Thursday, November 15, 2018

Updated Country Profiles - Lebanon, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates

We have recently updated several Reaching the Nations country profiles on www.cumorah.com. Updated profiles include:
The Church reports its largest church membership in the Middle East in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with more than 1,500 members - all of whom are foreigners primarily from North America, Europe, and the Philippines. The UAE is a likely candidate for the Church's first temple in the Middle East considering the Church is able to construct religious buildings and have a public presence - religious freedoms not permitted in nearly all other nations in the region. Church membership in Lebanon is small and comprised of native members. There were approximately 30 active members in the Beirut Branch a couple years ago per senior missionary reports. However, convert baptisms appear to regularly occur through member-missionary efforts. No proselytizing missionaries operate in Lebanon, Qatar, or the UAE.

3 comments:

John Pack Lambert said...

I just came across this article https://www.herald.co.zw/latter-day-saints-to-expand-zim-presence/ about Elder Sitati and Elder Andersen meeting with one of two vice presidents of Zimbabwe. It is on the whole a good article, but has some interesting failures. It calls the Church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is a fairly minor mistake and does not elide the name of Jesus.
The article also refer to him as Anderson, not Andersen. This though makes no sense "The delegation, which was led by a senior prelate from the United Kingdom, Elder Neil Anderson, was comprised of Africa South East Area presidency, Mr Joseph Sitati and Zimbabwe stake president, Mr Phillip Mathemera, among others." Evidently the writer confused the USA with the UK. That is the only way I could see Elder Andersen being so described. The use of the term "prelate" also seems totally wrong. Elder Sitati should be given that title if Elder Andersen is given that title. The writer does not understand the difference between president and presidency. I am guessing Brother Mathemera is president of one of the stakes in Harare, but mainly I get the sense the writer did not dig deep enough and understand terms enough before writing. Equally odd is saying that the Church "already has some assemblies locally". I have never seen "assemblies" been used in connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before. Later we are told there are "79 assemblies locally".

We get this quote from the Vice President of Zimbabwe '“They had come to pay a courtesy call on me and are also interested in establishing themselves firmly in Zimbabwe,” said VP Mohadi.'
Considering one of the general authorities, Elder Dube, is from Zimbabwe, I think this point should have been mentioned, and this line should have been better contextualized.

The following is attributed to Elder Sitati, but I think he is either misquoted or taken out of context on some of what he said '“The president of the church was here a few months ago and Zimbabwe was his first international visit, he had announced that a temple will be built in Harare,” he said. “Temples are the most holy places of our church and we have only three, one in Ghana, Nigeria and SA and there is going to be one in Harare.”'

I think Elder Sitati said more like "Zimbabwe was part of his first international trip", unless he was referencing President Nelson's journey to Zimbabwe in 1972 as president of the Sunday School. In that case it may (or may not) have been his first international visit on assignment from the Church. He'd traveled to India and Thailand among other places for surgical conferences in the 1960s, and was in Japan and South Korea with the US military in the early 1950s. I think Elder Sitati was saying though that the visit to Zimbabwe was part of President Nelson's 1st international tour as president of the Church. Also, it was President Monson not President Nelson who announced the temple for Zimbabwe. I am guessing at some point in his comments Elder Sitati had made clear the "we have only 3" referred to temples in Africa.

I still have not identified what stake President Mathemara presides over, but based on this 1998 article https://www.deseretnews.com/article/614106/News-of-Ghana-temple-brings-joy.html he joined the Church in about 1996.

After a little more searching I learned that in 2015 Mathemara was president of the Harare South Stake from this article from "Religion in Zimbabwe" https://relzim.org/news/church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-renovates-clinic/ Most likely that is the stake that Mathemara presides over, but with Church growth and at least one new stake in the Harare area since then, it might not be that stake he presides over.

Eduardo Clinch said...

My BYU Arabic professor Dilworth Parkinson served in Lebanon and became fluent in Arabic there, I guess in Beirut.

Unknown said...

Remember bro the article was written by a non member journalist using information he heard in the discussion also take note in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular congregations are refered to as assemblies not as wards or stakes