Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 2013 Cumorah Newsletter

We have just posted our monthly newsletter for the Cumorah Foundation providing recent church growth news and descriptions of recently posted case study articles on  February's newsletter can be found here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Stakes in New Zealand and Utah

New Zealand

Last Sunday, the Church created two new stakes in southern Auckland from a realignment of at least two different stakes in the area.  The Auckland New Zealand Redoubt Stake includes the following six wards: The Alema (Samoan), Chapel Downs, Clendon, Hillpark, Rowandale, and Saione (Tongan) Wards whereas the Auckland New Zealand Otara Stake includes the following five wards: The Hillary, Otahuhu, Tamaki 3rd (Tongan), Tamaki 5th (Samoan), and Wymondley (Samoan) Wards.  The two new stakes in Auckland become the Church's first new stakes in the city since 1997.  There are now 12 stakes in the Auckland area.


Two Sundays ago, the Church created a new stake in Lehi, Utah. The Lehi Utah Pheasant Pointe Stake was primarily created from the Lehi Utah Traverse Mountain Stake and includes the following nine wards: The Lehi 38th (Spanish), Pheasant Pointe 1st, Pheasant Pointe 2nd, Pheasant Pointe 3rd, Pheasant Pointe 4th, Pheasant Pointe 5th, Pheasant Pointe 6th, Traverse Mountain 1st, and Traverse Mountain 3rd Wards. There are now 561 stakes in Utah.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Missions in 2013: Analysis

I wanted to take some time to analyze the recent announcement of 58 new missions to be organized in July 2013. 

No year has come close to having as many missions organized as are planned for 2013.  1990 had the largest increase in the number of missions for the Church prior this year when the number of missions increased by 28.  Of the 58 new missions announced for 2013, 17 were in the United States (29%), 8 were in Mexico (14%), 8 were in other countries in South America (14%), 7 were in Brazil (12%),  5 were in Africa (8.6%), 4 were in the Philippines (6.9%), 3 were in other countries in Central America (5.2%), 3 were in Oceania (5.2%), 2 were in Asia (3.4%), and 1 was in Europe (1.7%).  The vast majority of new missions were organized in locations that have experienced recent growth in the number of members serving missions.  Despite my earlier report that another mission would be created in Guatemala City, only one new mission will be organized in Guatemala in Coban.

The location of most of the new mission announcements did not come as much of a surprise to me considering the Church has organized the majority of its new missions in the western United States and Latin America.  There was speculation on whether any missions closed within the past decade would reopen as a result of the surge in the full-time missionary force.  Of the 58 new missions announced, six are missions that were in locations where missions were recently closed, namely Australia Sydney North, Georgia Macon, Illinois Chicago West, Japan Tokyo South, Korea Seoul South, and Ohio Cincinnati.

The Church announced the creation of its first mission in only three countries - all of which are in Africa - including Angola, Botswana, and Liberia. 

One of biggest surprises with this year's announcement of 58 new missions was the creation of a new mission in L'viv, Ukraine.  The Church operates only one branch in L'viv and approximatey half a dozen additional branches in large cities in western Ukraine.  The new mission may service only seven or eight branches once organized but missionaries report that several additional cities may open to missionaries within the near future.

I was disappointed that there were not more missions organized in Africa, specifically in countries that have no missions but have a growing church presence such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda/Burundi, Tanzania, and Togo.  However it is important to note that no other year has had as many new missions organized in Africa as will be organized in 2013.  Missionary reports indicate that the creation of new missions appears likely within the near future.  The Church has also favored the opening of new missions in locations where there are close to 250 missionaries assigned rather than in locations where missionary forces remain small (less than 50) in order to accommodate the massive surge in the missionary force.  This explains why more missions were not organized in Africa for this year thus far.  Furthermore, some of these countries will likely be unable to accommodate many more missionaries for the foreseeable future due to limited missionary visas, few church units, the relatively small size of the native full-time missionary force, and small numbers of local church leaders.  Generally the Church creates its first mission in a country when there are more than 2,000 members.

The Church has followed a pattern of organizing most of its missions in July but it is possible that the Church may organize missions in different months of the year.  For example, the India New Delhi Mission was the most recent mission not organized in July in November 2007.  Perhaps additional missions may be organized before July 2014 as local church conditions improve.

Lastly, church leaders have emphasized that none of the 58 new missions to be organized this July are anticipated to close within the foreseeable future notwithstanding an anticipated decline in two or three years as the double-cohort of missionaries returns home.  These new missions were organized with a long-term vision for the number of missionaries and church growth for many more years to come.  Click here to access an article where church leaders discuss the sustainability of recent increases in the full-time missionary force.

Below is a map of the approximate location for the 58 new missions to be organized this summer.

View New Missions 2013 in a larger map

Friday, February 22, 2013

58 New Missions to be Created for a Grand Total of 405 Missions Worldwide

The Church made an official announcement today that 58 new missions would be created worldwide in July 2013.  Below is a list of the new missions from an official church news release.  I will provide an analysis of today's announcement later today.

Angola Luanda
Argentina Comodoro Rivadavia
Argentina Posadas
Arizona Gilbert
Arizona Scottsdale
Australia Sydney North
Bolivia Santa Cruz North
Botswana Gaborone
Brazil Curitiba South
Brazil Fortaleza East
Brazil Juiz de Fora
Brazil Natal
Brazil Piracicaba
Brazil Santos
Brazil São Paulo West
California Bakersfield
California Irvine
California Rancho Cucamonga
Chile Santiago South
Colorado Fort Collins
Ecuador Guayaquil West
Ecuador Quito North
El Salvador San Salvador East
Georgia Macon
Ghana Accra West
Guatemala Cobán
Honduras San Pedro Sula West
Idaho Nampa
Idaho Twin Falls
Illinois Chicago West
Japan Tokyo South
Kansas Wichita
Korea Seoul South
Liberia Monrovia
México Cancún
México Ciudad Juarez
México Ciudad Obregón
México México City Chalco
México Pachuca
México Queretaro
México Reynosa
México Saltillo
New Zealand Hamilton
Nigeria Benin City
Ohio Cincinnati
Oregon Salem
Papua New Guinea Lae
Perú Huancayo
Perú Iquitos
Philippines Cavite
Philippines Cebu East
Philippines Legaspi
Philippines Urdaneta
Ukraine L'viv
Utah Salt Lake City East
Virginia Chesapeake
Washington Federal Way
Washington Vancouver

New Mission to be Created in New Zealand

Members report that the Church's third mission in New Zealand will be organized this July in Hamilton.  This brings the number of missions to be organized in 2013 to at least 24.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Seven New Mission to be Created in Brazil

Church members in Brazil report that seven new missions will be organized in Brazil this summer in Curitiba South, Fortaleza East, Juiz de Fora, Piracicaba, Natal, Santos, and Sao Paulo West bringing the number of missions in Brazil to 34.  This brings the total number of missions to be created this summer to as many as 23.  Recent missionary reports indicate that as many as 50-60 new missions may be organized this summer worldwide.    

Another New Mission to be Created in the Philippines

Missionaries serving in the Philippines Cebu Mission report that the mission will divide this summer to create the Philippines Cebu East Mission.  This will bring the number of missions in the Philippines to at least 19 this summer.  The creation of a new mission in Cebu may permit for outreach expansion in southern Cebu Island where there is no LDS presence.

List of New Missions to be Created in 2013

Below is a list of 15 new missions to be created this summer that I have compiled from missionary and mission president reports.
  • Arizona Gilbert
  • Arizona Scottsdale
  • Ghana Accra West
  • Guatemala Coban
  • Guatemala Guatemala City East
  • Mexico Aguascalientes
  • Mexico Cancun
  • Mexico Chalco
  • Mexico Ciudad Juarez
  • Mexico Ciudad Obregon
  • Mexico Pachuca
  • Mexico Queretaro
  • Mexico Reynosa
  • Mexico Saltillo
  • Philippines Urdaneta
Below is a list of possible new missions to be created this summer that I have not been able to confirm but appear highly likely based on recent missionary and member reports:
  • Angola Luanda
  • Botswana Gaborone
  • Cameroon Yaounde
  • Ethiopia Addis Ababa
  • Togo Lome

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eight New Missions to be Created in Mexico

I have received reports that eight new missions will be created this summer in Mexico headquartered in Cancun, Chalco, Ciudad Juarez, Ciudad Obregon, Pachuca, Reynosa, Queretaro, and Saltillo.  I will provide more information once it becomes available.  Mexico will have 34 missions by this summer.  Mission presidents in other areas of the world report that new mission creations will be formally announced this Saturday.

If anyone is aware of any additional new mission creations for this summer please comment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Mission to be Created in the Philippines

Missionaries serving in the Philippines report that the Philippines Baguio Mission will divide this summer to create the new Philippines Urdaneta Mission.  One district from the Philippines Olongapo Mission will also be transferred to the new mission (Alaminos).  The new Philippines Urdaneta Mission will include five stakes (Bayambang, Dagupan, Lingayen, Rosales, and Urdaneta) and five districts (Alaminos, Aguilar, Calasiao, Mandgaldan, and Mapandan) whereas the Philippines Baguio Mission will contain only three stakes (Baguio [currently part of the Philippines Laoag Mission], Candon, and San Fernando) and two districts (Agoo and Bauang).  The new mission will bring the total of LDS missions in the Philippines to 18. 

I have received multiple reports from various mission presidents that the LDS Church News will announce the creation of new missions in this weekend's issue.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Mission to be Created in Ghana

Missionaries serving in the Ghana Accra Mission report that the mission will divide this summer to create the new Ghana Accra West Mission.  The Ghana Accra Mission will likely be renamed the Ghana Accra East Mission.  Currently the Ghana Accra Mission has six stakes and four districts and services the entire Accra Metropolitan Area, Volta Region, and most of Eastern Region.   The dividing of the mission may result in expanded LDS outreach in Volta Region where only one branch operates in Ho and the opening of new units in the Accra area.  The Church created the Ghana Accra Mission in 1985.  Addional missions were organized in Cape Coast (2005) and Kumasi (2012).  With four missions by this summer, Ghana will be one of the most reached African countries with an average of six million people per mission.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

First City in Northern Ghana Opens for Missionary Work

Missionaries serving in the Ghana Kumasi Mission report that the first eight missionaries were assigned to Tamale, Ghana.  With over half a million inhabitants, Tamale is the third most populous city in Ghana and is located in the predominantly Muslim north.  No previous LDS presence existed in Tamale or northern Ghana prior to the assignment of missionaries this week and missionaries will organize a group to hold church services under the Ghana Kumasi Mission Branch.  Based on the recent pattern for opening new cities to missionary work in Ghana, it appears likely that missionaries will organize additional groups in Tamale once meetinghouse space can be secured and individuals exhibit interest in the Church throughout the city.  With approximately 85% of the city population identifying as Muslim, Tamale presents unique opportunities to proselyte Muslims although missionaries will most likely target Christians.  The Church currently has a presence in several Muslim-majority nations and openly proselytes Muslims and non-Muslims alike in these countries such as Sierra Leone and Albania.  Safety concerns for Muslims joining the Church in northern Ghana are minimal due to the lack of Islamic influence on government and tolerance for other proselytizing Christian groups in the area such as Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Below is a map of LDS units in central and northern Ghana.
View Wards and Branches in the Ghana Kumasi Mission in a larger map

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Young, Male Missionaries Assigned to Laos

Missionaries serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission report that the first four young, male missionaries were assigned to Vientiane, Laos on educational and humanitarian assignment.  The Church organized its first branch in Laos in 2003 and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated Laos for missionary work in 2006.  Senior missionary couples have regularly served in Laos performing humanitarian and development work and have supported the Vientiane Branch.  Missionaries report that the Vientiane Branch currently has approximately 100 active members and has had several members serve missions.  Newly assigned missionaries will also provide some ecclesiastical support to the isolated branch.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January 2013 Cumorah Newsletter

We have just posted our monthly newsletter for the Cumorah Foundation providing recent church growth news and descriptions of recently posted case study articles on  The newsletter can be found here.