Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Stake Created in Côte d'Ivoire

The Church created a new stake in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) last Sunday.  The Port-Bouët Côte d'Ivoire Stake was created from the Cocody Côte d'Ivoire Stake and Côte d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission and includes the Adjouffou, Jean-Folly, Koumassi, Marcory, Port-Bouët, and Vridi Wards and the Grand-Bassam 1st and Grand-Bassam 2nd Branches.  The Church created its first stake in Abidjan in 1997.  Today there are now five stakes.  The three other stakes were created in 2000 (Abobo), 2006 (Cocody), and 2010 (Abidjan Niangon).  Maps of wards and branches and stakes and districts in Côte d'Ivoire are available on the LDS International Atlas on  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated Potential New Temples Map

In preparation for the 182nd Semiannual General Conference, I have updated my potential new temples map.  Potential locations for future temples were selected based on many factors including distance to the nearest temple, the number of stakes and districts within a potential temple district, measures of temple attendance (frequency of endowment session scheduling, member reports), duration of an LDS presence, the presence of an LDS mission headquartered in the city, and recent congregational growth trends. New potential temple sites added to the map with this most recent update include Hyderabad, India; Moscow, Russia; Neiafu Vava'u, Tonga; Oslo, Norway; Pago Pago American Samoa; and Praia, Cape Verde. 

View Potential New Temples in a larger map

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stake Discontinued in California

A stake was recently discontinued in California.  The Huntington Park California West (Spanish) Stake was consolidated into the Los Angeles California, Downey California (renamed Huntington Park California), and the Inglewood California Stakes.  The stake previously contained seven Spanish-speaking units and had no units recently closed.  Missionaries report that one of the primary reasons for the consolidation was to provide more socialization opportunities for Spanish-speaking youth with their English-speaking counterparts.  Within the past decade, there have been very few congregations closed in stakes affected by the recent stake consolidation.

There are now 156 stakes in California.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Stake in Italy

As reported in an earlier post, the Church created a new stake in Italy.  The Milan Italy East Stake was formed last Sunday from a division of the Milan Italy Stake and includes the Cimiano, Lecco, Merate, Muggiò, and Pavia Wards and the Lodi Branch.  Missionaries and members report steady growth in the Milan area over the past five years, with the number of active Melchizedek Priesthood holders increasing by over 100 within the boundaries of the original stake.  Although some Italians have joined the Church in recent years, nonnative converts and members appear to have driven most of the recent growth.  The Church recently reversed the decade-long trend of declining congregational totals within the past year as new units have been recently organized in Rome and Bergamo.

There are now eight stakes and five districts in Italy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stake Discontinued in South Korea

The Church recently discontinued a stake for the first time in South Korea.  The Seoul Korea North Stake was closed and units within the stake appear to be reassigned to the Seoul Korea Stake.  The Seoul Korea North Stake was originally organized in 1979 and had six wards.

The consolidation of a stake in Seoul has been long overdue due to many stakes containing only four to six wards for several years.  Due to few wards in the Seoul area, I would not be surprised to see another stake consolidation within the near future.  Past mission presidents report that there has been no noticeable increase in sacrament meeting attendance over the past 20 years.  Returned missionary reports indicate that many of the wards appear to have more active members than a decade ago, but there have been mediocre convert retention rates, fewer convert baptisms, and ongoing emigration of active membership.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fourth LDS Stake Created in Haiti

A week after the creation of the Church's third stake in Haiti, the Churh created its fourth stake yesterday from the Port-au-Prince Haiti North Stake.  The Croix-des-Missions Haiti Stake includes five wards in the northern portion of the city and becomes the 40th stake to be created in 2012.  With four stakes clustered in the capital, Haiti appears more likely to have a temple announced in the future although poverty and low living standards may deter a temple announcement for many more years.  The simultaneous creation of two new stakes and only five or six wards assigned to each of the four stakes suggests that the Church experiences self-sufficient local leadership and has sufficient numbers of active Melchizedek Priesthood holders to staff both stake and ward callings.  The Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission is entirely staffed by local members who numbered approximately 80 a year ago.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First Proselytizing LDS Missionaries Arrive in Rwanda

Today the LDS Church assigned its first proselytizing missionaries to Rwanda after several years of waiting.  Members in Kigali report that two missionaries will serve in the Kigali Branch and begin formal missionary activity.  Although the Church officially organized its one and only branch in Rwanda back in 2008, proselytizing missionaries have not been assigned due to pending church registration with the government.  A recent change in the law now permits religious groups to operate as long as they are in the registration process.  Mission leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda conducted their first exploratory visit to assess prospects for missionary activity back in 2006 and the first humanitarian senior missionary couple arrived in 2010.  Rwanda is currently assigned to the Uganda Kampala Mission.  Local members report other recent church growth developments including increasing church attendance and the first native member to begin a full-time mission.  Prior to the assignment of missionaries to Rwanda, the most recent country in the region to have the LDS missionaries assigned was Burundi in 2010.

Expanding missionary activity in the Uganda Kampala Mission may warrant the creation of additional missions in the region although no official announcement has been made by church leaders.  Currently the Uganda Kampala Mission services Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Djibouti - a combined population of approximately 150 million.  Prospects appear favorable for the Church to create new missions in Ethiopia and Burundi; the latter of which could potentially administer Burundi, Rwanda, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Third LDS Stake Created in Haiti

A new stake was created in Haiti last Sunday.  The Church created the Carrefour Haiti Stake from the Port-au-Prince Haiti Stake and includes five or six wards from Carrefour on the east to Petit Goave on the west.  The organization of several new wards over the past year within the Port-au-Prince area merited the organization of the country's third stake.  The other stake in the Port-au-Prince area - the Port-au-Prince Haiti North Stake - also appears close to splitting as there are 10 wards in the stake at present.  The Church created its first stake in Haiti in 1997 and its second stake in 2003. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Stakes to be Created in Italy, Mexico, and Spain

Three new stakes will be created within the next few months in Italy, Mexico, and Spain.  I will provide more details on these new stakes once they are officially organized and information becomes available.

Members and missionaries report that a new stake will be created in northern Italy next weekend in the Milan area.  The new stake will be the Church's eighth stake in Italy. 

Members report that another stake will be created in Puebla, Mexico but it is unclear when this will occur.  The new stake will be organized from a realignment of two or more stakes based in Puebla and Tlaxcala and likely centered in the Almecatla area.  A new stake in the Puebla area was created earlier this year.  With the creation of this pending stake there will be 13 stakes in Puebla State and 226 in Mexico. 

Missionaries report that a realignment of stakes will occur in southern Spain in order to create a new stake based in Cartagena this December. The new stake will be the Church's 11th in Spain.