Sunday, April 5, 2020

Eight New Temples Announced - Analysis

Today, President Russell M. Nelson announced eight new temples to be built in the following locations:
  • Bahia Blanca, Argentina
  • Tallahassee, Florida 
  • Lubumbashi, DR Congo
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Benin City, Nigeria
  • Syracuse, Utah
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Shanghai, China
This post provides an analysis of these temple announcements.

Bahia Blanca Argentina Temple
The Bahia Blanca Argentina Temple will be the Church's fifth temple to be announced for Argentina, and the first temple to be built in southern Argentina. Previous temples were dedicated in Buenos Aires (1986) and Cordoba (2015), whereas the Church has announced temples for Salta (April 2018) and Mendoza (October 2018). The new temple will likely include 14 stakes and five districts in southern Argentina. Due to few stakes in the nearby area around Bahia Blanca, the size of the temple building will likely be small (under 20,000 square feet). The Church in Argentina has experienced slow membership growth for many years albeit annual membership growth rates have slightly accelerated for the past few years. However, the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) continues to slightly decrease year to year as units with few active members are consolidated into neighboring congregations. For more Church statistical data for Argentina, click here.

Tallahassee Florida Temple
The Tallahassee Florida Temple will be the Church's third temple in Florida. The Church previously dedicated temples in Orlando (1994) and Fort Lauderdale (2014). The new temple will likely include approximately 10 stakes in the Florida Panhandle, Jacksonville metropolitan area, southern Georgia, and southeastern Alabama. The size of the temple building will likely be small (under 20,000 square feet). The first and only stake in Tallahassee was organized in 1973. The Florida Tallahassee Mission was organized in 1971 and merged with the Florida Jacksonville Mission in 2019. For Church growth statistics in Florida, click here.

Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
The Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple will be the Church's second temple in the DR Congo after the dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple in 2019. The new temple will likely be built from local construction teams trained by the Church and utilized in the construction of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple and meetinghouse construction elsewhere in the country. The Church has experienced rapid growth in Lubumbashi and other cities in southern areas of the country. The first stake in Lubumbashi was organized in 1997 and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission was organized in 2010 from a division of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission. The new temple will likely service at least the six stakes in the southern DR Congo, and may also serve an additional six stakes and one district in the Kasai Region in the central area of the country (where the first stake was organized in 2011). As of year-end 2018, there were 62,563 members in the DR Congo, whereas at year-end 2008 there were only 20,883 Latter-day Saints in the country. The size of the temple building will likely be small (under 20,000 square feet). For more statistical data on Church growth in the DR Congo, click here.

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Temple
The Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Temple will be the Church's second temple in Pennsylvania after the dedication of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple in 2016. The new temple will likely include nine stakes in western Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia. There are three stakes in the Pittsburgh area, and the first stake in Pittsburgh was organized in 1969. The Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission was organized in 1975. The size of the temple building will likely be small or medium-sized (under 25,000 square feet) given the size of the likely temple district. Slow growth has occurred for the Church in the area likely to be covered by the temple district, although the most recently organized stake was created in 2014. For Church growth statistics in Pennsylvania, click here.

Benin City Nigeria Temple
One of the most likely locations to have a new temple announced for a number of years, Benin City has been a major powerhouse for Church growth in Nigeria. No other city in Nigeria has as many stakes as Benin City. The first stake was organized in Benin City in 1993 followed by two additional stakes created in 1997 and 2007. Since then, the Church has organized five additional stakes for a total of eight stakes in the city - two of which appear likely to divide in the immediate future. Benin City has one of the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints of any African city with one million or more inhabitants. There are 82 wards and branches in the metropolitan area - more than twice as many as one decade earlier. The average ward or branch in the city has 20,122 people within its geographical boundaries, indicating more penetrating outreach than any other city. The new temple will likely service at least 11 stakes and four districts in Edo State and surrounding areas. The new temple will be the third temple in Nigeria after the Aba Nigeria Temple (dedicated in 2005) and Lagos (announced in October 2018). The temple is likely to be a small or medium-sized temple of less than 30,000 square feet. For statistics regarding Church growth in Nigeria, click here.

Syracuse Utah Temple
The Syracuse Utah Temple is the 24th temple to be announced in Utah. The new temple will likely service approximately 25 stakes in Syracuse, Clearfield, and West Point. The first stake in Syracuse was organized in 1915. The Church in Utah has appeared to focus on temple districts having between 20-40 stakes rather than 40-80 stakes. The new temple is likely to be a large temple between 50,000-80,000 square feet. The Church in Utah experiences some of the highest temple attendance in the world as evidenced by the consistent announcement of new temples in the state. For example, two new temples were announced in Utah just last October (Orem and Taylorsville). For more information about Church growth in Utah, click here.

Dubai United Arab Emirates Temple
The Church has already posted an article about its plans to build the Dubai United Arab Emirates Temple. The Church in the Middle East and North Africa has two stakes in the Gulf States (Abu Dhabi and Manama Bahrain) as well as three districts headquartered in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. The Church organized its first stake in the region in 1983 and created a second stake in 2014. The new temple is likely to be a small temple under 20,000 square feet. Latter-day Saints in the Gulf States are overwhelmingly Europeans, North Americans, Filipinos, and South Asians. The temple will be the Church's first temple to be built in the Middle East. Membership growth rates have slowed dramatically in the United Arab Emirates in recent years. Click here to obtain more information about Church growth trends in the United Arab Emirates.

Shanghai China Temple
The Church's announcement of a temple in Shanghai, People's Republic of China (PRC) was a major surprise given that the Church operates under significant legal restrictions in the PRC, and there remains no stakes in the PRC at present. As noted by President Nelson's comments, difficulties with travel for PRC to the Hong Kong China Temple, combined with its current closure amid major renovations, appeared to in part prompt this announcement. The Church organized its first branches for PRC members in 2004 and today has a presence in most of the major cities. There appear to be at least 10,000 Latter-day Saints in the PRC, the vast majority of whom are likely PRC citizens. Shanghai is one of the three major Church centers in the PRC for both foreign and PRC citizens, the others being Beijing and Guangzhou. There are eight member districts in the PRC for PRC citizens, and four member districts in the PRC for foreign members.

Eight New Temples Announced

This afternoon, President Russell M. Nelson announced eight temples in the following locations:
  • Bahia Blanca, Argentina
  • Tallahassee, Florida 
  • Lubumbashi, DR Congo
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Benin City, Nigeria
  • Syracuse, Utah
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Shanghai, China
With these new announcements, there will now be 225 temples worldwide.

Increases in the Number of General Authority Seventies and Area Authority Seventies - April 2020 General Conference

Yesterday, the Church announced the calling of nine new General Authority Seventies and 58 Area Authority Seventies. Among the nine new General Authority Seventies, the Church called its first General Authorities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Nigeria: Thierry K. Mutombo and Adeyinka A. Ojediran, respectively. Prior to yesterday's announcement, the Church had only called two Black African men as General Authority Seventies, namely Elder Joseph W. Sitati from Kenya in 2009 and Elder Edward Dube from Zimbabwe in 2013. There were 92 General Authority Seventies (seven of whom were in the Presidency of the Seventy) prior to yesterday's announcement, whereas now there are 101 General Authority Seventies altogether. The number of General Authority Seventies in the Church has increased in recent years after many years of no significant increase. For example, there were 73 General Authority Seventies in late 1996, 80 General Authority Seventies in October 2005 and 81 General Authority Seventies in early 2013. For more information about General Authority Seventies, click here.

The Church reported 266 Area Authority Seventies prior to yesterday's changes in international Church leadership. With 58 new Area Authority Seventies announced and six Area Authority Seventies released, the worldwide total for Area Authority Seventies is now 318. The number of Area Authority Seventy has rapidly increased in the past 25 years from 137 in 1997 to 195 in 2005 and 224 in 2012. For more information about the role of Area Authority Seventy, click here.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

2019 Statistical Report

This afternoon, the Church reported the following statistics as of December 31st, 2019.

  • Membership: 16,565,036 (increase of 251,301 from 2018; a 1.54% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 30,940 (increase of 404 from 2018; a 1.32% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 3,437 (increase of 54 from 2018; a 1.60% annual increase)
  • Districts: 542 (decrease of 5 from 2018; a 0.91% annual decrease)
  • Missions: 399 (decrease of 14 from 2018; a 1.97% annual decrease)
  • Convert Baptisms: 248,835 (increase of 14,503 from 2018; a 6.19% annual increase)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 94,266 (decrease of 7,836 from 2018; a 7.67% annual decrease)
  • Full-time missionaries: 67,021 (increase of 1,884 from 2018; a 2.89% annual increase)
  • Church service missionaries: 31,333 (decrease of 6,630 from 2018; a 17.5% annual decrease)
The 2019 Statistical Report stands out for several major reasons in comparison to recent statistical reports.

First, 2019 was the first year since 2012 in which the rate of membership growth has accelerated instead of decelerated. Annual membership growth rates slowed between 2013 and 2018 from 2.36% at year-end 2012 to a mere 1.21% at year-end 2018. The annual membership growth rate for the Church in 2019 was the highest since 2016 (1.54% versus 1.59%). Country-by-country statistics will be needed to determine where this membership growth occurred. These data are usually released 1-2 weeks after General Conference.

Second, 2019 is the first year since 2014 that the annual number of convert baptisms has increased by a sizable amount compared to the prior year. The annual number of convert baptisms slowed in the mid- and late 2010s from 296,803 in 2014 to a low of 233,729 in 2017. The number of convert baptisms in 2019 was 14,503 more than the number of convert baptisms in 2018. The average number of converts baptized per mission in 2019 (3.71) was also the highest reported by the Church since 2012 (4.62).

Third, the discrepancy between the summation of increase in children of record and convert baptisms and the actual annual increase in Church membership significantly decreased in 2019 in comparison to 2018. Altogether, the Church reported 343,101 new members added through children of record (i.e. children born into the Church or added to records who are under age 8) and convert baptisms (i.e. individuals age 9 or older who join the Church and who were not previously removed from Church records by excommunication or resignation). The difference between year-end 2018 and year-end 2019 membership is 91,800, suggesting that at least this many people had their names removed from Church records during 2019. The last time the Church had this small of a discrepancy in children of record + convert baptisms and actual membership increase was in 2012 (53,476).

Fourth, the Church in 2019 reported its lowest number of children added to Church records since 2007 at 91,800. The Church consistently reported over 100,000 children of record added each year between 2008 and 2018. This statistic indicates declining birth rates among Church members, particularly in countries with the largest Church memberships like the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. The Church in Utah particularly has appeared to experience a significant decrease in birth rates as Utah is no longer the state in the United States with the highest birthrate even though Latter-day Saints constitute approximately two-thirds of the state population.

Fifth, the Church in 2019 reported its largest net increase in the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) since 2005. The annual congregational growth rate for 2019 was also the highest reported by the Church since 2015. Also, 2019 was the year with the most equal membership and congregational growth since 1996. Commensurate membership and congregational growth rates suggest stable member activity and convert retention rates as the creation of new congregations usually requires increases in the number of active members.

Sixth, the number of full-time missionaries serving in 2019 increased for the first time since the surge in the number of full-time missionaries serving in 2013 and 2014 caused by the reduction in the minimal mission age. This increase indicates that the Church has finally surpassed the artificial increase and decrease in the number of missionaries serving due to the double age cohort, and that perhaps a slight increase in young adults serving full-time missions may have occurred.

Seventh, the Church reported a significant decrease in the number of Church service missionaries serving in 2019. This statistic has increased dramatically in the past decade as there were approximately 23,000 Church service missionaries in 2012. I am unsure why this statistic has decreased and I would be interested in hearing ideas on what this may indicate.

Friday, April 3, 2020

2019 Statistical Report - Predictions

This weekend, the Church will release its 2019 Statistical Report with data as of year-end 2019. I do not see any significant changes in growth trends during 2019 compared to recent years with the exception of a major increase in the number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) of approximately 400. Here are my predictions for the likely numbers to be reported:
  • Membership: 16.5-16.6 million
  • Wards and Branches: ~30,930
  • Stakes: 3,437
  • Districts: 542
  • Missions: 399
  • Dedicated Temples: 167
  • Convert Baptisms: 230,000-260,000
  • Full-time Missionaries Serving: 68,000
  • Church-service Missionaries: 35,000-40,000
  • Increase in Children of Record (ICR): 100,000-110,000
  • Net Annual Increase in Membership: 200,000-225,000
  • Membership and Convert Baptisms/ICR discrepancy*: 90,000-120,000
*This statistic is the difference between the summation of convert baptisms and increase of children of record, and the annual numerical increase for total church membership reported by the Church. This discrepancy in numbers constitutes members removed from church records due to death, excommunication, unbaptized children of record who reach age 18, and resignations.

Click on the "statistical report" label below to compare these numbers with previous statistical reports provided by the Church in previous years.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March 2020 Newsletter

Click here to access the March 2020 monthly newsletter for www.cumorah.com.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID-19 and Church Growth Predictions

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the Church's operations in essentially every country of the world. Public sacrament meetings have been suspended, approximately 60 temples and all of the Missionary Training Centers have temporarily closed, proxy ordinance work in all temples has been suspended, and General Conference in two weeks will be significantly adjusted to have sessions include a handful of individuals to avoid concerns with the spread of the virus. Furthermore, the Church has announced plans to return full-time missionaries to their country of origin and have these missionaries complete their service in their home nation or to end their missions early if they are close to the end of their service. The impact of these changes appears unclear given that the duration of this pandemic is unknown. However, examination of previous incidents in which Church operations have been disrupted may provide some useful insight into what may occur for the future.

Significant disruptions in Church operations has yielded a mixed bag of results, but generally the long-term findings are mostly positive in regards to self-sufficiency for the Church on a local level. For example, the "the Freeze" occurred in Ghana between June 1989 to November 1990 when the government banned all activities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a result, annual membership growth rates decelerated from 30-42% between 1985 and 1989 to 5.1% during 1990 and 1991. The number of branches in the country also declined from 50 to 39. Annual membership growth rates never exceeded 20% after this incident, albeit this appeared primarily due to increases in the number of members that made geometric growth of this magnitude difficult to sustain. Nevertheless, the Church in Ghana has consistently reportedly moderately high growth rates since the end of the Freeze. Also, the Freeze appeared to help prepare local Ghanaian members to operate stakes, as the first two stakes in the country were organized just six months later in April 1991. Isolation from Church leadership can help improve self-sufficiency in local leadership as there are no outsourced leaders or missionaries to occupy these roles. At year-end 1991, there were 9,800 members and 39 congregations in Ghana, whereas at year-end 2018 there were 83,651 members and 314 congregations.

Another noteworthy example of positive growth after disruptions in Church activities is in Liberia and Sierra Leone when the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis occurred. Prior to the Ebola outbreak, the Church in these two nations generally experienced intermittent periods of rapid growth punctuated by slow or stagnant growth that appeared caused by local leadership development problems and civil wars. Church growth rapidly accelerated immediately prior to the Ebola outbreak in both nations, with annual membership growth rates nearing 16% in Sierra Leone and surpassing 20% in Liberia. The Ebola outbreak slowed annual membership growth rates in both nations (8.4% in Liberia in 2015, 9.3% in Sierra Leone in 2015), but these rates have gradually increased since the outbreak ended. However, most importantly, the Church in both Sierra Leone and Liberia has experienced unprecedented growth in the number of congregations and higher convert retention and member activity rates. Local leaders have indicated that much of these improvements have been due to increases in the number of returned missionaries serving in leadership positions. However, the evacuation of all foreign missionaries and mission leaders required local members to undertake missionary and leadership roles more independently. As a result, the number of congregations in Liberia increased from 24 in 2015 (at the height of the crisis) to 48 in 2018. In contrast, the Church in Liberia grew from 12 to 24 congregations between 2009 and 2014. Congregational growth rates in Sierra Leone appeared unaffected by the Ebola outbreak as the number of congregations increased from 22 in 2009 to 45 in 2015 and 69 in 2018. Lastly, the Church in both countries has reported unprecedented growth in the number of stakes since the resolution of the Ebola outbreak. For example, in 2015 there were no stakes in Liberia and one stake in Sierra Leone. Today, there are seven stakes in Sierra Leone and five stakes in Liberia.


There are other examples when significant disruptions in Church operations have set back progress. The Church in the Republic of Georgia is a prime example of when such disruptions resulted in significant convert attrition and leadership voids. The Church evacuated full-time missionaries for three months during the brief war between Russia and the Republic of Georgia in 2008. Perhaps half of the active members became inactive, which resulted in the merger of the two Tbilisi branches and the appointment of a foreign senior missionary as the branch president. It took approximately one decade for the Church to return to its previous status with two branches, approximately 100 active members, and local branch presidents presiding over each branch. The Church in Sri Lanka was also significantly affected by the removal of full-time missionaries from the late 2000s to the mid-2010s although there was no disruption to Church meetings or operations for local members. The removal of the only senior missionary couple from the Central African Republic in the mid-1990s, as well as persistent political instability and war, rapidly reversed the rapid growth the Church originally experienced in Bangui in the early 1990s, culminating in the merger of the two Bangui branches and resulting in only one branch in the entire country as of early 2020. Political instability, economic turmoil, and the mass exodus of many active members significantly set back Church growth in Venezuela in the 2010s. There are also additional examples where long-term Church growth trends did not appear affected by significant disruptions to missionary work or Church activities, such as with political instability and its impact on the Church in Serbia and the Church in Albania during the late 1990s/early 2000s, or periodic viruses that limited missionary work or church meetings in industrialized East Asian countries in the 2000s.

The current COVID-19 crisis is unique in regards to the speed it has spread across the world and its significant disruption to everyday life in developed countries. It is likely that many active members may become inactive and not return to regular Church attendance or follow Church teachings once the crisis abates due to isolation from fellow Church members and falling out of habitual Gospel living standards such as weekly Church attendance and daily scripture study and personal prayer. However, the current crisis could also present as an important catalyst to change societal conditions and perhaps improve receptivity to the Church. Furthermore, such crises can also result in a revitalization of member-missionary work and fellowship with less-active and inactive members by helping alleviate distress and need.

My prediction is that the Church in countries with a solid leadership base and seasoned Church membership (i.e. the United States, Canada, Western Europe, industrialized East Asia, Oceania) will likely not experience long-term negative consequences from the current crisis, although 2020 will likely be a year for very low membership growth and congregational growth rates due to the suspension of church meetings and limited missionary activity. Instead, growth trends in these nations will likely remain the status quo or perhaps slightly increase in the coming years after the crisis is resolved. Growth trends in countries with developing Church leadership, a sizable body of Church members, and more dynamic growth (i.e. Philippines, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa) appear more unclear, but past experience has indicated that growth rates usually significantly decrease during the crisis, and then rapidly increase after the crisis ends. Thus, I predict membership and congregational growth rates in these areas will likely increase, at least temporarily, due to the COVID-19 crisis. Countries with fledgling Church membership and limited or no local leadership appear most vulnerable to the shock of evacuating foreign missionaries and the suspension of regular worship services due to the current crisis (i.e. Sub-Saharan African nations with fewer than 1,000 members, countries in East Asia with a recent Church establishment, Eastern Europe).

The current crisis may also present opportunities for the Church to reconsider some of its missionary and growth strategies and paradigms. For example, sacrament meetings held in member homes may serve as an important catalyst for the Church to more seriously consider a more aggressive expansion into previously unreached areas in the coming years with isolated members, specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where conditions for growth appear most favorable. Heavily reliance on internet and technology during the crisis presents opportunities to better refine and develop online teaching approaches to make them more effective and commonplace. Standardization of regular videos from Church leadership that share doctrinal messages or teachings suggestions may also present ideas for the future online proselytism and Gospel learning.

In conclusion, the current crisis is only in its beginning stages and the consequences of it on the world economy and society will be devastating. There has not been a recent event in world history that comes close to replicating the current situation on a global scale. As such, it is unclear how the Church will respond to the current pandemic albeit the trend has consistently been one of exercising caution to minimize potential harm to its members and the general public. It will be interesting to see how the Church uses the crisis in a constructive manner to help build the faith of its members and forge a sense of community in the wake of social distancing. I imagine General Conference will have many messages that address this challenge and strive to make the most of the situation to strengthen the faith of its members, alleviate suffering, and prepare for rebuilding the future.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

New Stakes Created in Cote d'Ivoire, Georgia, and Utah; Stake Discontinued in California

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new stake in Abidjan on March 1st. The Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Selmer Stake was organized from a division of the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon South Stake, Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Toit Rouge Stake, and the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Yopougon Attie Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Andokoi, Foncier, Nouveau Quartier 2nd, Selmer, Sideci 1st, and Sogefiha Wards. Mission leadership report more than 1,000 attended the special conference to create the new stake. The new stake is the Church's 13th stake to be organized in the Abidjan metropolitan area. Several additional stakes in Abidjan are ready to divide and additional stakes in the city will likely be created later this year.

There are now 15 stakes and 17 districts in Cote d'Ivoire

Georgia
The Church organized a new stake in the Atlanta metropolitan area on March 1st. The Winder Georgia Stake was organized from a division of the Athens Georgia Stake and the Lilbum Georgia Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Braselton, Collins Hill, Commerce, Cornelia, Dacula 1st,  Dacula 2nd, Fort Yargo, and Winder Wards. The new stake is the Church's 12th stake in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

There are now 18 stakes in Georgia

Utah
The Church organized a new stake in Bluffdale on February 23rd. The Bluffdale Utah Blackridge Stake was organized from a division of the Herriman Utah South Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Alpine View, Aurora Vista, Juniper Crest, Lookout Ridge, Patriot Ridge, and Province Point Wards. There are now 10 stakes in Herriman.

There are now 608 stakes and one district in Utah.

California
The Church discontinued another stake in California. The Granada Hills California Stake (organized in 1936) was discontinued and the seven wards in the former stake were reassigned to the Canoga Park California Stake or the North Hollywood California Stake. The Church has had a long-term trend of stake discontinuations in California since the 1990s. The Church has discontinued stakes in California at a rate of one per year since the mid-2010s, and most recently discontinued the Torrance California Stake (discontinued in 2019), the Garden Grove California Stake (discontinued in 2017), and the San Diego California Sweetwater Stake (discontinued in 2016). In contrast, the last time the Church organized a new stake in California was in 2013 which was the Lake Elsinore California Stake.

There are now 152 stakes in California.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

20+ New Stakes to be Created in West Africa in 2020

Church leaders in West Africa report that at least 20 new stakes will be created later this year in the Africa West Area. Specific locations for where these new stakes will be created have not yet been announced. One new stake has been organized in West Africa thus far in 2020 - the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Selmer Stake on March 1st. It appears the size of current stakes and districts that most of these stakes will be organized in Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

New Temple Predictions - March 2020 Edition

I have updated my temple prediction map in preparation for General Conference in April. Data used to identify probable locations for future temples include the size of the Church in a specific geographical area (i.e. number of stakes and districts, the number of wards and branches), the age of the oldest stake in a specific geographical area, church growth trends, distance to the nearest temple, number of endowment sessions scheduled at the nearest temple, and member and missionary reports regarding member activity, temple attendance, and convert retention. In September 2019, I divided prospective temple sites into more likely and less likely categories. This change appeared warranted given recent trends of temple announcements in remote areas of the world with few relatively Latter-day Saints, such as Cobán, Guatemala; Budapest, Hungary; and Okinawa, Japan, that appear less likely to receive temple announcements given historical trends.

Locations added to the temple prediction map include:
  • Bo, Sierra Leone (less likely)
  • Bluffdale/Herriman/Riverton, Utah (more likely and proposed by the Church originally in 2005
  • Clearfield/Syracuse/West Point, Utah (more likely)
  • Spanish Fork, Utah (more likely) 
Additional changes include the transfer of Santiago, Dominican Republic to the more likely temple list from the less likely temple list. Also, Olongapo, Philippines is provided as an alternative site for the probable Angeles Philippines Temple. Altogether, there are 137 potential temples on the map (47 more like temples, 90 less likely temples).

The following 10 locations appear most likely to have temples announced this coming General Conference if any new temples are announced. You are welcome to provide your top 10 picks for temple announcements in the comments below.
  1. Benin City, Nigeria
  2. Santa Cruz, Bolivia 
  3. Monrovia, Liberia 
  4. Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines
  5. Tarawa, Kiribati
  6. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
  7. Missoula, Montana
  8. Colorado Springs, Colorado 
  9. Santiago or Tuguegarao, Philippines 
  10. Lubumbashi, DR Congo
See below for the map of likely and less likely new temple sites: