Monday, July 18, 2011

Countries with the most Latter-day Saints without an LDS temple

Below is a list of the countries and territories with the most Latter-day Saints without an LDS temple.  The number of members reported by the LDS Church in 2010 and the current number of stakes, districts, and congregations are provided for each nation/territory.  The names of temples which administer these countries/territories currently are also provided.  The list from October 2008 can be found here.

1. Nicaragua
  • 71,888 members
  • 9 stakes, 6 districts
  • 102 congregations
  • Guatemala City Guatemala Temple 
2.  Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 27,058 members
  • 9 stakes, 3 districts
  • 103 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
3. Russia
  • 21,023 members
  • 1 stake, 12 districts
  • 115 congregations
  • Kyiv Ukraine Temple (1 stake, 11 districts); Helsinki Finland Temple (1 district); Seoul Korea Temple (mission branches in the Russia Vladivostok Mission)
4. Puerto Rico
  • 20,785 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 41 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
5. Zimbabwe
  • 18,549 members
  • 4 stakes, 1 district
  • 49 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
6. Papua New Guinea
  • 18,336 members
  • 2 stakes, 9 districts
  • 72 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
7. Haiti
  • 16,902 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 33 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
8. Thailand
  • 16,331 members
  • 1 stake, 5 districts
  • 36 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
9. Cote d'Ivoire
  • 15,638 members
  • 4 stakes, 1 district
  • 39 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
10. American Samoa
  • 15,159 members
  • 4 stakes
  • 37 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple


Tom said...

The democratic republic of the congo is the most baffling on this list.

Out of all the nations on here it has the highest activity and number of stakes without a temple.

Looking at Nicaragua, with three times as many members and the DRC but less stakes and congregations. You can see blatantly activity problems there.

The DRC is more than capable of supporting a temple.

Craig said...

I speculate the some other factors that have delayed Nicaragua, DR Congo, Russia, Cote d'Ivoire, and Papua New Guinea include anti-western governments, unstable governments, high corruption levels, and lack of local world-class contractors.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Some time ago (2010) you reported on some exciting developments in Sudan with groups of people meeting under the church name but not yet members. I think you said that a mission president and a couple of missionaries had been to visit with some of these groups and given them church material. id there any word of the progress there?

Matt said...

I have not obtained any recent information about the Church's happenings in South Sudan. The Juba Branch became the first official LDS branch and was organized in late 2009. Groups appear to operate in Akobo and Nyamlel, but it is unclear whether these are officially operating groups or just groups of self-identified Latter-day Saints. I know missionaries serving in Uganda reported that the mission was waiting to open South Sudan to missionary work until independence was official as the Church faced challenges working in a country which was technically under sanctions.

A Nuer-speaking group became operating in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia within the past year and currently has between 50 and 100 attending church weekly. I imagine that the Church may send a senior missionary couple to Juba within the next six months but I have not heard any official plans.

Matt said...

My opinion is that will several years or a couple decades until all of these countries/territories have LDS temples announced. Keep in mind that Honduras did not have a temple announced until there were over 100,000 members. Granted most of these nations have higher activity rates than Honduras, but other challenges persist. For example, I think that the DR Congo is definitely capable of staffing its own temple; perhaps two temples - one for Kinshasa and one for Lubumbashi. However extremely few members have attended the temple before, which creates significant challenges for having trained local members who can staff temple personnel for it to operate. Furthermore the Church hesitates to built temples in poverty-stricken nations as it aims to meet temporal needs first. Currently senior missionary couples are diligently working with humanitarian and development projects and are also starting the Perpetual Education Fund in the five stakes in Kinshasa. Then again, there has to be a delicate balance between meeting a never-end humanitarian crisis and also providing the opportunity for faithful members to attend the temple. Political instability is a major deterrent for building temples in nations like the DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Haiti, and Cote d'Ivoire.

Will said...

Based off of how many stakes and districts are assigned to particualr temple districts, I'd suspect that high on the list of upcoming temples are one in Rio de Jeneiro, another in the Mexico City metroplotian area, and the semi-announced southwest Salt Lake valley. Having actual temple attendence data would make this guess more accurate.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Why is the DR Congo in the Johannesburg South Africa temple district instead of the Aba Nigeria temple district?

Tom said...

Because the DR Congo is nearer to south Africa than it is to Nigeria.

Although the DR congo may be politically instable and the poorest nation in the world. The church has the strength to turn this nation around if it continues to grow at such a rapid pace with such a high retention rate.

We will witness the church grow faster here than ever seen in any nation before. Soon the presidency will have no choice but to announce a temple in a naion where the church is this big.

In the space of 10 years, the DR congo will have more active members than the United Kingdom has, even with a lower total membership.

We will witness hundreds more congregations established, hundreds more stakes.

This country is the rolling stone. With a 90% retention rate and a 75% activity rate. We are about to witness the gospel gain unstoppable momentum here! I promise.

Rusty said...

A local leader in Puerto Rico told me that their temple attendance is a problem. It is difficult to get to the DR from PR. The South Florida Temple should get good attendance from Puerto Rico.

Nicaragua is baffling to me. I believe they have fewer congregations compared to membership because the population is so dense allowing for larger meetings.

Rusty said...

I agree with Will, Rio seems like a ripe field for an anouncement. However, Mexico Puebla Temple can serve the members in southern Mexico City for a while now. Besides, the Mexico City Temple is the the same size as the Jordan River, one of the largest temples.

Matt said...

The LDS Church News reported that the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple will likely on service 25,000 members in south Florida and the Bahamas ( The LDS Church in Puerto Rico has exhibited low member activity rates for decades, as evidenced by the discontinuance of all four operating stakes in 1993 due to the exodus of American members in the early 1990s.

As for Nicaragua, I believe that a temple announcement will occur very soon. Full-time missionaries reported in 2010 that the Church was looking for land for a potential temple site when a second mission was announced. Unlike other Central American nations, all of Nicaragua's stakes and most members reside in or within close proximity of a single city (Managua).

Potential temple announcements for Puebla, Mexico and Rio de Janeiro appear highly likely as temple these cities are assigned to are well-utilized and each of these cities has a large number of LDS stakes.

Whizzbang said...

I live in Winnipeg and it is beyond baffling why we are getting. It was shocking really to hear about it. We have one stake that numerically is undereported. The actual membership is 3,200 not the 4000+ number that I see sometimes. Activity rates are about 1,200. We have 3 Temples within 7 hours. I hear people complain about distance, cost, "begging for rides an billets". Falls on deaf ears to me. I see all these other areas of the world that have or don't have a Temple and we have nothing on their actual hardships. What is interesting too is what will happen to the Regina Temple when Wpg gets ours. There are two stakes in Saskatchewan with one attending the Temple in Cardston, so with Wpg out of the scene then the small Regina Stake will have to service that Temple. It almost doesn't seem justifiable to build one in Winnipeg. We have problems staffing the wards here so I have no clue who they will get to staff the Temple

Matt said...

I was also shocked when I heard the announcement for a temple in Winnepeg. President Hinckley's proposal for a temple in Winnepeg is the only major contributor I can see for the announcement of the temple and as you noted, there are two nearby small temples which already have very small temple districts. Perhaps this will be one of the smallest temples in the Church, like the Colonia Juarez Mexico Temple. Members in Winnepeg have a tremendous responsibility to work on their member-missionary efforts to staff a future temple.

Whizzbang said...

I have heard...that the Church isn't making any Temples like the smaller Temple designs so I hope that the one for Winnipeg is larger or at least looks cooler like the one in Vancouver. I am befuddled too and I think you are right about Pres. Hinckley. I have heard some people here say that they have written the 1st Pres.about getting one here and I am kind of amazed at how much they don't see what others worldwide have to go through and they complain about 6 safe hours driving.

Rusty said...

I am still thrilled for my friends in Puerto Rico. There are abundant and affordable flights from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale and most important they don't need a passport.
What are the largest metro areas in the Americas without a temple?

Nancy said...

I did not know that the locations of new temples were based on politics and logic. I have been taught that temples are built where the Lord wants them as revealed to the president of the Church. The Lord sees beyond geography, logistics, and our arrogant short-sightedness.

Jeff said...

The infomation you post on your blog is very impressive and informative - thanks.

Sorry if this question is a bit off the subject, but, do you have a feeing for how many LDS temple ordinances are done for the dead church wide in a year?

Matt said...


President Hinckley stated that a record 32 million temple ordinances were performed in 2004 ( I'm going to guess that the number of temple ordinances performed in a year generally ranges from 30-35 million at present.

Matt said...


Yes that is true that temples are announced by revelation. What we are looking at though is based on past trends where areas are likely to have temples announced. Also local members must meet certain criteria for a temple to be announced. For example, missionaries serving in Mongolia have reported that a temple will not be a possibility until there are at least 20,000 total members and a certain number of temple-ready names. We are looking at areas where the threshold for a temple announcement is being met or is not being met to predict likely sites for new temples. Temples are often strong indicators of member activity and other areas that interest those who like to study the growth of the Church. As regarding living LDS teachings, focus on individuals and families living basic teachings and doctrines as taught in the scriptures and from Church leaders is the fundamental key for additional temples to be built. In other words, it is not the temple itself but what it represents which interests those who study the growth of the LDS Church.

Minchin Web said...

You missed France on your list. There is no temple in France, but about 30,000 members and about 10 stakes. French members currently travel to London, Frankfurt, Switzerland, and Madrid.

(Perhaps, the Tahiti temple gets France off the list technically, but not in any practical sense...)

Matt said...

France is not listed because the Paris France Temple is announced. Countries with announced temples (such as Portugal) are not included on the list.

Oehler said...

This post has been updated

L. Chris Jones said...

As of April 7, 2019; all the temples on this list but Paula New Guinea have a temple built, under construction, or announced. Amazing times.