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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