Monday, June 29, 2009

More New Stakes Created In Mexico

Two more stakes have been created in México.

The Morelia México Stake was divided and a second stake was created in the city, named the Morelia México Aeropuerto Stake. The new stake was created two Sundays ago and includes seven wards in Morelia, Moroleón, Acambaro, and Salvatierra (the latter two cities used to be a part of the Acambaro México District, which was recently re-aligned and renamed the Zitácuaro México District).

The Tuxpan México Stake was created from a division of the Poza Rica México Stake. The new stake in Tuxpan likely includes at least five wards in the Tuxpan area and maybe a branch or two. The two stakes in Poza Rica have had enough congregations to be divided to create another stake for several years. It appears that the members in the area have strengthened the congregations enough to justify another new stake.

There are now 219 stakes and 36 districts in México.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Update on Church Growth

Taiwan Reaches 50,000 Church Members

The Church News reported in a recently published article about the Church's 50th anniversary in Taiwan that Church membership in the country has reached 50,000. Today there are 102 congregations throughout the country, 10 stakes and two districts. Membership grows at a rate of around 4% a year and has increased by 20,000 in the past eight years. If membership growth rates remain constant Taiwan will have a projected 81,000 members in the year 2020.

11 New Stakes Created In June and Counting

It has been over a decade since we have had so many new stakes organized in so short a time frame. So far 11 stakes have been organized in the month of June, six of which were created from member districts. So far 25 new stakes have been organized this year.

The Church in Bosnia and Macedonia

The Church News provided interesting information about the Church in these two countries where the Church still has no official presence. It appears that both countries have groups established for members to meet in, but no branches. Macedonia only has one known family who are native Macedonians and Church members. Bosnia on the other hand had no reported Bosnian Church members and Church meetings consist of foreigners meeting throughout the country. Elder D. Todd Christofferson reminded members in Bosnia that they are laying the foundation for the Church in the future.

Recently Created Branches and Groups In Eastern Europe

A little over a year ago I reported on how the Church was aggressively opening new cities to the preaching of the Gospel in Eastern Europe. Only Mission branches or groups recently created are listed below. Meetinghouse locations and times are only available for both branches and groups on the country websites for Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia.


Kaposvár, Hungary
Khmel'nyts'kyy, Ukraine
Kremenchung, Ukraine
Pärnu, Estonia
Szczecin, Poland
Zhytomyr, Ukraine

Groups/Dependent Branches

Shkoder, Albania
Pula, Croatia
Békéscsaba, Hungary
Szolnok, Hungary
Tatabánya, Hungary
Jelgava, Latvia
Gorlitz, Poland
Kielce, Poland
Torun, Poland
Zamosc, Poland
Craiova, Romania
Novo Mesto, Slovenia
Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
Pavlohrad, Ukraine

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Stake In El Salvador

A new stake was created a couple Sundays ago in El Salvador. The new stake is the Paraíso El Salvador Stake, which was created from the Santa Ana El Salvador Modelo Stake. The new stake has five wards and becomes the 17th stake in El Salvador and the third in the city of Santa Ana. The last time a new stake was created in El Salvador was back in 1996. The growth of the Church in El Salvador has recently increased from a decade or so of little growth in terms of both membership and the number of congregations. Last year membership in El Salvador increased by the largest percentage since 2000 at 3.52%, or adding around 3,500 members since the end of 2007. Five new congregations were also organized last year.

I do not think that we will see many new stakes organized in El Salvador until we have more congregations created in the already established stakes. I do not know how close the districts in San Vicente and Usulutan are to becoming stakes, but I imagine that they will be likely locations for future stakes in the country. I think we might see a new member district or two created in El Salvador in the near future in locations such as Chalatenango or Armenia, where we have multiple mission branches of the Church.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Into All The World - Mormon Channel Program

A little over a month ago the Church released an online radio station named the Mormon Channel, which broadcasts 24 hours a day. One of the programs on the station is entitled "Into All The World." This program interviews stake and mission presidents from around the world. The format for the interviews conducted with Church leaders mirrors articles the Church magazine The Ensign would publish in the 1990s with Area Presidencies about the growth and status of the Church. So far five episodes have aired discussing the Church's progress in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Italy, and Japan. Reid Neilson, a BYU Church History and Doctrine professor, hosts the program. A link to the program can be found on the right hand side of the web page, under "Other Church Growth Blogs and Sites."

New Stake In Mexico

I previously mentioned that a new stake would be created on June 21st from the Costa Grande México District. The stake was created that day, named the Guacamayas México Stake, and consists of seven wards and one branch. The seven wards are the Guacamayas, La Mira, Lázaro Cárdenas, Palmas, Pantla, Zihuatanejo 1st, and Zihuatanejo 2nd wards and the branch is the San Jeronimito Branch. The Costa Grande México District was originally organized in 1990 and had five branches in 2002. There are now 217 stakes and 36 districts in México.

I have provided below the names of the five new stakes created from districts in the past month in México.

Cabo San Lucas México Stake
Colima México Stake
Galeana México Stake
Guacamayas México Stake
Uruapan México Stake

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Districts Dissolved in Guatemala, Jamaica and Spain


The Ceiba Amelia Guatemala District was combined with the Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa Guatemala District. This was likely done in preparation for a future stake in southern Guatemala. The district in Ceiba Amelia was organized in 1994 and the Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa Guatemala District now has nine branches. We have not seen a new stake or district organized in Guatemala in 10 years while the number of congregations in Guatemala has dropped from 451 in 2000 to 418 in 2008. This drop in congregations has been due to a drop in branches, likely in a move to create larger congregations which are more self sustaining. The Church in Guatemala is strengthening though, as evidenced by the recent groundbreaking of the temple in Quetzaltenango. Church membership increases by around 5,000 every year and stands at 215,000.


The Montego Bay Jamaica District was discontinued and all the branches now report directly to the mission in Kingston. A missionary serving in the area reports that this was done in a move for strong Priesthood leaders in the district to shift their attention from functioning as a district to strengthening the individual branches in the western portion of the island. This will hopefully allow for greater growth in the branches in the near future. The growth of the Church has been slow, but consistent, in Jamaica with now around 6,000 members in 20 or so branches.


The Zaragoza Spain District was discontinued and the two branches which made up the district report to the mission president in the area. A new stake will be created in northern Spain, primarily from the Bilbao Spain District, in September and I imagine it is likely the two branches in Zaragoza will become part of the new stake. We have seen several districts discontinued this year which only had two branches.

New Stakes In Florida and Nicaragua

I mentioned earlier about new stakes in Florida and Nicaragua and I will take time now to elaborate on their creation.

The Jacksonville Florida South Stake was organized last Sunday and includes seven wards and one branch. The Jacksonville Florida East Stake now has seven wards and one branch and the Jacksonville Florida West Stake now has seven wards. A ward was also moved from the Kingsland Georgia Stake into the Jacksonville Florida East Stake, leaving the Kingsland Georgia Stake with just four wards and three branches. Missionary activity in the Florida Jacksonville Mission has been some of the strongest the South has seen in recent years. I imagine that this new stake of the Church could not have been organized without the many new converts which have joined the Church from this area of Florida. Perhaps a temple in Jacksonville is in the near future, or maybe in South Florida in Miami. Florida is the state with the second most members with only one temple. The state with the most members with only one temple is Colorado. I appreciate the input from readers which provided the above information on the stakes in the Jacksonville area.

The Chinandega Nicaragua West Stake was created two Sundays ago from a division of the already existing Chinandega Nicaragua Stake. The new stake has five wards and is the ninth stake in Nicaragua. The original stake in Chinandega was organized in 2000 with six wards and two branches was the second stake created in the entire country. The mission of the Church based in Managua has developed very strict standards for convert baptisms in order to fight inactivity and poor retention, yet continues have some of the highest numbers of baptisms in Central America. Some of the stakes in Managua have also grown large, which might result in an additional stake in the capital in the near future. Hopefully some of the districts in the country will mature into stakes, such as the districts in Granada and Matagalpa. Nicaragua has around 64,000 members of the Church and is the country with the most members of the Church without a temple.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Stake In Arizona

The new stake in Tucson, Arizona I spoke of in the previous post was created today, June 21. The Sahuarita Arizona Stake was created with six wards and one branch. Sahuarita is located only 10 miles south of Tucson and has a population around 16,000. With the creation of the Sahuarita Arizona Stake, there are now six stakes in the Tucson area. A new stake in Tucson does increase the likelihood of a future temple announcement for members living in the area. Hopefully a sixth temple for Arizona will not be to far away for Church members in this area. There are currently 89 stakes in Arizona.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Stakes In Arizona and Mexico

A new stake in the Tucson area in Arizona will be created this week or has already been created. I will provide more information and analysis once more information becomes available. If you have information about this new stake, feel free to write a comment about it.

This Sunday the Costa Grande Mexico District will become a stake. This will be the fifth new stake created this year in Mexico. All of these new stakes have been created since the end of May and all of these stakes have been created from districts. I will provide more information once the stake is actually created.

New Districts In Hungary

Two new districts of the Church were created in Hungary. The Miskolc Hungary District consists of four branches in eastern Hungary. The Szombathely Hungary District consists of three branches in western Hungary. Before the first stake was organized in Budapest in 2006, there used to be two districts in the country, one in Budapest and the other in Györ. These two districts were combined in order for the stake to be created. Some of these branches in the new districts are very small, with less than 20 people attending Church each Sunday. Other branches are larger, which is where leadership was most likely taken from. Earlier this year we saw two districts of the Church created in Eastern Europe in Moldova and Romania.

Out of the Eastern European countries which were not a part of the Soviet Union, Hungary has seen the strongest Church growth. Many cities have opened to the preaching of the Gospel in the past two years and there remain several branches, dependent branches, or groups which report directly to the mission or are far from the stake in Budapest. These Church units are concentrated in southern Hungary cities such as Pécs, Kaposvár, Szeged, and Békéscsaba.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ratio of Church Membership to Country Population

I recently provided the ratio of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the population of each state in the United States. This post can be found if you click here and includes analysis of how this ratio has changed since the end of the year of 2000. The number provided for the ratio is how many people from the given country there must be for one LDS member. For example, the ratio for members to the population in the United States is 1 in 51, or about 2%.

I thought that it would be beneficial to discuss this topic internationally. This post divides the nations of the world where the Church publicly reports membership totals by geographical region. Click on the tables to make them larger.





North America


South America

The Church used to frequently publish or refer to Church membership to population in Ensign articles and in the Church Almanac, but as of the past five years or so we have not see reference to this statistic with regularity. The Church Almanac eliminated this statistic last year.
We should ask the question why membership ratios are or are not important. I believe it provides an insight into how prevalent the Church is in the country. Entire provinces, states, islands, or regions do not have a Church presence in most countries with more than 1,000 people per Church member. These countries also tend to have large urban population centers with a very limited Church presence, like in Europe, where the Church may or may not have a strong foundation. Africa would definitely fall into category (with the exception of Cape Verde).

As for the nations that have about one Church member per 100 people, these are nations that tend to have a well established Church presence in major cities. Much of Latin America falls into this category. These countries will usually have multiple stakes in cities with a couple hundred thousand inhabitants or more and almost never have cities with over 50,000 inhabitants without a Church presence. A few nations in Asia are developing this characteristic, such as the Philippines and Mongolia, but as a whole Asia would definitely fall into the "one member in a 1,000 or more people" category.

Nations that have one Church member out of 50 or so people share many of the same characteristics as nations with one Church member out of a 100 people. The big difference between the two is that the Church is much more established in rural areas in countries where there are 50 inhabitants per one LDS member.

Lastly nations which have one member of the Church per 10 or fewer inhabitants are nations in which not only are the urban population centers pillars of strength for the Church, but rural areas as well. Most of the South Pacific and the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States are examples of these type of countries. There are rarely any towns over 1,000 inhabitants without a congregation of the Church.

As members of the Church, we follow the commandments of participating in missionary work and raising families which result in the ratio of members of the Church to the population decreasing. Areas of the world which are seeing this ratio fall the fastest (or are seeing the percentage of those who belong to the Church increase the fastest) are in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. I imagine that we will see a couple "one member per 100 people" countries in Africa in about 10 years, which will likely be found in West Africa. Nearly every country in the world which a Church presence is seeing the percentage of Church members in the population increasing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Majuro Stake Organized

The first stake in the Marshall Islands was organized yesterday from the Majuro District. The new stake serves members of the Church on the island of Majuro. I do not know yet whether all seven branches became wards or not, but the stake creation did occur June 14th. For more information about the Church in the Marshall Islands click here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Stake In Utah

A new stake has been created in Utah. The Farr West Utah Poplar Stake was created from a division of the Farr West Utah and Plain City Utah Stakes. The new stake becomes the 533rd stake in Utah and is a part of the Ogden Utah Temple District, which serves members in 77 stakes. Elder Holland was present for the creation of the new stake.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Church Growth News

New Stakes To Be Created In Florida, Nicaragua and Utah

According to Church members living in the Jacksonville area, a new stake will be created in a week or so from the existing Jacksonville Florida East and West Stakes. A member of the Church living in Chinandega, Nicaragua reports that the Chinandega Nicaragua Stake will split and a new stake will be organized this month. The Farr West and Plain City Utah Stakes will meet this Sunday and another stake will be created from the existing two stakes. I will provide the names of the new stakes and more information once these new stakes are organized.

Jamaica Preparing For First Stake In Country

Missionaries report that membership in Jamaica close to meeting all the requirements for a stake to be organized. The two areas members and missionaries are focusing on for a stake to be created are increasing active Melchizedek Priesthood holders and full tithe payers. Although membership on the island is around 6,000, only about 2,000 members are active. There are currently around 20 branches organized into four districts. It appears that a stake would be most likely organized in 2010.

Church Growth in Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo

Missionaries have been preparing the two branches in Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo to be divided to create a third branch in the city. Church membership in Republic of Congo has doubled since 2001 to around 4,200 today. The first stake was organized in the capital of Brazzaville in 2003 and may be divided in the near future if some of the branches in the stake turn into wards. With three branches in Pointe-Noire, a district of the Church will likely be created in this the second largest city of the country. Republic of Congo is a part of the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another New Stake In Mexico

A new stake has been created in the state of Baja California Sur in México. The Cabo San Lucas México Stake was created from the Cabo San Lucas México District. The new stake consists of the Cabo San Lucas 1st, Cabo San Lucas 2nd, Los Cangrejos, San Jose del Cabo 1st, and San Jose del Cabo 2nd wards as provided by The Cabo San Lucas México District was created back in 1997 and only had two branches back in 2002. Growth has been very strong for a stake to be organized in Cabo San Lucas considering the district was organized only 12 years ago and did not have enough congregations to become a stake until recently. I do not know whether this is due to high numbers of convert baptisms, members moving into the area or a combination of both. Only one other stake is in the state of Baja California Sur in La Paz (which was organized in 1989. With the creation of this stake there are now 216 stakes and 37 districts in México. Four districts have become stakes in México just in the past few weeks and hopefully we will see at least a couple more in the near future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Stake In Ecuador

A new stake was created in Ecuador. The Los Chillos Ecuador Stake was created from the San Rafael Ecuador District. Each of the six branches in the former district became wards in the new stake. The new stake is just outside the capital, Quito. The last district to mature into a stake in Ecuador was in Babahoyo back in 2005 and the last new stake created in Ecuador was in Guayaquil in 2007. There are now 34 stakes and nine districts in Ecuador.

If a temple were announced in Quito, it would likely serve around a dozen stakes and a district in northern Ecuador. Only one other country has more members than Ecuador and only one temple, which is Chile. Recent growth in the Church in Ecuador has been steady in terms of membership, growing to over 185,000 in 2008. However, we have not seen an increase or decrease in the number of congregations in Ecuador since 2004. Hopefully we will see other districts in the country made into stakes in the near future, such as the districts in Loja, Riobamba and Santa Rosa.

Two New Stakes In Mexico

Last weekend two districts in Mexico were made into stakes. The Galeana México Stake was created from the Jojutla México District and consists of five wards and one branch. The Jojutla México District was originally organized in 1994. The cities of Galeana and Jojotla are in the southern portion of the state of Morelos and are a part of the México Cuernavaca Mission, which was organized in 2006.

The second district made into a stake last weekend was in Uruapan. The Uruapan México Stake consists of five wards and four branches in Uruapan and the surrounding region. Uruapan is the second largest city in the state of Michoacán, with about 240,000 inhabitants. The district in Uruapan was originally organized back in 1982. A piece of news I failed to report on earlier concerning this part of México is that the district in Acambaro was renamed the Zitácuaro México District because two of the original five branches were transferred to the stake in Morelia and became wards. This leaves the Zitácuaro México District with three branches. The stake in Morelia, which is the largest city in the state of Michoacán, has grown quite large, making it likely to split in the near future.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Mongolia Ulaanbaatar West Stake

The first stake in Mongolia was organized today with six wards in its boundaries. The new district, the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar East District, likely has five or six branches and was counseled to prepare for stakehood by strengthening the branches. For a first hand account of the event, visit .

Saturday, June 6, 2009

District Dissolved In Nigeria

The Akure Nigeria District was recently dissolved. The district had only two branches in the cities of Akure and Ondo. I believe that both of these cities still have branches, but that district was discontinued. The district was originally created in 2003 and was likely dissolved because it only had two branches (which is very small for a district). Akure and Ondo are also about 30 miles away from each other, which is a big distance for Nigeria. We have seen little growth in the Church in this area of Nigeria, which is inland from Lagos, in the past five years. The Church has continued to grow steadily in Lagos where there are now two stakes (organized in 1997 and 2005). The four districts inland from Lagos (located in Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, and Ile-Ife) were all organized in the 1990s and hopefully a couple will mature into stakes soon. The Book of Mormon was recently translated in Yoruba, one of the predominant languages spoken in this area, and hopefully this will allow for greater strength and growth in the coming years. Furthermore one of the missions in Lagos will be discontinued this summer, which is likely due to the slower growth in this region of the country. The greatest growth in Nigeria is occurring in Benin City, where we are likely to see new stakes organized, and southeastern Nigeria.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The First Stake In Countries Around The World

I thought it would be good to provide a list of when each country in the world had its first stake organized. This post was prompted with the recent creation of the Port of Spain Trinidad Stake as well as the creation of the first stakes in the Marshall Islands and Mongolia this month. Countries which do not have stakes are omitted from the list. Only stakes which currently exist in the Church today are taken into account.


United States: 1847
Mexico: 1895
Canada: 1895
New Zealand: 1958


United Kingdom: 1960
Australia: 1960
Germany: 1961
Netherlands: 1961
Switzerland: 1961
Samoa: 1962
Brazil: 1966
Argentia: 1966
Guatemala: 1967
Uruguay: 1967
Tonga: 1968
American Samoa: 1969


Peru: 1970
Japan: 1970
South Africa: 1970
Chile: 1972
French Polynesia: 1972
Philippines: 1973
El Salvador: 1973
South Korea: 1973
Denmark: 1974
France: 1975
Sweden: 1975
Taiwan: 1976
China-Hong Kong: 1976
Colombia: 1977
Venezuela: 1977
Honduras: 1977
Costa Rica: 1977
Belgium: 1977
Finland: 1977
Norway: 1977
Ecuador: 1978
Bolivia: 1979
Paraguay: 1979
Panama: 1979


Puerto Rico: 1980
Austria: 1980
Portugal: 1981
Italy: 1981
Spain: 1982
Fiji: 1983
Dominican Republic: 1986
Nigeria: 1988


Ghana: 1991
Papua New Guinea: 1995
Thailand: 1995
Singapore: 1995
Ireland: 1995
Democratic Republic of Congo: 1996
Kiribati: 1996
Haiti: 1997
Ivory Coast: 1997
Nicaragua: 1998
Zimbabwe: 1999


Madagascar: 2000
Kenya: 2001
Republic of Congo: 2003
Ukraine: 2004
Hungary: 2006
Mongolia: 2009
Trinidad and Tobago: 2009
Marshall Islands: 2009

Notice how about half (52%) of these 67 countries received their first stake between 1966 and 1983. This is the period of time where we saw the most impressive growth in the Church in terms of new congregations organized. It is also important to note that historically there have been periods where very few countries received their first stake, such as the past 10 years and the 1980s.

It is exciting to note that it appears we are coming out of one of those periods of few countries receiving their first stake. In 2009 we have not seen the first stake created in this many countries since 1995 (when the first stakes were created in Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, and Thailand). If stakes are organized in Guyana and Uganda later this year, 2009 will be the year with the most countries receiving their first stakes since 1977!

We should also remember that only 67 countries have or shortly will have a stake of the Church and only 98 countries have over 1,000 members (although that number might be a little bit higher if we consider those nations for which the Church does not publish membership totals for - like China and Pakistan). There are 192 nations recognized by the United Nations.

So you may ask "why are stakes so important?" Stakes indicate the strength in the Church in terms of numbers, activity and devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by members of the Church in a geographical area. Stakes require local members to fulfill callings and leadership positions. Stakes are important for missionary work and temple work as well as holding the organization of the Church together. Each additional stake created is seen as another stake holding the great "tent" of the Church secure, allowing for further growth of the Gospel throughout the Earth.

Monday, June 1, 2009

More New Stakes In Florida and Nicaragua

Members of the Church report that new stakes will be organized this month in Florida and Nicaragua. I will provide more detailed analysis once these stakes are offically organized.

In Florida the two stakes in the Jacksonville area will be realigned to create a third stake for Jacksonville, likely to consist of congregations in the southern portion of the metropolitan area. The new stake is scheduled to be created on the 20th of June.

In Nicaragua members are preparing for the Chinandega Nicaragua Stake to be split this month. I imagine that the new stake will be centered in Chichigalpa and I will provide more information when it becomes available.