Monday, September 28, 2009

New District to be Created in South Africa

Missionaries serving in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission report that approval was given for the first district to be created in northeastern South Africa. The new district will likely include seven independent mission branches. Some of the branches in the new district are in the cities of Lenyenye, Mokopane, Polokwane, and Tzaneen. There has been no date provided for when the new district will be organized or what its name will be. I will post this information once it becomes available. Some of the branches in this region of the country have had inactivity and retention problems over the years. Missionaries hope that with the organization of a district for the branches, members and leadership will receive more training and assistance to help strengthen the Church in the area.

Once the district is organized there will be a total of four districts in South Africa and an additional 11 stakes. The last district to be created in South Africa was in Bloemfontein last June. The only areas in South Africa which I believe may receive new districts in the coming year or two would be around Johannesburg for outlying branches or in the South Africa Capetown Mission.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two New Stakes In Lima, Peru

Last Sunday there was a regional stake conference broadcast for members of the Church in Peru. Speakers in the conference, such as Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf, commented on how someday there will be more temples in Peru. Missionaries stated that one of the obstacles mentioned in the conference that was preventing more temples built in the country was a lack in member activity in areas such as tithing and Church attendance.

According to missionaries serving in the Peru Lima North Mission two new stakes were created last Sunday from two already existing stakes in part of the city. As of yet I do have specifics on the names of the new stakes or which stakes were involved in the split and will provide them under comments once they become available. So far in 2009 there have been a total of six new stakes created in Peru: five in Lima and one in Chimbote. There are now a total of 93 stakes and 24 districts in the country.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stakes Outside the United States Likely to Split Soon

Up to now I have not created any posts providing a list of likely stakes to be divided outside the U.S. Information I have gathered for previous posts on stakes likely to split in the U.S. is based on the number and increase of congregations as provided through stake and ward websites. The Church currently only has websites for most stakes and districts in the United States and Canada. Recently websites were extended to stakes and districts in Australia and New Zealand, may of which currently have functioning websites. A few stakes in some Latin America countries or English speaking congregations around the world have official Church websites as well.

Data used to compile this list was provided through Church websites, such as, and missionary and member observations or reports. This list is not definitive and does not guarantee that these stakes will be divided and new ones created. Some of these stakes listed are based on my opinions. The time frame for when these stakes will likely be divided is within the next two or three years.

Your suggestions and input is valuable. Please offer constructive comments on where potential stakes may be created from already existing stakes outside the United States or if any of the following stakes appear to be unlikely to split.


Yopougon Cote D'Ivoire Stake
Takoradi Ghana Stake
Tema Ghana Stake
Antananarivo Madagascar Stake
Benin City Nigeria Ihobge Stake
Benin City Nigeria New Benin Stake
Lagos Nigeria Stake


Butuan Philippines Stake
Savaii Samoa Stake
Kaohsiung Taiwan Stake
Papeeti Tahiti Stake
Raromatai Tahiti Stake


Belem Brazil Stake
Brasilia Brazil Alvorada Stake
Fortaleza Brazil Montese
Hortolandia Brazil Stake
Joinville Brazil Stake
Juiz de Fora Brazil Stake
Niteroi Brazil Stake
Rio Branco Brazil Stake
São José do Rio Preto Brazil Stake


Calgary Alberta Foothills Stake
Calgary Alberta North Stake
Calgary Alberta West Stake
Edmonton Alberta Millwoods Stake
Edmonton Alberta North Stake

Central America

Alajuela Costa Rica Stake
San Jose Costa Rica La Paz Stake
Tegucigalpa Honduras Toncontin Stake
Managua Nicaragua Stake


Elche Spain Stake


Amecameca México Stake
Celaya México Stake
Chilpancingo México Stake
Ciudad Juárez México East Stake
Ciudad Juárez México La Cuesta Stake
Coatzacoalcos México Puerto Stake
Culiacán México Stake
Jalapa México Stake
Juchitán México Stake
México City Anáhuac Stake
México City Chapultepec Stake
México City Culturas Stake
México City Iztapalapa Stake
México City La Perla Stake
México City Tecamac Stake
México City Tepalcapa Stake
México City Valle Dorado Stake
México City Villa de las Flores Stake
Oaxaca México Monte Albán Stake
Pachuca México Centro Stake
Puebla México Nealticán Stake
Saltillo México República Stake
Veracruz México Stake

South America (Spanish)

Jujuy Argentina Stake
Santa Cruz Bolivia Cañoto Stake
Luque Paraguay Stake
Arequipa Perú Manuel Prado Stake
Lima Perú Canto Grande Stake
Lima Perú Puente Piedra Stake
Lima Perú Villa Salvador Stake
Montevideo Uruguay East Stake
Ciudad Ojeda Venezuela Stake
Guayana Venezuela Stake
Maracaibo Venezuela South Stake
Maracay Venezuela Stake
Puerto La Cruz Venezuela

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Stakes In Brazil and Guatemala


A new stake was created last Sunday in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The stake in Campo Grande was divided and a second stake for the city organized (which becomes the third stake in the state as well). The Campo Grande Brazil Monte Líbano Stake includes four wards and one branch. This brings the total number of stakes to 229 in Brazil.

The original Campo Grande Brazil Stake was organized in June of 1991. It appeared like the stake would be divided in 2001 when there were nine wards and one branch. The new Campo Grande Brazil Monte Líbano Stake is one of the smallest stakes created in recent years in terms of the number of congregations. The recently created stake in Kinshasa last month also had four wards and a branch. It is likely that the two stakes in Campo Grande will have more congregations added in the coming months and years.


The first new stake created in Guatemala in 10 years was created last Sunday. The Totonicapán Guatemala Stake was created from the Nahualá Guatelmala District and a portion of the Quetzaltenango Guatemala El Bosque Stake. The three branches in the Nahualá Guatemala District became wards and three wards and two branches were taken from the Quetzaltenango Guatemala El Bosque Stake. The new stake will be nearby the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple, which is currently under construction. The new stake brings the total number of stakes in Guatemala to 39 and districts to 18.

We will likely see more new stakes in Guatemala, created mainly from districts. The Church has recently had a drop in the number of wards and branches in Guatemala primarily due to many branches being discontinued since 2000 as well as several wards discontinued last year. The number of congregations in the country fell from 451 in 2000 to 418 at the end of 2008. This drop in congregations was likely attributed to smaller branches combining to created stronger branches in districts so that they could become stakes (the number of wards increased in Guatemala from 239 to 241 - indicating that very few branches in stakes had become wards during this time). Unfortunately we have not seen any districts become stakes happened as of yet with the exception of the Totonicapán Guatemala Stake.

Membership usually increases by about 5,000 members a year in Guatemala and currently stands at 215,000.

Three New Districts In India In October

Missionaries serving in the India Bangalore Mission report that the First Presidency of the Church has approved the creation of three new districts in the country. These districts will be created October 11th. The new districts will be created in Chennai, Coimbatore and Vishakhapatnam. The district in Chennai will include at least two branches in the city, with a third branch likely to be created soon considering new districts usually have at least three branches and the two branches currently in Chennai are rather large. The district in Coimbatore will likely include the branch in Coimbatore as well as three other branches nearby. The district in Vishakhapatnam will likely include the three branches in the city as well as two branches in Rajahmundry and one branch in Kakinada. With the creation of these three new districts in India the number of districts will double to six.

These new districts in India have been the result of decades of missionary work and training leadership. The new districts will also likely facilitate the establishment of stakes in India considering the districts in Bangalore and Hyderabad will be able to focus on preparing the branches to become wards. There has been no timetable set forth for when districts may become stakes, but there have been longterm goals set for districts in the country to become stakes.

Currently there are 30 branches, three districts and two missions of the Church in India.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

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 December can be found here. Some of these stakes will likely be divided and have the new stake include a few congregations taken from other stakes nearby not listed below.

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. Unfortunately we have not seen very many new congregations created in the United States this year compared to years past. We might end up having the fewest number of new congregations created in the U.S. this year in over a decade unless the pace at which new wards and branches picks up. However we will likely have at least a hundred new units created in 2009 in the U.S. Currently we have had somewhere around seventy created this year by my count.
  • Huntsville Alabama Stake (13 wards)
  • Wasilla Alaska Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
  • Gilbert Arizona Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Flagstaff Arizona Stake (12 wards, 3 branches)
  • Phoenix Arizona Deer Valley Stake (13 wards)
  • Prescott Arizona Stake (13 wards, 2 branches)
  • Taylor Arizona Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Bakersfield California Stake (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Camarillo California Stake (12 wards)
  • Poway California Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Rocklin California Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • Roseville California Stake (12 wards)
  • Arapahoe Colorado Stake (13 wards)
  • Denver Colorado North Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Meeker Colorado Stake (11 wards, 3 branches)
  • Parker Colorado Stake (12 wards)
  • Wilmington Delaware Stake (10 wards, 5 branches)
  • Kahului Hawaii Stake(11 wards, 3 branches)
  • Eagle Idaho Stake (13 wards)
  • Chubbuck Idaho Stake (12 wards)
  • Rigby Idaho Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • Louisville Kentucky Stake (11 wards, 5 branches)
  • Cambridge Massachusetts Stake (12 wards, 3 branches)
  • Omaha Nebraska Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Las Vegas Nevada South Stake (11 wards)
  • North Las Vegas Nevada Stake (12 wards)
  • Sparks Nevada Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Keizer Oregon Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
  • Colleyville Texas Stake (13 wards)
  • Dallas Texas East Stake (12 wards)
  • Houston Texas West (Spanish) Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Round Rock Texas Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
  • American Fork Utah West Stake (12 wards)
  • Eagle Mountain Utah Stake (11 wards)
  • Eagle Mountain Utah East Stake (13 wards)
  • Eagle Mountain Utah West Stake (13 wards)
  • Enoch Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Fort Herriman Utah Stake (14 wards)
  • Highland Utah Stake (13 wards)
  • Hooper Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Huntsville Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Kanesville Utah Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • La Verkin Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Layton Utah South Stake (13 wards)
  • Lehi Utah North Stake (14 wards, 1 branch)
  • North Salt Lake Utah Parkway Stake (13 wards, 2 branches)
  • Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
  • Pleasant Grove Manila Stake (12 wards)
  • Providence Utah Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • Providence Utah South Stake (15 wards)
  • Provo Utah South Stake (12 wards)
  • Richmond Utah Stake (12 wards)
  • Salt Lake Utah (Tongan) Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
  • Santa Clara Utah Stake (15 wards)
  • Smithfield Utah Stake (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • South Weber Stake (12 wards)
  • Spanish Fork Utah South Stake (14 wards, 1 branch)
  • Tooele Utah North Stake (12 wards)
  • Tremonton Utah South Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • West Point Utah Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • West Point Utah Lakeside Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Buena Vista Virginia Stake (12 wards, 2 branches)
  • Fredericksburg Virginia Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
  • Pasco Washington Stake (12 wards, 4 branches)
  • Cheyenne Wyoming Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Gillette Wyoming Stake (10 wards, 5 branches)
  • Laramie Wyoming Stake (12 wards)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Districts Discontinued In Honduras

Two districts were recently discontinued in Honduras. The Santa Barbara Honduras District and Tela Honduras District each only had two branches. The Santa Barbara Honduras District was located southwest of San Pedro Sula and the Tela Honduras District was located to the west of the port city of La Ceiba. It was likely these districts became mission branches, not a part of a stake or district. There are now 20 stakes and nine districts in Honduras. Despite the dissolution of two districts in Honduras, we continue to see increased growth from years past in Honduras. Membership increased by the second highest percentage last year since 2000. We also saw six new congregations created in the country in 2008.

We continue see a trend this year of districts with only two branches being discontinued. So far this year there have been 14 districts discontinued, half of which had only two branches. These districts are discontinued through revelation to priesthood leaders. Oftentimes such small districts carry with them greater demands than independent mission branches when local leadership is taken away from the branch level.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Stake In Brazil

A new stake was created last Sunday in São Paulo Brazil. The São Paulo Brazil Raposo Tavares stake was divided to create the São Paulo Brazil Cotia Stake. The new stake consists of seven wards and one branch stretching from Cotia on the east to Ibiúna on the west. Out of recently created stakes in Latin America, the São Paulo Brazil Cotia Stake is one of the new stakes with the most congregations. The Located on the western side of the city of São Paulo, the new stake includes many suburban communities or smaller towns outside of São Paulo and becomes the 29th stake to have São Paulo part of its name and the 37th stake in the São Paulo metropolitan area. There are now 228 stakes in Brazil.

We have seen strong, consistant growth in São Paulo with new wards and stakes created. There have been seven new stakes created in São Paulo since the beginning of 2007. However we are unlikely to see many new stakes created in São Paulo until more wards and branches are created in the area.

Below are a list of the seven recently created stakes in the city.

São Paulo Brazil Embu Stake: March 4, 2007
São Paulo Brazil Cumbica Stake: March 11, 2007
São Paulo Brazil Itaquá Stake: June 10, 2007
São Paulo Brazil Jardim da Saúde Stake: September 16, 2007
São Paulo Brazil Jaraguá Stake: November 23, 2008
São Paulo Brazil Casa Grande Stake: December 7, 2008
São Paulo Brazil Cotia Stake: September 6, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Stake In Spain

The Vitoria Spain Stake was created today in the Spain Bilbao Mission. The new stake becomes Spain's 10th stake and the first in northern Spain. The new stake includes five wards (the Santander, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Logrono and Pamplona Wards) and three branches (Las Arenas, Vitoria and Burgos). There were an estimated 700-850 in attendance for the stake's creation. Growth has been slow but steady in northern Spain. The new stake is the result of decades of missionary work. The Bilbao Spain District (which was used to make the new stake) was originally organized in 1980.

Metropolitan Areas With The Most Stakes

One of the greatest strengths to the Church is when many Church members live in the same city. When concentrated in a particular geographic place, members of the Church are usually more easily able to fellowship one another and help build up the Church through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Close proximity and large populations allows for the Church to preach the Gospel message to a greater number of people in a shorter amount of time than in rural areas, where more time is spent traveling from place to place to teach fewer individuals and families. Members of the Church concentrated in cities also facilitates the building and operation of temples and the creation of stakes.

There are 36 cities in the world with at least 10 stakes in their metropolitan areas. Out of these 36 cities only two do not have a temple: Fortaleza, Brazil (which has 13 stakes) and Pocatello, Idaho (which has 11 stakes). There are some interesting comparisons we can make with the data below. For instance, if the ratio of stakes to population in Mexico City were the same as Salt Lake City, there would be a total of 2,804 stakes in Mexico City which is about how many stakes there are in the entire Church. Another interesting hypothetical situation is if the ratio of stakes to population in Salt Lake City were the same as the ratio of stakes to population in Mexico City there would be only three stakes in Salt Lake City!

Some of the metropolitan area populations are estimated (particularly for Utah) due to the large number of small towns in their peripheries. Most of the population data comes from or Census Bureau estimates. Most suburbs or neighboring cities less than 30 or so miles away from the named metropolitan city are included in metropolitan population and stake numbers. What constitutes a metropolitan area is up to debate, but is best to be thought of as a conglomeration of urban neighborhoods and population centers.

Click on the table below to view.


I wanted to correct some incorrect information on the blog (which has since been removed) concerning a district created in Malaysia. There was no district created in Sibu and there are no formal plans to open up the additional cities mentioned in the deleted post. I apologize for the misinformation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rwanda Dedicated For The Preaching Of The Gospel

The LDS Church News reported that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland dedicated the country of Rwanda for missionary work August 27th. Rwanda has a population of about 10 million people that speaks English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. Currently Rwanda is part of the Uganda Kampala Mission and will likely receive proselyting missionaries soon. As of now there is only one branch in the country and only 17 members. There have been many baptisms so far this year and attendance at the Kigali Branch has climbed to around 40 or 50 as of last Spring.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Stake In The Democratic Republic of Congo

A new stake was created August 23rd in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the capital city of Kinshasa. The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Kimbanseke Stake was created from a division of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Masina Stake. The new stake consists of four wards and one branch located on the south and east sides of Kinshasa. Although the new stake was created with very few congregations the Church grows rapidly in Kinshasa and several more will likely be created soon. In 2007 the Accra Ghana McCarthy Hill Stake was only created with four wards and a couple branches but since has had many new congregations created. There are now five stakes in Kinshasa and one on the other side of the river in Brazzaville. All together there are seven stakes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The creation of the new stake will likely increase the possibility of a future temple in Kinshasa. The nearest temple to the country is in South Africa, over 1,000 miles away. Currently the Kinshasa-Brazzaville metropolitan area is tied with Johannesburg South Africa for the most stakes in one metropolitan area in Africa. Below is a map of the Kinshasa area with different stakes indicated by yellow markers.

View Stakes and Districts in Africa in a larger map

New Stake In Peru

According to a missionary serving in Peru Lima East Mission a new stake was created last Sunday, August 30th, in Lima. The Lima Peru Magnolias Stake was created from a division of the Lima Peru Bayovar Stake and possibly another stake or two. The new stake brings the total of stakes in the Lima metropolitan area to 37 and to 91 for the country. So far this year there have been three other new stakes created in Peru, two of which were in Lima. Membership is currently approaching 500,000.

We are likely to continue to see more new stakes organized in Lima and throughout the country in the coming months and years. Peru will likely be the next country to have at least 100 stakes. Currently only the United States, Mexico and Brazil have over 100 stakes. Chile had over 100 stakes from 1997 until 2002 when about one third of the stakes in the country were discontinued in order to strengthen already existing stakes and congregations.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Visas Problems and Missionaries Around The World


Missionaries in the Mozambique Maputo Mission reported that missionaries were withdrawn from the country of Angola. Angola was first opened for the preaching of the Gospel a year ago and currently has two branches with about 650 members of the Church. The reason for the missionaries being withdrawn from the country was due to visa problems. The Church has struggled to gain visas for missionaries serving in Angola, particularly for North American missionaries. It is unclear as to why visas for missionaries are so difficult to obtain, but likely the result of a lack of missionaries from other religions serving in the country or misunderstandings about the Church's purpose in sending missionaries to the country.


The Deseret News reported concerning the possible removal of missionaries serving in the country of Guyana, which can be found here. According to missionaries serving in the country, the immigration officer for the country is seeking to remove some 38 missionaries, many of whom are from the United States, from the country, claiming that their visas expired and were never renewed. The Church is currently working with the government in Guyana to resolve the issue. News reports of the situation have stated that there are around 100 missionaries serving in the country. It is unclear whether mission leadership was unaware of updating missionary visas for the country for whether a couple government officials are try to harass the Church. The Church has maintained a positive relationship with the government in Guyana, both on local and national levels.

According to my parents, the Salt Lake Tribute attempted to contact me by phone at my parents' home (how they got the phone number I'm not sure) about the situation. I was unable to talk with the Tribune about the situation because I currently reside in South Korea. However I will provide some analysis of the situation here for those interested.

First of all, I have not been to the country before and all the information I have comes from missionaries who have served or are serving in the country or Church publications. The former Mission President's wife reported that there were 50 Elders serving in Guyana as of June 2009. There are five zones in Guyana, which typically have 10-20 missionaries. Two of these zones are located in the capital of Georgetown (Diamond and LaGrange), two are in New Amsterdam (Berbice and Canje), and one is in Linden. There are 15 branches in the country with at least two more groups meeting as well. Membership has typically grown by around 100-300 members of the Church a year between 2000 and 2007. In 2007 membership grew by 500 members to about 2,600. Last year Guyana saw the largest number of baptisms ever, with membership increasing by about 1,400 to almost 4,000. Currently Church members and missionaries are working on reactivation and retention of recent converts as well as preparing for the first stake to be established in Georgetown, likely before the end of the year.

The current visa situation with American missionaries appears serious primarily because the Church always wants to maintain good relations with governments in different countries around the world. There are large numbers of missionaries serving in the West Indies Mission (which Guyana is a part of) from other nations in the world and if those missionaries alleged of violating visa regulations were withdrawn from the country, the mission would likely be able to take missionaries serving in other countries in the mission and transfer them to Guyana quickly, making sure they comply with all visa regulations. Other countries and territories within the West Indies Mission with larger amounts of missionaries include Guadeloupe, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

It is important to remember that problems with visas and missionaries often are the result of misunderstandings and miscommunications. These are usually quickly resolved and missionary work continues on as before.