Sunday, September 26, 2021

New Temple Predictions Part 2 - September 2021 Edition

I have enjoyed reading through the hundreds of comments regarding temple predictions for this coming October General Conference. Something that has been apparent to me as I have reviewed recent temple announcements and the comments for my previous blog post is that the Church has placed an emphasis on building more temples in remote areas of the world or in places where there are comparatively few members regardless of recent growth trends since 2018. My traditional method to predict and identify likely temple sites has primarily been based on factors that have appeared most correlated with previous temple announcements in the past 20 years from approximately 2001 to 2017. However, it appears that it may be appropriate to provide two top 10 lists to better account for this recent change in temple announcement trends - one that uses the traditional method to identify likely locations to have a temple announced (i.e., number of stakes, age of the oldest stake, rate of church growth, proximity to the nearest temple, level of usage of the nearest temple by temple patrons) and another that predicts new temple locations based on other criteria (i.e., distance to the nearest temple, duration of a church presence in the location, at least one stake). Thus, I have provided my top 10 list for likely locations for new temple announcements based upon the latter criteria. These temples would be small temples given the small size of the Church and slow rate of growth in the area that each potential temple would serve:

  1. Glasgow, Scotland
  2. Tirana, Albania
  3. Hobart, Australia
  4. Christchurch, New Zealand
  5. Kingston, Jamaica
  6. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
  7. Fairbanks, Alaska
  8. Augusta, Maine
  9. Rapid City, South Dakota
  10. Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

Sunday, September 12, 2021

New Temple Predictions - September 2021 Edition

I have updated my temple prediction map in preparation for General Conference in October. 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, the historical number of endowment sessions scheduled at the nearest temple, and member and missionary reports regarding member activity, temple attendance, and convert retention. Altogether, there are 156 potential temples on the map (33 more like temples, 108 less likely temples).

One Location was added to the temple prediction map in September 2021:

  • Laoag City Philippines Temple

    The following prospective temples were transferred from the less likely category to the more likely category:

    • Maceió Brazil Temple
    • Viña del Mar/Valparaíso Chile Temple

    The following 10 locations appear most likely to have temples announced this coming General Conference. You are welcome to provide your top 10 picks for temple announcements in the comments below.

    1. Monrovia, Liberia 
    2. La Paz, Bolivia
    3. Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines
    4. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
    5. Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    6. Charlotte, North Carolina
    7. Austin, Texas
    8. Santiago/Tuguegarao Philippines
    9. Tacoma Washington
    10. Colorado Springs, Colorado 

    See below for the map of likely and less likely new temple sites:

     

    Monday, September 6, 2021

    August 2021 Monthly Newsletter

    Click here to access our August 2021 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com. Things have been slow the past couple months for Church growth developments, so I do not have much to report in the monthly newsletter.

    Sunday, September 5, 2021

    New Stake in Idaho and New District in Burundi

    Idaho

    The Church organized a new stake in Idaho. The Twin Falls Idaho East Stake was organized on August 29th from the Kimberly Idaho Stake and the Twin Falls Idaho Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Eastbrooke, Twin Falls 1st, Twin Falls 7th, Twin Falls 11th, Twin Falls 15th, Twin Falls 19th, and Twin Falls YSA 1st Wards. There are now four stakes in the immediate Twin Falls area (with two additional stakes nearby in Filer and Kimberly). 

    There are now 135 stakes in Idaho.

    Burundi 

    The Church organized its first district in Burundi. The Bujumbura Burundi District was organized on August 22nd, 2021. The new district includes all three branches in the country, namely the Bujumbura 1st, Bujumbura 2nd, and the Bujumbura 3rd Branches. Burundi ranked among the countries of the world with the most members without a stake or district prior to the creation of the new district. The Church reported 749 members at year-end 2019. Burundi pertains to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission. Burundi and Rwanda appear highly likely to become their own mission in the foreseeable future given strong receptivity to the Latter-day Saint gospel message and recent periods of rapid membership growth.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2021

    Church Enters Northern Benin - First Member Group Organized

    The Church's meetinghouse locator website indicates that a chapel now operates in the northern Benin city of Parakou. Scores of individuals in Parakou have had significant interest in the Church's unofficial French Facebook. Parakou is the Church's first city in northern Benin to have a member group organized. Parakou is the third most populous city in Benin with approximately one-quarter of a million inhabitants.

    Sunday, August 1, 2021

    July 2021 Newsletter

     Click here to access our July 2021 newsletter for cumorah.com.

    Sunday, July 25, 2021

    New Stake in the Philippines

    Today, the Church in the Philippines organized a new stake in southern Luzon. The Sipocot Philippines Stake was organized from the Pamplona Philippines District (organized in 2000). The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Libmanan, Lubigan, Pamplona, Pasacao, and Sipocot Wards, and the Del Gallego and Ragay Branches. Most of the congregations in the new stake are Bikolano speaking. The Pamplona Philippines District pertained to the Philippines Naga Mission prior to the creation of the new stake. Now, only stakes operate within the Philippines Naga Mission. Naga appears one of the most likely locations in the Philippines to have a future temple announced given the nearest temple is in the Manila metropolitan area. A future temple in Naga could service seven stakes and six districts in southern Luzon and Masbate, and it appears likely that two of the stakes may divided soon due to a large number of wards. It is unclear whether any of the five districts in southern Luzon appear likely to become stakes soon.

    There are now 123 stakes and 56 districts in the Philippines.

    Sunday, July 18, 2021

    New Stakes Created in the Philippines (4), Utah (2), Brazil, Cabo Verde, the DR Congo, Finland, Michigan, and Nigeria; New District Created in Brazil; District Reinstated in Canada; Stakes Discontinued in Japan (3) and California (2); Districts Discontinued in Brazil and Moldova

    I apologize for the delay with updates on stake/district organizations and discontinuations. I am optimistic that I will been more consistent with these updates in the weeks and months ahead.

    The Philippines 

    The Church has organized four new stakes in the Philippines.

    The Marikina Philippines East Stake was organized on May 23rd from a division of the Antipolo Philippines Stake and the Marikina Philippines Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Bagong Nayon, Cogeo, Marikina 6th, Sumulong 1st, and Sumulong 2nd Wards. 

    The Cauayan Philippines Stake was organized on May 30th from the Cauayan Philippines District. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Cabatuan, Cauayan Isabela 1st, Cauayan Isabela 2nd, Cauayan Isabela 3rd, and San Mateo Wards, and the Naguilian and Victoria Branches. The original Cauayan Philippines District was organized in 1996.

    The Vigan Philippines Stake was organized from the Vigan Philippines District on June 13th. All five branches in the former district were reorganized into wards, including the Cabugao, Santo Domingo, Sinait, Vigan 1st, and Vigan 2nd Wards. The Vigan Philippines District was originally organized in 2002 from a division of the Narvacan Philippines Stake (which was later renamed the Candon Philippines Stake). 

    The Tagum Philippines Stake was organized from the Tagum Philippines District on June 27th. Five of the six branches in the former district were reorganized into wards. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Maco, Tagum 1st, Tagum 2nd, Tagum 3rd, and Tagum 4th Wards, and the Kapalong Branch. The original Tagum Philippines District was organized in 1993. The new stake is the Church's third stake in the Philippines Butuan Mission - a mission in the Philippines (organized in 2006) which had only one stake until 2018. There remain six districts in the Philippines Butuan Mission.

    There are now 122 stakes and 57 districts in the Philippines. Despite significant progress with dozens of districts becoming stakes in the past decade, the Philippines continues to have the most districts of any country in the Church. Brazil is the country with the second most districts at 39.

    Utah

    The Church has organized two new stakes in Utah on June 6th.

    The Heber City Utah Old Mill Stake was organized from a division of the Heber City Utah Stake, the Heber City Utah East Stake, and the Heber City Utah North Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards and one branch: the Cobblestone, Heber 3rd, Heber 4th, Heber 7th, Heber 15th, Old Mill 1st, Old Mill 2nd, and Old Mill 3rd Wards, and the Heber 13th (Spanish) Branch. There are now six stakes in Wasatch County.

    The Hyrum Utah West Stake was organized from a division of the Hyrum Utah Stake and the Hyrum Utah North Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Hyrum 1st, Hyrum 3rd, Hyrum 5th, Hyrum 6th, Hyrum 10th, Hyrum 11th, Hyrum 13th, and Little Bear Wards. There are now 38 stakes in Cache County.

    There are now 619 stakes and two districts in Utah.

    Brazil 

    The Church organized a new stake in Brazil on June 6th. The Palhoça Brazil Stake was organized from a division of the São José Brazil Stake. The new stake includes the following four wards and one branch: the Fazenda do Max, Forquilhinhas, Palhoça, and Pedra Branca Wards, and the Santo Amaro Branch. There are now 10 stakes in Santa Catarina State.

    The Church organized a new district in Brazil on May 2nd. The Campo Maior Brazil District was organized from three mission branches in the Brazil Teresina Mission. The new district includes the Campo Maior, Piripiri, and Surubim Branches. Two of the branches in the district (Campo Maior and Surubim) are located in the city of Campo Maior. There are now three stakes and two districts in Piaui State.

    The Church discontinued a district in Brazil. The Ipoméia Brazil District was discontinued and branches that pertained to the former district were reassigned to the Chapecó Brazil Stake and the Lages Brazil Stake. The district was originally organized in 1990 and included five branches when it was discontinued. The district was likely discontinued because it had no realistic prospects to become a stake in the foreseeable future, but there appear to be at least two branches which may become wards now that they are within the boundaries of a stake.

    Cabo Verde

    The Church organized a new stake in Cabo Verde on June 6th. The Assomada Cape Verde Stake was organized from the Assomada Cape Verde District (organized in 2015) and the Praia Cape Verde Stake (organized in 2012). The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Achada Grande, Achada Mato, Assomada 1st, Assomada 2nd, Praia 2nd, and Tarrafal Wards, and the Calheta, Pedra Badejo, and Ribeirão Manuel Branches. The Church discontinued one branch (Chão Bom) in the district as part of the organization of the new stake in order for one of the units to be large enough to become a ward (Tarrafal). 

    There are now four stakes and one district in Cabo Verde.

    DR Congo

    A new stake was organized in the DR Congo on July 4th. The Kikula Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake was organized from a division of the Likasi Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (organized in 2016). The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Kakanda, Kakontwe 1st, Kakontwe 2nd, Kelangile, Kikula 1st, and Kikula 2nd Wards, and the Dipeta, Fungurume, and Kambove Branches. The new stake primarily consists of congregations in the western half of the city of Kikula, albeit the new stake also includes congregations in three additional cities (Fungurume, Kakanda, and Kambove). 

    There are now 24 stakes and 6 districts in the DR Congo.

    Finland 

    The Church organized its first new stake in Finland since 1983. The Jyväskylä Finland Stake was organized from three districts and two wards from neighboring stakes in southern Finland on May 16th. Of the five wards in the new stake, three were organized from branches in the former districts. Use of technology and steady or increasing numbers of active members in northern Finland appear primarily responsible for the creation of the new stake. The Church in Finland has one of the highest member activity rates in the developed world (as high as 50% attending Church regularly, 66% of Church-reported membership self-affiliated on the census in 2015) which is attested by the Church operating three stakes in the country even though there are slightly less than 5,000 members on the records. However, the Church closed two branches as part of the new stake’s creation—a significant negative development considering the last time the Church had discontinued a congregation in Finland was in 2006. Nevertheless, the Church in Finland has roughly maintained the same number of congregations in Finland (approximately 30) for decades, whereas the Church in most European nations has experienced a significant consolidation of wards and branches since 2000.

    Michigan 

    The Church organized a new stake in Michigan - the first time a new stake has been organized in Michigan since the Kalamazoo Michigan Stake was created in 1979. The new stake was organized on May 23rd from the Ann Arbor Michigan Stake, the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake, and the Westland Michigan Stake, and it includes the following six wards: the Commerce, Farmington Hills, Howell, Livonia, Northville, and White Lake Wards. The Church in Michigan has experienced stagnant congregational growth and extremely slow membership growth in recent years. The creation of the stake was unusual given that none of the stakes in the Detroit area were large and ready to divide prior to the creation of the new stake. However, on rare occasions the Church has organized new stakes in such situations which has appeared prompted by efforts to provide more leadership mentoring and a lower ratio of members to Church leaders. 

    There are now nine stakes and one district in Michigan.

    Nigeria 

    The Church organized a new stake in Nigeria. The Ijebu-Ode Nigeria Stake was organized on May 30th from the Ijebu-Ode Nigeria District (organized in 1993). The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Ilese, Imodi, Imushin, Irewon, Isoku, and Sagamu Wards, and the Ago-Iwoye, Igbeba, and Ijebu-Ife Branches. Of the congregations assigned to the new stake, two units were created at the same time the stake was organized (the Imushin Ward and the Igbeba Branch). 

    There are now 61 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria.

    Canada 

    The Church reinstated a district in Canada. The Québec City District was reinstated (originally organized in 1977), and the district was organized from a division of the Longueuil Quebec Stake. Information of the Church's official meetinghouse locator website appears to remain incomplete on which branches are assigned to the reinstated district. However, there are likely at least seven branches assigned to the district (Alma, Charlesbourg, Chicoutimi, Lévis, Québec, Rimouski, and Victoriaville).

    There are now three stakes and one district in Québec, and there are now 52 stakes and five districts in Canada.

    Japan 

    The Church discontinued three stakes in Japan. The Church discontinued the Fujisawa Japan Stake (organized in 1998), the Musashino Japan Stake (organized in 1982), and the Saitama Japan Stake (organized in 1977). Approximately half a dozen congregations closed at approximately the same time as the discontinuation of these three stakes. All three of the stakes were located in the Tokyo metropolitan area and each had six wards (and the Fujisawa Japan Stake also had one branch as well). The Church in Japan has gradually consolidated congregations in the Tokyo metropolitan area over the past two decades, and the decision to discontinue the stakes was likely prompted due to an insufficient number of congregations to continue to operate the status quo number of stakes in the area. The Church in Japan reached an all-time high of 31 stakes in 2000. With the closure of the three stakes, there are now 25 stakes and 13 districts in Japan. Annual membership growth rates in Japan have been less than one percent since 2003.

    California

    The Church discontinued two stakes in California. The San Diego California North Stake (organized in 1969) and the Santee California Stake (organized in 1985) were discontinued, and remaining congregations in these stakes were reassigned to neighboring stakes. These changes resulted in the number of stakes in the San Diego area decreasing from six to four. Decades of active membership leaving the area combined with an insufficient number of converts joining the Church or members moving to the area to offset these loses has been principally responsible for this decline. The Church most recently had discontinued the San Diego Sweetwater Stake in 2016. 

    There are now 149 stakes in California. The Church in California reported an all-time high of 162 stakes in 1995.

    Moldova

    The Church discontinued its sole district in Moldova. The Chisinau Moldova District (originally organized in 2009) was discontinued, and the Balti and Orhei Branches were also closed. There remain only two branches in Moldova - both of which are located in Chisinau. The Church in Moldova has reported very slow growth since its initial establishment in the late 1990s. There were 430 members on Church records in Moldova as of year-end 2019.

    Friday, July 9, 2021

    New Mission In Tonga - Update

    The Church's New Zealand Newsroom website posted the following statement about the creation of the Tonga Outer Islands Mission:

    The Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will divide into two missions for approximately one year.

    This is to enable local missionaries to serve while overseas assignments are not possible due to the pandemic.

    Saturday, July 3, 2021

    June 2021 Newsletter

    Click here to access the June 2021 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.