Summit Wards.

There are now 41 stakes in Nevada.

Uganda
The Church organized its third stake in Uganda on January 22nd. The Kampala Uganda South Stake was organized from a division of the Kampala Uganda Stake (renamed the Kampala Uganda North Stake). The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Entebbe, Kabowa, Makindye, Nsambya , Kajjansi 1st, and Mengo Wards, and the Kajjansi 2nd Branch. The Church organized its first stake in Kampala in January 2010 and its first stake in Jinja in late 2015. The number of convert baptisms in the Uganda Kampala Mission has recently increased in comparison to previous months. The mission president noted that there were 200 converts baptized within the last two months of 2016. The Church in Uganda has historically struggled with poor convert retention and member activity rates. Currently the Church in Uganda has one of the highest members-to-unit ratios in Sub-Saharan Africa of 529 members per congregation. The organization of the new stake, the advancement of three branches into wards, and the creation of a new ward in the Kampala Uganda North Stake may signal some significant progress for the Church to achieve better growth in Uganda. Mission leadership has also reduced the number of missionaries assigned outside of Kampala and Jinja in an effort to establish stronger centers of strength in these two cities. There were 14,289 members and 27 congregations in Uganda as of year-end 2015.

There are now three stakes and zero districts in Uganda.

Utah
The Church organized a new stake in St George, Utah on January 29th. The St George Utah Washington Fields North Stake was organized from a division of the St George Utah Washington Fields Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Washington Fields 5th, Washington Fields 9th, Washington Fields 11th, Washington Fields 12th, Washington Fields 13th, Washington Fields 14th, and Washington Fields 15th Wards.

There are now 29 stakes in Washington County, Utah. There are now 584 stakes and one district in Utah.

Philippines 
A new district was created on Leyte. The Hinunangan Philippines District was organized from a division of the Sogod Philippines District. The new district includes two branches: the Hinunangan and St Bernard Branches. With so few branches in the new district, it appears likely that additional branches may be organized in the near future. The creation of the new district comes on the heals of significant boundary realignments with the Sogod Philippines District and the recently renamed Baybay Philippines District (formerly the Maasin Philippines District).

The Camiling Philippines West District was recently discontinued and consolidated with the Camiling Philippines East District (renamed Camiling Philippines District). All six branches in the former district were reassigned to the Camiling Philippines District. Prospects appear favorable for the district to become a stake in the near future. The Church once operated a stake in Camiling between 1991 and 2003. There are now 11 branches in the Camiling Philippines District.

120 comments:

John Pack Lambert said...

The Deseret News just ran an article on Mehrsa Baradaran. She is a law professor in the US state of Georgia whose family joined the Church shortly after coming to the US as refugees from Iran in 1986. They were Muslims. The main reason to run the article was in light of President Trump's orders suspending for 90 days any immigration from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Libya with the exceptions of holders of diplomatic visas and the possibility of more exceptions that at least some have suggested allow granting visas to citizens of those countries who have worked for the US army as interpreters. However to me the interesting point was that the articke was on people who converted to the LDS Church from Islam.

I am also reading Tito Momen's autobiography cowriten with Jeff Benedict entitled "my name used to be Muhammad."

No men was raised in northern Nigeria by a father who named him Muhammad because he wanted him to be the most powerful voice for Islam ever. His father condemned music, art and Momen mentions "honor" killings of teenaged females often happened in his community. He went to a Muslim Brotherhood sponsored school in Syria but was kicked out because he would not tolerate the harsh disciplinary style.

Later he studied at al-Azhar where he eventually was kicked out when he accidentally showed his thesis advisor his notes on his questions about the legitimacy of Muhammad as a prophet.

Earlier while in Cairo Momen had become an alcoholic and a part time DJ in the club scene. Then one of his friends from the club scene when he was recording at the guys apartment told gim he could not smoke. He was surprosed, learned this friend had become LDS, and wwnt to Church. He read the BiBle and Book of Mormon and requesed baptism. During this time his fiancee, a devout Muslim from Sudan who had never approved of the club scene or his drinking, gave him the ultimatum of her or the Bible and Book of Mormon. He choose the later. Initially he was told he could not be baptized but eventually he was although how that was allowed to happen is not explained. I am to the point in the Book where he is trying to escape to Spain with a false identity provided by a friend from Chad.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Deseret News just ran an article on Mehrsa Baradaran. She is a law professor in the US state of Georgia whose family joined the Church shortly after coming to the US as refugees from Iran in 1986. They were Muslims. The main reason to run the article was in light of President Trump's orders suspending for 90 days any immigration from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Libya with the exceptions of holders of diplomatic visas and the possibility of more exceptions that at least some have suggested allow granting visas to citizens of those countries who have worked for the US army as interpreters. However to me the interesting point was that the articke was on people who converted to the LDS Church from Islam.

I am also reading Tito Momen's autobiography cowriten with Jeff Benedict entitled "my name used to be Muhammad."

No men was raised in northern Nigeria by a father who named him Muhammad because he wanted him to be the most powerful voice for Islam ever. His father condemned music, art and Momen mentions "honor" killings of teenaged females often happened in his community. He went to a Muslim Brotherhood sponsored school in Syria but was kicked out because he would not tolerate the harsh disciplinary style.

Later he studied at al-Azhar where he eventually was kicked out when he accidentally showed his thesis advisor his notes on his questions about the legitimacy of Muhammad as a prophet.

Earlier while in Cairo Momen had become an alcoholic and a part time DJ in the club scene. Then one of his friends from the club scene when he was recording at the guys apartment told gim he could not smoke. He was surprosed, learned this friend had become LDS, and wwnt to Church. He read the BiBle and Book of Mormon and requesed baptism. During this time his fiancee, a devout Muslim from Sudan who had never approved of the club scene or his drinking, gave him the ultimatum of her or the Bible and Book of Mormon. He choose the later. Initially he was told he could not be baptized but eventually he was although how that was allowed to happen is not explained. I am to the point in the Book where he is trying to escape to Spain with a false identity provided by a friend from Chad.

John Pack Lambert said...

Sorry about the double post.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am hoping Camiling receives a stake soon. With 29 stakes in Washington County what are the chances of a 2nd temple there?

I am actually becoming hopeful wwme will see temples in both Uganda and Kenya by 2030.

L. Chris Jones said...

I think it will be a while for another temple. But don't doubt it will happen some day. The Cedar City temple which will take over a third of the stakes from the St. George temple, will be dedicated near the end of the year.

coachodeeps said...

@John I read that book several years ago. Amazing story, though read in parts, he doesn't pull any punches.

As for a 2nd Temple in Washington Countyou, I don't think that will happen for some time. The St. George Temple is quite large, can handle lots of people, and is fairly centrally located.

James said...

Amazing Church growth. I have missed out on the discussions here for a little while. I had to focus on several pressing obligations, including some major changes at work. Nothing I can't handle, and all is going well. But I have had to let some things slide for a bit in the process. The Church growth milestones reported here are amazing to consider. No less amazing to me are how fast Church unit changes are noted not only here but also on the LDS Church Temples site. I enjoy reading about such things. That said, a couple of comments I had by way of voicing my opinion in response to those expressed here. In regards to a second Washington County temple, at this point, it doesn't appear imminently likely or possible. As observed, the announced dedication of the Cedar City temple will pull many units away from the St. George temple district. As the Church gets some idea of how busy both temples will be, a second temple would not surprise me. In short, I wouldn't rule it out, but it may not happen for a while. Since the Lord has been known to regularly surprise us in terms of temple announcements, anything is possible.

Thanks also for sharing that most interesting story. In reading accounts of those who have come into the Church by various and sundry means, the one consistent element is, of course, that the Spirit drives such things. The more one opens oneself to the Spirit, the more likely that individual is to not live off borrowed light, gain a testimony themselves, and share that witness with those around them. And it seems to cycle around.

That said, for any who might be interested, I have done a lot of blogging on a wide variety of Church-related subjects since I was last able to post a link to my blog here. Any post views and comments continue to be most welcome and appreciated.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

coachodeeps said...

I find the article on Mormon newsroom about flexibility of missionary schedule interesting.

"Latter-day Saint missionaries typically get up at 6:30 a.m. to exercise, shower, eat breakfast and study before proselytizing during the day. They return to their living quarters by 9:00 p.m. Those hours will now be more flexible depending on the culture of the country where the missionaries are serving."

When my sister served in Chile, they had am adjusted schedule. A friend of mine also did in Guatemala as need arose. So, it seems mission presidents already were doing what was needed. Perhaps this is just the clarification and announcement to the general church population so if they see missionaries working such different hours they will not question the actions of the missionaries.

L. Chris Jones said...

On my mission, I was in one district, that had an adjusted schedule. We had to leave an hour early to be home an hour earier than the rest of the mission. Due to safety issues in that part of the city.

L. Chris Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Pack Lambert said...

The new president of the Finland Mission this year will be a Finland citizen and resident married to another native of Finland. This joins the fairly rare case of mission presidents call to serve over their home mission. As a nation with its own language and only 1 mission Finland represents the most common case of mission presidents presiding over their home mission. On the other hand it has happened even with the Salt Lake City Mission. I dont kbow of anywhere else in the US that a native to the mission living in the mission has been called as mission president yet I know of two such cases in Salt Lake City. Richard G. Hickley and David Christensen tge latter having been the person my mission president had been a counselor to. I can list other cases where a mission president in the US had been a resident of the mission that they presided over although the case I can think of the fastest Elder Ronald A Rasband involves him having moved out of the boundaries of his mission about 10 years before he was mission president.

Eduardo Clinch said...

My northern Virginia ward has a missionary in Finland, and he's 6'9". I hope the Finns look up to him and all to the new mission prez. And all come unto Christ and seek His covenants and blessings.

John Pack Lambert said...

Of the 8 couples whose bios are in this weeks Church News on new mission presidents 1 is Brazilian where the husband is a police man, 1 is the Finish couple where the husband is a managing business partner, 1 is a Peruvian couple where the husband is an institute director who are being sent two Bolivia, 1 is a South Korean couple being sent elsewhere in South Korea where the husband is a Service Center Director for the Office of the Presiding Bishopric. The remaining are all Americans none of whom work for the Church although 1 of those 4 couples lives in Hong Kong so technically those from outside the US outnumber those from in the US.

John Pack Lambert said...

The couple in Hong Kong the husband is a senior vice president with Mattel. There is a couple from Missouri where the husband is a professor at the University of Missouri. He is being succeeded as stake president by another professor there. The Americans from California and Utah are both business people. So only 1 in 8 of the mission presidents announced this week is from Utah.

James said...

Thanks to you all for the interesting ongoing discussion about all of these exciting subjects. I love that mission schedules are going to be more flexible now, though it does not surprise me that some missions were already allowing such flexibility. Thanks also for the interesting insights about mission presidents. I have absolutely loved reading all of these comments.

MainTour said...

And what is the relationship to Pres Steven C Bednar to Elder Steven A Bednar? He's heading to the Pittsburg Mission.

MainTour said...

And what is the relationship to Pres Hales to Elder Hales? He's heading to Lubbock Texas Mission.

James Anderson said...

Bednar is a less common but not a rare surname, there may well be unrelated Bednars elsewhere in the church, same for Hales but I have seen that frequently around Arizona and Utah

R. Jofre said...

I believe a new stake in Chile might be organized from the Ovalle district soon. Two branches were discontinued today, decreasing the amount of branches from seven to five, which could indicate they are getting ready for the upgrade.

John Pack Lambert said...

Any guess as to if Utah will make it to 600 stakes this year?

The Domboshawa 2nd branch was just made into a ward, well actually this probably happened back at the beginning of December when an additional stake was made in Harare Zimbabwe. Domboshawa is a village some 17 miles from Harare. I have not been able to figure out its population. Its economy used to be heavily based on "market gardening" but more recently pottery has come to be one of the activities engaged in. There is also a Domboshawa 1st branch, which appears to have remained a branch.

coachodeeps said...

Looking at the side bar and, unless I made a mistake in counting, last year there were 6 stakes created in Utah, while 3 others were discontinued. Net gain was 3. In 2015, 6 stakes were created, 2 discontinued, for a net of 4. In 2014, 8 stakes were created in Utah, none discontinued, for a net of 8. 2013 saw, 6 new stakes created and no stakes discontinued and 2012 had 2 stakes created in Utah. 2011 had an uptick due to the realignment of the YSA wards.

So, the average net stake creation in Utah seems to be roughly 5 per year. That would mean by 2019 or 2020 Utah will hit 600 stakes. It may happen earlier, especially with the growth the state is seeing lately because of its strong economy and the effect on marriages increasing most likely due to the age change of missionarits. I would say the earliest would be early 2019, last somewhere to the end of 2020/early 2021.

coachodeeps said...

I also find intereating that this year and three years ago, the first stake discontinued was in Guatemala. Also interesting this year is the fact that although a stake was discontinued in Guatemala City, 3 wards were created in areasome near by. Perhaps some population shift is being seen.

Cory Ward said...

Currently there are 11 stakes in the world that have 13 or more wards:
http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/statistics/units/size/

7 of the 11 stakes are in Utah. So, theoretically those stakes could split, creating 7 more stakes. I'm sure there are plenty of other stakes with 12 wards that could be potentially also split this year. However, two of the stakes are Tongan Stakes. I'm not sure the church would be interested in splitting those stakes. But, it's still possible. There could also be more stakes discontinued in the urban areas.

coachodeeps said...

Cory, I can see the Lehi Utah Stake (13 Wards, 1 Branch), Hurricane Utah West Stake (13 Wards), Morgan Utah North Stake (13 Wards), and the Saratoga Springs Utah Stake (13 Wards) being split this year. Perhaps the Orem Utah YSA 3rd Stake (13 Wards) or one of the Tongan Stakes. That would be the 4-6 stakes that seem to be the norm as of late.

coachodeeps said...

Looking further into this, the Morgan Utah stake had 12 Wards. So between the 2 stakes in Morgan County there are 25 wards. Quite reasonable to see 3 stakes created from those 2 soon.

coachodeeps said...

On the other end of the spectrum, each of the 6 Kearns stakes have 5 English speaking wards. Some have Spanish units and one haside a Tongan unit. Seems likely these will most likely consolidate in the near future.

Chapman117 said...

There is a stake center that is almost finished being built in Mountain Green, so the stake split you mention for Morgan county could happen very soon. It is a very beautiful chapel.

James Anderson said...

Kearns/West Valley/Salt Lake below 9th South are places I have been able to give the most missionary pass-along cards, I can't for the forseeable future due to recovery from a stroke that took my right side and that is taking a while.

Pascal Friedmann said...

Actually, a stake in Mountain Green is in the approval stage and will be formed sometime this summer or fall, once another church building in the area is completed. This new stake will take perhaps the western half of the Morgan Valley. There have been some rumors that both Morgan stakes will split this year, but as far as I know, only the Mountain Green one is far along in the process.

All 26 units (25 regular + 1 YSA) in Morgan County are large due to a relatively small number of buildings available, with most family wards counting somewhere between 300 and 400 in attendance each Sunday, some more. I definitely believe that a number of them will split once more meetinghouses are available.

Morgan has also been on my temple shortlist, as it cuts travel time from Evanston by about one third, and also quite significantly from the (also large and likely to split) Coalville and Huntsville stakes. If you also add Lyman and assume two new stakes in the Morgan Valley, you have a potential temple district with 11 stakes. Not too shabby. I know the Church owns plenty of land in the valley that would make for a great site, too.

coachodeeps said...

Thank you for shedding more light on the growth in Morgan County, Pascal. I know there has been quite a lot of population growth in that area, so this is exciting to hear.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Apart from population growth due to cultural and economic reasons in Utah, I have always observed that the Utah missions baptize better than other US missions. This translates to a sizable unit increase per year that might be hard to calculate, but between something like 5-8 missions is definitely a factor of continued growth in the state.
Were people thinking that Indianapolis might create a new stake soon? I have looked at the 3 stakes there and I am not sure about the logistics of that.
Are there other major cities east of the Mississippi that might split? How about more rural parts?
Any thoughts on the guy trying to build the Joseph Smith plat in Vermont? I think the wealth of some Church members has some interesting effects across the world. Hopefully for good. That on the private side; the collective Church efforts undoubtedly have their impact.

Levi said...

Does anybody else feel like there is a possibility of a Hartford Connecticut mission being created sometime in the future. Especially when comparing the Boston and Manchester missions with 5 and 10 Stakes respectively. The Boston Mission also has two temples on its boundaries now too. I therefore think there could be a realignment or mission creation to have a mission in Hartford.

James Anderson said...

A missionary broadcast held January 25th opened with a new current figure for missionariews currently serving, and that is down to 70,854. But that is a seasonal low most likely.

James said...

I see there have been a lot of comments since I last checked here. As far as the comment of how the mission presidents named Bednar and Hales might be related to our apostles with the same surname, the comment was made here previously that, since Elder David A. Bednar is the youngest of 15 children, the mission president of the same name could be one of his nephews. The Church News already ran a biographical profile of the future President Bednar. Without knowing the names of Elder Bednar's siblings, I can't tell for sure how they might be related.As for the relationship, if any, between Elder Hales and President Hales, I happen to know that Elder Hales has two sons. One of them has been either disaffected from or excommunicated by the Church. I don't know about the other one. But Hales is a much more common surname than Bednar. So it could be that there is no relation. And the Church News has yet to publish a biographical sketch of President Hales. Odds are, it could be one of his grandsons, if not a nephew or his other son. Does that help at all?

R. Jofre, thanks for your comment regarding the possible new stake in Chile. It will be interesting to see what happens. John, I have no idea whatsoever if Utah will make 600 stakes by the end of this year. Stake creations have been a common thing for Utah, especially lately. And only 16 new stakes need to be created in order for that to happen. With Utah growth continuing, it could happen. I won't be surprised either way. And as far as the new branch that became a ward in Zimbabwe, that's excellent to hear. I look very much forward to seeing what happens with Church growth this year. I for one am amazed at how many unit changes we have seen this year as reported on this blog and the LDS Church Temples website, and I'm sure that they will continue this year in surprising and inspiring ways.


coachodeeps, thanks for your observations and for that research. I will not be surprised if it takes some years to see 600 stakes in Utah, but I will also not be surprised if it somehow happens this year. Based on Church growth going on worldwide, and with the Lord in control, anything is possible. Thanks also for your musings regarding Guatemala.

Cory, great observations about stakes in Utah. Thanks for that research. It will be interesting to see what happens as the year unfolds. I could, for example, see the Church looking at two or three neighboring stakes, and taking units from each to form a new unit. That is not uncommon. And the intent of the Church in the creation of units seems to be to make them more manageable. FWIW, the last two stakes I have lived in (American Fork East and currently Orem Utah Geneva Heights) have ward boundaries that are hard to understand. There have obviously been very good reasons why the boundaries have been set that way, but some of them surprise me. Can't remember anything specific in that regard, but just wanted to note that. I could see other stakes in the areas surrounding these two involved in splitting off to other stakes. The AF East Stake has 10 wards and 1 branch (at the American Fork Hospital) and all are highly attended. The stake in which I now reside does not nearly have as many units as I thought, but from my cursory study of the other stakes in the area, I could see at least one new stake created in the Orem area in the not too distant future. And I know of many other cities in Utah that have a strong LDS presence. So it could happen.

James said...

coachodeeps, thanks for your additional comments about units in Utah that may be most likely to split. Such information intrigues me. My thanks to Chapman117 and James Anderson, for your additional comments. James, I hope you recover from your stroke quickly. I always appreciate your insights shared here.

Pascal, thanks for your comments about Church growth in Mountain Green. It would be awesome to see a temple there someday. As for my personal opinion on that site for a potential temple, while there may be a very good case for building one, there are other Utah cities (which I have before mentioned) that, due to the number of Church units there, may be much more likely to see a temple before one is built in Mountain Green. That said, I believe such a temple could and will be built someday. But it doesn't seem to be as imminent a possibility as some others that have been widely mentioned. In the same breath, I will fully admit that the Lord has been known to surprise us with where some temples will be built, so it's not out of the question. However, it is my personal belief that it might not happen before some others, particularly a couple in the Salt Lake Valley and one or two additional ones in Utah county. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong on this. And I love to hear of any temple being announced anywhere. I just don't think that Mountain Green is likely anytime soon. I'm sure it will happen someday. I'm just not convinced it might be as imminent as you have indicated. But time will tell.

Eduardo, I don't have a good answer to the questions you asked. But now that I have read your comment, I will do my best to keep my eyes open on things like that and endeavor to find the best answer I can for the future. In the meantime, these developments may be important going forward. Thanks for the tip.

Levi, theoretically, new missions could be created anywhere at anytime. The Utah Salt Lake City Church Headquarters Mission seems to be the only one that was created this year, especially now that the new mission president assignments have been announced and no others were created. I wouldn't rule out the creation of other missions this year, but it seems unlikely that we will see that happen. As far as one being created in Connecticut, that might happen in the future. But given that there are only three stakes in the state, it may not be likely for several years. Time will tell.

James, thanks for your additional comment relating to missionary numbers. Do you know if that number you referenced is as of the end of last year? I am trying to assemble my best researched predictions for what the 2016 statistical report, which will be reported during April General Conference, will look like. So any little tidbit I can get regarding some actual figures would be wonderful in allowing me to fine-tune those predictions. Thanks for any additional insight on that point.

I continue to enjoy following the comments here. And I hope that the insights I continue to share, such as they are, might prove illuminating and inspiring. I appreciate the chance I have to share my feelings and experiences as they related to things shared here. Thanks again to you all.

James Anderson said...

Don't know if the figure I gave was as of a couple days before January 25th or end-of-year numbers, you can see the segment of the missionary broadcast for yourself and maybe pick something out that I may have missed, it's the first segment. Fall into winter sees numbers go down typically but temporarily, most missionaries go out the middle of the year and so it will tend to be higher late spring to late summer, falling off in the fall to erly spring.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

The missula Montana stack will be splat this month, reports our coming in from mission companings and others living in that stack, saying it was announced today.

James said...

James, I will give that broadcast a listen just as soon as I get a chance. But my time on the internet for personal use has been severely restricted lately in view of a tightening of internet use regulations at work and also because my doctors have put a time limit on how much I can use my computer outside of work. So that does complicate things. But I will try to listen to that broadcast if and when I have time to do so. Thanks.

Bryce, I don't know why the typos continue on your posted comments. If it's an issue of autocorrect on whatever device you're using, that's understandable. However, from what I know about autocorrect, it can be set to ignore words like "stake" and "split" without too much hassle. If the issue is something else, then it might be best to see if can be addressed. I now know what you mean when you say "stack" and "splat", but I always find myself cringing when I see these typos, which are hard to decipher for my mind and my eyes. If there's some way that could be fixed, I know I would appreciate it, and I am sure others will too. After all, you have become the object of some degree of teasing here for these misspellings, for whatever reason they might be happening. However, if there is nothing you can do about it, I guess we will all have to live with that. Just thought it would be worth mentioning.

That said, interesting tidbit about the Missoula Montana stake being split. I have no reason to doubt that report. Do you have any indication when that stake split will happen? Whenever it is, it strengthens my case for a potential temple in Missoula before too much longer. I would love to see such a temple happen sometime in the near future, and this makes that possibility even more likely. Thanks for the information.

I love hearing of all of these exciting developments regarding to Church growth. It seems that this year is truly shaping up to be a remarkable one in terms of Church growth developments. It has already been so in a lot of respects, and we are just over one month into this new year. I am trying to keep abreast of all of these developments and report on them on my own blog when I can. I appreciate the ongoing discussion that is taking place on various posts on this blog, and I am so pleased to be a part of those discussions. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute, and hope my comments, such as they are, continue to prove helpful, insightful, and inspirational to most of you. Thanks to you all.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

All I know is it is sometime in February.

John Pack Lambert said...

I hope the Church does split some of the Tongan Stakes. I think 5 to 6 in the Wasatch front would be more reasonable than the current 3.

John Pack Lambert said...

There used to be a Hartford Mission until it was merged with Boston. 2 stakes have been organized since the merger.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Bednar is the youngest of 3 children. He is younger than his oldest sibbling by 15 years.

John Pack Lambert said...

One question worth considering is will a dditional tempkes in Utah be built primarily to ease demand on existing temples or to ease travel times. A demand model would suggest Layton and Lehi as the next two temples to build.

A lessening travel time would put Morgan and especially Price fairly high up on the scale.

David Todd said...

I think as long as we can understand what is being said, there is nothing wrong with typos. For many of us, there could be language barriers and differences of education as well as autocorrect issues as you stated. I don't think it is fair to ask someone to fix these misspellings just as it wouldn't be to ask someone who has a medical condition to get over their sickness for our convenience. If you don't wish to read the misspellings, you can skip over the posts, much like I do on occasion with other long, irrelevant comments on here. If you simply can't understand what is being said, then just ask and I (or someone else) will clarify, as I have never had trouble understanding the comments anyone has made.

And please, if possible, let us treat each other kindly. We never know the situation of an individual that is coming here. They might desperately need something that makes them feel like they are contributing or need friends to talk to. We don't have to agree with other people's opinions or ways of doing things to be kind to them.

James said...

Bryce, thanks for getting back to me on that. I will be most anxious and excited to hear of developments as they happen on that front.

John, your comments continue to amaze and inspire me. I also hope for more Tongan units to be organized soon. I had several Tongan people in my neighborhood growing up. They are wonderful Church members. A couple of them were among my many youth leaders. I was also not aware of the previous existence of a mission in Hartford. I hope such a mission does come back at some point, though, as I said, that is not very likely to happen this year.

And, as I said, it is very possible that the mission president Bednar could be related to Elder Bednar. He could be a nephew, if nothing else. It seems that in certain situations, near relatives of current general authorities make good candidates for large-scale Church assignments. I am not saying that I believe nepotism is or should be embraced or encouraged by the Church. Rather, my point is that it is a testament to the goodness of those who bear such names that they are being called on their own merit by the Lord, and not on the coattails of those family members who are General Authorities. Hope that makes sense.

Layton and Lehi do seem to be the two most imminent candidates for the next Utah temples, and they are the only such Utah cities on my list of most likely future possibilities. I have heard from others who favor other big cities in Utah, and I will not say that such cities are any less likely or less deserving of such temples. And Morgan and Price would make sense in light of the reasons you have suggested. But Layton and Lehi do seem sufficiently grounded enough in terms of Church presence above and beyond any other Utah cities to qualify them as the most likely options. I would never object to being proven wrong about this. In fact, I love it when the Lord constantly reminds me that the way He actually does things is so vastly different form the way I or anyone else thinks they should be done. So time will tell. Thanks again, John!

Gnesileah said...

I echo David's message. We don't know the personal situations of everyone who contributes comments to this blog. We should consider that perhaps it is a miracle that a certain individual is even able to comment at all, if we knew their medical history. We cannot assume anything. If there has been any teasing or unrighteous judging, then it needs to stop.

I was in a training course for work last week, and we each had to describe a pet-peeve of ours. One of the instructors said his pet peeve is when he realizes that he has made a judgement about someone. None of us are in a position to judge another. It was a good reminder.

Gnesileah said...

Steven C. Bednar, the newly called president of the Pennsylvania Pittsburg Mission, appears to be a nephew of Elder David A. Bednar. According to the Church News biography, Steven's father was Richard Lee Bednar. A Richard Lee Bednar (1938-2003) appears on Find-a-Grave, listed with the same spouse from the Church News biography -- Saundra Knudson Bednar. His parents are listed as Anthony Richard Bednar and Lavina Whitney Bednar.

According to Elder Bednar's official biography on LDS.org, his father was Anthony George Bednar and Lavina Whitney Bednar. FamilySearch's Family Tree uses the Anthony Richard Bednar variation, so there might be a typo in Elder Bednar's official biography, but the rest of the information matches.

James Anderson said...

Another entry for that Bednar grave, this time from BillionGraves, shows GPS as well, all graves on this site have that to reference the site and help people find it easily.

https://billiongraves.com/grave/Richard-Lee-Bednar/35971#/

Gnesileah said...

James, I love that GPS feature!

David G. Hales, newly called president of the Texas Lubbock Mission, is the fourth cousin, once removed of Elder Robert D. Hales, their common ancestor being Stephen Hales (1791-1846), who joined the church with his family in Canada in 1836.

David Glen Hales > Glen Herbert Hales > Francis Herbert Hales > Albert William Hales > Stephen Alexander Hales > Henry William Hales > Stephen Hales.

Robert Dean Hales > John Rulon Hales > John Knowles Hales > Stephen C. Hales > Stephen Henry Hales > Stephen Hales.

Gnesileah said...

Coincidentally, I am also a fourth cousin, once removed of Elder Robert D. Hales, our common ancestor being Aaron Benjamin Cherry (1801-1864), who joined the Church in 1845 in Nauvoo.

Gnesileah said...

A comparison of unit growth during January for the last three years. While this year so far appears to have just 1/3 the total net unit growth captured by this time during the two previous years, there are so many factors and variables behind these numbers, that these numbers are not concerning. Additionally, further unit changes that occurred last month could still trickle in during the next several weeks.

January 2017
New Wards 29
New Branches 18
Branches Upgraded 13
Wards Downgraded 1
Wards Discontinued 20
Branches Discontinued 20
Net Change in Units +7
New Stakes 5
New Districts 1
Discontinued Stakes 1
Discontinued Districts 1

January 2016
New Wards 35
New Branches 20
Branches Upgraded 26
Wards Downgraded 2
Wards Discontinued 23
Branches Discontinued 11
Net Change in Units +21
New Stakes 9
New Districts 2
Discontinued Stakes 1
Discontinued Districts 2

January 2015
New Wards 26
New Branches 10
Branches Upgraded 5
Wards Downgraded 0
Wards Discontinued 12
Branches Discontinued 3
Net Change in Units +21
New Stakes 2
New Districts 1
Discontinued Stakes 0
Discontinued Districts 1

Gnesileah said...

I suppose a better way of analyzing net unit growth is to differentiate between wards and branches, rather than lumping them together, like how contributor Ray F. used to report them. (Hi Ray!)

January 2017: +21 w /-14 b
January 2016: +36 w /-15 b
January 2015: +19 w /-2 b

Gnesileah said...

The Church Almanacs reported the stake (not district) discontinuation dates, but sadly the Almanac hasn't been published since 2013. I imagine that CDOL would give the dates, for those that have sufficient system permissions.

From my own cuff record, the discontinuation dates of stakes and districts since 2015, are as follows:

Salt Lake 1st Stake March 8, 2015
Seoul Korea Gangseo Stake April 26, 2015
Portland Oregon East Stake July 12, 2015
Salt Lake Wells Stake September 20, 2015
Covina California Stake (Spanish) November 1, 2015
San Cristóbal México Stake November 1, 2015
Boise Idaho South Stake November 29, 2015
União da Vitória Brazil District February 8, 2015
Trenque Lauquen Argentina District April 12, 2015
Mildura Australia District April 19, 2015
Erfurt Germany District April 26, 2015
Teófilo Otoni Brazil District May 10, 2015
Calabozo Venezuela District May 10, 2015
Bintulu Malaysia District July 5, 2015
Odessa Ukraine Tsentralny District July 12, 2015
Limón Costa Rica District July 26, 2015
Ayaviri Perú District September 13, 2015
Paterson New Jersey District September 20, 2015
Johor Bahru Malaysia District September 20, 2015
La Unión Chile District September 27, 2015
Salt Lake Sugar House Stake January 10, 2016
Magna Utah Central Stake April 17, 2016
Moscow Idaho University Stake April 24, 2016
Yerevan Armenia Stake May 1, 2016
San Diego California Sweetwater Stake June 12, 2016
Salt Lake Monument Park North Stake June 12, 2016
Anyang Korea Stake September 4, 2016
Suwon Korea Stake September 4, 2016
Titicaca Bolivia District January 3, 2016
Los Lagos Chile District January 24, 2016
Barrancabermeja Colombia District February 14, 2016
Puerto Suárez Bolivia District February 21, 2016
Kuriva Papua New Guinea District May 1, 2016
Brno Czech District May 15, 2016
Tubai Australes District July 17, 2016
Talanga Honduras District August 7, 2016
Calabria Italy District October 23, 2016
Guatemala City Alameda Stake January 8, 2017
Camiling Philippines West District January 8, 2017

James Anderson said...

Just in: Arequipa Peru Temple groundbreaking, to be held the same day Rio's is.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/arequipa-peru-temple-groundbreaking-date?__prclt=TeeTQEty

L. Chris Jones said...

Awesome, thanks for the update James.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Thinking of distances for convenience of attendance, maybe a temple on the other side of the lake in Saratoga Springs or Eagle Mountain might be a better place for a temple than Lehi, since much of Lehi is so close to American Fork?

Speaking of temples, I love the picture of the Taipei Temple at the back of the Ensign this month. The temples overlooking valleys are fantastic, like the Draper Temple, or perhaps the one in Honduras. Maybe Cochabamba also does this.

Utah, the Mountain of the Lord.

James Anderson said...

Another interesting fact about Taipei, it was built on the siteof an old jail. A couple others were built on the site of former sports facilities, and Frankfurt was said to have been built where a noodle factory once stood.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Freetown Sierra Leone Stake is up to 11 wards and a branch. This means it has enough units to be split. The Kossoh Town District, about 10 miles from Freetown has 8 branches. The Kissy District, named after a neighborhood in Freetown, has 9 branches. I could see Sierra Leone having at least 4 stakes by the end of the year, and predict a temple will be announced before 2020, probably in 2018.

John Pack Lambert said...

To follow up on David Todd's comment above, I wish there was a way to edit a post after making it. I guess I really should be slower to post so I make sure I say what I want to. I know I can delete the post and then make a similar one, but I still wish there was a way to edit after posting.

John Pack Lambert said...

James I assume your Tongan youth leaders were attending English-speaking units. I also assume the same for Coach Kilani Sitaki, especially since he has an Anglo wife. There was a sister here in the Detroit Mission, Sister Mele Vanisi, who I think ended up being in two different wards I lived in while she was a missionary. She was Tongan but from Salt Lake City and had graduated from the same high school as President Monson (a lot latter though), but I do not for sure if her family went to an English or a Tongan unit.

I guess my point is that having Tongans thriving in the gospel and having specifically Tongan speaking units are two different issues.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

I just noticed Billings 3rd stake in the list of new stakes is there any news on that I would love to know, because that would be great to have two new stakes in Montana at the same time.

John Pack Lambert said...

One of the new units listed on LDS Church temples dot com today (in the Aboisso Ivory Coast District) was formed way back on December 4th. So it is too soon to list final numbers for January. That puts Aboisso to 10 branches (1 a district branch). Aboisso District was only formed on Febuary 14th of last year.

Other exciting developments include a Spanish-speaking branch in the Indepdence Missouri Stake.

I had also missed that Matagalpa Nicaragua had gotten a stake. With so many stakes formed in Honduras last year, plus 1 in Honduras and 1 in Nicaragua this year, I am hoping a temple for Nicaragua is imminent. Still the Tegucigalpa Temple covers 40 stakes and 9 districts with 28,000 square feet while Aba Temple has 42 stakes and 16 districts with only 11,500 square feet. Both temples have a set of two-stage ordinance rooms and 2 sealing rooms. I assume the ordinance rooms in the Tegucigalpa Temple are larger, but I don't know if they are well over twice as large.

It would make guessing new temples a lot easier if it was possible to get ordinance capacity estimates on temples. The basic square footage of temples is in a few cases misleading because some have assembly rooms that are not generally used, some temples have cafeterias, laundry facilities and such. Also two-stage progessive, five or so stage progressive as in Salt Lake and Manti, and fixed one room endowment processes all mean different amounts of capacity with the same space. Also, while in general the celestial room will be larger with a bigger temple, the exact proportions are probably not even. Of course there are estimated capacity for endowments, sealings, baptisms/confirmations and initiatory, and while bigger temples generally have higher capacities for each one of these, my impression is that baptistry capacity does not always go up quite as much. On the other hand, the endowment is by far the longest of any of these processes, so that complicates these calculations as well.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the other hand there is probably a maximum possible number of live endownments a temple can process at once. Live sealings where both parties have previously been endowed probably have a maximum process limit as well, but I am guessing not quite the same level.

This makes me wonder if in October 2011 when President Monson announced the plans to build the Provo Utah City Center Temple he already knew the missionary age reduction was comming and that such would put higher demands on live ordinances for Utah temples. Alternately the level of endownments performed by BYU students with a much higher percentage of the female students endowed is probably up.

Of course, even if President Monson did not yet know that the missionary age would be lowered, Jesus did, and he was setting in motion things in his Church so that the work would move forward in an orderly way.

Susan said...

I just heard from a friend in the Missoula Montana Stake that the stake will be split on February 26. This was announced in at least one of the wards in the stake yesterday. Exciting news for Montana! This could increase the likelihood of a temple in Missoula!

Bryce .Gillespie said...

I know the Missoule stake was going to be split a couple of years ago but at that time they did not of the numbers to do it, it's so great to see it happening now, I can't wait to see it.

coachodeeps said...

Gnesileah, thank you for the dates on the districts.

Gnesileah said...

I am in Billings, and so far no one I know has heard about a possible third stake being created here. My bishop and I were recently discussing this, and he said we were still about 500 people short to split on our own. If the split is happening, they must be taking a unit or two from a neighboring stake. As it is, the two Billings stakes are split in a very nice geographical division, with Billings proper being in one, and Billings Heights being in the other. I personally believe that a new stake would concentrate on the new growth in western Billings, and would be called the Billings Montana West Stake. But that's just conjecture.

Several of our 11 wards are large enough to split, but we are maxed out on meeting space. We have a new meetinghouse under construction (in western Billings), and the Stake President has stated that he expects a couple new wards to be organized once that building is operational.

We have also heard about the new Missoula Stake to be organized on February 26th. Like Bryce said, they have worked hard for several years to get to this point. Exciting! Former missionaries received reports that a temple site had been acquired for future use near Frenchtown.

Bryan Dorman said...

San Cristobal in Mexico was the result of deciding to split the stake which had humonguous geographical boundaries into two districts to lighten the travel load for the district leaders.

Branches have been formed in the Comitan district since the change as their focus has been on establishing the Church in outlying areas of the district (Comitan proper has two, maybe three branches that would be wards in any stake).

San Cristobal also has a similar issue, as they are trying to expand the Church into many outlying areas too, while trying to grow the more established branches into wards. The three San Cristobal branches are all ward-sized. Ocosingo is just about there though they need a little more priesthood. Then you would need a fifth ward sized branches that would probably form out of the three existing branches in San Cristobal.

Yajalon is supervised by Ocosingo as is Oxchuc to the west. Teopisca is supervised by San Cristobal, and Elambo is supervised by Jovel.

The Chojolho district is special in itself as it is the only non-Spanish district in all of Mexico (the area speaks Tzotzil a Mayan dialect). It too has been growing very nicely, with some of the branches at or near ward size. Such is the case in Chojolho, Pom, Tepeyac, and Pantelho (Porvenir). Chenalho needs to grow more and there needs to be a bit more expansion into Larrainzar and Mitontic, but they too are growing within the existing Chenalho branch (though they are not groups yet).

I see all three districts becoming stakes within 5 years.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

That's what I thought about the Billings 3rd maybe it was just a typo on Matt's end, or he may know something that we don't.

L. Chris Jones said...

There is a press conference by the first presidency going on. I can't watch it. What is it about?

James Anderson said...

I think I have a formula for capacities for temples.

The ordinance that takes the most time is the endowment. In family history matters, it has been found that names sent to the temple file have the baptisms in a week or two, and initiatories a few weeks to a month or two later.

But it is the endowment that is the bottleneck. Three years average for male names and one year for female names. This all may also be true for names the temple provides, as only a handful of temples are 'self sufficient', that is, all names for all ordinances are provided by members, whether the member does his own family names or not.

To calculate this, first find a photo of an endowment room for that temple, one is usually posted as part of tne announcements and press releases regarding the open house. Enough shows to make a near-accurate count as to how many seats there are.

Multiply that number by the number of sessions a day a temple runs. That wikll be the theoretical maximem, since that is rarely reached as middays on weekdays are lightly attended due to school, work, or other things.

Sealings are harder to determin a theoretical maximum. That is because the number of names and the mix of sealing to spouse and sealing of thiden taken into the session, and the number of sealing sessions which take about an hour but can vary slightly, varies. Live sealings can vary very widely and that can mean differing numbers of sealing sessions per day.

I did hear a figure recently that at Provo City Center, technically about 2/3 the size of Provo, does an average of about 700 male initiatories a day, but that varies within a range.

L. Chris Jones said...

I read an update on the press conference. It seems they are expanding the BYU Pathway program.

James Anderson said...

Two sources on bYU Pathway Worldwide: First announced in June of last year at the annual Seminary and Institute training (available at seminary.lds.org) and more fleshed out today (with more to come) in a Facebook broadcast that may also show up on Youtube. The FB broadcast was on the Mormon Newsroom FB page, and President Uchtdorf spoke as part of the announcement.

L. Chris Jones said...

KSL.com, abc4.com, desnews.com, sltrib.com, localnews8.com, eastidahonews.com. etc. All show the story with video. Deseret news seems to have the most on the new pathways worldwide program. The Idaho sites may show more after the new BYUI president announcments later this afternoon.

James Anderson said...

That should just be happening as today is devotional day and it is usually at 2pm local time

L. Chris Jones said...

Henry J Eyeing will be the new BYUI president beginning in April.

James said...

David, thank you for your most valid points about the circumstances of people who post here. I certainly meant no disrespect by anything I have posted here. I recognize that the various things I have said here have not been met with the same degree of appreciation by all who read them. I do my best to try not to judge people or make assumptions or insinuations about the motivations, actions, and words of others, because I have been on the receiving end on this very blog of some most vicious, vituperative, and unfeeling comments from others who misunderstood, devalued, or downright overlooked and ignored what my experiences have been, and it has been said that I should wake up and get some real world experience. It absolutely breaks my heart to think that I might have offended someone through my thoughtless comment. Bryce has been a most valued and valuable contributor who regularly and frequently posts comments to both my own blog and this one, and I hope I did not offend him or anyone else with my thoughtlessness. Thanks for the call to repentance. It was timely and most desperately needed.

Bryce, I always learn so much from your contributions, and you have greatly added to my continuing expanding knowledge of what's going on with the Church. I couldn't live with myself if any thoughtless comment of mine has driven away any desire on your part to contribute whenever you feel you can.

The same holds true for anyone else who might have been offended by my thoughtless comment. I reiterate what has been expressed here so well by so many others and would like to join in the call for civility and kindness in this public forum. If doing so clearly brands me as a hypocrite, I will take that chance.

James said...

Gnesileah, thanks also for your observations in regards to that subject. I have not said much in any public forum about my physical conditions, but I feel inspired to do so now. At birth, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus (water on the brain). One of the very first doctors my parents took me to see advised them, "Take him home, and simply love him. He will never amount to anything more than a limp noodle on the sofa."

Because my parents had considered their attitude towards my condition, they felt that this advice was not medically sound or, perhaps more importantly, in line with the Lord's will. So, they went to work raising me and giving me the best care they could afford. I have accomplished much and have defied the odds over and over again.

My physical situation is such that there is not a day that goes by when I am not in a great amount of pain. I have been told (but cannot verify this) that what I would term as being my regular headaches are what others describe as their worst migraines. And I have a growing list of other health conditions that have also complicated my life of more than 30 years.

Because of the precariousness and unpredictability surrounding my physical condition, I go to bed each night not knowing how highly I might be able to function the next day, assuming I am able to do anything at all. That said, the Lord has blessed me to continue to push and encourage myself to accomplish what I can.

I have been advised in my patriarchal blessing to lift and encourage wherever the opportunity arises. I try to do that as much as I am able to, and sometimes I do better with those efforts than I do at other times.

Though I do my best to work for the maintenance of my wife of almost 7 years and myself, the living I provide her is not nearly enough for our support. In an effort to bring in more money, I have been trying (not successfully so far) to launch a writing career. I am hoping at some point to get my first book published. Right now, it's a work in progress.

I have also been keeping my personal blog for a while now, which has become more and more lately another place where Church news and developments, especially those present and future milestones happening with temple construction, can be discussed, not to the scale of success Matt has, but I still have a better following than I ever could have imagined.

In fact, I have been told by those who would know that this labor of love I maintain and update frequently has lately become one of the top Google search results for such developments. And I was able to have my first written work published in the July 2015 Ensign. It appeared in the Young Adult section and was titled "Christ Has Felt My Pain."

So that's more of where I have been coming from. Because I have been subjected to so much unkindness and negativity (even at times here on this blog), I am very reticent to pass judgement as a general rule on anyone's motivations or character. With all that in mind, I cannot look on my previous comment without flinching, and to have it preserved on this thread is a blot on my own character that I cannot remove.

But I have chosen to preserve it so that others might see how well the people on this blog have defended those I unwittingly have attacked, degraded, and ridiculed. My hope is that anyone reading this thread will think twice, as I failed to do, before criticizing others. If that can be the result, then my error, such as it was, will not have been made in vain.

James said...

With all that said, (knowing full well that few might ever read such a long comment, if any do at all), that is interesting about how the new mission presidents with the same surnames as Elders Hales and Bednar are related to them. Thanks for the research. Family history is, admittedly, not one of my strong points. I need to get back into all that but haven't made the time to do so.

That said, I did find the BYU website "Relative Finder" to be interesting and intriguing. Through that, I have learned that I am indirectly related through various family ties to several of our current apostles. I was so excited about those results and that website at one point. Mentioned it on Facebook. That was before my blogging days. Can't remember when exactly, but I was most intrigued by the information. If any of you have not signed up to use that, it's a great program.

Gnesileah, your comments about Church growth developments continue to amaze and inspire me. The analysis of the past growth in January was most helpful and informative. Out of curiosity, where did you find the dates when those stake and districts were discontinued? I would be most intrigued to hear. Neither this blog nor the LDS Church Temples website seems to have the specifics you have given here. That said, I am perfectly willing to admit that others might have access to that information that I do not. Thanks for sharing all of that.

James said...

Eduardo, please believe me when I say that you are not the first to suggest SS/EM over Lehi as the best candidate for Utah County's next temple. Let me share with you some facts I know about what makes Lehi the most likely contender for that honor. My arguments in favor of Lehi go much deeper than the fact that Lehi needs a temple more than SS/EM because of the political leanings and (to a certain degree) outright corruption of the leaders of that city or the fact that it is my wife's hometown. Lehi is the fastest growing city in the area covered by the Mount Timpanogos Temple. In addition to having the most units within the temple district (aside from the temple's home city), Lehi also is the city designated as the home base for the area's YSA stake. Add to that that a great deal of land is in development in Lehi, bringing more Latter-day Saints to the area than those in SS/EM. One area of development, which may be the most likely place for such a temple to be built, is within the parcels of land once owned by my father-in-law, which he handed over to the city in a business deal. I could see the Church acquiring some of those same plots and building a temple there.

That said, I know that there may be factors of growth happening in the SS/EM area of which I may not be aware. But the case of a temple in Lehi seems to be strong, and, along with Layton, Lehi ranks as the other city most likely to be where Utah's next temples might be built. I welcome any and all disagreement on that line of reasoning. But it seems to make the most sense.

I also couldn't agree more, Eduardo, regarding your comment on the beauty of the many temples being built worldwide. I'm sure the Lord will continue to surprise us a lot with the location and timing of temple announcements.

James and John, thanks to you also for your thoughts. James, thanks for the tidbits about temple sites. John, given what I know about the growth that is happening in Sierra Leone, it would not surprise me at all to see a temple there announced this year. It has been on my personal list of most imminent future possiblities for a while now. I look forward to seeing that happen, whenver it does.

John, I also agree with your idea that there needs to be a way to edit posts after making them. I have a very bad habit of opening my mouth and sticking my foot right in it, as demonstrated here more than once. I also know that we had some Tongan people in my ward, as I have before noted, and some of them served as my youth leaders. I remember a particular dressing down I got from one such brother when, as a teacher's quorum president, I had been having a really difficult issue with most of my presidency following through on their assignments. I used one meeting as an excuse to give those boys a first-degree lecture. I spared no words. Afterwards, my advisor took me aside to remind me that what I had done was not in keeping with the Lord's way of leading by love and example. I have tried to remember that lesson in my ongoing conduct with others. As noted above, I fail all too frequently, but it still left an impression on my mind.

Bryce, in response to your inquiry about the new Billings stake, I agree with you. It is a monumental milestone. That said, I do know that the Church rarely (if ever) hands out information about units that will soon be created. Not a name, no information about the units that might be involved, nothing like that. Perhaps that is because Matt, with the inside track he has that is sufficient to warrant noting it on his list, simply has not found enough information out about that. I am also not sure if the Church ever makes things like that public beforehand, except to the units that might potentially be involved. It will be interesting to see what happens there. And any way you slice it, it is significant.

James said...

John, thanks for your additional intriguing comments regarding unit growth. A temple in Nicaragua is another imminent possibility, in my mind. One of the apostles (Elder Nelson, if memory serves) proposed such a temple a while ago. I also know and fully recognize that a temple proposal says nothing of its near future likelihood or imminence. But the unit growth there seems to indicate that it will happen sooner rather than later. Thanks also for your observations about the activity level of temples, which is indeed a good indicator of how feasible or necessary other temples in nearby cities might be.

As to your comments about whether the prophet had any idea or inkling that the change in missionary age would be coming a few years after the announcement of the new temple in Provo (which is one of the only temples in the US that does not have the state in its' official name). Since I know from my extensive study of the lives of the brethren that some matters come up for discussion and analysis several years before an official decision is made, I think that the change in missionary age does fall into that category. Another prime example would be the rescinding of the priesthood restrictions. The removal of the ban had been discussed at least as early as during the time of President Lee, and the Brethren had seemed to be united in the decision to do so, but the report goes that one apostle was not present for the discussion of that decision and voiced his opposition to it when he was consulted. Because of that one apostle's reservations regarding the proposed action, it was not taken at that time. But later, when the Lord had released both President Lee and the opposing apostle from this life, the matter was again discussed during President Kimball's tenure. The Brethren at that time voiced unanimous approval for lifiting the restrictions.

James said...

Susan and Bryce, thanks to you both for your expressions of enthusiasm for the splitting of the Missoula stake. As I have previously noted, someone, in commenting on my blog, reported to me the account of how Elder David A. Bednar, on assignment to a stake conference in the area, had proposed a temple in that city. The nature of the account, which has not been verified, has left some doubting that such a proposal was actually made. I for one believe the report, and the idea may be to increase the number of stakes and spread out the units more in preparation for such an announcement. Next to Bentonville Arkansas, which has had land procured for a temple site for a while now, Missoula may be the #1 most likely possibility for a temple in the United States (not including Utah in that assessment).

Gnesileah, thanks for what you shared about the growth in Billings. I know that not a lot of information is available in terms of the stake to which Matt referred, but there must be sufficient grounds to assume it will happen. If that was not the case, Matt would not have listed it. I look forward to seeing what happens there. And thanks for your report on how a temple site had been acquired for future use in Missoula. That strengthens my notion that an announcement there may be more likely than anyone has been previously led to believe. Might not happen for a while, but a site purchase has to be a good sign.

Bryan, thanks for your comments about Mexico. I can see why Matt has had a temple for Puebla listed for a while. I hope it happens. I also hope we will see many more temples in Mexico. Bryce, Matt has the same inside track about stake creations that governs the information found on the LDS Church Temples website. Both are inspired labors of love maintained by people who know more than we do on those subjects. James, thanks for your formula on finding out temple capacities. If such a formula could be applied to temples worldwide, that would be a much clearer indicator of how likely future temples might be in certain areas.

It is a great indicator of Church growth that the BYU-Pathways Worldwide Program has been announced today. It gives someone like me, who never finished my secondary education, hope that it could happen sooner rather than later. And the announcement of Henry J. Eyring to succeed Clark Gilbert as the president of BYU-Idaho is inspired. The son of Henry B. has a long history of service to BYU-Idaho, in addition to having family ties to the institution. I have heard from some who claim that Henry J.'s appointment smacks of nepotism. But I don't buy that. He got there strictly on his own merit and achievements and has followed in the footsteps of many ancestors who have been renowned educators. I'm sure in the case of Henry J., his father approached that the same way President Hinckley approached the appointment of his son, Richard, as a General Authority.

That said, just by way of information, I have done several blog posts recently. Most have been about temple-related news and developments. But some of them have focused on Church news such as those items announced today. I invite all who might be interested to check out any posts that strike your fancy. Feedback continues to be welcome and appreciated. Follow the link below to visit. Thanks for letting me comment so extensively. I hope I haven't bored anyone, and that none of my comments were out of line or burdensome.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Bryce .Gillespie said...

Having sarved in many of the wards on the west side of Billings I could see the need for mere wards, as will as a 3rd steak over by the temple there is a lot of active members moving in all the time, that and with what has been in the past 20 + baptisms a month, it wouldn't take long to get the 500 members needed, it seems like I remember talking to the stake prisdent one time about something like that, and if I remember right the 500 mere members number was talked about then as will and that was about 2 years ago. I could be wroung, but there is a need for a 3rd stake on the west end

David Todd said...

James, I certainly was not meaning to address my previous comment only to you. I think we can all use the reminder.

Gnesileah said...

James, thank you for sharing your personal story. Your life is a miracle. Thanks for all the good you are doing.

Credit goes to Rick for reporting on discontinued stakes and districts. The dates I have may not be entirely accurate, as Rick doesn't actually list discontinuation dates like he does with unit creation dates. So instead I assume the stake or district was discontinued the Sunday preceding the announcement on his website.

Gnesileah said...

I want to express my appreciation for the work Matt, Rick, and David do. I think much of the appeal of their sites is they provide Church growth information that extends beyond what is typically reported through official Church channels.* There is a thirst for this kind of information, and their platforms go a long way to quench it. We have to acknowledge too that the Church hasn't always been of a fan of these sites. Remember when Rick shut his site down a few years ago after finally relenting to the Church to do so? They wanted everyone to just use MormonTemples.org instead.** I would LOVE for the Church to operate a website on temples, statistics, and unit information as informative as Rick's, but the truth is, the official site is chronically outdated and provides minimal information. I imagine that missionaries are tasked to keep MormonTemples.org updated and current, but they may not always have the time or resources to accomplish that, and there appear to be lengthy gaps between meaningful updates. Waking up that morning a few years back to the news that Rick's site was gone was a major let down for me. A few days later, he chose to put the site back up. I am glad he did. The site is a force for good in the world, and certainly never attempts to undermine or out-do the Church. Rather, it compliments existing Church-approved channels.

(*For example, the Church News doesn't even report on all new stake creations, and many of those that do get reported are several months after the fact. I once spoke with Church News Editor Gerry Avant about this, and said I could count 16 stakes that had been created in the preceding 13 months that had not been announced in the Church News yet. She responded that they only publish new stake information received from Church headquarters, and not through members or others who happen to know about the new stakes.)

(**A temple construction missionary I visited with once had been sending construction progress pictures of his assigned temple to Rick's site, but had to stop because the Church told him to. He was then only allowed to submit pictures to MormonTemples.org instead, but they only used 2 or 3 of his photos, rather than the dozens Rick had on his site. It was slightly upsetting that MormonTemples wouldn't post the additional pictures.)

Gnesileah said...

Some of the critics or "on the fence" observers of the Church use Matt's blog (and Cumorah.com) to point out unflattering Church growth issues. I appreciate Matt's (and David's) attention to these issues, for the benefit of us active and Gospel-loving members. We often hear Church members (and the media) make statements that we are the fastest growing Church, or have the most successful missionary program, or statements like that. But these statements are generally not reflective of reality. Matt and David's analysis on these issues, and of other Churches like Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh-Day Adventists, puts into perspective where our Church actually stands on such claims. And I think it is important for our Church members to understand these opportunities for improvement, so we can increase our efforts to help grow the Lord's Kingdom, according to His will, and not sit on our laurels assuming that the stone cut out without hands will continue to fill the whole earth without our active participation. (Well, the work will progress regardless if we choose to get involved, but I think it will progress further if we put our shoulder to the wheel too.) Not that we need to be the biggest or fastest growing Church (we know that won't happen before the Millennium), but that we are united as a people in our quest for Divine approval of our sincere efforts to be obedient and faithful servants.

L. Chris Jones said...

What is David's site?

coachodeeps said...

Chris, I am sure David referred to above is David Stuart from cumorah.com wits whom Matt collaborates with on many occasions. That show is a great resource and the efforts of all are appreciated.

coachodeeps said...

*that site, not the show, is a great resource. Sorry.

Bryan Baird said...

Though not "officially announced" President Gordon B.Hinckley did mention a temple for Nairobi, Kenya during his first visit there,but they also had to prepare for it as well. But with the growth in that area, I think a temple for Kenya could be "officially announced" within the next 2 or 3 years.

TempleRick said...

Thanks, Seth! I really appreciate your comments. You're the best.

John Pack Lambert said...

Jupiter, Florida at the very north end of the Miami Metro Area just got a Spanish branch. I think this brings to +2 Spanish-speaking units in the US so far this year.

John Pack Lambert said...

Comitan just got an additional branch. I hope it becomes a stake soon. I also wonder if Caborca along the northern boundary of Mexico, not far south of Nogales, has a chance of becoming a stake. I know Elder Hugo Montoya of the 70 grew up there.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually in the Detroit Temple the day time weekday sessions are often much better attended than the night time week day sessions. I have been bumped out of a reserved spot during a day time session but never had this happen to me during a night session. It helps there are only 4 daytime sessions, 2 on Thursday and 2 on Friday, and each night of the week has 1 with two on Friday.

John Pack Lambert said...

Well OK, not each night. Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night.

James Anderson said...

The Utah county temples are all running at or near capacity. Provo Cit Centeris only less than a year after it opened. Provo already has come back and that is running at very near capacity again. As noted earlier, Mount Timpanogos is at capacity and that is now confirmed, and Payson is also nearing capacity.

Something is going to happen, if not this Conference, maybe one of the next few.

Bryan Dorman said...

Comitan has six branches and I believe a group. The Distrito Comitan FB page has a picture of a Primary class being held in a town called Rodolfo Figueroa southeast of the city.

The three branches in Comitan would be wards within a stake. Two of them WERE wards when the San Cristobal Stake included Comitan (now it is the San Cristobal district--done to ease geographical burdens on the leaders). The Las Rosas branch, Comalapa branch, and the new Flor de Mayo Branch are still branch size though Comalapa would be close to ward size.

More expansion is needed. Margaritas would be a good start (though the majority of that area goes to one of the Comitan branches already).

San Cristobal has four branches, three of them ward size and the remaining branch (Ocosingo) near ward size. Multiple groups exist in Elambo, Teopisca, Oxchuc, and Yajalon.

Chojolho District has 5 branches of which four are near ward size. All of them are Tzotzil speaking.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Is Tzotzil anything like Nahuatl?

Matt said...

No, Tzotzil and Nahuatl are not even in the same language families. Only Tzotzil has LDS materials translated. Visit this page on cumorah.com for more information on Amerindian peoples in Mexico: http://cumorah.com/index.php?target=view_case_studies&cat_id=7

Bryan Baird said...

Maybe a temple might be announced for Orem or maybe Sprinville

John Pack Lambert said...

I expect a temple announced for Lehi, but that would only really relieve Mt. Timpanogos. I think Springville/Mapleton or maybe Spanish Fork will also get a temple, Springville most likely.

Johnathan Whiting said...

My prediction for the next temples in the Utah Valley are Orem and Lehi/Saratoga Springs.

Springville/Mapleton area would be nice, too, as it is an area that was founded by some of my pioneer ancestors. Several trees planted in Mapleton by my Great-Great Grandfather, Edwin Whiting, are supposed to still be standing, and Whiting Campground in Maple Canyon was named for him and his family.

For more info: http://www.edwinwhiting.com/index.php/where-he-lived/springville-utah/82-springville-utah-driving-tour

James Anderson said...

If announced, I think it will be Orem. Lehi too.

The temple district for Provo would then take back the YSA stakes that Provo City Center has, and the Orem district would take most of Orem and possibly be extended north to 16th or 20th North.

Lehi would take the areas west of the freeway in AF or nearly so.

Bryan Baird said...

Since there are districts next to each other in the Philippines, couldn't they combine those districts to make Stakes

James said...

David, whenever my comments run on too long (as they far too often happen to) I know that I have been all too quick to justify their length while also being sharply critical of well-meaning people on this blog and being worried about the potential effect lengthy or unkind comments have had on other people. I have often forced myself to take an absence from this blog whenever I have felt that my comments might have created a problem. Thanks so much for the reminder that we all need to be kind. It is desperately needed. I do apologize to any who might find my comments too lengthy, boring, or not appropriate to the relevant subject.

That said, in the interest of being considerate of how my comments affect others, I have found it best to refer to this blog and the LDS Church Temples website, especially lately, by the entity rather than by person. I would hate to think that any comment of mine might create problems in any way for those who run such sites. Referring to the work rather than the person seems to make more sense. Just a suggestion, for what it's worth. I know no one means anything by personal mentions, but I prefer to leave no room for any issue.

I have found that the sites report much more updated information than anything available in any other source. And I appreciate how seriously those who operate these sites take their duty to keep us updated on such developments as they happen. That's all I will say in that regard.

Bryan, as I have before mentioned, Kenya has been on my list of near future possibilities for several years, and that is largely due to reports on this blog and elsewhere on the growth in that nation. I would put such an announcement as more of a likely possibility to happen than within two or three years. I would be surprised if it didn't happen by the end of next year, truth be told. But time will tell.

As before mentioned by me as well, Lehi seems like the next most likely possibility for a temple in Utah County. It won't surprise me if another city gets one first. That has been known to happen. But it is a great candidate, for reasons I have before outlined. The same holds true for Layton in its county.

Lehi and Layton seem like the most likely possibilities for Utah's next temples, but other cities won't surprise me at all either, including those repeatedly mentioned here and on my own blog. And John, I have before (perhaps on this very thread) made my case for why I think Utah County's next temple will be built in Lehi. Time will tell. We might know the answer by this time two months from now.

I would love it if a temple were built in Orem. That is where I now reside. But its close proximity to the three near the area (the two in Provo and the one in American Fork) make it not very likely.

I look forward to all such developments, and you can count on hearing about them as soon as I can make it happen on my own blog. My thanks to all who are contributing so much to these important discussions.



James Anderson said...

James, did you see the post about the video from Rootstech near the end of the comments on the 'Correctios' post? That is all major stuff and clearly to me has ramifications in regards to temples and future announcements, especially more of them. For if they succeed with the new program and plans outlned in that video, we could see a jump in activity at most if not all temples.

That activity along with other factors will likeky kead to moretemples, some renovations to possibly expand smaller temples particularly the late-90s smaller temples, and quite possibly the addition of more hours if they can get more workers.

James said...

I saw your post and the link. I have yet to have time to view the video. But now that you have shared that it might have information that will be interesting to me specifically in terms of the focus of my blog, I will make it more of a priority. I might be able to get to it tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder. I appreciate it. That said, I hope you were not responding to another James here. But since my blog name is just my first name, I have no doubts that your comment above was directed to me. Let me know if I am in error. Thanks again.

James Anderson said...

Since it had to do with family history work, and that the main focus was going to be the taking of names to the temple ultimately, and that it was mentioned the possible number of ancestors collectively current Church members have, I think that although it hass more to do with what consultants will be doing in helping members to that end, it well could result in the need for more temples in a few years especially if the effort really takes off under the new programs they are testing and which were in part outlined in the video. And the new reports available to leaders in LCR.

Didn't know there was a second James on here, that is interesting there was no way to distinguish between the two.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Thinking about the complexity of native American languages, has there been much analysis or research as to which ones might be closer to Book of Mormon peoples? I plead ignorance to such matters.
I do think some American indigenous bear little connection to Lamanites or remnants of Nephites or Mulekites. But there must be a few, now mixed with many Latinos or even Polynesian islanders or Filipinos.

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Eduardo:

A lot of informal research has been done about the possible connection/similarity between the Micmac Indian language and the Reformed Egyptian from the Anthon Transcript.

Here's an example of that theory: http://bookofmormonevidence.blogspot.com/2016/09/native-american-egyptian-hieroglyph.html

As far as Native American heritage as it pertains to the peoples of the Book of Mormon, here's an official article on DNA evidence from the Church's website: https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-and-dna-studies?lang=eng&old=true

And here's one from an independent source: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/DNA_evidence/Geography_issues/Haplogroup_X2a

As far as the language of the Book of Mormon goes, many scholars (or enthusiasts) I've read up on try to first point out the Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon (such as chiasmus, as pointed out by John Welch), and then try to show how those or other Hebraisms are present in Native American oral or written traditions.

Eduardo Clinch said...

That's funny (cool): I found out 4 1/2 years ago that I am 1/16 Micmac. My dad found out more of the mysterious ancestry through his estranged biological father.
My daughter said she wanted to go to Nova Scotia to be with "our people". ☺
BYU basketball made history last night. I saw tweets of non-members, including African-Americans, who were supportive and said notably (assuming not LDS ThrillBarton): "Tonight we are all BYU".
Earlier in the season commentators were marveling at RM star Erik Mika, remarking that more coaches would like to send their big men to Italy for 2 years if they would end up playing like him. Future pro and public missionary.

brycen said...

The Micmac (not their preferred spelling) were mostly found in northern New England and are now mostly in eastern Canada. I looked them up because in an old Disney movie, Those Calloways, set in Vermont, the main character played by Brian Keith had been raised by Micmac Indians.

I would not expect the language closest to the Nephite tongue to be in that region. Based on many geographic analyses of the Book of Mormon, I would think that studying native languages from Mesoamerica (southern Mexico and Guatemala) would make more sense.

Former BYU anthropology professor John Sorenson wrote a big book going through all the major geographic descriptions in the text of the Book of Mormon, and finding a good fit for the Nephite cities in the state of Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico. In fact the cities of Ammonihah and Sidom, where the men cast out of Ammonihah fled, would both be very close to the temple in Tuxtla Gutierrez if his geography is correct. I'm not saying he was right about everything, but in my opinion that is the best place to start doing such language studies. Many, many other LDS scholars agree that that region is most likely where most of the events in the Book of Mormon took place, even where they have slight differences in their correlations.

I understand that people with Native American blood want to feel some personal connection with the people of the Book of Mormon, probably for the same reasons I feel tempted to bring up LDS pioneer ancestors in conversations. Ultimately, though, such personal connections can be a distraction from what's really important (I include myself in this reminder).

brycen said...

On an unrelated note, I wonder if we'll have any new temple announcements for the United States. If I have figured it out correctly, it's been 4 years since the last such announcement (Cedar City, in 2013). I can't help wondering if there's a reason why everything announced since then has been outside the US. I know temples tend to be built more quickly in the country, so there's a big backlog in non-US temples, but is there another reason? Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Anyway, we'll find out in April. I definitely expect at least 2 or 3 more temples to be announced then. We've had new announcements every year except one (2014) since President Monson has been the prophet. That seems to be the new pattern since the 2-year hiatus in announcements: announcements in April of 3 - 5 new temples, and none in October General Conference. If we have more announcements in April, it will make three times for this new pattern.

David Todd said...

There are lots of scholars who have tried to map out the book of Mormon. Probably the best argument I ever came across was that the Sac and Fox tribal groups of the Midwest are descendents of Lehi. There are several scriptural and scientific arguments for it, but as was said before, it should be taken with a grain of salt. It should not be a priority to prove the book of mormon as much as to gain a testimony of it.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I think the linguistic relationships prove more interesting than the geo-locational ideas, like figuring out how the Basque language is such an outlier in Europe and the rest of the world.

I wonder if the languages of the states of Chiapas or Oaxaca or parts of Guatemala could have any connection to Semitic patterns, thinking how Nahuatl is apparently not like other extant languages of today. Fascinating.

My good friend who is going to write a book about the southern Mexico region, was captivated by a book about the Hopi as a young man, and how much of their symbolism and sacred beliefs had corrolaries to temple rites and other private practices that he knew of. He said it changed his view of the world, which is amazing. He now is a Chinese expert but has strong contacts with Guatemala and that part of the world.

Johnathan Whiting said...

@ brycen:

While I appreciate John L. Sorenson's scholarly research and opinions about the Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon, I don't fully agree with it.

In the last couple of decades or so, a growing minority of LDS scholars and enthusiasts have indicated that their research points towards the Midwestern and Eastern United States, including the Great Lakes region and the area of the ancient North American Mound Builder civilizations as the setting for much of the Nephite and Lamanite geography.

There are many theories for the location of the Book of Mormon setting being explored, and the book is certainly not closed on this matter.

See the following article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited_geography_model

Other than Professor Sorenson, other notable LDS Scholars who've held differing views on this matter include the following:

Hugh Nibley: "The Book of Mormon is a history of a related primitive church, and one may well ask what kind of remains the Nephites would leave us from their more virtuous days. A closer approximation to the Book of Mormon picture of Nephite culture is seen in the earth and palisade structures of the Hopewell and Adena culture areas than in the later stately piles of stone in Mesoamerica." (As well as other statements.)

Joseph Smith: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposed_Book_of_Mormon_geographical_setting#Joseph_Smith.27s_statements_regarding_Book_of_Mormon_geography

As well as others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited_geography_model#Great_Lakes_setting

As far as "people with Native American blood want to feel some personal connection with the people of the Book of Mormon" goes, I am one of those people with Native American blood who feels a personal connection to the Book of Mormon. I have Mohican tribe ancestry, and I feel I am a descendant of Father Lehi. I will continue to feel this way until a Prophet (not just an LDS scholar or professor) states conclusively that North American Indians are NOT descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites.

As far as a Prophet's statements about North America being the setting for the BOM, and the North American indigenous peoples being related to the Book of Mormon peoples, I tend to side with Brother Joseph's own statements on this matter:

"Wandering Over the Plains of the Nephites:" http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2015/05/wandering-over-the-plains-of-the-nephites/

The Zelph Account: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelph

North American Native Americans referred to as "Lamanites:" https://history.lds.org/article/doctrine-and-covenants-lamanite-mission?lang=eng


Johnathan Whiting said...

@Eduardo:

Speaking of the Hopi, you may be familiar with a site they hold sacred: Chaco Canyon.

https://www.exploratorium.edu/chaco/HTML/canyon.html

It is essentially one large temple/sacred site whose buildings correlate with many astronomical cycles, built over hundreds of years.

There have been a few documentaries about it (including one narrated by Robert Redford). I'd recommend checking them out if you want your mind blown.

Mike Johnson said...

I wouldn't rely on wikipedia to arbitrate the debate on Book of Mormon geography.

I keep an open mind on all three of the major theories: Heartland, MesoAmerican, Peru/Andes. I like when all advocates put forth their case for their model but don't like when they try to disparage another model. Usually in doing so they argue past the advocates of the attacked theory pointing out as discrepancies things easily solved in the other models.

After many decades of personal search for Book of Mormon geography, I came to the conclusion that if God wanted us to know, he would have told us. And maybe he doesn't want us to know because victors tell the story. If we knew some area was Nephite, the legends about them would undoubtedly have been very negative, because those were the stories told by the Lamanites at the time.

Looking for language matches, remember what Moroni wrote after the Nephites were destroyed: "And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech." (Mormon 9:32)

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Mike Johnson:

I appreciate your point of view.

I mostly was citing Wikipedia for its easy-to-reference lists of the different theories, and not as an end source in and of itself.