Wednesday, September 5, 2018

New Branch in Myanmar (Burma)

Missionaries serving in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) report that the Church organized a second branch in Yangon last July. The North Dagon Branch now meets in a proselytism area that has been opened to proselytizing missionaries for more than two years. There appear to be at least 60 members in the new branch - essentially all of which are native members. Furthermore, there are now ten young, full-time missionaries assigned to serve in Myanmar under the supervision of the Thailand Bangkok Mission.

The Church assigned its first young, proselytizing missionaries to Yangon, Burma in February 2014 under the direction of the Thailand Bangkok Mission. The Church continues to classify its presence in the country as sensitive, but it appears that this classification may change in the near future. The translation of the Book of Mormon into Burmese is also underway. There are over 55 million people who live in Myanmar. Given its large population and improvements in religious freedom for Christian proselytism in government-controlled areas, prospects appear favorable for the creation of a mission headquartered in Yangon within the near future.


Gnesileah said...

Grand-Bassam Cote d'Ivoire Stake
- Mobibois Ward created

Paynesville Liberia Stake
- Duport Road Ward created

Tarlac Philippines Stake
- Lapaz Branch upgraded to Ward

Australia Perth Mission
- Broome Branch discontinued

Rosario Argentina West Stake
- Casilda Branch discontinued

Diadema Brazil Stake
- Campanário Branch upgraded to Ward (previously downgraded to branch in 2014)

Manizales Colombia District
- La Alhambra Branch discontinued

Los Mochis México Stake
- downgraded and renamed Guasave México District
- Centro Ward discontinued
- Alameda Branch discontinued
- Macapule Ward renamed Viñedos Ward and transferred to Los Mochis México El Fuerte Stake
- Juan José Rios Branch transferred to Los Mochis México El Fuerte Stake

Los Mochis México El Fuerte Stake renamed Los Mochis México Stake
- Ahome Ward downgraded to Branch
- Aháhuac Ward renamed Laureles Ward
- Del Valle Ward renamed Los Pinos Ward
- Jardin Ward renamed Cententario Ward
- Libertad Ward renamed Rosales Ward

México Culiacan Mission
- Angostura Branch transferred to Guasave México District
- Estacion Bamoa Branch transferred to Guasave México District

Athens Georgia Stake
- Brasselton Branch upgraded to Ward

La Grande Oregon Stake
- La Grande 5th Branch (Student Single) renamed La Grande YSA Branch

Sioux Falls South Dakota Stake
- Marshall (MN) Branch upgraded to Ward

Frisco Texas Shawnee Trail Stake
- Prosper 4th Ward created

Bountiful Utah Stone Creek Stake
- Holbrook Creek Branch (Care Center) created

Provo Utah YSA 2nd Stake
- Provo YSA 19th Ward reinstated

Provo Utah YSA 20th Stake
- Provo YSA 60th Ward created

Vineyard Utah Grove Park Stake created from Orem Utah Suncrest Stake
- Suncrest 11th Ward
- Suncrest 12th Ward
- Suncrest 13th Ward
- Suncrest 14th Ward
- Suncrest 15th Ward
- Suncrest 16th Ward

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? I keep seeing people claim that we are not to refer to members of the Church as LDS, but I don’t see that anywhere from President Nelson or the Church’s Style Guide. I do see that we should not use LDS to describe the Church itself, but seems fine to describe the membership as LDS. Anyone think these potential names are a no no?:

LDS Tabernacle Choir
LDS Pioneers
LDS Prophet
LDS scripture
LDS temples
LDS culture
LDS families
LDS values
Basically using LDS only when referring to and/or emphasizing us, the saints, the where using “Latter-day Saint” would be appropriate.

Would also like to see the words “Ward”, “Clerk”, “Executive Secretary”, Secretary, and a few others changes... and have “counsellors” give thier counsel more freely to those they serve with. And maybe replace the word “teacher” in calling titles with instructor, facilitator, discussion leader, etc. as the case may be. Oh, and call people to roles and responsibilities that happen to have a title rather than calling people to titles (semantics/change in emphasis, cause words matter).

James said...

Anonymous, I am not certain which style guide you are looking at, but the one found at the address below is clear:

Particularly, bullet point #3 states: "While the term 'Mormon Church' has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use. Thus, please avoid using the abbreviation 'LDS' or the nickname 'Mormon' as substitutes for the name of the Church, as in 'Mormon Church,' 'LDS Church,' or 'Church of the Latter-day Saints.'"

This would suggest to me that all the potential names you mentioned are indeed a "no-no". Don't know whether or not anyone else noticed this, but several years ago, the First Presidency in General Conference began referring to the Choir as merely the "Tabernacle Choir", rather than "Mormon Tabernacle Choir".

The important thing about the official statement in question (a link to which can also be found below) is that when referring to the Savior's Church, and to ourselves as members thereof, we should not be cutting the Savior out of it. The scriptural precedent for this action is in the Book of Mormon, where the Lord specifies that His Church (and the members of it) should be referred to by His name.

The Book of Mormon is, of course, named after the prophet Mormon. Since that is a proper name for the man who compiled it, the name of the book will not be changed. But the Church will likely continue to refer to the Choir as the "Tabernacle Choir", since the name comes from the building in which most of their broadcasts and concerts originate.

But President Nelson's statement on the issue can be found below, and he makes it clear that the Lord has impressed upon him the importance of His Church and the members thereof being called by His name. The Church's official logo was updated in the late 1990s-early 2000s to reemphasize the name of the Savior, and our daily dialogue should conform to that.

Note in the wording of the statement that he referenced the scripture given by revelation to Joseph Smith about the name of the Church. Since that revelation identifies the Church as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", and since the Lord refers to it has His Church, His name should be used in referring to it.

He also said that more information would be available in the coming months, which I assume means we will learn more about all of this at some point during General Conference. He also said "In recent weeks, various Church departments and leaders have initiated the necessary steps" of this process."

This will not be an overnight change, but the preliminary work on this has begun. We will be learning more about this for sure in the coming months, most likely in General Conference. Hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask them.

James Anderson said...

Looks like that Tucson ward has not shown yet. From what I hear, Silverbell Ward, Tucson Arizona West Stake, was split and the ward was renamed and the name of either is not known to me though.

Anonymous said...

James, your quote from the style guide includes the qualifier “for the name of the Church”. In other words, we shouldn’t use LDS when referring to the “Church”. Says we can use Latter-day Saint to refer to members of the Church and doesn’t ask us to avoid using “LDS” when referring to members or to anything else.

In the examples I gave, “LDS” refers to the people, not the church, so I think they are not inconsistent with the style guide.

Nephi said...

James Anderson...The Tucson West Stake does not have a ward named Silverbell. I cannot find any ward in Tucson with that name. The West Stake currently has 7 wards and a ward split would give it 8 wards. That is usually not enough to split a stake. If they reorganized the Tucson North Stake and the Tucson Stake plus add a ward from a ward split I could then see a new Stake formed. The church could pull 2 wards from the West, 2 from the North and 1 from the Tucson stake and the new stake would have 5 wards and the other 3 stakes would have 6 wards each. Just my thoughts on that.

James Anderson said...

There was a name change over a month ago with Silverbell being renamed. Covered an area near I-10 and included the Ruthrauff/La Cholla and Wetmore Road areas among others, may even have been just a realignment but some near Ruthrauff endedup in a different ward when that happened

James said...

Unknown, I concede that point #3 of the style guide to which I referred above references the Church, and not the members thereof, but the correct designation for members of the Church is dealt with more fully in the following bullet point (#4), which says: "When referring to Church members, the terms 'members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' or 'Latter-day Saints' are preferred. We ask that the term "Mormons" not be used.

Therefore, since the prior bullet point referenced that LDS is not an appropriate designation for the Church, and since the point referenced above notes that "Latter-day Saints" is a preferred term for the members of the Church, I am assuming, by extension, that the term "LDS" is not to be used as an abbreviation for Church members either. That said, as I also mentioned, President Nelson's statement notes that more details will be given in the coming months. Therefore, if General Conference next month comes and it is noted therein that the usage of "LDS" is appropriate when referring to the membership, we will know for sure. Until that time, I personally prefer to err on the side of caution. But since the style guide is not specific in that particular case, I understand if others do not feel the same way. Does that sound more reasonable to you?

Anonymous said...


Yes, sounds more reasonable. I guess my original point is that lots of people seem to be making similar assumptions, based on the belief that using an acronym is part of the problem. However, I see the announcement as correcting inaccurate/imprecise terms, whereas I see LDS as an abbreviation of a term that is correctly applied to church members.

James said...

I agree with you that everyone seems to have the same assumptions on this matter. But I look at it this way: According to the way I interpret the style guide, we should no longer be saying "I am a member of the LDS Church", but rather "I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", as the latter does not cut the Savior's name out of it. Based on the commutative principle, I would therefore assume that, by extension, referring to ourselves as "LDS members" as you suggested above, would not be in keeping with the idea behind the recommendations.

As I mentioned, at the moment, the extent of the suggestions may be, as you noted, open to interpretation or assumption. Nothing has been spelled out as of yet on this matter. And I would anticipate that will change next month in General Conference. But, as I noted above, since the intent is to correct a name rather than change it, the continued usage of "LDS" may not be appropriate.

I don't know if this would help to further address your question, but I wanted to post a link here to an article published by the Church News which carries some of the first public comments President Nelson made on this matter following the release of his statement. I will share a link, then the relevant passages and where to find them.

In the third paragraph of that article, we read the following: "On Aug. 16, President Nelson released a statement asking for a stop to the use of nicknames, abbreviations and incorrect names — such as Mormon and LDS — that have overtaken and overshadowed the Church’s appropriate name." I realize that this may also be interpreted as relating only to the name of the Church.

But then, towards the bottom of the article, not quoting President Nelson directly, the following sentence is found: "In his Saturday night interview, President Nelson acknowledged that correct use of the Church’s name needs to start first with the Latter-day Saints."

If an indirect reference to something President Nelson said in an interview refers to members of the Church as "Latter-day Saints", then that is a clear indicator to me that the term "LDS" would not be a proper one by which to refer to ourselves as members. But again, I would assume that will be more fully clarified in General Conference. Until then, I will continue to err on the side of caution.

But other people may interpret all of this differently until it is specifically spelled out, as is their privilege and prerogative to do. I for one feel that some things don't have to be specifically spelled out, and that reading between the lines suffices in this case. But I would be more than happy to come back after October General Conference and admit to having been wrong on this if it turns out that I am. Fair enough?

James said...

By the way, for any and all reading this comment who may want more information on the additional details that have been shared by other Church leaders on this, the Church News has set up an entire section that contains the articles that have been published so far about President Nelson's statement and how it should best be implemented. As more details emerge, that same section will be expanded to include those additional details, I am sure.

Eduardo said...
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James said...
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John Pack Lambert said...

We may see the Church in Myanmar be bigger than the Church in Thailand in the not too distant future. There are a lot more Christians in Myanmar and so there is less of a learning curve in converting people. One issue is most Christians are in outlying areas far from the capital, and some of them in very high violence areas.

John Pack Lambert said...

I remember somewhere in the statement it said that we should most often use the term "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The change to the current Church logo was no latter than 1997, and may have been as early as 1995. It was well before I began my mission in 2000. I remember watching as we shifted to all missionaries having tags with the new logo.

About two weeks ago I drove by a chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I had not previously past. I noticed that the sign did not include the current logo form. The current logo makes the name of Jesus Christ central to the name and the largest text.

The statements have explicitly said that the term "Mormon pioneer" is one that is still acceptable. Also mention's to Mormon (the prophet) and the Book of Mormon are acceptable. On the other hand I think it was President Nelson who said that Mormon himself would be very disappointed to learn the Church is often refered to by his name.

Another point is that the treachings and practices of the Church should not be called "Mormonism". They should be referred to as "the restored gospel of Jesus Christ".

One more thought. I do not think we will see the change of the title teacher. In a recent Church News article by a member of the Sunday School general presidency he disparaged times when people reffered to teachers as merely "discussion leaders" or "facilitators" and emphasized that the duty of a teacher is to teach. Also, the manual used to facilitate teacher council is called "teaching in the Savior's way". We might even see a shift to more callings, such as primary workers, redesignated as teachers.

James said...

John Pack Lambert, thanks for the thoughts on this. I am not sure how it works elsewhere in the Church, but as one who lives here in Utah, I can tell you that anyone sustained to work in the Primary has always been sustained as a "Primary teacher" rather than a "Primary worker." If that is not the case elsewhere in North America or throughout the rest of the world, that would certainly need to be changed.

I also agree that the idea that anyone called to teach is nothing more than a discussion leader misses the mark in a big way. Leading a discussion which allows us as Church members is an important part of the role of a teacher, but if a teacher is not focused on guiding the discussion to enable thoughtful discussion of the material, or just sits back and lets the discussion roll in any direction without intervening, that is problematic. I have also heard many people describe settings in which teachers fail to share their testimonies of the principles discussed at the end of the lesson, which also becomes problematic.

I also appreciated the insights you shared about what is acceptable and what is not when using the term "Mormon", which a lot of people also misunderstood. And many people seem to think that if nothing has changed between the time President Nelson released the statement on the name of the Church and now that nothing ever will.

But President Nelson was clear on the fact that Church departments and entities have taken the necessary preliminary steps on this issue, and I have no doubt that any additional questions will be answered and needed clarifications provided in the coming months, and that this will be more fully addressed in General Conference next month. It will be amazing to see.

James Anderson said...

That older sign is from the 1990s, there are still a fair number of them around in older areas where meetinghouses were built decades ago. A few standalone signs remain too, although most of those have been taken down. That explains the older logo, which was developed before 1974 but appeared then, prior to that we did not have a distinctive logo of any kind, but it was in the early 90s they began work on a new one and in late 1996 the current one was released.

Anonymous said...

James, in your recent response...

you wrote: “I agree with you that everyone seems to have the same assumptions on this matter.” However, I wrote “lots of people.” I also think lots of people understand the guidance like I do.

you wrote: “I would therefore assume that, by extension, referring to ourselves as "LDS members" as you suggested above, would not be in keeping with the idea behind the recommendations.”
However, I never suggested we refer to ourselves as “LDS members”. If we called ourselves “LDS members”, “LDS” would be referring to the Church, which I was clear was not appropriate. I was suggesting that referring to ourselves as “LDS” is consistent with the current guidance.

you wrote: “As I mentioned, at the moment, the extent of the suggestions may be, as you noted, open to interpretation or assumption.”
However, I did not note it was “open” to interpretation or assumption. Quite the opposite. I am only suggesting that people have been making assumptions that are inconsistent with the guidance.

you included the quote: "On Aug. 16, President Nelson released a statement asking for a stop to the use of nicknames, abbreviations and incorrect names — such as Mormon and LDS — that have overtaken and overshadowed the Church’s appropriate name." you then added, “I realize that this may also be interpreted as relating only to the name of the Church.”
I respond that it clearly applies only to the name of the Church. “LDS” is an acronym for “Latter-day Saint” and not a nickname, abbreviation, or incorrect name when used instead of “Latter-day Saint”. To be clear, “LDS” used in “LDS Church” is an acronym of the abbreviation “Latter-day Saint Church.”

you wrote, “Until then, I will continue to err on the side of caution.”
you also wrote: “I for one feel that some things don't have to be specifically spelled out, and that reading between the lines suffices in this case.”
I agree that everything doesn’t need to be spelled out, and believe the caution you note should be used instead when so called “reading between the lines”. I believe that accurate understanding comes when attention is focused on what is actually written and inferred, particularly when reading from very clear writers. My observation has been that President Nelson is a very clear writer/speaker. We all agree there is nothing physically written between the actual lines. So I suggest we stop trying to read what isn’t there and characterize our extrapolated guesses, predictions, etc. as such.

To be clear, my whole point is regarding what the current guidance actually says. I have no opinion on what further guidance may be forthcoming.

I see you like to write and have lots of good info to share, so hope you’ll understand my intentions... I realize this may come across as harsh, but this response is an example of how easy it is to misunderstand what is actually written. More care in this regard will help your message more than I can articulate.

Warm Regards.

James said...

No offense taken whatsoever. I recognize that, until more specific information is shared, what has been released may be very open to interpretation. If it is incorrect to refer to the Church as the LDS Church, then it would most likely, by extension, be problematic to say that we are "LDS" and might be more appropriate to say we are Latter-day Saints, which would certainly be in keeping with what President Nelson indicated in the interview with local media following the address in question, as I mentioned in the comment to which you referred.

That is not reading between the lines at all, as President Nelson specifically referred to "Latter-day Saints" when speaking of the members of the Church. And the idea that LDS as a designation for Church members is no longer appropriate is also borne out in the other articles found under the Church News section to which I referred above.

So I come to my approach on this issue as one who has thoroughly read the entirety of the materials thus far published under that section, and my comment about "reading between the lines" related more to those who have not read the same articles I have. If you have read them and do not see things the same way, that is not a problem.

As I also said, President Nelson and all who have spoken about this matter have made it clear that more details are coming. If any of us opt to wait to change our practice until more details are released, I am sure that would not be a problem. All I can do is share what I get out of reading all the materials that have been made available thus far on this subject. If others disagree with my assessment and analysis of those materials, that is certainly their right and privilege.

And, in the interests of fairness, longtime readers of this blog who comment here have generally understood that I am one who reads all material put out on matters such as this. If you, as a relative newcomer to the conversations on this thread, did not understand that, that is my fault, and I apologize.

That said, I fully anticipate that we will hear much more on this next month in General Conference, and if that turns out to be the case, then much less will have to be assumed, inferred, or conjectured as facts about the extent to which these new guidelines are implemented are more widely released.

I have the utmost respect for the right to a different opinion on your part or on the part of anyone else who comments on this blog and hope that these clarifications on my part will clear up any confusion on what I have said and why I have said it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

James, i’m going to let this go for a while after this response, but wanted to let you know that i have been reading this blog and most the comments since 2010 or 2011 and have paid close attention to this topic. I post vary rarely. Interesting that you state that I am a relative newcomer... more assumptions and/or loose language. Hopefully I can take your comments more seriously in the future.

Also, your most recent post stated, “the idea that LDS as a designation for Church members is no longer appropriate is also borne out in the other articles found under the Church News section to which I referred above.”
However, I just reread them and can’t find that being said.

Eduardo said...

Thanks admin, for deleting HappyDane and I's comments. Trolling is a tar baby that we can all do without.
Cool news about Myanmar.

Lynda said...

Can anyone help me find a Burmese speaking branch for my friends from Myanmar that are interested in the church? They live in Ogden Utah.