Saturday, October 26, 2013

Survey Request

As part of developing the best resources and references on LDS Church growth and missionary work available online, I periodically request returned missionaries and members to fill out surveys I created for returned missionaries and members.  Since August 2012, I have collected nearly 500 returned missionary surveys and almost 300 member surveys which have provided valuable data utilized for writing case studies and reporting on church growth developments.  These may be filled out anonymously if desired.  Responses are kept confidential and used for research purposes.  I am particularly interested in obtaining more member surveys and returned missionary surveys from members who have recently completed their missions.

The returned missionary survey can be found here and the member survey can be found here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Stake in Ecuador

Last Sunday a new stake was created in Ecuador.

The Quito Ecuador Turubamba Stake was organized from a division of the Quito Ecuador Chillogallo Stake and includes the following six wards: The Argelia, Asistencia Social, Manantial, Oriente Quiteno, Solanda, and Turubamba Wards.  The creation of the new stake marks the first time in four years that the Church has created a new stake in Ecuador. 

There are now 35 stakes and nine districts in Ecuador.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rapid LDS Growth in Ghana - Predictions for New Stakes and Districts

The Church in Ghana is currently experiencing rapid growth as evidenced by the creation of new wards and branches on a regular basis, the opening of previously unreached cities to proselytism, and significant increases to the number of full-time missionaries assigned to the country.  The number of LDS missions in Ghana has increased from one in 2004 to four in 2013.  No other country in the world had only one mission in 2004 and today has as many missions as Ghana. 

With a significant increase in the size of the full-time missionary force and strong receptivity to the Church, there are currently several areas that appear likely to have new stakes and districts organized within the next three years.  Below is a map identifying these locations.  Current stakes and districts are indicated by yellow and green markers, respectively, whereas likely future stakes and districts are indicated by red markers (with dot = stake, without dot = district).

View Stakes and Districts in Ghana (with future predictions) in a larger map

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Makeni, Sierra Leone Opening for Missionary Work

Missionaries serving in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission report that Makeni will have full-time missionaries assigned for the first time beginning next missionary transfer.  Furthermore, mission leaders taught, interviewed, and baptized the first 11 converts in the Makeni Group and report that the group will soon become the first branch in this city of over 100,000.  Currently there are approximately 70 people attending group meetings, including 50 members who were baptized in other cities that have relocated to Makeni.  Additional cities may open to missionary work in Sierra Leone within the next few months as more than 60 new missionaries will arrive before the end of the year.  Missionaries also indicate the districts in Freetown East and Bo will likely become stakes in the near future.

See below for a map of LDS units in Sierra Leone.

View Wards and Branches in Sierra Leone in a larger map

Saturday, October 5, 2013

15 Million Member Milestone Reached

This morning, President Thomas S. Monson reported that the Church reached the 15 million member milestone just two weeks ago.  Membership growth rates for 2013 thus far have not appeared to significant differ from other years within recent memory notwithstanding the massive surge in the full-time missionary force.  If membership growth rates achieved within the first nine months of 2013 are maintained for the remainder of the year, there will likely be a nominal membership increase of 290,000 for 2013 - approximately 50,000 less than the nominal membership increase of 341,000 for 2012.

Furthermore, with a worldwide membership activity rate estimated at 30%, it appears that 10 million of the current 15 million members are inactive or less-active members.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Church Releases Limited Demographic Data on Full-time Missionary Force

Yesterday the Church published an article providing information on the number of young men, young women, and seniors serving full-time missions for October 2012 and September 2013.

The Church currently reports 79,800 full-time missionaries serving worldwide; 21,100 more than a year earlier (36% increase).  Young elder missionaries number 54,200 (68%) whereas young sister missionaries total 19,300 (24%).  Senior missionaries number 6,300 (8%).  In October 2012, there were 58,700 missionaries serving including 44,800 young men (76%), 8,100 young women (14%), and 5,800 seniors (10%).

The percentage increase in young women serving missions is particularly impressive (140%).  To contrast, the number of young men serving missions increased by only 21% whereas the percentage of seniors serving missions increased by 8%.  Prior to the announcement adjusting the minimum age for missionary service, the percentage of young women comprising the full-time missionary force appeared constant for several years as in 2007 the Church reported that sisters comprised 13% of the worldwide missionary force compared to 14% in 2012.

It is important to note that the Church has also experienced a significant increase in the number of seniors serving full-time missions over the past year (8%) notwithstanding no "age adjustment" or other change in church policy that would explain a sudden increase in this missionary demographic.  The Church has recently (2011) made missions more flexible for seniors to accommodate their unique needs and living situations.  The implementation of this policy may have contributed to some of the recent increase in the number of senior missionaries serving.

The current number of missionaries serving is less than I originally predicted for the one year anniversary of the adjusted mission age announcement.  In an article for, I predicted that there may be as many as 89,000 missionaries serving by October 2013 "due to a net increase of 31,000 missionaries (15,000 missionaries from lowering the mission age for men, 7,500 missionaries from lowering the mission age for women, 5,000 from hypothetically increasing the percentage of single men in North America who serve a mission by five percent, and 3,500 missionaries from the Church perpetuating its six percent annual growth rate for the number of missionaries serving that has occurred over the past two years independent of lowering mission ages)."  It appears that the Church has not reached 89,000 missionaries at the one-year anniversary primarily due to a smaller-than-expected increase for young men serving missions worldwide.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Most Populous Metropolitan Areas in the Middle East and North Africa and Status of LDS Outreach Map

We have completed our map displaying all metropolitan areas in the Middle East and North Africa with one million or more inhabitants and the status of LDS outreach in each location. Each metropolitan area contains extensive LDS statistics regarding the growth and size of the Church. Past successes and opportunities and challenges for future growth are examined for each location. See below to view the map.

View Major Metropolitan Areas in the Middle East and North Africa in a larger map