Saturday, December 16, 2017

10-Year Anniversary of ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com!

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the creation of ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com. I originally founded the blog to help organize my thoughts and to provide accurate information for people who wanted to learn more about the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The creation and maintenance of this blog has been a significant source of motivation and excitement for me regarding this subject. This blog has helped to develop my interest in LDS Church growth and missionary work in a manner that perhaps no other medium could have provided. I have appreciated the thousands of comments provided by readers over the past decade. There have been posts on a variety of news updates or topics such as new temple announcements, the creation of new stakes, the opening of additional countries to proselytism, analysis of LDS growth trends, and so on. There have been a total of 1,091 published posts and 2.6 million page views since July 2010 (first month these were tracked by Blogger). Since I started this blog, I have been interviewed by many reporters and media outlets in several countries regarding many of the developments I have posted. Furthermore, I have also worked for The Cumorah Foundation since 2009 developing original resources that examine the growth of the Church and the effectiveness of the missionary program.

Some of my favorite stories or topics I have posted on over the past 10 years include the following:
  • Future temple and mission announcements/speculation
  • Analysis of annual LDS statistical reports and country-by-country data
  • Publication of findings from returned missionary and member survey data (5,670 responses since 2012!)
  • Lists of countries with the most members without a stake or without a temple
  • Translations of LDS scriptures and materials into additional languages 
  • The reduction in the minimal age for missionary service and the creation of 58 new missions in a single year
  • Accelerating stake growth in the 2010s
  • The recent rapid growth of the Church in West Africa
  • The expansion of the Church into previously unreached countries (e.g. former Yugoslavia, Burundi, Rwanda, Gabon, Senegal, Guinea, Mali)
  • Examination of missed opportunities for growth
  • Discussion of problematic and ineffective proselytism and growth strategies in the LDS missionary program
  • Analysis of member activity and convert retention challenges
  • Use of social media for proselytism
  • The relationship (or lack thereof) between internet usage and LDS growth 
  • Identification of variables that foster or deter growth 
  • Debunking myths of rapid worldwide LDS growth
  • Debunking claims of worldwide LDS growth stagnation or decline
  • LDS developments in sensitive countries
  • Discussion regarding the number of excommunicated and resigned members
  • Resource development for cumorah.com.
I hope that this site has been useful for others who have sought accurate and current information about the growth of the LDS Church around the world. Ideas for additional improvement or topics of analysis are welcome! I also would like to hear about what stories and posts you have particularly enjoyed or found useful. I look forward to the next 10 years of updates and analysis on ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com!

25 comments:

Andrew Reed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Reed said...

Thankyou Matt for all your hard work. This blogspot has been very uplifting while growth is slow in this part of the world (South Australia), although some good news this year, the Adelaide mission did just become officially a Mandarin speaking mission as well as English, and we had a mandarin branch open in Adelaide earlier this year. Goodluck with the next 10 years.

Christopher Nicholson said...

This blog woke me up to the crisis-level problems of stagnation and inactivity in many parts of the world, and made me determined to do whatever I could to address them. It is a great resource for sharing unpalatable news without it getting rejected as "anti-Mormon".

Christian Jesús Navarro Bravo said...

Thank you so much Matt for your initiative. It is valuable for me.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

Thank you for all you have shared.

I don't know how feasible it is, but I'm interested in knowing what percentage of the worlds population is living within areas primarily admistered by stakes, districts, missions, and areas.

John Pack Lambert said...

This has been a very good blog. I have esprcially enjoyed hearing of the growth in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mike Johnson said...

Matt, I appreciate all you do for this site.

David Todd said...

Thank you Matt for running this blog! I have been following actively for at least 5 of those years and I have enjoyed your perspective and the awesome information that I learn.

Carol said...

Thank you for this blog. Excellent information.

Christopher said...

I love reading here. Thank you!

Johnathan Whiting said...

Keep doin' good work & breakin' legs, Matt!

On a side note, I met a dude from Nigeria today (he's dating my cousin). He joined the Church in Utah. We had a cool discussion about the West Africa region.

Michael Worley said...

Johnathan, more about that discussion?

Eduardo Clinch said...

Having a blog like this has been a fantastic venue to analyze and speculate about the life and vitality of the Church. Many great and spiritual Church members pay little attention to numbers and growth trends and other aspects of progress and expansion, but for me a prophetic and scripturally fullfilling faith literally fills the earth, therefore the 69 some odd ethnic groups of Cote de Ivoire are accountable to scrutinze, as well as the billion plus people in India, and on and on.
I am curious about most places and peoples of the Earth, and this blog has been a great place to discover and learn new things about our faith and cultures.
I do not suggest that such discussion and analysis makes those who do it "more spiritual" or wise or intelligent, but in a dynamic organization so vast there will always be those who wish to document size, stats, progress, history, trends.
Great blog for some of us to ruminate and self-investigate.
Pose questions like: maybe Chile has more excommunicated branch presidents than any other non-US country?
That occurred to me last night after talking to a former missionary in Antofogasta, Chile.
How many might Chile have? A thousand? 5 thousand? Possibly more are less active than disfellowshipped...
And many have successfully become bishops or active members post-calling. I wish I could see the numbers for such things.
But this blog helps itches for obscure but telling information like that (usually more positive and unit bssed).
10 years of growth and evolution, keep it up.

coachodeeps said...

Congrats on 10 years, Matt! Thanks for the great blog and all your workto keep informed, intelligent information flowing!

John Pack Lambert said...

Today I learned that there is a ward in Costa Rica that holds primary and young men and young women in both English and Spanish, seperate for each language, but sacrament meeting in only Spanish. I am not sure if they have seperate adult meetings in Spanish though, I didn't think to ask the member of my ward who informed me of this.

James said...

Congratulations for reaching the decade mark on this blog, Matt! I don't remember offhand when it was I originally found out about this blog, but for however long it has been, I have greatly appreciated your efforts to analyze Church growth in a wide variety of subjects that you have tackled over the years. For me, the posts I have most appreciated from you is the lists you have done of the top 10 nations in the world with the strongest Church presence that do not yet have a temple. Those posts have become part of my own analysis on future temple prospects. The subject of current temple developments and where and when future temples might be announced has become a subject near and dear to my heart in the last several years, and I have appreciated the chance to use your analysis of such things to refine the information I have attempted to provide for those who read my blog. For that, and for your ongoing efforts to provide the best Church growth information to all who read your blog, I thank you with all my heart. Keep up the great work, and we will hope to see you celebrate several additional decades in the coming years as your coverage of so many important topics continues.

For any of you reading this, and with my thanks to Matt for permitting me to do so, I have continued my personal analysis of current temple districts and potential future locations that I see happening soon. And I continue to welcome feedback of any kind on any of these posts on my own blog, whether that feedback is about recent posts I have done, or whether comments are added to the discussion of the areas of the Church which I have already covered. The link to my blog follows.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Before posting this comment, I just wanted to reiterate to you, Matt, that I am very grateful for your thoughtful analysis of all Church growth elements. I cannot count the number of times that I have been working on something I am covering on my blog and have found something you have said in one or more posts here on your blog that have helped to mold my thoughts on such subjects and to guide my own research and analysis. Thanks for providing such a great place for all of us to discuss such things, Keep up the great work, and please know how much this reader appreciates everything you have done.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Congrats Matt, I have loved watching this blog and occasionally participating for most of those 10 years. Its a great service you provide, more valuable than most realise

Happy 10th birthday!!

Michael Worley said...

Congrats Matt!

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Michael Worley:

My discussion with my new Nigerian friend wasn't much about stats - more about geography, culture, etc. He tells me he has to drive through 4 countries or so to get to Ghana (he's from Lagos). He said that Nigeria has five temples in Lagos (when I asked if he'd been to the Nigeria temple). I quickly discovered that he was using the word "temple" for "chapel" or "church," and since he wasn't a member until he moved to the States, I'm guessing he didn't quite understand the difference. He hasn't had the chance to go through the temple here in the U.S., yet, either. I think he's only been a member a couple of years.

(It will be nice when Lagos or Nigeria someday actually HAS five LDS temples, and proves him correct.) ;)

Also, he likes to travel, and has been to Egypt. We discussed the political changes there, and in Tunisia, Libya, etc., during the Arab Spring of 2011.

Sorry that I didn't gain more specific info, but I was just trying to get to know his interests, and keep the conversation casual. Maybe I'll grill him on Church Growth stats next time. ;)

Rolf said...

Love it - thanks Matt.

Unknown said...

I'm blown away at how well this blog is maintained.

I gotta ask, when are you going to get a Wordpress site? Or upgrade your template?

Also, do you have any connection to "Go Ye Into All the World"?

Again, this blog is fantastic, I love it. It's honest and uplifting. You occupy a niche in the Church that no one else comes close to. God bless you in your endeavors.

MainTour said...

Congratulations

Gnesileah said...

I'm so glad you started this blog, Matt! I was thrilled to stumble upon your blog nine years ago. You cover topics that had intrigued me for years prior to that, and you have greatly expanded my awareness. I look forward to many more years of this blog!

Eduardo Clinch said...

Elder Gifford Nielsen recently shared a list similar to above with new policies or new endeavors by the Church since 2012. This for the Oakton Stake Conference now in December.
Anecdotes tell stories that are indicative of truth but stats and trend analysis help fill truer pictures about reality and growth, and this blog is a fascinating way to delve into those possible truthes and realities, to see the bigger pictures.
It has helped many of us bounce ideas around and think new things that hopefully have proven of good for some if not many.
May the Lord bless the intent and spirit of it.

Matthew Taylor said...

Thank you for all your time and work on this. I find it very informative and insightful, answering many, many of my questions and curiosities. Thank you for your service!