Sunday, August 25, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Nepal

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Nepal. The Church in Nepal appears to have approximately 200 members on Church records, but only about 50 appear to regularly attend church services. Despite a low member activity rate, the Kathmandu Branch, the only branch in the entire country of 30 million people, has had more than 30 members serve full-time missions since the branch was organized in 2001 as of 2017. However, the vast majority of these returned missionaries have immigrated to India. A sacrament meeting service held twice a month began to occur in Itahari in mid-2019. There are additional cities with isolated members albeit there do not appear to be any official member groups. Government restrictions on religious freedom and the consistent emigration of active returned missionaries are the greatest barriers for growth. See below for the Future Prospects section of this article.

As local members share their faith with family and friends and missionaries return home and stay in Nepal, greater growth will occur. A second branch in Kathmandu may be organized to reduce travel time for members or from a lack of space in the current renovated meetinghouse. However, recent reports on the number of active members in Kathmandu suggest no imminent plans or prospects for more units to be created given leadership shortages. Additional groups or small branches may be organized in larger cities as returned missionaries move to these locations, share their beliefs with those around them, and have adequate leadership experience to operate congregations. Greater outreach with humanitarian missionaries will likely not occur until greater religious freedom is granted. Translations of additional Latter-day Saint scriptures into Nepali are needed, as well as Gospel study and scriptures translated into additional languages spoken by more than one million people. Literacy programs also present good opportunities for passive missionary service.

34 comments:

Eric S. said...

Saw a social media post that a new stake was created in Texas today, north Dallas area. Not sure the exact name, but it is in Little Elm, near Frisco.

Luciano said...

Fortaleza Lisboa Brazil Stake created.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Insightful video into the growth of the Church in India, and the nuances of incorporating Indian culture with the gospel culture:

https://youtu.be/moOrBFa61KM

Christopher Nicholson said...

I'm dying to know how the Community of Christ ended up with more members in India than our church.

David Todd said...

Information on the new Little Elm Stake here:

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216699524033712&id=1629662224&set=a.1322425873941

The Dallas Temple district has been averaging about a new stake per year for the past 10 years. That's pretty significant.

Eduardo said...

I didn't know the Community of Christ, former Reorganized Church, had more members in India than the Church of Jesus Christ. My guess is that their international approach was more assertive in South Asia and had more sustainment. How many members and congregations are there there?

Chris said...
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Chris said...
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James said...

Chris, interesting news about the Indonesian capital city. But given the note in the article that "the relocation could take around 10 years", I have a hard time believing there will be any kind of immediate impact as far as the Church or the growth thereof in Indonesia is concerned.

I agree that the Dallas Texas Temple District, as currently established, having had 1 new stake each year for the last decade is significant as well. Interesting indeed. I am even more convinced than ever in light of that that a second temple may be needed to serve the current Dallas district. In fact, I have two candidate cities on my current list that could do that very effectively: Fort Worth Texas and Shreveport Louisiana.

I have to admit that I will be most intrigued to find out what the latest Church growth developments might mean for temple annouoncements that may be coming in October. I have heard that part of President Nelson's tour may be to scout for temple locations in Guatemala, Argentina, and Brazil. Particularly, the Saints in Bahia Blanca have reportedly been lobbying Church HQ for a temple of their own. So there are these things to consider as well.

Ray said...

Eduardo, the Community of Christ doesn't publish congregations outside the US, but several years ago the information was available, and India had between 50 and 60 units. They are also well established in Haiti and French Polynesia. Foreign membership is about 100,000, and US membership about 150,000. Published information in The Association of Religion Data (thearda.com) shows US membership of 98,000 in 2000 and 123,000 in 2010. Congregations have declined from 892 in 2000 to 792 in 2010. New information will be available in 2020, as thearda.com has published this information every 10 years beginning in 1980, and it is a great resource for tracking membership and ward/branch totals of the Church by state, county, and metropolitan areas since 1980.

Unknown said...

Wow. Not to be a stick in the mud, but for being the last days, the Church is still growing slow...:/

Eduardo said...

The sociologist ¿Rodney Stark from I think (Rodney Stark may be right) from Washington state did a study on Ch. of Jesus Christ growth in the 1990s, showing that the Restoration was growing at double the pace of Christ's primitive church. It had achieved, or would achieve, in 200 years the growth of Christianity's 400 years of growth.
I believe God is pleased with righteousness, in general, so other churches are part of the final days and all things restored.
The rate of temple growth alone is amazing to me. The Western Hemisphere is solid, Africa is miraculous in many parts, Europe is smaller but steady, Asia is moving forward, Oceania is pretty fantastic.
Consider it slow, but 200 temples represent a lot of people. That many temples in 1980 seems like a thousand to me today.
I would say things are on pace, but only God can judge.
As stated before, all of us could improve in full time missionaries served and personal day to day ministering and service.

Christopher Nicholson said...

The presentation linked by Johnathan Whiting reports that last year, the Community of Christ had about 15,000 members in India compared to our church's 13,570, a very significant difference considering how our church dwarfs theirs overall. But she doesn't explain it, she says, "There they have just grown in very interesting ways. You’ll have to read the book."

If we could somehow absorb their Indian membership, ours would more than double ;)

David Todd said...

There are parts of the US with more CoC members than us as well, surprisingly.

Eric S. said...

Interior and exterior renderings of the Richmond Virginia Temple have just been released! There was an open house this evening where details and designs were presented.

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/richmond-virginia-temple-renderings-released

Eduardo said...

That makes sense in a few communities in the Midwest.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Hope we get a Layton rendering soon, too!

Johnathan Whiting said...

Got some inside info on Heber Valley Temple prospects from last Saturday.

Ran into a temple worker in the Ogden Temple who was a former member of a Stake Presidency in the Heber City area. He said that back in 2005 (at the tail end of the early 2000's temple boom) Church HQ had them do research into the viability of a temple there.

He said they checked for Active Full-Tithe-Paying Melchizedek Priesthood Holders, as well as active members in the area. They also had to check for how it would affect temple attendees from neighboring/nearby cities and counties (Morgan, specifically), as well as as far away as the Vernal Temple District and Evanston Wyoming.

So, whether or not Heber will be one of the next temples announced, at least we have some additional confirmation that the Church has considered that area in the past.

James Anderson said...

The other stat they widely look at for temples is sacrament meeting attendance, and the above regarding tithing was also true. They said this same thing about to leaders in Tucson. The last item, the effect on other temple districts wa less of n issue as the nearest one was to be in Gilbert (then unfinished) at the time of the announcement of Tucson.

Tucson has since been moderately to rather busy since it opened two years ago.

Chris said...

As was posted here on Monday,

Fortaleza Brazil Lisboa Stake organized.

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=-3.792293,-38.631732&z=15&m=google.road&layers=stakecenter&find=stake:2145928

James said...

Hello again, everyone! Within the last 48 hours or less, I have provided two breaking news updates on my blog, both related to temples. One covered the release of the artist's renderings for the Richmond Virginia Temple. And according to information on the Church of Jesus Christ Temples website, the groundbreaking for that temple may not actually occur for another year, during mid-to-late 2020. I hope that report is mistaken, but it is possible. I don't yet know what that means for other prospective temple groundbreakings which may happen during the next year or so, but I am working on further analysis of that very subject.

The other post covers the news that Elder David A. Bednar will apparently be presiding over this weekend's youth devotional for and dedication of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, along with the news that Elder Neil L. Andersen will be presiding over the youth devotional for and dedication of the Lisbon Portugal Temple in roughly two weeks. So it would appear that President Nelson, having presided over the 3-day dedication of the Rome italy Temple in March of this year, is taking the opportunity to spread assignments to dedicate or rededicate temples this year among as many of the other apostles as possible.

With the earlier announcement that the Raleigh North Carolina Temple will be privately rededicated by President Ballard the Sunday after the October General Conference, I am more convinced than ever before that Elder Uchtdorf will oversee the rededication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple the following Sunday. And if I am correct that temple rededications will continue to be done by the more senior apostles of the Church for the time being, then I could see either President Oaks or Elder Christofferson presiding over the private rededication of the Auncion Paraguay Temple, since Elder Cook will be presiding at the one-session private rededication for the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple. I don't yet know what that might mean for the December dedication of the Arequipa Peru Temple, but time will tell in that respect.

With all of that said, anyone interested in my take on these developments can find my analysis thereof on my blog, to which I include the address below:

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Once again, my thanks to Matt for continuing to allow me to share such information here, and to all of you for contributing to my understanding of the various topics which are discussed in the posts and threads of this blog.

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding is the The Reorganized Church included a section in their Doctrine and Covenants allowing polygamy in some cultural situations specifically to facilitate outreach in India. They may also have been helped by sending missionaries longer term. The 7th Day Adventists have a huge presence in India. I think we will see significant growth in India before 2030 though, and have seen a lot in the last decade, moving from 0 to 4 stakes. India now has more stakes than Russia, although to be fair it has way more people.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the other hand the difference between 13,000 plus and 15,000 is not significant really. It means that at present The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ have almost the same number of members in India. It may in part be that President Hinckley held back on bapttizing Paul Thiavadros, but he was later baptized by Spencer W. Kimball. Either Tamil or Telugu had the Book of Mormon translated to it by a Baptist missionary whose daughter joined the Church in Samoa. He died before she and her husband returned to India as missionaries and baptized many of their family members.

If you have not read the "Global Histories" section under Church History on the Gospel Library app I would reccomend it, especially for India.

John Pack Lambert said...

To understand the Community of Christ you have to realize it functions as essentially a "mainline" Church, or at least has done so since at least the 1960s, and in many ways starting with the leadership of Frederick M. Smith from 1915-1946. Smith was a strong believer in the power of trained experts, and moved the Church into their control. This might have been the fate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if it had not been for the counter-call of J. Reuben Clark's "The Charted Course of Church Education", although that may be a little too alarmists of how bad things were when Clark called us to focus on spirtual basics.

Smith had a Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University. He was a year younger than David O. McKay, so his death in 1946 was at a relatively young age. McKay had been in the first presidency for a decade by then. McKay was I believe the first college graduate to be preisdent of the Church. Lorenzo Snow did attend Oberlin, but only for a year. George Albert Smith is at times listed among BYU grads, but he attended when it was the Brigham Young Academy, so at the high school level.

Russell M. Nelson is the first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have a Ph.D., although Ezra Taft Benson had done course work towards a Ph.D. for a time at Berkeley. Although Howard W. Hunter was a lawyer, he only had a bachelors in law. To date the only presidents of the Church with graduate degrees were Ezra Taft Benson, who had a masters in agricultural related matters from Iowa State, Thomas S. Monson, with an MBA from BYU completed after he became an apostle, and Russell M. Nelson who has a M.D. from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Back to what promted this whole set of inquiries. I did find a definate line on "Reorganized Church missionaries baptizing polygamists in India".

"Mainline" Protestant Christianity has actually had some growth outside the US while it has faced decline in the US for the last 50 plus years (the most "mainline" of all protestant Churches, The Episcopal Church (TEC), had its peak membership in 1967). The United Methodist Church is a good example of the process going on, but it is also about to break apart. This is because the majority of members in places such as Congo and Nigeria, and those members in the southern United States, in general have been pushing to exclude openly practicing homosexuals from ministry (although our church's willingness to actually excommunicate people for law of chastity violation might be a bridge to far for even many southern United Methodists), and in some ways this break is more symptom than the main issue, that being the efficacy of scripture and weather the Church should hold to a consistent teaching or adapt to society. It is telling the the United Methodist Church I regularly pass driving around Detroit has a rainbow on its Church sign.

I have to wonder if partly why the Community of Christ is still able to have 15,000 members in India is because the radical leftism that has driven so many people out of that Church in the United States is not as prevalent in the Church in India, so people in the pews stay with the Church because they do not realize how much the core doctrines are being abandoned by the leadership.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Community of Chirst has about 30,000 members in all of Africa.

In the case of India, the RLDS Church moved there in the 1960s and was willing to baptize practicing polygamists in Orissa. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not make significant inroads into India until the 1980s. So we are essentialy 20 years behind in growth.

Chris said...

"Central Valley Utah Stake" organized.

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=38.700363,-112.098495&z=11&m=google.hybrid&layers=temple,temple.construction,temple.renovated,stakecenter&q=Central%20Valley%20Utah&find=stake:2139685

Chris said...

As was reported here earlier this week, from social media,

Frisco Texas Shawnee Trail Stake renamed "Prosper Texas Stake"

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=33.270595,-96.932602&z=11&m=google.road&layers=stakecenter&q=Prosper%20Texas%20Stake&find=stake:2024144

and split, the new "Little Elm Texas Stake" (2140764)

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=33.136338,-96.848873&z=11&m=google.road&layers=stakecenter&q=Little%20Elm%20Texas%20Stake&find=stake:2140764

DeeAnn said...

So, for the past 25 years, I've lived all over the North Texas Area (including being a part of McKinney, Richardson, Hurst (Colleyville was split off and created while we lived there), Denton, Carrollton, Frisco (last three while living in the same place), Fort Worth and Burleson Stakes. We've participated in 4 stake creations. Yes, growth down here is pretty steady. If indeed they do add a temple or two to our district, I would predict Fort Worth area (which would absolutely thrill me as the traffic to Dallas is horrendous) and the Tyler/Longview/Gilmer area.

Chris said...

Matt, In your July 2019 Cumorah Foundation Newsletter, you listed the 5th District this year that was Discontinued, #5 Puntarenas Costa Rica District.

But I don't see it added to the ongoing list of Discontinued Stakes/Districts on the right side of this Blog. Just a reminder. With the Cumorah.com site going down last month and the work to restore it. This may have been overlooked.

Matt said...

Sorry I missed it. It is up now.

Eduardo said...

Is the Dallas Temple sessions pretty busy?

James said...

Eduardo, according to information I have obtained from a few contacts I have in Texas, the Dallas Temple is very busy on a relatively consistent basis. and if it is not the busiest temple in Texas, it is at least the second busiest of the four in Texas. Either way, due to the trafic congestion many in the current Dallas Texas Temple district, particularly those from the Fort Worth area, it seems more likely than not that Fort Worth will be the next Texas city to have a temple announced. If that occurs within the next year, I see one for El Paso perhaps being announced within the next 6-8 years, but possibly sooner, the way President Nelson is going.

In the meantime, based on the statement made by President Nelson to the press in Brasilia, I have taken the opportunity to do some analysis on a few of the prospective announcements which may be made (since the term "announcements" was plural rather than singular in that statement). With my ongoing thanks to Matt for graciously allowing me to continue to do so, I would like to share a link to that latest blog post:

https://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/2019/08/some-thoughts-on-president-nelsons.html

My thanks also goes out again to all of you for continuing to contribute to my understanding of all topics discussed in the threads of this blog..

DeeAnn said...

Eduardo, yes the sessions are much fuller than they used to be. 5-6 years ago it wasn’t uncommon to go to a session during the day and only have a handful of people there. Now the sessions are full or close to it every time I go, I thought the increase initially was from the Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Houston temples being close. But since their reopening it’s still fairly full.

James said...

DeeAnn, I appreciate your report on the activity levels at the Dallas Texas Temple. It is interesting that those levels were maintained despite the fact that OKC, Memphis, and Houston have since reopened. That matches with what I am hearing from some of my sources about Texas. Based on that, it seems probable that a Fort Worth Temple may be on the horizon soon. I suppose how soon that might occur largely depends on how quickly President Nelson details his temple expansion plans and announces a mass number of temples.

A Fort Worth Texas Temple might not occur for the next 2-4 General Conferences, depending on how the many feasible US candidate cities are handled by the Church, but I don't think such a prospect is too far out. It will be interesting to see how US temples are handled in the future. The tradition during the last 4 sets of temple announcements has been for 1 US state have a temple announced, along with 1 each go-round for Utah. The one possible exception occurred last October, with the temple announced for the US territory of Puerto Rico, but the island falls under the Church's Caribbean Area geographically.

Anyway, my point, DeeAnn, is that whenever Texas' next temple is announced, I'd anticipate Fort Worth being given priority, or at least being the second-next Texas city to have a temple announced. Of course, I offer that opinion only as one who has received reports on temples in Texas, and not as one who has any firsthand experience or knowledge on the 4 current Texas temples. But relying on reports I have heard, including yours, my rationale regarding a temple for Fort Worth in the near future has been strengthened. So thank you, DeAnn, for that corroborating information.