Monday, January 8, 2018

New Mission to be Created this July in the Philippines

Missionaries serving in the Philippines Angeles Mission report that the mission will divide this July to create the new Philippines Cabanatuan Mission. The Philippines Angeles Mission was originally called the Philippine Cabanuatuan when it was organized in 1992 until the mission relocated to Angeles and was renamed the Philippines Angeles Mission in 1999. The decision to organize a new mission in this region of Luzon may indicate plans for the Church to more thoroughly saturate this area with missionaries, especially considering Angeles City and Pampanga report some of the lowest percentages of Latter-day Saints in the general population among the major administrative divisions of Luzon according to 2015 census numbers. Once the new mission is organized, there will be 22 missions in the Philippines.

96 comments:

coachodeeps said...

That is great news clue the Philippines! Thanks for the information, Matt!

Eduardo Clinch said...

Good to hear. I know that Tagalog is the biggest native language in the Philipines, and there are dozens of others across the archipelago, but my question is: through globalization and perhaps educational initiatives are more Filipino youth learning. English? This may be an advantage to this country over other East Asian ones, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, apart from the fact that there are so many traditional Christians.
Speaking of Christianity in East Asia, I learned in a recent documentary that the Catholic political leaders of Vietnam during the war years were pretty autocratic and not too popular. Add to that the Boxer Rebellion of the early 1900s in China, Hiroshima being the most Christian Japanese city before annihilation, and Christian and LDS efforts in the region has never been that easy, beyond understanding the respective languages in the first place.
But growth continues to go forward. It would neat to see where Philipino missionaries are sent to.

Bryan Baird said...

Any news on other missions being created?

Free Walburg said...

Zimbabwe Harare Mission splitting to form Zimbabwe Bulawago Mission.

Free Walburg said...

Bulawayo (correction)

Skyline said...

I do recall how the Church is planning to discontinue some missions in the immediate future due to the declining number of missionaries since the age change. I presume some missions that may meet this fate include the ones in California, Utah, and Mexico. Wouldn't be surprised if Greece and some Russian missions were also closed.

Eduardo Clinch, do you mean Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan by chance? During Japan's years of isolation, Dejima (in Nagasaki) was the only port of communication with the outside world. A memorial of the 26 Catholic Martyrs of Japan is also in Nagasaki.

Eduardo Clinch said...

No, I thought it was Hiroshima and it was a bigger community. I could be wrong, I will do more research.

twinnumerouno said...

Off the top of my head, when Elder Perry talked about helping to rebuild Christian churches in Japan after World War II as a young Marine, I also thought it was in Nagasaki. (Among other places he may have talked about it, that was the subject of his remarks in the Special Witnesses of Christ DVD.)

Matt said...

11 new wards/branches reported on CDOL today and 10 are located in the United States.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Ah, it looked like I had it wrong. Nagasaki had more Christians! Either way, we bombed them. Unfortunate for spreading better feelings there....
Thanks for the correction. Wonder how it would be to serve there now.

Jerome Laceda said...

I agree with this. I am a native of Pampanga, but because Pampanga is divided into two missions (the Angeles and Olongapo mission) some towns are not reached by the Church. Pampanga is one of the most Christian, Roman Catholic-rich province in the Philippines. In fact, the country was dedicated in Clark Air Base in 1955 by then President Joseph Fielding Smith. However, not all the 21 towns and cities of Pampanga has LDS branch/ward, compared to nearby Bataan, Tarlac, Zambales and Nueva Ecija, most towns are saturated with LDS. Kapampangan LDS welcomes this move, we also have a Book of Mormon translated into Pampango.

John Pack Lambert said...

By some measures South Korea is a majority Christian nation. The real roadblocks to Church growth in East Asia mainly have to do with how totally different Christian ideas are from Budhist ones. Another issue is a general level of secularism in the culture. A tgird problem is push and pull factors that cause active Church members to emigrate at high rates especially from Hong Kong. South Korea and Japan have different factors that have lead to LDS emigration.

The Church essentially operated only in English in the Philippones for its first 35 years there. One stat I read from the late 1980s suggestes there were more speakers of Cebuano as a 1st language than Tagalog, but Tagalog is the 1st language of the country.

The majority of Church membees in south-west Asia are Filipino nationals. In the US there are some amounts of Filipino members, but I would say considering the size of the Church in the Phillipines compared to South Korea and Japan, Filipinos are the least represented group of these in the US. It is hard to say though. The Philippines is in line to be the first Asian country to reach 4 temples.

The Phillipines has a complex culture. Some have descibed it as American layered over Hispanic layered over Asia.

Also the Ohilippines has been less monolithically Catholic than most Latin American countries for much longer. The Aglipayan Church is much larger than similar churches formed out of early 20th-century revelotion ideology in Latin American countries. Iglesia ni Christo has really no analogy anywhere. Yet The Phillipines are 81% Catholic just below the 83% in Mexico. El Salvador is 45% Catholic, 31% Protestant, 4% other, and 10% none. Guatemala is 45% Catholic and 42% Protestant. Honduras is 48.7% Catholic and 41% Protestant. Back about 1970 Honduras was 71% Catholic and protestant the Philippines 84% Catholic. So religiois change has been much more pronounced in Honduras than the Philippines.

John Pack Lambert said...

Good news on a new mission in Zimbabwe. I do not expect to see any mission discontinued in Utah, especially with Russel M. Nelson as prophet. He converted to the church as a teeanger in Utah. One of his more poignant stories is contacting the bishop of his extremely inactive parents to get someone to reach out with fellowship, love and the gospel to his parents and being told by the bishop he had no one to send.

For the last 17 or so years the Church has generally been trying to bring the number of missionaries per Church unit mire in balance. With the number of Church units in Utah rising disbanding a mission would make little sense.

California seems a prime candidate to see a mission elinanated. Another is Michigan since I think we have as many stakes in two missions as Indiana has in one mission. Although that might not be so any more because the Cincinatti mission takes in part of Indiana. I believe the Rochester New York mission only has 3 stakes, which is below surrounding missions. I think the Boston mission has 10 stakes, Philadelphia 7 stakes, although NYC missions are only at 4 stakes each, with the YSA stake transcending mission boundaries.

The Jamestown New York Stake maybe could move missions, but what that would do to Pittsburgh mission I am not sure. Part of me wonders if there is a way Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Charleston West Virginia and Rochester New York missions might be pared down one mission, possibly with Toledo Stake going into the Detroit mission and Columbus or Utixa missions taking in some effected areas.

In Europe one question is does it still make sense to have seperate missions for Sweden, Norway and Denmark, or might there be a way to have just two missions between these 3 countries.

I could also see mission reduction in Ukraine.

Mission reduction in Russia might make sense, but if the small numbers of missionaries per mission there I have read of, I think around 30, is right, this has never been a major missionary destination.

I wonder if Chile or Argentina might face mission reductions.

Washington State is another place that has seen a lot of missions formed. I coulss see the Church discontinuing a mission in the greater Seattle area. There are at least 4 missions in that metro-area.

I have to admit I doubt the Greece mission will be disolved. There is no easy way to combine it with neighboring missions. I could see the Adriatic South Mission and the Bulgaria Mission merged.

The culture in Macedonia and Bulgaria is similar enough that one mission administering both would make some sense.

Ohhappydane33 said...

John Pack: I know you get very excited to post your opinions and incessant pontifications on a near daily basis here, but if you want folks to read them and take them seriously, I strongly suggest you read them repeatedly and make the necessary grammatical and spelling edits before hitting the publish button.

Michael Worley said...

Happy,

While I strive to improve my own spelling and grammar (true story), there is no reason to insist on improvement in this respect on this blog which delivers accurate information and, through commentators like John, much useful commentary. The value here is in what is shared, not how it is shared.

Michael Worley said...

Grateful for your contributions, Happy. Hope you know sometimes I agree with you.

David Todd said...

In response to the ideas of missions that might be discontinued in the US, it should be remembered that the few missions with a district in them and not just stakes are more taxing on mission leadership than a similar sized all stakes missions. For example, this could explain why there are two Michigan missions. If the traverse city district ever becomes a stake, it would reduce the amount of work for mission leaders and might make it more likely for them to be combined together again.

John Pack Lambert said...

One factor in Michigan is that metro-Detroit culture is different from that seen in other parts of the state.

I really would like to see only additions of missions and none discontinued, so I hate having to think about possible consolidations.

I am hoping to hear of new missions tomorrow.

Michael Worley said...

John-- I would imagine the church will delay the new mission announcement in light of Pres. Monson's passing.

Also, with just under 67K missionaries. consolidation in one area is sometimes needed to spur growth in others. I hope that growth in Africa will eventually be so great that African missionaries help sustain more USA missions.

Skyline said...

Excluding Temple Square and Headquarters, there are 8 missions in the Wasatch front, 9 in Utah. With the highest LDS % of any administrative entity, (In the US, at least, and possibly the world) it seems odd how the Wasatch stakes don't employ a successful ward missionary program (presumed because they have so many missionaries in the area.) Putting a greater emphasis on member-missionary approaches may make the global Church proselytizing efforts more effective. Going by the (70,946/422=)168 missionaries per mission average, the missionary force of approximately (168*8=) 1,344 in the Wasatch front could perhaps be strengthening missions elsewhere. There can probably never be a balance between units and missionaries throughout each mission, so to try it would be an unsuccessful effort. Just look at Greece: 3 Greek branches + 4 Cypriot branches and the avg of 168 missionaries puts 24 missionaries for each of the 7 branches, with no promising prospects, clearly not a successful effort. If the Wasatch or Greek missions have significantly less missionaries than the average and my above calculations do not apply, that is another reason why the dissolution of missions in those places would make sense. Russia had generally low numbers and Vladivostok was closed. In the event of the Greek mission discontinuation, Greece and Cyprus may be incorporated into the Adriatic South mission, despite neither of them being Adriatic technically. This would be because although Cyprus would be significantly closer to the Central Eurasian mission, the mission is headquartered in Turkey and putting the two countries in the same boat is a bit tough. But then again, the same may be said about Greece and (FYRO) Macedonia being in the same mission, so a compromise may be to put FYROM with Bulgaria and Greece with Albania. Just my two cents.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Here's a cool site dealing with the life span of the modern-day Apostles.
http://threestory.com/apostles

http://threestory.com/apostles/apostles_all.html

Eduardo Clinch said...

Skyline: interesting conjecture.

About the Wasatch missions, from my understanding the Utah missions baptize better than any other US based or even most world-based missions, thus showing that they are effective and necessary. It is also an indicator of the vibrancy of the faith in and of itself, because perhaps as the Saviour might say," If the salt has lost its savor, how will it be salted?" Also, I think that there are many US or foreign based missionaries who serve in Utah and are strengthened in their faith, understanding, or simply their English. There seems to be a great design behind all this.

Keep in mind Utah attracts thousands of newcomers every year, and has a rather high number of immigrants, too.

I like some of your thinking about the Adriatic area.

Greece, what a nut to crack. Christianity has quite a heritage.

John Pack Lambert said...

The greater Salt Lake area has lots of refugees and the educational institutions in Utah attract students both broadly nationally and internationally.

California has lost 3 wards/branches recently while Idaho has gained 3. This puts us closer to the day when Idaho has more wards and branches than California.

Another ward has been formed in Benin City.

The Opinion said...

Below is a link to the missions looking to get new mission presidents this year. As I understand it the closures would happen at the time the mission president is released.

https://www.deseretnews.com/lds/mission-presidents/2015

I know the Raleigh NC mission is staying open because Elder Holland's son, Matthew is the new mission president starting in July.

Also in 2015 11 new missions were created, so maybe some of those are going to close.
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865619186/Creation-of-11-new-missions-indicates-the-work-continues-apace.html

Johnathan Whiting said...

That's interesting that Matthew Holland is going to be a mission president. Last I talked to him (2013 or so) he had just been made President of UVU. Before that, he was my American Heritage professor at BYU (2005).

Bryan Dorman said...

Greece has had a lot of problems compared with the other nations where the EOC has held sway.

One of the reasons is that communism never took over Greece as it did the other Orthodox nations. Communism as bad as it is, still lessened the stranglehold that the EOC had on their countries (though it would replace it with a stranglehold of irreligion).

This allowed for the initial rapid growth of the Church in those countries in the 90s after the fall of the Berlin Wall. But once the EOC started to gain more control over their governments once again the numbers fell quite rapidly as far as baptisms were concerned.

In Greece, you have had missionaries there for forty plus years, similar to Spain to the west which is very Catholic, and you only have three branches to show for it, one of them English speaking, and the other two immigrant heavy though Greek is spoken. Spain has 14 stakes and a temple.

Right next door in Turkey, you have had missionaries there for only five years, and even a temporary evac of said missionaries, but there are now seven branches (only four when the Central Eurasian Mission was announced).

Mike Johnson said...

Eduardo, good points about the Utah missions. One thing to note is that with 600 stakes in Salt Lake County that means missionary companionship often cover 1-2 stakes. Many wards can go a long time without missionaries actually servicing in their midst. There is something special when a companionship works with a ward mission. Sometimes miracles happen that don't happen when either does the work alone.

Ray said...

Mike, I appreciate your wonderful and thoughtful comments very much, but I just wanted to correct you regarding the number of stakes in Salt Lake County.
According to Rick's records in LDSChurchtemples.org, Salt Lake County has 175 stakes and 1,341 wards and branches. Utah County has 161 stakes with 1465 wards and branches. The state as a whole has almost 600 stakes (592 in the latest CDOL report, with 4790 wards and 326 branches--5116 total). But it's true that the missionaries are spread pretty thin in the state.

James Anderson said...

Utah ddin't have full-time missionaries serving in it until 1975, even Temple Square was staffed by local members who just volunteered to do it. They were usually members who, since this was before 1986, were ordained seventies and in stake seventies quorums.

MainTour said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MainTour said...

Does every ward in Utah have at least a Ward Mission Leader and/or their own ward missonaries? I assume stake missionaries no longer exist. I did an essay last year on how to run an effective ward mission without missionaries. http://maintour.com/mission_plan17.htm

David Todd said...

I don't know the answer to your question about Utah, but stake missionaries as a calling, while less common, still exist. I knew of a few on my mission that were called from some of the stronger wards in the stake and they would attend and help in one of the branches of the stake for the duration of their calling.

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John Pack Lambert said...

There have been cases where a mission was closed and the mission president was sent elsewhere to finish out his term.

John Pack Lambert said...

Utah had full-time missionaries,before 1975. I know this because my first scout master was a missionary serving in Vernal, Utah in 1974. 1975 was when Utah got a distinct mission, but full time missionaries,had been assigned earlier.

Into the 1950s at least church policy was to not assign fulltime missionaries to areas,covered by stakes. Also when my grandmother was a stake missionary she had an assigned companion and they would teach potential converts.

Another thing to bear in mind is full-time missionary counts at least into the 1960s are off because they do not cover locally called missionariesand assigned within their home mission in many areas of the world.

There is a huge,amont of historical change in the organization of missionary work. There is potential for a top rated scholarly work on the subject, I'm just not sure it will ever be written.

John Pack Lambert said...

David Todd, the missionaries you refer to are generally called stake service missionaries, and they are very different than stake missionaries.

The reason for this in part is a reflection of the fact that I know best. When I was a newborn my dad had the calling that today would be called ward mission leader. However that was not his title, it was ward seventies group leader.

The ward seventies group had a group leader, called by the stake president, just as the ward high priest group leader did. A stake was the church on a small scale, with not just a 3 man stake oresidency and a council of 12, but 7 presidents of the 70.

When seventies groups at the local level were done away with during the Ezra Taft Benson administration, the ward mission leader remained a stake calling, and a stake mission continued only now it had a 3 man presidency. There was also the position of stake missionary that was usually filled within ones own ward, but was a stake calling.

In 2002, just after I got back from my mission stake missionaries were abolished, the ward mission leader was made a ward calling, and the bishop was given the clear directive to lead missionary work in his ward.

Stake service missionaries have multiple functions. One is to serve in wards and branches that need various additional support. This does not always end up explaining the call. At one point a couple from my ward were called as stake service missionaries to the most affluent and by most measures thriving wards in my stake. One possible reason may have been to start outreach in that couples native language.

Another role of stake service missionaries I have seen is working with the personal storehouse project, which is closely connected to self-reliance services. While many couples in my stake in this position were assigned across ward lines, others were assigned in their home ward.

Other cases of Stake service missionaries I have seen were assignments with the Advanced Repentence Program (also called Addiction Recovery Program) and the BYU-Pathway Program.

Family History Centers, Bishop's storehouses and Institues of Religion are other assignments I could see stake service missionaries being given.

The stake service missionaries are not at all like stake missionaries were prior to 2002. Ward missionaries aee a closer eqivalent.

Most stake service missionaries I have known were empty nester couples. The personal srorehouse project couple in my ward from my ward were not. I also knew two young men called as stake service missionaries and assigned to an inner-city branch before their mission.

John Pack Lambert said...

It appears the new First Presidency will not be announced to Tuesday. https://www.lds.org/church/news/a-special-invitation-for-tuesday-january-16?cid=HP_SA_13-1-2018_dPFD_fCNWS_xLIDyL1-B_&lang=eng There will be a special broadcast from President Nelson and then a press conference.

coachodeeps said...

We have ward conference this Sunday. One of the main reasons for ward conference is for the sustaining of the leadership of the church and local leaders. I am curious how that will be handled. The form is a general form that prints from the MLS (Member Leadership System) program that is used church-wide. I doubt it has been updated to show there is no First Presidency. It will be interesting.

Mike Johnson said...

Ray, you are right. It is 600,000 members in Salt Lake County. That is what I was thinking of. Thanks for correcting me.

James Anderson said...

MLS is gone for the membership and leader side, only used now for some financial functions, so all that info can be updated in real time and propagated to those units that are on it (most English units are online in LCR now so the sustainings form will be printed from that.

James said...

Hello, everyone! I was pleased to learn as soon as I woke up today that the new First Presidency would be announced Tuesday. It would appear from a notice on the Church News website that the reason President Nelson is delaying both his address and the press conference until Tuesday is that the previous day is Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday for us here in the US. On that day, all federal and religious entities are closed. In view of that, it makes sense that the press conference will not be until Tuesday. I was very surprised to learn that President Nelson will address the Church one hour before the press conference. We have never seen that happen before. But it would appear that is being done in view of the Church's announced intentions to utilize technology on a larger scale to reach Church members and other religiously-minded people worldwide.

In view of the passing of President Monson (which i learned about not long after it was made public), his funeral, and the subsequent details about the reorganization of the First Presidency (which will likely take place later today, since it is past midnight Utah time), I have gone a little crazy with so much to share on my blog, and, with my thanks to Matt for giving me permission to do so, I would like to invite any who have not seen those latest posts to do so at the link below.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

As a final note, I knew of Matthew Holland's assignment as a mission president (his announced intention to step down as president of UVU was a big story for us here in Utah), and I was grateful to hear of his exact assignment to labor in Raleigh North Carolina. He has so much of his father in him, and I know that the people in North Carolina and the missionaries serving there will be blessed by his service. Though I was not old enough to have a personal memory of when it happened, I recall as a young man I read the talks that he and his father had given in the Priesthood Session of General Conference (back when prominent members of the Church were called upon to fill time, during Elder Holland's time as BYU president), and I was impressed with those. So there is no doubt in my mind that he is well chosen for this assignment, and that the scope of his influence in it will be something the North Carolina Saints will remember for a long time.

coachodeeps said...

You are right. I forget the online replacement has a different name. Thanks!

Ray said...

Mike Johnson, thanks for the information about the number of members in Salt Lake County. 600,000 is such a big number of members concentrated in a small area, but still only comes to about 4% of the total Church membership. I thought that is was very likely that at some time in the 1800s 80% to 90% of the total membership lived in Salt Lake County, but checking population statistics for the county since the first reports were made in 1850, the percentage of total Church membership living in Salt Lake County appears to have never been higher than 10% to 15%. For the entire state of Utah the percentage was much higher, close to 80-90% in the early years, but now only around 12%.

coachodeeps said...

Today at Ward Conference, we sustained "the general officers of the Church as presently constituted." That was in place of sustaining the prophet, first presidency, quorum of the 12 and all other general officers of the Church as presently constituted.

James Anderson said...

Temple recommend questions asked the last two weeks have been just as uncertain on who to put in as the leader when asked about that. Both matters are on account of this being infrequent and that by the time President Monson passed 80 percent of those leaders who ask temple recommend questions are gone from the callings from when President Hinckley.

James said...

If I may, I would like to offer some thoughts on this subject. For Ward Conferences at times of an interregnum, I have seen instances where the remaining apostles have been sustained by name as the Quorum of the Twelve, and also a time or two where the practice was merely to sustain all Church leaders as presently constituted. I think it is largely up the the discretion of the individual presiding, or, perhaps more importantly, whatever directions may have been received from Church headquarters on that subject prior to the conference. It may have been President Nelson's direct guidance to just sustain all as presently constituted, or that could have been the choice of the presiding authority. And while I have never been interviewed for a recommend during a time of apostolic interregnum, what I have experienced is working at the temple during such a time. If this is not too personal to share, I wanted to note that instead of mentioning a Church leader by name in the prayer circles that were led during that time, my fellow workers were instructed to merely pray for the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and not to mention any of them by name. Based on that experience, if I were in a position of interviewing someone for a temple recommend at such times, I might suggest going more general and ask if the members sustain the Quorum of the Twelve as presently constituted, and not mention any leader by name. That would, from my experience as a temple worker, likely be the most appropriate course. That said, I for one hope I am never in any of those kinds of leadership positions where I would have to deal with such a situation. Hope that is helpful to some of you, and that, again, it is not too personal. In other news, the Salt Lake Tribune, a well-known newspaper not connected to the Church that extensively reports on what happens within it, has released an article about some of the challenges that President Nelson as the new Church president will face, and in that article, our own Matthew Martinich was interviewed and his comments were featured. I post a link for all to look at. Thanks.

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/local/2018/01/14/for-the-next-mormon-prophet-challenges-abound-retention-slowing-growth-gays-women-but-so-do-opportunities/

James said...

I wanted to post this as a separate comment, but I am making an effort to provide continuing coverage on my own blog about this particular transition period, so, with my thanks to Matt for permitting me to do so, I post a link to that for any who may want to check it out and share any responses. Thanks.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

MainTour said...

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/triple-index/persuade?lang=eng

For Christmas I got a book written by the creater of "Dilbert" called "Win Bigly". It is a serious essay on how Trump won the election based on his strong persuasion skills. (Fascinating essay) It occurs to me that in North America and Europe, in order to grow the church, all members need to become much better in the art of persuasion. (See me list of scriptures references above.)

Michael Worley said...

Persuasion, integrity, and an added measure of the spirit are all excellent assets to assist in the work of salvation.

John Pack Lambert said...

A new 1st presidency was announced. President Russell M. Nelson was known. The rest may well have been unexpected. Dallin H. Oaks is the 1st counselor with Henry B. Eyring as second counselor. Elder M. Russell Ballard becomes acting president of the quorum of the 12. It appears we will not learn until at least April who the new apostles are.

MainTour said...

Where did they broadcast this morning's announcement from??? Pres Nelson mentioned being "at the temple". But it looked like the Salt Lake Temple outside the window behind the twelve.

L. Chris Jones said...

I understand it was a temple Annex

Cory Ward said...

The actual entrance to the Salt Lake temple next to the Main structure. About half of the Temple is located in this annex or underground. The Announcement was held in the Foyer of the Annex next to the entrance door.

This image shows the window into the foyer:
http://sealofmelchizedek.com/wp-content/gallery/temple-square/Seal-of-Melchizedek-SLC-Temple-wall.jpg

Now it makes perfect sense why they used this painting in the foyer as the promotional image of the Event.

Christopher said...

Persuasion is an interesting term. Trump's methods in "Winning Bigly," with its egotistical and self-centered kind of worldly persuasion, is anathema to spiritual persuasion, which comes from the companionship of the Holy Ghost, by meekness, moral worthiness, charity, faith, patience, and knowledge. If that's what you meant by persuasion, then I heartily agree with you, but I find Trump, a man who exemplifies so little of these characteristics, to be an odd suggestion for a model on the growth of the Kingdom of God. He looks inward and builds up himself, IMO. We look outward and build God's kingdom (not our own) and do it with love.

James said...

For those unaware, the reason Elder Christofferson represented the apostles in conducting the meeting in the Salt Lake Temple annex was because he was (and likely continues to be) the senior member of the Quorum that currently serves on the Church Public Affairs Committee. Many people took issue with the fact that President Nelson was going to announce the new leadership prior to the traditional press conference because they apparently said it would not make sense for President Nelson to introduce himself as the new Church president. So in delegating that responsibility to Elder Christofferson, that should have put such objections to rest.

Of course, there were also subsequent objections from many, especially somewhat of a backlash against President Nelson for his decision to not retain Elder Uchtdorf in the First Presidency. But those protests miss the point that President Nelson made, about how the changes were not meant to be a demotion or punishment to either Elder Uchtdorf or President Eyring (who serves as Second Counselor to President Nelson after being the First Counselor to President Monson). It is more likely that President Nelson merely recognized that President Oaks needed experience in the First Presidency that he (President Nelson) did not have prior to being ordained Church president.

James said...

Depending on how long President Nelson winds up living and leading the Church, he may pass away before his First Counselor, or vice versa. And of the two counselors that served President Monson, it would make sense that President Nelson would retain President Eyring, since he had served alongside President Hinckley and President Monson before becoming the latter's First Counselor. And I also appreciated on a personal level the fact that President Nelson made special reference to the devoted service then-President Uchtdorf had given duriing President Monson's administration, and that he (President Nelson) had noted that the last decade of experience which he (Elder Uchtdorf) had in the First Presidency had uniquely prepared him, as he resumed his service in the Quorum, now as the third most senior member, for heavy administrative responsibilities.

And Elder Uchtdorf himself was quick to respond to the new changes both on social media and in comments on the Church News website that he is excited to resume his service in that Quorum, and to have an opportunity to serve in a new way. This echoes things he has often said in General Conference, primarily the notion that calls are never sought for nor declined and that Church members should focus on lifting where they stand, and that assignment changes should be graciously accepted as they come about.

The primary people that seem most upset by all of this are people who clearly have not done much study of the LDS hierarchy & leadership history. Had they done so, they would know this happens all the time. The same holds true for people who say that the Church needs to be more transparent, and that general Church leaders should be more serious about dealing with the genuine concerns of all individual members.

James said...

Some seem to be under the mistaken impression that just because there have been previous times where the apostles handled more personal concerns on the part of such individuals, and because that is no longer done to a similar extent, those concerns are not being taken or addressed seriously enough.

The problem I have with that is that the Church has moved from the 1970s when apostles handled such things first-hand to entrusting more of those personal concerns and issues for handling by the local leadership of each member. I recently noted that, if the Brethren who are in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve were to do that now, they would have precious little time for anything else, especially not extensive worldwide travel that allows them to get a better idea of what the real issues members worldwide are dealing with.

James said...

As President Nelson noted yesterday, the new First Presidency has more than 90 years of combined apostolic service and ministering worldwide, and that is very comforting to me. These thoughts are just a few things I have recently addressed in more detail on my blog in light of yesterday's events, to which I post a link below for any who want to explore more details on any of it. Before doing so, I would like to again thank Matt for giving me the go-ahead to post such links.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

In other news, it appears that the first new stake of 2018 was created last Sunday in the Queen Creek Arizona area. I have no doubt Matt has his hand on the pulse of those events and will report more details in the coming days, so I conclude by thanking him both for his thorough and thoughtful analysis of Church growth developments and for allowing those of us who desire to do so to discuss a wide variety of topics in the comment threads on it. We owe him a lot for his attention to such detail, and that has been especially true for me personally as I have periodically passed along things he has posted or ideas shared by some of you in these wide-ranging discussions we have had here. Keep up the great work, Matt. Your continued diligence in this regard is something I know I will count on in terms of tracking such growth as it occurs.

Ohhappydane33 said...

James: Why do you go on and on here and on your blog about how you appreciate input and comments, but the overall tone of a lot of your posts here and there is dismissive, condescending and, frankly, off-putting. I know, like other regular posters here, that you see yourself as some sort of expert on Church matters, but you are not. You say things as if you are speaking on behalf of the Church when most of what you say is pure conjecture and/or opinion.

Michael Worley said...

All God's critters got a voice in the choir.

John Pack Lambert said...

Church growth continues in Uganda with new places being reached.

alien236 said...

Unhappydane is calling someone else dismissive, condescending and off-putting? That's a joke, right? He's not seriously that blind to his hypocrisy, right?

Another problem with Apostles handling local concerns is that it would unfairly privilege American and especially Utahan members. The people who cast dissenting votes at General Conference wanted to talk to an Apostle, but that would be unfair to the members with similar concerns who don't get to attend General Conference in person.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Hey "alien"... At least I don't post incessant paragraphs of pontification and speculation pretending to have some special insight and knowledge when I freely admit I don't know more than the average member, unlike some of the posters here who are clearly legends in their own minds, such as yourself claiming to know what is in the mind of an Apostle. The joke is clearly you my friend.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Dude, you get yourself and others deleted. What is your problem? Your regular job must be quality assurance, no doubt.
Little more room for these types of vapid insults. Pointless.
Meanwhile, there are two more apostles to be named. Best guesses?
Still excited for the Concepcion Tempke dedication soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

I greatly appreciate the willingness of people to share insights here and find the hurling of insults unjustified.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Abeokuta Nigeria Stake just got a new ward putting it to 11 wards and 5 branches. Abeokuta is 48 miles from Lagos.

Liberia has seen a new branch formed. Things are moving forward. I strongly suspect at least one new temple will be announced for west Africa this year. In fact 4 temples would not surprise me. However I think Monrovia is still a long shot. Freetown, Benin City and Lagos are high on my list. Managua, Nigeria and Bahia, Brazil as well as Pueblo, Mexico, Layron, Utah, United States, and Auckland, New Zealand all are high on my list.

Another place I can see a temple being built is Lumbumbashi. A question that I have in determining how likely a Lumbumbashi Temple is is how much the dual international border crossings to get to Harare, Zimbabwe constitute a major inpediment.

BYULAW said...

James--I don't think it is fair to categorize those who are upset by the change in Elder Uchtdorf's reassignment as though they "clearly have not done much study of the LDS hierarchy & leadership history." Pontificating in this manner does little to help those that may be struggling with the change. You are correct in asserting that this change is not unprecedented; specifically, several news articles discussing the change refer to the similar circumstance in 1985 with Marion G. Romney. However, even members who are aware that this has happened before may feel a sense of disappointment in the change. Elder Uchtdorf is very charismatic and many members have developed a strong devotion to him. If given the opportunity to serve in leadership callings within the church, it will likely become more apparent to you that some members struggle with a variety of leadership changes, even though they know that such callings are not permanent, and that it may take time for them to work through these struggles. I've found that the best way to help these individuals is to work together with them to strengthen their testimony in the Book of Mormon, Prophet, and the church (in general). I have found that as these members do so, the issues with which that they struggle eventually become less of a stumbling block and they feel more comfortable with the change. We all have our stumbling blocks, lets work together to help each other overcome these challenges.

BYULAW said...

I apologize for the grammatical errors in my last comment. I should have reviewed it before publishing. My point is that we should strive to love and support any who may have different struggles than our own. For some, the stumbling block may be struggles with leadership changes or a desire for more transparency, as James mentioned; however, for others it may be pride, as ohhappydane33 inferred. I would hope these comment sections would serve to strengthen each others' testimonies rather than tear others down who may have different challenges than us.

J S A said...

Queen Creek Arizona Ocotillo Stake (2110636) created Jan 14 2018
Castlegate 1st Ward (2067773)
Castlegate 2nd Ward (461520)
Castlegate 3rd Ward (487260)
Creekside Ward (472743)
Laredo Ranch Ward (1662376)
Morningside Ward (495220)

Bryan Baird said...

Just out of curiosity, what's the numbers by the Wards and Stake?

Bryan Dorman said...

Those are unit numbers. Those with CDOL access can see them. Unit numbers are assigned to official wards and branches.

John Pack Lambert said...

The face to face event with President and Sister Nelson has been postponed, but the postponement announcement at least seems to indicate that it will be rescheduled.

brycen said...

Historical predecents to these changes for both of the men who were Counselors to President Monson:

An apostle resuming position in the Quorum of the Twelve after being a counselor in the First Presidency (not just during an interregnum):

1844 - Amasa M Lyman, had been in Quorum of the Twelve and then an additional Counselor to Joseph Smith

1877 - several apostles had been Assistant Counselors to Brigham Young

1901 - Rudger Clawson (sustained as Second Counselor to Lorenzo Snow, but not set apart before President Snow died - never called into the First Presidency again)

1970 - Hugh B Brown
1985 - Marion G Romney
2018 - Dieter F Uchtdorf

Serving as Second Counselor after being First Counselor
1951- J Reuben Clark (the only previous instance)
2018 - Henry B Eyring

brycen said...

I imagine people struggle with this change because they think both of President Monson's counselors have been demoted. It's too easy to look at a change in status and think it has some moral significance. You could look at it the same way when a Stake President is released and later becomes a Bishop or a High Priest group instructor, or even a Primary teacher. So this happens all the time in the Church, but it is rare for it to happen at the highest levels of Church leadership, as my previous post shows. I hope people will take this as a learning opportunity.

I remember a discussion with someone in my ward, who had been a member for many years but was a convert to the Church, at an event where I had prepared a presentation and booklet on the topic of Succession in the Presidency of the Church. He thought the Counselors had seniority over the other apostles, and seemed surprised when I said that the next person in line to be President of the Church wasn't one of the Counselors. But, after thinking about it, I wasn't that surprised. This was 5 or 6 years ago, and I realized that it had been more than 20 years since someone other than the First Counselor became the new Prophet.

Although I am fascinated with the topic of General Authorities and church leadership, and like to devote lots of time studying it, I realize at some level my priorities are a bit out of whack, and in a way I actually admire people who consider this stuff so unimportant that they don't know who is next in line to be President of the Church.

I admit to being a little let down when my former Mission President was released after serving in the Second Quorum of the 70, and a couple of times I have felt the same way when Seventies have received Emeritus status who I had hoped would be called as Apostles (not that it's up to me, but I just liked them so much I was hoping they would keep giving talks for years to come - which seems a little selfish, now that I think about it).

Johnathan Whiting said...

If Dallin H. Oaks outlives President Nelson and becomes Prophet after him, then that will continue the pattern of 1st Counselors in the 1st Presidency succeeding the Prophet. Of course, this is also because President Oaks is the current President if the 12.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Part of the theme of this thread discussion I will call the "demotion complex". People may feel hurt or slighted after having a Church calling of "higher" authority and then after release slide into a malaise.
In my experience, I have seen this phenomenon negatively in biggest degree in branch presidents and bishops of Chile.
But it must happen everywhere to a certain level.
Many factors come into play: many of these men have had little tenure in the priesthood in the first place, so after losing their "keys" many are not sure how to proceed. They feel lost.
Or slighted.
Another difficult trend in Chile are the sheer numbers of baptized members and those that are disaffected and less active, which sets a heavier burden on local leaders and perhaps entices some to give up.
Pride ultimately claims former leaders, but there are issues of socio-economics that get in the way.
Being Mormon, either life long or as a newer convert, is a challenging experiment, and the issues of leadership can be a stumbling block to many at all levels. Including the followers.
I hope that we can learn to overcome the growing pains of leadership changes. Human nature is a constant.

ScottS said...

Carlos H. Amador, an Emeritus General Seventy, now serves as a Bishop. There are no demotion, just a change in ways to serve.

John Pack Lambert said...

His last name is Amado. I knew a son of hisown when I was a student at BYU. Elder Jacob de Jager was also a bishop after neing granted emeritus status.

ScottS said...

My phone auto corrected his name. I never knew about Elder de Jager.

James said...

I greatly appreciate all of the new comments I have read here. For anyone who is frustrated in any way by the content or length of my comments here, feel free to skip over any of these. It's no skin off my nose. What I should perhaps have said instead is what has been noted previously here, that other Church presidents have opted to not retain one or both counselors that served the predecessor of that prophet. And my comment about Church history was more related to its' modern context. Both President Nelson (and later) Elder Uchtdorf himself, mentioned that it was no "demotion" for him to return to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. To summarize some thoughts I shared on my own blog, Elder Uchtdorf shared on social media that he had no problems with the change, and referenced the fact that a talk he gave in 2008 as a new member of the First Presidency could just as easily be given again now, and it would be just as true for him personally.

I also very much appreciated the fact that, during the address he gave at the temple, President Nelson specifically let the Church know that this was no demotion, and that Elder Uchtdorf had already assumed oversight of various assignments for which he is uniquely qualified because of the administrative experiences his 10-year tenure as President Monson's Second Counselor has given him.

With the examples cited above, we see that this kind of thing where there is a "shakeup in the lineup" of the First Presidency is not unheard of. J. Reuben Clark served as First Counselor to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith. During that time, the third member of the First Presidency was David O. McKay, who was the senior apostle but junior member of that body.

When President George Albert Smith passed away and President McKay became the Church president, he noted the selection of Stephen L. Richards as First Counselor and J. Reuben Clark as his Second primarily made sense because President Richards was more senior in the apostleship. He also stated that the change in President Clark's status was not a demotion. Later on in that conference, President Clark gave the response "In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines," which is more or less what Elder Uchtdorf said in his social media post.

James said...

I guess what I was trying to say is that we will still very much be seeing Elder Uchtdorf around; he will just be giving one talk each conference instead of 2 or 3. He hasn't gone anywhere, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles each have major roles on general councils and committees of the Church. It is also worth noting that when he was called to the First Presidency, only two of the 14 apostles at that time were junior to him. He has now become the third most senior member in the Quorum, and the senior members do seem to be entrusted to fill very significant assignments on the Church councils and committees.

I also hope it is clearly understood that I would never try to understate how popular Elder Uchtdorf is among his Brethren, so on that level I can fully sympathize with those who may be somewhat or entirely disappointed with this development. On the other hand, if these same members had studied times when this has occurred previously in Church history, they would have known something like this is far from unheard of, and that there are no regulations mandating that a new Church president retain either or both of the counselors of his predecessors. We have seen it before.

With Elder Uchtdorf's response to the changes, and in light of the way both he and President Nelson dealt with those changes, anyone who has taken the time to gain a testimony of the process whereby the First Presidency is reorganized following the death of a Church president do not need to feel like such "shakeups" are a "demotion".

James said...

And if their feelings of dismay are due to a lack of understanding that this is not in any way a new occurrence, then such people should rightly do their research before airing their complaints and come to understand and appreciate that this is really a non-issue, or at least, it should be. It has been known to happen before, and it will, more likely than not, occur again in the future.

It would have been easy for any of these individuals to research the matter if they have not already done so. Additionally, for any of us who have (or should) have taken time to acquire) a testimony of the process by which succession happens and to thereby know that all of these changes are inspired, we will have the instant confirmation that such changes are in harmony with the Lord's will for the governance of His Church.

James said...

And when that witness is obtained, all who have it are duty-bound to share it, and to willingly sustain our Church leaders, whomever they may be and whatever their calling might be for however long they may hold that calling. When such transitions come, the involved individuals accept them graciously, along with any subsequent assignment change, no matter what the nature of the new opportunity is, and we should be willing to do the same.

Hope that clarifies my statement above. And I also hope that no one is bothered or offended in any way by the explanation of my previous comment. Thanks again to all of you.

John Pack Lambert said...

I would not be surprised if going forward we see service in the First Presidency become more something rotated among the 12 and less something where once you are in you stay. However I could be wrong.

This morning I was thinking about issues of number of wards in a building and number of people in a ward. Some things I have read suggest to me that some decisions on these matters are made based on not wanting to overburdened members with Church responsibilities. One that came to mind quickly is the more member per unit and the more units per building the less often members have to do building cleanup.

MainTour said...

We currently have 5 wards in our building, so our turn is only once every 5 months. However our building is 2-3 bigger than a normal building and therefore a lot harder clean. (It is a California stake center designed with ultimate capacity to house 8 wards.)

MainTour said...

Also - Our building cleaning assignments are easier for the bigger wards and harder for the smaller wards.

twinnumerouno said...

Speaking of emeritus 70's, does anyone know of a website where someone has made a list of the living emeritus GA's?

ScottS said...

I have my own list, but not on any website. I'm not talented enough for that. I can email it if you want.

MainTour said...

LDS Church News (Herald Daily) = LDS Church to send missionaries back to Madagascar, second round of missionaries to Puerto Rico.

Mike Johnson said...

John,

Rudger Clawson (Second Counselor to Lorenzo Snow) was not called as a counselor by Joseph F. Smith
Hugh B. Brown (First Counselor to David O. McKay) was not called as a counselor by Joseph Fielding Smith
Marion G. Romney (First Counselor to Spencer W. Kimball) was not called as a counselor by Ezra Taft Benson
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Second Counselor to Thomas S. Monson) was not as a counselor by Russell M. Nelson

There are others in First Presidencies at the time of a President's death. I am not referencing (assistant) counselors to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young where there was a gap of 3 or more years between First Presidencies. I am also not including two additional counselors to David O'Mckay.

We also have President Eyring called as 2nd Counselor having served as 1st Counselor. This is reminiscent of President J Reuben Clark.

Gnesileah said...

twinnumerouno, this link has a list of all living emeritus GAs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:LDSemeritus

Eduardo Clinch said...

Demotions in calling or status is felt by some members with less experience or knowledge, or as many people say "lack of testimony".
That has a lot to do with my comment about Chilean bishops and branch presidents who go less active. Many have more time as such, sometimes, than as regular members when released.

twinnumerouno said...

Thanks Gnesileah, that should do the trick.

John Pack Lambert said...

From a recent article in the Church News I learned that there are no LDS Church endorsed chaplains in militaries other than the US military. Hopefully in the near future we can get some in countries such as Mexico and Brazil as well as possibly others. On the other hand it was not until the 1960s that chaplains became permanently attached to the US military. Before that LDS chaplains had only served on an ad hoc basis during the World Wars.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was not clear in my idea of a changing role of the first presidency. I was thinking that there is no reason that someone could not be released as a counelor in the first presidency mid-way through a presidents term. Since Joseph Smith sought to remove Sydney Rigdon as his counselor, this has never happened, however there is no inherent reason it couldnt.

It has been announced Elder Uchtdorf will be first contact for Europe and Europe East Areas, will be chair of the Missionary Executive Committee and chair of the Correlation Executive Committee. These amount to a significant number of assignments.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Ekpoma Nigeria Stake was just formed. Ekpoma is a town that is the headquarters of the Esan West Local Government Area. That area has a population of about 125,000 in an area of 500 or so square kilometres. It takes in units in at least one other local government area. All of this is in Edo State, which has its capital at Benin City. This new stake would seem to increase the likelihood of Benin City getting a temple soon.