Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 2013 Newsletter

Click here to view our March 2013 newsletter for the Cumorah Foundation.  Our monthly newsletters lists recently created stakes and districts, cities opened and closed to missionary work, and significant church growth developments.  A synopsis of new resources added to our website is also provided in the newsletter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Official Missionary Statistics Released - Currently over 64,000 Missionaries Serving Worldwide

In a news release, the Church provided the following statistics on the recent surge in the full-time missionary force:
  • There are 64,373 missionaries currently serving (previous high was 61,638 in 2002)
  • An average of 1,400 missionary applications have been received a week since January 1st, 2013 (immediately following the announcement of reduced minimum ages for missionary service in October 2012 as many as 4,000 applications were received a week).
  • Since January 1st, 57% of mission calls are for elders, 36% are for sisters, and 7% are for senior couples.
  • Facilities nearby the Provo MTC are going to be utilized for accommodating the influx in missionaries within the coming months.
Click here for a link to the news release.

The Church may call as many as 70,000 missionaries in 2013 if it continues to perpetuate the average of 1,400 missionary applications per week for the entire year.  This may result in the Church surpassing 100,000 missionaries serving by late 2013 or early 2014 and necessitate the organization of dozens of additional missions for 2014.

District Discontinued in Paraguay

The Church recently discontinued a district in Paraguay.  Originally organized in 1988, the Caaguazú Paraguay District was consolidated with the neighboring Coronel Oviedo Paraguay District.  Two branches were closed as part of the consolidation of the two districts, namely the Coronel Oviedo 3rd and Coronel Oviedo 4th Branches.  Missionaries currently serving in effected branches report that this consolidation was motivated by mission leaders preparing for a stake in the near future.  The realigned Coronel Oviedo Paraguay District now contains eight branches.

The discontinuation of the Caaguazú Paraguay District marks the first district closure for 2013.  The Church has experienced highly concerning convert retention and member activity problems within the past few years as church membership has increased by 10,000 but the number of wards and branches has remained unchanged.

There are now 10 stakes and 10 districts in Paraguay.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Second Stake in Cape Verde to be Organized in May

Missionaries serving in the Cape Verde Praia Mission report that church leaders announced a few weeks ago that the Mindelo Cape Verde District would become a stake in May.  The Church has experienced a phenomenal reversal to stagnant growth that occurred for over a decade during the late 1990s and 2000s as evidenced by the organization of eight new wards and branches and the creation of the first stake last April in Praia.  Missionaries report plans to open a currently unreached island - Boa Vista - to proselytism in the near future.  One other district currently operates in Cape Verde on the island of Fogo which, according to missionaries, is also very close to become a stake but has experienced greater inactivity problems than in other areas of the country.  Progress has also continued in Praia since the stake creation as evidenced by the organization of two new wards within the past couple months, increasing the number of units in the stake to eight wards, one branch, and one group.

I am currently writing a case study on these exciting developments that will be posted on in April.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Church Launches New Website to Improve Awareness of the Church in Mainland China

In a historic and long overdue move, the Church has launched a new website designed to help members from mainland China baptized abroad find the Church in China when they return home.  The website can be found at:  The website provides basic information on the Church's policies for operating in China such as the segregation of nationals and foreigners and bans on open proselytism and has good potential to improve awareness of the Church's presence in China for ordinary members.  The website explains that Chinese converts may share the gospel with their families and can locate locations with branches and groups through contacting church leaders at:  The website contains sections for commonly asked questions by church leaders, Chinese nationals living outside of China, and nonnative members visiting or moving to China.

The website also marks the first time that the Church has publicly acknowledged the operation of the China Administrative Unit (CAU) - a special region of the Asia Area that administers church affairs for Chinese nationals in mainland China.  The CAU has appeared to function for several years.  Although the Church does not publish any statistics on membership, congregations, and districts in mainland China, I estimate that there are approximately 10,000 members and branches and groups operating in as many as 200 cities and towns based on member reports and ascertaining the difference in Asia Area membership from all other countries with reportable church membership that pertain to the Asia area. 

Church-wide awareness and proper use of the new website has enormous potential to maximize church growth and new convert accountability for mainland Chinese members within the bounds of religious freedom restrictions.  Church leaders have acknowledged that thousands of Chinese nationals have been baptized abroad primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.  Use of the website can provide for proper coordination between local church leaders, mission leaders, and area presidencies around the world in their stewardship for Chinese converts who frequently return to China after foreign study or temporary employment.  This comes at a critical time to establish a basic church infrastructure in the world's most populous country.

For more information on the Church in China, visit our country profile on for China.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Stake in Utah

The Church created a new stake in Utah on March 3rd.  The South Jordan Utah Oquirrh Lake Stake was created from the South Jordan Utah Daybreak Stake and includes the following eight wards: The Oquirrh Lake 1st, Oquirrh Lake 2nd, Oquirrh Lake 3rd, Oquirrh Lake 4th, Oquirrh Lake 5th, Oquirrh Lake 6th, Oquirrh Lake 7th, and Oquirrh Lake 8th Wards.  There are now 562 stakes in Utah.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cities Opening for Missionary Work around the World

The current surge in the worldwide LDS missionary force resulting from a combination of reducing the minimum age of missionary service and a reversal of stagnant growth in the number of members serving missions has appeared to influence the acceleration of outreach expansion in several areas of the world.  Many missions will receive 50 to 100 more missionaries than previously assigned due to these massive increases. 

Below is a list of cities recently opened by missionaries or soon to be opened by missionaries.
  • Coari, Amazonas, Brazil
  • Rorainopolis, Roraima, Brazil
  • Nakuru, Kenya
  • Gjakove, Kosovo
  • Izmir, Turkey
In Turkey, a senior missionary couple providing member and leadership support will be assigned to Izmir in the near future to prepare for the arrival of full-time proselytizing missionaries.  One branch operates in Izmir that reportedly has no active members at present and was likely going to close due to activity challenges.  The assignment of missionaries will permit the continued operation of the branch.  There are less than 300 members in Turkey and four branches.  The first proselytizing missionaries arrived in early 2012.

In Kenya, the opening of Nakuru to missionary work is a major development considering the city is the country's third most populous.  One group operates with approximately 14 active members.  There are currently 41 wards and branches and over 10,000 members in Kenya.

In Kosovo, the opening of Gjakove is a significant milestone as it is the second city in Kosovo to have an LDS presence establish.  The Church remains very small in Kosovo and likely has fewer than 50 members on church records.

In Brazil, the opening of two cities to missionary activity in the Amazon Basin is a major development as the Church has not opened additional cities in this region for many years.  Coari was previously the most populous city in the Amazon Basin without an LDS presence.

In the coming months, we will likely see large numbers of additional cities open to missionaries for the first time.  This has potential to accelerate membership and congregational growth, especially in locations where populations exhibit high receptivity to the Church.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Stake to be Created in Mexico City

Members in Mexico City report that a new stake will be created on March 10th from the Mexico City Valle del Dorado Stake.  The new stake will be called the Mexico City Alamedas Stake.  I will provide more details as they become available.  The new stake will become the Church's first new stake in Mexico City since 2008.

I have received report that the creation of the new stake has been postponed.  I will provide more information once it is available.