Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Potential New Missions in 2013

I have received several reports from mission presidents and area authorities that the Church may create as many as 50 new missions in 2013 as a result of the recent surge in the full-time missionary force.  Below is a map I created that identifies locations that appear most likely to have new missions organized in 2013.  Criteria for identifying potential locations for new missions include the administrative size of currently operating missions, the number of convert baptisms, informal missionary reports of plans to create new missions in these locations, opportunities for growth, and recent trends in mission growth over the past few years. Blue markers indicate high probability for the mission to be organized whereas yellow markers indicate moderate probability for the mission to be organized.

View Potential New Missions in 2013 in a larger map

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Stake Created in Spain

Earlier this month, the Church created a new stake in Spain.  The Lleida Spain Stake was created from the Hospitalet Spain Stake and Spain Barcelona Mission and includes four wards (Lleida, Sabadell 1st, Sabadell 2nd, and Terrassa) and three branches (Andorra, Zaragoza 1st, and Zaragoza 2nd).  Missionaries serving in the Spain Barcelona Mission report that the two branches in Zaragoza may become wards within the near future.  Currently the Hospitalet Spain Stake has only four wards and two branches.  With few wards in either stake, it appears that the decision to create the new stake in Lleida was under the expectation that some branches in both of these stakes will mature into wards and that some wards may divide to create additional units.

This Sunday, the Church will create two additional stakes in Spain in Madrid and Cartagena.  I will provide more details on these new stakes once they become available.  With the creation of three new stakes in 2012, there will be 13 stakes in Spain.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Survey Request

Below are links to our surveys on  Your contributions are valuable in assisting our research of LDS growth worldwide.  Please fill out our surveys if you have not already.  Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Stake in Guatemala

On November 4th, the Church created a new stake in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  The Villa Nueva Guatemala El Frutal Stake was created from the Guatemala City Villa Hermosa and Villa Nueva Guatemala Stakes and includes the following six wards and one branch: The El Frutal 1st, El Frutal 2nd, Margaritas, Petapa, Ribera del Rio, and Villa Canales Wards and the Santa Elena de Barillas Branch.  The new stake becomes the first new stake created in the Guatemala City area since 1999.  The Church discontinued one stake in Guatemala City within the past decade: The Guatemala City Monte Maria Stake in 2008.

Congregational growth in Guatemala City has been stagnant for many years and will likely result in the Church discontinuing a couple more stakes and creating a couple more stakes within the next decade due to LDS population shifts and low convert retention rates.  With only four wards, the Guatemala City Utatlán Stake may be consolidated with neighboring stakes and the Guatemala City Mariscal (nine wards) and Guatemala City (nine wards) Stakes may divide to create new stakes.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mumbai, India to Open for Missionary Work; Sister Missionaries to Begin Serving in India

Members in India report that the India New Delhi Mission will assign proselytizing missionaries to Mumbai for the first time.  With 21 million inhabitants, Mumbai is the world's 12th most populous urban agglomeration and was the third most populous urban agglomeration without proselytizing missionaries assigned after Guangzhou and Shanghai.  Delays opening Mumbai to proselytism appear due to safety concerns.  Currently the Church does not have missionaries assigned to any cities outside of New Delhi in the India New Delhi Mission.  There is one branch that functions in Mumbai.  Prospects appear favorable for growth in Mumbai, especially if missionaries open additional semi-official congregations called groups that operate under the administration of the Mumbai Branch in areas distant from the Mumbai Branch meetinghouse.

Members in India also report that sister missionaries will begin serving in both the India New Delhi and India Bangalore Missions.  Most, if not all, sister missionaries will likely be Indian members due to recent difficulties securing foreign missionary visas. 

For a recent case study on examining methods for expanding LDS missionary activity in India, click here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Districts Discontinued in Brazil

Two districts were recently discontinued in Brazil.

Originally created in 1997 and consisting of only two branches, the Vilhena Brazil District was discontinued and both of its branches now pertain to the Brazil Cuiaba Mission.  Mission leaders report that the decision to consolidate the district was due to only two branches in the district.  Few priesthood holders in the area appears another contributor to the closure of the district.  The stronger branch currently has approximately 70 active members.

Originally created in 2006 and consisting of three branches, the Ponte Nova Brazil District was discontinued.  Two branches (Viçosa and Ubá) now pertain to the Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission whereas the Ponte Nova Branch became a ward in the newly created Lafaiete Brazil Stake.  The reason for the closure of the district appears due to the strongest unit in the stake qualifying to become a ward in the new stake whereas the two remaining branches are more distant from Lafaiete and have fewer active members.  Mediocre prospects for future growth in Viçosa and Ubá and administrative problems may have also prompted the closure of the district and reassignment to the Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission.

There are now 246 stakes and 42 districts in Brazil.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

First LDS Stake to be Created in Sierra Leone

Missionaries serving in Sierra Leone report that the Church will create its first stake in the country in about three weeks.  The Freetown Sierra Leone District will become a stake and most, if not all, of its eight branches will become wards.  The Church has experienced a resurgence in growth over the past five years as a result of creating the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission back in 2007.  Historically moderate to low member activity and convert retention rates have been rectified in many areas of the mission as a result of improved emphasis on convert retention and prebaptismal preparation.  As a result of higher convert retention and more resources dedicated to local leadership development, the number of branches increased from 18 in 2007 to 28 in 2012.  Last year, a second district was created in Freetown called the Freetown Sierra Leone East District due to congregational growth in the area.  The advancement of the Freetown Sierra Leone District into a stake within slightly more than year following its division to create a another district stands as another testament to active membership growth in the country. 

In 2012, the Church has made significant progress organizing new stakes in countries that previously had no stakes.  Earlier this year, the first stakes were organized in Botswana, Cape Verde, India, and New Caledonia.  1977 is the only year when the Church organized the first stake in more countries than in 2012 as seven countries had their first stakes organized (Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, Honduras, Norway, and Venezuela).  Additional countries appear likely to have their first stakes organized within the next year or two and are provided below:
  • Armenia
  • Cambodia
  • Liberia
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Mozambique
  • Romania
  • Vanuatu

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Stake in Washington

Last Sunday, a new stake was created in Washington State.  The West Richland Washington Stake was created from the Kennewick Washington and the Richland Washington Stakes and includes the Benton City, Candy Mountain, Desert Hills, Highlands, Lakes, Prosser, Rattlesnake Mountain, and Richland YSA Wards.  Since 2010, the Church has reversed its trend of stagnant stake growth experienced in the 2000s.  The West Richland Washington Stake becomes the third stake to be organized since 2010.  In recent years, congregational growth rates have also accelerated in Washington and will likely result in the creation of additional stakes within the foreseeable future.

There are now six stakes in the Richland/Kennewick area and 57 stakes in Washington.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lowering the Minimum Mission Age: Analysis and Predictions for Growth for the LDS Church

We have posted the case study Lowering the Minimum Mission Age: Analysis and Predictions for Growth of the LDS Church on  The updated case study includes several graphs and some additional material not included in the previous draft I posted on the blog.  Click here to access the case study.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cumorah Monthly Newsletter

At, we have begun producing a monthly newsletter summarizing recent LDS Church growth developments and highlighting recently developed resources posted on the site.  Our October 2012 newsletter can be found here