Sunday, February 3, 2019

New Stake in Nigeria; New Districts Organized in Nigeria and in Cote d'Ivoire

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake and a new district in Nigeria.

The Owerri Nigeria North Stake was organized from a division of the Owerri Nigeria Stake on January 27th. The new stake includes at least the following six wards and two branches: the Akwakuma, Amakohia, New Owerri, Ogwa, Orji, and Orlu Wards, and the Mbieri and Umundugba Branches. The new stake is the second stake to be organized in Owerri. The Church created the Owerri Nigeria Stake in 1998. The stake numbered among the oldest stakes in Nigeria that had not divided to organize a new stake. Most of the congregational growth that warranted the creation of the new stake has occurred since 2010. The Church organized its sixth mission in Nigeria in 2016 with headquarters in Owerri. The new mission may have helped accelerate growth in Imo State (administrative division where Owerri is located) to permit the creation of a second stake. There are 5.4 million people who live in Imo State albeit there are currently only two stakes and one district within its geographical boundaries. The Aba Nigeria Temple is within the boundaries of the Nigeria Owerri Mission.

The Gboko Nigeria District was organized on January 20th. However, the Church currently reports only one branch in Gboko. Therefore, at least two new branches were likely organized in Gboko or in nearby cities or villages. The Church organized its first branch in Gboko in 2016. There are now three districts in Benue State - all of which have been organized since 2017.

Many new stakes and several new districts appear likely to be organized in Nigeria within the immediate future due to rapid membership and congregational growth, and good convert retention and member activity rates - all of which has been accomplished without assistance from North American missionaries. New districts likely to be organized may be located in the following cities: Bonny, Bori, Kaduna, Sapele, and Ugep. New stakes likely to be organized within the near future include Aba (5th stake), Abuja (3rd stake), Akamkpa (from a district), Benin City (9th stake), Ibadan (2nd stake), Ijebu-Ode (from a district), Ikot Ekpene (2nd stake), Lagos (7th and 8th stakes), Onitsha (2nd stake), Ukat Aran (2nd stake), and Warri (2nd stake).

There are now 55 stakes and 16 districts in Nigeria. Given growth trends over the past decade, it appears likely that the Church in Nigeria will reach 100 stakes by the year 2025 given conservative projections.

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church created a new district in Cote d'Ivoire on January 27th.

The Man Cote d'Ivoire District was organized from at least four mission branches in Montagnes District. Branches currently assigned to the new district include three branches in Man (Doyaguine, Grand Gbapleu, and Man) and one branch in Logouale. The Church organized its first branch in Man in 2015 and in Logouale in 2017. The Man Cote d'Ivoire District is the Church's first district in Montagnes District where the first branch was organized in Duekoue in 2015. Today there are 10 branches in Montagnes District.

There are now 14 stakes and 13 districts in Cote d'Ivoire. The creation of one additional district appears imminent in Duekoue. Also, several additional stakes appear likely to be organized in the country before the end of the year, including as many as three new stakes in Abidjan.

57 comments:

Eduardo Clinch said...

Great to see this growth. It is fascinating to see strong membership in a land straddled by scriptures that take place primarily to the continents to their east and west.
Great updates.

Bryan Baird said...

I think in the next few years we might have another "temple boom" like back in 1998-2000 when dozens of temples were announced and built during that time.

Sam said...

Did anyone else notice that the online tithing form changed again recently? Late last year they had removed the continuing education fund completely from the online form- leaving just two categories within "other": (1) temple construction and (2) book of mormon. (There was an article saying that a donors provided funds and that the needs for the Continuing Education Fund were sufficient for future needs.)

In the last month, they restructured "other" so that only the temple construction category is seen right off. (There is a way to get to the book of mormon category still, but it is hidden.)

Basically, it seems like the Temple Construction fund is being very encouraged to those that are wanting to contribute to something. Very interesting with all of our talks and excitement of what's being hinted and hoped for the future of temple construction!

James Anderson said...

The General Book of Mormon Fund had its origin with the Family to Family Book of Mormon program that started as a member initiated program and ran from 1983-1990 give or take a year or two and hit is peak after President Benson's emphasis on 'flooding the earth' with it. In 1990 they decided to make donating to provide copies a regular part of the donation slip.

The Temple Construction Fund started within weeks of the announcement of the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple, everyone soon found donations made under Other indicating Nauvoo Temple as the desired place for whatever they wanted to go to that and that is almost 20 years old now.

Sam said...

I know that the Temple Fund itself is not new. What is new that I saw were all of the other category options in "other" basically being removed on the online donation slip.

James said...

Hello, Sam. I addressed this in the comments section of a recent post on my own blog, but will reiterate things I said there in this comment. The process of changing the donation slip began in May of last year, as evidenced by this source:

https://www.calledtoshare.com/2018/05/09/perpetual-education-and-temple-patron-funds-removed/

I find no fault in the information in that article. But if you look at the timing further, that reported change was announced five months before President Nelson announced the 12 temples in October. Therefore, the continuing changes to the donation slip indicate to me that the funds the Church removed are not as much of a needed priority for the Church right now.

So what does that tell us? If the Temple Patron Fund can sustain itself for a while, then by coupling that fact with all we have heard about President Nelson's temple plans from those in-the-know about them, then I think we will see a significant and substantial increase in the number of temples, and also the regularity of announced temple developments.

One other thought on this change, if I may: It has been mentioned before on this blog that President Nelson's legacy as the foremost temple-building prophet will surpass what we saw occurring under President Hinckley. And it appears from what I have seen that he is methodically dealing with the current backlog of announced temples from both ends (in other words, taking care of moving temples announced by President Monson into the construction process while also being able to use a smaller floor plan to fast-track temples he has announced himself over the last year or so.)

With all of this in mind, not only will we see many more temples announced, and not only will we see a number of those being built on the smaller side of the size scale (whether with an entirely new look and feel or with adjustments to some current designs), but we will see an intermittent increase of temples of other sizes as well. For example, Pocatello has been compared in size to Meridian, with Saratoga Springs comparable to Mount Timpanogos. Also, the Abidjan Temple appears to be comparable to The Gila Valley Temple. I also have information indicating that the temples for both Nairobi Kenya and Harare Zimbabwe will be on the smaller side. And it appears that the Yigo Guam and San Juan Puerto Rico Temples have a new look and feel that may be typical of temples built during the Nelson era. It will be interesting to see all of this as the process evolves.

I also anticipate that we may be hearing President Nelson detail his plans during the April General Conference. Perhaps the changes which took place in May of last year were a precursor and preliminary to the process of the recent additional changes we saw, which would, if I am correct, mean that President Nelson perhaps wanted to wait to detail his plans until he was sure the Church would be financially and fiscally capable of being able to carry them out. If that turns out to be the case, then more details may be coming in April or October, but perhaps sooner, if all goes well. Hope this information is helpful to all who read it.

James Anderson said...

Thwew is another dynamic to consider in all this too, some of the bigger changes mean fewer major callings in a ward and other things like feer instructors. That will free some up to be called as ward missionaries or temple and family history consultants, and more time generally for many more to be involved in both on a personal basis.

There are six hymns in the hymnbook at present that directly talk about temples and temple work, the hymns are 285 to 290, and me and a bishopric member have found that no one really knows them. In 1985 temples were something you went to once a month even if you lived close to one, and talking about temples or even programming sacrament meeting music with those and a few other hymns that referenced them was an afterthought, so while the others that mentioned temples got sung, the six that refer to temples specifical that I refer to no one really knows, I am presently a ward music chair and I ran hymn 287 twice and the xongregational participation, while there, ws less than ideal.

James said...

James Anderson, there are a number of hymns in general in the hymnbook with which many Church members either do not know at all, or if they do know them, they are hardly ever used. My dad and I both served as choristers at separate times for Priesthood Opening Exercises, and when we had a pianist who could play some of the lesser-known hymns, we both took opportunities to use some of those lesser-known hymns. I also had the privilege of serving for a time as the chorister for the prayer meetings we had at the temple for much of the six-year period I worked there, where the focus was also at times on songs with a certain theme. As such, I took some opportunities to introduce lesser-known hymns (including those about the temple) to the Brethren in those meetings, and several people thanked me after the fact for having done so.

Perhaps experiences like mine are some of the reasons behind why the Church is requesting feedback and suggestions from members of the Church about the new unified hymnbook and children's songbook that will be published in the coming years. There are experiences that many people around the world have had which makes many of us feel a connection to certain hymns, and there are also many hymns in other languages which those who traditionally sing in English are missing out on. Just by way of reminder for all who have not done so, the Church has asked for all members to submit feedback on the revision of those two songbooks. That feedback will continue to be accepted (if memory serves) until the end of July of this year. For more information, I refer any interested to the web address below:

https://www.lds.org/music/new-music?lang=eng

L. Chris Jones said...

The African continent is a blessed place. There is amazing growth and retention seems high. I expect to see tremendous blessings for the many Nations there.

Paul said...

Just received notification that our stake (Augusta, Georgia, USA) will be split into the new Aiken, South Carolina stake on Feb 17th. The new Aiken Stake will be comprised of the Aiken, Coker Springs, North Augusta wards, the Barnwell Branch and three other wards from the Columbia, South Carolina Stake. The remaining Augusta Stake will have the Augusta, Evans, Harlem, Grovetown, Martinez, Stevens Creek and Waynesboro wards, along with the Swainsboro and Fort Gordon branches (all in Georgia). There also may be some fine tuning of existing ward boundaries in both stakes. Harah for Zion!

Paul said...

With the addition of the Aiken stake, can someone tell what the total number of stakes now exist in the church (needed for part of a church history seminary lesson).

Thanks!

Ray said...

Paul, that will make 3,387 stakes. There are also 538 published districts (along with a dozen more districts in sensitive nations). Also there are 30,569 wards and branches in the world, with 23,438 wards and 7131 branches (including approximately 100 branches in sensitive areas).

Paul said...

I marvel at you for keeping track so well. Thanks!

Ray said...

You're welcome. Total stakes and districts are very close to 4,000, and may very well reach that number this year.

Anon Aaron said...

30,569 units, averaging 200 active members per unit, that's around 6.1 million members attending each Sunday. That's about 38% activity rate. Do we have a confirmed activity rate from Salt Lake? I know that's slightly lower than rate in my ward in Utah.

James Anderson said...

Most units in the metro Salt Lake area report about a 45 to 50 percent activity rate, BYU-focused YSA stakes are much higher. My ward has about 500 people due to a concentration of members and due to a recently constructed large apartment complex.

More little hints that something may be coming on the temples front: The distribution site on lds.org on its main page replaced the four-image carousel with a single image focused on family history. And I got a report that at the Tucson temple, the endowment sessions are more full than they were late last year even.

Thomas Jay Kemp said...

Idea for my Utah friends having long waits to attend Temple sessions.
Consider a 'Temple' vacation - in Connecticut - or create your own mini-mission and stay longer.
Stay at one of the small Inns or hotels - some just blocks from the Hartford Temple in Farmington, Connecticut.
Spend a few weeks here - easily attend sessions every day - no waiting - and enjoy the area's history and sights.

Gather family from around the country and hold your family reunion here.
Memorable.

Jarom Gurr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnathan Whiting said...

Finally got to go to my first session this year at the Ogden Temple. Place was packed. 6:30 PM session filled up, and I had to wait until the 7 o'clock, which was also overfull. Great to see the extra attendance. Really looking forward to that Layton Temple being built. ;)

Pascal Friedmann said...

When I lived in Ogden, it was the same. Sometimes you would have to wait for two or even three sessions ahead of you before you got a turn, so quite often I just went and did initiatories since those were a bit less time-intensive.

During the day on weekdays is a different question, and if you have a work schedule that allows you going then sometimes, I would definitely recommend it. It's a day-and-night difference and the sessions are rarely half-full.

Ryan Searcy said...

Another May 4th Groundbreaking. That's 3 now.

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/groundbreaking-date-set-praia-cabo-verde-temple

Eric S. said...

Exciting news for Cape Verde! There have been instances of two temple groundbreakings being held the same day before, but I believe this is the first time in Church history that there will be three the same day.

Ryan Searcy said...

Interestingly, all 3 of those groundbreakings are on islands.

Christopher Nicholson said...

And all very small. And this one looks just like a wider version of the Puerto Rico temple even though they're both ostensibly based on local architecture.

Daniel said...

I suspect this’ll be a new standardized design, like the small six spire temples or the Hinkley era small temples. I think I like it, it reminds me perhaps of a smaller version of the Indianapolis Indiana Temple. I notice the rendering doesn’t have an Angel Moroni on it. I suppose that means either the Church is going to build them without the Angel Moroni initially (cost saving, but the temples have a nice promontory for future Moroni additions) or they’ll use a new Moroni design.

Johnathan Whiting said...

The new island temple designs appear to be influenced by Moorish/Moroccan style, which spread to Spain and Portugal and their colonies.

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Pascal Friedmann: That's a good thought. I should go earlier in the day.

James Anderson said...

We may see more of this general design in areas with five stakes or less generally although this pattern can be resized as needed for larger areas. Phnom Penh could see this general design used also.

Daniel said...

I just noticed that the renders for the new small temples, as well as the Port-au-Prince Haiti temple, don’t have an Angel Moroni statue. Pocatello’s render does. I guess we’re going to be seeing more temples without them.

Johnathan Whiting said...

I do hope they incorporate some traditional Cambodian influences into that temple though, as Cambodia has such a rich and distinctive architectural history with the Great Angkor temples.

TempleRick said...

We actually saw four groundbreakings held on the same day on March 20, 1999 for the Fresno California Temple, Fukuoka Japan Temple, Melbourne Australia Temple, and Tuxtla Gutierrez Temple. That same year, we saw three groundbreakings held on the same day on March 13 and May 29, 1999. That has been twenty years ago. It is nice to see it happen again!

Daniel said...

Likewise, I hope the Russian Temple, even if it uses this new design, has an onion dome instead of the simple spire for the same reason. In fact, the onion dome in Orthodox Christianity has some symbolism of Christ, without the doctrinally problematic aspects of the cross, so it would be a great addition to the temple to reinforce our Christianity in a country that seems to highly doubt it.

Deivisas said...

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/argentina-mission-training-center-to-close-in-july

Eric S. said...

Whoops, that is right. Thanks for the correction, TempleRick! For some reason, my memory was thinking two was the most. Guess I should always remember to double check before posting. :) I agree, it is exciting to see it again!

Daniel, I agree this may be a new design that we will see used for the smaller temples. I think we may see it with some that are already announced such as Cagayan de Oro or Davao Philippines and maybe Salta or Mendoza Argentina. I like the design as well. The domed design is also found in Spanish colonial architecture in San Juan.

TempleRick said...

It's no surprise that there were 27 temples announced the year before all those groundbreakings. Last year was an incredible year for temple announcements with 19 new temples, but 1998 still holds the record with 27. Wow!

https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/statistics/milestones/

Chris said...

Another sidenote about current Temples in Operation. After the Conception Chile Temple Dedication Ceremony on 10/28/2018, it only took about 45 days for them to update and add it to the Official Church Maps sites, after Emily helped me send email feedback to the church HQ in SLC.

Now the 161st Operating Temple "Barranquilla Colombia Temple" has been offically Dedicated and Operating for 60 days plus (since 12/07/2018), and still not located on either Church Maps Website.

I have sent several email feedback notes on both sites to add and update. But no answer yet. Maybe someone who still has access to the sites update can make that possible. Here are the addresses :

https://classic.lds.org/maps/#ll=10.935025,-74.779211&z=18&m=google.road&layers=temple,temple.construction,temple.renovated,stakecenter&q=Barranquilla%20Colombia%20Temple&x=find&find=temple:1795015

https://www.lds.org/temples/map?lang=eng

Thank you for any assistance.

I believe the reason it does not appear, is that some one on both sites entered the wrong street address for the Temple address to be marked...the Street name is not "Carratera" but instead "Carrera" as shown on Google Maps or Earth.

Thanks for any support again.

Thomas Jay Kemp said...

Church announces closure of missionary training center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, effective July 2019.

"This decision comes as Church leaders continue to seek the best use of resources worldwide according to the needs and demands of each area. Specifically, this closure is designed to better utilize the Mexico and Brazil MTCs, among others, to train the large numbers of missionaries who are assigned to serve in Latin America."

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/argentina-mission-training-center-to-close-in-july?fbclid=IwAR149gtpU24-sRAq5nkEUOnjtaWIrU2L8InjR7V8vcekAniOQvcsmS95LE8

Eric S. said...

The Church News has published an article that goes into more details about the closure of several of the MTCs recently. Focus seems to be going more towards the international centers with the largest capacity. Specifically noted in the article are the centers in Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, and Ghana.

"This year, international MTCs are expected to collectively train their highest percentage of missionaries when compared at the Provo MTC. “Each year it has gone up about 1 percent,” said Lane Steinagel, the Missionary Department’s director of international MTCs, noting that last year, 53 percent of new missionaries were trained outside of the United States, compared to the Provo MTC’s 47 percent.

“And this year, it’s going to be 1 or 2 percent higher again.

Steinagel underscored another benefit of fewer MTCs. “We’ll spend more resources and more time with these more established MTCs now,” he said, “and we may visit them more because they’re going to be getting more missionaries there.”"

https://www.thechurchnews.com/global/2019-02-08/heres-why-the-church-has-decided-to-close-4-international-mtcs-48962

Eduardo Clinch said...

When I lived in Provo down the hill from the temple I would attend earliest on Saturday mornings. When I lived in L.A. I would do a similar thing at the temple only twenty or so minutes away. If you can go once a week, fantastic. If once a month that is still really good.
Great to see the temples going to the people. Cabo Verde! So cool.

Pascal Friedmann said...

I think those are some good news - both on temple groundbreakings, and on the MTC closure. Really, thinking about it, one sizable MTC per continent is plenty until we get a large spike in missionaries serving (probably 90,000+).

On a different note, with Church growth indicators in Europe pointing up again (from all I've heard, this will probably be visible in the numbers as well), I wonder if more small temples might be built in Europe to cut into travel distances and allow for better saturation here, as well. Two candidates that I haven't really heard discussed much that I'd want to add:

Dublin, Ireland, and Malaga, Spain.

Dublin is mostly a Brexit-related pick. Ireland would probably still go just fine with Preston, but Brexit will probably make travel to Britain much more complicated and if nothing else, a lot longer. The temple district, in terms of congregations and membership, would probably be similar in size to that of Winnipeg. A plus is that the Dublin metro area actually has five wards and presumably a solid amount of leadership and active members to back them.

In Spain, Church growth has been pretty steady at 2-3.5% per year over the last decade, and it's adding up. Portugal and Cape Verde are obviously getting their own temples, but I could see a small temple covering these five stakes: Sevilla, Cadiz, Granada, Cartagena, and Elche (although that one could go either way). Right now - and I believe we'll see some congregations added - there would be 32 wards and 11 branches in that district. Active membership may be between 3000 and 4000 and could be above 5000 by 2025 at current growth rates. The temple would be mostly about reducing travel times, but I also believe that the membership it serves would be comparable to those (or even larger than) that of most temples in mainland Europe.

In a wave of announcements (say, 30 temples this year), I could see both happen.

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Daniel

I agree. It would be nice if they incorporated some elements of the traditional Russian Cathedral style or the Byzantine style. I appreciate you pointing out the onion dome''s symbolism to Christ, which I hadn't realized before. Found some additional info on it:

"A peculiar feature of Russian Orthodox Church is the onion- or helmet-shaped domes. ... The golden color is the symbol of celestial glory, that is why golden domes crowned main cathedrals consecrated to Jesus Christ and Twelve Great Feasts. Blue domes with golden stars are characteristic of Mother of God churches."

https://bridgetomoscow.com/curious-fact-shape-and-color-of-russian-domes

Johnathan Whiting said...

One more note about temples in Russia:

A buddy of mine who served in St. Petersburg back in the late nineties told me about a member lady who came to the U.S. to visit one of our more famous temples (probably Salt Lake).

The problem was, back in Russia the cathedrals and regular churches are also referred to as "temples" in the Russian language. So, the lady didn't quite understand the concept of needing a temple recommend, and was turned away at the door without one. She became offended and when she returned back to Russia, became inactive or left the church over it.

I was wondering if anyone else had heard of something similar happening to other Russian or Ukrainian members.

Ever since President Nelson announced the Russia temple, I've wondered if this translation issue might be a real problem and how difficult it will be for local leaders to instill in the members the difference between a regular ole' church building and a "temple" that requires a worthiness recommend.

James said...

Pascal, I have thought and said before that 19 temples last year may have been President Nelson's way of starting slowly to implement the plans he has. Given that three of the temples he announced last October will have their groundbreaking within less than a month after the April General Conference, it could very well be that one of President Nelson's general session addresses (Saturday Morning, Sunday Morning, or Sunday Afternoon) will be devoted to describing what the end game is, so we have something official to go on. I have ventured a theory that the number of temples announced in April and October this year could be at least double the 19 we saw announced last year. If that occurs, then I would anticipate at least a dozen new additional temples would be announced at whatever time President Nelson outlines those plans.

As I mentioned earlier, everything I have seen so far indicates a huge increase coming down the line for the number of temples, and many of them may be of this new design we have seen for San Juan, Yigo, and now Praia. Someone in an earlier comment mentioned that the design on Pocatello features an angel Moroni while the three which will have a groundbreaking on May 4 will not. Someone observed in an earlier thread (and I fully believe it) that the Church would not want to send a bad message by placing an expensively ornate gold statue on top of a temple built in an economically and financially poorer nation/territory/island.

James said...

And the reality is that this new design, which may be standard, can get expedited approval, and a construction process would only take around 2 years at longest. That could be a very easy way to get dozens of new temples built very quickly. That said, not all of the Nelson-era temples will be of that size. From what I've heard from a few of my sources, there are several of the currently announced temples that could be either medium- or larger-sized. Time will tell which of them are smaller. But I would anticipate that many of the temples announced from October 2018 onward will be smaller ones more easily approved and quickly constructed.

As far as your suggestion of Dublin Ireland, if a temple is built in Edinburgh Scotland (which I have seen mentioned a few places aside from on my personal list), the Saints in Dublin would be 290 miles away from it. As I understand it, there may be political and governmental obstacles to a Dublin temple. You also referenced Brexit in your comments. If Great Britain does leave the EU, that may complicate things. But the Church's delineated definition of temple districts spans all kinds of borders, so unless something happened to cut off the Dublin Saints from getting to an Edinburgh Temple (which, despite the difficulties I mentioned, doesn't seem to factor into this) then I could see Edinburgh in the immediate future, and perhaps Dublin in the longer term.

Spain may get a second temple someday and I could see it being built in Malaga. I have one or two friends familiar with that region of Spain, and they speak highly of the members' faithfulness. That said, I know that for me personally, I had to weigh what i don't know about the extent of President Nelson's plans against what I do know about the viable candidates I have found that may get a temple in the near future. I have a feeling that whenever President Nelson does personally outline the extent of whatever's ahead, that may give us some idea of how far to expand our personal nets in terms of such prospects. I know that on my current list for next April (if I have counted correctly), I have 41 prospective international locations, along with 32 others for North America. The total 73 is the largest such list I have ever compiled.

I know it was mentioned earlier as well that the consolidations to the Church's online donation slip may have been part of the preliminary setup of whatever is coming down the pike for the temple program of the Church, which then continued to unfold with the announcement of 12 temples last October, 25% of which have now had a groundbreaking scheduled. But the reality is, when we have a better idea of the extent of the plans and the timing within which they will be coming to fruition (the only thing we know definitively is that the Church is more than well on track to have a minimum of 200 temples operating before the bicentennial of the Church on Saturday April 6, 2030. That much has been confirmed by the Church News. I have a feeling certain things needed to fall into place before President Nelson was comfortable detailing his plans, and some of that could be the recent or planned closures of many of the smaller MTCs to better utilize the capacity of the larger MTCs. So that is one big reason I am looking forward more fully to General Conference than ever before (which is saying something for me). Hope these insights, for what they are worth, are helpful to the ongoing conversation, and I apologize they were so long-winded.

James said...

Jonathan Whiting, the Church seems to be sensitive to cultural issues like that. Perhaps using the Russian terms for "holy house" or "sacred space" might help differentiate in cases like that. I also know that the Church has at times drawn inspiration for a temple design (or even a temple name) from local landmarks or customs. Perhaps the very name used for the Russian Temple might point to the idea that it is distinctly different from the traditional Russian understanding of the concept of "temples" as you described it.

I mentioned on my blog earlier that President Nelson's apostolic assignment prior to becoming Church President was to supervise Eastern Europe, which I believe he had continued to do since the prophetic administration of President Ezra Taft Benson. In that oversight, he apparently formed several solid connections with Russian diplomats and others in governmental positions. I believe that one reason the Lord waited to prompt His prophets to announce a temple in Russia until last year was because He had laid the groundwork for President Nelson, as one familiar with Russia, to use his Russian connections to help get that temple built more quickly than it would have otherwise been. And I also can't help feeling that Elder Uchtdorf, who has taken over oversight for the entire European continent from Presidents Nelson and Ballard was because he too, as a native European, would be able to help the Church figure out how best to get the Russian temple built. Of course, these are just my own observations, for what they may be worth.

Tyler Alley said...

This is purely speculative, but I thought I heard a rumor once (so not sure how true it is): the downside of the some of the small temples is that almost as soon as they were built or soon afterwards, they were outgrown (by the needs of the members in the temple district). I'm confident such considerations are made when building the temples and determining their size, design, capacity, and future growth, and I'm confident these and other small temples will be great blessing to those saints who are far from a temple.

On a side note, I think New Delhi or somewhere in Pakistan could be a candidate area for a temple (whether now or in the near future), especially if the church continues to grow in India/ Pakistan and Pakistan were to grant the church official recognition. From what we know Pakistan already has 4,000 members (with a handful of districts) and there is a stake in New Delhi.

Chris said...

TempleRick has noticed that we have the 4th new Stake for 2019. The Mwene-Ditu Democratic Republic of the Congo District was posted today as Stake (upgraded).

https://classic.lds.org/maps/#ll=-7.001111,23.442697&z=18&m=google.road&layers=stakecenter&find=stake:2028689

Thank you!

Matt said...

A whopping four new branches were organized when the Gboko Nigeria District was created. Of these four branches, three are Tiv-speaking. These are the first official Tiv-speaking branches in the entire Church. Enjoy! https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?msa=0&ll=8.172337543358664%2C7.789306999999894&spn=3.723979%2C5.817261&mid=1k4lYiG5OyporROUcSwCgzqKn_lM&z=7

BTW, all seven branches in Mwene-Ditu became wards in the new stake per reports from local leaders I received.

Matt said...

Here's a list of the branches in the Gboko Nigeria District:

Ahungwa Branch - Tiv
Akaajime Branch - English (original Gboko Branch that was renamed)
Mbagba Branch - Tiv
Mkar Branch - English
Uwua Branch - Tiv

John Pack Lambert said...

What Church materials are available in Tiv?

James Anderson said...

Probably meant Twi, many basic materials, Gospel Fundamentals, the Joseph Smith Testimony, a small number of hymns, etc.

Eduardo Clinch said...

No, Tiv is a Bantoid language spoken by more than 4 million people in multiple states of Nigeria and parts of Cameroon. Twi is a Ghanaian language spoken quite a few ethnic groups away, separated by the rest of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo.
I am not sure if Tiv is considered related to Igbo, which I think comes closest to it, more than Yoruba or Hausa, if I am not wrong. Some language maps with stakes demarcated would be sweet. James?

James said...

Not sure if the last part of Eduardo's comment was directed to me or James Anderson. I will therefore give my personal answer here. I have no expertise with map reading, creating, or editing. My personal navigation skills leave much to be desired (as I like to joke that I earned my orienteering merit badge with the Boy Scouts entirely on accident, and it was not the usual sort of accident either). That said, I do well with things like checking printed or saved data for accuracy and correctness, and if I don't know the answer to some questions, I usually know or can figure out where to look for such answers. Those are the skills that led to my editing Wikipedia, and to having extensive files dealing with data (mostly facts and figures) related to Church subjects. I'd therefore personally be at a loss in terms of how to map out what has been discussed here. Facts and figures are my comfort zone. Otherwise, I am out of my depth.

But it is awesome that so many new resources are available for curious minds seeking information about the Church. in that respect, I was grateful to read earlier today the op-ed piece President Nelson wrote at the request of the Arizona Republic in preparation for the visit of the Nelsons and President and Sister Oaks to Arizona earlier today. It's wonderful to see President Nelson and his Brethren and their wives so committed to a ministry that truly has a worldwide scope and aim.

Johnathan Whiting said...

So, for those interested, I got my question answered by another buddy of mine who served in Russia.

Me: "Hey, did you ever have trouble explaining "khram" to Russian members? Like, the difference between a regular church building and one of our temples?"

Russian-Speaking RM: "Not really, though the word is the same. Khram to Russians would be what we think of a cathedral, but when Russian members of the church say, "khram," it's THE temple."

Me: "So, do they use a different word for regular meeting houses from cathedrals?"

RSRM: "So, we didn't have free-standing chapels in my mission while i was there. The word we used was "pomesheniye," meaning "property." Since it wasn't a chapel, it was just our building, our property, so that's how we referred to our "meeting houses." It was just understood that "khram" for members meant "temple." It's too bad the distinction wasn't explained for the woman your mentioned."

Me: "Do you think that new members might have a similar problem distinguishing the difference when the Russian temple is built?"

RSRM: "No, because there is the word for "church," Церковь (tserkov) which is probably what will be used to refer to all buildings, like chapels that we have all over the states. It may be confusing for non-members who see our new temple that is as large as their cathedrals, but they’re not able to go inside and tour it. Orthodox cathedral‘s are open to anyone and people go in and out of them all week. They usually just light a candle that a vendor sells and go on about their day, so our property will be different. The church has good members in Russia and good PR in general. I’m sure there will be a not-your-usual “Khram” pamphlet sent out to visitors during the building/dedication."


So, there you go. Crisis averted, comrades.

L. Chris Jones said...

Would a cathedral be similar to a Tabernacle?

Johnathan Whiting said...

@L. Chris Jones

Probably.

Johnathan Whiting said...

It sounds like, from my friend's description of Orthodox Cathedrals, that they have a similar function.