Saturday, May 12, 2018

New Stake in French Polynesia

The Church organized a new stake in French Polynesia on April 29th. The Bora Bora Tahiti Stake was organized from a division of the Raromatai Tahiti Stake and the Punaauia Tahiti Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Anau, Cumorah, Faanui, Maupiti, and Vaitape Wards, and the Haamene and Hipu Branches. All but one of the congregations (Faanui) are designated as Tahitian-speaking. The new Bora Bora Tahiti Stake includes LDS congregations on three islands: Bora-Bora (3), Tahaa (3), and Maupiti (1). The creation of the new stake in Bora Bora comes after many years of preparation by mission and stake leaders according to reports from full-time missionaries. More information about the creation of the new stake can be found here.

There are now 10 stakes and 3 districts in French Polynesia, whereas there were only 6 stakes and 3 districts in 2010. The Church has experienced a significant increase in membership growth, congregational growth, and stake growth during the past 5-6 years. For more information, click here.


John Pack Lambert said...

I am wondering what effect on the Church withdrawing from scouting will have.

The scouting program, with 11-year-old scouts having to be a seperate group, was not friendly to small wards or branches.

I've spent lots of time looking into this matter.

I believe the fact that various factors made it so the Church didn't do scouts outside the US and Canada while over half the Church members were in those areas, and possibly an even higher percentage of the youth in the Church, made continued working with scouts inpractical.

The other thing I came away with was that the Church's very stringent rules on fund raising, and the centralized budgeting proceedures, made it so for the last 27 years, the Church has diverged more and more from the rest of scouting.

Much of this was expressed by hard core non-LDS scouters and even some LDS scouters as total attacks on the way the LDS Church did scouting.

What all this ignored was that since the Church operated scouting as an integral part of its program, it absolutely had to make scouting make its needs. It only makes sense that the Church would bend scouting to its needs, not the other way around.

Some of the rhetoric out there is downright hysterical, portraying the existence of LDS-BSA relation committees as some sort of evil plot by the Church to influence scouting.

To others the use of church space, church time and church callings to gather money for Friends of Scouting was a great travesty.

The media has tried to portray this break as mainly driven by issues like changing BSA policies on LGBT scouts.

I think that is total rubbish.

In Mormon circles some suggest this is a direct result of President Monson's death. With the Church having announced a departure for 14-18 year old boys from scouting a year ago, I find that a bit hard to believe as the moving factor as well.

The basic issue I think is President Nelson and the other leaders of the Church want one program that is the same for the whole Church. I think this has been in preparation for a long time.

The other reason this makes sense is that scouting was the only outside program the Church supported. In many ways such a use of an outside program as part of the Church never really made sense. Everything else the Church does is a wholly contained internal program.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Boy Scouting offered its pros and cons, like most things. The money factors are very interesting. In some ways the removal of the program will standardize expectations for both boys and girls, and US/Canada and other foreign youth and their leaders.
The Church, which is always quite universalized throughout the globe, will become even more so.
With the growth of Tahiti the French speakers of the faith continue to expand, it seems. With temples in Haiti, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo, Paris, the LDS growth is perhaps as robust among French speakers as anyone else.
There are other French speaking places that will need their own temples by geographic definition (within 200 miles) like New Caledonia, French Guinea, Guadeloupe or Martinique, Madagascar, Cameroon, etc, but the numbers do not support it yet.
The Christian targetted bombings in Surabaya gives pause to LDS and Christians there and everywhere. My parents did a two year mission in that city in 2005-07; while the growth of converts was not as dynamic as say, Cambodia, it is interesting to see Church growth in Muslim dominated lands. Missionary work, like in Turkey, or Bosnia or Kosovo, and other newly accesed countries like Mali or Senegal, will continue to advance with safety caveats.

Unknown said...

The LGBT issues and admittance of girls into scouting were direct factors that helped catalyze the Church's departure from the BSA.

Thomas Jay Kemp said...

I can see how the media would spin it that way - but I think that Scouting is just not a good fit for a global Church.

Just like All-Church basketball, roadshows, dance-contests ... great for pre-Internet rural youth when the Church was centered in the Intermountain West ... but dropped decades ago as the Church expanded.

Scouting as a concept is just not accepted in many nations - or comes with political implications that are just not acceptable as our 'theme' for a global Church.
The global Church simply makes it an anachronism.

Cost of uniforms alone was just not scalable in a world-wide Church.
Picture a separate 'Church' scouting program in China ... no way that is happening.

Practically speaking - IMHO Scouts in Utah might enjoy it - but scout age youth back East have zero interest in the woodsy/camping type focus.
Here that is quaint and irrelevant to the experience of youth in today's world.

Its time to focus on the urgent needs of our youth - without dragging along last century's approach with it.

Glad to see a modern/21st century program coming for Primary/YW/YM ... youth - likely to be patterned on service, service, service - life skills - and more service.

Ray said...

So only one of the wards is French speaking?

Eduardo Clinch said...

Camping, hiking, food preparation, and outdoor skills are not antiquated, and thousands of East Coast Saints benefit from it.
Great commentary, I mostly concur.
I don't like hunting or fishing much, but I do admit people with those skills can be the difference in dire circumstances.
I hope certain outdoor skills are required on the future programs to go global. As much as I grinned and beared camping, canoeing, caving, hiking, as a kid in Indiana, with side trips to Ohio or Wisconsin, these experiences were good to grow from.
Service will always be huge, agreed. And a good way to hopefully spread the faith.

Ray said...

in the new BoraBora stake only one ward is French Speaking.

Ray said...

only one French Speaking stake

Gnesileah said...

A few more changes...

Antelope California Stake: Antelope YSA Ward discontinued
Citrus Heights California Stake: Sylvan YSA Ward discontinued
Fullerton California Stake: Golden Hills Branch (Korean) transferred from the Hacienda Heights California Stake
Riverside California Stake: University Heights Ward discontinued
Roseville California Stake: Sierra YSA Ward renamed from the Roseville YSA Ward
Sacramento California East Stake: Cottage Park Ward discontinued
San Diego California East Stake: San Diego YSA 1st Ward discontinued
Santee California Stake: Cowles Mountain YSA Ward organized from Santee YSA Branch
Portland Oregon Stake: Mountain Gate and Scouters Mountain Wards organized from Mount Scott, Happy Valley, and Sunnyside Wards
Bellevue Washington South Stake: Somerset Ward discontinued
Graham Washington Stake: Rainier Ward discontinued
Lacey Washington Stake: Lacey 6th Ward discontinued
Spokane Washington West Stake: Geiger Heights Ward discontinued

Gnesileah said...

Hanoi Vietnam District: Hai Ba Trung Branch created
Hong Kong China District (English): Discovery Bay Branch (English) discontinued
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngaliema Stake: Kinsuka 1st Ward renamed from Kinsuka Ward; Kinsuka 2nd Ward created
Kumasi Ghana Asokwa Stake: Kwamo 1st Ward renamed from Kwamo Ward; Kwamo 2nd Ward, Juaso and Patriensa Nyaboo Branches created; Atonsu Ward organized from Atonsu Branch
Kumasi Ghana Bantama Stake: Ahenema Kokoben Ward organized from Ahenema Kokoben Branch
Tema Ghana Stake: Tema 4th Ward organized from Tema 4th Branch

Ray said...

So apparently only one ward in the new Bora Bora Stake is French-speaking and Tahitian is used in the others.

John Pack Lambert said...

The new stake in French Polynesia is mainly Tahitian speaking. Tgis was almost universally true of the Church in that area until at least into the 1980s.

Madagascar is Malagasy speaking. In Haiti they speak Haitian Creole not French. In DR Congo some units are Swahili or Kisala speaking. Luba is also spoken by millions. Even in Quebec 1 of the three stakes is English speaking and the Church has missionaries who speak spanish and maybe Mandarin.

The only French speaking Church unit in the US is in the Washington suburbs made up of immigrants from Africa and their descendants.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually the Church pushing things like its basketball competitions was part of the Church responding to members and especially youth living much more in urban settings. The heyday for many of these programs, especially road shows, was when a much higher percentage of total membership lived in California than is now the case.

To understand the break with scouting one needs to realize that many who embraced the original vision of scouting felt that the scout handbook of the early 1990s was a disgrace to that vision failing to have power in its attempts to appease leftist attacks on cultural appropriation.

For a long time scouting was an enduring indtitution like Church dances, able to adapt to changing times.

The problem was two fold. One is that as an outside institution there was a constant need for the Church to make sure its own space was carved out. Over and over again the Church had to fight for no camping for cubs, 3 and not 6 camp outs for 1st class and many other exceptions.

At the same time the Church moved towards a vision of an equalized Zion. In this vision budgets were centralized, local fund raising was ended, and the Church sought no apparance of a commercial entity.

Thus Friends of Scouting became a glaring annomally. So did the acceptance of 1 annual fundraiser for scouts. The Church could adapt its own programs, but scouting meant bending others programs.

Another move was the end to Sunday camping. I think this was a good move, and can explain why the come to Scout camp on Saturday program was really odd.

On the other hand the Church implemented everything from dancing to seminary to institute worldwide. Not always exactly the same. However in scouting for reasons I dont fully get the Church didnt link up with the scouts in Australia or Britain or Nigeria.

Why that didnt happen in those countries like in the US and Canada I cant say. That is the missing key. Some articles say that scouting is,not available in most countries. I have not fully figured out what that means. However in those 3 countries and several others scouting exists but it is,not embraced by the LDS Church. Why this is I cannot say. All I know is that this is the key to the break with BSA and Scouts Canada.

Why in countries such as Australia scouts went coed years ago but guides survives as a girls only institution is,probably linked to why Yale and Orinceton are coed by Bryn Mayr is still an all girls school.

John Pack Lambert said...

How close is Idaho to having more wards and branches than California?

Eduardo Clinch said...

Good points about those native tongues and dialects of Tahiti, Madagascar, Congo, Haiti. But at the same time, people that I have met from those countries all speak native French. And, I wonder much published Church material is available in them, like say, is there a Creole Book of Mormon? Are there many pidgin versions of the Book of Mormon in English or French?

Ohhappydane33 said...

Even if Idaho passes California in units, California still has far more members (773K) than Idaho (437K), hence the need for so many missions in California, among other reasons.

Gnesileah said...

Presently, California has 1259 wards and branches, 121 more than Idaho's 1138.

Unknown said...

Ya'll can tell yourselves it has nothing to do with LGBT and admitting girls into the BSA, but you're wrong. All the ink in the world isn't enough to rewrite the past decade of values-wrestling. Yes, the Church needed a new global program. But for years the Church has been grappling with the BSA and fighting off it's inevitable plunge into PC purgatory.

If the BSA hadn't made these changes, the Church would not have left it. You don't blow up a great program like Scouts for nothing. The Church wanted a new program, but it's still a rational organization. Only the PC insanity could have broken the camel's back.

twinnumerouno said...

I think in an earlier post that you were referring to French Guiana (not Guinea).

The Montreal mission did not have Mandarin-speaking missionaries when I was there (1995-1997) but that could have changed. I was one of the Spanish-speaking missionaries in that mission, though I did have an English-speaking area one of the two times I went to Ottawa.
(Depending on whether you count Papeete, the Montreal temple may have been the second in a French-speaking area, after Switzerland.)

It is probably not official, but it would not surprise me to hear French spoken in the branch in Fort Kent, Maine. There are probably also American French-speakers in the Edmundston, New Brunswick branch, just across the border from Madawaska. (I went to elementary school near Madawaska and heard a lot of French mixed with English- my family never did decide what to call the equivalent of "Spanglish." The schools also had required French classes which is probably a rarity in elementary school.)

Are there no French-speaking units in Louisiana?

Gnesileah said...

Coal Mountain Georgia Stake created
- Coal Mountain Ward (from Sugar Hill Georgia Stake)
- Dahlonega Ward (from Sugar Hill Georgia Stake)
- Fowler Park Ward (from Roswell Georgia Stake)
- Laurel Springs Ward (from Sugar Hill Georgia Stake)
- Pilgrim Mill Ward (from Sugar Hill Georgia Stake)
- Sharon Springs Ward (from Sugar Hill Georgia Stake)
- Blairsville (North Carolina) Branch (from Asheville North Carolina Stake)
- Murphy Branch (from Asheville North Carolina Stake)

Tolagnaro Madagascar District created
-Amparihy Branch (from Madagascar Antananarivo Mission)
-Bazaribe Branch (from Madagascar Antananarivo Mission)
-Tanambao Branch (from Madagascar Antananarivo Mission)

Adriatic North Mission: Adriatic North Mission Branch discontinued
Adriatic South Mission: Pogradec (Albania) Branch created
Athens Georgia Stake: Athens 3rd Ward created
Nuku'alofa Tonga Stake: Houmakelikao Ward renamed Houmakelikao 1st Ward; Houmakelikao 2nd Ward created
Nuku'alofa Tonga Capital Stake: Nuku'alofa 5th, Nuku'alofa 7th, and Nuku'alofa 14th Wards renamed Nuku'alofa City, Pahu, and Teufaiva Wards
Kadoma Zimbabwe District: Kaguvi Branch transferred from Zimbabwe Harare Mission

Gnesileah said...

Sincelejo Colombia District: Argelia Branch created; Majagual Branch discontinued
Armenia Colombia District: Alamos and El Bosque Branches merged to form Granada Branch
Ibague Colombia District: Chicoral Branch reinstated
Ciudad Bolivar Venezuela Stake: La Paragua and Vista Hermosa Wards merged to form Libertador Ward
Caracas Venezuela Stake: Campo Alegre Ward discontinued
Caracas Venezuela Urdaneta Stake: La Guaira and Urdaneta Wards merged to form Candelaria Ward; Bolivar Ward discontinued
Barquisimeto Venezuela Stake: Acarigua and Araure Branches transferred from Venezuela Valencia Mission

Eduardo Clinch said...

Yeah, good catch about my reference to what should have been French Guiana, not Guinea. Although both have Francophone populations that have potential good growth for their citizens, despite all the endemic poverty, which in turn is reason for the establishment of Zion to break thr cycles of despair and destitution.
I see reasons to celebrate the accelerated rates of growth among the French speakers.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Desconocido: Sure, I, for one do not dismiss that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has serious qualms with "Scouts BSA" allowing openly and practicing gay men and/or women be leaders of minors. That is a doctrinal and practical issue.
The global issue was a huge factor, too. For example, Boy Scout leaders/administrators in the US (probably Canada, too) were making 100-160k per year while families making 30k were asked to donate serious funds AND serve for free in callings that required the leg work to accomplish the Scouting.
And meanwhile, the movements to provide our young women better programs have been calling, too. Young ladies go on missions at 19 now, which has increased their numbers and priorities within the faith.
Some critics and detractors of the LDS faith bemoan the stipend salaries of the General Athorities; I believe recent leaks indicated 80 thousand per year for an apostle 15-20 years ago. Maybe the stipend is much higher now in 2018. These leaders espouse the doctrines of the faith, and perhaps devote 60 percent (or more) of their Sundays alone to expanding and administrating the expansion of its members and churches and charities.
Worldwide. This probably comes from their own funds plus our tithes.
I see a big difference when discussing the "earning" of money that supports the Church's overall and particular agendas.
Openly gay leaders are not the ones the Church supports, no doubt about it.
All that said, I hope the best for Scouts BSA (girls and boys and their leaders), I hope that many LDS can enjoy it beyond 2019. I also find it unfortunate that the Girl Scouts asked the BSA not to admit girls, but the BSA leadership (again, overpaid in my opinion) flaunted their request and went ahead with open membership of its ranks.
I am excited to see what the new girl and boy programs will be for the Church writ large, to include Mexicans, Brazilians, Chileans, Congolese, Zambians, Russians, Chinese, etc.
The Lord wants His covenant people to excel, and I have faith that these changes will make it happen better in the 21st century.

Mike Johnson said...

The Church had about 18% of the boys registered in the Boy Scouts of America. That is a large percentage. The Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church register almost as many each.

The Church has been working on the global program for a long time as they built programs for each country and have been trying to standardize the programs.

I think a pretty good argument is that the BSA has been opening up its recruiting pool because its numbers have been down for a variety of reasons and for over a decade has been preparing for the departure of the LDS Church sponsored units as the Church has been open for at least that long about a desire to have a unified young mens program world wide.

Mike Johnson said...

I think the most vocal opponents--at least those I have heard personally--are supporters of the Girl Scouts, who seen the BSA moves as encroaching and threatening their organization. And they point out (correctly in my opinion) that it is about boosting recruitment to the BSA more than anything else.

James Anderson said...

Another announcement from the Church last week got little notice, unlesss you have made donations since about last Monday. That is the removal of the Perpetual Education Fund and the Temple Patron Assistance Fund from the online donation form. We topped both off so well that both funds will help members for a long time.

Only three funds are left: Gene4ral and ward missionary, humanitarian aid, and temple construction fund. Temple construction is a dropdown under Other and goes toward the construction of any temple announced or under construction. Have a hunch that if more were given to that fund, it might accelerate some of the temple building and announcements if they got enough that way.

Kenny said...

Another new things is that you can finally donate to anyone's mission fund (whose home ward is in the same country) online. You just have to get the unit number either from the ward or searching for the ward once logged into For example, I could now easily donate to a family member's mission.

twinnumerouno said...

The Book of Mormon fund is also still available under Other. I like giving to that one, I am hopeful that it will help with new translations.

Gnesileah said...

Solola Guatemala Stake organized from Solola Guatemala District (information on which of the seven branches became wards is unavailable)
Jalapa Guatemala Stake: Jutiapa 2nd Branch discontinued
Santa Cruz Bolivia La Pampa Stake: Cotoca Ward organized from Cotoca Branch
Armenia Colombia Stake: El Bosque Branch renamed Granada Branch; Alamos Branch discontinued
Ibague Colombia District: Chicoral Branch reinstated
Sincelejo Colombia District: Argelia Branch created
Barquisimeto Venezuela Stake: Acarigua and Araure Branches transferred from Venezuela Valencia Mission
Caracas Venezuela Stake: Campo Alegre Ward discontinued
Caracas Venezuela Urdaneta Stake: Urdaneta Ward renamed Candelaria Ward; Bolivar and La Guaira Wards discontinued
Ciudad Bolivar Venezuela Stake: La Paragua Ward renamed Libertador Ward; Vista Hermosa Ward discontinued
Nsukka Nigeria District: Nru and Obollo Eke Branches created; Nsukka 1st Branch renamed Onuiyi Branch
Lewiston Idaho Stake: Clarkston 1st Ward renamed Clarkston Ward; Clarkston 2nd Ward renamed Riverview Ward
Middleton Idaho Stake: Middleton 12th and Middleton 13th Wards created
Rexburg Idaho Married Student 3rd Stake: Rexburg Married Student 37th Ward created; Rexburg Married Student 30th Ward transferred from Rexburg Idaho Married Student 4th Stake

Free Walburg said...

Thank you for posting unit news Gnesileah.

Ray said...

@Gnesileah and John Pack Lambert:

Although California still has 121 more wards and branches than Idaho, it only has 45 more wards than Idaho because of the much higher number of branches in California.

This number (45) has been dropping rapidly because of the growth in Idaho wards and consolidations in California. It was 70 in January of last year and has dropped by almost 2 wards per month.

R. Jofre said...

In case you brothers and sisters might not know, thousands of Venezuelans leave the country every day, which is one of the reasons we see consolidations so often there. Even though the economic and now humanitarian crisis started several years ago, the problems have accentuated as of late. Most Venezuelans are leaving for Colombia and Brazil, and from there they try to reach Chile, Argentina, and Panama. Some succeed and many don't. Several end up staying in Ecuador or Peru when unable to cross yet another border. A few reach Mexico trying to get to the United States but end up being rejected at the border. So far the problems keep worsening every week.

Mario Miguel said...

In South Florida we've gotten alot of Venezuelans since the major humanitarian crisis began many of whom are young single adult members. I know one who will return for his mission in Venezuela and come directly here to be with his family. I can see why so many wards are being discontinued.

Ohhappydane33 said...

It's important to note that California still has far more members than Idaho, according to, and it's not even close. What skews the comparison in wards is the very large number of YSA wards in Idaho, particularly at BYU Idaho, which have essentially 100% activity rates, and the fact that YSA wards tend to be smaller wards than family wards.

Ohhappydane33 said...

I am not sure why there is so much fixation here as to when Idaho will have more wards than California since, IMHO, the comparison is largely meaningless. All it proves is that the activity rate is obviously higher in Idaho than California which shouldn't really be all that surprising to anyone.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Not that I have a preference for either one, or rather I would love to see the LDS population of Idaho reach 50% and California 10 percent, but in general Idaho is probably more expansive with job growth while California is difficult. This influences a lot of things.

Gnesileah said...

Cotonou Benin Stake: Hevie Ward
Santa Cruz Chile District: Paniahue Branch discontinued
Santiago Chile O'Higgins Stake: Los Cristales Branch discontinued
Klamath Falls Oregon Stake: Cascade Branch (Spanish) discontinued

I am identifying unit changes by comparing my data against LDS Maps, with the aid of the generic information from CDOL (available to all members). It is easier to identify changes in countries with non-extensive units, but places like Utah, Brazil, Mexico, or the Philippines I can probably only check every six months or so. Unless anyone wants to help? If so, feel free to contact me at gnesileah(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks.

Gnesileah said...

To clarify, the Hevie Ward, Cotonou Benin Stake was created, bringing the number of units assigned to the stake to 17, tying with the Assin Foso Ghana Stake and the Kumasi Ghana Asokwa Stake. Together, the three are the largest stakes in the Church, in terms of total number of units.

Matt said...

The Hevie Ward is the first ward to be created in Benin from the division of another ward. The other six wards in Benin were organized from branches when the stake was organized.

Rossa said...

Santa Cruz do Sul Brazil District became a stake with 9 units today. Local member reported.

Nephi said...

Rossa, the only way I can see Santa Cruz do Sul having 9 units is if they combine with the Cochoeira do Sul or the Sao Jeronimo District or pull wards from nearby Stakes. The Santa Curz do Sul District only has 5 units.

Rossa said...

Cachoeira do Sul (3 branches from Cachoeira do Sul District), Rio Pardo (1 branch) ,Lajeado (1 ward from São Leopoldo Stake) , Estrela (1 branch from Sao Leopoldo Stake), Venâncio Aires (1 branch), Vera Cruz (1 branch), Santa Cruz do Sul (2 branches). I dont know the branches upgraded to ward or branches became ward. But its true. Have new stake presidency too.

Rossa said...

Cachoeira do Sul (3 branches from Cachoeira do Sul District), Rio Pardo (1 branch) ,Lajeado (1 ward from São Leopoldo Stake) , Estrela (1 branch from Sao Leopoldo Stake), Venâncio Aires (1 branch), Vera Cruz (1 branch), Santa Cruz do Sul (2 branches). I dont know the branches upgraded to ward or branches became ward. But its true. Have new stake presidency too.

John Pack Lambert said...

I don't know of any French-speaking units in Louisiana. I believe the only designated non-English units there are Spanish. It surprises me that there are no Vietnamese speaking units there. There is one in georgia, yet outside of California Louisiana may have the highest number of Vietnamese speakers.

On the other hand I know there is a German (Amish dialect) speaking group in Ohio. There may be French or Vietnamese speaking groups in Lousiana though, I can't say.

One of the ministering brothers assigned to my parents is a native French speaker. His grandparents were immigrants from Quebec to the US. He grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, living with his grandparents and didn't speak English until he went to kindergarten.

Tomorrow I will be subbing at a school where most students have Arabic as their native language. It is in Dearborn, Michigan, one of the most Arab cities in the US. Another is Hamtramck, Michigan. On Monday I subbed at a school in Detroit right across the street from Hamtramck, where most of the students were immigrants from Yemen but a few from Bangladesh. Almost as many lived in Hamtramck as Detroit. It was a public charter school but over the drinking fountains they had a sign that said "remember you are fasting, do not drink from this foundatin." Personally I feel such is the school endorsing religion.

The Invisible Latter-day Saint said...

To @twinnumerouno:

What do you call French mixed with English?


twinnumerouno said...

That sounds pretty good.