Saturday, April 29, 2017

Second Stake in Liberia

The Church is organizing its second stake in Liberia this weekend according to multiple reports I have received. I have not been able to confirm which district is advancing into a stake, but it appears that it will be the Monrovia Liberia District. The Church reestablished a stake in Liberia in November 2016. There are currently three districts and one stake in Liberia.

I will provide more details on this new stake, as well as other new stakes and districts recently organized in the last couple months, within the near future. I have not posted about new stakes and districts organized in March and April as I am still awaiting details on congregations within several of these organizations.

102 comments:

John Pack Lambert said...

Is Sierre Leone still at only one stake? It is interesting that Liberia is getting a 2nd stake before Sierra Leone. Still, Sierra Leone appears very close to getting a 2nd stake.

I am hopeful to see a temple for either Freetown or Monrovia announced by April 2019, maybe even next year. This area seems to be just a little behind in Church growth than Kenya/Uganda. However There has not been a stake for as long a continous time as in Kenya. Also, the distance to Accra is not as insanely far as the distance to Johannesburg. The time/resource commitment to get to the temple may not be much less though.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Salt Lake Tribune just published this http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5211762-155/patricia-quijano-dark-dear-pioneers-bienvenidos?page=2 opunion peace that shows how little accuracy matters in opinion pieces. I am not sure an article could be more wrong.

To claim that Utah was "part of Mexico" before 1847 is to accept at face value the imperialistic visions of European and neo-European states. Mexico never had any control or authority in what is today Utah. The Shoshone, Ute, Goshiute, Paiute and other peoples in the state in no way accepted Mexican control. There were not Mexican settlements. There were at times in the north of Utah British and American fur traders, some especially of the British Metis or even full blood Irioquois who acknolwedged British overlordship. While Britain never formally claimed as far south as Utah, it came closer to having actual control than Mexico ever did.

Next the article makes the false claim the Mormon colonies in Mexico were formed by people who rejected the end of polygamy in the Church. This is just plain false. First off, polygamy was only first denounced in 1890. The Mormon colonies had a stake by 1888. This shows a total lack of understanding history.

Beyond this it was not until 1906 that people began to understand the end of polygamy as an actual theological change as opposed to accepting the force and power of the US government against it. This is a messy era in some ways. The polygamy issue is probably over emphasized in the founding of the Mexican colonies. If the people were fleeing something it was prison sentances for not renouncing their families and their covenants. I say this seriously, if a man would renounce his families in court he would not go to jail.

Next, the article is wrong on the modern state of the colonies. Even 30 years ago well informed observers pegged Anglo Mormons as about equal in number to Latino Mormons in the area. While this may be the demogrpahics of parts of Provo, Utah in the Freedom or Provo South Stake, they are not the demographics of anywhere called "suburban Utah". Beyond this, considering that most of the people with Mormon colonial roots are farmers and ranchers, this is not the stuff suburban Utah is made of, with its track housing and lots of people in computer industry related jobs.

Then we have the most bizarre claim of all, that the first non-US temple was in the Mormon colonies. I am not sure how such a false claim got in print. The first non-US temple was in Cardston, Alberta, Canada and built in 1921. The next came in the mid-1950s in Switzerland, followed shortly by temples in England and New Zealand. It was not until 1983 a temple was built in Mexico, and that was in Mexico City. The Mormon colonies did not get a temple until 1998. The legacy of faithful saints who would die rather than denounce their faith like Rafael Monroy, and the tireless work done by people with no Mormon colony connection like Agricol Lozano is way too downplayed in this article.

Lastly, the attempts to downplay Cinco de Mayo seem to have more to do with trying to call Americans stupid than anything else. Cinco de Mayo came about as a major holliday because people of Mexican descent in the US did not see it making sense to celebrate national independece in a new land. However the celebration of a victory in the war against the French invasion and by the forces allied with Benito Juarez made sense.

It makes all the more sense for Mormons because Benito Juarez pushed through the reforms in Mexican law that made it possible for Churches other than the Catholic Church to be established. The fact that it was PRI politicians who looked to Benito Juarez as their political father who outlawed foreign priests in a way that made it for a time that the Mexican mission had to be based in El Paso should not cause us to distrust Juarez for his actions.

John Pack Lambert said...

OK, my dates were off. The first stake in Mexico was formed in 1895. However the settlement there began in 1885, 5 years before the Manifesto. The first stake president in Mexico, Anthony W. Ivins, only ever had one wife. This leads to the conclusion that people need to question weather going to Mexico was as motivated by polygamy as some have claimed.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Carston Alberta Temple was dedicated in 1923, not 1921. That does not change the fact that it pre-dates any temple in Mexico by 50 years.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was off on Colonia Juarez. That temple was dedicated in 1999.

Bryan Dorman said...

Mexico has history in the Church precisely dating back to the Colonies of the 1880s (though precisely Ivins who would be one of the first missionaries sent there by the orders of Brigham Young, ten years earlier. Even in 1881, there was the dedication of all the land of Mexico for the preaching of the gospel as the Apostles Thatcher and Ivins climbed up Popocatepetl Volcano to deliver the blessing.

Juarez did a lot of good on the religious freedom issue. He was excommunicated for it from the Catholic Church.

Cinco de Mayo is not even celebrated in most of Mexico. But I am happy that Americans celebrate it because the French invasion of Mexico was an excuse to eventually go up into the southern USA along with Britain in order to maintain the split between north and south (as the Civil War was in full swing in 1862). It is celebrated where I live, in Puebla, because that was where the battle was fought against incredible odds. The forts stand to this day on the east side of town.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I wonder why it takes so long to get information about some of these units. Stakes created in Africa sometimes take several weeks to show up, for example, but it's not like church leaders in Africa don't have phones and internet access like everywhere else in the world. It seems to me like once a stake is organized the area authorities or somebody would just submit it to the official database or whatever and that would be that. (You can tell I'm not super knowledgeable)

Recently I created a Facebook group to support people going through faith crises. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1431808850211922/ Its relevance to church growth is that I hope it will be able to prevent some from going inactive or resigning. If/when they do leave anyway, I hope it can at least help them let go of their negative feelings and not fight against the Church. It's not off the ground much so it's much too early to tell whether it will become a miracle or a disaster...

Michael Johnson said...

New stakes are wards are submitted by the stake clerks.

Michael Johnson said...

John, both the colonies in Mexico and Cardston, Alberta, were founded at a time when the US federal government was putting a lot of pressure on the Church. This was largely because of polygamy, but it was also a time when state and religion was being separated throughout the country--the 1st Amendment prevented Congress from creating an established church for the US--but states had established religions and there were mixed government and religious institutions (for examples Oregon State University and Auburn University, which were removed from religious control about this same time).

The Mexican colonies and settlements in Alberta were not to get away from the Church cracking down on polygamy, but they were to escape the US federal government.

james anderson said...

The stake president(s) involved in creating a new ward or stake submit it to Church headquarters after preparing the paperwork according to what I think is found in Handbook 1,. The stake ckerk would be prepared by the stake clerk then the stake president would submit it.

Cory Ward said...

I found interesting the interview with Elder Wilson of the Temple Department with East Idaho News. He was rather open about the process of selecting a location for a temple and how the Temple department works with the First Presidency.
https://www.eastidahonews.com/2017/04/east-idaho-newsmakers-mormon-temple-dept-executive-director-elder-larry-wilson/
What was most interesting was that he shared the church has a list of 80 locations that will be suitable to build a temple in the next 15 years.
I'm sure that Sierra Leone and/or Liberia are on that list. So I guess we can all start to guess that is on that list.
I think the number could also help with future temple predictions With this number, it seems to indicate around 5 temples will be announced every year. I think the church prefers to have a backlog of 25-30 temples. However, there are also many more temples closing for renovation, so I don't know how that would affect things.

John Pack Lambert said...

No US state had an established Church in the formal sense of the term after about 1832. In the 1870s there was an attempt to ban government funding to aid religion, mainly inspried by anti-Catholicism. The whole line of "seperation of Church and state" was put in supreme court jurisprudence by a former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon who had sworn thousands of KKK members to uphold the "eternal seperation of Church and state". This was also at heart an anti-Catholic move.

In the context of Utah politics, the goal was to try and destroy the individual political rights of Mormons. That is why the Salt Lake Tribune and other anti-Mormon interests got pushed through the denial of women the right to vote. If there was any fairness in remembering past misdeads, the Salt Lake Tribune would have people demanding it apologize for its actions on this front, something it has never done.

Unlike other colonized peoples, the suppression of Mormon politcal rights in the late 19th-century are largely celebrated by professional historians. Nathan Oman is one person who bucks this trend, but he is a legal scholar, not a historian per se. He also stood up for Hobby Lobby in that case, rare amongst legal scholars who are more and more against religious freedom.

OC Surfer said...

2 new stakes created today in the Houston TX area....

John Pack Lambert said...

Today began the Palmer Park Branch meeting in the Southfield Building. I sat in the Sunday School class hour meeting where they strategized how to make sure no one missed Church due to transportation issues.

The closes one can get to the chapel by bus is about a mile and a half away. Well, on Sunday. On weekdays one could get about a half mile away. I have to second Sister Raymond of the stake relief society presidency in her comment that the meeting showed the gospel in action. I felt a spiritual confirmation that the gains from added time together would stengthen the branch.

In Southfield Ward meeting our stake president said that for the last three quarters Palmer Park Ward has had an attendance of between 40 and 45 in sacrament meeting. Southfield Ward has 185 or so. Sterling Heights Ward has more, and the highest in the stake, although I do not think he gave the exact number. Walled Lake Ward is second. It however is possibly the youngest ward with lots of young families with several children, so high attendance is not the same as lots of adults. Bloomfield Hills Ward which was once the powerhouse ward of the stake has less attendance that Southfield Ward. Bloomfield Hills has the highest median age in Metro-Detroit. That ward has such high priced real estate that not many young families can afford to live there.

In talking to my girlfriend she expressed the view that the Church should have a bus or a few vans, have full-time missionaries drive them, have fixed stop times, and in this ways get people to Church. While it sounds good, and I might have praised it in theory before going to the Palmer Park meeting, after going to the meeting I think that their way will work.

A few thoughts, before the meeting I would have pegged the issue as people in the city not having cars, and suburbanites giving rides. After the meeting I realized it was more complex. Multiple people in the part of the ward north of 8 mile either don't have a car, have had their car die, or are no longer in good health enough to drive. On the other hand some members in the city have cars. Although a few drive cars without insurance, which generally works in the city but not so much if you cross 8 mile.

Bryce said...

@Cory Ward: Thanks for the news link, enjoyed watching the interview! Had to hear Elder Wilson mention the 80 potential locations for myself to believe it, pretty amazing.

John Pack Lambert said...

Two new stakes in Houston, that's great. Are these the first new stakes in Texas this year. I suspected after last year we would not see much growth in Texas this year in stakes. A new stake unually is the product of long term growth.

Here in Detroit mission our baptisms are up significantly year to date over last year. Member referals are not driving it. However I would not take as negative a ciew rowards member involement as some of the missionaries seem to. In Southdield Ward our most recent convert had received lots and lots of fellowshipping. It would be nice if members gave lots more referrals and I could so much better. However I have to say strong fellowshipping into the Church is in the long run more important.

TempleRick said...

Elder Wilson also mentions that the Pocatello temple is expected to serve 22 stakes. So, it should take in all of the Blackfoot stakes and the Malad stake. Even five years into operation, the Brigham City temple still requires appointments because of the high demand. So, it makes sense to move Malad to Pocatello in that regard. He says that both Pocatello and Saratoga Springs should be larger temples, using Meridian as an example.

John Pack Lambert said...

With another ward formed in Port Harcourt, Nigeria I was trying to qork out if we might see a repeat of Brazul where the Sao Paulo and Campinas Templea are so close. Also since the capital city in Abia stste has seen congregation growth.

I dont see it happening though. Campinas Temple to Sao Paulo Temple is 64 miles. Provo to SLC is only 47. Provo to ogden might be the Sao Paulo to Campinas model. Lagos has a population size rivaling Sao Paulo but no where in south east Nigeria does.South east Nigeria (Rivers, Abia and a few other states) may have the highest percentage of Church members in continental Africa. They may well exceed the percentages in Brazil but not the sheer numbers.

I still think that the next Nigerian Temples will be in Benin City than Lagos in that order. Port Harcourt to Aba is 38 miles so less than Provo to SLC but more than Provo to Jordan River Temple. So the day may come when both cities have a temple, but I dont expect that day anytime soon although it does depend on if the growth can keep up.

L. Chris Jones said...
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L. Chris Jones said...
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L. Chris Jones said...

I wish I could edit instead of delete a comment. That video interview on eastidahonews.com was very interesting and insightful. I was amazed that the temple department has about 80 proposed temples in the next 15 years. I tried to think up a list of possible places and can't begin to fathom that many. With effort I could stretch my list to around half that number. I wonder what you all would think the next 80 temples could be.

coachodeeps said...

Matt's list of potential temples from March shows 45 potential temples along with Pocatello and Saratoga Springs. I am sure the Church is looking at several sites within many of these same areas to get to 80 sites. For example, Layton/Kaysville's potential temple could feasibly be built in 4 to 6 sites.

Bryan Baird said...

I think the next stake in Liberia (of course this is my guess) would be the Paynesville Liberia Stake from Paynesville Liberia District which has 10 branches
For Sierra Leone would be Bo Sierra Leone Stake
Kissy Sierra Leone Stake
Goderich Sierra Leone Stake from Freetown Sierra Leone Stake
A new district could be Makeni Sierra Leone District

coachodeeps said...

Of course, I may have understood the statement wrong and it really is s list of the next 80 temples. If that is true, that is truly an amazing number. The church is looking ahead to amazing potential growth. I am sure as the work expands into more areas of the world the list for potential sites would continue to grow ever longer. I would love to see the list.

Michael Johnson said...

It appears that the Church is looking for three Bo stakes in the near future.

Eduardo Clinch said...

If 80 temples are slated for the next 15 years, I would hope that at least 3-4 would go to Chile and Argentina. There are huge distances involved and substantial membership that needs injections of Gospel strength, which includes temple motivation and activity. I think West Virginia qualifies, or will qualify for getting their membership closer, and quite a few island nations should, hopefully Puert Rico.
India and Papua New Guinea, of course. Still hope for Russia, such a huge nation and so many people.
I am thinking Bolivia and Venezuela could use second temples as well. Mexico at least 3-4 more.

Alex said...

So the Area Presidency invited us and the nearby stake to sing in a Cultural Celebration on around August. An Apostle will also visit and this is in celebration for the 100th Stake of the Philippines. Considering our stake will be reorganized with other stakes for the creation of Mandaluyong Stake this month of May, between May and August at least 3 stakes will be created or organized to arrived on our 100th stake. Exciting times.

John Pack Lambert said...

Alex that is great news that the Phillipines will make it to 100 stakes.

On another note YSA unit developments reported today show expanding trends. The Cambridge Massachusetts Stake finally got rid of its single student ward and converted it to a YSA ward. There aee still I believe two student at least mainly single units in Michigan and a few elsewhere. It has been now about 6 years since the vast majority were converted to YSA units although how much really changed varried a lot. I am guessing some on campus BYU units are virtually the same under the new system. Off campus areas saw varrying levels of change depending on how much the local stske had a YSA unit. Salt Lake County I get the impression saw lots more change because some people commuted very long to be in UofU student wards.

The other change was the rename of the unit in Nashvilke stake from Green Hills YSA to Nashville YSA. Since the decision to name YSA units with YSA as part of the name there has been a trend to name then for cities or even larger geographical areas when this reflected their coverage. The Hillstreet YSA Ward in Ann Arbor named after the street the institute building is on where it had not met for 8 or more years at rename time was renamed the Ann Arbor YSA ward for example. I still think Bloomfield Hills YSA should be renamed Detroit YSA. I also think Bloomfield Hills stske should be renamed Detroit North Stake and Westland Stake renamed Detroit West Stske and Grand Blanc Michigan Stake renamed the Flint Michigan Stske. I dount any of these events will happen in the near future though.

John Pack Lambert said...

The way things go in Sierra Leone and Liberia the Church might split Paynesville District first. The issues of splitting are complex. I know some members in Detroit feel the split up with growth goals in rhe mid-1990s was about the worst thing possible.

The issues are complex. For one thing people shy away from admitting that the law of chastity is a harder sell in Detroit. They fear being called racist. However the reality is you have 14-year old girls in Detroit cohaabitating with men in Detroit, maybe not often but it happens. True the only person I knew at my suburban high school who had a child in high school was a church member, and I first learned this interacting with her at school not at Church. This was when there were less than 20 Latter-day Saints in a school of 1500. There was another Church member who got married the summer after graduation. She may have been pregnant when she got married I almost heard a rumor of this, and they have a child who may be that old but I only vaguely keep in touch and have not done the deep math.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the otherhand my girlfriends daughter had a child at 14. She basically stopped coming to Church when the leadership in their branch, which mainly lives in the suburbs although by area, population and baptized membership it is mainly in the city, which in this case are also code for black and white, my ward not on either side although our city whites are definately lower class, the ward boundaries does havexhigh class suburban blacks but we dont have such members unlike say Troy Ward. Other than maybe the one child whose single mom is an immigration attorney and whose dad is from Mali. I know enough to not have ever asked the mom if she was married to the dad. I am not sure the dad is still alive.

To be fair on my mission the people we taught who were in violation of the law of chastity were of all ethnic backgrounds. It would be a hard sell among most American college students of any race. On the other hand I have seen long married black couples get baptized. The guy I knew in Sterling Heights Ward who was coresident (I dont know about cohabitating) with his ex-wife was white. Well then there was the divorced couple that moved into the ward co-resident. That sort of boggles my mind same with my brother-in-laws brother who moved across the country and stayed living on the same house as his ex-wife.

John Pack Lambert said...

While there are higher cultural issues with the law of chastity in African-American culture I do not think that is per se a major hurdle. There is a much lower raye of committed relationships in part due to high rates of male incareration, in part due to other factors. Thus when teaching lower class whites and Hispanic missionaries will often have to get couples married before baptism in the African-American community this is less often an option.

Here in Metro-Detroit this has often lead to much higher rayes of African-American women than African-American men joining the Church.

The hope at times has focused on the rising youth. Most African-American youth raised on the Church seem to have moved away to Utah, Idaho and Arizona at least those who have remained active in the Church. That's what has happened to the African-American youth from my ward in almost all cases. OK this is a sample of about 4 or 5 but still.

John Pack Lambert said...

That would be great. Although it might be like Freetown and see the one stake exist for multiple years while there is one or more districts on the city. A very different model than say New York Stake in the 1930s. However the Church on the eastern US was largely built by and for Utah transplants who could afford cars. It was not until the 1980s that the Church really began concerted outrwach to the inner city poor in north America north-east those too poor to own cars. Some urban areas and student wards were exceptions before this but the 1980s was when such efforts really kicked off.

There is a feeling by some members of the Palmer Park Branch that the leadership that shut down the Palmer Park building did not consider the transportation issues enough and maybe an unspoken feeling that if the stake presidency was not all suburban whites things would have happened differently.

However considering Brother Louis was on the high council and I am sure the bishopric was also consulted I am sure the transportation angle was weighed.

The 1st counselor in the staje presidency grew yp in the city of Detroit. His Dad was a police officer so they provably always had a car. That was back when there was a law making all Detroit employees live in the city. There are some neighborhoods that crashed when that law was repealed and the police and fire employees fled to the suburbs. So in his neighborhood that many may have seen little poverty. Still he went to at least public high school, although it was Renaisance High School, where you have to pass an asmission test and maintain good grades. Back in the early 1980s I believe the rules may have been more stringent than at present. So not the rough underbelly but still probably seeing a lot.

The other counselor was assigned for a time in some capacity to an urban branch. These people know the issues of travel in Metro Detroit especially our divided bus system that even the suburban part has cities occasionally exempt themselves out of in moves that are hard to not see as racist desires to keep blacks out. Many black people fear to cross 8 Mile because they think they will get arrwsted or beat up by the police. Southfield is less black than Ferguson Missouri was. It does not even matter how well founded these fears are, they stop some movement. Many white peoplee will not cross 8 Mile fearing they will be mugged or worse. In Church related blacks have suffered some of the firmer whiter almost never the later. Although I only know some of the former and do not know any details. I have been pulled over in near Detroit suburbs. Twice for speeding although in one case it was I think more because my car was beat up in the front and the other time it deal with an insanely low speed limit on an overpass that is built like a freeway overpass. The third time or was because I missed a no turn in red sing which is all the more annoying because I am often too cautious about such.

John Pack Lambert said...

One final thought, once while leaving the stake center on the run down beat up truck my parents let us use my brother and I were followed and eventually pulled over by the police. The officer had followed us aceoss two municipal lines before pulling us over. He claimed he did it because we looked back at him too often. He also said something about robberies in the area, basically implying that since we were in a junky car we were likely robbers. This attitude would be seen as racism in most cases if the junky car drivers had been black. I only have a hazy memory of the incident but believe I expressed frustration with it, possibly in a tone that would have gotten me a beat down from the officer had I been black. Part of me wishes I had tried to see if someone would let me be a key figure in bringing a suit against Bloomfiekd Hills for violating religious freedom in harassing Church goers.

While this does not show racism and my girlfriends roommate among other African-Americans regularly go to tje YSA branch in Bloomfield Hills, irmt was still offensive. So wasmy gf's rm's refusal to drive my car when it was beat up in the grounds that as a black person she woyld get pulled over in a car with a wrecked grill. I might believe it in most cases but she would be driving 2 miles in Detroit. People driving with no plates, not just exoeried but none, generally do not get pulled over in Detroit. I just hope her white fiance knows she will play the race card to win arguments and get outof doing things.

John Pack Lambert said...

I just came across a book "Mormon role in the settlement of the west" where in the kast chapter it is concluded the LDS Church remains a western and primarily intermountain Church. This is from 1975 data apoarently heavily focused on the location of wards and stakes.

So much has changed in the 39 to 42 years since these conclusions were reached it is hard to give them to much credence. The Church is still heavily centered in Utah but it is a Utah that sent a Mormon daughter of Haitian parents to congress, a Church where the two largest stakes by ward count are Tongan stakes in Utah. It is a Church where for a time more temples existed in Mexico than Utah and where general officers called entirely from Utah still give us 2 of 4 called in one meeting who are Latinas.

It is also a church where a temple was just announced for a city that not only didnt exist in 1975 it didnt exist iin 1995. I might go back though and read more of mapping Mormonism to see if more insghts exist.

One more question. Is Idaho or California the second largest for the Church in the US. How long until Texas moves into second to Utah?

John Pack Lambert said...

To answer my question there are just over 2 million, about 2,065,000 members in Utah.

California is at about 770,000. So barely a third the membership. California has nearly 9 times the population of Utah. Idaho at 440,000 and Arizona at 420,000 I believe come next. Texas at just under 350,000 is a ways down but still a strong number.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was trying to work out models of growth over time. Since 2003 the membership in California has grown 600. In Utah it has grown by 363,000. So while Utah has 3 times the membership its growth rate is about 500 times as high.

John Pack Lambert said...

To be fair in the 8 years from 2003 to 2011 membership in California fell from 770,000 to 763,000. I wish there was a way to get a chart of the annual merberships by state.

From 1980 to 1991 California membership rose from 541,000 to 719,000. At a flat number growth rate, so adding the ssme number every year California membership would now be well over 1 million. However by1993 membership had fallen to 719,000. Things turned around and membership grew at 3000 the next 2 years and 7000 the two years after that. From 1999 to 2003 the Church was growing at a rate of 5000 member's a year in California. I am still trying to see if I can find the data to more closely see the manual average decline if almost 1000 members a year for the next year. For example I dont know that 2003 was a peak year followed by decline, just that it was 5000 over 2002. I also do not know if 2011 was the bottom year.

John Pack Lambert said...

I found ablog post suggesting that the year end membership total for California in 2014 was 778,000 members. This would suggest that 2011-2014 membership rose at a rate of about 5000 annually and then over the last two years has fallen at at a rate of 3500 annuslly. I may have messed up the years on the first stat, but the second one seems to work. California's overall population has risen about 3 million since 2011.

Anyway one cuts it California is still well ahead of Arizona and Idaho in membership.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the other hand in 2002 Arizona andIdaho combined had 690,000 members to California's 765,000.

John Pack Lambert said...

Today Idaho and Arizona combined have 867,000 members, nearly 100,000 more than California. The gap between Idaho arexArizona has fallen from about 30,000 to only 20,000.

John Pack Lambert said...

Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada combined have 390,000 members. So not as Mich as either Idaho or Arizona alone. So all the states bordering Utah have about half as many Church members combined as Utah has. There are however more members in Brazil andMexico combined than in Utah.

John Pack Lambert said...

Colorado has 151,000 members. Nigeria with a population nearly 2/3rds that of theUS has 152,000 members. Since Colorado has 2 temples this is another stat to suggest Nigeria may soon get a 2nd temple. It also goes to show how USA centered Church membership is.

J S A said...

Conroe Texas Stake (2089742) April 30 2017
Crockett Branch (165468)
Heritage YSA Branch (1424971)
Huntsville 2nd Branch (Correctional Facility) (233935)
Madisonville Branch (132519)
Conroe 1st Ward (76392)
Conroe 2nd Ward (176842)
Crighton Ward (2064308)
Huntsville 1st Ward (40991)
Montgomery Ward (1011413)

Michael Johnson said...

John, LDS year end membership by year for 2012 to 2016 for all US states: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cWeMtbJD_FgW7REQhuVu6J6IxAFwSJy8yjHPN5Q8A-g/edit?usp=sharing

Michael Johnson said...

John, BTW, California has 39 million people and Utah 3 million. That is a 13-1 ratio not 9-1

Eduardo Clinch said...

Some people think that California has many more than 40 million due to a few million illegal immigrants. It's possible in my opinion. I attended a Spanish speaking branch in San Bernardino that had quite a few undocumented aliens, and I never figured out for sure who was which because that was not our policy or concern. In the short time I was there in the mid 2000s the branch maybe baptized 25 or so converts, maybe the majority of whom had no papers as citizens. This was in an urban setting, as opposed to rural places where countless thousands of temporary or other foreigners are working fields and orchards, some of whom have lived in California off and on or mostly on for generations.
I think some see our church as a way to become more acculturated and progress in the new country and life, which is not bad. I observed many members move to Utah for many of the same reasons Saints from all corners emmigrate there; Zion as a concept and force has its pull. Less crime than California, that's for sure.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

New district in Fiji - https://fijisun.com.fj/2017/05/01/historic-change-made-at-lds-stake-conference-for-nausori/

Michael Johnson said...

1780 in attendance at a stake conference with a membership of about 2500 is quite good, I am pretty impressed. I don't like seeing wards drop to branches like the Korovou Ward just did, but the creation of the new district in Fiji is exciting. So one of the 4 branches in the new district is the size of a ward. I note only the district president and not his counselors were called.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was misremrmbering Utah at 4 million, and using outdated figures for California.

John Pack Lambert said...

If we understood Zion properly we could see it where we are. Especially if we have stakes and a temple nearby. They have the former everywhere in California. That said I do understand why many leave for Utah after graduating high school. I felt little connection with my peers at that point. I also understand the pull of less crime and a lower cost of living.

Considering the methods used by the census beaurea to try and count everyone I am always skeptical of claums there are large numbers of undoubted people. Considering I have ancestors who showed up multiple times on the same census I am also skeptical about the net effects of the few people who are missed. The most missed people are not undocumented workers but the homeless but there are very concerted efforts to count the homeless.

I am glad the Church is wulling to baptized undocumented immigrants. I sometimes wonder if the Church should reconsider its policies on baptizing people on probation on parole. I understand the reasons behind the policies but I wonder if they too closely allign us work a oenal system that at present specializes in giving out ling term sentences.

John Pack Lambert said...

I guess in a world of truly high powered unrestrined growth we would never drop wards to branch status. Still doing so in the context of creating a district makes sense. I see the net endevor as Church growth.

Bryan Dorman said...

That was what happened to the Citlatepetl district. Two wards were made branches, and two groups became branches.

The Comitan, Chojolho, and San Cristobal districts were formed that way. But now each district is gradually moving to the point where they could be made a stake. San Cristobal is the closest; all they need is another ward sized branch.

Michael Johnson said...

John, sorry to have put you the spot about state populations. That is a hobby with me--I love statistics and I track them. But, truth be told, I wish Utah had 4 million and California 35 million.

John, I also think the forming of a district even with a ward dropped to a branch is a step in the right direction. It means that the rest of the stake qualifies as a stake without the units that went into the district and the district is a new stake-in-embryo.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Church just announced the area assignments here http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865679195/First-Presidency-announces-changes-in-area-leadership-assignments.html

It appears that Elder Kearon and Elder Uceda are replacing Elder Hallstrom and Elder Maynes in the presidency of the 70. I have not actually seen anything that explicitly says this though, but this appears to be what is going on. This will mean over half of the presidency of the 70 are either not American or not white. By most counts 3 are non-Americans, although Elder Uceda's 7 years in the US complicate matters, although his first 50 years were in Peru.

On another note I just realized that Elder Uceda was area director of CES in Peru and Bolivia, and that was essentially what Elder Godoy was doing when called as a general authority, although maybe on a slightly larger scale.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Pacific Area has the president and first counselor from there. The Asia North Area both the first and second counselor are from there, but the president Robert C. Gay is not. Elder De Feo has been assigned as a counselor in the Europe Area.

Alexey V. Samaykin, who is about 40, born about 1977, is the youngest member of an area presidency, and at least by absolute age the youngest ever, that is no one else born after 1975 has ever been in an area presidency I am pretty sure. While at one time there were many area seventies in area presidencies, I think for a time the Chilean Area Presidency was all made up of Chilean Area Seventies, the last few years have not seen any, mainly since the number of areas was reduced and the US/Canada areas were reorganized to not have area presidencies and instead just have a member of the presidency of the 70 oversee work in that area. In the US/Canada that redueced the area presidency assignments from 33 to 7. Latina American for a while had 27 and may have been up to 30 if the Carribean Area was formed before the consolidations began. Today there are 18 area assignments in Latin America, broadly defined. If I remember right Europe used to have 9 and now has 6, although the Middle East/North Africa used to be under Europe, so maybe 9 to 8 is more realistic. Africa has held steady at 6 for some time, but probably would have gone higher under the old system. Asia has also held steady at 9. Oceania peaked at 6 but is down to 3 Area Presidency assignments.

Alexey V. Samaykin is a Russian national. Hopefully his presence in the Area Presidency will help the Church during this trying time.

John Pack Lambert said...

In Africa Southeast Joni L. Koch, currently mission president in Mozambique who was just called as a General Authority is the new 2nd counselor. Elder S. Mark Palmer who was 2nd counselor is the new 1st counselor, and Kevin S. Hamilton remains as president.

Larry S. Kacher becomes the new 2nd counselor in the Africa West Area, the rest of the Area Presidency remains unchanged. Elder Kacher is a native of Minnesota, who spent his early career primarily in Beelgium and was working for a consulting firm based in the UAE when called as a general authority. He served his mission in Tahiti. He has both his undergrad and graduate degrees from BYU.

John Pack Lambert said...

The most interesting change is that Elder Gay was made president of the Asia North Area with the former counselors left intact. More often a president moves up from having been a counselor in that same area presidency. For example in Brazil when Elder Aidukaitis is moving from 1st counselor to president, replacing Claudio R. M. Costa. The new second counselor is Joaquin Costa, a native of Argentina (he is the one who mentioned in his talk how his wife rejected his first proposal because he was not a member yet), who was living in Peru when called as a general authority, and had previously lived in the US, the Czech Republic and Oman as well as Argentina.

John Pack Lambert said...

In the Caribbean Jose Alonso, a Mexican, is replacing Hugo Martinez, a Puerto Rican, as 2nd counselor. Elder Gonzalez of Uruguay and Elder Zivic of Argentina are being retained. In Central America Adrian Ochoa is being made the Area President. This makes me wonder if I should try to recreate the article on him in Wikipedia, which was deleted, but I am not sure I feel like starting up that fight without strong sources, and some at Wikipedia will not accept the LDS Church News as a source on General Authorities, although the result of this refusal is forcing articles on General Authorities to be partial grounded in other sources which are often written by people who have no idea what they are talking about. That is what we had to resort to to save the article on Michael J. U. Teh.

Elder Ochoa will have two fellow Latinos as counselors. OK, Elder Ochoa is a US citizen, born in San Francisco, California. However he was raised in Mexico, and lived most of his life there, until just before his call to the General Young Men's Presidency.

The counselors are Elder Zebellos, a Chilean and Elder Cordon, a Guatemalan, whose father was a counselor in the mission presidency to Carlos H. Amado (he is the one who mentioned his father valuing tithing over food, and the decline of his dad's factory during the Guatemalan Civil War). However Elder Cordon has worked for much of his adult life out of Costa Rica. He also did his executive MBA at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but would commute to Massachusets for 2 days every 2 weeks, the New York Times explained this in an article, I guess using Valeri Cordon as the model of the draw of the MIT executive MBA program. I mainly just read it because it was a clearly non-LDS, reliable 3rd party source that allowed me to create a Wikipedia article on Elder Cordon without any question. I wish we could just get a blanket agreement that LDS general authorities, like Catholic Bishops are default notable. However there is one editor, who unlike me does not use their real name but goes by Purplebackpack, who has an undying antagonism towards LDS sources, always trying to get them declared en masse unreliable, complaining that he cannot access the LDS maps feature (probably because he wants to better be able to harrass his Mormon neighbors), and he also tried to argue that not all temples were notable. He lives somewhere in the North-west US, and went after the Medford Oregon Temple. He was shot down because Medford is not local to Portland so the Portland Paper article on it was not a local article, contratry to PBP's claims. In my view he is willing to lie to advance his claims. His antagonism toward Mormon sources on Mormons would be shot down if he tried the same for African-American sources on African-Americans. It is bigotry and an antagonism towards community self-definition.

John Pack Lambert said...

In Europe They are for the first time in a while having an American as Area President. Elder Paul V. Johnson spent his career as an administrator with the Church Educational System, and was CES Comissioner for a while after his call as a general authority. He was born in Gainesville, Florida. That is where the University of Florida is. So his family may have only been there a short time. He may have no more Florida connection that Bruce R. McConkie had a Michigan connection, although he was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Per the Wikipedia article this is true, and Elder Johnson was raised in Logan, Utah.

John Pack Lambert said...

The new president of the Europe East Area is James B. Martino, who seeems to have actually replaced Elder Porter sometime last year. Elder Martino is a convert from Texas, he joined the Church at about 16 or 17 along with his family. I think I knew one of his nieces at BYU.

Elder Martino was born and raised in Denton, Texas. Other than his mission and time at BYU, he seems to have lived in Denton Texas until 2000 when he served as a mission president in Venezuela for 3 years, then went back to Denton until his call as a general authority seventy.

Well at the time of his call he was living in Aubrey, Texas, but this is pretty close to Denton.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Better to have ward-sized branches than branch-sized wards...

John Pack Lambert said...

The American Fork Utah West Stake just saw its one branch advance to ward status. It now has 12 wards. I hope it splits soon.

Bryan Dorman said...

That is very good to have a Russian national be part of the Europe East Area Presidency. One knock on what recently happened to the Jehovahs witnesses as well as us, is that we are seen as an American Church, zapaddnaya sekta, as they would like to say, Western cult.

Having a Russian face there from Novosibirsk really changes things on that end.

John Pack Lambert said...

Although my understanding is the Jehovah's Witnesses have historically been better than the LDS Church in implementing having locals lead out in missionary work sooner after the Church is established, so having local presence in the Church may not always work to dispel the idea it is a western institution. Also the Jehovah's WItnesses have been in Russia for a century or more, we less than 30 years.

John Pack Lambert said...

Among new mission president is Pedro Adduru who has been called to preside over the Philippines Davao Mission where he was a missionary probably around 40 years ago or a little less. Davao Mission may have been larger then though.

John Pack Lambert said...

We get 16 reports on new temple presidents and matrons. The first are the Brenders from the Lyon France Stake to preside over the Swiss Temple. Sister Brenders was born in Morocco. She was probably born about 1955 or a little sooner and her parents names appear French, so I am guessing her family were French resident of Morocco during the time it was a French protectorate, and not Moroccan.

Quetzaltenango Temple has as its new president as resident of Quetzaltenango. In both these cases they had been serving in the temple presidencies.

The new president of the Madrid Spain Temple is from Arizona. He is however currently serving as a counselor in the presidency of the Tijuana Mexico Temple. I have to admit the only temples I ever had a good sense of who the presidencies were the Detroit and Las Vegas Temples, at least when I was aware even when they had non-local temple presidents had local counselors. President Gardner being sent to Spain has also been a mission president in both Mexico and Chile. I am not sure if this means he was mission president a total of 6 years, 3 years between the two, or some other number of years.

The new president of the Bogota Colombia Temple is from Colombia and currently in a mission presidency. He was previously an Area Seventy, MTC president in Peru and a mission president in Costa Rica.

Of the 16 new temple presidents, 15 of them are from within the temple district of the temple they will preside over.

Eduardo Clinch said...

It can be hard for LDS or any faith that requires different standards and allegiances to make its way in popular culture or governmental sanction. The Church in the US took many years to prove its mettle despite participating in the Mexican-American War, and over the years being patriotic and hard working, part and parcel of the hopes of this country.
Hopefully the relatively few Russian Saints are showing the government and fellow compatriots of their value and valiance. Jehovah's Witnesses have doctrinal differences with national and military causes, which might cause some concern and suspicion.
I don't know how former Russian serving missionaries strike the Russian authorities and people, but long lasting rivalries and competing interests remind me of some narratives of Lamanites and Nephites in the Book of Mormon. Yet another way that culture proves more powerful than racial or ethnic differences. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the US and the West has had such geo-political acrimony with Russia and its leaders over the years. We pray for peace and prosperity with the people of the world, of all stripes. It will be interesting to see when a temple might finally be constructed in this great nation.

Bryan Baird said...

I think Las Vegas could get its own YSA stake and a Spanish stake or two

Michael Worley said...

Am I the only one who thinks Cote d'Ivoire could get 6 new stakes this year?

Ohhappydane33 said...
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james anderson said...

That partly comes from where Matt put up the plans to create 24 new stakes in west Africa in a reasonably fast but unknown time period. Other factors will determine how quickly that happens.

When I saw the area plan video, I noticed it was not like other leadership meeting video I have seen. Very simple, like out of either Preach My Gospel, True to the Faith, or the Seminary Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Then after that they introduced some very basic leadership principles tailored to the fact that most members who would view that have only been in the Church a few years, sometimes much less, so they are using that forum to develop leadership, which must come first

Eduardo Clinch said...

40 years ago there were probably only 4 or 5 total missions in the Philipines, right? 1977?
Back then were there maybe 100 missions in the whole world?
Maybe there were more...

John Pack Lambert said...

We has what was referred to as an area coference by c at least on the,spea k erst today. It covered the North America Northeast Area. 132 stakes and 3 districts. The meeting was conducted by Elder Gong. Also speaking were Elder c Anthony D. Perkins, Sister Bonnie H. Cordon and Elder Dallin H. Oaks. I particularlyrics enjoyed Elder Perkins talk where he told of repentance stories in the Book of Mormon using modern headline format. I particularly thought he got to t h do heart of the matter with his discussion of Alma the younger as an agnostic intellectual. I also liked that he included Zeezrom sincwith at times it feels Zeezrom only gets spoken of as having done evil.

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

I wish there was an edit fuction. My new phone is even worse than my last in auto correct and the like.

I have to admit with Palmer Park building closed and that branches members at the stake center we had a lot more ethnic diversity (read more black people) at the stake center for conference. I felt a positive energy from it.

Before the start of the broadcast our stake president gave a talk on the Book of Mormon and it being a powerful witness for Jesus Christ. He urged us to read it before the end of the year. At the other 4 locations in the stake his 2 counselors and Brother Folsom a member of the high council who used to be my bishop spoke.

After the meeting I learned from talking to a sister in my ward her daughter is on a BYU study abroad in Senegal. I have to admit I gad no clue that BYU did study abroad in Senegal. The program is through the French Department

John Pack Lambert said...

I assume th he talks at the other locations were similar if not identical.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Speaking of black Americans, from my observations I have noticed significant numbers of African-Americans among Jehovah's Witnesses. Having started apparently in the Pittsburgh area, perhaps the message and lifestyle appealed to segments of the population that felt under-supported by the government?
The most famous JW that I know of hailed from highly black Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson.
I have not looked at their locations and demographics, but alternative Christian faiths like them and SDAs are interesting to cross study with LDS efforts and populations. Internationally as well. I wonder like in Russia and elsewhere if JWs have significant bigger memberships than the LDS faith. The non-gov message provides its own type of appeal. Yet, as noted before, this practice of non-recognition of secular nationalism can be a problem for many patriotic and government loyalists around the globe.

twinnumerouno said...

Eduardo, I know that the first Philippines mission was created in 1967 in Manila (while my father was serving in the country, then part of the Southern Far East mission, which also included Formosa/Taiwan and Hong Kong, along with countries like Vietnam and Thailand without a missionary presence. Macao too, I think). I couldn't remember details on additional missions without a handy-dandy Church almanac, so I looked at the Philippines statistics page on the ldschurchtemples site. Looking at the individual regions, it appears the 3rd mission was created in Davao in 1977 (Bacolod was created in 1974). That's if I didn't miss any.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Jehovah'so Witnesses have a much bigger presence in Detroit than Mormons. There is ev ed not one place with two Kingdom Halls next to each other.

On another note at least for today it was all ward growth and branch decline. 2 wards were formed outright and 1 branch discontinued per reports after ldschurchtemoles.com so a,net growth of 1 unit. However there were also several branches upgraded to wards. Togo now has 11 wards plus you branches in its,lone stake so a split MN aye come soon. One issue may be having enough brethren of spiritus k maturity to fill the 32 plus high priests (well 30 high priests and 2 patruarchs) needed beyond ward ones in 2 stakes. I think it is,coming soon but understand not rushing was specially when they are barely over the ward minimum.

Bryan Baird said...

How big does a bracnch need to be before it can split (if the district only has 2 or 3) or upgrade to a ward.
How many people need to be in a ward for the ward to split?
What is the average census for a ward and/or branch?

L. Chris Jones said...

I think for a ward to split, it more about the number of active preisthood holders

Bryan Dorman said...

Form a mission branch: One or two MP holders, or in extreme cases, a Priest in the AP.

Form a branch in a district or stake: 5 MP holders that are full tithe payers.

Make a branch a ward in a stake: 15 MP holders that are full tithe payers. This also is the goal to get at least five branches in a district that get that in order to successfully apply for stakehood (as you need at least five wards in a stake).

Bryan Baird said...

Two possible YSA stakes:
Las Vegas Nevada YSA Stakes (wards between Las Vegas, Nevada and Henderson, Nevada.
Los Angeles California YSA Stake (wards in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, also UCLA Ward and USC Ward)
Also a Spanish stake or two could also be organized in the Las Vegas area.

Bryan Baird said...

Another Spanish Stake could also be New York New York Spanish Stake covering areas like Manhattan and Brooklyn and other near by areas.
Also if the New York New York stake was to split I think the stake created would be Harlem New York Stake.

L. Chris Jones said...

Possible YSA stake in Idaho Falls. I have seen a few stakes with as little as 4 wards plus some branches.

Bryan Baird said...

I wonder of there's any YSA wards, branches or stakes outside the United States.or SA wards and branches. Not quite sure but i think Canada might have some, mostly interested in places like Europe Asia Africa etc etc

Michael Johnson said...

Requirements for creating a ward (for all wards affected by a reorganization):
15 active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders
150 members (300 in English-speaking North America wards)
Part of a stake

Requirements for a branch in a stake:
4-6 active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders
20 members
Part of a stake

Requirements for a branch in a mission (including in a district):
6 priesthood holders, at least 1 a Melchizedek Priesthood holder (note, handbook 1 doesn't say anything about them being active or tithe paying)

Clusters and groups don't have a priesthood requirement.


Requirements for a stake
5 or more wards (presumably multiple branches can count as a ward as every now and then a stake with 4 wards and 2 or more branches is formed)
1900 members (3000 in North America)
24 active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders (in addition to those required for the wards)


YSA branches: 50 active YSA
YSA wards: 120 active YSA

BYULAW said...

With all the stakes being created in west Africa this year I'm wondering if Cameroon would be ripe for getting its first stake. I know Matt indicated not too long ago that Angola was probably closer to getting a stake than Cameroon; however Yaounde has more branches than does Luanda. Does anyone on here have any information on the church's growth in Cameroon?

John Pack Lambert said...

You also need an additional 15 active full tithe paying melchezidek priesthood holders. There are also minimums of number of members of record. I think in the USA it is 3000 for a stake.

John Pack Lambert said...

Themail Church will not create a New York Spanish stake. The lo c all leadership tried that in the mid-1980s but the plan was shot down by those in Salt Lake City. Over the last 5 or so years the trend has been a move away from Spanish stakes in the US. There is also a desire to move c away from language specific units or at least to cooperation in some programs but the u nwillingness of some English speakers ton accommodate other languages and in some areas belligerence against Spanish makes this difficult. As do cultural differences and when youth programs are combined English speakers who do not know Spanish will still be leaders but Spanish speakers who knows no English rarely will be.

John Pack Lambert said...

Themail Church will not create a New York Spanish stake. The lo c all leadership tried that in the mid-1980s but the plan was shot down by those in Salt Lake City. Over the last 5 or so years the trend has been a move away from Spanish stakes in the US. There is also a desire to move c away from language specific units or at least to cooperation in some programs but the u nwillingness of some English speakers ton accommodate other languages and in some areas belligerence against Spanish makes this difficult. As do cultural differences and when youth programs are combined English speakers who do not know Spanish will still be leaders but Spanish speakers who knows no English rarely will be.

John Pack Lambert said...

You also need an additional 15 active full tithe paying melchezidek priesthood holders. There are also minimums of number of members of record. I think in the USA it is 3000 for a stake.

John Pack Lambert said...

I dont think the Church will do a Spanish stake in Las Vegas. The Church tries to avoid language specific stakes. The visions of unity might not work to merge congregations as multi lingual in some cawesome but stakes can be. Also having served know Las Vegas I would say a Spanish stake would hurt the geographical wards. These tend to have Latino members who know Spanish with friends in the Spanish units. If they lost the in stake connections they now gave they might go back to Spanish speaking units.

John Pack Lambert said...

Canasal does have some. At one point there was one in London. I had a French missionary companion who had been a member there before his mission. There is also one in Botswana. In Central Europe the Church does run expanded Institute buildings but these have not resulted in YSA units.

John Pack Lambert said...

Cameroon is I need the Afri c a South East areally so a stake the tree email would not count among those planned for the Africa West Area.

OC Surfer said...

Here's the current list of Midsingles (aka SA) Wards. http://midsingles.wordpress.com/midsingles-wards-list

Toronto and now Calgary have Midsingles Wards.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Tree email? Huh? Please explain.

Gnesileah said...

On April 23rd, the number of officially-designated Spanish-speaking wards in the U.S. surpassed the number of Spanish-speaking branches, when two Spanish-speaking branches were discontinued, and one was organized, bringing the total number of branches down to 380, compared to 381 wards.

On January 1st, there were 375 Spanish wards and 389 Spanish branches.
As of May 7th, there are now 382 wards and 378 branches.

John Pack Lambert said...

Cameroon is in the Africa Southeast Area. So a stake there would not count towards the new stakes in the Africa West Area.

John Pack Lambert said...

Cameroon is in the Africa Southeast Area. So a stake there would not count towards the new stakes in the Africa West Area.

L. Chris Jones said...

Are we actually loosing Spanish speaking branches. Or are more advancing into wards? I often wonder when we see districts and branches discontinued in the church is if they were actually closed or upgraded.

Ray said...

Many districts become stakes, but some others are consolidated into nearby stakes with the eventual result of division into 2 stakes.. Also some districts are merged with neighboring districts in preparation for stakehood from the merged districts.