Thursday, April 12, 2018

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake - 2018 Edition

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2017 and congregational and district totals are current. Estimated membership for mainland China and Pakistan is provided as official statistics are unavailable. The number of branches and districts in mainland China is not provided due to the sensitive nature of the Church in that country. Previous lists of the countries with the most members without a stake can be found here.

  1. China - 11,500 members?
  2. Malaysia - 10,224 members - 32 branches - 6 districts
  3. Guyana - 5,840 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  4. Belize - 5,374 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  5. Pakistan - 4,400 members? - 14 branches - 3 districts
  6. Armenia - 3,570 members - 11 branches - 1 district
  7. Romania - 3,052 members - 15 branches - 2 districts
  8. Malawi - 2,745 members - 8 branches - 2 districts
  9. Angola - 2,458 members - 14 branches - 2 districts
  10. Bulgaria - 2,418 members - 9 branches - 0 districts
  11. Swaziland - 1,994 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  12. Poland - 1,983 members - 12 branches - 3 districts
  13. Cameroon - 1,943 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  14. Ethiopia - 1,923 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  15. Cook Islands - 1,843 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  16. Tanzania - 1,642 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  17. Suriname - 1,578 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  18. Sri Lanka - 1,511 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  19. Macau - 1,449 members - 3 branches - 1 district
Prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, Swaziland, Angola, and Cameroon as all of these countries have at least one district that is close to reaching the minimum qualifications for a stake to operate.  Low member activity rates, an insufficient number of branches in individual member districts, slow or stagnant LDS growth, and few full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders will likely continue to delay the organization of stakes in other countries for several more years to come


MainTour said...

What opportunities does your current church calling gives you for "ministering" to others not of our faith? What does that even mean to you?

I'm grateful that as a LDS youth/scouting leader that I get several grand moments each week to share either my faith or service to others outside my faith.

This blog just posted that the LDS Church had is lowest USA % conversion number for the last year. What can we do to turn that around in our home stakes?

John Pack Lambert said...

One of the new area 70s, Peter M. Johnson, is an African-American man from Alabama who has been serving as president of the Bessemer Alabama Stake. This brings to at least two the number of African-American area 70s.

John Pack Lambert said...

2 of the new area 70 are from the DR Congo and 2 are from Ghana.

twinnumerouno said...

1 is from Botswana, also, and I also saw one from South Africa- I don't remember his race.

Ray said...

Today's CDOL shows 2 new branches in Benin. This brings the total units in Benin to 19 (6 wards and 13 branches). If they are all in the Cotonou Benin Stake, that would be the highest number of wards and branches in one stake in many years, but it's possible some of the branches may report to the mission and not be affiliated with the stake.

Ray said...

With these new branches, Africa accounts for 23 of the 47 new wards and branches in the Church so far in 2018. The US and Brazil make up 21 more of the new congregations.

John Pack Lambert said...

The one from South Africa is phenotypically white. Actually there are 3 from Ghana. None called this time from anywhere else in the Africa West Area. A bit surprising that, although since one or two of those work in the Africa West Area Office I cant gaurantee they are natives of Ghana.

I believe one of the current, but not recently called, Area Seventies in the Africa Southeast Area is a native of Zimbabwe resident in Johanesburg since he is the area CES director.

Elder Ahadjie from Ghana is actually starting his second period of time as an area seventy. He served as one before but was released from that calling to serve as a mission president.

I wonder if any other cases of two non-consecutive times as an area seventy have occured.

I would be surprised if all 13 branvhes in Benin are in the Cotonou Stake. I actually thought the Porto Novo branch already was not in the stake. I seem to recall something about Allada opening to missionary work as well and wonder if that would be not in the stake.

I hope Whydah (Ouida) opens to missionary work soon if it has not already. Although even with these places the Church is just beginning to cover tge south of Benin and has not moved at all to the interior.

John Pack Lambert said...

Both of the new apostles who served missions. In the case of the Soareses they served in the same mission at the same time. In the case of the Gongs they both served in Taiwan and maybe the same mission but not the same time. The Soareses even though they both served in the Rio de Jainero mission met afterward in Sao Paulo. To be fair the missuon covered all of Vrazil north from Rio, although I am not sure how much of that had missionaries. Actually I might be wrong on that to. I am not sure about when the Rio mission began to be divided.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was reading about Elder Soares getting called to be an apostle. His wife was there when President Nelson extended the call. I know Joseph Fielding Smith first learned of his call as he sat as the acting revorder taking the minutes of general conference where he was announced as the newest apostle. I seem to recall details of some previous president of the Church being told when called they could tell their wife before the public announcement but no one else.

Having a wife present at the issuing of the call seems not to have always been the peocedure. It would have been a crowded room if that had been the case when Lorenzo Snow was called as an apostle.

This also causes me to wonder what the directives are for a spouse being present for issuing other calls and how the dynamics of that may have changed. I am pretty sure for mission and temple presidents both the husband and wife are there because it is a joint call. Also I remember Brother Smoot husband of Mary Ellen Smoot mentioning he was in the meeting where President Gincjley called his wife as geberal relief society president. Bith my biship's wife and my fiancee's branch president's wife have mentioned meeting with the stake president in the process of their being given a call but I am not clear if this was the moment when the call was initially extended.

John Pack Lambert said...

President Nelson's earlier than planned departure from Israel has lead to snarky and downright rude comments from some on the Deseret News discussion board.

Considering that President Nelson stayed for the whole District Conference as usual the comments m ake no sense. What he cut short was a planned private trip to the Galilee not public meetings. Considering the Galilee is just west of Syria and Jesus almost certainly if not certainly traveled within even the Golan Heightsless borders of that nation, going bear Syria just after the US air strikes is the only wise move.

John Pack Lambert said...

I meant President Hinckley when I typed Gincjley above.

I also meant to say not going anywhere near Syria was the right decision.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

I know what you mean about those comments. It's as if they (the critics) don't realize that we have the Book of Mormon because a prophet of the Lord was warned to leave Jerusalem when it got dangerous.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Internet trolls will attack anyone. They will attack innocent victims of deadly diseases, they will vituperate innocent victims of evil violence and tragic war.
They will constantly call good bad, virtue vice, productivity or efficiency as waste, etc.
I suppose if article comments did not involve ad hominem arguments and personal attacks against a good thing or personal, then we would wonder what is wrong with that subject.
Slander or libel is always a part of any virtuous leader or movement.
It killed Joseph Smith, in part, it isolated most LDS in most of the 1800s, it has riled up some masses against the Church in the the 21st century.
Trolls are a constant, and so is the Devil. It should not dissuade good people or organizations from going forward.
More power to President Nelson and the Church and its people.

Grant Emery said...

I'll be very interested when the Young Women general board is called. The previous presidency called an international board, having board members primarily work remotely. I know none of the other since-called presidencies followed suit. I hope they repeat the international board, but I'm not holding my breath.

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just reading about religion in Ethiopia. I learned that one Protestant Church there has 6.7 million members, wirh its key growth being during the Italian occupation during which the founding missionaries were exoelled.

John Pack Lambert said...

A member of the stake presidency was present at my elders quorum on Sunday. I thought he was going to announce a new EQP but he actually only announced the release of the former High Priest group leadership. The meeting as with the previous Sunday was conducted by the second counselor in the bishopric.

President Nelson's trip to Kenya has gotten local attention. Lots of very negative ideas about the Church are spread in Kenya including the notion that baptisms are done in blood.

James Anderson said...

found the media event video held last year in Kenya. Posted by Public Affairs to an official Facebook account

John Pack Lambert said...

In an odd article recently Matthew Bowman claims the church struggles to retain members in "Latin America and Africa". This is actually not a justified claim. The Church has by far the highest retention rates in Africa. At least in countries like DR Cong and Ivory Coast, other countries I am not as sure about.

On the other hand convert retention rates in Europe and North America are not always that strong.

Beyond this, Bowman's claim that the Church struggled to grow outside white populations in the US and Europe until recently also does not stand up to scrutiny. The first temple outside of the North American mainland was built in Hawaii, largely to serve Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander peoples. At least as of about 1950 the Church had a significant presence in New Zealand, but while overall New Zealand was 80% white and 20% Maori, the Church was 80% Maori and 20% white.

It is hard to know the exact numbers, but even in the mid-1980s the percentage of Church members in France who were sub-Saharan Africans was higher than the percentage of all inhabitants of France who were sub-Saharan Africans.

A significant number of both converts and overall Church members in Europe are of African descent. Many of these join the Church after moving from Ghana or Nigeria or Ivory Coast to Eurpope, and for example the two lead pioneer couples in Ivory Coast who Elder Christopherson highlighted in his general conference talk just after the Abijan Temple was announced had joined the Church in Europe and then come to Ivory Coast. The wife in one couple was a native of Germany.

On the other hand the Church News a few months ago published an article on a Church member in Italy who came there from Nigeria after his baptism as a refugee. The article mentioned the bishop of his ward is also a native of Nigeria, but did not give enough details for us to determine where the bishop joined the Church. The native of Nigeria who is a member of the London England Hyde Park Stake High Council who gave the opening prayer at the meeting where President Nelson spoke in England, joined the Church in Nigeria before coming to Britain.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Wikipedia article on Ulises Soares has been nominated for deleton. Considering how many publications have made significant mention of him this seems a bit odd. It can hardly stand with such clearly indepdent publications as the Salt Lake Tribune giving absolutely significant coverage of Soares. Wikipedia has articles on every other person who has ever been a member of the Quorum of the 12.

This is all the more intriguing since I created the Wikipedia article on Soares back in 2008, yet the article never faced an attempted deletion until after he was called as an apostle.

I have to admit I feel the calls of Gong and Soares are overhyped, especially any claims this is the first time LDS leadership was diversified. LDS leadership was diversified by the calls of George P. Lee a Native American and Adney Y. Kamatsu, a Japanese American, as general authorities in the 1970s. Kamatsu had evidently also previously been the first person of Japanese descent to serve as a bishop and later a mission president.

Maybe it was the call of Agricol Lozano, an ethnic Mexican, as a stake president, in the 1960s.

There are two African-American Area Seventies, plus all the Area Seventies in the Africa West Area are of African descent and some in the Africa-South East Area. There are two black General Authority Seventies. As of July the president of the Baltimore Maryland Mission will be a native of the DR Congo.

I have to admit I still wish the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had more racial diversity. However I have known enough people of mixed ethnic ancestries to know that just looking at the choir I can not make broad generalizations about its ethinic origins.

Ray said...

There were 3 new wards and three more wards created from upgraded branches today. The Philippines and South Korea each had a new ward created from an existing branch. In the US Florida also had a branch upgraded to a ward.

In addition there were new wards in Oregon, Kentucky, and Texas. There are now 30,456 reported wards and branches, with 23,301 wards and 7,155 branches. This is an increase in 2018 of 50, +77 wards and -27 branches.

brycen said...

Elder Taniela B Wakolo, from Fiji, was called in 2017. Though he is not African, I would consider him black (not quite as dark as Elders Dube and Sitati). It is an exciting development to see the increasing diversity of church leadership. Only one black Seventy was ever called before the 3 we have now, Elder Helvecio Martins from Brazil served from 1990-1995.

Referring to the choir, for at least 20 years now the choir has had between 2-4 people in it who are fairly dark-skinned. And it's not always the same people. Alex Boye, from the Caribbean, was in the Choir about 10 years ago but I haven't seen him there in quite some time. I expect the number of black choir members will grow over time. These things take time, just as it took quite a bit of time to have our first Brazilian apostle (33 years since the first Brazilian General Authority Seventy was called, Helio R Camargo in 1985).

There is a larger number who appear to be Asian or Hispanic, but it can be harder to pinpoint those people. I have thought over this quite a bit, and have come to the conclusion that it is more a reflection of who lives in commuting distance of Salt Lake City, and has the time to serve in the Choir, than it is any more general attitude within the Church about race.

John Pack Lambert said...

Alex Boye is not at all from the Caribbean. He was born in Britain to a mother from Nigeria. His father never left Nigeria. Boye is no longer a part of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but was the featured guest for their pioneer day celebration last summer.

Another black member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was Amram Munsunga who has since returned to his native Kenya. He first left the choir when he was made president of the Swahili-speaking branch in Salt Lake City.

Calling Fijians black does not make sense. First off because the term is universally used to designate those of African descent. Secondly because much of the discussion of blackness in the Church relates to the policies that existed before 1978 yet the Church was ordaining Fijians to the priesthood from the star of missionary work in Fiji in the 1950s.

Matt said...

Can we cool it with the subtle to overt racism? So many comments lately have been to the tune of "it shouldn't matter what color someone is, as long as god calls them, but I never questioned any callings when the first presidency was full of white Americans and one European only a month ago" to "here is my opinion on someone's race or skin color and how black, Latino, Asian, or American I think they are" and in another thread repeating "the south will rise again," which has strong, racist overtones.

One need only look at quotes from Brigham Young on race and the church's opposition to interracial marriage only 40 years ago to realize the church does not have a good record on race relations. And yes - this has a huge impact on church growth. I did my mission in the West Indies so I have seen people be hurt and leave when they discover quotes from presidents of the church disparaging their race. There is a very small majority that are not affected but they all said something like, "well every white majority church says the same thing so I am used to it." Don't fool yourself that all is well because there is growth in Africa. Growth rates in Africa are roughly five times higher then in the rest of the world, but they have fallen in the last three years from 8.46 to 8.13 to 7.19%.

And Alex Boye is from the UK. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

John Pack Lambert said...

In 1956 President Kimball explicitly stated that inter-racial marriage is no sin. I challenge you to find any more recent statement at all contradictory.

Attacking people as racist for making a mention of race when the New York Times and so many other papers only took any notes of the calls of Elders Gong and Soares because of the race issue is just objectionable on so many levels.

Taking issue with the media default assumption that Elder Soares is not-white just because he is from Brazil is also fully justified.

Lastly trting to play the race card on the issue of Church growth in Africa ignores the informed statements of Elder Sitati on the matter.

Utah has a higher percentage of its congressional delegation that is black than most states. The first Native American ever elected to a statewide constitutional office is a general authority.

Ebenezer Joshua one of the key figures in the rise of independence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines later joined the LDS Church.

I could go on but nothing will ever convince hate mongers who want to claim the Church is racist because people apostatize to change their bigotted and devisive rhetoric of hate and division.

John Pack Lambert said... this is an article that shows a lot of President Nelson's connections to Zimbabwe where he spoke today. He first went there on a Church assignment in 1974.

It also shows how long President Nelson has known Elder Dube and how impressed he is by Elder Dube.

John Pack Lambert said...

Ray, any clue if those numbers include sensitive units in plaves like China. I know the non-inclusion of the Chinese units in some reports while their includion in other figures makes it imperative people closely monitor what is included in statistics before comparing.

brycen said...

John, Elder Wakolo's calling as a General Authority shows the increasing diversity of church leadership, whether or not he would have been eligible for the priesthood prior to 1978. And you're defining someone's race based on what the church's policies were more than 40 years ago? He looks black to me, but I guess that doesn't matter. I consider it a good thing to have him in there, and I didn't understand why you were ignoring him.

I don't know why I thought Alex Boye was from the Caribbean. Faulty memory, thanks for the correction. Where he is from wasn't really my point.

I seem to be making a lot of mistakes lately, I am going to try to be more careful of my facts in the future.

Matt, I don't usually like to discuss race but felt a need to respond to what I saw as an error. It's not something that is high on my list of priorities. I think I'm just tired and/or bored when I post here sometimes and not being very thoughtful about what I write. My apologies. I'm going to try to avoid this subject in the future.

Matt said...

I have not singled anyone out so there is no need to be defensive or for anyone to explain themselves. I think it is a good thing when one chooses to think about what they say and do, or change their attitudes when presented with new information. I do not mind being called an apostate for pointing out genuine concerns I have about problematic behaviors and attitudes in church culture that are in opposition to both its doctrines and missions.

The "whataboutisms" are a waste of time because there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to address race in a proper context and no one can hold your hand to walk you through how to talk about sensitive topics. Just remember not everyone has the same perspective as you, and what you say does reflect on the church, even on a forum like this.

Also, challenge accepted:
1958: At Brigham Young University Spencer W. Kimball stated that "When I said you must teach your people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage ... we must discourage intermarriage ... it is not expedient." You are correct he stated it is not "sin," but in another quote he says it is a "transgression," so one can see these messages as either inconsistent or contradictory.

That same year Bruce McConkie published "Mormon Doctrine" in which he stated that "the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry." This was not changed until 2010

1966 - John Lund published "The Church and the Negro" where he not only condemned interracial marriage but also said "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no call to carry the Gospel to the Negro, and it does not do so." Think about the implications about that quote in regard to church growth.

1995 - the Aaronic priesthood manual lesson on marriage still has quotes from Spencer W. Kimball condemning interracial marriage. That same manual was still in use when I was in young men's not that long ago.

And you can save the "oh those books aren't official doctrine," "it's just one person's opinion" or "they were speaking as men" nonsense. No one buys those excuses and they aren't true. I know what the positions and practices of the church were and I am omitting many worse quotes from before 1956, as you requested. The church has evolved, but I still see many latent, racist attitudes in church members and it drives people away. May I be so bold as to suggest that we can do better?

Hal Bright said...

Cunningham Ward, Clarksville, KY created last Sunday.

Michael said...


Ray said...

Today's report on new and discontinued church units (and as always, not including sensitive units): + 2 net new units (+ 3 w - 1 b). Brazil + 1 W; YTD + 12; + 13 W - 1 b. US + 2 W - 1 B; FL + 2 W, AR - 1 B. US YTD + 14; + 32 W - 18 B. (UT YTD + 11; + 14 W - 3 B).

YTD Church totals + 52 W&B; + 80 W - 28 B. Total congregations, not including sensitive units, 30,458; 23,304 W, 7,154 B. (Africa YTD + 27 W&B; +22 W + 5 B).

John Pack Lambert said...

President Kimball clearly stated that interracial marriage was not against God's law, anyway that was over 60 years ago.

John Lund had no institutional standing in the Church.

If you want to look to instituional practices of the Church, I can show evidence of inter-racial marriages of all kinds even in the late 1970s.

President Kimball did not "comdemn" inter-racial marriage. He urged people to use caution and wisdom and to consider the effects of race and other factors that might make marriage harder. This is a counsel on social matters, based on a firm belief that marriage should succeed.

You are a hate monger and a liar. I was in the youth program from 1992-1999 and never had anyone counsel me against inter-racial marriage. The only counsel I ever received against inter-racial marriage was from my white and allegedly liberal school counselor, not from religious leaders.

Actions speak louader than words. In 2008 at the 30th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood, the two featured speakers were African-American LDS stake presidents. One had a white wife, the other had a non-black wife.

In 1978 Bruce R. mcConkie explicitly stated that everything he had taught before 1978 should be ignored and forgotten.

Another canard I am tired of is attempts to speak ill of the Church because of alleged use of the N-word by some members. I have been called the N-word at least 15 times since the start of January, every one by an African-American. About a year ago someone called me it and then started punching me in the neck.

I am not sure there is any other black member of congress besides Mia Love that has a white spouse. What I can say is that Orrin Hatch was the lead advocate for Clarence Thomas's confirmation to the US supreme court in 1991, and Clarance Thomas is a black man with a white wife, something that has been used as grounds to denounce him by some African-American members of congress.

Alex Boye, Thurl Bailey and Ahmad Corbett, who are arguably all among the most prominent African-American Mormons all have white wives. So does Alvin B. Jackson who was a Utah State Senator, and was bishop of a ward in the north suburbs of DC where almost all the ward members were white.

Possibly the first Black Mormon to win a major party nomination for congress, Jesse Thomas, also had a white wife. He was a candidate for congress in 2000 and put forth as a key face of the rising number of African-American Mormons in 1988.

John Pack Lambert said...

If you want honest discussion of the issues in inter-racial marriage you would have to turn to Winston Wilkinson's speach at BYU in February 2000. Or maybe the brutally honest article the Deseret News ran about Thursl Bailey in 2003. They point out that his wife's family was not totally for the marriage, but more because of the negative image of basketball players that had come out when it was revealed how many people Majic Johnson had had sex with when it was revealed he had AIDS than anything else. The only explicitly racist statements the aticle quoted were black women speaking ill of Mrs. Bailey for having stolen a good black man away from black women.

The closest example of someone who faced maybe racist oppositions to a marriage is probably Fred Parker, although his father-in-law probably objected mainly to him not being LDS, there is no reason to think race played a role. Since Fred Parker's father-in-law is ethnic Samoan the starting assumptions of who is perpetuating racism just do not work.

I have to admit I reject the notion that race is more than a social construct. However, as a social construct blackness is normally interpreted to embrace anyone in the US who has identifiable African ancestry, except Zimmerman, who despite the fact that he has known and admitted even on his part African ancestry, is classed as non-black and often just classed as white to further narriatives of racial divide.

Most use of the term black limit it to those of known African descent. Here in Metro-Detroit we have some people from South India who end up being darker than many of the Arican-Americans who live around here, but they still are not counted as black. Although to make things more complex I have known people of mixed African, Native American and white ancestry who due to their look could have passed themselves off as people from south India.

That said, the exact parameters of whiteness are not defined. Generally one is black if they have African descent. How easy it is for Mia Love's daughter who is a senior in high school to define herself as mixed race if she choses instead of just black is hard to say. Charles LeBouef, even though he has demonstated that his grandfather "was not colored, at least not any more" cannot fully turn back the clock and probably can not reclaim his black ancestry.

Virtually no one would class Elder Gong as white, even though his wife is white, and at least one of his daughters-in-law is white. He is a Chinese-American, but as was stated in an article in the Salt Lake Tribune Elder Gong's family as he grew up was very conscious and positive about their Chinese heritage.

Trickier questions exist. Such as, are white and non-Hispanic white the same. Are Arabs white. I have never met an Arab who self-identified as white, but the census says they are.

To be fair the people of Italian and Albanian descent in my high school did not in general think they were white. Also, to be honest in 1925 they would have been classed as non-Nordic outliers.

What is clear is that a literal interpretation of WASPness no longer designates a dominant group in the US. Some people use WASP/Anglo and white to express the same idea, although none of those terms quite express what is meant.

John Pack Lambert said...

This article definately shows how internationally connected Elder Soares is. It is not clear why he and his young family had traveled to Orlando. My firstguess is to vist Disney World. However there are other possibilities.

Ray said...

Thursday reported change in Church Units: Chile one discontinued branch; 2 new branches in Benin, reported 4/14, were reported to have been created in Togo instead. Running totals 30,457 units in reporting countries with 23,304 wards and 7,153 branches,

Eduardo Clinch said...

Who on this site is speaking subtly to overtly racist? Is that what I understand by the comment/accusation? Or is this simply a greater implication about the LDS Church and its history dealing with policies of race and direct and in-direct racial implications of its leaders and members?
Fine, I guess there is a body of anecdotes and documented facts that may be argued either way.However, a few items for thought:
When all is said and done, it is possible that Abraham Lincoln was heavily impacted by the life and ideas of Joseph Smith Junior. Smith was by any account not racist, and offered solutions to resolve the slavery issue peacefully. Lincoln later died because of his decisions as a moral advocate against slavery. Possibly the biggest figure in American and global history to end captivity for millions of African-Americans.
Not bad for a martyred political candidate. Well, both ended up on that side of bullets in consequence of their causes. Like ML King. For doing what they believed to be right by God and man.
In the 21st century what might end up being the biggest help or aid to the black Africans of that great continent, or even to the diaspora worldwide? Check in around 2050 or 2078 (year chosen on purpose) and it may not be too surprising that it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I am by no means a prophet nor historian scholar, nor do I think of myself as a partisan braggart for the faith, but at the end of day, presumably during the Millenium and beyond, it will be fascinating to see how racial histories and relationships will be considered.
Did Christ discriminate against Samaritans and Gentiles? Arguably yes. Did He hate them? Did He harm them? Did His death hurt His own people, the Jews, ever since?
No, maybe, arguably yes...
And for the record, those accusing so-called racists of being hateful, prejudist, racist, or bigotted are usually the ones who need to check their own thoughts and feelings carefully. Who really hates their brother and their neighbor?
Granted, no person or organization claims to be perfect except the One mentioned. The Church is not perfect but many believe that it fully fulfills the missions that it supports: the Redemption of humankind through its priesthood, held ultimately by God.
And we all belong to Him, despite many bumps and bruises. And spurious claims.
Incidentally: love to see the growth in Vietnam!

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just considering how both Milestones in togetherness and the listing of centenarians in the Church News tend to be dominated by not just Americans, but Americans resident in the western United States. There was an exception in Milestone in togetherness todday, where it included a Canadian couple.

I am not sure how much of this is a reflection of not many members of this age outside the US, and how much is a reflection of contributor systems that do not effectively reach those outside the US.

John Pack Lambert said...

While Joseph Smith clearly approaved the ordination of brethren of African descent to the priesthood, and may have done such himself, he also at times showed he was not a strong supporter of the methods of abolitionists. His plan to end slavery by compensating slave owners does not stand up well to the type of scrutiny some modern scholars give everything in the 19th-century.

A big problem in all of this is there is no clear definition of racism. Some people use the term "racism" to be a stand in for saying another person believes one race is superior to another. In fact some use it as a stand in for saying another person believes white people are the best and most excellent race. There are few other ways to explain some statements like "black people cannot be racists."

Another problem is some use racism to mean assuming a race causes a biological greater chance of certain attributes and actions. In this case wheather such biologically predisposed actions are good or bad is another story.

However just because someone says "Black people are more likely to x" or "white people more often x", or "Asians more often x", does not mean the speaker is implying or believes such actions have a biologiccal component.

The lines between ethnicity, race and culture are very fuzzy.

John Pack Lambert said...

This year for the first time in announcements of new mission presidents their occupation was not included. I have no insight on why this is. On possibility is due to facts like in the past some were listed as "retired". For others, like Brother Franco whose wife is now in the Primary General Presidency, the listed occupation was as I believe an insurace salesman, which evidenctly what he was doing at the time of his call as a mission president. However for most of hish career he had mainly worked in the watch trade. So career listing highlights a little instead of full life.

On the other hand the occupation of new members of stake presidencies are still listed.

The main new trend is that the maiden names of most spouses of members of stake presidencies are no longer listed, since in most cases just a middle intitial is given. If this had been the case in the past I would not have been able to determine that Elder Gong's brother-in-law was in a stake presidency in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Racists exist by all definitions in every culture.
There are certainly white people of many cultures who hate non-whites. US citizens, British, Russians, Germans, Australians. Skin head and other hate groups do exist. As whites.
That said, there are black racists, Latino racists, Asian racists, mixed race racists (that seems pretty rare, admittedly), Polynesian, etc.
Hopefully they are all minorities.
The purpose of the Gospel of the Anointed One is to unify and universalize and help bond all humanity in love without fear or loathing.
I believe the modern day prophets have advanced these causes, by and large.
We all have a part in doing so. Despite the epithets of the ignorant or self-haters, as most racists tend to be.
Too often we see things through racial lenses, truthfully. Sometimes I like to relate stories without mentioning race or ethnicity, or even gender, because the prevailing point excludes those factors. Later that aspect can add "color" or context, pardon the pun, but people are ultimately human and children of God. That's the boiled down truth. No respecter of persons, meaning He sees us equally.

James Anderson said...

The big difference between Church-produced books and materials then and now is that we now have a whole department dedicated to ensuring the doctrines are accurate and easily understood to the extent that is possible based on what has been said. It is called the Correlation Department, it is at Church headquarters.

The correlation effort began in 1962 but apparently really got going later on and some say it began to really function effectively in the early 70s.

When they update a manual or other printed material, anything that has the Church logo on it, it has to go through that process. That can take as long as two years for a lesson manual, five years was what it took for the most recent handbooks.

Prior to no later than 1972, but some matter was printed before, most Church publications were published by Deseret Book, you can tell this by the indication on the title page or the back cover, sometimes the spine. And since before that time up until the early 70s at the latest, the process had not been refined fulkly, an author or authors would write a manual, and some of the checks for doctrinal accuracy may have ben skipped for whatever reason, and thus some bad editorial decisions on what to include were not caught before it went out.

Or, as is also likely in most cases where things were differeent than today, the understanding of certain aspects of doctrines were not as well understood. You heard something like that regarding some terminology in the Priesthood session just this last conference, and in the first sabbath day training in 2015.

John Pack Lambert said...

I believe above I mentioned the article about the couple in Florida that the Soares family connected with. This same couple may be referenced in this article from the Ensign back when Elder Soares was called as a general authority (at the same time as Richard G. Hinckley, Benjamin de Hoyos and several others). The main take away is that Sister Soares miscarried a pregnancy in the US. I am not sure that this is the same interactions mentioned in the recent Deseret News article. This article would suggest that Elder Soares was in Florida for training related to his position as Temporal Affiars Director in the Brazil South Area, but it is possible the writer conflated the fact that this was a reason why Elder Soares has at times come to the US into seemingly implying that was why he was in the US then. I am guessing that due to the high level of his positions with multi-national companies before becoming an LDS Church employee fulltime he may have had to travel internationally for business meetings regularly.

The more I learn about Elder Soares the more I feel I do not know. I get the same feeling with trying to understand what exactly the role of Taniela Wakolo was as director of the Church's Fiji Service Center before he became a mission president and then a General ASuthority Seventy. This is the best info I have on the Fiji Service Center "The Fiji Service Centre is one of eight Service Centres reporting to the Pacific Area Office in Auckland, New Zealand. The Service Centre is the temporal affairs administration office for the Presiding Bishopric in Fiji." I assume this means it oversees the processes involved in building new buildings, maintaining existing buildings, records, and probably oversees the PEF Self Reliance Center the Church also has in Fiji. I am not sure exactly how such devolved functions like gathering family history records and gathering church history records including the training of local members to conduct oral history interviews, is handled at the area level. Come to think of it, I also have no clue if issues related to obtaining visas for missionaries, both those entering Fiji and those leaving Fiji for elsewhere, would at all have been handled in some part by those under Wakolo's supervision.

The main thing I gather is that it is very different outside the US than in the US. In the US the Presiding Bishopric Office in Salt Lake City directly handles a lot of records issues and other issues, including some building maitennance contracts being held for large areas and contracted from Utah. There are the local facilities management groups, which I think not only oversee maintenance, but also have a role in sale of no longer used buildings, purchase of land for buildings, and contracting out for construction. Decisions on placement of buildings and the like seem more to be carried out though by local eccesiastical leaders with consultation with the Presiding Bishopric, or at least people in its central office. The various functions of caneries, bishop's storehouses, Self-reliance Services and mayvbe even LDS Family Services, at least as they relate to having employees, seem to at least in part come under the Presiding Bishops office, but for example even though we have LDS Family Serices, LDS Employment Serivces, and a bishops storehouse all in the same physical building in Metro-Detroit, they are seperate operations each with their own director, and each with different areas they supervise.

John Pack Lambert said...

While in India President Nelson stated that originally he planned to only announce 6 temples in April but not long before the announcement he was heavily impressed he should announce one for Bangalaru, India as well. I have to admit if I had been told there was one temple that had been decided on last of all I would have guesse Russia, mainly because of its inprecise location.

On another note, President Nelson first traveled to India in 1966 for an international heart surgery conference.

Ray said...

Friday Apr. 20 reported changes in Church units: US -1 W, Vermont, NA Northeast Area; Brazil -1 B, Brazil Area. Saturday Apr. 21, no reported changes.

Christopher Nicholson said...

That sort of confirms what I thought before that the logical reasoning for a temple in India at this time just isn't there. But God knows better than man.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I was asking on the temples post if anyone knew or heard which side of Richmond the temple might be constructed. There seems to be more members in and around Midlothian...

James Anderson said...

Richmond the story is that it may go on some propety the Church bought on Staples Mill Road. Nothing final of course as that is just what the local newspaper reported.

We reorganized our elders quorum today, and it took up the whole meeting, as I was hoping to also get quick practice in for the elders quorum getting up in sacrament next week and doing it as an intermediate hymn. What timing, I sort of got this but didn't quite guess the timing of the reorganization so the earlier plans fit right in.

There is a much bigger, yet to be told story on some of the announcements at conference, and it is more than the Bengaluru Temple. Has more to do with the changes. A seventy met with my stake's coordinating council said that President Nelson received that 'in the middle of the night' and was 'pointed to certain scriptures that would help us'.

Hal Bright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray said...

@Hal Bright: Thanks for the clarification on how we can use Classic Maps to understand boundary changes. This will be a good resource to learn of possible ward additions or deletions.

Hal Bright said...

Reported changes in Church units: US -1 W, Vermont, NA Northeast Area;

It seems the Essex Ward Ward was discontinued. Classic maps is giving that no boundaries thing it does when there is a ward addition or deletion [new wards have boundaries but no info; discontinued wards fall out of the stake boundaries for a bit] The unit was centered on Essex, Jericho and Colchester...the well to do suburbs of Burlington

John Pack Lambert said...

In the wake of various comments on the call of Elders Gong and Soares I wrote the following.

some would argue that the Church first went global no later the 1970s when Neal A. Maxwell and the Church Board of Education decided instead of having Americans run the Church Educational System worldwide, they would proactively recruit people from various countries and as much as possible have the Church Educational System run by locals. This is why Elder uceda, Elder Taylor Godoy, Elder De Hoyos and Elder Dube among LDS general authroties from outside the US all spent their careers running the Church's supplemental weekday religious education programs (seminaries and institutes) in their various countries, or at least as full-time Church employees running it. Elder De Hoyos may have never run it for more than Mexico. Elder Uceda I am not 100% sure on what the area he oversaw was exactly. Elder Godoy was last running the Church Educational System in his native Peru, plus Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Elder Dube ran it in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The data on this issue is hard to find, but I have the impression that basically all international areas had locals running the Church Educational System at all levels, at a time when the Presiding Bishopric which oversees properties of the Church and distribution of funds and other physical operational activities was often relying more on Americans sent abroad. Thus the person who recruited Elder Soares into working as a fulltime employee of the LDS Church as Brazil South Area auditor in the 1990s was an American working as the head of temproal affairs in the Brazil Area at a time when the CES had been run by Brazilians for over 20 years. Elder Michael J. Teh, the only current general authority seventy from the Philippines, spent his career working for the Church. He was head of member and statistical records for the Philluipines Area and before that had worked as temple recorder. So less focused on fiancial issues than Soares, but not in a position where he worked directly with the teaching of Church doctrines, as were Dube, De Hoyos, Uceda and Godoy (plus Elder Paul Johnson from the US, not to mention Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the 12, although Holland since he was a religion professor at BYU came up from a slightly more acdemic pathway than some of the others), Elder Tanuiel B. Wakolo the only general authority seventy to date from Fiji, spent his early career as a police officer. However he was head of the Church's Fiji Service Center before becoming a mission president (in Arkansas, but that is another story). I have not yet figured out if this service center was involved in tracking land records, distributing lesson materials, or a place where employment and other services were given, or maybe even both.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Back to the original topic of this post. What is with this stake "drought" that has gone on since early March? Are there any new stakes on the horizon anytime soon?

Eduardo Clinch said...

Does anyone know if most West African church members are identified as part of the tribe of Mannassah or Ephraim or otherwise?
Also, the math on 144,000 high priests as mentioned in the Bible or elsewhere has now changed dramatically, if that makes sense.

John Pack Lambert said...

The only African-American person I know what tribe they belong to is of the tribe of Ephraim. On the other hand I am of the tribe of Dan, my older brother is Judah, and a close friend whose father was of souther-US white heritage and whose mother was an immigrant from Uruguay is identified as Levi. Considering I am not sure that I explicitly know what tribe more than 20 people are from, I at times wonder if the general view that most members are of the tribe of Ephraim is actually true.

Even asking people which tribe they are part of is by some view as too much of an intrusion into the private nature of patriarchal blessings, although I did once have a BYU religion professor do such. After class one person expressed the view the question had been too intrusive. I have not determined my view on such, but few actually do enquiries on the matter.

At the same time, while the Church does have a collection of basically all patriarchal blessings, access is highly restricted, and I am not sure if anyone has ever compiled actual percentage statistics on tribe affiliation. Even if such has been done, I would suspect it was done in a way that the most recent data was not included.

My great-uncle who was a patriach in Las Vegas once mentioned he gave a patriarchal blessing to a woman from China who he was impressed was of the tribe of Naphtali but to receive her blessings through Ephraim, so only the later fact was incorporated in her blessing. My last companion on my mission who was from Mongolia received his patriarchal blessing also from my great-uncle (I served my mission in Las Vegas), but I do not recall what tribe my last companion was of, if I knew it at one point I have since forgotten.

Earlier there was a missionary in my district who was from Mongolia. He recieved a reccomend to get his patriarchal blessing (I believe it would have been from the mission president, but am not sure, this was 17 years ago, so my memory is not perfect), however the patriarch refused to give that person a blessing. Since I heard of it from our district leader who was companions with the missionary who was refused a patriachal blessing, and in fact it may have been my companion telling me what the district leader told him of what had transpired, I did not hear directly and so I am not sure why the patriach refused. It may have related to patriarchs being instructed to give the blessing only in languages they are fluent in, and his feeling that the elder was not yet fluent enough in English to understand.

My understanding of patriarchal blessings was always that the patriarch is to honor a validly issued recomend for someone who clearly is within their area of supervison, but I may be wrong on this matter.

John Pack Lambert said...

One of the four finalists for president of UVU was John R. Rosenberg, the Washington Iriving Professor of Spanish and American relations at BYU. In learning more about him the most intesesting thing I have learned about him is that he is an expert on among other things the literature of Equitorial Guinea. He would seem a good candidate to lead in the opening of missionary work in that at present unreached country. Here [] is a link that will in turn take you to a talk given by Rosenberg 5 years ago that may further cause one to feel that Rosenberg is the type of person receptive to spiritual guideance at a level that one would think would be a good person to lead out in establishing the Church in a new land.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I think I had my only graduate level course at BYU with then Bishop Rosenburg. We read a lot of books in Spanish, and a couple in English.
He in the mid-1990s was expert in Spain Spanish literature. He did a conference in Chile during the class and came back to report how different the terminology for the food was from what he knew. I think he may have served a youth mission in Spain, not sure.

L. Chris Jones said...

I know a Mongolian who was from the tribe of Ephraim.

Ray said...

Changes in Church units 4/24 and 4/25:
Tues Apr. 24: Brazil + 1 B, Philippines + 1 W, Ghana + 1 W - 1 B, South Africa + 1 B, South Korea - 1 W; US + 2 W - 4 B: NY + 1 W - 1 B, AZ + 1 W - 2 B, UT - 1 W UT South, CA - 1 B, ID + 1 W. Net change + 3 W - 3 B.
Wed. Apr. 25: Ghana + 1 W - 1 B, Nigeria + 1 W, Spain + 1 W. Net Change + 3 W - 1 B.

John Pack Lambert said...

If I read his vita correctly he was a missionary in Venezuela in 1975-1977.

Ray said...

Thurs. Apr. 26 Changes in Church units: + 1 Ward - 2 branches; Philippines + 1 W - 1 B; Suriname - 1 B, Caribbean Area; Germany - 1 B, Europe Area; Cote d'Ivoire + 1 B, AFW

John Pack Lambert said...

I was just reading about Douglas J. Martin the first general authority from New Zealand. His wife was Maori, and when he first visited an LDS meeting when he was dating her he was the only non-Maori present at the Church meeting.

John Pack Lambert said...

Prior to his marriage Douglas J. Martin served a mission. So did his wife. In a 2003 Church News article on him it states that they both served as "local missionaries". This suggests to me not just that they served in New Zealand, but that their service does not get counted in total number of missionary counts, since such locally called missionaries are not counted in those statistics.

Bryce said...

@John Pack Lambert - I've followed this blog for many years, including your comments in the comments section, and was disappointed when I read the post calling another commentator a "hate monger and a liar." Your posts are often the largest portion of the comments section, and if you feel the facts speak for themselves, surely your post would have had the same impact without that single sentence. I rarely post, but this has been bothering me - thank you for your consideration.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I guess there are more diplomatic ways to attribute inaccuracies and perhaps unkind comments and vitriolic accusations; the LDS General authorities and for the most part Mormon local authorities are tactful at leveling such charges towards others, or perhaps even more accurately, avoid invectives or contentions altogether.
Jesus of the New Testament is a good or best example, but he does become righteously indignant numerous times.
I know I myself have used some less than "kind" or "diplomatic" language on this forum a few times. Not representative of the higher path, granted. A few times it was part of comment strings being removed and/or censored.
The Internet is infamous for such trollish and "hateful" dialogs; it is unfortunate that we LDS get sucked in to the libel, slander, and calumny.
Enough said, I suppose.
Back to the post and the lands shared of LDS numbers: it is fascinating to compare and observe membership in little places like Isle of Mann, Guersney, or Lichtenstein. Or larger small places like Israel, Lebanon, or Azerbaijan.
I think senior missionary couples could have large impacts in such places, influences on entire geographical communities.
That is not to say that they do not have great impacts in larger countries like Chile or Mexico or Russia, or like my folks by their missions in Cambodia or Indonesia. But the individual or collective effects of such endeavors in the smaller areas is really interesting to contemplate.
A friend who served in Jamaica (and Cayman Islands) thought that he had met most of the Jamaican Saints during his mission in the early 1990s; the personal ministering of our membership is so key to real growth.

Eduardo Clinch said...

The last part of the above comment was meant more for the "LDS Percent per country", not the "highest numbers per country" without a temple.