Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dependent Branches and Groups

Something I have neglected to write about in this blog are the existence of what are called dependent branches. In the Church we are familiar with the terms wards and branches. Wards typically have around 100-400 people attend each Sunday and must be a part of a stake (which usually have 5-12 wards or branches). To be a ward, there needs to be a certain number of active members and active Melchizedek Priesthood holders. Branches can be a part of a stake, district, or under the direction of the mission president in the area and usually have fewer than 100 people attend Church meetings on Sundays.

Dependent branches function like groups. They are attached to another branch or ward to which they report to. These dependent branches' locations are not provided on Church websites and are often very dynamic to fit the needs of members in the area which they live. Dependent branches can be found all over the world, even in the United States. For example, I live in the Denver area and before the Monte Vista (Spanish) Ward was created earlier this year in the Denver Colorado North Stake, it meet as a dependent branch to a ward in the stake. As for how dependent branches and groups differ, I do not completely know except groups tend to be smaller and can report directly to a mission or area presidency instead of a branch or ward which the group may be attached to. Dependent branches also have a branch president with two counselors, whereas groups just have a group leader.

Sometimes dependent branches and groups are jokingly referred to as "twigs" by those in the Church since they are very small. I believe all the new branches organized in Hungary in the past year are actually dependent branches since I cannot find any information about them from Church websites. These new Hungarian branches were in cities such as Békéscsaba and Kaposvár and had around 30-40 people attending each Sunday. I recently found out about a dependent branch organized in Butterworth, Malaysia and groups organized in Kosi Bay, South Africa and the western half of the city Douala in Cameroon. Since I am on the topic of Cameroon, a third branch will be created soon in Youande, Cameroon as well.

Lastly, I just wanted to emphasize that dependent branches and groups are very important for the Church's establishment in areas in has not yet existed.

New District in Nigeria

Last month a new district of the Church was created in Nigeria. The Ibiono Nigeria District was likely created from at least three or four mission branches around the Nigerian city of Ikot-Ekpene. These branches have existed for sometime (at least five or six years) in cities such as Ikot-Ekpene and Ono. There are now 16 stakes and 15 districts in Nigeria.

The new Ibiono Nigeria District was created in the part of the country where the Church is the strongest. There are 11 stakes and three other districts within 50 miles of the new district. It is likely more districts and stakes will be created in this very Christian region of the country, where the Aba Nigeria Temple is also located, in the coming years considering the high activity and steady growth of the Church there.

It is also likely a new stake or two could be created in Benin City. The first stake in Benin City was created in 1993 and last year the third stake in the city was organized. The three stakes continue to grow rapidly in terms of congregations. The Church has a very limited presence or is non-existent in the areas outside of the city to the north, south, and west. For instance, the city of Sapele 30 miles to the south has over 100,000 inhabitants without a congregation of the Church.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stakes in the United States Likely to Split Soon

Below I have an updated list of stakes in the United States which could possibly split soon due to the large number of wards (large congregations) within them. An old version of this list from last April can be found here. When multiple stakes are listed on the same line, this indicates that it is likely one new stake could be created from them.

In order for new stakes to be created, there has to be enough active members, which makes the increase in new stakes a good indicator for Church growth.

Huntsville Alabama Stake (13 wards)
Flagstaff Arizona (12 wards, 3 branches)
Prescott Arizona (13 wards, 2 branches)
Tuscon Arizona North and Rincon Stakes (12 wards each)
Rocklin California Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
Arapahoe and Parker Colorado Stakes (12 wards each)
Denver North Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
Greeley Colorado Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)

Meeker Colorado Stake (11 wards, 3 branches)
Fort Myers, Brandon, Tampa, and Lakeland Florida Stakes (38 wards, 12 branches)
Chubbuck Idaho Stake (12 wards)
Eagle Idaho Stake (12 wards)
Kuna Idaho Stake (13 wards)
Preston Idaho North Stake (12 wards, 3 branches)

Rigby Idaho Stake and Rigby Idaho East Stake (22 wards, 2 branches)
Louisville Kentucky Stake (11 wards, 5 branches)
Cambridge Massachusetts (11 wards, 3 branches)
Traverse City Michigan District* (10 branches)

Burnsville Minnesota Stake (10 wards, 4 branches)
Kearney Nebraska Stake (8 wards, 8 branches)
Omaha Nebraska Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
New York New York Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
Keizer Oregon Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
Colleyville Texas Stake (13 wards)
Dallas Texas East Stake (12 wards)

Houston Texas West (Spanish) Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
Richardson Texas Stake (13 wards)

Round Rock Texas Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
Eagle Mountain Utah (35 wards in 3 stakes)
Farr West Utah Stake (12 wards)
Fort Herriman Utah Stake (14 wards)
Kanesville Utah Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
La Verkin Utah Stake (12 wards)
Lehi Utah North Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
North Salt Lake Utah Parkway Stake (13 wards, 2 branches)
Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
Providence Utah (25 wards and 1 branch in 2 stakes)

Salt Lake Utah (Tongan) Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
Santa Clara Utah Stake (15 wards)
Saratoga Springs Utah Stake (14 wards)

Saratoga Springs Utah North Stake (13 wards)
Smithfield Utah (22 wards and 1 branch in 2 stakes)
Spanish Fork South Stake (13 wards)
Buena Vista Virginia Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
Pasco Washington Stake (12 wards, 4 branches)
Tacoma Washington Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
Madison Wisconsin Stake (8 wards, 7 branches)
Laramie Wyoming stake (12 wards)

Monday, December 15, 2008

One Year of Blogging

It has been a year ago from today that I began this blog. A lot of very exciting things have happened since then. Nine new temples have been announced, around 30 new stakes organized, and dozens of cities opened to the preaching of the Gospel. Membership growth and the rate of new congregations created has slowed in 2008 as far as I know, but I look forward to 2009 and hope that the Church will strengthen throughout the world. If there are any subjects you would like me to cover concerning the growth or the demographics of the Church, please offer your suggestions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Temple Announced in Trujillo, Peru

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has announced a second temple in Peru, located in Trujillo. The temple announcement does not come as a huge surprise considering there are 87 stakes and 24 districts in Peru serving over 450,000 members. The Lima Temple is one of the smallest in the Church, with less than 10,000 square feet. The temple site has already been identified as a piece of land which is currently occupied by a meetinghouse. The city of Trujillo has seven stakes, but the temple will likely be closer to members residing in the following 25 stakes and eight districts:

Stakes likely to be served by new temple with date of creation:

Cajamarca Perú - 1996
Chiclayo Perú - 1980
Chiclayo Perú Central - 1985
Chiclayo Perú El Dorado - 1991
Chiclayo Perú La Victoria - 1996
Chiclayo Perú Latina - 1995
Chimbote Perú - 1980
Chimbote Perú South - 1991
Iquitos Perú - 1980
Iquitos Perú Nueve de Octubre - 1995
Iquitos Perú Punchana - 1992
Jaén Perú - 2007
Piura Perú Castilla - 1990
Piura Perú Central - 1983
Piura Perú Miraflores - 1996
Pomalca Perú - 2007
Sullana Perú - 2007
Trujillo Perú Central - 1994
Trujillo Perú East - 1991
Trujillo Perú Esperanza - 1998
Trujillo Perú Laureles - 1998
Trujillo Perú Palermo - 1984
Trujillo Perú Porvenir - 1998
Trujillo Perú Primavera - 1978
Tumbes Perú - 2007

Districts likely to be served by new temple with date of creation:

Casa Grande Perú
Guadalupe Perú La Libertad
Huaraz Perú
Moyobamba Perú
Talara Perú
Tarapoto Perú
Tarma Perú
Virú Perú

This brings the total number of temples announced, under construction or operating to 146.

Another new temple I think is likely to be announced soon is in Arequipa, Peru. A temple constructed in Arequipa could potentially serve 14 stakes and eight districts. For further information about potential new temples I think are likely, follow this link.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Three New Stakes Created in Brazil

In the past couple weeks, more new stakes have been created in Brazil. This brings the total number of stakes to 223 in the country. Below is a list of the new stakes created
  • - The Fortaleza Brazil Messejana Stake was created from a division of the Fortaleza Brazil East Stake. The Fortaleza Brazil East Stake has seen very strong growth in the past few years and was created in 2005 with five wards. There are now 12 stakes in the metropolitan area of Fortaleza and I think it is extremely likely a new temple will be announced in the city, especially considering a new stake has been added each year for the past four years. The first stake in the city was organized in 1981.
  • - The Imperatriz Brazil Stake was created from the Imperatriz Brazil District. This stake becomes the second in the Brazilian state of Maranhao, which now has no districts and a population of over six million. Imperatriz became a district in 1995.
  • - The São Paulo Brazil Casa Grande Stake was likely created from the Diadema Brazil Stake and possibly another nearby stake. There are now 36 stakes in the São Paulo metropolitan area (if I counted right) and 28 with the city of São Paulo in their name.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Strength and Size of the Church in Different Mexican States

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claims 1,121,933 members residing in 212 stakes, 41 districts, and about 2,000 congregations in Mexico. With around 107 million inhabitants, this works out to around 1.05 % or 1 out of every 95 Mexicans belonging to the Church. Mexico has the second largest membership of the Church, after the United States.

If you look at the Church in the United States, you will find areas where the percentage of members in the population is substantially high (~70% in Utah) to areas where it is quite low (a third of a percent in Rhode Island). Overall, the United States is around 2% LDS.

The Church does not publish statistics on membership for each of the states in Mexico. To calculate the strength and size of the Church in different Mexican states, I have divided the population of the state by the number of stakes and districts (which I count as half a stake). Although this method is not perfect, it gives us an idea as to where members of the Church make up a larger percentage versus a smaller percentage of the population in Mexico. In other words, the smaller the number of people per stake, the greater the percentage of members in the Church.

The state with the highest percentage of members in Mexico (calculated from the aforementioned method) is Yucatan, with 225,000 people per stake. Yucatan is obviously located on the Yucatan Pennisula, the capital city being Merida. The states with the lowest percentage of members are Michoacan (1,329,000 people per stake) and Guanajuato (1,223,000 people per stake). Both Michoacan and Guanajuato are between Mexico City and Guadalajara.

Below is a list of the different Mexican states and the population per stake.

Quintana Roo
Mexico State
Baja California
Nuevo León
Baja California Sur
San Luis Potosí

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Stake In Nevada

A new stake was created last Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Nevada Elkhorn Springs Stake was created from a division of the Las Vegas Nevada Tule Springs Stake (which had 13 wards). This brings the total number of stakes in Nevada to 35.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Branches In Mexico

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this post that would be more engaging, but oh well. Recently three out of the 10 cities with the most inhabitants without a congregation of the Church in Mexico now have branches in them. The cities are, with their population:
  • Tlapa de Comonfort (pop:38,000)
  • Zapotlanejo (pop: 30,200)
  • Chilapa de Alvarez (pop: 27,500)

Tlapa and Chilapa are both in the Mexican state of Guerrero and Zapotlanejo is in Jalisco. The remaining seven cities with the most inhabitants without a congregation are all located in the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Durango.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another New Stake in Brazil, Stake Dissolved in Guatemala

Last Sunday another new stake was created in Brazil. The Canoas Brazil North Stake was created most likely from a division of the Canoas Stake (which has had over 10 wards for quite some time). This brings the total number of stakes in Brazil up to 220.

Furthermore, I wanted to note that the Mazatenango Guatemala East Stake was dissolved last May. The two stakes in the city each had five wards or so and were combined to created a stronger stake.

I also noticed that the Ahuachapan El Salvador Stake was taken off of the Church's temple district listings. I find it hard to believe that the stake was dissolved because it had seven wards and a few branches up until recently from what I have heard. If anyone can confirm the stake's continued functioning or dissolution, it would be appreciated. I imagine that this a technical error, especially considering that the Chimaltenango Guatemala Stake is listed twice (and is about the same size as the Ahuachapan El Salvador Stake).

The number of wards in El Salvador has increased by 10 or so in the past couple years, a significant gain compared to the previous five years. One of the stakes in the western region of the country is also close to splitting, doubling in size in the past five years. With a temple under construction that was announced only a year ago, the Church in El Salvador has definitely strengthened in the past decade, with 100,000 members today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Stake In Brazil

A new stake has been created in São Paulo, Brazil. The São Paulo Brazil Jaraguá Stake was created last month, likely from the São Paulo Brazil Pirituba Stake. The new stake becomes São Paulo's 27th stake and the first new stake created in Brazil this year.

I made a post about the Imperatriz Brazil District becoming a stake. As far as I know the district has not become a stake and I will make a post if it does turn into a stake.

Northern Brazil

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Southern Brazil

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

City Opens For Missionary Work In Uganda

Missionaries report that the city of Mbale, Uganda was just opened for missionary work. Mbale is the city with the second most inhabitants that did not have missionaries or a branch in it, located near the border with Kenya. Although no branch has been established in the city, there are hopes one will be soon once any members can be located who live in the city or by means of converts.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Stake in Mexico

A new stake was created last Sunday in Mexico City. The Coalcalco Mexico Stake was created from the Mexico City Ecatepec Stake, which was quite large. There are now 47 stakes in Mexico City (Distrito Federal and Estado de Mexico) and 80 stakes in the Mexico City Temple District.

Below are maps of the stakes and districts of Mexico.

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Mexico City

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Recent Church Growth News and Potential Mexican Temples

New stake in Brazil

According to a missionary serving in the Brazil Belem Mission, the Imperatriz Brazil District has become or will shortly be made into a stake. The Stake will consist of five wards located in the Brazilian state of Maranhão. Only one stake has existed in this state in São Luís, which is one of the poorest in Brazil. This stake is the only stake (so far) this year that has been created in Brazil. If anyone can please validate that a stake has been created in Imperatriz, I would appreciate it (the Church's temple district listings still list it as a district in the Sao Paolo Brazil Temple District).

Record Number of baptisms in Trinidad and Tobago and portions of Brazil and Argentina

Missionaries have reported that the West Indies Mission will surpass its highest baptizing month. As of last Sunday, there have been 211 baptisms and confirmations. In Brazil and Argentina, at least a couple missions have set new records for baptisms. This is good news and hopefully we will also see an increase in new congregations in these areas in the coming year or two.

Strong missionary activity in East Malaysia

The city of Sibu, East Malaysia recently had over 50 investigators attend Church meetings, dozens of whom have slated baptismal dates. There are plans next year to divided the branch into three branches. This will make Sibu a likely candidate for a district forming in the coming year or two. Six young elders serve in the city.

President Monson prophesies of additional temples in Mexico

On his trip to rededicate the Mexico City Mexico Temple after extensive renovations, President Monson spoke concerning the building of temples in Mexico.
After rededicating the temple, President Monson spoke of his love for the
Mexican people. The church will continue to grow here, he said — and so will
temple building efforts in Mexico.
"There will be more," he said.

I found it exciting that he made such a prophesy in a country with 12 temples currently operating. Mexico is the country with the second most temples after the United States (which now has 70 temples announced, under construction, or operating). Brazil, with the third most members after the U.S. and Mexico, only has six temples announced, under construction or operating and more stakes than Mexico (but Mexico has the second most congregations with almost 2,000).

So now the big question: Where will future temples in Mexico likely be built? Below is a list of potential Mexican temples, with the number of stakes and districts they could serve.

  • Aguascalientes Mexico (7 stakes, 1 district)
  • Cuautla Mexico (11 stakes, 3 districts)
  • Culiacan Mexico (7 stakes, 3 districts)
  • Puebla Mexico (12 stakes)
  • Reynosa Mexico* (7 stakes, 1 district)
  • Tijuana Mexico (9 stakes, 1 district)
  • Torreon Mexico (7 stakes, 3 districts)

*Indicates some of the stakes in potential temple district would be in the United States

These cities seem most likely to receive a temple because each has had stakes for a couple decades, are far enough away from another pre-existing temple, and often have stakes which grow quickly or are close to dividing. Other cities which could be potential candidates are Chihuahua and Juchitan, but a temple in either of these locations would serve less than five stakes.

I added Tijuana as well considering it is difficult for members to cross the border into the U.S. and attend the temple in San Diego. I appreciate a fellow blogger pointing out the possibility of a temple in this Mexican city.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Branch Created In The Most Populous Indian State

The first branch of the Church was recently created in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the city of Noida. This is a significant development for the Church in India because Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in the country with over 190 million inhabitants. Noida is less than five miles away from the border of Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, which makes this a little less impressive, but nonetheless marks a big step towards the Church being established in Uttar Pradesh. The New Delhi India District now has five branches with the creation of this branch. The population of Noida is around 300,000 and missionaries serve in the city.

There are at least a couple groups also in the India New Delhi Mission, one of which is in Rajastan.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stake and District Maps

Recently I discovered how I can use to create maps of the stakes and districts of the Church from around the world. I am in the process of creating these maps, and I will post them on this blog once they are completed. Once again, yellow and green markers indicate stakes and districts respectfully.

It might take a few seconds for the maps to come up with the markers.

Central America (excluding Guatemala)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Stake in Idaho

Another new stake was created last Sunday in Ammon, Idaho. The Ammon Idaho North Stake was created from a division of the two existing stakes in Ammon. I wanted to thank one of the readers of this blog for this information. There have been four stakes organized in Idaho this year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Stake in Idaho

A new stake was recently created in Rexburg, Idaho. The Rexburg Idaho Henry's Fork Stake was created on November 2nd from the Rexburg Idaho North and Sugar City Idaho Stakes. There are eight wards in the new stake. There have been 17 new stakes organized in the United States this year and an additional 10 outside the United States.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Non-African Missionaries Return to the Ivory Coast

This past summer, the countries of Benin and Togo were transferred from the Ghana Cape Coast Mission to the Abidjan Ivory Coast Mission. Furthermore, with the mission re-alignment, non-African missionaries are now being called to serve in the Ivory Coast. Non-African missionaries left the country four years ago and have not returned since due to civil war and instability in the government. The growth of the Church has been consistent and strong in the Ivory Coast, with membership growth rates varying between 8 and 14% since 2000. The first stake was organized in the capital back in 1997 and two more stakes were organized in 2000 and 2006. Within the past couple years, several cities had branches formed in them (like Divo and San Pedro). It seems likely that a district will be organized in Yamoussoukro, considering there are now a few branches in the city.

There are around 12,500 members in the country and five cities with over 100,000 inhabitants without a branch or missionaries.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Potential Districts

Last winter I made a list of potential new districts which might be organized in the near future. I wanted to update that list and you can find the different districts which I think are likely to be created in the coming months and years. Also, I wanted to mention that 13 new districts have been created this year.


  • -Yamoussoukro Cote D'Ivoire
  • - Lome Togo
  • - Ikot Ekpene Nigeria
  • - Ogwashi-uku Nigeria
  • - Yaounde Cameroon
  • - Addis Ababa Ethiopia
  • - Eldoret Kenya
  • - Kilunga Hills Kenya
  • - Mombasa Kenya
  • - Mbuji-Mayi Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • - Pointe-Noire Republic of Congo
  • - Marromeau Mozambique
  • - Bloemfontein South Africa
  • - Windhoek Namibia
  • - Luanda Angola
  • - Blantyre Malawi
  • - George South Africa
  • - Polokwane South Africa
  • - Queenstown South Africa
  • - Toamasina (Tamatave) Madagascar


  • - Chennai India
  • - Coimbatore India
  • - Rajahmundry India


  • - Krasnodar Russia
  • - Nizhny Novgorod Russia
  • - Ulan-Ude Russia
  • - Vladivostok Russia
  • - Voronezh Russia
  • - Lviv Ukraine
  • - Simferopol Ukraine
  • - Athens Greece


  • - Abasolo Mexico
  • - Escarega Mexico
  • - Zaragoza Mexico


  • - Bluefields Nicaragua
  • - Jacmel Haiti

Districts Close to Stakehood

In the past month or so, there have been a number of districts (which are administered to by the Mission President of the area) that are close to stakehood or who are trying their hardest to become a stake by the end of the year or in the next couple years. According to several missionary blogs, in order for a district to qualify to become a stake there needs to be at least 99 active elders who are also full tithe-payers. There also needs to be a least 1,900 members. I do not know if this is the standard for everywhere in the world or of this is completely correct, but it made sense to me when I heard it considering there has not been a stake created with less than 1,900 members in it to my knowledge. It also made sense to me because with 99 elders, there would be an entire elders quorum (which can be up to 96 elders...see Doctrine and Covenants 107) plus three additional elders for the Presidency.

As for these districts which are trying their best to fit the criteria for a stake, here is a list of a few of them.

  • -The Tirana Albania District has a goal of becoming the first stake in southeastern Europe in the next three years. There are currently almost enough members for a stake, but activity levels are too low right now. One of the major goals of this district is to increase member activity as well as active, full tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
  • -As mentioned in an earlier post, the Santa Marta Colombia District is applying for stakehood. Pray that the members in the area will qualify for a stake of Zion. This is a plead from a missionary currently serving in the city.
  • -The Ulaanbaatar Mongolia District is currently working with trying to re-activate less active or inactive returned missionaries. An article in the Ensign from several months ago stated that one of the big obstacles in Mongolia is that the majority of the members are single (70%) and young. There are 10 branches in the district.
  • -I have repeatedly mentioned how the Port-of-Spain Trinidad and Georgetown Guyana Districts are really focusing on becoming stakes. Things are looking good for them right now and hopefully the members can fulfill the final necessary requirements.
  • -The Planaltina Brazil District was recently created and is also trying its hardest toward becoming a stake in the near future. Missionaries and Church leaders are particularly focusing on increasing active Melchizedek Priesthood holders. There has also been a lot of talk about a potential temple in Brasilia, to which Planaltina is a suburb of.
  • -The Colima Mexico District is also trying its hardest to becoming a stake by the end of the year. It seems more likely that it will be made into a stake next year and missionaries and primarily working to increase active, full tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
  • -The Phnom Penh Cambodia North and the Phnom Penh Cambodia South Districts are preparing their branches toward becoming wards. Cambodia is the country with the second most members without a stake.

If you wish to provide information about other districts close to becoming stakes or have any corrections to what I have said, feel free to leave a comment.

City Opens For Missionary Work In Ukraine

Within the past couple months, missionaries have begun teaching the Gospel in the city of Zhytomyr, Ukraine. Located around 100-125 miles west of Kyiv, Zhytomyr received its first branch in the city as well. This is a significant development because it has continued the trend of cities opening for missionary work in Eastern Europe. Zhytomyr was also the city in Ukraine with the second most inhabitants without a branch or missionaries in the city (population 278,000). It is exciting to see this city open for missionary work and now 16 cities in Ukraine with over 100,000 inhabitants do not have a branch or missionaries. Other cities which have recently opened for missionary work in Ukraine include Khmel'nyts'kyy and Kremenchuk. Kremenchuk has not had a branch in the city yet considering there are less than 10 members who are active in the city.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Districts Dissolved in Colombia and Panama

The Pitalito Colombia and Puerto Armuelles Panama Districts were recently dissolved. The district in Pitalito, Colombia had four branches in it back in 2001 and the district in Puerto Armuelles, Panama had three branches back in 2002. It is likely that both districts were absorbed into other districts in the surrounding area. The growth of the Church has slowed substantially in both locations. A stake was dissolved in Cali, Colombia earlier this year. In Panama, we have seen many branches being combined, especially in the western half of the country. Baptisms in Panama did increase during 2007 compared to the last several years. Colombia is experiencing growth in the north part of the country, and the district in Santa Marta put in paperwork to Church Headquarters for becoming a stake, hopefully before the end of the year. As for potential stakes in Panama, the Alcade Diaz Panama District would seem as the most likely since it comprises many branches outside Panama City.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Future Membership Growth

Last Saturday I gave a presentation to CES employees and seminary teachers in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming about the growth of the Church. One of the teachers attending asked if there are any places in the world where we might see the kind of dramatic growth that we saw in the 1980s and 1990s in Latin America and the Philippines. This is a very difficult question to answer because membership growth rates can fluctuate drastically. However I wanted to take some time to address this question and to start I will review some of the growth that occurred in the past 25 years. The countries listed in Table 2 all will have over 100,000 members of the Church by 2010. I also provide projected membership for each of these countries until 2040. If you click on the table, it will open in a new window and be easier to read.

You can see some amazing growth has occurred in these countries since 1980. The Dominican Republic went from just 1,000 members to over 100,000 members in 2006. Membership in Brazil and Peru increased by a factor of 10. Membership in the United States has also doubled in the past 25 years. It is likely that we will find the bulk of the future growth of the Church in these 19 countries.

There are areas of the world which have high potential to experience strong growth in the next 20 years. These countries are in Africa, South America, and Asia. These are listed in Table 1.
These growth projections are based on how membership in countries which have over 100,000 members behaved when their memberships were smaller as well as their growth rates for the past eight years. I believe that these projections provide an accurate view of what the distribution of Church membership will look like in the coming decades with the exception of Paraguay and Malaysia. I imagine membership growth in Paraguay will slow in the coming years considering 1% of the population is already a member of the Church and Latin American countries tend to grow much slower once around 1-2% of the population is converted. As for Malaysia, there is always the possibility that membership could reach over half a million in the next 20-30 years, but unlikely considering the vast majority of the rapid growth the Church is experiencing there is due to immigrants and the native peoples on the island of Borneo joining the Church.

The most likely countries that we will see strong membership (and congregation) growth are mainly Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana. These countries resemble the growth seen in South America in the 1980s the most (even though it is not quite a strong as it was then).

Table 1

Table 2

Thursday, November 6, 2008

City Opens For Missionary Work In Slovenia

According to a missionary serving in the Slovenia Ljubiana Mission, the city of Novo Mesto now has missionaries serving in it. The population of the city is around 21,000 and was the city with the fourth most inhabitants without missionaries or a branch in the country. Currently there are three other branches functioning in the country and around 350 members. The Church has recently received much more exposure due to a recently completed chapel in the capital.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

District Created in Papua New Guinea

A new district was recently created in Rigo, Papua New Guinea. The district comprises several branches in the area and is about 40 miles southeast of the capital, Port Moresby. Several mission branches have existed in the area for quite some time and are finally incorporated into a district. Two districts were recently dissolved in Papua New Guinea, one being in the Capital city and the other in Isumo (which is near Daru). There are currently 7 districts and one stake in the country.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Branch in Guyana

Another new branch was recently created in Parika, Guyana. The city was opened to missionary work last May and the branch was created earlier this month. Parika is about 20-30 miles west of the capital of Georgetown. There are now at least 15 branches in Guyana.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New District in Peru

A new district of the Church was recently created in Huancavelica Perú. This is the first district of the Church to ever be created in the Huancavelica province. There was originally only one branch in the city that reported to the Peru Lima East Mission until recently. There are three branches in the city/province today. This is exciting considering that few districts of the Church are created nowadays in Latin America. Oftentimes the creation of districts signify growth in areas in which there has not been growth before. There are now 24 districts and 87 stakes in the country.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Stakes in Utah

Yesterday at least two new stakes were created in Utah. The South Jordan Daybreak Stake (had 14 wards and a branch) was split as well as the Pleasant View Utah Stake (had 15 wards). There might have been another stake created as well.

This brings the total number of stakes created in Utah this year to at least seven.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

First Branch(es) created in Sudan

According to several missionaries serving in the Uganda Kampala Mission, at least one branch has been established in Sudan. It is likely near the city of Wau, where six or seven unofficial congregations are meeting in the name of the Church. The Mission President visited the area last July and distributed Church literature to several individuals and gave them the responsibility to teach others about the Gospel. I will provide more information when it becomes available.

Furthermore, Sudan has been officially added to the Uganda Kampala Mission. The other two countries in the mission are Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Stake Created in Mexico

According to an article posted on the Church's official website, a new stake has been created in Mexico. There were 210 stakes in Mexico at the end of 2007 and one stake has been created so far this year in Pachuca. The article states that there are currently 212 stakes, so one stake was recently created. The article is about the Mexico City Mexico Temple being rededicated next month. Here is the link for the article.

I will provide the name of the new stake once in becomes available.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bringing the Temple to the Saints

I wanted to provide an insight into how available temples are to the members of the Church. At the beginning of October of 2008, an interesting statistic was put forth concerning temples and their availability to members of the Church. The following quotation comes from .

The planning and building of temples in the last 27 years has led to a
remarkable statistic. Elder William Walker, with the LDS Temple Department,
said, "Eighty-two percent of the members live within 200 miles of a temple
worldwide, which is essentially within about three hours of ground

This is a pretty impressive number considering 10.8 million of the 13.2 million members of the Church are this close to a temple. However, that still means that nearly 2.4 million members are quite distant from a Temple of the Lord.

I have developed a ratio to provide an insight into how available temples are to the members of the Church. I take the number of stakes in the Church for a given year and divide it by the total number of operating temples for that given year. Larger numbers indicate more stakes are assigned to each temple (usually meaning that members have to travel further to reach that temple). Smaller numbers indicate fewer stakes are assigned to each temple (meaning that members are closer to each temple).

  • 1945 - 19 stakes per temple
  • 1955 - 25 stakes per temple
  • 1965 - 32 stakes per temple
  • 1975 - 46 stakes per temple
  • 1980 - 68 stakes per temple
  • 1985 - 43 stakes per temple
  • 1990 - 41 stakes per temple
  • 1995 - 46 stakes per temple
  • 2000 - 25 stakes per temple
  • 2005 - 22 stakes per temple
  • 2008 - 22 stakes per temple

I am comfortable to say that temples today are as available to the membership of the Church as they were back in 1945. This may sound counter intuitive, but back in 1945 Church membership was almost entirely in the Western United States, where six of the eight temples of the Church were at the time (seven if you count the temple in Cardston Alberta). Today the country with the most members without a temple (Nicaragua) has 60,000 members, or less than 0.5% of total Church membership. This illustrates that the Church has done a terrific job in making temples more available its members.

The 40 or so small, miniature temples built around 10 years ago kind of throw this statistic off a bit. About two-thirds of these temples serve less than 10 stakes and almost all of them are in Mexico or the United States.

Rapid Growth in Madagascar

New Branch

A new branch was recently created in the port city of Toamasina. There are now two branches in the city with a third branch to be created in the coming month or two. This is a signficant development for the Church in Madagascar because Toamasina is the first city outside the capital with more than one congregation.

New Wards and Background Information

There is one stake in Madagscar in the capital city of Antananarivo which was organized back in 2000. The stake has recently grown to nine wards and a few branches (two branches recently became wards in the past couple months). Missionaries serving in the Madagscar Antananarivo Mission stated that the stake will likely be split into two stakes at the beginning of next year. Most missionaries have several baptisms every week.

Madagascar had 4,160 members organized in 15 congregations at the end of 2007. Membership has more than doubled since 2000 and the number of congregations nearly tripled. Missionary activity began in 1991. According to returned missionaries, most of the congregations have at least 100 people attending a week.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Congregations in Trinidad and Pohnpei


Today a new branch was organized in Trinidad in the city of Port Fortin. A group was organized six months ago. There were almost 30 members and investigators in attendance at this historic event. This is the first branch to be created in the southern part of the country. I believe this is the 11th congregation on Trinidad. Still no word on when a stake will be created for the island.


A new branch was recently created on the island. A group was also created in Nett which I believe is on Kosrae. Both of these islands are part of the Micronesia Guam Mission.

New District Created in Pakistan?

The reason why I pose this as a question is because I don't know if the district which is already in Pakistan was just renamed (from Islamabad to Karachi) or this is a new district (which would be the second in the country).

According to the Church's official website for the Hong Kong China Temple District,11217,1915-1-84-2,00.html, the Karachi Pakistan District is now listed. There has been a district functioning in Pakistan since the mid 1990s and has been named the Pakistan District and later the Islamabad Pakistan District. In 2001 five of the six branches at the time where in the northern part of Pakistan and under the name of the Islamabad Pakistan District. The district was listed under the temple district for the Hong Kong China Temple and was removed a couple years ago (as were other Church units in areas of the world which are not so tolerant to the Church). Considering the majority of the branches in Pakistan are in the northern part of the country, the Karachi Pakistan District seems to be a new district created considering the city of Karachi is about 500 miles away from the closest branch in the north. However, as of 2001 only one branch was in the city. Districts have at least two branches. Another bit of information which supports the fact that this could be a new district is that other Church units in other places in the world which were taken off temple district listings a couple years ago were not put back on the temple district lists.

The Church only has Pakistani missionaries in Pakistan and they meet only with Christian Pakistanis. Pakistan is under the recently created India New Delhi Mission.

If anyone has any information about whether this is a new district of the Church, please leave your commit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Updated List of the States in the United States with the Most Members Without a Temple

Membership, stakes and districts, number of congregations, and temple(s) state is assigned to are provided below. The numbers in parenthesis indicate how many stakes and districts area assigned to the temple (stake, district). The list includes all states with over 10,000 members of the Church with no temple within the state.

1. Virginia
  • - 83,225 members
  • - 19 stakes
  • - 183 congregations
  • - Washington DC Temple (19,0)
2. Wyoming
  • - 59,970 members
  • - 16 stakes
  • - 151 congregations
  • - Billings Montana Temple (5,0), Ogden Utah Temple (5,0), Denver Colorado Temple (2,0), Idaho Falls Idaho Temple (2,0), Vernal Utah Temple (2,0)
3. Indiana
  • - 40,139 members
  • - 11 stakes
  • - 96 congregations
  • - Chicago Illinois Temple (4,0), Columbus Ohio Temple (1,0), Louisville Kentucky Temple (6,0)
4. Kansas
  • - 32,116 members
  • - 7 stakes
  • - 74 congregations
  • - Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple (2,0), St. Louis Missouri Temple (2,0), Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple (2,0), Denver Colorado Temple (1,0)
5. New Jersey
  • - 30,280 members
  • - 5 stakes, 1 district
  • - 58 congregations
  • - Manhattan New York Temple (4,1), Washington DC Temple (1,0)
6. Arkansas
  • - 25,296 members
  • - 5 stakes
  • - 56 congregations
  • - Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple (3,0), Memphis Tennessee Temple (2,0)
7. Wisconsin
  • - 23,907 members
  • - 6 stakes
  • - 68 congregations
  • - Chicago Illinois Temple (5,0), St. Paul Minnesota Temple (1,0)
8. Iowa
  • - 23,301 members
  • - 7 stakes
  • - 69 congregations
  • - Nauvoo Illinois Temple (3,0), Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple (4,0)
9. Mississippi
  • - 20,377 members
  • - 4 stakes
  • - 44 congregations
  • - Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple (3,0), Memphis Tennessee Temple (1,0)
10. West Virginia
  • - 16,491 members
  • - 4 stakes
  • - 38 congregations
  • - Washington DC Temple (2,0), Columbus Ohio Temple (1,0), Louisville Kentucky Temple (1,0)
11. Maine
  • - 10,160 members
  • - 2 stakes
  • - 32 congregations
  • - Boston Massachusetts Temple (2,0)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Updated List of the Countries with the Most Members Without a Temple

Membership, stakes and districts, number of congregations, and temple(s) country is assigned to are provided below. The numbers in parenthesis indicate how many stakes and districts are assigned to the temple (stake, district).

1. Nicaragua
  • - 59,886 members
  • - 8 stakes, 6 districts
  • - 90 congregations
  • - Guatemala City Guatemala Temple (8,6)

2. Portugal

  • - 38,100 members
  • - 6 stakes, 4 districts
  • - 75 congregations
  • - Madrid Spain Temple (6,4)

3. France

  • - 34,638 members
  • - 9 stakes, 2 districts
  • - 117 congregations
  • - Bern Switzerland Temple (5,0), Frankfurt Germany Temple (2,2), London England Temple (1,0), Madrid Spain Temple (1,0)
4. Puerto Rico
  • - 19,808 members
  • - 5 stakes, 2 districts
  • - 43 congregations
  • - Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple (5,2)
5. Russia
  • - 19,583 members
  • - 15 districts
  • - 129 congregations
  • - Helsinki Finland Temple (0,15)
6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • - 19,313 members
  • - 5 stakes, 4 districts
  • - 65 congregations
  • - Johannesburg South Africa Temple (5,4)
7. Zimbabwe
  • - 16,969 members
  • - 3 stakes, 2 districts
  • - 45 congregations
  • - Johannesburg South Africa Temple (3,2)
8. Papua New Guinea
  • - 16,060 members
  • - 1 stake, 6 districts
  • - 53 congregations
  • - Sydney Australia Temple (1,6)
9. Thailand
  • - 15,457 members
  • - 1 stake, 5 districts
  • - 39 congregations
  • - Hong Kong China Temple (1,5)
10. American Samoa
  • - 14,514 members
  • - 4 stakes
  • - 36 congregations
  • - Apia Samoa Temple (4,0)

Rome Italy Temple

A temple was announced for Rome, Italy yesterday in General Conference. The new temple has been anxiously awaited by the Italian saints who currently travel to the Bern Switzerland Temple to participate in temple ordinances. The temple might also serve members in countries such as Albania, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus. Isolated members in North Africa will also be closest to this temple. Currently the two districts of the Church in Armenia attend the temple in Switzerland, but I imagine they will be assigned to the Kyiv Ukraine Temple District once the temple is completed.

There are six stakes in Italy, the most recent being organized in Verona earlier this year. There are also seven districts in the country.

On the above map, yellow and green squares indicate wards and branches.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple

Yesterday in General Conference a temple was announced for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Until yesterday, Pennsylvania was the state in the United States with the third most members without a temple (behind Virginia and Wyoming). The temple will likely serve members in the 10 stakes and one district in Pennsylvania as well as the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake and the Wilmington Delaware Stake.

With the announcement of the temples in Philadelphia and Kansas City, there are now 70 temples either currently operating, under construction or announced in the United States.

I think the most likely locations for future temples in the United States include
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Rogers, Arkansas
  • Spanish Fork, Utah
  • Layton, Utah
  • Cedar City, Utah
  • Price, Utah
  • Augusta, Maine

Temples are well established in the United States. We are not likely to see many new temples announced in the future outside of Utah until we start seeing more active membership growth and stake creations.

Temple in the Greater Kansas City Area

A temple was announced for the Kansas City area yesterday in General Conference. The district will likey include nine or 10 stakes in the area. The Church has announced the that property for the temple is secured, but has not indicated if it will be built on one of the previously dedicated temple sites in Missouri or on a new plot of land.

The stakes in the Kansas City area continue to grow. The newest stake was created back in 2004 and the Liberty Missouri Stake has the most congregations out of any stake in the area (nine wards and four branches).

Córdoba Argentina Temple

Announced yesterday in General Conference, the Córdoba Argentina Temple becomes the second temple to be built in the country. Currently there are 70 stakes and 39 districts in the country. The new temple will likely serve around 20 stakes and 10 districts in northern Argentina. This makes Argentina the first Spanish speaking country in South America to have more than one temple. It may come as a surprise considering other Spanish speaking countries in South America have more members than Argentina, like Peru and Chile which have over 440,000 and 540,000 members each but only have one temple. At the end of the year for 2007, there were 363,000 members but the Church reported yesterday that now there are over 375,000.

One of the major differences between Argentina and other Spanish speaking countries in South America is that Argentina has systematically seen growth in new congregations being created (an increase of 50 congregations in the past seven years). Other countries have seen a decline in the number of congregations during this time or a little increase in Church units. The only other countries that are Spanish speaking in South America which have seen a substantial increase in congregations since 2000 is Venezuela and Paraguay.

Returned missionaries have reported that Mendoza, Argentina is a likely city to receive a temple in the near future as well. Currently members travel across the Andes to Santiago, Chile to participate in temple ordinances. The new temple in Cordoba also might be a likely temple for members in this city to worship before a closer temple is built. A small temple is also possible in the southern part of the country considering it could serve over 10 stakes and a few districts.
On the above map, yellow squares represent stakes and green squares represent districts.

Calgary Alberta Temple

The Calgary Alberta Temple was announced yesterday in General Conference. The temple will likely serve members mainly in the six stakes in Calgary. The other stakes in Alberta are closer to the other two temples (Cardston and Edmonton) so the temple district for the new temple will likely be just for the six stakes. It is also likely that a new stake will be created in Calgary in the near future considering there are three stakes with 10 wards a piece and a branch or two. New congregations are created in Calgary regularly.

Alberta has over 73,600 members organized in 205 congregations. The last new stake created in Alberta was in Edmonton. The Calgary Alberta Temple will become the third temple in the province and the eight in Canada. Canada's membership stands around 175,000. The last new stake created in Canada was in Quebec in 2006.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Five New Temples Announced

During his opening talk for the Saturday morning session of the 178 Semi-Annual General Conference for the Church, President Monson announced the following temples:
  • Calgary Alberta Temple
  • Cordoba Argentia Temple
  • Kansas City Missouri Temple
  • Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple
  • Rome Italy Temple

This brings the number of temples announced, operating, or under construction to 145.

I will provide further analysis on these new temples announced when I get more free time. Right now I am a bit overwhelmed with school.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

City Opens for Missionary Work in Mozambique

According to several missionaries serving in the Mozambique Maputo Mission, the city of Nampula will open to the preaching of the Gospel in the next month. This will be the first time missionaries have been assigned to a city in northern Mozambique. A branch functioned in Nampula for around a year or so in 2006 and a branch was just created in the city again by the mission president. Angola will have four missionaries serving in Luanda, the capital city, within the next month or so. There is also word that other cities will also be opening to missionary work next month as well. Right now there are 16 branches and over 4,200 members of the Church in the country.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Draper Utah Temple Dedication Date Announced

The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has announced the open house and dedication dates for the Draper Utah Temple. The open house will go from January 15 through March 14 (excluding Sundays) and will be dedicated on March 22, 2009. The Draper Utah Temple will be the 12th temple in Utah. The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple is 72% completed and will likely be dedicated sometime in the spring or summer of 2009.

The temples in Provo and Ogden have over 70 stakes assigned to each. It seems likely that new temples could be announced in places like Spanish Fork or Layton considering the growth these areas are experiencing.

The Church also announced a couple years ago that land was acquired nearby Riverton, Utah for a future temple. Leaders stated that this temple would be announced and constructed once membership in the area demanded it.

Membership in Utah increased by over 30,000 in 2007.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Missionaries Back in Serbia

I just wanted to quickly add that missionaries have returned to working in Serbia. There are three branches in the country and the translation of the Book of Mormon in Serbian was completed earlier this year.

Congregation Growth Outside The United States

I wanted to take some time and provide statistics for new congregations created in the Church outside of the United States. Congregations increased by around 350 for the whole Church in 2007, and only around 130-140 were created outside of the United States. Here is a list of the six countries which had the greatest increase in congregations.
  1. Brazil - +40
  2. Mexico - +26
  3. Argentina - +14
  4. Ghana - +9
  5. Philippines - +8
  6. Dominican Republic - +6

Roughly 70% of the non-United States increase in congregations can be attributed to the top five countries.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Stake in the Dominican Republic; District Dissolved in Guatemala

The Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Los Restauradores Stake was recently created. This is the third new stake created in the Dominican Republic this year in the capital of Santo Domingo. This brings the total number of stakes to 19 in the country.

The Puerto San Jose Guatemala District was recently dissolved. Puerto San Jose is on the Pacific Coast and was likely combined with a nearby district.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stake Dissolved in South Florida

The Miami Florida (Spanish) Stake was recently dissolved and congregations were combined with surrounding stakes. The Homestead Florida Stake was also renamed the Miami Florida South Stake. The Miami (Spanish) Stake and the Miami Lakes Florida Stake each had only five wards and one to three branches. The number of congregations in these stakes has been declining for a number of years. One of the major reasons for the stake dissolution was that many members are moving away from the area and convert baptisms have declined (although a bit of an increase has been seen in what is now the Miami Florida South Stake). As far as I have understood, the area has been deteriorating on a number of levels, particularly with crime and the housing market. This was done in order to strengthen the members and stakes in the area.

This is the third stake dissolved in the United States this year. I want to make it clear that there are many more new stakes being created in the United States and around the world versus stakes being dissolved. There have been at least 14 new stakes created in the United States this year and eight new stakes created in the rest of the world. Since membership is dynamic and people move based on their circumstances and environment, it is not surprising to see stakes get dissolved occasionally. On an average year, around three to six stakes are dissolved around the world.

It does appear that we are going to see a fairly large drop in the number of new stakes created this year for the Church. This is primarily because few stakes have been organized internationally. However, we should see a jump in the number of new congregations created outside of the United States this year, since so many new cities have opened for missionary work and some missions are setting records for baptisms (especially in Brazil). As for new congregations created in the United States, it looks like it will be around the same amount as usual, around 200. We are also likely to see quite a few new stakes created in Utah considering nine stakes have over 14 congregations in them and many more have 12 or 13. Stakes typically have five to 12 congregations.

In 2007 we did not see as large of an increase in congregations, but a big jump (around 20,000) in terms of membership increase. This is likely due to the lag time between converts getting baptized in a large enough quantity (and staying active) to merit a new congregation being created. Furthermore, last year several districts matured into stakes, which indicate growth in membership activity, but is not reflected in congregation increase since the branches simply become wards.

As for the greatest challenge the Church faces at this time, I believe it is making converts into Church leaders. Another great challenge is increasing the missionary force around the world without sacrificing the quality of our missionaries. While every country in Central America has seen quite a boost in growth last year, it will not mean much (and be repeating the mistakes of quick baptism-no fellow shipping missionary work which precipitated into hundreds of congregations being dissolved from 2001 to 2003) if we do not see an increase in congregations this year or next year.

Lastly, I want to close by saying things are improving for the Church and membership is maturing. This will allow for greater growth in the future and more temples.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stake Dissolved in California

The second stake this year was dissolved in California. The Barstow California Stake had four wards and two branches and was absorbed into neighboring stakes. The stake in Barstow was organized back in 1959.

Church Removes Foreign Missionaries in Sri Lanka

Due to visa problems with the government, all non-Sri Lankan missionaries left the country and are currently in India. This has been a problem which has been going on for a while considering the government does not recognize religions/church with less than 5,000 membes in the country very well. Only three missionaries are in the country now, with around 1,200 members and four branches.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Church Pulls North American Missionaries Out of Bolivia

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints finished pulling all the North American missionaries out of the South American country of Bolivia, an action which began last Saturday. Heightening tension between separatists and the Bolivian government has been the main cause of the missionary withdrawal. 102 missionaries were transferred to Peru for the time being. There are three missions of the Church in Bolivia, so I image there are around 200 or so missionaries still serving in the country. There are 160,000 members organized in 24 stakes and nine districts. There is a temple in Cochabamba.

This year there have been two other countries where missionaries have been pulled out of entirely, which are Serbia and Georgia. Countries which have been seeing disruptions in missionary work recently include Russia (due to foreign visa renewal laws) and Sri Lanka (in the city of Kandy).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Groundbreaking Set For San Salvador El Salvador Temple

According to , the groundbreaking for the temple announced at the end of last year in El Salvador will be on the 20th of December. With one of the highest member to congregation ratios in the world, El Salvador has high inactivity but has consistently had new congregations created in the past few years. Last year El Salvador has the largest increase in membership in over five years. There were 98,575 members in 16 stakes and two districts as of the end of 2007.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Largest Increases in Membership

Below is a list of the 10 countries with the largest increase in membership for the year 2007. This does not take growth rate into account, but rather illustrates where the increase in Church membership is occurring. The percentage to the right of the increase in membership is the percentage that country's membership's increase is of the entire Church's membership increase for the year 2007. The total increase of membership for 2007 was 325,939 members.
  1. United States* - 91,631 - 28%
  2. Brazil - 48,250 - 15%
  3. Mexico - 39,466 - 12%
  4. Philippines - 22,036 - 7%
  5. Peru - 16,356 - 5%
  6. Argentina - 8,003 - 2.5%
  7. Honduras - 5,347 - 1.6%
  8. Chile - 5,115 - 1.5%
  9. Ecuador - 5,104 - 1.5%
  10. Paraguay - 5,080 - 1.5%

Approximately 75% of the increase in Church membership can be found in these 10 countries.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fastest Growing Countries For the Church: 2007

Below is a list of the top 20 countries where the Church is growing the fastest (in membership) for the year of 2007. The percentage increase (calculated by finding the difference between 2007 and 2006 membership totals divided by 2006 membership) is provided along with total membership as of December 31st, 2007. Countries in bold are ones in which membership has increased by at least 200 members.

  1. St. Lucia - 105.5% - 113
  2. Central African Republic - 81.7% - 396
  3. Benin - 35.9% - 216
  4. Cameroon - 29.9% - 639
  5. Togo - 27.5% - 733
  6. Malaysia - 27.3% - 4,626
  7. Guyana - 24.1% - 2,572
  8. Suriname - 23.3% - 847
  9. Georgia - 21.4% - 153
  10. Solomon Islands - 17.9% - 231
  11. Malawi - 17.5% - 705
  12. Guadeloupe - 17.1% - 356
  13. Kazakhstan - 16.8% - 125
  14. French Guiana - 15.7% - 287
  15. Namibia - 15.0% - 506
  16. Madagascar - 13.0% - 4,160
  17. Mozambique - 12.9% - 4,216
  18. Armenia - 12.3% - 2,650
  19. Bahamas - 12.0% - 774
  20. Iceland - 11.6% - 250

A few interesting points to notice about last year's membership growth. First, in 2006 there were only 15 countries with over 11% growth and in 2007 there were 20. Second, in 2006 there were six countries (out of 15) with over 11% growth with over 1,000 members and in 2007 there were only five countries (out of 20) with 11% growth. This illustrates that the Church is growing in places it has not been well established yet at an accelerated rate. Furthermore, growth slowed slightly in some countries that experienced very high growth in 2006 (like Ghana and Zambia). Many of these countries that are not included in the list for 2007 above but were in it in 2006 have growth rates around 10%.

New Stake in Texas

Another new stake was created last Sunday in McAllen, Texas. The new stake was created from both the McAllen Stake and the Harlingen Stake. There has been very dramatic growth in the area, particularly with Spanish speaking units. Before the split, the McAllen Stake had 10 wards and a branch and the Harlingen Stake had seven wards and seven branches.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Stake in Idaho

Last Sunday a new stake was created in Twin Falls, Idaho. The new stake, the Twin Falls South Stake, becomes the first new stake to be created in the area in the last 24 years! The temple in Twin Falls was dedicated only a couple weeks ago.

Country Membership and Congregation Totals Released For 2007

The Church has started to release official membership and congregation numbers for countries across the world for the end of 2007. Right now up-to-date information can be found for countries in North America, Europe, the Pacific, and Africa at Data has not been updated for South America and Asia yet, but likely will be updated this week sometime. I will provide a list of the fastest growing countries (in membership expressed as a percentage) in the coming days. As for now, it appears that impressive growth is occurring in countries where the Church is emerging (the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, and St. Lucia to name a few) and has accelerated in all the countries in Central America, especially El Salvador. Growth has slowed in many European nations, but increased substantially in Great Britain and Spain.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Full Translation of the Book of Mormon

According to, the Book of Mormon was recently translated in its entirety into Sinhala, a language spoken by 19 million in Sri Lanka. Only selected passages were translated in Sinhala back in 1983. Membership stands at over 1,100 in Sri Lanka. Proselyting missionaries in the country have recently encountered difficulty preaching the Gospel due to government restrictions.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Stake Created in Idaho

A new stake was recently created for BYU-Idaho. The BYU Idaho 9th Stake was organized from the two married student stakes at the university. The last new stake created at BYU-Idaho was back in 2005. Many of the student single stakes have grown quite large (which is also the case at BYU in Provo) and might split in the near future. BYU in Provo has 22 stakes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Angola Opens to Missionary Work

The country of Angola will open for missionary work this month according to a missionary in the Mozambique Maputo Mission. Only missionaries from Mozambique will be sent first to proselyte. One of the last countries in the world to be predominately Christian without proselyting missionaries for the Church, Angola already has a strong membership in the capital city of Luanda. Over 700 members live in the country, many of whom were converted either in Europe or by other members in Angola. One of the reasons it has taken so long for Angola to open for missionary work was a very long civil war that did not end until recently. There are around 16 million people who live in the country.

I image the missionaries will only work in Luanda for the time being.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Branch and Group

New Branch

Just a couple posts ago, I stated that I would not be surprised if the branch in Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo would be divided soon. President Livingstone divided the branch earlier this month, so now two branches meet in this, the third largest city in the country of 1.2 million.

New Group

Another new group was created in the West Indies Mission in the town of Parika, located west of Georgetown. It was created from the Vreed-en-Hoop Branch.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Branches Created in South Africa

Recently two cities in South Africa received their first branches, thus providing greater opportunity for South Africans to learn and participate in the Church. The city of Mafikeng, which is near the border with Botswana and close to the city of Mmabatho, now has a congregation of the Church (and is the first branch in that area of the country). Furthermore, the city of Bethlehem also recently had a branch formed in the city. Bethlehem's population is around 57,000 and is located near Lesotho.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Group in Suriname

A group was recently created in Suriname in Kwarasan. It is still too small to be a branch, but has a space rented out to meet in. I am not sure where Kwarasan, but figure it is in the outlying area around the capital.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Branch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

A branch was officially created in Gandajika (also spelled Ngandajika) which is located in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Livingstone gave members in the city permission to bless the sacrament in the city earlier this year. There are now 11 branches in the area, most of which are in Kananga and Luputa. A branch was organized earlier this year nearby Gandajika in Mwene-Ditu.

The Livingstones also stated in a comment posted under "Countries with the most members without a temple" that a new stake is likely to be created before the end of the year in the DR of Congo along with several more in 2009. I imagine they refer to splitting the stake in Lubumbashi, but the stakes in Kinshasa and Brazzaville grow at a rapid rate. The only district in the country I see as being close to stakehood is in Luputa, but we'll have to see. I also would not be surprised if the branch in Mbuji-Mayi gets divided soon because it has grown quite large.

New Branch in Guyana

Another new branch was recently organized in Guyana. The Bushlot Branch was created outside of the city of New Amsterdam from the Bushlot Group (which was created in May). There are now six branches in the New Amsterdam area and a seventh which was created last Spring by the Guyana-Suriname border (Crabwood Creek).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Districts Dissolved

Three districts were recently dissolved in Belize, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela. All of these districts were combined with a nearby district.


The Orange Walk Belize District was recently combined with the Belize City District. The district in Orange Walk has had only two branches in Orange Walk and Corozal. The first stake in Belize is supposedly very close to happening and this would be part of its preparation. There are around 3,200 members in Belize in two districts.

Papua New Guinea

Last year a district was dissolved in the capital city (the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Central District) and in the past month or two the Isumo Papua New Guinea District was combined with the Daru Papua New Guinea District. The district that was in Isumo only had three branches while the district in Daru had four branches. It is likely that this might be the location of the second stake to be created in Papua New Guinea. Daru is located on a small island near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border.


Around four or five years ago, the Falcon Venezuela District was divided into the Falcon and Coro Districts. Up until they were both combined into the Falcon District again, the Falcon District had five branches while the Coro District had four. Again, it is very likely this has been done in preparation of a future stake in the area. Growth has been substantial since 2002 when there were only six branches in the region.

Stake Dissolved in Colombia

One of the four stakes in Cali, Colombia was dissolved recently. The Cali Colombia Jardin Stake was combined with surrounding stakes in the city. Growth in the city has been somewhat stagnant and the original four stakes only had five wards each for a number of years. Cali is one of the most violent cities in the world, much of which violence is connected with drug trafficking. Other areas in Colombia are seeing growth in the Church, especially in the north.

New District Created in Peru

Located around 100 miles west of Cuzco, the city of Andahuaylas had its first district created in the city. Branches in the region were previously under the Peru Lima Central Mission and not incorporated into a district. A district of the Church does exist between Cuzco and Andahuaylas in Abancay. The Andahuaylas Peru District has three or four branches.

New Congregations in the Dominican Republic and Paraguay

Several new branches have been created lately in the Dominican Republic and Paraguay. In the Dominican Republic, the cities of Constanza and Bayaguana received their first branches (and missionaries in Constanza and probably Bayaguana too). In Paraguay, branches and wards continue to be organized mostly around the capital city of Asuncion.

News From the West Indies Mission

1,000 Members in Suriname

Rapid membership growth continues in Suriname. This last Sunday the 991st member was baptized and confirmed and after next Sunday there will be 1,000 members of the Church in this country of 500,000. At the end of 2006 there were 687 members in two branches. There are six branches in the country today and the West Indies Mission President's wife, Sister Robison, indicates much of the growth is yet to come. Many youth are preparing their paperwork to serve missions.

New Branch Created in Guadeloupe.

The seventh branch of the Church was recently organized in Le Gosier, which was the city with the largest population without a branch in it (25,400 inhabitants). There were only a little over 300 members in five branches at the end of 2006 and many have been joining the Church on this French speaking island in the Caribbean.

On the above map, the green squares indicate branches.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Update of Church Growth

New Branch in Uganda

A new branch was recently created in the Jinja District of Uganda. The Mpumudde Branch is the fifth branch in the Jinja District and the 16th in Uganda.

City Opens for Missionary Work in Malawi

The capital city of Malawi received a branch of the Church last fall and has just opened to missionary work. Lilongwe and Blantyre are the only cities opened for missionary work at this time in the country. There are three or four branches in Malawi today.

City Opens for Missionary Work in Botswana

Last spring missionaries were sent to open the city of Molepolole to the preaching of the Gospel. A branch has been established and there are now three branches and two wards in the country. The city of Molepolole has around 54,600 inhabitants and was the largest city that did not have the Church established in it yet in Botswana.

Rapid Growth in Qatar

Although Muslims are not allowed to attend Church services and the Qatari government does not recognize the Church, the city of Doha has two wards in it for foreigners living in the country. The second ward was organized last year for Filipinos as a branch originally, but has rapidly grown since its creation. Members in both congregations are living there on business.

New Ward created in Taiwan

The 10th ward in the Kaohsiung Taiwan Stake was recently created in Taliao. The stake now has 10 wards and a branch. It is likely the stake will be divided soon since it is the largest stake it Taiwan at this time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update on Missionaries in the Republic of Geogia

The zone of missionaries currently serving in Tbilisi was evacuated to Armenia on Saturday and will probably be reassigned for the time being to serve in Armenia.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cities Without A LDS Church Presence Blog

A few weeks ago, I began another blog about cities around the world which do not have missionaries or a congregation of the Church in them. Almost every country in the world has many cities which remain unreached as in terms of missionary work. Even countries like Brazil (with over one million members and 27 missions) still have several cities with over 100,000 inhabitants without a branch or missionaries serving there! Much has yet to be done in order to bring the message of the Gospel across the world. The new blog can be found on the right side of the page, listed under "Other Church Growth Blogs."

On a different note, I have not yet received word concerning the dozen or so missionaries serving in the Republic of Georgia and whether they have been evacuated due to the Russian invasion. Georgia currently has two branches functioning in the capital city of Tbilisi. The country was opened to missionary work just back in the spring of 2006. I will provide updates once information becomes available.

Monday, August 4, 2008

City Opens for Missionary Work In Slovakia

According to the Czech Prague Mission website, the city of Banská Bystrica has recently opened to missionary work. With 81,300 inhabitants, Banská Bystrica sits in the center of the country. I do not believe a branch has been established, but this continues a trend of cities opening in Slovakia. I cannot recall an instance in the past 10 years where so many cities were opened in a country with so few members (less than 200 at the end of 2006). This is likely the result of the recent registration of the Church in Slovakia.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Church in South Korea

Some of my viewers might have noticed that I served as a full time missionary for the Church in South Korea, but I have not made any posts about the Church in that country. I wanted to take the opportunity to write a little bit about how the Church is doing in South Korea.

The Church has been in South Korea for over 50 years. There are 17 stakes, six districts and around 80,000 members. A temple was dedicated in Seoul a little over 20 years ago. Four missions cover the country of 48 million. Most Koreans who are religious are Christian, particularly Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic (although they do not consider Catholicism to be a Christian Church). As for the rest of the less religious population, most identify themselves with Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. The majority of the stakes in South Korea were created in the 70s and 80s. The last new stake created was in Daejon (대전) back in 1998.

Although the Church has around 80,000 members, sacrament attendance is only around 10,000 for the whole country. One of the problems we had as missionaries was we did not have the addresses or contact information for the majority of the inactive members. It is difficult to correct the problem when you cannot find the members. In most of the wards and branches I served in, about a third to half of the members were active. A lot of the growth the Church experienced in South Korea dissipated once the middle class began to collapse back in the mid 1990s.

Most missions in Korea baptize around 200 to 400 people a year. Several of the wards and branches have become so small from active members moving to new areas that they have been combined with other wards and branches. Unfortunately the number of active members moving into new areas does not follow with new units being created since a percentage of the active members become less active or immigrate to Australia, the United States, Canada, or New Zealand.
On the above map, yellow squares are stakes, green squares a districts. The only place I could see a new stake organized in the next five years would be in the Busan (부산) Mission, possibly in Ulsan (울산). This last city became its own district upon the realignment of a stake in Busan with a district (west of Busan) that was integrated into the stake.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

City Opens For Missionary Work in Romania

Located in southwest Romania, the city of Craiova has recently opened for missionary work. The first baptism in the city occurred in the past week or so as well. With over 300,000 inhabitants, I am surprised it has taken so long for Craiova to open to missionary work, especially because it is not far from the capital, Bucharest, where the mission offices are based. There are six other cities which have over 100,000 inhabitants without a branch or missionaries in Romania from what I know: Braila, Targu Mures, Baia Mare, Buzau, Botosani, and Satu Mare. Most of these cities are in the northern part of the country.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Church in Sudan

The mission president of the Uganda Kampala Mission recently returned from a special trip to a village in Sudan where many were inquiring about the Church and meeting unofficially in its name. He found over 2,500 people assembled to listen to him and his assistants teach them about the Gospel. There are six or seven congregations of these unbaptized Sudanese people located northwest of the city Wau. The Mission President gave the leaders of these unofficial congregations books and pamphlets about the Church, telling them to teach the people about the Church. The Church has no official presence in Sudan and hopes to gain one once conditions stabilize within.

This story excited me because it is the largest gathering of people learning about the Church who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The only other times I can find a comparable situation to this one was when many were meeting in the Church's name in Ghana and Nigeria 30 years ago. Those meetings were only in the hundreds, not the thousands though.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New District Created in Brazil

A new district was recently created in Mamanguape, Brazil. Located in the state of Paraiba, this becomes the third new district created in Brazil this year, the other two were created in Caruaru and Planaltina. The Mamanguape Brazil District includes at least three branches in Mamanguape, Guarabira and Lucena. The district was created from branches that either were in one of the stakes in João Pessoa or where mission branches.

Northeastern Brazil is currently experiencing the highest growth rates in the country. For instance, in 2005 there were only two stakes and two districts in the Rio Grande Do Norte State (which is just north of the state of Paraiba). Today there are six stakes.