Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mission Realignments and Consolidations to Come

The Church reported yesterday that there will be many missions closing in the near future due to fewer members serving full-time missions. The Church previously reported approximately 58,000 full-time missionaries prior to the 2012 announcement that lowered the minimum age for full-time missionary service for men and women. Due to a subsequent double cohort of missionaries (i.e. members who entered the missionary force as anticipated prior to the age change announcement plus members who entered the missionary force earlier than expected due to the age change announcement), as well as an increased percentage of missionary service among some demographic groups such as women, the number of full-time missionaries increased to a high of 88,000 in 2014, but has since decreased to approximately 70,000 at present. Furthermore, the number of missions in the Church substantially increased from 347 in 2012 to 421 at present to accommodate larger numbers of missionaries serving.

I predict that there will be dozens of missions that will close/consolidate within the next two years given a decrease of approximately 18,000 full-time missionaries serving, and a lower-than-expected number of members serving full-time missions following the end to the double missionary cohort. During the "surge" of missionaries serving that lasted from 2013-2015, church leaders initially predicted that the number of full-time missionaries would stabilize in the high 70,000s and then slowly increase after that point. However, the number of full-time missionaries serving has stabilized nearly 10,000 less than anticipated. Given the Church's previous historical average of 163 members per mission prior to the age change announcement in 2012, this would indicate that there would need to be approximately 60 fewer missions to accommodate the current size of the worldwide full-time missionary force in comparison to what church leaders originally anticipated. Nevertheless, the Church reported an average of 168 missionaries per mission in 2016 - very close to the historical average for the Church prior to the minimal age change in 2012. The Church reported an average of 200 missionaries per mission in 2014 as missions accommodated larger numbers of missionaries than previously. Thus, it appears most likely that the Church will discontinue between 15-30 missions in the next couple years as part of these realignments given that missions are not understaffed in comparison to historical averages and a recent emphasis on larger numbers of missionaries serving in most missions.

Below is a list of locations where I believe missions will most likely be closed and consolidate with neighboring missions given church growth trends, the number of stakes/districts serviced by missions, and populations targeted by missionary efforts. It is likely that many of these countries will have several missions discontinued.
  • Argentina
  • Australia 
  • Bolivia
  • Chile 
  • Japan
  • Russia 
  • Mexico 
  • Peru
  • South Korea
  • Ukraine
  • United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington)
It also appears likely that many new missions may be organized in the next couple years given rapid growth in some areas of the world, expanding opportunities for missionary work, populations that exhibit good receptivity to LDS outreach, minimally reached populations, and/or good stability of the local/regional full-time missionary force. Below is a list of prospective new missions that appear likely to be organize in the foreseeable future:
  • Australia Brisbane (2nd mission)
  • Brazil Porto Velho
  • Brazil Sao Luis
  • Cameroon Yaounde
  • Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Abobo
  • Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro
  • Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa (2nd mission)
  • Ethiopia Addis Ababa
  • Ghana Kumasi (2nd mission)
  • Malawi Lilongwe
  • Myanmar Yangon
  • Nigeria Abuja
  • Nigeria Ibadan
  • Nigeria Uyo
  • Philippines Bacolod (2nd mission)
  • Philippines Cabanatuan
  • Philippines Davao (2nd mission)
  • Philippines Dumaguete
  • Philippines Lucena
  • Philippines Ormoc
  • Philippines Santiago
  • Rwanda Kigali 
  • Sierra Leone Bo
  • Solomon Islands Honiara
  • Tanzania Dar Es Salaam
  • Texas Austin
  • Texas Plano
  • Thailand Bangkok (2nd mission)
  • Togo Lome
  • Zimbabwe Bulawayo

84 comments:

LDS Geographer said...

Yes, I think the church can do away with several of the Utah missions (SLC East, SLC West, Logan, Ogden, Orem, Provo, etc).

John Pack Lambert said...

I came across a 9 year old discussion today where people were complaining about the end of road shows and ward bazaars.

The first big take away I had was the people involved missed the boat. The Church has moved away from these things and emphasized the temple. In my experience wards emphasize sending new converts to do baptisms for the dead more now.

I had a bishop who grew up as an active member of the Church in Colorado ina thesame 1960s and 1970s and never once went to the temple to do baptisms.

Another thing the commentors seemed to have missed was cultural celebrations at temple dedications.

I have to side with people who view the end of local budgets and related changes as bringing us closer to being a Zion people.

No more do people in ritzier areas build more elaborate chapels. The level of ward and stake activities us fairly uniform.

I have to admit I have not seen many chsnges in my life and the ones I have seen often as not involve more prograns.

I did see the end of Know Your Religion, but the amount this put people constantly traveling probably justified it. So did the rise of BYU tv where such can be mass prodcast.

road shows were out long before I was a youth. Same with dance competitions and even above stake level church sports.

The main changes I have seen is the ecpansion of nerry miss into activity days, going from starting the year the girl turns 10 to starting at the 8th birthday.

I have seen the mass expansion in the number of Family History Centers followed by a more recent consolidation, decline and merging hours.

I have seen the shift from single student wards to YSA wards.

I have seen the rise in the Church prom, but that was after my youth so I can say little of it.

Relief Soviety non-Sunday meetings have gone through at least 3 major reforms during my lifetime.

I have also seen the end of the prayer meeting before sacrament for speakers. Ive seen attempts to bring an en d to missionary farewells but am not sure they have fully stopped.

The other big change is the end of the ward activities comittee.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Hmmm....some Church leaders previously predicted much higher numbers of missionaries, 100,000 by 2019-2020 being among them.

http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=3450134&itype=CMSID

I guess closing of many missions is sort of an admission that the Church now doesn't think this will be happening.

James said...

Thanks for your analysis of yesterday's announcement, Matt! It will indeed be interesting to see which missions the Church will close. As for any future missions that may be established, I hope that once the current 421 are trimmed down to whatever number there will wind up being that other missions may then be created in areas where more are needed. I am not sure how all of that will work. But I am sure of one thing: I am beyond grateful that I am not the one in charge of all of that. I have also observed in other threads on this blog that the Church is moving its missionary program further into the 21st century, and evolving missionary work and efforts as technology evolves. And I welcome that wholeheardtely.

Michael Worley said...

Dane, I love Elder Holland-- he's awesome-- but I've long since acknowledged that numerical projections are not his strong suit. So, I agree with you, but want to honor his status as a wonderful man anyhow :)

L. Chris Jones said...

I wonder if technology has facilitated closing some family history centers. The church is putting it all online. I also encourage all to index. Even if it's a few minutes here and there. Indexing does not take any commitment. Most of it is easy. If you can read this blog, you can put in a few minutes indexing.

L. Chris Jones said...

We need to do better at being good examples plus sharing our with others. Invite co-workers, friends, and neighbors to church, special events( such as kid's baptisms or ordinations, young women's awards,etc), ward picnics or other activities. Be thier friend without conditions. Join in indexing. We can invite others to index or do thier own family history, which is becoming a popular pastime both in and out of the church. I know I need to do better at all this myself. A new non-member co-worker in Idaho Falls lives down the street from the temple and claims it as her own. She feels something there as well. She said she loved the recent open house.

Leandro said...

In Brazil we predict a second mission in Recife, since the current covers 13 stakes and one district

Eduardo Clinch said...

I had been thinking that with the reduction of church units in California that the number of missions in the state seemed pretty high after the 2013 expansion.
Chile with 10 missions seems high, but with closer to 600,000 members (the majority of whom are less active and probably part members) seems to justify a good number of fulltime elders and sisters to reach out and activate and complete them as members, especially considering the the second temple located in Concepcion will make it much more realistic for thousands to be involved there.
The highest month of baptisms I ever heard of was 5,000 in the Concepcion Mission in 1980. Back then there were maybe only 3 missions in the country, whereas by the late 1980s there were six, at least 1-2 carved from the earlier Conce Mission.
I am curious if/where any Virginia missions would be consolidated; this is a robust and growing state with going on 100,000 members and a potential new temple somewhere in the south. 3 new stakes dedicated in the last 15 months.
Good to see growth in those places listed. What about Cote d'Ivoire? Should continue to expand, I guess by two as proposed.

James Anderson said...

Even Church music has changed. As late as 1985 General Conference was filled with choral numbers that were largely unfamiliar to members, and local wards and stakes had choirs do similar in meetings and conferences.

But since then, in late 2985 they started doing just hymns with the occasional other number, that format has been used ever since, and it has eventually led to more hymns used in local meetings, the classical choral works are largely gone.

I am at present a ward music chair, and in some online and other discussions, some want to go back to that or as I heard at a LDS Tech conference at Riverton about Church music, some are wishing even the standard hymn as we know it would go away, that was in small talk in the halls. The hymnbook and the hymn form are here to stay and new ones are introduced on music.lds.org every year under 'Books and Collections' so choir directors and those seeking musical numbers can find music that is new but is Church approved through correlation so it is safe. I can't say that about a few outside pieces that some want to introduce, although there is some outside material that is entirely correct in doctrine.

MainTour said...

As long time active member, I am a bit bothered that I have not seen more stories of local wards and stakes that have organized and executed successful ward mission/outreach plans. Per the LDS Handbook #2: missionary work begins with the Bishop and the Ward Council in directing local activities. Most 18-19 year old kids are pretty clueless to the opportunities and challenges that exist in their area where they only serve for 2-6 months.

So I typed on my own essay with my own experiences as a Ward Mission Leader and Scoutmaster.
http://maintour.com/mission_plan17.htm : "How Scouting Became My Mission Plan".

I would like to get feedback on this essay. Also are there any other LDS Blogs for Missionaries and Ward Mission Leaders where it may be appropriate to print this essay? Thank you. YIC/YIS.

John Pack Lambert said...

My ward will have a convert baptism this coming Saturday.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am pretty sure the Mbaise District which saw a jump from 4 to 8 branches recently is the one that includes the first branch in Nigeria where Anthony Obinna was branch president.

I just created a biography of Rendell N. Mabey, who along with his wife Rachel, and Ted and Janath Cannon, was one of the original missionaries sent to Nigeria in 1978, in Wikipedia. Elder Mabey had previously been a speaker of the Utah State House of Represenatives and a Utah State Senator. The fact that virtually all current Utah State Senators have articles, but few who served before about 1990, shows just how presentist Wikipedia is.

OC Surfer said...

Stake conference is this Saturday and Sunday. Please plan ahead for these very special meetings, both spiritually and logistically. There are going to more wards than normal at the Franklin Chapel so please plan your travel and arrival time accordingly.

The Blackstone Valley Stake will be created in conjunction with the Boston and Hingham Stake Conference to be held on October 21st and 22nd.

All members of Framingham 1st Ward, Framingham 2nd Branch, Marlborough Ward, Worcester 1st and 2nd Wards and the Worcester 3rd Branch; all members of the Hingham Stake; and all members living in Upton and Uxbridge are invited to all sessions of the Hingham Stake Conference.

Elder Anthony D. Perkins, a General Authority Seventy, will preside at this conference. The Priesthood Leadership session will begin at 4:30pm on October 21st and will be followed by the adult session at 7:00pm. Both Saturday sessions will be held at the Hingham stake center in Franklin, Massachusetts; 91 Jordan Road, Franklin MA 02038.

The Sunday session will begin at 10:00am on October 22nd and will be held in the Hingham stake center in Franklin and broadcast to the Worcester building, 67 Chester Street, Worcester, MA 01605. At this conference session the Blackstone Valley stake will be created and the new stake presidencies of both the Hingham and Blackstone Valley Stakes will be sustained.

The Boston Stake Conference will also be held on October 21st and 22nd with Elder Michael M. Dudley, an Area Authority Seventy, presiding. All members of the Boston 1st Ward, Boston 2nd Branch, Boston 3rd Ward, Boston 4th Branch Brookline Ward, Weston 1st Ward and Weston 2nd Ward as well as those members of the Hingham Ward living in Quincy and Milton are invited to attend all sessions of the Boston Stake Conference. The priesthood leadership session and adult sessions will be held on October 21st at 4:00pm and 7:00pm respectively, while the general session will be held at 10:00am on Sunday, October 22nd. All sessions will be held at the stake center in Weston, 150 Brown Street, Weston, MA, 0249

OC Surfer said...

Stake conference is this Saturday and Sunday. Please plan ahead for these very special meetings, both spiritually and logistically. There are going to more wards than normal at the Franklin Chapel so please plan your travel and arrival time accordingly.

The Blackstone Valley Stake will be created in conjunction with the Boston and Hingham Stake Conference to be held on October 21st and 22nd.

All members of Framingham 1st Ward, Framingham 2nd Branch, Marlborough Ward, Worcester 1st and 2nd Wards and the Worcester 3rd Branch; all members of the Hingham Stake; and all members living in Upton and Uxbridge are invited to all sessions of the Hingham Stake Conference.

Elder Anthony D. Perkins, a General Authority Seventy, will preside at this conference. The Priesthood Leadership session will begin at 4:30pm on October 21st and will be followed by the adult session at 7:00pm. Both Saturday sessions will be held at the Hingham stake center in Franklin, Massachusetts; 91 Jordan Road, Franklin MA 02038.

The Sunday session will begin at 10:00am on October 22nd and will be held in the Hingham stake center in Franklin and broadcast to the Worcester building, 67 Chester Street, Worcester, MA 01605. At this conference session the Blackstone Valley stake will be created and the new stake presidencies of both the Hingham and Blackstone Valley Stakes will be sustained.

The Boston Stake Conference will also be held on October 21st and 22nd with Elder Michael M. Dudley, an Area Authority Seventy, presiding. All members of the Boston 1st Ward, Boston 2nd Branch, Boston 3rd Ward, Boston 4th Branch Brookline Ward, Weston 1st Ward and Weston 2nd Ward as well as those members of the Hingham Ward living in Quincy and Milton are invited to attend all sessions of the Boston Stake Conference. The priesthood leadership session and adult sessions will be held on October 21st at 4:00pm and 7:00pm respectively, while the general session will be held at 10:00am on Sunday, October 22nd. All sessions will be held at the stake center in Weston, 150 Brown Street, Weston, MA, 0249

John Pack Lambert said...

Is this naming of stakes not after a city but after a generalized geographical area a new trend, or something special to Massachusetts? This will still leave Cambridge Stake with a lot of units. I am wondering if a Boston YSA stake will be formed soon.

twinnumerouno said...

My ward is having a ward fast to pray for missionary work Wednesday to Thursday.

John Pack Lambert said...

My stake is consolidating down to one family history center. Maybe this means the remaining family history center in my stake will start following church guidelines and have two staff present at all times, and not have unrelated male and females staffing at the same time when there are only two present.

John said...

Both the family history centers in our stake are half-filled with microfilm readers that won't be needed much longer. Our stake president is studying what to do with the space in both buildings - the stake center desperately needs a new clerks' office, as there are four sets of clerks sharing an office designed for two wards.

NewsAnchor007 said...

In response to John Pack Lambert, The Cambridge Stake was split last year to form my new stake (North Shore, MA) There are only 3 YSA wards (18-30) and 30+ ward in the Cambridge now, with 3 branches and 5 other wards for a total of 12. (Down from 16 when were were apart of it last year before the split last November.
With the Creation of the new Blackstone Valley Stake today, that leaves all of the Massachusetts stakes reorganized since last year. Now we will have 6 stakes. I highly doubt there will be a YSA stake here, but I could be wrong. The gospel seems to be growing a lot here recently.

As far as naming stakes geographically instead of a city, it might have to do with that my stake (North Shore) doesn't have an official stake center since we are not big enough yet to build one yet, the same goes with the new Blackstone Stake. Church protocol says that a new stake center can be built or an existing chapel can be expanded if all buildings are above ore capacity. None in the North Shore Stake are, and I doubt that any are at capacity at the new stake either. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the near future as growth continues in New England. (New London CT stake was created shortly before ours last year too, so three stakes in 15 months is goo progress for a small area.

MainTour said...

I thought 1 FHC per stake was the standard? Not all stakes have even one FHC. For the last few years I had heard a lot of talk from FHC people that more would be shut down because every one does their genealogy online these days and the foot traffic into a FHC unit was really slowed down.


James Anderson said...

They are only shutting down where they build discovery centers, typically where there are large concentrations of members. Mostly in Utah and possibly Southeast Idaho.

Traffic in Western Wayne is a known issue, and the outreach to the community, who does not have access to the free accounts with the partners is key to the worldwide effort to gather anything about anyone's ancestors and that for the non-LDs community too, so they keep approving more.

A pass-along card you can get says 4,600 exist. But at the end of last year, they had just a whisker more than 5,000.

1/3 of names added to Family Tree come from those outside the church, others have benefited significantly from our family history efforts.

John Pack Lambert said...

There are maybe 3200 stakes, so that means that there are more FHCs than stakes. However in Michigan and Ohio there are several public libraries with FHCs.

The Grand Blanc stake just north of mine has 5 FHCs. At one point our 2 were opened more hours during the week than their 5.

On another note I can across several FHCs open by appointment only in my search.

My search revealed the FHC on BYU-Idaho campus was closed. The Family History Center in I think Moroni Utah only avoided closure by cutting back hours and shifting to being a family search records processing center.

The current proliferation of FHCs was driven by a need to do temple ready. With names submittable online there is not quite as high a need.

I doubt we will see large scale closures but I dont think the Roseville Michigan FHC is the only struggling one that will close.

James Anderson said...

The shift from church to home with family history is good, but the FHCs should remain as places to learn how to do family history, as well as in areas the church is not prevalent, be where nonmembers can come to do some research, as the public libraries can only do so much and their people know little about things like the research process or even in cases not know how to use the sites, including FamilySearch, so our consultants need to be considered de-facto missionaries, they may never teach a discussion or do other traditional things missionaries on the full-time and ward level to, but this work is invaluable, and more than one member has hit into the millions of names added to family tree, the latest figure is roughly 800,000 of the 2.3 million names entered new on the tree are put in by nonmembers

James Anderson said...

Those numbers are per month, so you see what is happening here.

And the indexing effort too, only about 60,000 people participated in the Worldwide Indexing Event the last few days ending yesterday, way down from the last few years, and the cumulative level is also way down too year over year generally. The more names indexed, the more will be added and connected in family tree both new and the records added as sources. Even with all the mistakes still not corrected, the sources are making family tree the most accurate online tree out there.

This is why the new reports for family history in LCR, and more reports will be added as they are developed and needed. That was announced during Rootstech, and that comes up again the end of February so who knows what will come new then in this effort, you can read President Nelson's address in this months (October 2017) Ensign he gave there.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I heard that there were enough people on line indexing for there to be a significant slow down.

The growth in Mass and Connecticut is encouraging. Is Rhode Island and Maine coming along?

James Anderson said...

Yes there was a problem the first day, have not heard of any other days of the three, but this is also the first year for web indexing as it was only rolled out in May, so next year they will be ready.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Church has set up agreements with many public libraries to srnd microfilm there. There ar e at least 5 libraries with such agreements in Michigan.

My experience with FHCs is that they too often have little support from the wards where they are, and especially when film money was connected safe money handling procedures were often not followed.

I still think the Pontiac and Rochester family history centers should be closed. They are relatively close to the Bloomfield Hills Family History Center, and that is a potentially large center that needs a larger potential member staff base.

John Pack Lambert said...

church growth in Nigeria continues. More wards continue to spring up in Port Harcourt. I am convinced that even though Port Harcourt is about 35 miles from Aba I will live to see a temple there. I expect other places in Nigeria to get temples first, but I expect to see one in Port Harcourt by 2050.

James Anderson said...

The film money issue is no more. The last films were distributed after the cutoff for ordering at the end of August, and about every film ordered is now scanned and at least available online through the Catalog. If they charge for printouts though the money issue could still be there but with proper planning that can also go away

Christopher Nicholson said...

Church members in the US tend to lean right politically, and California keeps moving further the other way. I bet that's a huge factor for Mormons specifically in moving out.

Is anyone familiar with the CalExit movement? Some people are pushing for California to secede from the US. I'm not sure how that's supposed to work, since we already fought a war over that sort of thing, but it fascinates me. I wonder how much of a game-changer it would be for missionary work etc.

John Pack Lambert said...

California's housing policies make it very hard to buy housing especially that meets the needs of a family with multiple children.

The level of time it takes to commute to work also I think causes people to prefer elsewhere.

I do not think the California exit movement has any real chance of going anywhere. It is just one of many ideas that can more easily float around with the higher levels of communication we have today.

There is absolutely less than a nil chance that cal exit will occur.

James Anderson said...

The commute problem exploded last year, you have to get on the inbound routes before 5am to avoid it and some do not ease up until 11pm in some areas leaving what is now termed the 'inner' Bay Area. Driving in LA and using the freeways has become a hell like no other, slowdowns even for a common police traffic stop off the road and even out of lanes.

MainTour said...

"Church members in the US tend to lean right politically, and California keeps moving further the other way. I bet that's a huge factor for Mormons specifically in moving out."

That is my Dad's biggest complaint - Everybody always votes on every candidate and issue the opposite of his pick. And he is your typical Mormon Conservative.

MainTour said...

Also note that California already has a severe housing shortage, and that is before the wildfires two weeks ago that took over 8000+ homes out of inventory in the Upper Bay Area.

MainTour said...

CalExit is only supported by the very vocal Liberals along the coastline. The Conservative parts of the state are all against. Their tune might change as their liberal policies coming out of Sacramento further ruins quality of life in the state.

James said...

Interesting. In other news, the First Presidency announced earlier today that, due to the incurred damage to the Houston Texas Temple, it was officially closed for renovation, which is anticipated to be minor enough that that temple will be reopened by early next year, following a private rededication. I was lucky enough to catch the news not long after it was posted, and anyone who wants more info can see the official release on Mormon Newsroom or find my analysis of it on my blog, to which I again post the address. Thanks to all of you, and thanks to Matt for allowing me to share such posts.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Matt said...

"Their tune might change as their liberal policies coming out of Sacramento further ruins quality of life in the state."

Really? You want to go there? You are forgetting that California has a booming economy, high tech jobs, biotech jobs, strong entertainment industry, excellent universities, natural beauty, etc. If you live in Modesto or Bakersfield where everyone does meth I can see why you may be persuaded to think otherwise. As for the church in California; it is hemorrhaging young people, especially after the policy concerning the children of married, gay couples that came out two years ago.

Do not pretend like conservative states are objectively better off considering they have the highest rates of poverty, crime, gun violence, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, abortion, and porn consumption in the country. Conservatives can spare me their outrage over morals and "family values" after electing a president that is a proud adulterer and admitted sexual predator. Feel free to give me grief for bringing politics into the blog, but you decided to say something abjectly false, and I was not about to leave that unchecked.

James Anderson said...

It is the economic growth that exacerbated the traffic problems on the major roads in and through the area and after the last crash that had been somewhat reduced. But the improving economy in only about a year caused alot of the isssues, the freeways feeding in from I-5 all saw it along with the 280 and 101 south of SF proper.

Many are choosing to live on the cities in the 99 corridor from Manteca up through Sacramento along with Stockton then commute in now.

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

California has lost another ward as Nigeria gained another ward and a branch. I look forward to the day when Nigeria has more members than California. Considering Nigeria has about 5 times the population of California, imagining such a day is not difficult. Although it is not likely to be any time soon.

Michael Worley said...

Much of what Matt said is fair and very sad, but I'd like to add that there are some exceptions that hopefully will make it seem like conservative states are awful.

First, Utah is an exception, where a majority voted against DJT though he won a plurality, and allegations that it has the highest rate of porn use have been proven false by anyone who reads Google trends or the below article.

https://cyberpsychology.eu/article/view/6096/5921

Second and all but one of the top ten states on abortion rates voted for Barack Obama twice.

https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/abortion-rate/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Abortion%20Rate%22,%22sort%22:%22desc%22%7D

Michael Worley said...

John, I think Nigeria will likely have more active members than Chile by the end of next year... It will likely have a similar # of wards and a ton more branches, at least.

Gnesileah said...

Missionaries report the Billings Montana Stake will split on November 12th. I anticipate the new stake would take in units on the west end of Billings.

Bryce .Gillespie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryce .Gillespie said...

That is great news thanks.
I would think that the Monad building would be the stake center. But I don't think all for wards in that building would be in that stake.

JSA said...

Blackstone Valley Massachusetts Stake (2104849)
Framingham 2nd Branch (Spanish) (2044560)
Franklin 2nd Branch (1003038)
Worcester 3rd Branch (Spanish) (2042681)
Foxboro Ward (46582)
Framingham 1st Ward (445010)
Franklin 1st Ward (262455)
Marlborough Ward (111368)
Worcester 1st Ward (48143)
Worcester 2nd Ward (246352)

Nampula Mozambique District (2109018)
Murrapaniua Branch (2109026)
Mutauanha Branch (2109034)
Nampula Branch (479306)

Michael said...

Thank you and amen!

L. Chris Jones said...

Women's session of conference will be the same weekend as general conference with priesthood and women's alternating each six months.

L. Chris Jones said...

Men in April and women in October.

James said...

A couple of comments: First, on the new stake anticipated to be created in Montana, that to me strengthens the case for a temple in Missoula, which many have said may happen sooner rather than later.

Chris, thank you for posting that news here. I looked at the announcement and wondered why that hadn't been done all along. While there may not have been many Church growth developments, there has been plenty of general Church news. With my thanks to Matt for continuing to be gracious enough to allow this, I would like to invite anyone interested who would like to catch up on any of that general news I post to visit my blog at the address below. And for those that have no desire to do so, you can feel free to overlook this comment.

Thanks again to you all for these great discussions we have here.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

John Pack Lambert said...

The announcement of going to a 5 meeting one weekend general conference has brought out the odd chanting for a 2-hour meeting block and the claims this would be better.

One reason given is that it would make it easier on new converts. This is a bizarre claim. I remember being in a Sunday School class where some members said that their froends thought 3 hours was long but an actual convert said that as a baptist she went to meetings just as long. Wain Myers in "From Baptist Teacher to Mormon Preacher" identifies the change as involving going to much shorter meetings.

John Pack Lambert said...

If there is one thing I wish wards would do it is to find ways to not hold Sunday School classes is chapels or large overflows/carpeted culrural halls.

To be done write Sunday school needs clise interaction and lots of feedback, which is lacking in these settings.

James Anderson said...

The ned for Sunday School is this: We learn about the scriptures sequentially, and in priesthood we learn more topically. That is probably the real why in why we have not gone away from it although similar rumors were heard in the early 80s.

Another issue why not smaller class sizes? Most buildings have multiple units overlapping, so not all rooms are available to create smaller classes. Where hte Church is not expected to grow, chapels that are smaller to fit one branch or ward are built, but I know of one building that was built with an eventual stake in mind that started with one ward in 1977 that now houses three wards and the stake offices. That is in Payson, Arizona.

Grant Emery said...

OK, totally off-topic, but still Church growth-related.

I was looking up the progress of the Church's new downtown Chicago meetinghouse, and I was happy to see the progress and renderings. It's going to be a seven-story meetinghouse with four levels of underground parking. There's even a rooftop courtyard, and it looks like they've added square footage (over the garage entrance, pushing the courtyard higher) since the initial renderings.

So, some questions: how is the Church attempting to cater to urban areas more? Are there other urban-friendly meetinghouse projects you know of? Does anyone have information about how many wards will meet in this new, huge building? Will it also include church offices, such as mission, PR, etc.?

https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/6/20/15839736/chicago-construction-river-north-townhouses-lds-meetinghouse

Grant Emery said...

Oh, and by the way, I am aware of other urban church buildings (noteably Harlem, the Manhattan temple/meetinghouse, etc.). I'm mostly interested in new projects.

John Pack Lambert said...

The buildings I deal with never have overlapping church meetings, so that is not restricting what rooms are used for what meetings.

LDS Geographer said...

Grant Emery,

That is rather surprising when one considers the following:
1. Chicago and Cook County have recently had a declining population. (Estimates now show that both municipalities are regaining inhabitants slowly)
2. There is no rapid growth in the area, the last stake in the vicinity seems to have been created in 1998
3. The US's trends of suburbanization (moving from urban to suburban areas)
4. As others have mentioned earlier, the example of California, whose LDS growth is not just stagnating, but appears to be on an actual decline, perhaps due to the church wanting to get rid of some buildings. I imagine Chicago to be similar because of liberal policies.

If the building were to be used as a meetinghouse, the Church is probably anticipating multiple wards to meet there.

LDS Geographer said...

So the church may be looking to suburban residential areas instead of urban centres to reach people there. In urban centres, land is usually harder to obtain. For members living in an urban centre to go to a chapel in a suburb is usually going against traffic, although commute generally isn't as crowded on Sunday .
The Detroit River branch building is the closest to Detroit, MI's downtown but the branch is the only congregation that uses it. Similar is the Riverview branch in Kansas City and to a lesser extent, Milwaukee. So perhaps it is smarter to make chapels in suburbs.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Conservative converts that live in the wealthier suburbs may be what the Church would prefer to have, but the reality is convert baptisms occur much more frequently in the much more culturally and economically diverse inner cities. I happened to serve my mission in Chicago - Spanish speaking. Church growth in suburban Chicago over the past 20 years has been nominal at best, and these areas tend to be full of transplants from the west. The real growth has been in Chicago proper, where the number of Spanish speaking units,has doubled during this time.

James Anderson said...

I had my best luck in giving out the pass-along cards in the areas along 35th South and inside Bangerter in Salt Lake, when, before the stroke (slowly emerging from that but it's a few months more yet), and on a good day would give out a dozen or more, the most being over 30.

The bulk of it was inside I-215 here, the rest were scattered elsewhere including near the bars in Downtown Provo, oce gave one outside a death-metal concert, and about 1/4 to 1/3 were to nonwhites of various races, some mixed race and foreign

Ohhappydane33 said...

Also, many folks nowadays prefer urban living close to their employment, particularly younger professionals. So the suburbanization trends that existed post-World War II aren't as clear cut anymore as they used to be. Why would anyone who lives in an urban area want to drive to the suburbs for Church when they can walk, or take the bus or subway to Church in the city?

LDS Geographer said...

I'm not suggesting that the Church should completely pull out of the urban centres, since there are many wards/branches there. However, it's just not that easy to build a chapel in the centre of downtown in the Midwest. If the Church already has a building, there should be decent growth to justify building another one. The question is, is there? People say members move out of California because of its ultra-liberal policies, which may be seen in the decline of congregations. Chicago, a Rust Belt city which has had a recent decline in population, seems to also be rather far-left, so the two are likely similar. Much of the population decline from Chicago is due to emigration from the city proper. Food for thought. That is why unless there is notable and rapid growth in urban areas, I anticipate more growth to be in suburbs, based on demographics.
Also, saying that the Church prefers converts of one social status/political views over another is untrue. It is welcome to all who are sincerely willing to partake of the gospel, regardless of their worldly traits. I know quite a few liberal members myself.

Ohhappydane33 said...

LDS Geographer - You are trying to draw a flawed comparison between growth of the Church in an area with the growth or decline of the overall population of that same area. Just because the overall population of Chicago has dropped doesn't necessarily indicate that the number of Church members has dropped as well. There is ample evidence that suggests there are more Church members in Chicago now versus 20 years ago when its overall population may have been larger. You and I. An also argue forever about what kind of convert the Church prefers, but again, the reality is that convert baptisms are much greater in frequency in urban areas over suburban areas.

BYULAW said...

I like the concept of building multi-story meetinghouses. One thing I noticed when I lived in San Francisco was that parking was extremely limited at the chapel where the Bay Ward and Golden Gate ward meet, which made it nearly impossible for the two wards to overlap. Many Sundays several cars would get boxed in because they ran out of parking stalls. I lived downhill from the chapel, in the Marina District, and it was a pretty steep climb getting up to church. I could imagine it being difficult for elderly, disabled, etc. to walk to where church was. Granted, they could get an Uber, taxi, or other form of transportation, but for those on a fixed income with rents as high as they are in San Francisco, that isn't always easy to do. I would hope, eventually, that this concept is applied to the meetinghouse in San Francisco proper so that it could have plenty of parking, be more accessible by being closer to more major bus routes and be in a centralized location that isn't necessarily at the top or bottom of a hill. Maybe something near the financial district or one of the BART stations would be good. (there would also be a lot more foot traffic in that kind of area and might generate some curiosity or become a recognizable landmark that people would be more familiar with)

Ohhappydane33 said...

So yes, it is not only possible, but is is a FACT that the Church has grown in numbers in the most unlikely of cities, Chicago, a declining rust belt city with ultra-liberal policies, according to "LDS Geographer." Just because it doesn't follow his false premise/narrative doesn't make it any less true.

BYULAW said...

When I lived in Washington, D.C., several blocks east of Logan Cir., I always wondered why there wasn't a meetinghouse closer to the center of D.C. The only time I ever left the Downtown area was to take the Metro out to Columbia Heights and then the bus out for church . Seemed like there were all kinds of public transit resources to get into Downtown and it would've made more sense for the church to be located near the center of things or perhaps near Foggy Bottom instead of up on 16th Street. They only have the two units going there with the Spanish Branch and the DC 3rd ward, so I doubt they build another closer to downtown. However, I felt like many of the members in the ward were transplants and there might have been more inner-city outreach if the chapel was more centrally located.

James Anderson said...

At one time they were using a discarded Safeway for a meetinghouse, that was some 20 years ago, and that was closer in but I sm not dure where that was

Eduardo Clinch said...

Felizdane: thanks for the insight and info about Chicago. Pretty cool.
My friend here in Northern Virginia lived in that area and witnessed a pizza delivery guy to the Chicago temple join the the Church?
Any idea how the Church is doing in Hammond, Gary, East Chicago, Indiana?

Eduardo Clinch said...

I know people from Modesto and Bakersfield who do not deal or take methamphetamine. Hyperbole tends to take away from otherwise valid points, if that is the point.
Politics and policies of left and right have perhaps forever divided those who would choose to follow a straighter course to follow and worship and serve Jesus Christ or other religious causes.
I am not trying to push any political agenda by stating that, just noting that the mix of religion and politics makes for a muddle that is not conducive to growth discussion that is focused enough to factually gather but rather seems to bring in conjecture that is seemingly difficult to grasp and obtuse. Just my two cents. I'm not saying it is not worth it, but it makes conversations less cogent.
How about churches in Russia and Ukraine these days? There's some geo-politics going on there...

James Anderson said...

3 Nephi 7:2-3 sums up what could happen, I am not saying where, when, or how, whatever happens will take its course, but if the Book of Mormon is a type of our day, it well could.

Free Walburg said...

Togo stake split last week.

James said...

That may happen in countries outside the US, and may need to happen specifically in certain countries of the world, but we also have the promise from the Lord (which is in scripture as well) that when the US constitution is hanging by a thread, it will be righteous elders of the Church in the government that will allow the US (and its constitution) to be preserved. At what point might that happen? Some may contend we are headed that way right now. I am not so sure. One thing we can be sure of: If, as many suggest, we are nearing the end of the sixth seal and the opening of the seventh, then it may only be a matter of time until the Savior does come again. What I do know is that, if I take my patriarchal blessing at its word, we are in the "Saturday evening" of time, which I would place as being between 5-8 pm. If that was the case 20 years ago, then we may be closer to the hour of the Second Coming than we might realize. Interesting thoughts, as always. Thanks, everyone, for letting me participate in these discussions. Hope my contributions, such as they are, are helpful to some of you.

L. Chris Jones said...

I thought Togo was soon to split. It had 14 wards I'm that stake

James said...

Interesting that the Togo stake split. That is a very good sign. I am sure Matt will post about that this week, as well as the new stake in the DR Congo, which was also created last week, the Nigerian stake that was upgraded from a district, and the new district in Mozambique. It is interesting to see how and when new Church units have been, are, or will be created. The Lord governs that for sure, along with every other development related to His work.

James Anderson said...

Other things happen, like 73,000 people indexing over 7 million records that will eventually show up on FamilySearch, some almost right away.

Africa has no active projects right now but some may be coming due to FS working with governments in Sierra Leone and Ghana, a recent video showed what looked like a trash heap in a cinderblock building with poor conditions, that was the Ghana 2010 Census, we got that I think before they just threw it out.

John Pack Lambert said...

Chicago was the city that had the largest population decline in total numbers from 2015 to 2016. However this is m ainly on the south side as African Americans move to the suburbs. The near north side where the new chapel is being built has seen an inlux of population. This includes Latter-day Saints drawn by chances for education and professional jobs.

John Pack Lambert said...

There are members even in very urban areas who want to build ch apels in nice areas and away from high crime areas. Add to this central city areas often have more businesses than residences, and that city governments fight non-tax producing churches in central areas and building in central business districts is hard. A little further out is doable, and the Chicago model could be used in many places. Philadelphia Temple has underground parking I believe. Digging down is expensive though.

MdJPR said...

Just to mention DC and the Urban Chapel dilemma:
Prior to the new DC 3rd ward chapel opening, it operated out of a church owned building in Columbia Heights. The issue was the building was too small for the ward and had no parking, and it was on a lot no wider than the average townhouse, so rebuild wasn't really feasible. The church had previously tried to rebuy the old stake centre (also located in Columbia Heights) but without luck. Unable to find a property they eventually found the one up away from the city centre.

That being said the "old safeway" building was replaced with a brand new building, complete with underground parking and minutes from a Metro station. So while the Northwest portion of the city has the distance issue, the South East portion (on the downtown side of the Anacostia River) now has a more accessible meetinghouse

The only potential place in Downtown that could operate a chapel is the Barlow Centre, a downtown building owned by BYU for lodging the interns tied to government internships. It's a couple blocks from George Washington University so it's pretty convenient. It's a bit small for a ward but maybe a branch, depending on the numbers it would tear off from the other wards (Chevy Chase and DC 3rd). Also the number of transplants in the 3rd ward has almost vanished in the last few years, with all the leadership living within ward borders now.

James Anderson said...

One thing on new temple predictions is something I heard was said last night at something the Jordan River Temple president spoke at.

He said that if every person with a temple recommend were to go once a month, the temple would be so busy they would have to build another. There are variables like health, old age, and even employment matters that keep people from going (I have health issues right now, stroke recovery, that has slowed things), but often there are many also who go more often, sometimes much more, so somehow things happen where we do see one full-up and they do announce another.

John Pack Lambert said...

My impression is that southeast DC 8s the area where people need close access to the temple more than northwest.

Here in Detroit I doubt we will ever see a chapel truly in downtown but 16th and Pine is fairly close to downtown.

I have to admit I am excited about Daloa now having a stake. It has only been a few years since the first missionaries were sent to that city, and it is only Ivory Coast' 2nd stake outside metro Abijan. This gives me hope many of the districts will be made stakes soon. By the time Ivory Coast gets a temple it may well be ready for a second one.

Port Harcourt stake has seen more branches organized while 2 wards were discontinued in Sacramento.

There was a time when people oredicted that California would get more members than Utah. That does not look to happen anytime soon.

Togo getting a 2nd stake is quite exciting but was fully expected. In both Togo and Benin there is a lot more that could be done toward blanketing the country with the Church. Even in Ghana which is probably the west African country most heavily covered by the church large parts of the country are in the biundaries of administrative branches.

John Pack Lambert said...

My impression is that southeast DC 8s the area where people need close access to the temple more than northwest.

Here in Detroit I doubt we will ever see a chapel truly in downtown but 16th and Pine is fairly close to downtown.

I have to admit I am excited about Daloa now having a stake. It has only been a few years since the first missionaries were sent to that city, and it is only Ivory Coast' 2nd stake outside metro Abijan. This gives me hope many of the districts will be made stakes soon. By the time Ivory Coast gets a temple it may well be ready for a second one.

Port Harcourt stake has seen more branches organized while 2 wards were discontinued in Sacramento.

There was a time when people oredicted that California would get more members than Utah. That does not look to happen anytime soon.

Togo getting a 2nd stake is quite exciting but was fully expected. In both Togo and Benin there is a lot more that could be done toward blanketing the country with the Church. Even in Ghana which is probably the west African country most heavily covered by the church large parts of the country are in the biundaries of administrative branches.

James said...

James Anderson, if I have not said this before, I'm sorry to hear about your health issues. I don't know how many others who comment here might understand about such things, but I know I can. At birth, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, and I have had an even more significant number of health issues added to those in my almost 31 years of life. In 2008 or so, I submitted an article to the Ensign highlighting some of those issues and how they have molded me, and I was pleased to have that subsequently published in the July 2015 issue of that magazine. I have had numerous surgeries because of these issues (I lost track at 50 or so when I was in 2nd grade, which was 25 years ago. And varying degrees of a significant amount of pain (mostly severe headaches) have been my lifelong cross to bear. One thing that my health issues has done for me is to give me greater compassion for the physical suffering of others. I have been touched by your thoughtful comments, even as you have been trying to recover from your stroke. So I wanted to thank you for all you have said in these threads. I also wish you the best of luck in your ongoing recovery. Please keep us posted on your progress. Thanks.

James said...

Additionally, if I may, regarding new temple predictions, I am inviting comments on posts I have done and will be doing about such prospects, for the purpose of fine-tuning these selections. Anyone who would like to do so is welcome to comment on any of these posts. I look forward to the feedback.

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