Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sneak Peak at Presentation for SSSR Conference in St. Louis, Missouri

Next week I will be presenting at the annual SSSR conference in St. Louis, Missouri as part of the Variable Patterns of International Growth in Twenty-first Century Mormonism. I will be part of presentations on Friday, October 25th from 3:00-4:30 PM. The SSSR schedule can be found here.

I have been busily analyzing the 6,816 survey responses included in this comprehensive analysis on church growth in preparation for my presentation, which will cover convert retention rates, member activity rates, church growth trends, and other relevant statistics and data in regards to tracking church growth. One of the pieces of data I will present at the conference is the below table, which includes an agglomeration of convert retention one year after baptism estimates given by 3,565 surveys completed by returned missionaries from August 11th, 2012 until October 13th, 2019. the vast majority of individuals who completed the survey served full-time missions after 2010. Fascinatingly, there is no significant difference in convert retention rates for missions outside of the United States versus inside the United States (49% and 50%, respectively). Also many of the lowest baptizing missions have the highest estimated convert retention rates one year after baptism, such as in Eastern Europe. However, many of the qualitative responses to survey questions indicate that convert retention 1-4 years after baptism has been a bigger challenge than retention within the first 12 months after membership in the Church.


 COUNTRY/MISSION         EST. RETENTION

USA
50%
Central Eurasian
80%
DR Congo
80%
Cote d’Ivoire
74%
Kenya
70%
Liberia
70%
Samoa
70%
Zimbabwe
69%
French Polynesia
66%
Hong Kong
63%
Romania/Moldova
63%
Adriatic South
62%
Bulgaria
60%
Sierra Leone
60%
Finland
59%
Ghana
59%
Czech/Slovak
58%
Vanuatu
58%
Canada
57%
Nigeria
57%
South Africa
57%
Germany
54%
Peru
54%
Tonga
54%
Ukraine
54%
Denmark
53%
Fiji
53%
Indonesia
53%
Mozambique
53%
Philippines
52%
India
51%
Madagascar
51%
New Zealand
51%
Spain
51%
El Salvador
50%
Haiti
50%
Belgium/Netherlands
49%
Benin/Togo
49%
Cambodia
48%
Ecuador
48%
France
48%
Italy
48%
Colombia
47%
Japan
47%
Marshall Islands/Kiribati
47%
Panama
47%
Uganda
47%
Bolivia
46%
Jamaica
46%
Russia
46%
Singapore
46%
Zambia
45%
Chile
44%
England
44%
Mexico
44%
Nicaragua
44%
Sweden
44%
Trinidad and Tobago
44%
Micronesia
43%
Norway
43%
Scotland/Ireland
43%
Taiwan
43%
Adriatic North
42%
Australia
42%
Brazil
42%
Dominican Republic
42%
Guatemala
42%
Hungary
42%
Portugal
42%
Argentina
41%
Switzerland
41%
Honduras
40%
Korea
40%
Mongolia
40%
Baltic
39%
Paraguay
38%
Thailand
38%
Cape Verde
36%
Costa Rica
36%
Puerto Rico
34%
Uruguay
33%
Armenia/Georgia
30%
Poland
29%
Austria
25%
Venezuela
25%

62 comments:

Bryan D said...

Some of those numbers are starting to look more promising. This might explain the comparative stake and ward growth even though the number of converts are lower. I mean, looking at Chile, Mexico, and Nicaragua, if those numbers are true, this would indicate more growth than previously had.

Turkey is doing exceptionally well, and it is always a point of contention that I have to counter my anti-Islamic acquaintances in the LDS Church, when I tell them that if the Muslims are so bad how come there has been more success in five years in Turkey than fifty years in Greece?

Unknown said...

@ Bryan D Turkey is Islam-majority, but the members of the church are almost never former Muslims.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Surprised Venezuela isn't closer to 100%. If I lived in Venezuela, I wouldn't leave a church that was willing and able to feed me.

Matt said...

Unknown - the vast majority of converts to the Church, and members of the Church for that matter, are former Muslims in Turkey. Yes, former Muslims are a very small percentage of convert baptisms in the Church yearly (definitely less than 1%), but there are several countries where former Muslims are the majority or a sizable minority of converts, such as in Albania and Sierra Leone.

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Matt

Have you found any indications whether the church is making headway with teaching Syrian refugees in Turkey or throughout Europe?

twinnumerouno said...

Bryan D and Matt- I am somewhat confused by your comments about Turkey. My understanding was that there are only a few Muslim-majority countries that allow LDS (and Christian) proselyting to Muslims, such as Sierra Leone and Albania, and that most of the others either prohibit proselyting altogether or else restrict missionary activity to non-Muslims, usually as a requirement before LDS missionaries can be sent. I thought I had read that Turkey was in the last category. Was that information incorrect?

I would also be interested in a list of what the Muslim-majority nations are, and which of these 3 categories they fall into. (You've probably done this before, Matt.)

John Pack Lambert said...

Turkey has no legal restrictions on religion change. The only Church member I have known from Turkey was a former Muslim.

Turkey is an officially secular country so the government limiting religion change would not make sense

I doubt anyone could easily know the percentage of former Muslims who join the Church.

Elder Peter M. Johnson was a Muslim before joining the Church. Considering the numbers of Muslims in countries like Nigeria, even in south-west Nigeria where a temple will be soon, I doubt we can know former Muslims joining the Church without really good sense of who the Lagos and Ibadan Missions are baptizing.

I also suspect we need good figures for every western European country since they all have sizable Muslim populations.

Chris said...

Reported today on Rick's Temples site today, but unconfirmed :

"Chiclayo Perú Federico Villarreal Stake", in the Trujillo Perú Temple District.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Confirmed in Classic LDS Maps also today :

"Piracicaba Brazil Rezende Stake"

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=-22.523328,-47.324828&z=10&m=google.road&layers=stakecenter&q=Piracicaba%20Brazil%20Rezende&find=stake:2148935

Anonymous said...

The classic Church of Jesus Christ maps are so awesome!!

Eduardo said...

I am not sure there is an official Church policy per country whether to openly proseltyze to non-Christians or not, or in this case, to Muslims. I know the Church agreed not to actively convert in Israel or Palestine, and de facto non-proselyte in Jordan. They are discreet in most all places, especially Muslim societies, like Indonesia where my mom and step-dad served.

Eduardo said...

*Proseletyze.

John Pack Lambert said...

Hopefully Chiclayo gets it's own temple soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

Proselyting to non-Christians is the central goal of the Church. We invite all to come unto Christ.

Thus is Turkey, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Sierra Look eone the Church openly ties to convert Muslims just as it does Hindus in India, Buddhists in Thailand and followers of Shinto in Japan.

As best I can tell the Church also openly seeks to convert Muslims in Mali.

Counties such as Pakistan, Makaysua and even more so Because Lebanon make conversion extremely difficult and so the Church seeks to operate within the law.

Because of the nature of policies against conversion in some of these countries the Church also seeks to avoid disruption by rash conversions of Mudoims from these countries.

I sometimes wonder if some people wrongly assume the policy applies to all Muslims. It does not, nor is it a universal ban on Muslims from some countries converting. Muslims from Iran , which has the most stringent policies against Muskims leaving Islam have joined the Church elsewhere and we even have missionaries called to serve in the Iranian language.

I have to admit I wish we had not caved to the demands of the baptismalphobes who run Israel. My grandmother who was raised Jewish feels the agreements restricting baptisms for the dead for Jews are another in a long line of repressions of the Jewish people.

John Pack Lambert said...

I just came up with my April 2020 temples list. If this will be an unprecedented conference we will see more temples announced than ever before. This list includes some places less shocking than Yuba City.

Temples for 2020:
Eugene, Oregon
Bakersfield, California
Missoula, Montana
Morgan, Utah
Smithfield, Utah
Heber City, Utah
Price, Utah
Delta, Utah
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Farmington, New Mexico
Gilmer, Texas (Yuba City precedent)
El Paso, Texas (I believe El Paso was Texas' first stake in 1953)
Fort Worth, Texas
Waco, Texas
Austin, Texas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Jackson, Mississippi
Pensacola, Floria
Jacksonville, Florida
Harken's Islans, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina (although it might be Catawba/Blue Hill South Caroliba)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Buena Vista, Virginia
Harmony, Pennsylvania
Glasgow, Scotland
Bordeaux, France
Barcelona, Spain
Torreon, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico
Mexico City temple #2
Guatemala City Temple #2
Antigua. Guatemala
Kingston, Jamaica
Barcelona, Venezuela
Cali, Colombia
Otavalo, Ecuador
Chiclayo. Peru
Cusco, Peru
Iquitos, Peru
Vina del Mar/Valparaiso, Chile
Punta Arnas, Chile
Bahia Blanca, Argentina
Cuiaba, Brazil
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Sao Paulo #2
Santos. Brazil
Sorocaba, Brazil
La Paz, Bolivia
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Resticencia, Argentina
Benin City, Nigeria
Abuja, Nigeria
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Calabar, Nigeria
Enugu, Nigeria
Kumasi, Ghana
Daloa, Ivory Coast
Monrovia, Liberia
Bo, Sierra Leone
Lumbumbashi, DR Congo
Kampala, Uganda
Baira, Mozambique
Antanaraivo, Madagascar
Singapore
Jakarta, Indonesia
Ulaam Bator, Mongolia
Christ Church, New Zealand
Honolulu, Hawaii (which will be accomplished by converting the Honolulu Tabernacle)
Tarawa, Kiribati
Busan, South Korea

Ok. I have to admit I don't expect all 68, but I hope the number will be at least 30.

John Pack Lambert said...

The first North Carolina was meant to be Harkers Island. J could be restrained and but Fayetteville or even Wilmington, but I am going with Harkers Island and its deep history of faith.

I also missed Manchester, New Hampsire from my list. I also meant to put Knoxville, Tennessee on the list.

The same reasons that make me put on Harkers Island make me also put Vanderhoof, British Colonbia on the list. I am also leaning towards putting LeGrand, Oregon on the list.

John Pack Lambert said...

On further reflection I am adding Greensboro, North Carolina Carolina to my list. I am also going to go semi-moderate and put Kinston, North Carol8na instead of Harkers Island. Kinston was the first stake in North Carolina. The fact that Jacksonville, Florida was the first stake in the Southeast US and the first stake lead by the des news ents of local converts, not by people who had deep ties to the gathering process and Utah is to my mind key.

Eduardo said...

Missions and mission presidents have protocols and policies about targeting or recruiting or teaching and engaging Muslims. I have seen that over the years in the United States and I believe international missions.
As an extension of the no proselyting (Church word) policy in Israel, I knew a Jordanian student at BYU who wanted to be baptized but was not allowed to do so since her father was Muslim. Her argument was that since her mother was Christian and her parents were married in a Christian ceremony that she herself was not really Muslim. BYU/Church admin did not want to send a message to the Muslim scholarship and regular Palestinian and Jordanian communities with Brigham Young students that they were converting, and thus endangering their lives and potentially stopping the flow of Levant students to Provo. I wonder if there is a flow to Rexburg?
Incidentally, thousands of BYU students have been to the Holy Land through the Jerusalem Center, including hundreds if not thousands of U of Utah and other college students, including from Boston and other universities.
In the long wmrun this was the deal and choice made to establish this presence.

JMR said...

I know that President Nelson announced that next April General Conference would be historic, but none of us really know what that means. My best guess, is that part of it will occur in some of those historic sites (such as Palmyra or Harmony) and that we'll have a nice sized list of new temples announced. However, because of the huge backlog we currently have, I don't see more than 20 temples being announced. I am going to follow President Nelson's counsel and spend extra time studying Joseph's account of the First Vision as well as the Book of Mormon. These are exciting times to be living in!

Johnathan Whiting said...

I'm wondering if he'll announce the renovations to Logan and Manti.

Bryan D said...

At Rexburg there is a Palestinian math teacher who is a member of the Church. Her name is Sahar Qumsiyeh. Great lady.

http://saharqumsiyeh.blogspot.com/ is her blog address.

She saw the church there in Palestine and there is a branch in Bethlehem.

Chris said...

18 October 2019 - Phoenix, Arizona - Austin, Texas News Release
Apostles of Jesus Christ Minister in Southwest United States Elder Rasband visits Arizona, Elder Soares travels to Texas

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/apostles-of-jesus-christ-minister-in-southwest-united-states

Anonymous said...

I would really like President Nelson (or his appointee) to complete the restoration of the Bible. Not just a translation by a committee, but rather a seer stone type of thing. Joseph Smith died before finishing it, but It seems the translation was an important endeavor to the Lord at the time. Would be nice to see the Church acquire the Kirtland Temple, the rest of the temple lot in Independence, and similar dedicated sites. May be a bit much at this point to hope for construction plans on that land.

James said...

A few comments, if I may offer them here. The transcript of President Nelson's Sunday Afternoon remarks from this last General Conference (with the remarks themselves being around 2-3 times longer than the previous remarks he or any of his predecessors have given to close General Conferences) are illustrative regarding what might make the April 2020 General Conference so historically unprecedented. In speaking thereof, this is what he said, "Now I would like to turn to another topic: plans for the coming year. In the springtime of the year 2020, it will be exactly 200 years since Joseph Smith experienced the theophany that we know as the First Vision. God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph, a 14-year-old youth. That event marked the onset of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness, precisely as foretold in the Holy Bible.

"Then came a succession of visits from heavenly messengers, including Moroni, John the Baptist, and the early Apostles Peter, James, and John. Others followed, including Moses, Elias, and Elijah. Each brought divine authority to bless God’s children on the earth once again.

"Miraculously, we have also received the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, a companion scripture to the Holy Bible. The revelations published in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price have also greatly enriched our understanding of God’s commandments and eternal truth.

"The keys and offices of the priesthood have been restored, including the offices of Apostle, Seventy, patriarch, high priest, elder, bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon. And women who love the Lord serve valiantly in the Relief Society, Primary, Young Women, Sunday School, and other Church callings—all vital parts of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.

"Thus, the year 2020 will be designated as a bicentennial year. General conference next April will be different from any previous conference. In the next six months, I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel."

James said...

So, as President Nelson indicated, the main reason why the April 2020 General Conference will be different from any previous General Conference (which also happens to be true of pretty much each of the now-4 General Conferences over which he has presided as Church President), and what will make it more unique than any previous General Conference, is that important events of the Restoration of the Church will be commemorated. With that in mind, since he mentioned the restoration of priesthood keys in the Kirtland Temple as one of the events that will be honored, and because he has announced 35 new temples as Church President, I imagine that temple announcements will be a significant part of whatever else is done. But that will likely not be one of the more unique or extraordinary highlights, so it seems improbable to me that a massive number of temple announcements would be coming during that weekend.

And I say that as one who, in October of last year and April of this year, was anticipating and advancing the idea that a massive number of temples would be announced. My specific theory in relation to temple announcements is that, at least for the next 3-4 years, the average number of temples announced in a 2-year period will work out to 35, as we have seen last year and this year. Meanwhile, I do not think it far-fetched to believe that some of the General Conference weekend could originate from different sites important to Church history and the restoration.

Can you imagine part of one session on Saturday originating from the E. B. Grandin Print Shop? Or the Priesthood Session originating entirely from the chapel closest to the banks of the Susquehana River, from the very banks thereunto, or from the Priesthood Restoration Site (which happened to be dedicated in September 2015 by President Nelson himself around two months after he had been set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles)? I can.

And I fully believe that if my theory proves correct, President Ballard, as the only current apostolic descendent from the Smith family line (specifically Hyrum Smith) willl almost certainly be involved in speaking from one of the remote locations in which General Conference will originate. But based on the scriptural directive in the Doctrine and Covenants that there should be a majority of the Twelve gathered together in one location for any General Conference of the Church, I do not believe that the apostles will be scattered too much.

I would be elated if a large-scale number of new temples were to be announced, just as I would be if any other number of temples were announced. Either way, I think that, for each of us, our time would be far better spent doing as President Nelson counseled in studying what he recommended between now and General Conference than we would otherwise be by continuing to speculate about what might make this General Conference so unique, and unlike any previous General Conference. To paraphrase the scripture, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not be surprised nor disappointed."

James said...

A couple of other thoughts unrelated to the April 2020 General Conference, if I may offer them. Anonymous, seer stones were used by Joseph Smith in the translation of both the Book of Mormon and the Bible primarily because both were worked on at a time when he needed assistance beyond his own to obtain revelation. From the time of Brother Joseph's martyrdom in 1844 until now, it has been a long-standing and well-understood practice, as President Nelson himself noted in the January 2018 broadcast from the Salt Lake Temple that "it takes decades of service for an Apostle
to move from the junior chair to the senior chair in the circle. During that time, he gains firsthand experience in each facet of the work of the Church. He also becomes well acquainted with the peoples of the earth, including their histories, cultures, and languages, as assignments take him repeatedly across the globe."

During the "decades" within which a junior apostle, at the Lord's discretion, moves up throiugh the ranks to the senior chair, one thing he learns is how to receive revelation. And since the President of the Church is the only one authorized to speak for the Lord to the entire Church, in cases where any new scripture comes to light, it would be the authority and responsibility of the Lord's one and only current prophet to translate that work, rather than to commission or delegate that assignment to anyone else.

Secondly, because of the decades of service an apostle sees while moving from the junior to the most senior chair, any current prophet will have decades more experience receving revelation with his apostolic colleagues that the Prophet Joseph Smith had when the Lord gave him the responsibilities for translating the Book of Mormon and the Bible. As a consequence, the current prophet would not need the seer stone to translate new scripture. He could do it under the revelatory direction of the Lord as one familiar with that process.

James said...

Some additional thoughts. Fair Mormon is one organization which may not need to be renamed in compliance with the updated guidelines and statement released by President Nelson. I say that since it is an organization of scholars both inside and outside the Church who answer questions about the entire Latter Day Saint movement. That movement refers to any offshot church accepting Joseph Smith as their first prophet, for whom the beliefs to which they adhere may be correctly termed "Mormonism" (a period term correct for the time in which it originated).

I mention Fair Mormon here because that organization provided information on the JST, which can be found at the following web address:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_Was_Joseph_Smith%27s_translation_of_the_Bible_ever_completed%3F

From that article, I'd draw your attention to the following statement attributed to a scholar of Latter-day Saint history: "The Bible Dictionary in the English LDS Bible states that Joseph Smith 'continued to make modifications [in the translation] until his death in 1844.' Based on information available in the past, that was a reasonable assumption, and I taught it for many years. But we now know that it is not accurate. The best evidence points to the conclusion that when the Prophet called the translation 'finished,' he really meant it, and no changes were made in it after the summer (or possibly the fall) of 1833."

Now, could President Nelson (or any of his prophetic successors) receive instruction from the Lord that clarify the translation is not finished and that that needs to be fixed? I can't rule it out. But if the Prophet Joseph Smith believed and asserted that it was finished, and no alterations were made to it after 1833, I am assuming that that assertion had been confirmed by and had received the stamp of approval from the Lord before Brother Joseph made it public. So I'd take him (and the Lord) at their word in this case.

James said...

As for the Church acquiring the Kirtland Temple, I also read somewhere that the Community of Christ has no interest whatsoever in selling it off. And while I hope the Church could (and possibly will) finish the temples that the early Saints were unable to finish, in the case of the abandoned Jackson County Missouri Temple, the Saints in that day were excused from building that temple at that time:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/124.45-55?lang=eng#p45

The Lord could (and probably will) at some point renew the directive to build each one of those temples. But the question of how soon and whether that might happen in each of the cases you mentioned is a question that is only likely to be answered by the Lord through His prophet, whether President Nelson or one of his future successors.

While I cannot in good consciene rule such prospective announcements out, my personal opinion is that something like that would likely not happen until at least 2030, at which time, in April, the Church will mark the bicentennial of its' reestablishment, which may call for another historic General Conference, some or all of which may then originate from Fayette and Palmyra New York, particularly the Peter Whitmer farmhouse where the Church was formally organized. They had such a celebration to mark the sesquecentennial of the Church in 1980, with then-Elder Hinckley playing a crucial role in the parts of General Conference originating from New York, so it is likely that may be done again in 2030.

Of course, these observations, theories, and projections are no more and no less than my own imperfect musings, which are subject to either confirmation or denial by the Brethren in whatever form that might take. I would be elated if you were correct about any of what you said, Anonymous, but given what I have laid out herein and in my prior two comments, I wonder if some of us (which, to a certain degree, includes myself) may be looking beyond the mark and trying to second-guess the Lord or the Brethren instead of focusing on preparing to sufficiently enjoy and be inspired by whatever might be ahead. That said, anyone is free to take or leave my thoughts, such as they are, but I hope what I have shared in these latest comments is helpful to at least some who may read what I have said herein.

Chris said...

James, also, I'm not surte if you had the chance to read the Newsroom article i shared last evening here about Elder Rasband ministering in Phoenix Arizona and Elder Soares ministering to Austin Texas yesterday friday, Oct 18th.

Now I believe they may be on errand from Pres. Nelson to scout out future Sites. On Matts' Potential Temple Sites map he has included both cities. In the Phoenix Arizona Metro area it has been suggested the Queen Creek Arizona as potential. And Also Austin Texas is on the list as Potential. Any thoughts?

Chris said...

Also confirmed today in Classic LDS Maps, as reported earlier on Rick's Temples website :

Chiclayo Perú Federico Villarreal Stake

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=-6.776464,-79.826442&z=14&m=google.road&Chiclayo%20Perú%20Federico%20Villarreal%20Stake&find=stake:2145332

With the Chiclayo Central 1st, Federico Villarreal, Los Artesanos, Moshoqueque and Santa Victoria Wards.

twinnumerouno said...

Maybe not directly relevant, but a member devotional will be held in Worcester, Massachusetts, for the 16 New England stakes on Sunday afternoon, with Pres. Ballard and Elder Christofferson in attendance. Stake leaders and others will be in attendance, with a ticket system. The meeting will be broadcast to designated meetinghouses, for those who cannot get tickets.

https://allevents.in/worcester/devotional/200017969282644

twinnumerouno said...

They also went to Sharon, Vermont yesterday.

https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2019-10-18/president-ballard-declares-his-witness-of-the-prophet-jospeh-smith-in-the-place-he-was-born-164526

John Pack Lambert said...

I was under the impression that this devotional was for all stakes in the North America Northeast Area, unless President Ballard is doing two devotionals tomorrow. We were told we are getting a devotional with President Ballard broadcasted to us tomorrow, and we are not by any definition in New England.

Xavier Raveau said...

Hi everybody,

I please need someone's help. I'm looking for a quote I think Elder Holland said but I'm mot sure. Something like if someone read the Book of Mormon in a foreign language he will be able to speak that language.

Thanks.

twinnumerouno said...

JPL, I guess the New England thing was just which stakes are getting tickets (and leaders are being encouraged) to attend in person- I must have read the article wrong on that point. If you're getting the broadcast in Michigan, it probably is the whole Northeast Area.

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brycen said...

I should have a report on the devotional about this time tomorrow, since I will be attending in person.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

I am in North America North East - in Ontario Canada and haven't heard anything about a devotional

James Anderson said...

Queen Creek we have the member speculation that they have a site in an undeveloped area by the future SR-24 freeway alignment and Signal Butte, nothing is even around it, and the freeway may or may not be being built at present, only a stub off the 202 is.

Another thing is he may have also beeen there to guage progress on the Mesa Temple renovation, we know that during the construction of the DR Congo temple Elder Bednar visited the site at least once and he or others may have gone there at other times.

East of Loop 101 in Tempe/Chandler and inside that out to the edges of the metro is where the largest concentration of members are, also includes southeast of the 202. The concentrations in the rest of the Phoenix area seem to be less and less the further north and west you go but it is still enough to support the Phoenix temple.

coachodeeps said...

My dad attended the funeral for James O. Mason in Farmington today. Presidents Nelson and Eyring were the
Re (President Nelson, of course, presided). Both gave remarks.

Andrew Reed said...

The new 'Riverena Stake" just formed today in Australia, covering some wards and branches in Victoria and New South Wales (from Wagga Wagga to Bendigo).......

Chris said...

Andrew Reed, Did the Wangaratta Australia District (that included the Wagga Wagga Branch) + Bendigo Ward (from the Melbourne Australia Craigieburne Stake), get upgraded to become the "Riverena Australia Stake" that you reported here?

Johnathan Whiting said...

@Xavier

I've heard similar quotes like like that throughout my life, but I don't remember whether they were supposed to be attributed to Elder Holland or if several leaders have made similar statements.

Personally, I read the Book of Mormon completely in Spanish a couple of times on my mission, and it helped me learn the language. Since the mission, I've read portions of it in Portuguese and German, and it's been helpful in understanding those languages, too.

I couldn't find an Elder Holland quote, but here's one from an article by Elder Jager of the Seventy:

"4. Study vocabulary at home. Vocabulary is the most important area when beginning to study a foreign language. Concentrate here first. Buy a dictionary, label your home with names of objects in the new language, and practice until the words become yours. Purchase a Book of Mormon in the new language and compare familiar verses in English and the foreign language. You will increase your religious vocabulary quickly."

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1982/10/become-acquainted-with-languages-tongues-and-people?lang=eng

Chris said...

Andrew Reed, If Wangaratta Australia District (603309) became a Stake today, I had it listed as the oldest District in the Church (organized in 1890), until now, that had not advanced to becoming a Stake. Unless the organization date was the year 1980, instead of 1890? I had copied the dates from Rick's Temple site before he was forced to remove the dates on the his site. I may have copied 1890 instead of 1980. If you live in that area, you may know more of the Wangaratta Australia District history.

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=-36.09936,145.13264&z=7&m=google.road&q=Wangaratta%20Australia%20District&find=stake:603309

Bkfarnbachjourneys said...

OK. With all these comments and rumors about Queen Creek some research was needed. There is a parcel owned by the Church listed on county assessor maps near Signal Butte and Future 24 but it is only 5.4 acres in size, about the size typically used for a conventional meeting house. Compare that to Mesa Temple (18.1 acres), Gilbert Temple (15.8 acres), and Phoenix Temple (8.7 acres). (Gilbert and Phoenix temples lot sizes shown include the adjoining property for meeting houses because they both share and need the same parking lot so they cannot work independently.) Phoenix Temple parking does get tight.

Future Route 24 is planned to be built by 2022 or 2023 but it will be a skeleton freeway with signals instead of interchanges (like West Valley Freeway in Salt Lake). South of the freeway for at least a mile is suppose to be an industrial area (currently steel mill, nursery, and other factories).

The land around the Signal Butte site either belongs to the Signal Butte 24 LLC (either a land holding for the freeway or shrewd entrepeneur)or the old Proving Grounds for testing cars. There are also larger lots (not by much) owned by the Church to the south of aforementioned Signal Butte site in Queen Creek but they are all the sizes used for meetinghouses and stake centers. The Church still owns about 3/4 square mile of farm land in Queen Creek which has been rezoned for residential.

Andrew Reed said...

Hello Chris + others, .... Yes the Wangaratta district just got pulled into making the new stake possible, I'm am currently in Bendigo ward when today to here the announcement. However I don't know all the details as I'm from South Australia.

Chris said...

@Matt and @Andrew Reed, Is that the correct spelling of the new "Riverena Australia Stake", organized today from the 120 year old Wangaratta Australia District?

While researching the names Riverena and Wagga Wagga and Bendigo, I came across this other spelling from an article on Wikipedia.org :

Riverina
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riverina

Matt said...

Yes, I believe that the spelling for the new stake is the Riverena Australia Stake. This is the spelling used in an announcement to organize the new stake on Facebook a couple weeks ago.

James said...

Hello again, everyone! A couple of comments made earlier on in this thread were directed to me personally, so I wanted to take the opportunity to address them. First of all, Chris, given my consistent efforts to bring news and updates about the Church to my readers ASAP after they are announced, I learned about the article covering the North America Southwest Area ministry of our apostles almost as soon as it was covered by the Newsroom.

Secondly, given that temple announcements have recently been made in areas where various apostles have recently ministered, I do not find that coincidental. I have long held the belief that another Arizona Temple could soon be announced, although Elder William R. Walker, who, at the time, was Execuctive Director of the Temple Department, noted that, while in Tucson for the dedication of the temple in that city, Arizona would be set for temples for the foreseeable future. But I'd also like to note that he made that statement before President Nelson became Church President and his ambitious plans were unfolded in the public discourse. Based on that, I could see a few temples for Arizona coming down the pike in the near future, among which are one each for Queen Creek and Flagstaff.

In addition, I don't know if or how the announcement of a temple in McAllen might impact the timing or speed at which another Texas temple may be announced. Before General Conference was held this go-round, I had been fully convinced that the next Texas temple to be announced would be Fort Worth. But I am grateful the Lord proved me incorrect in that respect. I still think Fort Worth may be coming down the line soon: I am just not sure how soon that might occur. And it appears that the McAllen announcement likely won't have any impact whatsoever on the timing whereby an El Paso temple is also announced. My own thoughts on which prospects may be more imminent for both states will need to be reevaluated in the coming months. That said, Chris, thanks for asking for my thoughts on this.

James said...

Now, to Anonymous, by way of response to your reply to my earlier comments, and to anyone else who may have misunderstood or been inadvertently offended by anything I have said or the way in which I have said it, I have a few things I'd like to note. First of all, I hope it is understood that I did not intend any offense by what I said above. I have long held the belief that two people can disagree without becoming disagreeable in the process, and if I have failed in that respect, I apologize. Secondly, not knowing anything about you in terms of your background, experiences, or even a name I can use in addressing this reply to you, I have to focus solely on my own observations, experiences, and perceptions.

And in that respect, something you (and others here) might not know about me is that I have cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. Due to the latter condition, I have had numerous neurosurgical procedures (I lost count at around 50 when I was in second grade, which was roughly 23-25 years ago). During a particularly difficult stint of health problems in 2004, I had 4 surgical procedures within a 3-week period, each one of a neurosurgical nature. In the midst of one of those procedures, the attending surgeon missed correctly completing one part of that procedure. As a result, I went into a mini-coma the following morning and was rushed into surgery again once I was stablized enough for it. Due to that particularly traumatic episode, when I returned home and began my recuperation, I had lost a portion of my short-term memory. There is a period of about 3-6 weeks during that time at home that I have trouble recalling. On top of that, I used to excel in math classes and express myself fairly well. As my recovery continued, I found that my usually sharp math skills (one of which was being able to add multiple columns of multiple numbers instantly in my head) was completely gone. I also experienced some changes in my personality and my ability to adequately express myself.

I am not mentioning this as some kind of sob story, for pity, or even for compassion, but rather to demonstrate that, due to the effects of that traumatic 3-week experience (which I wrote about in an article published in the July 2015 Ensign), at times, I can be in the middle of conversing with someone in person or online and lose my train of thought. There have also been times where I formulate ideas about what to say, and when I put those together, the mode and manner of my expression in such cases comes off completely different in tone than might otherwise had been the case before 2004.

James said...

As a result, I have had to develop little tricks to help myself out. And unfortunately, in this case, one of those I use frequently when it comes to commenting on this blog and formulating content on my own blog, I usually have to overexplain, reiterate, or be too detailed in what I say, not because the other person needs me to do so, or because I feel their information and knowledge may be incomplete, but in order to coherently and adequately express my thoughts in response. With that said, not knowing much about you personally, aside from what I read in your comments, if the substance, length, or tone of my previous response(s) to you was problematic, that would be why.

On my end, only interacting with you and anyone else through these comments, sometimes I have trouble gauging the proper tone or intended meaning behind what is said, which can lead me to launch into going overboard on an explanation if and when I worry that my failure to do so may lead to a misunderstanding of my own intentions and meaning. But sometimes, the fact that I have to do so winds up alienating people, offending them, or giving them the wrong impression about me, about my background and intentions, and to confusion about why I say what I say when I say it. So if that was your reaction to my comments above, I apologize. That's on me. But until the good Lord sees fit to either restore the parts of my capacities that were lost in 2004, I am stuck with responding in the best way I know how, and more often than not, I miss the mark.

I wish I could count the number of times my parents and siblings, and even my wife to this day, wind up getting exasperated with me because I am overly loquacious and go into unnecessary detail. And even more than that, I wish I could get around these issues any other way. But for now, it is simply impossible. Again, I am not looking for pity or sympathy, but merely explaining this to help you, Anonymous, and anyone else who may have been or may yet be offended, bothered, or troubled by the mode and manner in which I express myself here and on my blog, to hopefully have some understanding of my struggle to express myself even when I'm at my best capacity (which admittedly, has not been the case very often in recent months and years).

It is also worth noting that, my capacity to express myself aside, because I don't know anything about anyone else commenting here except for what is shared, I find it better to assume that a more complete and thorough detailing of relevant ideas and concepts in all responses may be helpful. I never know whether or not anything like that may actually be needed. But if, through having done so, I can perhaps be of help in contributing to the understanding and knowledge of anyone else here, whether they are the person to whom such comments are directed, or someone who is merely reading those comments and may have such questions, my efforts in that respect will have paid off big-time, and will not have been in vain, even if I do inadvertently wind up offending, hurting, or appearing to insult someone else in the process.

I hope this thorough explanation in terms of my background and intent are helpful to all who may read it. I apologize again to you, Anonymous, and to anyone else who may have been or will yet be inadvertently offended or bothered by what I say and how I say it. And I would like to thank Matt for allowing us all to comment here, and each of you who read this for all you do to help mold my understanding of the topics we dialogue about here. Thanks again.

Eduardo said...

Wow, well said. I go through missed trains of thought and all types of mistakes all the time, so I don't think we have to have those specific conditions like James to experience the same shortcomings.
Right on, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Well put.

James said...

Thank you, Eduardo, for your kind words. I have long ascribed to the idea that we can disagree without becoming disagreeable. I adopted that as part of my mission statement as a Wikipedia editor, especially at times when, in the midst of disagreement about a certain policy or practice got particularly heated or tense. I am not saying that I feel any part of the comment threads here have become heated or tense, but I think the general idea is one to which many more could stand to ascribe.

Aside from that note, I wanted to also respond here to a comment made by John Pack Lambert earlier in this thread. JPL, I sincerely hope you are right in your theory that a mass number of temples will be announced in April of next year. But I also sincerely hope that you and anyone else will not be too disappointed if/when such an announcement is not made.

In October 2018 and April 2019, I too advanced the idea that a mass number of new temple announcements would be coming down the pike. Then I heard people express disappointment and dismay when "only" 20 temples total were announced between the two. I also had a theory after the April General Conference that 14-16 new temples would be announced, but noted I would be happy with however many new temples were actually be announced, and I was thus not surprised when "only" 8 temples were announced.

And given recent statements about President Nelson's goal being to announce roughly 20 temples in any average year, more than 20 in a single General Conference being announced seems a little too optimistic to me, and may in fact be a misinterpretation of what President Nelson said in the Sunday Afternoon Session regarding why the April 2020 General Conference would be unlike any other the Church has ever had.

James said...

But above and beyond that, President Nelson specified, in plain and clear language, what we need to do to prepare, and where our focus should be for the next six months so we can get the most out of whatever might actually occur. In addition, the Church News recently published two new article related to the upcoming General Conference. One was written by the editor of the Church News, Sister Sarah Jane Weaver, the other by Boyd Matheson. The focus of both is what may and may not happen during the April 2020 General Conference, and perhaps offers some indication of what we should actually focus on instead of the hype about what "could be":

https://www.thechurchnews.com/living-faith/2019-10-06/boyd-matheson-wow-moments-must-be-followed-by-inspired-action-and-forward-movement-163589

https://thechurchnews.com/living-faith/2019-10-20/general-conference-october-2019-president-nelson-bicentennial-164417

For the record, I think it is wise that there be some discussion of what might be. But my point (and that of Brother Matheson and Sister Weaver in their respective articles) is that, if our discussions in that respect and our excitement over what might be wind up detracting from our ability to follow President Nelson's counsel about what we need to do to prepare, then it won't matter all that much what happens during that conference at all. The location thereof, the announcements, and potential game-changers will pale in comparison with the opportunity to gather for the conference, and to hear insights from the chosen speakers regarding the important details and events of the restoration.

We have an opportunity to now make the most of the time between now and the next General Conference weekend, to focus on preparing for that conference in the manner recommended by President Nelson, and I hope that we will do so. At the same time, I'd also encourage each of us to hang onto the lists we have created or may yet formulate of future temples likely to be announced.

With a prophet that has prioritized the announcement of 35 new temples during the first four General Conferences of the Church over which he has presided, I anticipate at least 10. But anything more than 16 feels overly optimistic to me for a conference in which the main focus is paying tribute to and highlighting the importance of the events that ushered in the restoration of the gospel in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Just my two cents on that, for whatever they may be worth to any who read them.

coachodeeps said...

Best wishes for your presentation this Friday, Matt!

James said...

coachodeeps, you took the words right out of my mouth. Good luck, Matt! Please let us know how it goes.

Phil said...

Does the church make any attempt to follow up on what might be called "faithful non-members" in a ward? My wife and I have been "faithful non-members" of a LDS ward for several years now. We participate in virtually every activity of the ward and stake except work in the temple. We have taught Sunday School (as substitutes), given sacrament talks, prayed, sung, cleaned the chapel. served at funerals, toured visiting Saints around our historical areas, etc. Sometimes we feel that there is no box for us to check to indicate the depth of our engagement in the ward. I have no way of knowing how many folks like us there are in LDS wards. We are not investigators; nor are we instigators or alligators! We love the fellowship and worship, but simply have no desire to be rebaptized. Does anyone beyond the ward level track folks like us? Thanks. Phil

Unknown said...

Long before Turkey and other now-Muslim countries were considered Muslim, they were Christian. The first countries that became predominantly Christian in the early century following Christ's resurrection, were Eythiopia and Armenia, by the first disciples. We think of Turkey, Iran, etc as Muslim but they havent always been. And those early converts to Muslim were not by choice but converted by the sword. Through war and conflict, convert or die. Hardly converts by faith!

Unknown said...

Greeks are Orthodox. The believe they have the line going back to the apostles.

coachodeeps said...

Sweet!
@NelsonRussellM: We were pleased to meet yesterday with Cuba's Ambassador to the U.S., Josi R. Cabaqas. He affirmed to us that the Church is welcome in Cuba....