Friday, April 28, 2017

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Latter-day Saints without a Stake or District

The Church in 2016 and thus far in 2017 has organized its first district in a couple nations where no districts or stakes previously operated, namely Lesotho (February 2016) and Rwanda (March 2017). As a result, I wanted to update my list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake or district. Previous lists for this measure can be found here. For those who may be unfamiliar with what a district is, please refer to our Missiology Encyclopedia entry for "district" that can be found here.

Each country or territory with at least 200 members without a stake or district is provided below with the number of members (as of year-end 2016), number of congregations (at present), and current, if any, affiliation with another stake or district. Countries in green appear likely to have their first districts/stakes created in the near future. Countries in yellow generally have a large number of recent converts and few active priesthood holders to hold leadership positions, but have a high likelihood for districts to be organized in the coming years. Countries in red have problems with member inactivity or too few members to create a district in the foreseeable future. Countries in blue pertain to other stakes or districts and do not appear likely to become their own districts due to reasonably close proximity to their current stake or district headquarters. Countries in dark blue have a poor likelihood for the organization of a district due to few members spread over large geographic areas.

  1. Bulgaria - 2,429 members - 9 branches
  2. Bahamas - 1,029 members - 3 branches (includes Turks and Caicos Islands)
  3. Northern Mariana Islands - 786 members - 1 ward - part of the Barrigada Guam Stake
  4. Greece - 772 members - 3 branches
  5. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 653 members - 2 branches, 1 group
  6. Qatar - 625 members? - 2 wards, 1 branch - part of the Abu Dhabi Stake
  7. Burundi - 604 members - 3 branches 
  8. US Virgin Islands - 597 members - 2 branches
  9. Curacao - 550 members - 1 branch - part of the ABC District based in Aruba 
  10. Turkey - 513 members - 7 branches 
  11. Mauritius - 512 members - 3 branches - part of the St. Denis Reunion-Mauritius District
  12. Palau - 505 members - 1 branch
  13. Luxembourg - 431 members - 1 ward - part of the Nancy France Stake
  14. Grenada - 416 members - 1 branch
  15. French Guiana - 403 members - 1 branch 
  16. Saint Lucia - 351 members - 2 branches, 1 group?
  17. Kuwait - 315 members? - 1 ward - part of the Manama Bahrain Stake
  18. Jersey - 305 members - 1 ward - part of the Poole England Stake
  19. Niue - 301 members - 2 branches
  20. Laos - 300 members? - 2 branches 
  21. Isle of Man - 299 members - 1 ward - part of the Liverpool England Stake
  22. Saint Maarten/Saint Martin - 281 members - 1 branch 
  23. Iceland - 277 members - 2 branches
  24. Republic of Georgia - 265 members - 1 branch, 1 group
  25. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 238 members, 1 branch
  26. Antigua and Barbuda - 230 members, 1 branch
  27. Tuvalu - 229 members, 1 branch
  28. Cayman Islands - 216 members, 1 branch
  29. Central African Republic - 216 members, 1 branch 
  30. Kazakhstan - 212 members - 2 branches
  31. Martinique - 212 members, 1 branch, 1 group
  32. Gabon - 200 members?, 2 branches
Of these 32 countries and dependencies, 10 previously had a district including Bulgaria (2), the Bahamas, Greece, Curacao, Palau, Mauritius, French Guiana, Turkey, Niue, and Iceland.


John Pack Lambert said...

I noticed that a branch was re ently organized in Madagascar under the mission. Hopefully we will soon see a new wave of Church growth in Madagascar.

Eduardo Clinch said...

My understanding is that Bermuda (protectorate?) has approximately 120 members. Greenland has very few, maybe a dozen? So there might be 30 such smaller places than this list of 32?
Reunion and Guadeloupe are places of much potential, I would think. Maldives, too.
Great list.
Sometimes I think it would be amazing if an aposle, or even just a nice LDS family would visit or live in one of these places for a while. Talk about an unforgettable impression. I often believe our imagination for missionary growth is limited, could use some innovative or creative ideas.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Maldives have a militantly Muslim government at present. They would be a hard place for missionary growth.

In general it is island countries that have the highest percentage of Church members. Kiribati is over 10% and the was no Church presence there until the late 1970s.

The new temple presidents to start in November have no egun to be announced. All seem to come from their temple districts except one. That is Beaver Ho Chin. He was born in American Samoa and lived there at least from 2003-2007. His wife is a white woman from Washington State. Ho Chin's name sounds Chinese to me, But I a.m. guessing his am estry is somewhat complex. The Go Chin family presided over the Philippines Quezon City miasion starting in 2007.

He currently lives in Utah where he is president or a Samoan speaking vranch but os bring sent to Samoa to be tempke president.

The newly called president of the Cape Verde mission is a retired army general. In thought that was especially interesting since the Deseret News just ran an article on LDS military people. I have to admit that particle seemed way to Amero-centric.

Bryce said...

Turkey now has 7 units, that's pretty cool! Three new units since the Central Eurasian Mission was created in 2015. I was googling the mission and came across a blog from one of the Elders (Volunteers) currently serving in Turkey, definitely interesting for anyone who wants to check it out:

Eduardo Clinch said...

Ethno and Amero centric accusations and implications are always a factor when considering the past, present, and future of this or any faith. There were hopes a couple years ago that the new 3 apostles would be more ethnically diverse, which did not exactly go that way. One of them had some European heritage, which can prove helpful as deen with President Uchtdorf. Different cultures make us richer, for sure.
The Presidency of the Seventy and the other General Authorities are more diverse than ever. It is an eventuality that the faith will be less US/American, and the faith will more effectively represent all peoples and tongues.
How many Muslim dominated governments allow our missionaries to operate? At least 10, I am thinking.

James said...

I know what you mean, Eduardo. Among those of the Presidency of the Seventy, we currently have one Brazilian (Ulisses Soares) and one Asian (Gerrit W. Gong). Our Presiding Bishop is French-born. And among those newly called General Authorities sustained earlier this month, we had 1 Peruvian, 2 Brazilians (reminds me of the old joke: how much is a Brazilian?) 2 Utahns (one from Ogden, one from Salt Lake) and our very first Fijian-born General Authority. Among the new General Officers are a native Utahn (Sister Bingham), a native Californian (Sister Eubank), a Nicaraguan (Sister Aburto), and an Argentinian (Sister Franco).

Some, like you said, Eduardo, including myself, had hoped that one or all of the new apostles might be younger or from a foreign country, or both. But as I have thought about it more, I have wondered if the Lord keeps calling American-born apostles as a test of the faith of myself and all members who keep hoping or feeling He will do otherwise. Those who are really faithful will take time to ask for confirmation that each new apostle is the person the Lord wants called at that time. I had my hopes for international and younger picks, but as I had taken time to ask for that confirmation myself prior to the latest announcement, I was not disappointed by those calls, and the Spirit bore the requested witness that Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund needed to come to the apostleship when they did. As they all capably observed, they have each had extensive international experience, and are called to be apostles to all the world, and not just Utah or America. And they have done so. Among the apostles, all of them have had that international experience to enable them to fill the office to which they are called and sustained. The blessings of the gospel are and should be available to all, and whom the Lord calls, he will qualify, be they American or not.

James said...

As I have also observed more frequently lately, aside from anyone's personal hopes, everyone can gain their owns testimonies that those called to be prophets, seers, and revelators are called from God. Their nationality should never be a condition for whether or not they are sustained. Since the Lord called them, He is the only one that determines how the apostolic mantle passes from one individual to another. Would it be great to see more ethnic diversity in the apostleship? Yes, but no less great than it is for the apostleship to be made up of people who have enough international experience to be apostles to the world.

It is not, never has been, and never will be, for us to oppose the Lord's will on such calls. Rather, it is our duty to individually gain our own witnesses that those called are the ones the Lord has chosen. And once any of us do have that witness, it is our bounden duty to share it with the world. Did I hope for international picks? Yes, and I felt confident it would happen. But do I sustain these newest brethren any less because they are American-born? Of course not.

To the contrary, I am pleased that the Lord, in His wisdom, has chosen those with international experience who can relate to all people rather than just someone born outside the US who might be more pleasing to the masses. Anyone is always free to promulgate their own thoughts as to whom they feel might be called, but once the call is issued and presented to us, those motivated by the right spirit will gain that testimony and accept those called.

That is also why I have no patience for some (not on this forum, but elsewhere) who have suggested that the apostleship should be handled differently, with some kind of emeritus status enacted, or even a second group of apostles called. The Lord's system of succession is what it is for a reason. I have the same impatience towards those who refuse to sustain our 15 current apostles and are even refusing to go through the proper channels to get their concerns properly dealt with, as has been demonstrated by those groups who are gathering to publicly and vocally voice their opposing vote. They have been told each time how to handle that.

The fact that none of them are going, as invited, to their stake presidents to resolve such issues demonstrates to me that such people are not in any way motivated by the right spirit. And such people, as I have before observed, might find themselves, as Brother Joseph stated so well, on the high road to apostasy. Let us sustain the Brethren who are called, regardless of ethnicity. When we do, we will always be on the better road.

Sorry for that rant. I know you were likely not singling me out in your comment above, Eduardo. But as one who had publicly expressed my hopes for international picks, it hurts more than a little that the focus is on those expressed hopes, and not on any subsequent defense of those called. Hope that makes sense. No offense intended.

Eduardo Clinch said...

None taken, brother. Well spoken, in fact.

I went through an interesting experience during my mission where I started with many Chilean companions in Chilean then in a period of 4 of 5 partnerships I was with fellow Americans and I had my faith tested with some resentment towards my own countrymen, which is not a great thing.

Pure love and fellowship knows no nationalities. I felt like I learned some lessons to hold to; it also helped that my last US companion restored my faith in American elders. Not that the first four were that bad, but I had some issues to work out due to those relationships.

Anyway, stories for another day.

Suffice to say, God and His Son know us each intimately and know how the Adversary wishes to divide and destroy us, which is the quest of our human plight, and and large part, it seems, of our Divine aspirations.

Eduardo Clinch said...

*In Chile Concepcion.

John Pack Lambert said...

Calling Elder Gong "Asian" is inaccurate. Elder Gong is as American as they come, he spent most of his career as an employee of the US government. He is an American of Chinese descent, but both his parents were born in the US, and as his son once told me, Elder Gong's ancestors in general only came to the US about a decade after his wife's ancestors.

Well technically Elder Gong's mother was born in Hawaii when it was a US territory, so possibly she was no more born in the US than someone born in American Samoa would be. His father was born in Merced, California.

Elder Renlund is more Swedish/Finnish than Elder Gong is "Asian". Elder Rendlund's parents were born in Seden or Finland, I loose track of which or both. Beyond that he spent several years of his youth in at least Sweden and maybe Finland too.

Elder Gong was born to USA born parents, raised in the US, and never went to greater China until he served his mission in Hong Kong.

Now Elder Gong is without question ethnically Chinese-American and not part of the dominant American ethnic culture. His children are a bit harder to peg, and at least some of his grandchildren are only a quarter Chinese. However a real assesment of ethnicity, as opposed to race, says that Elder Renlund was at least as ethnically distinct if not more so. It is just that in the US people are obsessed with race to the exclusion of culture.

Oddly this means that seeing Elder Gong as more of a departure from a generalized American culture than Elder Renlund is a sign of Amero-centricism.

On the other hand members of the presidency of the 70 like Elder Soares and past members like Elder Costa, Elder Gonzalez and Elder Didier are totally not American in any way.

So by some measures the presidency of the 70 has been less American in the past than it has been at present. I am no sure if the overall General Authority Seventies ever have though.

Bishop Causee is sometimes said to be the 3rd non-American born presiding bishop. However this actually under represents how non-American he is. Charles W. Nibley immigrated to the US from Scotland as a child. Victor L. Brown at least his father was American in origin (he was a nephew of Hugh B. Brown who was born in Salt Lake City) and Bishop Brown lived in the US for much if not most of his adult life before becoming a general authority.

Bishop Causee was born in France, raised in France, and lived in France his entirely life as far as I can tell until he was called as a general authority seventy.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Asian-Americans, like African-Americans and every other mixed ancestry American who is not "white" should be credited for their contribution to the diversity of the faith, that is obvious to people who attend accross the country and world.
My ward has a good number of Asians and Asian-Americans, to include Koreans, Chinese, Singaporeans, Taiwanese, Cambodians, Lao, Vietnamese, and Japanese. And Mongolian! The Mongolian sister helped translate the Book of Mormon. Oh yeah, Filipino and Samoan. If those count ad Asian, which they should.
We also have Latinos, blacks of both the US and Africa (Sierra Leone).
We are a diverse people.

John Pack Lambert said...

Samoans do not count as Asian in the US census they count as Pacific Islanders. Arguably the US crnsus counting of the from India and those from China as the same racial group makes no sense. Still we have to bear in mind that if we want to show the Church is international in character that eill not be shown by having American leaders no matter what race. I have to admit I dont buy that having American leaders is bad per se, but we have to be careful not to call those who are American not American.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I met Elder Gong Sunday. He is American but he represents a healthy face of diversity for the country and the faith.
As a youth I met Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi; touching that his father was killed by US forces in WW II.
Pure love casts out hate and fear, it's a beautiful thing.

JVoss said...

Have you created a map of the world indicating the countries that have missionaries/LDS presence? I would really like a graphic. I started one, but realized it is more complicated than just what countries has missionaries and which ones don't. I forgot that others would be interested in this topic and have already done the work for me :).