Sunday, January 31, 2010

Updated Potential Temple Maps

It's been 11 months since I provided maps for likely locations for future new temples. I have revised some of these predictions based on adjustments to calculating likelihood scores. Scores were previously ascertained based on distance, number of stakes/districts in the temple district, the presence of stakes created prior to 1980, and how frequently endowment sessions are held at the nearest temple on Saturdays. Adjusted scores include these factors in addition to the weekday temple schedule and whether a mission is headquartered in the city.

According to the new model, the following temples appear most likely:
  1. Kinshasa DR Congo
  2. Rio de Janeiro Brazil
  3. Layton Utah
  4. Price Utah
  5. Singapore
  6. Tucson Arizona
  7. Evanston Wyoming
  8. Arequipa Peru
  9. Bahia Blanca/Neuquen Argentina
  10. Jacksonville Florida
A total of 36 cities had the same score or higher compared to recently announced temples. 32 of these cities are include in the potential temples map. Temples likely to be announced by 2020 are included in the potential temples by 2020 map.

Potential Temples

View Potential New Temples in a larger map

Potential Temples 2020

View Potential New Temples 2020 in a larger map

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Branch Created in Southern Sudan

The first formal, independent branch of the Church was created in December 2009 in the capital of Southern Sudan. The Juba Branch met as a group prior to its organization as a branch. The first baptisms occurred in July 2009 in the Nile River when three Sudanese men were baptized. There were reports of new branches created in Sudan prior to this date from missionaries serving in Uganda, but these units appear to be dependent groups. Missionaries report that several groups likely meet in Sudan (both officially organized and interested individuals meeting in the Church's name without Church members).

In other news from the area, a group of LDS members in Djibouti primarily comprised of those in the US military has also fallen under the jurisdiction of the Uganda Kampala Mission.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Temple Announced For Payson, Utah

The First Presidency announced on January 25th that a new temple will be built in Payson, Utah to relieve crowding at the Provo Utah Temple. The new temple will served around 78,000 members in 22 stakes in the Spanish Fork/Payson area. With the new temple announcement, this raises the number of temples announced, under construction, or operating in Utah to 15 and worldwide to 152.

For more information about possible temple sites in Utah and around the world, click on the potential temples or potential new temples (which are the same thing) labels below.

Monday, January 18, 2010

First Stake Created in Uganda

The first stake in Uganda was created this past weekend. The Kampala Uganda Stake had a large number of the 10+ branches become wards, although no reports indicate the exact number of wards and branches in the new stake at this time. I will provide additional information once it becomes available. Uganda was the country with the fifth most members without a stake at the end of 2008. For more information about the Church in Uganda, click here.

In 2010 we may see stakes created in many nations which currently do not have a stake. Missionaries report that the Hyderabad India District may become a stake by the end of the year or in 2011. The Kingston Jamaica District may also become a stake later this year. Still no word on the status of potential new stakes in Guyana and Cambodia. The creation of the first stake in a nation indicates that the Church has grown in these areas to the point where enough active members can fill the leadership positions needed to operate a stake and fulfill temple and missionary responsibilities.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Two Districts Discontinued in Honduras

Continuing a trend of discontinuing small districts in Honduras, a couple weeks ago two more districts were discontinued in Honduras in Guaymaca and Juticalpa. The Guaymaca and Juticalpa Honduras Districts each had only two branches and bring the total of districts discontinued in Honduras during the past six months to six. Branches from the former districts were absorbed into nearby districts.

These districts were likely originally created with the hope that additional branches would be created as membership growth increased. However between 1998 and 2005 Honduras experienced much slower membership growth nationwide. Growth rates have since increased for 4.5%, but congregational growth remains stagnant. Districts which now include branches from the two former districts both appear unlikely to become stakes in the near future. All remaining districts have three or more branches and are unlikely to be discontinued.

In 2009, about half of the districts worldwide with only two branches were either discontinued or now have three or more branches. Around 22 districts were discontinued in 2009 and around 24 new districts were created. Areas where we may see additional districts discontinued include Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Micronesia, Korea, Australia, and Russia. Most of these countries only have one or two small districts which may be discontinued however.

District Discontinued in Argentina

A district was discontinued in northern Argentina by the border with Brazil. The Obera Argentina District was discontinued and the two branches part of the former district now report to the Argentina Resistencia Mission. The Obera Argentina District was originally created in 1993. Another district was discontinued in Argentina early 2009 in Gualeguaychu near the border with Uruguay. No other districts in Argentina appear likely to be discontinued in the near future.

Argentina experienced an increase in congregations each year throughout the 2000s until 2008 while most Latin American countries saw a decline in congregations followed by a weak rebound. Growth appears strongest in Buenos Aires and larger cities were there is an ample supply of members and leaders. Areas covered by the Argentina Resistencia Mission have especially high inactivity according to missionaries.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Congregation Growth Outside the United States: 2008

I have not yet provided a list of countries with the largest congregation increases for 2008. The 2007 list can be found here. Congregations increased by 120 outside the United States and 282 worldwide. Below is a list of countries which had an increase of five or more congregations. The United States has been omitted.
  1. Brazil + 53
  2. Mexico + 15
  3. Peru + 12
  4. South Africa + 11
  5. Honduras + 6
  6. Ghana + 6
  7. El Salvador + 5
  8. Democratic Republic of the Congo + 5
81% of the total non-United States increase in congregations can be attributed to the top five countries. Official congregation totals for 2009 will not be available until April.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New District in Togo

The Lome Togo District was created on December 20th. The new district includes four branches, one of which was newly created, named the Be-Kpota Branch. Membership in Togo was around 800 at the end of 2008. Today around a dozen missionaries serve in the country all in the capital city of Lome.

Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission to Split this Summer

Several missionaries serving in the Africa Southeast Area report that the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission will split this summer. In addition to the tremendous demands on the mission president administering to other nations like the Republic of Congo, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea, the mission has also been unable to serve all the needs of the DR Congo itself. Some districts in the interior have had attendance at district conference in the thousands. Several members live in areas without an organized congregation walk up to 200 miles for two weeks to attend Church meetings and gather additional Church literature and scriptures to share with fellow family and friends. Several groups and dependent branches also function throughout the country. Much of this growth occurs without missionaries permanently assigned to these areas. The Africa Southeast Area had over 10,000 convert baptisms in 2009.

A recent trip by the mission president to Burundi revealed hundreds of people meeting in congregations under the Church's name waiting for the reestablishment of the Church in the coming months. The Church had a branch in the 1990s in Bujumbura which was discontinued following many of the leaders emigrating out of the country. The return of the Church's presence will first occur in Bujumbura and in the coming years to unofficial congregations in rural areas. Situations likes these are approached carefully by the Church since the leaders of unofficial congregations of un-baptized members can often be more prone to apostasy. Furthermore conversion is stressed as an individual process and not a collective one. Similar reports have also come from Sudan in the couple years of large groups meeting and awaiting official Church establishment.

A new mission in Lubumbashi appears highly likely. The original DR Congo Kinshasa mission may be divided in three to create a Cameroon Yaounde Mission which could assist in the opening of missionary work in the Central African Republic (which has one branch) and Equatorial Guinea.