Thursday, December 29, 2011

Several New Case Study Essays Posted

In coordination with David Stewart at, we have posted nine church growth case studies which examine specific topics in relation to LDS Church growth.  Case studies currently posted examine the following topics and are provided with links to the articles:
We are in the process of editing and writing case studies on the following topics:
  • Outreach efforts among the Tzotzil Amerindians
  • Unofficial groups of investigators meeting under the LDS Church's name
  • Failed efforts to expand outreach in Greece
  • The impact of changing area policies on LDS growth
  • Meetinghouse construction and LDS growth
  • Projecting LDS membership growth
  • LDS growth among the Miskito of Nicaragua
  • Unreached islands in the Philippines
  • Comparing LDS growth trends in Hong Kong and Singapore
  • Methods of LDS Outreach in Muslim nations
Corrections, comments, and questions are welcomed.  We are also welcoming suggestions for future topics.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Baghdad Iraq Military District Discontinued

In conjunction with the withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq, the Church has discontinued the Baghdad Iraq Military District.  Formed in late 2009, the district met the needs of military members in Iraq meeting in six branches and up to several dozen groups at one time.  Five of the six branches have been discontinued with the closure of the district; only one branch continues to operate (I Z Military Branch).

Members in the Middle East report that there have been a handful of Iraqi Christians who have joined the LDS Church in other nations such as Jordan.  It is unclear whether any active Iraqi Latter-day Saints live in Iraq at present.  The Church does not proselyte in Iraq and no missionaries are assigned.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Two New International Districts in China

Two new districts were created last Sunday in China for foreigners residing in the country.  The Central China International (English) District was organized from the Beijing China International (English) District and includes two branches in Xian and Qinghao and a third district branch that was renamed the Central China International (English) Branch.  The Shenzhen China International (English) District was also organized from the Beijing China International (English) District and includes two branches in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.  Long distances between branches and district headquarters appears the primary reason for the organization of these two small districts.  Each of these two districts appear to also accommodate several groups of members residing in additional cities which remain too small in numbers to merit the organization of their own branches.  There are now four international districts in mainland China.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recent Church Growth News

Missionaries serving on Gaua Island, Vanuatu

Missionaries have recently begun serving on the island of Gaua in northern Vanuatu.  With only a few thousand inhabitants, Gaua becomes one of the least populated islands in the country to have had an LDS presence established.  The number of missionaries assigned to Vanuatu has increased dramatically within the past couple months to as many as 30 at present.  A single group meets in Gaua which missionaries report has recently been approved to become an independent branch.

Growth in Sierra Leone

Several new branches and groups have been recently organized in Sierra Leone.  Missionaries report that in Kenema three congregations have begun meeting whereas a year ago there was only one branch.  Currently assigned to the Bo Sierra Leone District, Kenema is likely to become its own district in the near future.  A new branch was created less than a month ago in Freetown (Belliar Park Branch) and a couple new groups also begun meeting in the Freetown area.

Accelerated congregational growth in Venezuela

Over the past year congregational growth has accelerated in Venezuela with new wards and branches often being organized on a monthly basis.  Convert retention and member activity rates appear higher than most Latin American nations as membership growth rates remain moderately low notwithstanding increases in new wards and branches.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Senior Missionary Couples Temporarily Leave the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission

Due to political instability caused by the recent presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the LDS Church has withdrawn its non-African senior missionary couples serving in the DR Congo in the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission and is currently housing them in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Senior missionary couples serving in nearby Cameroon and the Republic of Congo - two nations also part of the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission - appear unaffected.  It is unclear whether the mission president has also withdrawn from the country or whether senior missionary couples were withdrawn from the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission.  Almost the entire full-time missionary force is staffed by native Congolese members and it is unclear whether these missionaries are under lock down or continue to proselyte in the Kinshasa area.

The current situation does not appear likely to significantly disrupt the growth of the Church in the DR Congo.  However if political instability and violence interfere with the activities of local and native full-time missionaries for extended periods of time and mission leadership become unable to communicate with local church leaders, reduced church growth may result within the next year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

District Discontinued in Argentina

A district was recently discontinued in Argentina.  Formerly comprising four branches in the Chaco area of Argentina, the General Jose de San Martin Argentina District was combined with stakes in Resistencia and Formosa.  The El Colorado and San Martin Branches now pertain to the Resistencia Argentina Stake whereas the Pirane Branch pertains to the Formosa Argentina Stake.  The Campo Medina Branch is no longer assigned to a district or stake and reports directly to the Argentina Resistencia Mission. 

Northern Argentina near the Paraguay border has experienced the most drastic congregation consolidation in the country over the past few years as many small branches have closed.  There are now 71 stakes and 36 districts in Argentina.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New District in Malaysia

A new district was created in West Malaysia last Sunday.  The Johor Bahru Malaysia District was organized from the Singapore Stake and includes two branches in the Johor Bahru area.  The organization of a new district with only two branches has been very unusual over the past five years for the Church as a whole as such districts often have extremely limited priesthood leadership manpower and tend to draw large amounts of resources from individual branches within the district.  The organization of a district for the two branches in Johor Bahru may indicate prospects for the organization of additional branches within the near future.  Currently in Malaysia the Miri East Malaysia District also has only two branches at present but this district also includes three groups in Miri and Brunei.