Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Martinique

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Martinique. Martinique is an overseas department of France and has one of the lowest percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population in the Western Hemisphere. As of year-end 2017, one in 1,676 was a Latter-day Saint. The Church operates only one official branch on the island even though the population is close to 400,000 people. Prospects for future growth appear bleak given the success of other proselytism-focused groups with disciplining most of the receptive population into their denominations, and the influence of Western secularism on society. Here is the Future Prospects section of the article:

Emigration of converts to metropolitan France, limited missionary resources dedicated to Martinique, struggles to establish a second branch, and the tiny church membership are the primary obstacles preventing greater church growth for Latter-day Saints. The establishment of the Church on Martinique occurred many years after other missionary-oriented Christians arrived, and these denominations had already developed a strong community base and shepherded much of the receptive population into their congregations. Dissuading members from emigrating, increasing the number of active members in established congregations, and augmenting the number of local members serving full-time missions will be required to achieve greater church growth in the coming years. Towns between Fort de France and Trinité present some of the greatest opportunities to form member groups and explore prospects for the expansion of missionary activity.


Jamie said...

A little off topic, but I recently saw that the Church announced the translation of the Triple Combination in Guarani. It’s the third new language translation of the Triple announced since October (Kazakh and Macedonian).

Eric S. said...

A one week open house has been scheduled for both the Memphis and Oklahoma City temples in April. Rededication dates remain the same in May.


Pascal Friedmann said...

Fantastic news about the open houses! It really didn't make a lot of sense to not have any, given the positive impact and reception that usually comes with them from the surrounding communities.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Hear, hear!

Pascal Friedmann said...

Also not directly related to the topic, but it looks like another branch was just organized in Tanzania. Apparently there is indeed a little bit of organized Church planting going on, as I hardly believe that active membership is warranting existing branches be split.

Chris said...

Also organized a Africa Southeast Area Sudan Branch.

James said...

Another great country profile, Matt! Thanks for all you and David Stewart do to keep us informed on the latest Church growth developments. The Church is making strides, some small and steady, some significant, in a variety of ways, and it is good to see all of that unfold. It makes sense that 6- or 7-day open houses would be scheduled for Memphis and OKC due to the widespread interest in the communities served by those temples. Hopefully that kind of arrangement will be made for the Raleigh and Baton Rouge temples, whenever they are ready to be dedicated.

In other temple news, I heard (indirectly) that South Africa is experiencing blackouts and a fair degree of political turmoil. While I hope neither factor will delay the completion of the Durban temple, for the moment, I have put the Lisbon Portugal Temple ahead of Durban on my personal lists, since Lisbon is, by all accounts, ahead of schedule. And someone familiar with the Arequipa Peru Temple's construction process has spotted the cornerstone with "Erected 2019" on it, so at least that temple is anticipated to be dedicated before the end of this year.

It also appears that there may be more preliminary work that needs to be done in advance of the 3 temple groundbreakings scheduled to occur on May 4 than I realized. But there is nothing so constant as change. While I hope no one is offended or bothered by my doing so, I wanted to mention here that I have done a couple new posts on my blog within the last couple of days. One shares my updated estimates for known temple events in the near future, while the other was to present the list of locations which I have felt are most likely to have a temple announced in the near future.

With my thanks to Matt for continuing to allow me to do so, I would like to share the address of my blog again for any who would like to look over and/or comment on those posts. That follows below. My thanks again to all of you for everything you continue to do to help mold my view of Church growth matters.


Eduardo said...

Martinique and Guadeloupe both have a lot of people. Like a million combined?

Cory said...

I believe the Sudan administrative Branch was discontinued, not organized.

Something that recently slipped through media without little attention was from President Nelson's interview with local media in Arizona. He said something interesting.

"Through the world, we can see the time will come when we can't build ward meetinghouses, chapels, like we are used to. Our homes are going to have to be more powerful in strengthening the spiritual lives of our people."

I know that it was joked about on the internet that 2 hour church was preparing us for when we couldn't meet as congregations anymore. This statement shows that meetinghouse construction was certainly a factor in the changing to the 2 hour schedule.

Here is the link to that video:

James Anderson said...

They dropped another one tonight at the Family History Leadership Training meeting, you can see that on lds.org/familyhistory.

The three main points were a family history plan for the ward made up by each ward, and an associated coordinating meeting both formal face to face and informally through texts, etc.

They heavily promoted the Family Tree app. Elder Stevenson used it live.

On temples there was a call to have missionaries that live close to a temple prior to going into the MTC serve, even if only for a few weeks, as an ordinance worker.

And something that in some areas with higher growth or younger-skewing congregations, preparing them for the temple. Half a million come of age to receive the endowment each year, what does that do with our ideas on where new temples might be announced for?

James said...

James Anderson, I was intrigued by what you described, so I am busy watching the video archive of that broadcast, which I was not able to catch live. I have a question to which you might have a better answer than I have been able to find online. I will get to the question in just a minute here, but I have a brief preamble to set the background for my question. In late June 2018, the Church's News subpage (not the Newsroom) had the following home page for the 2018 Seminar for New Mission Leadership:


The part of that article relevant to my question for you is the part where the members of the Missionary Executive Council are identified by name and position in the Church. The Church has a similar list of those who currently serve on the Board of Education:


Getting to my question, I have long had an interest in looking for information that would indicate some of the more specific assignments for the leading Brethren and sisters in the Church. So my question is this: Do you know if the Church has ever provided a full list of the membership for the Temple and Family History Executive Council? I ask because, if memory serves, last year, only Elders Quentin L. Cook and Dale G. Renlund were identified by name as members of that Executive Council. With Elder Cook now heading up the Priesthood and Family Executive Council, it appears that Elder David A. Bednar has taken the assignment to oversee the Temple and Family History Executive Council.

I was surprised when I initially learned that Elder Stevenson would be speaking at this session, along with Elders Bednar and Renlund, and surprised again when I saw at the beginning of the broadcast that there were so many members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in attendance, so I wondered whether a list of the members of that council exists anywhere and how to find it if it does. Any insight you have on this would be appreciated.

As to your question about what effect the announcements from this session this year might have on the number of temples announced, given what I have heard and verified from a variety of sources, I recently completed the massive process of expanding my list of potential locations which are most likely to have a temple announced in around a month in the April General Conference. Doing so involved my featuring some locations on that list for the first time, which now seem far more imminent than they did before we heard so much about the extent of President Nelson's plans. On my current list, I count 45 foreign prospects and 32 more for North America, for a total of 77. I think that at least 15 or 16 of those will be announced in April.

The number of new temples announced might ultimately depend on whether or not President Nelson chooses to detail the extent of his plans and the timing within which they might occur. But given that apparently all the preliminary work has been done to lay the foundation for those plans, I am cautiously optimistic that should occur at some point during the upcoming General Conference, perhaps during the Sunday Morning Session, which has generally presented a Church President the most time during any General Conference weekend to address the Church on anything of importance.

As to the specific locations, I have outlined my thoughts on the most likely of those on my own blog, which speak for themselves. Thanks for wading through this lengthy comment on my part.

James said...

James Anderson, I wanted to provide a better answer to your question, so I am sharing here my list of "top picks" for a temple for April 2019. For Africa, I am favoring Freetown Sierra Leone and Antananarivo Madagascar. My top Asia picks are Ulaanbaatar Mongolia (which should, if I am correct, be the next Asian location to get a temple) and Jakarta Indonesia. For Brazil, my top picks are Belo Horizonte and Florianopolis. As for Europe, Budapest Hungary and Edinburgh Scotland make my top two. With the Pacific, my picks would be Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, Tarawa Kiribati, and Pago Pago American Samoa. In the Philippines, Bacolod and Tacloban are my top (and only) picks.

In South America, I'd prioritze Santa Cruz Bolivia and Iquitos Peru, in addition to a third temple for Chile and a fifth for Argentina. The picks I'd favor in North America would be Bentonville Arkansas, Missoula Montana, Victoria British Columbia, Cleveland Ohio, Jacksonville Florida, Fort Worth Texas, Las Cruces New Mexico, Elko or Ely Nevada, Flagstaff Arizona, Herriman Utah, and Evanston Wyoming.

I hope this additional comment is helpful to all who read it.

Eduardo said...

Pittsburgh more than Cleveland needs a temple, in my opinion. But I would welcome a new temple in both, for sure.
I would like temples in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Vermont, abd Maine.

James Anderson said...

I do not think I have ever seen a full list of those members of the Twelve on any specific committee, but usually I hear that at least two or three are. I also believe that because there are just twelve along with the First Presidency, that a few if not all sit on more than one committee, usually that is at least two but if more I do not know. Watch for clues in news articles.

James said...

Thank you, James Anderson. Sorry I didn't see your response before now. I was aware of the Brethren having more than one committee or council assignment. I know that the Church (through the Doctrine and Covenants) has specified the membership of the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes, which includes all currently-ordained apostles and the Presiding Bishopric. Additionally, two of the articles I shared in my last comment contain complete lists of those serving on the Missionary Executive Council and the Church Board of Education, so I just wondered about that.

I also know that Elder Cook heads up the Priesthood and Family Executive Council, and serves as a member of the Church Board of Education. And Elders Bednar and Renlund serve together on the Board of Education, and now apparently on the Temple and Family History Executive Council. I had hoped when I found the full lists I mentioned (CES Board and Missionary Executive Council) that full lists of other assignments would be forthcoming, but that has not proven to be the case. You seem to be in-the-know about Family History matters, so I thought I'd ask.

Interestingly enough, aside from times when Elder Holland is traveling outside of Church headquarters, and from his assignment on the Council of the Disposition of the Tithes and as the senior member of both the Church Board of Education and the Executive Committee of the Boards, it appears that the Church has relieved Elder Holland of all other assignments. I say that because, for a while, he had oversight for the Middle East/Africa North Area, but Elder Bednar has that assignment now, and I have not seen anything to indicate that Elder Holland has oversight for any other Church areas.

I am hoping it will be another long while yet before we see another apostle pass away, but if President Ballard does pass away and Presidents Nelson and Oaks are both still living and serving in their present capacities at that time, oversight for the Quorum would then fall to Elder Holland as the new Acting President thereof.

Sorry. I meandered a little more than I meant to. I will keep my eyes open for any word on who might be serving on the Temple and Family History Executive Council. What we do know is that Elder Bednar heads up that council, and Sister Joy D. Jones is a member thereof. If I am correct that Elder Renlund continues to be a member, that's at least 3 that we know of. And many (if not all) of the leaders in attendance at that broadcast last night likely have some role on that council as well. But any reports in the Church News or via the official Church website will likely be helpful in that regard. Thanks, James Anderson, for addressing my question.

James said...

Eduardo, I think the Church will take a dual approach of "filling in the gaps" for states where no temples are currently operating on the one hand, and on the other, will focus on second, third, or fourth temples for any states that have seen the most significant Church growth. The "Mormon corridor" is likely to continue to get a temple or two within the next several sets of temple announcements. But either way, I still feel confident enough to assume (based on all I have heard and found in my own research) that 19 temples being announced last year was President Nelson getting a "slow start", and that, now that more of the necessary preliminary processes are completed, at least a dozen temples (but certainly more) could, and likely will be, announced.

The United States is a little harder to gauge than international prospects, primarily because of the many reports Matt has shared on this blog which indicate that the growth of the Church through most of the US is still in a state of stagnation, even if that is beginning to reverse itself. That is why I have slightly more international picks on my list this go-round than I have North American picks.

My current problem is that I don't know if my list should be as comprehensive as it is at present. Until we know for sure if, when, and how soon President Nelson might personally detail his plans to expand the number of temples, 77 candidate cities may well be too heavy a list for this next General Conference. If President Nelson does detail his plans, he may announce a couple dozen or so (with specific cities noted for most, if not all of them). I wish I had a better sense of what to prioritize and what might be more of a long shot. But that's one reason why I post such lists online for comment. More often than not, someone brings up something I had not considered or may have been mistaken about, and I love it when that happens. Just some additional musings from me, for what they may be worth.

James Anderson said...

There are two other committees that have at least three members of the Twelve, the Boundaries and Leadership Committee, which has oversight over organization of units, and the Scriptures Publication Committee, which oversees the publications of the scriptures overall.

Those two are not regularly in news items so we may not know always who those members are at any given time.

James said...

Thank you, James Anderson, for that additional insight. I know there are a variety of committees and councils at Church headquarters, and that each of them have various parameters and provisions in terms of how many leaders are involved in each. I was somewhat aware of the two committees you mentioned. If memory serves me correctly, when our two newest apostles spoke to the media last July (or was it August?), Elders Gong and Soares identified and detailed their committee assignments. Elder Gong mentioned his role with the Scriptures Committee, so your reference to the Scripture Publication Committee did not surprise me. And the biographies of several General Authority Seventies specify they are part of the Boundary and Leadership Change Committee, so that didn't surprise me either.

I wish the Church was more inclined to give full lists of committee assignments, which would be helpful to those like me who are curious about such things. If memory serves, I think I remember hearing somewhere that one council or committee in particular includes the three most senior members of the Twelve (which would currently be President Ballard and Elders Holland and Uchtdorf), but I can't remember which committee that would be.

I find any nugget about such information to be absolutely intriguing. Thanks again, James Anderson!

James Anderson said...

More changes, this time mostly regarding temple worker callings and who may serve as temple workers (expanded). Also the last one has to do with the fact that the Ordinances Ready feature has a screen you can show at the recorder's office so they can print your cards.

Was alerted to this by LDS Living.


(Note: You may see a login screen, if so, log in. If it says 'Not Available', close the tab then reopen the link, it should display on that second try.)

James said...

That is game-changing, to be sure. I recall that (according to one of the temple presidents under whose direction I served as a Veil Worker) I was the last young man who was recommended for temple service without first having served as a full-time missionary. Of course, my service in the temple ended some 5 years or so before the recently-announced policy change recommending that, where possible, full-time missionary candidates should consider serving for a time as temple workers. Of course, the fact that changes continue is not surprising either. It used to be that veil worker callings began as a 6-month assignment, with the option to extend as circumstances and time allowed. Clearly, the Church is reshaping such practices, and it is good to see those continuing to evolve. Thanks for sharing this, James Anderson. And for any wondering, I was able to access this information on the first try without logging in, so that might not be needed.

One idea I had never gotten behind is the opinion some have offered that there is no such thing as modern revelation. We have almost daily proof in terms of the administration of the work of the Church that not only is modern revelation still very much active, but that the Lord is more clearly aware of the needs and righteous desires of Church members worldwide and is prompting the apostles to make changes according. It is wonderful to see that continuing to occur on a regular basis.

President Nelson clearly wasn't understating things when he said that each year will be more exciting for the Church than the one before. And the most recent changes may be further evidence of plans to massively expand the number of temples. I also really appreciate the fact that the Brethren are allowing local and familial flexibility in the decisions which have been announced within the last 14 months. If that period of time is any indication whatsoever, we'd all be wise to be prepared for the next changes, whatever they might be.

James said...

James Anderson, I also wanted to let you know that I have started to watch the leadership broadcast, because I was curious about what else I could glean from it, but I haven't gotten very far. That said, I did get through the first part of Elder Renlund's remarks, and he referenced that he and Elder Stevenson serve on the Temple and Family History Executive Council under the direction of Elder Bednar. And since we know that Joy D. Jones is on that council as well, I would imagine that Elder Larry Y. Wilson and and Elder Bradley D. Foster serve thereon too, since the former is the Executive Director of the Temple Department, while the latter serves as Executive Director of the Family History Department. And since Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy was recognized by name as being in attendance, he's likely a member of that council as well.

That said, I still hold out hope that the Church might release a full list of names of the members of that Council, as they have for the Missionary Executive Council, Council on the Disposition of the Tithes, and the Church Board of Education and Boards of Trustees. Maybe other RootsTech news summaries will shed some light on that as well. Either way, it sounds like the Church has hosted another great RootsTech so far, and there might be more to come.