Monday, August 14, 2017

2015 Philippine Census Data - Number of Self-affiliated Latter-day Saints by Administrative Division

The Philippine government recently released statistics regarding the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in each of the 101 administrative divisions of the Philippines. These statistics were gathered as part of the 2015 census. Government census data shed insight into member activity rates in the Philippines when these data are compared to the number of church-reported members (e.g. individuals listed on church records regardless of self-affiliation or active participation in church activities). See below for a map that displays the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints by administrative division, and the percentage of Latter-day Saints in each administrative division.


John Pack Lambert said...

I'm not sure if you mentioned this but a publication of the Africa West Area states 10 more stakes are likely to be created there before the end of the year.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just reading through posts on the Africa West Area website. From this I learned that there is at least one senior missionary couple in Ghana with an assignment to work with YSAs. I also learned that although there are not YSA wards there are YSA Sunday School classes and YSA FHE groups.

James said...

Hey, John! While I am not Matt, I vaguely recalled him posting about the additional stakes that are to be created in West Africa by the end of this year. You can find his post at the URL below.

In the meantime, I found the information you shared in your second comment fascinating. I remember very well being a young single adult and not feeling ready to attend my home stake's YSA ward. However, the bishop of my ward at that time authorized the Sunday School Presidency to create a YSA Sunday School class, and that was the class I joined. And then, of course, in 2010, I had that life-changing conversation of which I have spoken before on these comment threads with my new bishop, who came to that assignment while serving as a counselor in the YSA ward. As a result of how that visit led me to earnestly ask the Lord about attending the Singles' Ward, I joined that ward just over a month later. And I fully believe and am certain that it was in following that counsel that the Lord knew I would then be ready to start a relationship with a women I would marry as 2010 wound down.

My point in sharing that again is that I know how valuable Sunday School classes or YSA wards and stakes can be in preventing any YSA Church members from falling through the cracks. Such units may not be for everyone: in my case, it wasn't until an inspired bishop carefully dismantled my arguments against doing so that the Lord softened my heart to that idea and let me know it was the right thing to do. It is great to see how the outreach to YSAs in the Church has impacted so many of us for the better. And I have no doubt that this is true for any YSA Church members, wherever they live.

Having said what I wanted to say in response to your comments, John, I wanted to let anyone who may be interested know that I have done several additional new posts on my own blog, covering a variety of subjects. Anyone who wants to is more than welcome to read and comment on those latest posts. A link to my blog follows below. Thanks again to all of you for the excellent discussions we have here.

John Pack Lambert said...

I have started reading Russell Stevenson's "For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonidm, 1830-2013". In some ways it is insightful but it is a horribly written book. While some might argue it is meant to be race conscious Stevenson buys such rubbish as the notion of microagression.

More to the point he fails to contectualize the issues. He gives us indepth analysis of the Mormon view on race but overestimates the number of abolitionists in the north and ignores how anti-interacial marriage even most abolitionist were or that even some of the most radical abolituonists opposed giving blacks the vote. William Lloyd Garrison was among them.

There are other issues. However the one that made me say it was a horribly written book was his presenting Utah as attempting to deceive others on slavery while California is presented as a fully free state. The reality is there were significantly more slaves in California than in Utah.

I will probably as I read have more critivisms of the work. I skipped ahead and read of the Church's refusal to baptize polygamists in Nigeria. Considering how many invectives are written against the Church just for allowing men whose first wife died to be sealed to a 2nd wife and considering the plain statements by Jacob on this matter in the Book of Mormon this decision does not surprise me at all.

I find some of Stevenson's use of sources odd. He invludes an accusation that someone bribed someone else just because they were able to set up a mobile dental clinic. The whole accusation seems based on too little sorcing.

Then in the case of describing a coup in Ghana lead by Rawlings I find it odd that Stevenson bases his account just on missionary journals instead of seeking broader context.

John Pack Lambert said...

Another gripe against Stevenson's book. He says that Joseph Fielding Smith was the official church historian in 1907. In fact Brother Smith was just an emploee in the Church Historians Office and would not be made official church historian until after he became an apostle in 1910.

John Pack Lambert said...

Two more complaints against Stevenson. His history is too much on Mormon views of blacks, too little on Mormon blacks. Another point, he conflates writtings in Utah papers and actions in Utah with actions by Mormons. Especially in the cases of Price and Park City when these were largely non-Mormon mining tows thses make no sense unless one can demonstrate those involved are Mormons which Stevenson makes no attempt to do.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Stevenson's error about Joseph Fielding Smith isn't as bad as the Church's own, though. In the "Race and the Priesthood" essay, they cite him as an Apostle in 1907. I contacted them about this error shortly after the essay was published, received a response, and it remains in print nearly four years later.

phxmars said...

When you look at LDS maps, the figures are pretty consistent with whether you would find a stake or district in that area (or multiple stakes) in the few examples I looked at on Mindanao and the Central Visayas.

James said...

Christopher, I was curious, so I just reviewed the Church's essay on Race and the Priesthood, which I found at the link below. I read it carefully a few times just now, and I discovered that there was no mention whatsoever of Joseph Fielding Smith in that essay, let alone any mention of him being an apostle in 1907. Unless I am having a crazy moment and was searching so carefully for it that I overlooked it, I couldn't find anything like that anywhere. The Church may have revised it since the last time you looked at it, even if that was done sometime after you reached out to them. Just wanted to let you know that.

Adam said...

Since it's on topic, here are two entertaining podcasts, one by the aforementioned Stevenson:

And one by Paul Reeves explaining why Mormons were looked down and considered separate by the white communities of the 1800's. He thus reasons it is why we tried so hard to fit in by excluding other races.

If anything, this blog helps explain why blacks were being prepared for the gospel to come when it did. After many preventable instances of failure in the organization of the church in Latin America and the Philippines that took over a decade to correct (not to discount the astonishing amount of success we've had,) and with world population over the next 100 years really only growing in Africa, it's easy to see how great an influence Africa is going to have on the worldwide church, and how important it was that it is being done right.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Joseph Fielding Smith is in one of the footnotes. '14. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, for example, wrote in 1907 that the belief was “quite general” among Mormons that “the Negro race has been cursed for taking a neutral position in that great contest.” Yet this belief, he admitted, “is not the official position of the Church, [and is] merely the opinion of men.” Joseph Fielding Smith to Alfred M. Nelson, Jan. 31, 1907, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.'

Mike Johnson said...

Christopher, that doesn't say he was an apostle at the time he wrote the letter to Nelson. That language is often used, unfortunately, when writing history, where an important position is used in writing about people even though the individual had not yet received that position. That said, it is easy to see it that way and in this case, I would prefer that it positively indicate his position at the time and not a future position. He was the Assistant Church Historian and Recorder and often acting in those positions at this time.

james anderson said...

We have access to a life timeline, it is in the front of his Teachings of Presidents of the Church book. It had this:

April 8, 1906

Sustained in general conference as Assistant Church Historian, a position he holds until March 1921

He became an apostle on April 7, 1910

As to the subject of that footnote, I have heard that same crap about 'neutrals' in the war in heaven and it is clearly false, anything to that effect has never appeared in any official publication that I am aware of, although it surfaces on rare occasion but quickly dies off because some look and can find no evidence in approved publications to in any way corroborate the claim.

About eight years ago, some crap went around attributing a statement to President Packeer, which he and the Seminary Department immediately shot down, that some here now were 'generals in the war in heaven', he said nothing of the sort and said nothing to that effect later although he used military metaphors in later addresses

James said...

Great points, everyone. I agree about how it is easy to refer to someone in a certain time of life by a title they would receive in the future. As an example, the Book of Mormon (in the chapter of counsel that Lehi gave to his son Joseph), Lehi mentions the fact that the Lord would raise up a prophet in the last days, and that his name would be the same as that of Lehi's son, and that that prophet would be named for his father. That is a prime example of what happened here: in the case of Joseph Smith the Prophet, Book of Mormon prophets knew about him more than 1200 years before he would actually be born. And, as in the case under discussion now, the Church referred to Joseph Fielding's position in making those remarks as though they were made in a position to which he would not be called for several years later. The reason for this is the fact that, as Latter-day Saints, we believe in life both before and after mortality, and that certain people have been foreordained to the positions to which they would be called in mortality, and hearkens back to the idea that the Lord knows who should come to the apostleship and the Church presidency and when. To me, it makes perfect sense.

As to the idea of Race and the Priesthood, I can see why the Church may have felt at one time that the restrictions were wise. And I can also see how the thoughts on that process evolved over time to get to the point where the priesthood restriction was lifted, primarily because the apostles of that day were in a mindset to put personal feelings and preferences aside in favor of following the Lord's will as expressed by the prophet of the Church. That is how every decision is made on every level of Church government.

Ideas are considered and deliberated, and once the involved leaders feel good about the outcome, action is taken. We have seen that over and over again in recent decisions like the lowering of missionary age, the vast expansion of the temple-building progress, and I could go on and on about such things. But I find it sufficient to say that the Lord knows the right time for the right people to fill the right positions, and when it is right to announce such changes, and that, in His wisdom, He leaves it to wise men and women to decide how these decisions will be turned into practice, and also into the clarification of Church doctrine and teachings. It works well.

John Pack Lambert said...

To understand what Joseph Fielding Smith said in 1907 you have to see it as a statement of someone who was speaking as an assistant church historian, not as a general authority of the Church. He was making a statement vased on perceived views of people in general not trying to makeva clear and strong statement of belief.

Eduardo Clinch said...

It's interesting conjecture that proselyting (LDS term) mistakes in say, the Phillipines and South America would later help growth and retention in the 21st century Africa. There are many cultural factors at play, but interesting to compare nonetheless.
I hope the Church future in all these lands help the people progress and prosper.

Mike Johnson said...

John, you are absolutely correct. It was different perspective from assistant church historian and assistant church recorder, then as a general authority. That is the problem with the loose language in the footnote. Too often we see it in history when a military officer is called "general" years before becoming a general, a future governor or president is called by that title.

It has been a long time, but when you grow up and it is known that blacks can't hold the priesthood and you believe that church policy is inspired, ways are made to reconcile things. I preferred "lack of valiance in the war in heaven" over the curse of Cain or the curse of Ham because the first fit into individual responsibility and the others were a curse going on for 150 or more generations.

I had a strong case of cognitive dissonance my sophomore year of high school on this topic. Unlike polygeny, which had not been a commandment and church policy for 7 decades before I was born and which we could read the revelations about its coming and the manifesto about its end, we had nothing scripturally about the priesthood and temple ban. The only thing we would hear was that it was temporary and would end at some point. But when we did not know when. So, I was forced to face my faith.

When I was very young I lived in Elkhart, Indiana, and I had a number of African American children in kindergarten and those that I could recall later, as I was growing up afterwords in Utah, had been bullies, spoke strangely, and seemed to have behavior problems. There were undoubtedly others that did not fit this description, but I remembered was those that did. It was prejudice, but when you are growing up trying to reconcile life dynamics, one doesn't so recognize. They were the only blacks I had personally known.

As a sophomore, I had an episode of cognitive dissonance about this. A girl in several of my classes--a non-member--had a brother one year younger--adopted and black. He was bright, articulate, thoughtful, popular (class president in an otherwise white, Latin, Asian school, but no other blacks). I struggled a lot that year trying to reconcile things. In the spring I climbed the mountain behind our house and prayed and prayed and prayed. How could somebody like this kid be denied the priesthood if he were a member? I begged for an answer. Things didn't make sense. Then I felt a very strong impression almost a voice saying, "it is ok, my son, it is but for a small moment and soon things will change." I stopped my pleading thanked God for letting me know. As I walked down the mountain, I wondered "so what is but a little time?" I wondered if it were years away. It was just a few weeks later I was in a dentist chair in Salt Lake City. Suddenly, the receptionist came into the room and excitedly told the dentist that "I just heard on the radio. The Prophet had a revelation and blacks can now have the priesthood." The dentist left immediately and I remember having something in my mouth, but I laid there waiting the dentist's return, tears running down my cheeks, thanking God that the restriction had been lifted.

John Pack Lambert said...

Mike Johnson, I recall you relating some of the story above before, but this account is more precise and moving then I recall the previous one being, so I thank you greatly.

In my case, the first black person I recall knowing was a member of my primary class. He and his mom and dad and older sister had just joined the Church. Well, technically his parents had just joined the Church. I don't think even his older sister was 8 yet, he certainly was not. The exact timing I only worked out years later, this was maybe 1985 or 1986. My primary class at about that time also had a girl born in South Korea whose father was a tailor and had just moved to the US, they would later move over to a ward where more affluent people lived because her dad made so much money as a tailor. There was a boy who was born in Michigan but whose Hong Kong born parents met at BYU, his mom joined the Church at BYU and his Dad back in Hong Kong. There was another boy whose Dad was a Detroit-born man of southern white heritage, and whose mom was a native of Uruguay. His mom had been a member of the Church most if not all her life, and for a time her parents and siblings also lived in the ward. Her younger brother was until very recently the president of the bilingual Detroit River Branch. That couple had met while the husband was with the US military in Wisconsin, I think the wife was there as an airline employee. The husband joined the Church after they met. At that point if I remeber correctly there were two more white girls in the class, and one other white boy besides me. So by some definitions half the class was other than non-Hispanic whites. We would later also have a girl whose mother was a native of Argentina and whose father was a native of Russia, who later moved to Brazil, and met the mother while he was president of a Spanish-speaking branch in New York City.

At that time my ward stretched 26 miles north to south, and between 6 and 7 miles east to west, maybe a little less once you crossed into the southern 8 miles of the ward within the city of Detroit itself. While Detroit was in the process of becoming the most African-American major city in the US, it was still a process. When I was born the Osborn Neighborhood, which was in our ward then, was still heavily white, and we had some white members of the ward living there. Over the last decade Detroit had seen its population fall by 20%, yet the number of African-American residents had increased. Over the decade leading up to the year I turned 10 (1990) the population of Detroit fell a further 15%, but the African-American population of Detroit still increased, even though especially from 1985 on middle-class black flight to Southfield had began.

In I believe 1989 the part of my ward in Detroit was split off, combined with other areas in Detroit in our stake, and formed into a branch. We no more had any black members in our ward. We did for a time have a Fijian family though, and always had at least one Asian family and multiple families who were Hispanic. At that time my Dad hometaught a family where the husband was a Mexican-born man who had served his mission in California, leaving from Texas, and the wife was of primarily if not completely Lebanese descent and raised in Michigan. They had a daughter in the same grade as me, although she was in the primary class below me. That man would be my primary teacher for the start of the year I turned 10, when we studied the New Testament. I remember him saying Paul was his favorite apostle because he went to teach the people in Spain. He clearly identified with having Spanish-ancestors, although anyone who saw him would also be certain he had indigenous American ancestry as well. Partly through that year he having completed his university study for a teaching degree (I believe a master's degree), took a job as a Spanish-language math teacher in Bakersfield, California (which I believe had been in his mission). It was a sad time for my family when they moved away.

John Pack Lambert said...

It was in the school year going from 1989-1990 that we came to have the first African-American student in my elementary school, of probably 350 or so students. I had in the past had classmates named Yassir, and been in classes with two people whose families were from Iran at once, so we had ethnic diversity by any measure. The next year I was put in a gifted and talented magnet class at a different school. I would be with essentially the same classmates from 4th grade to 8th grade. One of my fellow students was the child of Korean immigrants, another was of partly Lebanese descent. In 6th grade we had a few more students added, one of whom was a native of the Philippines.

The city I lived in begin to go through some transition during this time, but the nature of my class insultated it from these changes. Thus when I was put back with the general student population in 9th grade it was in some ways a shocker. I had Chaldean classmates, part of a large community of Christians from Iraq, who had moved from their previous homes in along the central north border of the city of Detroit or in Oak Park and Southfield out to Sterling Heights, mainly in the years while I had been in the magnet program, who had the attitude "why should I learn this, I am just going to run my family party [read liquor] store the rest of my life." On the other hand there had also been a significant increase in the number of Indians (that is from India) and Pakistanis. These for the most part came from professional oriented families, and especially from 10th grade on were more often my classmates than the Chaldeans, since they applied themselves in academics and sought out advanced classes.

John Pack Lambert said...

Sorry this is taking so excessively long. My graduating class in high school only had one African-American. I had associated with some African-Americans at various church activities of a multi-unit variety, but not many. There was one young woman who I liked to dance with at stake dances who was African-American. About the start of her senior year her family moved out to Southfield, but they kept going to their old branch in Detroit, and she stayed at her high school in Detroit.

I eagerly read the autobiography of Helvicio Martins when I came upon a copy. In later 1997 our ward boundaries were altered. We were now only 12 miles north to south, but we took in a small part of the city of Troy. In the later area there were two white families with adopted black children.

My senior year there were more African-Americans in my high school than ever before, even if only one in my grade. In my physics class that year the one junior, because of the district policies that had made it so under normal circumstances you would not take physics until 12th grade, was a newly moved in African-American student, whose mom was an administrator at Marygrove College, and whose mention of his Dad lead one of the Pakistani students to remark "your black, you're not supposed to have a Dad." The Pakistani young man thought he was being funny.

John Pack Lambert said...

I actually had more black friends and associates my freshman year at BYU than I had ever had before. To be fair I had more friends and associates period. There was one black girl from Tennessee I particularly liked, and another from northern California whose parents were immigrants from Ghana. I lacked the courage to ask either out on a date.

My mission had only one missionary who identified as black, and that was only for maybe the last third and I never managed to meet him. I did interact with missionaries from Brazil who blacks in Las Vegas identified as being black, and we did get a missionary from Florida who was born and raised in the Dominican Republic who looked black to virtually all Americans.

When I returned from my mission the member of the high council assigned to my ward was a black man who lived in Southfield. Sadly he moved away within about a year.

I did on a few occasions go on dates with African-American Mormon woman, but my current fiancee was the first African-American Mormon woman I had more than one date with. To be fair I have never gone on a date with any non-Mormon women, and I can count on one hand how many women I have been on more than one date with, and may not even need to use all my fingers.

John Pack Lambert said...

As of today The Sterling Heights Ward has about 6 active African-American members, at least 7 if you count the quarter-black adopted 5-year-old child of a white family. Another 3 are brothers who joined when the older twins were 13, their mom came to Sacrament meeting when they were confirmed, and may have come out once or twice since, but is not yet a member. There is a black woman who comes out every week who has been a member about 3 years, and then there is a family that just moved in where the husband is from Nigeria, his family joined the Church when he was 6, he served a mission and then went to BYU-Idaho, where he met his wife who is an African-American convert who grew up in Metro-Detroit (but not in the city itself, in fairly affluent suburbs in fact).

My fiancee lives on the east side of Detroit, in what she will call "the hood". She has had people break in and steal stuff from her house at least 6 times in the 8 years she has lived there. Her branch is a mix of the east side of Detroit, including many of its most economically depressed and high crime areas, and the extremely affluent Grosse Pointe Suburbs. A majority of the active members may be white, but there are many very active African-Americans, although at most only three African-American families with both a husband and a wife who come to Church. Most of the African-Americans in the branch are unmarried, some widows, some never married. The African-American sisters include retired teachers and a woman who works at a clothing store. The African-American men include some young men who are marginally employed in fast food, and one man who is a retired police officer. The white members of the branch are overwhelmingly married couples and their children. There are some lawyers and businessmen, but msot heavily there are medical students. In the past there have been some professors as well, but none I know of currently. Although as I write this it dawns on me how little I really know about the members of her branch.

John Pack Lambert said...

Southfield Ward, where I currently go because it is the stake mid-singles magnet ward, even though that feels a little odd with my upcoming marriage, is another creature entirely.

Belle Isle Branch skews young, with lots of young families coming in for school and then moving on. They have also had on rare occasion white families move into the very far west end of the ward, which is part of the gentrifying downtown of Detoit. The one case I know of moved from there to the very affluent area of the Bloomfield Hills Ward, where the temple is, generally a sign that an area is upscale.

Southfield Ward also has lots of medical students and medical residents. However it also has several members who have lived in the ward for a very long time, in some cases since before or about when I was born. The ward has several black members, although only two married black couples. At one point Belle Isle branch had a couple, living in Grosse Pointe, where the husband was white and the wife black. They had met when he was living in a high end high rise in Downtown Detroit, and serving as a branch president, and she was a newly baptized member living in the section-8 housing she had grown up in. Sadly after being in Belle Isle Branch for maybe a year or two they moved to Tennessee. So did the couple from another ward in our stake where the wife was black and the husband was white. OK, enough with the lament about the excodus of everyone from Michigan.

The Palmer Park branch, which meets at the same building as the Southfield Ward, probably has the most black families of any unit in our stake. The branch president is black, and his wife has been a temple worker at the Detroit Temple basically since it opened in 1999. There are a few other black families as well, including that of the branch president's predecessor who is now on the high council and assigned to Sterling Heights Ward, and second counselor in the branch presidency, and another where their son is at BYU studying social work and about to return next Spring when he gets his degree.

There are a few other people I know in some other wards who give me hope. Some have been profiled in videos put out by the LDS Church. One is the Parkers in Roseville Ward, living in Osborn Neighborhood, which is now arguably the most economically depressed area of Detroit. He is a factory worker on the night shift, she works at a day care, and they have at least 5 children. Well, the video is a few years old, and I have not actually seen the Parkers for a while, but know he is now the young men president and she was relief society president until he got his current call. One of the LDS produced videos that chronicles them mentions they have a goal of starting up their own business. A couple that has done a lot in mentoring them, the Utleys are almost my relatives, since Brother Utley's aunt married my grandfather's uncle.

John Pack Lambert said...

In general things are looking up here in Metro Detroit. No where more so than Southfield Ward where they have had a lot of success with baptisms lately.

John Pack Lambert said...

Sorry to comment again, but I have to vent against Stevenson's book again.

Stevenson's title is misleading. In his documents section he includes mention of the December 2013 "Race and the Priesthood" statement, although he only includes a one paragraph quote. I mention this to establish he was able to include things from through the end of 2013 in his work.

At least searching the index I see no mention of either Joseph W. Sitati or Edward Dube. Sitati was called as a general authority in 2009. Not mentioning the call of the first black African general authority in a book that claims to be a "Global History of Blacks and Mormonism" seems to me unjustified.

Edward Dube was called in April 2013, which is why I mentioned above other later events in 2013. Clearly Stevenson could have mentioned the call in his book. Beyond this, this article to me shows that Stevenson did not do enough leg work in making his book. True, this specific article came out in 2014, so after the book went to press. However I guess my main complaint is I see little evidence that Stevenson directly undertook to even try to converse with people like Elder Keith R. Edwards, who was mission president in Zimbabwe from 2000-2003. This might reflect Stevenson's bias that religious history is best understood as the history from the bottom up. He draws on lots of sources, from all levels, in the LDS Church archieves, but his failure to follow it up with key interviews with the current players, means his narrative from 1980, and especially 1990 on, is very limited. This is not at all the history that the title makes it seem, a history giving us a full view of events up to 2013. It is still too much relying on articles from 1990 and earlier by James B. Allen on Mormonism in Nigeria and Ghana before 1978.

There is a reason when I wrote my paper on the Church in Ghana for my international Church class at BYU I tried to focus more on the Freeze than anything else. It is high time for us to extend out study of history to events more recent than 1978. And I was doing that over a decade ago.

John Pack Lambert said...

To take up an only vaguely related topic, do people think that the Church will excommunicate Ayla Stewart, the vocal supporter of "Mormon Culture" who blogs under the name "Wife with a Purpose". BuzzFeed back in April hailed her as part of the LDS Church's "vocal White Nationalist Wing", which the blog getreligion lampooned as giving her way more focus than she deserves. Alex Boye has more twitter followers, but only by a little, but say Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who has never had anything but ill to say of those who speak racism, although some of us which he would in general conference once and for all denounce the false justifications for the past priesthood restriction, has way more followers than Stewart.

This Newsweek article has her denigrating as merely "LDS Church PR" the statement issued by the Church on Wednesday that clearly denounced her, if not explicitly by name. I have already put myself on record as in the camp that thinks her excommunication cannot possibly come too soon. I also have to admit I am glad the article on her on Wikipedia is up for speedy deletion.

I know my strong support of her excomunication will lead to some pushback from people who think it uswise. However the virulence of her racism, and her willingness to try to twist President Hinckley's clear denunciation of racismism in his 2007 general conference talk on the matter to somehow be on her side and against her opponents, makes me not see anything good about her continued membership in the Church.

John Pack Lambert said...

Stwart was a pagan before she converted to the LDS Church (see here and I have to wonder if some of her views are a reflection of the nordic-indigenous strain in some paganism.

Eduardo Clinch said...

My parents lived in Sierra Leone before I was born; I always knew black people in Indiana. Some were Church members in the 1970s.I also must say that TV and movies and literature affect our views on race and ethnicity and culture, not just our own personal and anecdotal experiences. I also really enjoy what the Church has broadcast and filmed in regards to race and diversity. All of these factors help us see we are more universally human and the same than all the hateful differences mistaken agendas would espouse.

John Pack Lambert said...

This is a very encouraging article on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The article gives no context on the Church, never mentions Mormons, gives no sense of how many members there are in Nigeria, and never mentions anything about the Church's truth claims.

On the other hand it does give a strong feel for the social success of Church members in Nigeria.

At first I thought that President Jonah was a branch president, but then I came across this "Jonah, an Asst. Professor and NDU’s Acting Head of Department (HOD), Economic Department, said all the members from various branches of the church contributed 60000 man hours for the community project." I then thought he was district or stake president. First I looked for Yenagoa on the Church News website, and found no mention of it in the Church News. At least not per that search.

The Deseret News does have some articles that mention Yenagoa, in part because it is the capital of Bayelsa State. Here we have one on the pardon of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The fact he was convicted of stealing shows that at least some people face consequnces for corruption, even if they are not always fully applied. In 2009 the Deseret News had an article mentioning a top militant and 1,000 followers surrendered in Yenagoa as part of an amnesty deal. Earlier articles are brief mentions of kipnapping and nati-foriegn owned oil rigs violence in the city. In 1999 we find a brief article mentioning at least 20 people had been killed in violence in Yenagoa.

I then zipped over to ldschurchtemples dot com. From that I learned that the Yenagoa Nigeria Stake was formed in May. It seems not to have been featured yet in the new stakes page of the Church News. I am pretty sure that President Jonah is the stake president, and he probably said wards and branches, but the writer felt branches were self-evident and didn't want to get into discussions of LDS congregation names.

So I hunted down what I could find on President Jonah, since he is a significant economists at Delta State University. Here is a link to a paper for which he was a lead author for on maternal death rates in Bayelsa State. Over the period studied the rate has declined from 47 to 28 (per 10,000 live births). Still President Jonah and his associate point out that the goal is 25 so more work needs to be done. I read through the whole report, but have to admit his use of statistical data was above my head.

Here is a longer article with quite moving quotes from President Jonah. I have to admit I would be overjoyed if President Jonah became a general authority.

James said...

Interesting information as always. Thanks for the ongoing inspirational comments, everyone. FWIW, while Church news has slowed down in recent days, I have still spent a significant amount of time blogging about Church-related topics in the last week. You can catch up on the latest at the address below. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks again.

James said...

As I have done a few more new blog posts since posting a link to my blog above, and since Matt has not added any new content in the last few days, I invite any readers of this blog who may want to do so to read and comment on my blog. Thanks.