Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Updated Country Profile - Tunisia

Click here to access our updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Tunisia. The Church used to operate a branch in Tunis for foreign members. However, the branch appeared to close sometime in the late 2000s. Today, a member group may continue to operate in Tunis. There are no legal prohibitions for Muslims to convert to another religion. However, the government restricts Christian activities to approved houses of worship. Tunisians living in France present good opportunities for LDS outreach although few of these prospective converts would likely return to live in Tunisia if they convert given societal pressures to adhere to Islam. Tunisia also has the highest percentage of internet users in the population among North African countries, indicating opportunities for online Arabic-language teaching and proselytism efforts.


Eduardo Clinch said...

Speculation about the "Muslim world" in relation to the Second Coming of the Messiah is interesting. Some believe that maybe Muslim lands do not need to have missionaries of the restoration present in order for Bible promises and prophecies fulfilled; it is great that LDS outreach increasingly goes to more foreign lands than ever. For now most countries dominated by Islam will not be touched much by LDS or other Christian evangelizers. Maybe till the Millenium?

James said...

It is interesting to me to see how the Church strikes a very careful balance between opening doors to some nations where the Church might prosper and, in reference to other nations, demonstrate a respect for and deference to the strong religious backgrounds that are in such nations. The Church News recently reported a cooperative effort in which "Mormons", Methodists, and Muslims were involved. If and when the time is right, we may see the Church presence expand into nations where Islam and its' practitioners and adherents already have a strong faith, which would be in keeping with the invitations of both Presidents Hinckley and Nelson for all people of the world to "bring all the good [they] have, and let us see if we can add to it." Perhaps that process will be part of the gospel spreading to every nation, kindred, tongue and people of which prophets have said would occur before the Second Coming.

At the same time, we also know there will be other world areas in which, due to a variety of circumstances, the gospel may not be widely spread or accepted until either the Savior's Second Coming or during his millennial reign on Earth. It will be interesting to see what occurs there.

With my thanks to Matt for yet another excellent report, and with my thanks to all who continue to participate in discussions here, I would also like to thank Matt additionally for allowing me to keep posting updates from my blogging efforts.

In that regard, there have been a number of developments which have occurred lately in terms of both general Church news and also temple updates. I also continue to welcome and appreciate comments specifically on my recent post about the most likely locations which (in my opinion) may have a temple announced in October. Any of you who would like to read and comment on any of those posts are welcome to do so. I again post the address of that blog for all who are interested. Thanks.


John Pack Lambert said...

The Church has already spread to some Muslim lands. Sierre Leone, which is 78% Muslim, now has multiple stakes, I lost count, but I think it might be 4. I had some friends who while serving a mission in New York City baptized a man from Sierre Leone who had been a leader of a large group of Muslims there.

At one point there was a missionary serving in my branch who was from Ghana whose mother was a Muslim.

There have been some prominent converts from Islam in the US as well. About a year ago I read an article about a family from Iran who were Muslims who had joined the Church after immigrating to the US.

I strongly suspect that the six stakes in Lagos have at least some members who converted from Islam.

The Church also has I believe 3 stakes in Indonesia. However in that case I have never figured out the origin of converts. In Indonesia there are large numbers of Christians, many of them ethnic Chinese, and also several other populations that are not Muslim.

In Malaysia the Church has grown most by numbers in Eastern Malaysia, where the indigenous peoples are very heavily Christian. In west Malaysia there are lots of Chinese who are non-Muslim. Due to Malaysia's legal antagonism towards people leaving Islam, I doubt the Church baptizes many Muslims there.

At one point it was thought the Church could not thrive in primarily Catholic countries. I don't think anyone would hold such a view today. Although a few Eastern European nations like Slovakia and Poland have not seen the Church thrive. Latin America is not nearly as Catholic as it was a century ago, or even 50 years ago.

James said...

President Nelson has issued an official statement about the correct usage of the name of the Church. See Mormon Newsroom for details.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I am going to guess: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias.
A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Otimos Dias.
La Iglese de Jesu Christe de les Saintes de les dernier jour.
El kinesat yesu al-mesiah li muqadiseen lil ayyam al-akheera.

mrcuff said...

The big thing is not the name of the Church but rather what the members are called. He does not want us to be called Mormons.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Interestingly enough is that mormon.org and all of its "I am a Mormon" biographies remain alive and well...

David Todd said...

This was just the announcement that we are going to be making a more focused effort to utilize the official name of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the actual implementation of all ways to do so. The article I read even mentions likely changes coming to such organizations and websites that use the term "Mormon" within the near future. It is important to note that it was also stated that other nicknames such as the "LDS church" are not to be used. Not sure what you expect to have happened to those sites in a matter of a few hours?

J S A said...

Swedru Ghana Stake (2120453) August 12 2018

Aboso Branch (2040662)
Asikuma Branch (1998420)
Breman Brakwa Branch (2104326)
Odoben 2nd Branch (1998412)
Swedru 4th Branch (2074427)
Swedru 5th Branch (2105195)
Odoben Ghana Family History Center (2086425)
Swedru Ghana Family History Center (395404)
Odoben 1st Ward (320277)
Swedru 1st Ward (285714)
Swedru 2nd Ward (1684779)
Swedru 3rd Ward (2042371)

James said...

I wonder why it is that so many people (both in and out of the Church) are focusing on the fact that the changes which President Nelson mentioned were underway had not yet been implemented. He said directly in the statement that "We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months."

Note that he said that the various Church leaders and departments have initiated the process. Depending on how much advanced notice other Church leaders had about this statement, it should not be surprising that the changes have not been implemented in full. The announcement seems to be more an initial notice that these changes are forthcoming.

For myself, I am not going to get caught up in the minutiae of how, when, how soon, and in what manner all of this will change. Instead, I will be focusing on making sure that I personally follow this inspired directive from our prophet. Note that he also said that "the Lord has impressed upon [his] mind" the importance of this matter, which is similar to wording other Church presidents have previously used when they are speaking not as men with personal preferences, but as the prophet of the Lord conveying the word and will of the Lord.

That should be all there is to it for those of us who sustain him as the Lord's prophet. It may take time to adjust, but if any of us ultimately fail to follow the divine directive, we will surely be held accountable before the Lord for so doing.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Well, excuse me James for expressing my opinion. Heaven forbid I have thoughts that may be somewhat different than yours. Why are your pontifications any more worthwhile than anyone else's? BTW, I personally could not care less how well you follow this new directive, and could not care less how you think we are all accountable before the Lord, as if you know more than anyone here. Give me a break.

Ray said...

Ohhappydane, good to have you back. I was afraid you were gone from this forum, but I really enjoy your independent thinking and unorthodox style.

We've had this directive before, but I think we'll call ourselves by what we want to and by necessity what others call us.

Thanks for your welcome contributions.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Yeah, who needs teamwork? Unity and cohesion are so overrated. Why should we care what others think?
Why even have families or stupid laws or stupid countries? Why even think? Why even act? Life is so hard, things are so unfair. Boo hoo.
I'm glad no one cares what I think or say.
Yeah, that's the spirit. Nothing matters, nobody cares.
Life is grand.
President Nelson and his crazy dreams...

The above words were ironic absurd sarcasm. Good to get that off my chest.

R. Jofre said...

Does anybody know what exactly happened with the Santiago and León districts in Spain?
Apparently, most of the units went to the new "La Coruña/A Coruña" stake and said stake became part of the Barcelona mission. Also apparently some units remained in the Madrid mission. LDSmaps shows only branches in the new stake, so I don't know which units became wards. Some odd boundaries and names are also showing up.

Gnesileah said...

@ R. Jofre
The Santiago Spain District was renamed the A Coruña Spain Stake, and received the following branches from the León Spain District: Gijón, León, Oviedo, and Ponferrada. LDS Maps doesn't yet reflect which of the branches in new stake became wards, but local reports indicate the Pontevedra Branch was discontinued; El Ferrol, La Coruña, Gijón, Oviedo branches were upgraded to wards; Vigo was renamed and upgraded to Vigo 1st Ward; and Vigo 2nd Ward was created.

Of the remaining branches in León Spain District, Salamanca and Valladolid were transferred to the Spain Madrid West Mission (may yet be assigned to one of the Madrid Stakes), and Avilés and Benavente were discontinued, along with the district.

Only two districts remain in Spain - Balearic Islands and La Mancha.

Gnesileah said...

Viana Angola District
- Cacuaco Branch created

Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussourkro Mission
- Bangolo Branch renamed Bangolo 1st Branch
- Bangolo 2nd Branch created

Port Harcourt Nigeria Stake
- Elekahia Ward downgraded to Branch

Port Harcourt Nigeria West Stake
- Mgbuoba Ward downgraded to Branch

Upolu Samoa Saleilua Stake
- Siuniu Branch upgraded to Ward

León Spain District
- Avilés Branch discontinued
- Benavente Branch discontinued
- district discontinued

Solola Guatemala Stake
- Cojolyá, El Mirador, Las Cuestas, Panajachel, San Andrés Semetabaj, San Lucas Toliman, and Santiago Atitlán Branches upgraded to Wards (District upgraded to Stake on May 13th, wards finally showing on LDS Maps)

Las Vegas Nevada East Stake
- Vegas Valley Ward renamed Sunrise Highlands Ward

Castle Dale Utah Stake
- Orangeville 3rd Ward discontinued

Sandy Utah Willow Creek Stake
- Sandy SA Ward created

R. Jofre said...

@ Gnesileah
Thanks a lot.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think the big think is using the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as much as possible.

John Pack Lambert said...

Bangolo which just got its second branch has about 40,000 people. It is one of the western places in Ivory Coast not far feom the border with Liberia.

James Anderson said...

MY Hve missed this one, but I learned of a new ward in Tucson this weekend, appears to have been in about late July, in the Tucon West Stake. Anyone catch this one?

Gnesileah said...

@ James, so far LDS Maps doesn't show any new wards in Tucson, but I'll keep my eyes on it. In the Tucson Mission, there are some changes in the Thatcher and Safford Stakes.

Gnesileah said...

Rio Claro Brazil Stake
- Parque das Nações Branch upgraded to Ward

Anchorage Alaksa Chugach Stake
- Anchorage YSA Ward discontinued

Safford Arizona Stake
- Kimball YSA Branch discontinued

Thatcher Arizona Stake
- Mount Graham YSA 3rd Ward transferred to Safford Arizona Stake

Odessa Florida Stake
- Tampa 4th Ward renamed Citrus Park Ward

Malad Idaho Stake
- Malad YSA Branch created

James said...

Eduardo, I wanted to thank you for the way you responded to the comment that called me out and criticized me for expressing my opinion, which was clearly not popular with a few people here. That said, in thinking things over, I actually agree with the notion that whether or not any or all of us follow directions, advice, counsel, and policy determinations made by the prophet is up to each one of us as individuals. But the other side of that coin that most people forget is that freedom to make such choices is not equivalent to freedom to choose the consequences that might come once such choices are made.

That is why I personally feel the same as President Nelson did prior to his new assignment as Church president. He has been previously quoted as saying that he never asks himself when the prophet is speaking as a prophet and when he is not. The biggest question he did ask himself was how best to follow the prophet and implement his counsel.

That said, although the wording of my previous comment on this thread may have cast doubt on this question, I fully recognize that I am not in any way authorized to speak for the Lord, and if anything I have said appeared to imply otherwise, then I owe a profound apology to anyone who may have been negatively impacted by that previous comment. And I do agree with what you said above as well, Eduardo. Thanks for putting my comments into perspective better than i did.

Gnesileah, thanks for your continuous unit updates. I always appreciate hearing such things. And thanks to all of the rest of you for the ongoing dialogue that has been so enlightening. Even at times when some of us who comment here may not be in agreement on certain points, I am grateful that the dialogue continues to be civil and friendly, for the most part.

And to Matt, thanks for making an effort to change the title of this blog. I believe that the change is well within perfect conformity with President Nelson's guidance, and I applaud the move, whether or not the URL of this blog (or any other Church site, for that matter) is ultimately changed or updated.

With my additional thanks to Matt for continuing to allow me to do so, and for the benefit of all who read this comment that may not see other comments I have recently made, I have been busy in recent days uploading a variety of new content to my blog. Additionally, I continue to welcome feedback on my list of cities that seem to have the highest likelihood of having a temple announced in October (as the open commenting period on that list will continue for the next month) or on any other blog post, for that matter. A link to that specific post follows. In the meantime, thanks again to you all.


El. Álvarez said...

Oviedo & El Ferrol are still branches. It seems that Valladolid won't just join the Madrid mission, but one of the Madrid stakes.

The newly created stakes goes to the Barcelona mission. The Cartagena & Elche stakes go to the Barcelona mission. The rest of the Málaga mission went to the Madrid mission in July. In other words the Málaga mission was dissolved in July leaving Spain with two missions: Madrid and Barcelona. By the end of 2018 the Madrid MTC (1 or 2 floors of the Madrid temple's hostal) would dissolve. The missionaries will go to nearby Preston, England. It's great because the hostal was always packed. Moreover the Portuguese temple in Lisbon would take about a third of the Madrid temple attendance (Portugal and Cape Verde). It would leave LDS living in Spain the Madrid temple mostly for us. I assume the Sardinian members that attended Madrid now will attend Rome's temple. A while ago they attended Madrid as the Sardinian district, but now that they joined Rome's west stake as wards and branches I think they're not coming to the Madrid temple anymore. With the sole exception of the two French of Bayonne & Pau branches of the Bordeaux stake (the rest of of it attends Paris temple) the temple would basically a temple for Spain.

Moving the stake center of one of Madrid stakes to Toledo would make La Mancha district part of the stake & even solitary Cáceres & Badajoz could be reached. Salamanca could join another one of the Madrid stakes. Even Baleares could follow Sardinia's example & join stakes in mainland Spain so the the last districts dissappear & maybe a new stakes is established thanks to new Balearic wards.