Sunday, April 1, 2018

Seven New Temples Announced - Analysis

Earlier today, LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson announced seven new temples in Salta, Argentina; Bengaluru, India; Managua Nicaragua; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; Layton, Utah; Richmond, Virginia; and a major city yet to be determined in Russia.

Salta Argentina Temple
The Salta Argentina Temple will be the third temple to be built in Argentina as temples have been previously constructed in Buenos Aires (1986) and Cordoba (2015). The new temple will likely service Latter-day Saints who live in Jujuy, Salta, Santiago del Estero, and Tucumán Provices where there are seven stakes and four districts. Slow growth has occurred in northern Argentina as the last new stake to be created in the region was organized in 1995 (Salta West). The Church in Argentina currently reports approximately 450,000 members, 1 missionary training center, 14 missions, 76 stakes, 28 districts, and 760 congregations (485 wards, 275 branches). Northern Argentina is currently assigned to the Argentina Cordoba Temple District. Access more statistical information on the Church in Argentina here.

Bengaluru India Temple
The Bengaluru India Temple will be the first temple in South Asia. The new temple will likely service members who live in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan - countries located within the two Indian missions headquartered in Bengaluru and New Delhi. There are four stakes, seven districts, 64 congregations (21 wards, 43 branches), and approximately 20,000 members who live within these six countries. The Church in India has particularly experienced significant progress with the organization of its first four stakes since 2012 in Hyderabad (2012), Bengaluru (2015), Rajahmundry (2016), and New Delhi (2017). The creation of these stakes has appeared pivotal for the temple announcement in Bengaluru. President Oaks noted during his visit to Hyderabad in 2012 to create the first stake in the country that the creation of each new stake marks a step closer towards the possibility of a temple announcement for a particular country or area. The Church in Pakistan is also close to creating its first stake in the country from the Lahore Pakistan District where four of the five branches appear large enough to become wards. The primary factor that has limited growth in Pakistan in recent years, albeit many branches report steady numbers of new converts, has been few Pakistani members serving full-time missions as only Pakistani natives are permitted to serve in Pakistan. The Church in Sri Lanka experienced rapid growth in the mid-2000s followed by stagnant growth for a decade until full-time missionaries returned in the past couple years. The Church in Bangladesh and Nepal remains extremely small with only one branch in each nation and no young, full-time missionaries assigned. Given differences in culture with the remainder of the Asian area and the enormous size of the population, prospects appear favorable for the creation of a South Asia Area. Currently South Asia is administered by the China Hong Kong Temple. Access more statistical data on the Church in India here.

Managua Nicaragua Temple
Nicaragua was previously the country with the most Latter-day Saints without a temple prior to the announcement of the Managua Nicaragua Temple. President Nelson publicly proposed a temple for Managua in 2013 when he visited members in Managua. The Church currently reports nearly 100,000 members in this country where the Church experiences its most rapid membership growth rates in Latin America at approximately 4% per year. Nicaragua is the last Spanish-speaking country in Central American and South America to have a temple announced. Cuba is the last Spanish-speaking country in the Americas without a temple announced, under construction, or in operation. Nicaragua is currently serviced by the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple, which was dedicated in 2013. Currently there are 12 stakes, 4 districts, 2 missions, and 112 congregations (73 wards, 39 branches) in Nicaragua. Access more LDS statistical data on the Church in Nicaragua here.

Cagayan de Oro Philippines Temple
The Cagayan de Oro Philippines Temple is the Church's fifth temple to be announced in the Philippines after temples in Manila (1984), Cebu City (2010), Urdaneta (announced in 2010), and Greater Manila Philippines [to be built in Muntinlupa] (announced in 2017). Cagayan de Oro will be the first temple to be built on the island of Mindanao where there are 12 stakes, 17 districts, 3 missions, and possibly as many as 100,000 Latter-day Saints. The Church in Mindanao has reported slow growth for many years primarily due to concerns with political instability with Muslim insurgents and the assignment of only native Filipino members to serve missions for at least the past 15 years. Nevertheless, the number of active members per congregation has appeared to significantly increase during this time and several cities have opened to missionaries for the first time. Currently members in Mindanao are assigned to the Cebu City Philippines Temple District.

There are approximately 750,000 members, 101 stakes, 74 districts, 1,220 congregations (646 wards, 574 branches), 21 missions (soon to be 22 missions in July), and one missionary training center in the Philippines. Access more statistical data on the Church in the Philippines here.

Layton Utah Temple
The Layton Utah Temple brings the total number of temples in Utah to 19. The new temple will likely include 35-40 stakes in Layton and communities between Bountiful and Ogden. The Church in Utah reports 2.1 million members, 593 stakes, 1 district, 5,123 congregations (4,799 wards, 324 branches), 11 missions, and one missionary training center. Access more statistical data on the Church in Utah here.

Richmond Virginia Temple
With nearly 100,000 Latter-day Saints, Virginia was previously the state in the United States with the most members without a temple prior to today's announcement of the Richmond Virginia Temple. Currently members in Richmond travel to the Washington DC Temple to participate in temple ordinances. The new temple will likely service 11 stakes in southern and central Virginia. There are currently 23 stakes, 3 missions, and 199 congregations (172 wards, 29 branches) in Virginia. Access more statistical data on the Church in Virginia here.

Russia Temple
The Church announced its first temple in Russia although the exact major city where the new temple will be built has not yet been determined. Russia was previously the country with the third most members without a temple (fourth if Puerto Rico is considered). Similar to recent developments in India, the Church in Russia has reported good progress with the advancement of districts into stakes during the 2010s as the Church's first three stakes in the country were organized in Moscow (2011), St Petersburg (2012), and Saratov (2015). Moscow and Saratov are the most likely cities where the Church will build the new temple as both of these cities have a stake and are more centrally located in regards to the geographic distribution of LDS membership in the country. The Church has reported slow membership growth for more than a decade and many branches have closed in order to create larger ones if there is more than one branch in a single city. Furthermore, the Church in Russia refers to full-time missionaries as "volunteers" since open proselytism by the Church was recently prohibited by the government. The number of missions used to total eight from 1999-2011 and after this summer there will be only five missions in Russia. There are currently more than 23,000 members, 3 stakes, 9 districts, 6 missions, and 98 congregations (17 wards, 81 branches) in Russia. Access more statistical data on the Church in Russia here.

82 comments:

Yamil Inosotroza said...

I suppose some northern Chilean stakes and districts. For some of them the new temple would mean 9 hour less of travel.

Steven Kent said...

Two southern Bolivia stakes and three districts would also be closer to Salta than to Cochabamba. I wonder if they might be a part of the new temple district.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am surprised no new temples were announced for Nigeria. Also a little surprised no new temple was announced for Freetown. I am a little surprised given the number that neither Brazil, Mexico or Bolivia had a temple announced.

I am shocked by the Russia announcement, I would have expected Budapest or Vienne first.

However distance and travel situations makeRussia seem logical, especially with ongoing tensions with Ukraine.

Salta does not surprise me. I might have expected Mendoza more, but have long figured that part of Argentina needed a temple.

Cagayan de Oro does not surpruse me. Richmond a little but not really and Layton not at all. Managua with growth in both Honduras and Nicaragua surprises me not at all.

I am a bit surprised by a temple announced for India but not very much.

John Pack Lambert said...

If President Nelson keeps up the pace I think we could have at least 300 temples by 2030. It is hard to predict out that far but I think it is doable.

Cape Verde, Portland, Maine, Salem Oregon, Yakima Washington, Tooelle, Price, Morgan, Lehi and Heber City Utah. Charlotte North Carolina, McAllen and Austin Texas, Northwest Arkansas, Wichita Kansas, Somewhere in Wisconsin, Vienna Austria, Freetown Sierre Leone, Monrovia Liberia, Abuja, Benin City, Port Harcourt and Lagos Nigeria. Tome Benin. Lumbumbashi, DR Congo. Penom Penn Cambodia. second temples in Tonga and Samoa. Papua New Guinea. Kiribati and Guam. Puebla Mexico. San Pedro Sula Honduras. Iquitos Peru. Second temples in Mexico City and Sao Paulo. Salvador Brazil. Another temple in the Philippines beyond what has been announced. Fort Worth Texas, Santa Cruz Bolivia, a second temple in Taiwan. A temple in Mongolia. A Temple in West Valley City, Utah. Colorado Springs. Yuma Arizona. Flagstaff Arizona. A 4th temple in the Phoenix area. Cleaveland, Ohio. Puerto Rico. Kumasi, Ghana. Yamasokoro, Ivory Coast. Antanarivo, Madagascar. Singapore. Auckland, New Zealand. Hmm, I do not think I am even halfway there.

John Pack Lambert said...

A second temple in Santiago and one in Neuquen Argentina. A temple in Scotland. A Temple in Herriman and one on the west side of Las Vegas. Kampala Uganda. Cross River, Nigeria. Kasai region of the DR Congo. Cape Town South Africa. Botswana. Luanda Angola. Curitaba Brazil. Belo Horizonte Brazil. Talahasee and Jacksonville Florida. OK, I cant figure out how there could be 300 temples by 2030, but I could not have figured 100 by 2000 in 1996, so it might happen.

Christopher Nicholson said...

The tensions between India and Pakistan might prevent Pakistan from being included in the Benguluru Temple district.

James Anderson said...

In Utah they seem to come in pairs if in or close to the Salt Lake area. So the next 'pair', whether announced together or a year or two apart will likely be the Tooele valley and Hever valley (Heber City area.

Phoenix not likely, the Church considers Arizona 'well-stocked' with temples now. A western Phoenix temple, more towards Goodyear is a distant guess, but growth has to happen west of a line defined by 27th Avenue and I-17 on the east, and south of Olive Avenue. (aka Shea Blvd east of the small mountain that ends near).

twinnumerouno said...

Curitiba Brazil already has a a temple. (Getting hard to keep track, isn't it?) How about Florianopolis, though?

twinnumerouno said...

I was a bit surprised by a northern Argentina temple coming before one in the south. I was also surprised by the Russia and India announcements, as well as by some of the places not announced like Nigeria. However, as has been pointed out, we know there will be other announcements in the near future. I've been expecting the one in Layton for years while others I did not anticipate came first, like Brigham City and Saratoga Springs.

James Anderson said...

Florianopolis not likely immediately, as it is somewhat smaller. It is a resort city, has a strip with hotels facing north along the bay and rugged terrain). I saw this on Youtube from a Brazilian trucker (caminho) driver who had to go to a hotel. Getting in there was OK but geting out was quite another, the combination of shift change at the hotels and a major traffic accident screwed things up bad when he filmed the run.

Florianopolis has reasonable driving distance along a good highway (BR-116?) to either Porto Alegre or Curitiba

Salvador is the best near-term bet due to distances.

Cory Ward said...

I don't know how the boarder is with Argentina, but assuming it is not too difficult to cross, According to google maps, Antofagasta is 11 hours from Salta and 14 to Santiago. Calama is even closer. The Northern most stakes are closer to Arequipa. Tarija, Bolivia is 7 hours from Salta, but it warns there is a toll road. In comparison, Cochabamba is 14 hours away, and Santa Cruz is is 12 (if one day there is a temple there).

So, assuming members could cross the boarder in without too many delays, The Salta Temple could potentially have an additional 5 stakes and 3 districts from Chile and Bolivia, in addition to the 6 stakes and 5 districts in Argentina.

L. Chris Jones said...

I alson beleive that the new Salts Argentina temple will also serve parts of northern Chile and southern Bolivia. I hope we get groundbreakings soon on many temples. There are now 19 announced.

mrcuff said...

When I got married in the Temple, there were only 16 temples worldwide. If someone had told me that I would live to see the day that there would be three temples built behind the Iron Curtain (Ukraine, Freiburg, Russia), I would have said you were nuts. How about a Temple in India? Three in Argentina? Two in Guatemala (where I served my mission)? One in every Spanish speaking country in Central and South America? That’s just crazy talk.

coachodeeps said...

When did you serve in Guatemala, mrcuff? I served in the South Mission from 1998 to 2000. I was first called to Nuequen Argentina, but due to visa issues for many missionaries, we were split between the US, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. So the new Argentina temple is great news for me, too.

L. Chris Jones said...

Phoenix temple was dedicated avout 3 and half years ago.

coachodeeps said...

What a great announcement of so many temples!!! 7! And though Layton is where I was born and raised, it is not the one I am most excited about thanks to the announcement of a Russian temple. That is incredible! The Lord is moving the work forward. Let us do our part, both in serving in the temple for those who have passed on and through the new one Melchezidek Priesthood Quorum and ministering to those around us in every possible way. God is at the helm.

John Pack Lambert said...

Since my projection ar e for temples by 2030, I think another Phoenix Area Temple is possible by than.

John Pack Lambert said...

Not Curitiba, but Cuibaba. I am not sure I am spelling it right. It is the m ain city of Matto Grosso State. Florianapolis is a possibility if we are looking to 2030.

John Pack Lambert said...

I have to admit I am most excited about a temple in India. Soon India will be the most populous country in the world.

mrcuff said...

I served from 71-72, when it was the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission.

Kevin Wanderlan said...

Cuiaba would be the right spelling.

Florianopolis might take a while for the reasons James Anderson already said.

brycen said...

A temple in Cuiaba' (should be an accent on the last A) would only serve 2 stakes and 2 districts, maybe add 2 more stakes if the state of Mato Grosso do Sul was assigned there, but it is a possibility for reasons of distance alone (the same could be said for Rio Blanco, in the state of Acre, on the border of Peru). It is a long way from the Campinas Temple but will be reassigned to the temple in Brasilia when that is completed. I would think other locations in Brazil were more likely, namely Salvador and Belo Horizonte. A temple in Florianopolis would only have 3-5 stakes that are close, one of which is closer to the temple in Curitiba. Interesting information about the city of Florianopolis.

brycen said...

These were very exciting announcements, particularly the ones in Russia and India.

As I was analyzing the Nicaragua stakes currently assigned to the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple, I noticed that there are now 12 stakes up in the San Pedro Sula area, very close together. I would expect a second temple for Honduras to be announced very soon. I also think the Salta Argentina announcement makes the case for a temple in southern Argentina much stronger, either in Bahia Blanca or in Neuquen.

This was the first time in several years that new temple announcements have not included at least 1 in Africa. But I would agree that 1 or 2 more, including a second for Nigeria, seem likely to occur soon.

Though there are no new temples currently under construction in the US (not counting renovations and the restoration in Houston), we now have 4 new ones announced, with 2 in Utah, 1 in Idaho, and the one in Virginia. Super exciting. Also major operations will be starting soon for the one under construction in Canada.

I would also think an announcement for Mexico would be coming soon. Other than Tijuana, completed in 2015, the previous temple dedication there was in 2002. It did get a big rush of temples in the 1999-2001 period when President Hinckley doubled the number of temples in 3 years, pushing the number of temples there way ahead of the ones in Brazil, but I expect a new one near Mexico City could be really useful.

With these announcements, most of the countries that need one mostly because of huge distance concerns seem to be covered.

I have a big world map up on my wall with pins stuck into all the temple locations outside the US (and a second map for the US, with little printouts for Utah, and more to be added soon for places where the pins are so close I can't see the map - my landlord is going to hate the amount of spackle I'll have to put on my wall if I ever leave this apartment).

Looking at the world map, the only really big gaps left are in northern Africa and the Middle East and central Asia where the church doesn't really exist at all except in isolated groups and branches, also very low population areas near the poles such as Canada, Russia, the southern tip of South America, and Antarctica. The only remaining big gaps I could see being filled with an announcement in the next 5-10 years would be around Indonesia (either there or in Singapore), and possibly another in Eastern Europe, southern DR Congo, or in Mongolia.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Building a temple in Russia will definitely be a tall order anyway one looks at it. The Russian government has a clear record of being hostile toward the Church. Heck, the missionaries there are called "volunteers" and basically aren't allowed to proselyte. We will be lucky if it takes a couple of decades.

brycen said...

At one point I thought there would never be a temple in France or Italy because of legal issues - i.e. the government would not agree to have a building built if they couldn't send someone in to inspect it. This has obviously been resolved now (perhaps they have LDS members as inspectors, who knows) so it seems possible to have a resolution in Russia as well, whatever issues may exist. It will probably help that temples are not used for proselyting, and that we have a prophet and several apostles with a significant amount of time spent in Eastern Europe, including one who is native there (don't forget Elder Uchtdorf was actually born in the Czech Republic). Plus, do you think the Russian government wants their citizens to continue traveling to the temple in the Ukraine? I would think having one in their own country would appeal to their sense of national pride, if nothing else.

Tilliam said...

Unrelated question: Alexa.com has rankings on web traffic to specific sites and it breaks down the country of origin of site visitors. I happened to put lds.org in and saw the ranking of countries who make up the traffic to lds.org and the top hits are as expected - US, Mexico, Brazil, Philippines - but #4, ahead of the Philippines, is Angola. Anyone have ideas on to what that should be attributed?

John Pack Lambert said...

With the Abijan Ivory Coast temple not even yet seeing a ground breaking, moving forward on more announcements for temples in Africa may not have seen pressing. It will be 3 years to the day since the Abijan Temple was announced on Thursday. I have to admit I had thought it had been longer. I think the number of stakes in Ivory Coast has double during that time.

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding is that the Guatemala Temple was built with full knowledge government policies made an outside incursion a threat, but leaders figured a disruptive incursion could be followed by a rededication.

Building a temple in France was helped by having a French general authority. Building a temple in Rome was in part directly at the request of a government official in a meeting where Elder Uchtdorf and Gordon Smith were seeking greater LDS Church recognition in the country.

John Pack Lambert said...

I hope the huge number of Angolans going to lds.org means soon we will see many in Angola being baptized. Having a native speaker of Portuguese who even served in the Africa South East Area Presidency as an apostle may well help the Church grow in Angola and Mozambique.

John Pack Lambert said...

This is a treally neat article on an LDS journalist from Fiji being at general conference. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900014759/lds-journalist-from-fiji-fulfills-lifelong-dream-of-attending-general-conference.html

He was group leader of a group of 70 who just applied to be made a branch.

Unknown said...

The Church won't build in Moscow. It's the obvious choice, but the site is still undetermined. The Moscow city government seized all assets of the Jehovah's Witnesses back in 2004. Moscow is even worse towards religion than the Kremlin. The temple could be "Podmoscvoi", or very close to Moscow, but never within the city limits.

Michael said...

Paris and London temples (and many others) aren’t in the city limits; it could still be called the Moscow temple without being in Moscow proper

Cory Ward said...

Pure hearsay, but I overheard someone discussing the Russia temple. He said his brother served in Russia and knew that the church was having a legal battle over a piece of land. Sorry I don't know the city, but he just said the land was thought to be for a Stake Center, but may be for a temple. Perhaps this legal issue is pending the decision.

It was known that under President Hinckley was looking for Property in Paris since 2004 and newspapers reported the church wanted to build a temple in Versailles in 2010. The church announced officially the temple in 2011, one of the few announcements outside of conference. So it's likely the Church could be getting the announcement in Russia to avoid media leaks.

On the Cumorah's reaching the nations profile of Russia, it says "In recent years, increasing numbers of church-built meetinghouses have been completed, but at times have gone unoccupied for extended periods of time as local governments refuse or delay the issuing of occupancy permits." So you can understand the legal issues they might have.

I also researched flight costs within Russia on google. It is much less expensive to fly from a place like Novosibirsk or Yekaterinburg to Moscow, than it is to Saratov. On train, it is about the same. Some two way tickets on the discount airlines range between $100 to $250 round trip to fly to Moscow from most major cities in Russia. They are double or triple the cost to Saratov. So logistically, just outside Moscow, near one of the three international airports would be ideal. However, the if the average member can afford to fly, flights to Saint Petersburg are not too much more than to Moscow, but definitely less than to Saratov.

John Pack Lambert said...

With St Petersburg's proximity to Helsinki you may have members there who have gone to the temple more often than elsewhere in Russia so it might be easier to have a base 9f Russian temple workers with that sight.

The Chatelain's said...

I'm really missing the church units statistics on the ldschurchtemples.com page. I saw the announcements that the updates would be less frequent, but it's pretty that that feature isn't in the page.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Anyone know why Temple Rick removed all of the unit information from his website? I guess now it's only this blog that will report stake growth. Are there any others?

Ray said...

Dane, I think it's just today or for a few days. He said earlier this week in a note from the Webmaster of his site that congregational changes (church unit name changes & newly created or discontinued units) would only be announced on approximately a weekly basis.

I've heard that it takes at least 2 hours a day for him to update everything on his site, and so I'm sure that this is the reason why he will back off on daily updates. Honestly, I'm amazed that he can do it in just 2 hours a day. I'm sure there is a small staff at Church headquarters doing this work full time, and remember, Rick does it free because of his love of the work of record keeping.

Mike Johnson said...

The Church has published the new Area presidency list effective 1 August 2018. The 10 areas in the US and Canada have been replaced with six areas. Instead of a member of the presidency of the seventy being responsible for these areas, each of the six will have area presidencies again. This is why there were several changes to the presidency of the seventy effective 1 August in conference.

While having presidencies in North America areas is interesting--we used to have presidencies for the North America areas, but decided about a dozen years ago to assign a member of the presidency of the seventy to be responsible for each area. This meant that some members of the presidency were responsible for more than one area. The same member usually was responsible for the Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South areas. Now, there will be one Utah area with a presidency. The same member of the presidency was usually responsible for Idaho and either North America Northwest or North America Central. Now, there will be one area with a presidency for the Idaho/North America Central Area. Each area in North America previously had a general authority responsible to be the auditor for area, a responsibility usually had by one of the counselors in an area presidency.

Eight new general authority seventies--two to replace the two new apostles and six assignments to North America area presidencies.

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/media/orig/Area-Presidencies-2018.png
https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/2018-area-presidency-assignments?cid=HP_TH-5-4-2018_dPAD_fMNWS_xLIDyM_

twinnumerouno said...

Actually, only 4 of the 8 new GA 70's have been assigned to area presidencies, 2 in Asia and 2 in South America.

twinnumerouno said...

Matt, I couldn't remember when your last post on the Top Ten Countries with the Most Members without a temple was, so did a search on Nicaragua and a post from 2011 came up. With the announced temples for Nicaragua and Russia (which were #1 and 2 on that list), there are now only three left of those top ten that have not had a temple announced: Puerto Rico, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa. I don't know if you're planning another of those posts soon but it would be interesting to see what that list looks like now.

Cory Ward said...

I also miss seeing changes in the church units, I have followed it almost daily for at least the past 5 years. But now I understand why the ldschurchtemples.com unit statistics page was taken down. In one of the broken links, it says:

"All Church unit statistical information has been removed at the request of the Church Legal Department."

So I don't think it is coming back...
I also see that Matt removed his links to his unit statistics blogs and restricted the access. So I guess those of us without access to church leadership databases will have to be in the dark, or some how monitor the meetinghouse locator.

James Anderson said...

Also gone, or at least I could not find it, but each temple on lds,org used to have a link to a list of the stakes that were in that temple's district.

twinnumerouno said...

Is all unit info now going to be considered sensitive? If so, that will impact this and related blogs in a big way.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Temple Rick's site still lists the district of each temple. Stakes are listed under each district, but no additional detail is shown beyond the stake names. In a way, this decision doesn't surprise me and I am kind of surprised Temple Rick got away with this for as long as he did. Stake/ward/branch info is still provided in the meetinghouse section of lds maps, but they do not disclose the ongoing unit changes.

Gnesileah said...

Please forgive a little personal venting. After such a spiritual high last weekend and rejoicing in all the major announcements from General Conference, it feels like a kick in the stomach to have access to Church unit statistical information being ripped away from us, as if we were behaving like apostates or criminals. It hurts. I feel like an important part of how I have identified with the Church is now gone. Obviously, I won't let this affect my testimony of the gospel, but I am grappling with how to adjust to the new norm of being in the dark about the international growth of the Church, ignorant and naïve about all the many developments that occur weekly to move this work forward.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Well, I recall the early 2000s back when stakes had their own, unique websites that were not tied to lds.org, and this actually lasted several years until, similar to now, the Church told stakes to discontinue their own websites. Rightly or wrongly, it does seem that the Church prefers to control its narrative and seems to be disinclined to allow "unauthorized" web sites, even when they are so well done such as ldschurchtemples.com. It does puzzle me what the legal ramifications would be to disclosing unit information.

David Todd said...

I too, have loved following the regular updates of unit information on TempleRick's website and am sad to see it go. For years it has been one of my favorite things to see the progress around the world of the church and has even inspired me to learn more about parts of the world that I was previously less familiar with. On many occasions, it has also been reference point for building relationships with individuals who come from different parts of the world.

However, I respect the wishes of the church in such matters and I suppose I will have to find a nee way to learn about the growth and people of the church around the world. This blog is of course my main go-to.

Matt said...

So who is allowed to see this data now? Will this blog be able continue to give updates?

Matt said...

I have not updated any lists yet because the year-end 2017 country-by-country statistics have still not been posted on mormonnewsroom.org. However, the 10 countries with the most members without a temple according to year-end 2016 data include:

1. Papua New Guinea (25,856)
2. Puerto Rico
3. Kiribati
4. Sierra Leone
5. American Samoa
6. Uganda
7. Cambodia
8. Cape Verde
9. Mongolia
10. Madagascar (11,340)

Updates and regular posts on this site will continue.

L. Chris Jones said...

Does anyone know if the Hamilton Nee Zealand Temple will get an angel Moroni statue as part of its renovation? 7 Other temples have had Angels added. Three others statues added within between 4 months and about a year after dedication. Both London England and Bern SwizerSwitz seem to have a similar design in architecture and were previously statueless.

L. Chris Jones said...

I wish I could edit my posts. Sorry about the typos above.

Mike Johnson said...

I didn't say or mean to imply that the new GAs were all going into area presidencies. I meant that the net increase of 6 GA seventies matches the number of six new area presidents. The responsibilities of 6 of the presidency of the seventy being divided into those of 6 members of the presidency and 6 new area presidents. It was a "billet" calculation more than an assignment of specific individuals issue.

Reed said...

Matt, I called the statistical office at the Church to see when the new membership totals would be posted for each nation, and was told by two different men that it had been decided that membership totals will no longer be posted publicly by nation. Have you heard otherwise? Reed

John Pack Lambert said...

I hope there is a rethinking to allow to go back to more info being public. It will still be possible to tack unit changes but will take more energy. Things like this come and go, and I think more will be made public at some point.

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding is that there are still 10 north American areas, just 6 area presidencies.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I feel for all of us, especially those who followed the unit development as they have voiced, about the loss of unit names and stats.
I suppose one serious consideration is safety, because as more wards and branches expand into sensitive areas the footprint of the Church ostensibly should be reduced. Turkey, Pakistan, and other places in Indonesia or Malaysia come to mind, but even Sierra Leone or other West and now more northern African lands with expanding membership have to be careful to be too well known or advertised.
I lived in Chile in 1990 when there were approximately 60 attempted bombings of chapels in the country (well spread out and not felt too closely by membership, no one hurt) but the "US based" faith can become a target for many reasons...
Hopefully other means will appear in order to track growth analytically and sequentially.

Ohhappydane33 said...

How will this decision affect cumorah.com? Matt and company can't exactly analyze a whole lot without the required information being disclosed to begin with.

Michael Worley said...

Even when I had CDOL access, I didn't post because CDOL asks people not to. I miss Rick's site, but I know that with Heavenly Father in charge, he, through his apostles, including current chair Elder Uchtdorf, will see to it there will be both statistical and real growth in every nation where people are humble and leaders are allowed permanently.

Michael Worley said...

Happy, Matt still has lds maps, no?

Matt said...

Reed-

This would be absolutely devastating if what you said is true about the country-by-country membership and congregational data no longer being reported starting year-end 2017. I see absolutely no reason why this data should not be reported - it has been reported by the Church for decades. I will look into this as well. If this is accurate, you will hear a whole lot more about this from me on this blog and a variety of other platforms and news media sites. Thankfully, I have developed quite a massive network of church members and leaders in scores of countries around the world. The data I obtain from these individuals is in a lot of ways more valuable than the raw membership data. However, membership data is especially helpful for tracking growth in total membership.

There has definitely been a trend of the Church posting less and less regarding statistical data. I was told that the Church Almanac, as flawed as it was with many of its errors perpetuated edition after edition, was discontinued in 2014 due to a lack of sales. There is a perception that people are not interested in LDS statistics and as a result the Church has seen less of a need to emphasize or publish them. This is not unique to Latter-day Saints. Other religious groups have done the same thing based upon an interview I had with a reporter a couple years ago regarding religious statistical data. However, the Church Almanac was the only official source published annually that had data on unit and organizational totals by country. I will do my best to advocate for the availability of non-sensitive congregation and organizational data to promote transparency and scholarship. There will be no changes to my blog or cumorah.com despite Rick's announcement that daily congregational/organizational updates on his site have been discontinued.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Matt- So why do you think the Church Legal Department requested the removal of Temple Rick's information and why don't you think something similar can't or won't happen to you/cumorah.com?

Christopher Nicholson said...

I've checked Rick's website for statistical updates literally every morning for probably at least six years, so this is pretty devastating for me. Am I to understand that it was already in violation of the rules but they're just now being enforced? (I certainly don't blame him in the slightest if it was; people aren't supposed to reproduce anything from General Conference without written consent either but they make memes out of it without a second thought.)

I assume this de-emphasizing and obfuscating of growth also has a lot to do with how poor it's been. Frankly I can see why the Church wouldn't want to advertise having the lowest growth rate since 1937 for three years in a row. But it does seem like a huge step backwards in transparency while such great strides have been made in other areas. In some ways it might be for the best to reduce the number of people being like "We have x million members, the Church is growing, no need for me to do any actual member-missionary work." And maybe they'll focus more on activity and retention in their own areas.

Gnesileah said...

Without knowing a great deal about the intricacies of CDOL and how it works, currently it seems that Church members with an LDS Account can log in and see Church Organization Totals worldwide, by country, and by area. Any additional information is restricted to the calling you hold. I wonder if the Church could modify the generic permissions category to add the ability to view basic unit information for non-sensitive units (e.g. unit name, unit type, parent organization, and maybe unit number, unit creation date, unit language) and the ability to query data and/or generate reports on unit changes within a given date range (e.g. created, upgraded, downgraded, renamed, transferred, reinstated, consolidated, discontinued). This would allow the many members who follow unit changes as a daily faith-building exercise with an authorized place to obtain this information; the Church to maintain the narrative of its unit growth; and a prevention of leaked information of unit information from CDOL onto unofficial sites. Insofar as the Church is cracking down on the dissemination of this data because it had been obtained in violation of existing Church policy and/or there is a perception that members don't care about this information (resulting in the Church cutting back on costly almanacs and statistical reports), simply adding a little more basic unit data viewing rights to the generic CDOL permissions for everyday Church members could be a workable solution for everyone.

David Todd said...

I would be very (unpleasantly) shocked if the reasoning for the sudden blockade from statistical information has to do with the recent poor growth. Its not exactly a secret that many parts of the world in which the church has the most substantial numbers are becoming increasingly secular.

However, the church still released the statistical report that contained the information regarding membership numbers for the whole church, and I don't think there is anything to be /ashamed/ of. Yes, the growth rates are lower than they have been, but the church IS still growing and every soul that comes to Christ is a cause for rejoicing. We have much work to do, but I can't see the general authorities seeing the numbers and thinking they were so bad that they needed to hide them.

It would seem more likely that they are withholding the information from the public so that it can't be used in ways that might be harmful somehow to the church or any of its members, such as those in sensitive or dangerous areas.

Nephi said...

David...my thought on that is maybe the GA's were concerned about the increasing numbers of us that are obsessing over the data and they want us ministering. I know I love obsessing over the numbers and am disappointed that I can't check Rick's sight 10-20 times a day lol! I guess I better go see who my ministering families are!

Steven Kent said...

On another note, I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts about the unusual aspects of the Rome Temple dedication. I realize that the Church is making the announcements of dedication dates earlier than before, but this one is almost a year prior to the actual event.

Also, the dates given are for eight consecutive days, from Sunday to Sunday. With the exception of the Salt Lake Temple, that has never happened before. Mt. Timpanogas and Bountiful had seven day dedications (Sunday to Saturday), and San Diego and Dallas had six day dedications. Since 2001, only Nauvoo, Draper, and Oquirrh Mountain have had dedications that lasted longer than a single day.

I realize that a temple in the city commonly considered the center of modern Christianity is a big deal, but I'm still at a loss as to the reasoning behind this. Surely there is not a need for that many dedication sessions to accomodate the members of the temple district who want to attend. Does anyone else have any thoughts?

James Anderson said...

If it is a week, then might that be indicative of a worldwide event, where they broadcast it at varying times of the day to different parts of the world? That was the case with Nauvoo, that is when the worldwide satellite network was completed, and since General Conference had passed, was the first time they used it.

In that scenario, we would view a session convenient to where we lived in terms of a day and time.

Hal Bright said...

Maybe Rome will only have dedication sessions on two Sundays/weekends because of long travelling distances.

Mike Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Johnson said...

Richmond would cover at least 12 stakes--Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, Richmond, Richmond Chesterfield, Richmond Midlothian, Fredericksburg, Waynesboro, Buena Vista, Buena Vista YSA, Roanoke, and Pembroke are all somewhat to quite a bit closer to Richmond than to the DC temple. Even if the Stafford Stake remains in the DC temple district, most of the members of my stake plan on attending the Richmond temple as it would be a lot less traffic to fight through. I heard several times the argument that we are in the Richmond mission and we should also be in the Richmond temple district. Members in my stake are used to going to Richmond for activities. We go there for the bishop's storehouse. The irony is many commute from Stafford north to work, but they prefer being associated with Richmond to the south.

If the rumored lot on the north Richmond beltway ends up being the site, the above would be even more true.

Steven Kent said...

James, I hadn't considered that the Church may want to make the Rome Temple dedication a world-wide event, but I can see that possibility. Also, Hal, travel distances in Europe aren't really that great, but I did wonder if perhaps the dedication services will be held only on Sundays (or weekends).

Giulio Mastino said...

Sorry Guys, but I am not surprised at all that now Church statistics are kind of hidden. This new presidency is very conservative on many issues(specially Oaks is famous for being against transparency) and does a few things very questionable. Obviously although I do not like much the components I sustain the First presidency and hope they can do the best with (and without) the Lord's inspiration. The church growth is always going worse in latter years, we have to face the truth. But there is always hope.

Hal Bright said...

I remember going to the Dallas dedication from Austin. It was 3 hours both ways and 2-3 hours at the temple, so it was a pretty long day. We were paired with the Tulsa stake. These days, the church have the satellite system which we have experienced in Boston [I think] (lived in CT) and the Phoenix, Gilbert and Tucson Arizona temples (live in AZ). So, my theory falls apart there unless the satellite system isn't as mature in Europe.

Will Rome cover only Italy, Malta, plus the SW Balkans and Greece? I would include the other African Mediterranean countries as well, but Paris or London might be more convenient airline wise.

Yamil Inosotroza said...

Santiago is not even close to need a second temple in the metropolitan area. A temple in Viña del Mar makes a little more sense. Because of the distance, Antofagasta is a good candidate.

One temple in Southern Argentina: Neuquén or Bahía Blanca. If it is built in Bahía Blanca a temple in Puerto Montt, Chile, would be probable.

John Pack Lambert said...

Due to increases in internet technology closed internet relays are possibke even without satelite capacity.

On the issue of avalability of information it appears to me that Church legals crack down on lds.temples.com is not a new policy but inplementation of existing policies.

To portray President Oaks as an enemy of trabsparancy is to significantly misunderstand him.

John Pack Lambert said...

I would assume Egyot ans south-west Asia will be assigned to the Rome Temple. At least Israel, Lebanon and Turkey. The assignment to a temple of the stakes in the Persian Gulf region is harder to discern.

twinnumerouno said...

John, I'm pretty sure the "closed internet relays" you mention is what we had for stake conferences in the Meeker Colorado stake (before the split and renaming back in October). So far the new Craig stake presidency has not indicated a desire to broadcast the meetings, but it's probably a possibility in the future, our stake is shorter North to South than Meeker was but longer East to West, and there are still some pretty long travel times.

Noel Shaw said...

I know a number of uk saints visited Paris for open house and I believe dedication.
Many want to go to Rome and Lisbon.
With 11 Temples in Europe, these new Temples will be on the list for weekends away.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was thinking of how we wtached Priesthood session at my building before it was live broadvasted. However it is,also how they broadcast stake confetence in my stake. My stake is 48 miles east to west and 26 north to south. We have the Saturday evening adult session just at the stake center so distance is not the only factor. Our stake has too many members to comfortably fit in the stake center and parking is also difficult so multi lications does have its advantage. It also is easier to take a 5 year old when you have a 2 mile instead of 25 mile ride one way.

Eduardo Clinch said...

It has occurred to me more or less over the years that in God's great designs many people are not "supposed" to become active in the Church, much of it based on free agency (of course), much to do with the natural man, much to do with spin and vitriol and human downfalls.
As much as I have liked to see Church growth (tracking consciously since 1970s) it is quite humbling and perhaps tempering upon our souls to see less than robust numbers go forth.
But it all boils down to two individuals: oneself and Jesus.
Undoubtedly many doubt the antecedents of the brethren and the other General Authorities; some call into question the male patriarchy and so many other issues.
But the prophecies continue to fulfill themselves, true prophesy is true.
No matter the numbers or rates of converts, exhilarating as they are.

Giulio Mastino said...

John Patrick Lambert: Maybe Enemy of transparency is strong, but Oaks is not surely a friend of transparency and telling the truth about church history. Nobody is perfect I could say and to be an apostle does not mean automatically to be better than "normal memebers". With Uchtdorf there was a very different attitude about transparency and church history.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Any word on which side of Richmond VA the new temple will be built on?