Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Church in Armenia

This is one of the most fascinating countries the Church has recently moved into. Over 2,300 members now live in Armenia, organized into 15 branches according to the 2008 Church Almanac by the Deseret Morning News. In 2006, Church membership increased by 13.3% and 10 years ago membership was only 200. The majority of Armenians are Armenian Orthodox and take pride in the claim that their nation is the oldest Christian nation in the world. I do not want to recount a full history of the Church in Armenia and if you want more information, I suggest you visit or read what the Church Almanac has to say about it.

In the past six or seven years, missionaries have started to work outside of Yerevan (the capital), especially in the northern half of the country. Now branches are located in Ashtarak, Gyurmi and Vanadzor. Missionaries are also working, according to the Armenia Yerevan's website, in Alaverdi and Step'anavan were members meet together at least in groups (I have had trouble determining if they're groups or branches). Missionary activity has also spilled over into Georgia and there is an entire zone of missionaries in Tbilisi. However, most of the branches are located in Yerevan as well as the members.

Armenia, and recently Georgia, are the only countries in this region of the world with missionaries teaching and baptizing. In the last decade, missionaries have started working their way down from the Russia Rostov Mission into the northern Caucasus into cities such as Sochi, Krasnodar, and Stavropol. The surrounding areas to the south, east and west of Armenia are pretty much void of missionary work.
Oh, and on this map the red dot means that there are missionaries in this city, but I have not been able to confirm a branch in the city. Previously posted maps (excluding the temple maps) tend to symbolize cities over 100,000 people with no missionaries or branches with a red dot.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Stakes Created This Year

I have recieved word that so far four stakes have been created this year, all of which were created from stakes in the earlier post entitled "Likely Stakes Soon to Split." The three stakes in Queen Creek, Arizona have been re-organized to created two new stakes, the San Antonio Hill Country Stake was created from the San Antonio North Stake, and a new stake was created from two of the stakes in Lehi, Utah (fellow blogger Jason Abel provided this information). Right now, the number of stakes is at least 2,792 in the Church.

As for Stakes created outside the United States, the Church News has not provided any information yet and hasn't updated their temple district listings since the beginning of the year.

Thank You For Your Comments

I just wanted to say thanks to those who have posted comments on this blog; they're really appreciated. This blog is designed to be somewhere to go to get accurate and up-to-date information about the growth of the Church. If you have any information about cities opening, branches and wards being created internationally, stakes being organized, or anything else pertaining to information on this site, feel free to post what you know.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Temple Prediction Maps

Above are three different prediction maps for where possible future temples could be located. The red squares are the existing/under construction temples, the yellow squares are announced temples, and green squares are likely temples. The first map is from 2008-2012, the second from 2013-2017, and the last 2018-2023. If you click on the map, you will be able to see it much better.

The Church in Eastern Europe

I wanted to take some time and write about the Church and Eastern Europe. The majority of the countries considered to be in Eastern Europe were opened for missionary work most recently in the early 1990s. Since that time, the Church's presence and spread into most of the largest cities, but with relatively few members. For instance, the country in Eastern Europe with the highest membership is Ukraine with around 10,200 members (out of 46 million people). However, the countries in Eastern Europe with the lowest Church membership (among countries with a Church presence) are Serbia with fewer than 300 members in three branches and Moldova with around the same number of members in two branches. There is a strong potential for future growth of the Church in Eastern Europe, especially because unlike many other places in the world, there are branches organized through these countries. If conditions change and people become more interested in religion, the Church is mobilized to need such a demand.

Below is a map of Bulgaria; a country which provides the best example of this phenomenon. Click on the map in order to see it more clearly. Each green square is a branch.

Notice how the largest city, Sofia, has several branches organized in it and that branches are scattered fairly evenly throughout the country.

Romania is another good example, and here's a map below.

Here are some exciting recent developments of the Church in Eastern Europe.

New Branches in the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and Georgia

Branches have recently (last 12 months or so) been estabished in the following cities.

  • Jelgava, Latvia
  • Parnu, Estonia
  • Shkoder, Albania (see earlier post)
  • Kosice, Slovakia
  • Tbilisi, Georgia (second branch in city, the Avlabari Branch)
  • Alexandria, Romania (last June)
  • Pula, Croatia
  • Subotica, Serbia
  • Kremenchuk, Ukraine

Church Launches New Latvian Website

In the past week or so, the Church has launched a country website for Latvia. It is in Russian and Latvian, and is found at .

Lastly, I wanted to conclude that the activity rate in these nations are actually not as low as you might think. The LDS Church News stated in the Church Almanac that there are over 1,000 temple recommend holders in Ukraine and the temple has been under construction in Kyiv for the past six months. Furthermore, there are two stakes in Eastern Europe: One in Ukraine and the other in Hungary. The Church is close to organizing stakes in St. Petersburg, Russia ; Kharkiv, Ukraine ; and Donetsk, Ukraine. As for Future missions, Serbia, Romania and Ukraine seem most likely. It will be interesting how soon missionaries will be placed in newly independent Kosovo. I imagine that Kosovo will be included with the mission in Albania, since the majority of the population is Albanian.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: An International Church

I wanted to take time to write concerning the demographics of the Church and what Church Leaders have said concerning its status internationally. President Hinckley and other General Authorities have in recent years declared that the Church's demography is spread all across the globe. President Monson stated in the past week in a press conference, "How grateful we are for the dedication, the faith and the strength of the people of this Church who now number more than 13 million in 176 nations and territories throughout the world. Our membership continues to grow steadily." Clearly the Church has spread itself accross the majority of the countries of the world. However, Church membership is by no means evenly distributed across the countries of the world.
Now for some statistics. A little over 84% of Church membership resides in North and South America (including the Caribbean) and almost 86% of the Church's stakes. Out of the 125 currently operating temples, 31 are outside of North and South America. The Church has established itself in every country in the Western Hemisphere (excluding Cuba) and the Southern Hemisphere (except East Timor, Rwanda, Burundi, The Seychelles, and Comoros). In Europe, the Church has a presence in every country except Macedonia and Bosnia (from what I have found).
This post is by no means criticizing anything Church leaders have said, but rather I am making a point that although we do have members residing in most of the countries of the world, most of the members live in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Something I have found interesting is how well the Church has grown in island nations. For example, the country in Africa with the highest percentage of members is Cape Verde and is around 2% and the country with the second highest is less than 0.2%. The countries which have the highest percentage of members are island nations concentrated in the South Pacific like Tonga (46%) and Samoa (36%). The Church has grown the most in Europe in the British Isles with over 100,000 members more than the country in Europe with the second most members (Spain with around 41,000 members). The Philippines has the most members out of any of the countries in the Eastern Hemisphere with around 600,000. I believe this is a fulfillment of prophesy in 1 Nephi 19:16, "Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea."

Here is a list of all of the countries in the Northern part of the Eastern Hemisphere with no Church presence. I define this as meaning no branches established and no membership reported. Countries in italics means that the country is predominantly Muslim (which tend to not allow other religions to proselyte or publicly practice).


North Korea


Burkina Faso
The Gambia

Friday, February 8, 2008

Countries with the Most Members without a Stake Maps

Here are the maps; each green square represents one branch. If you click on the map, it will open in a new window and be much easier to view.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Large Stakes Outside of the United States and Canada Likely to Split Soon

It is much more difficult to predict which stakes will split internationall because the Church does not have individual websites for Church units outside of Canada and the United States. However, one can find the number of Church units in a given country by using the website and finding the locations for all the units. This can be quite tedious and can be difficult to tell where stake boundaries lay, but I have done my best to find out how many units each stake or city has. I have not included Mexico, the South Pacific and most of Brazil in this list.

  • Kinshasa DR of Congo (28 wards, 5 branches in three stakes)
  • Harare Zimbabwe Stake (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Takoradi Ghana Stake (9 wards, ~4 branches)
  • Maracay Venezuela Stake (12 wards)
  • Guayana Venezuela Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake (11 wards)
  • Belem Brazil (25 wards in three stakes)
  • San Cristobal Dominican Republic Stake (7 wards, 7 branches)
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic (65 wards, 10 branches in 8 stakes)
  • Chimbote Peru (20 wards in two stakes)
  • Chiclayo El Doradu Peru Stake (~10 wards)

Update on the Growth of the Chruch

I am keeping up with my commitment to provide updates concerning Church growth from around the world.

Number of Translations of the Book of Mormon Reaches 106

Within the past month or so, the Church has finished several translations of the Book of Mormon. The new language in which the Book of Mormon was translated (which has never had an official translation before) was Yoruba, a language spoken by around 25 million people in western Nigeria. This is a much needed tool in this part of the world. Yoruba speaking areas of Nigeria have five missin districts organized in them and two stakes (both located in Lagos). Hopefully the Book of Mormon fully translated into Yoruba will be the stimulus to turn some of these districts into stakes soon.

The other language in which the Book of Mormon was translated in was Urdu, the most widely spoken language in Pakistan. Selections of the Book of Mormon were published in 1988 and now the entire Book of Mormon has been translated. Pakistan is home to one mission district and probably less than a 1,000 members. The Church does not publicly publish information about the Church in Pakistan due to the political climate there. The India New Delhi Mission was just organized a couple months ago and administers to Pakistan.

The Book of Mormon in Mongolian has just been released with footnotes in it. The original translation for the book was published in 2001. The Book of Mormon in Igbo, according to the site, is listed as a new item (even though it was translated back in 2000). It was probably either retranslated or footnotes were added.

Although not listed on any of the Church's websites, I have found out that the Book of Mormon translation in Serbian is getting close to completion. As for my personal predictions for new translations of the Book of Mormon to come in the next couple years, Iban, Malay, Burmese, Nivacle, Marathi and various African languages seem quite probable.

New City Open for Missionary Work in Albania

I just found out from a returned missionary that the city of Shkoder, Albania just opened for the preaching of the Gospel a couple months ago. There are four missionaries working in the city. Shkoder is the first city to open in the northern portion of the country.

Elder Uchtdorf Comments on Missionary Work in Africa

The Associated Press wrote an article about the growth of the Church and convert retention. The article is informative, not biased and provides interesting information from Elder Uchtdorf, an apostle of the Church, concerning missionary work in Africa. The article quotes him, stating

"Uchtdorf also said that in areas with fast growth potential, the church must grow "slowly and in a natural, healthy way" so that local congregational leaders are well grounded in doctrine. 'In some parts of Africa, we could baptize full villages,' said Uchtdorf, 66. "We could immediately explode our membership. We're going slowly to have sufficient leadership."

This provides much evidence to contradict the statement made by many critics of my faith that all we are trying to do is add members for numbers' sake. Areas of Africa which Elder Uchtdorf is alluding to probable consist for nations like Mozambique, DR of Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone. It is very important for new converts to have capable leaders which are firmly grounded in doctrine and testimony in order to produce greater growth for years to come. The url for this article was

This is all I have for this update for this past month.