Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 2014 Newsletter

We have posted our monthly newsletter for May 2014 detailing recent church growth and missionary developments worldwide. Click here to access the newsletter.

The Church in Vietnam - Government Recognition Milestone Reached; Membership Data Disclosed

In a news release dated May 30th, the Church has announced that the Vietnamese government has recognized the Church's Interim Representative Committee that consists of three native Vietnamese church leaders. This recognition will provide the LDS Church the opportunity to expand its presence into additional locations outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City per approval of government officials. Additionally, the Church reported that there are over 1,600 members who currently reside in Vietnam. This marks the first time that the Church has publicly disclosed its membership numbers for Vietnam since 1997, when there were just a mere 100 members.

Currently Vietnam is assigned to the Cambodia Phnom Pehn Mission and has one member district based in Hanoi that appeared to be organized sometime in the early 2010s. There are currently three branches in Vietnam (two in Ho Chi Minh City, one in Hanoi). A second branch in Ho Chi Minh City began operating in 2013. Only members of Vietnamese ancestry are currently permitted to serve full-time missions in Vietnam.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Year-end 2013 Membership Data For Additional Countries

See below for additional year-end 2013 membership data for many countries not currently listed on the Church's official statistics page.
  • Bahrain - 170
  • Bermuda - 156
  • Bonaire - 78
  • British Virgin Islands - 150
  • Burkina Faso - 6
  • Burundi - 409
  • Chad - 5
  • Djibouti - 2
  • Equatorial Guinea - 2
  • Falkland Islands - 10
  • Gabon - 19
  • Gibraltar - 16
  • Greenland - 15
  • Guinea - 14
  • Guinea-Bissau - 45
  • Kosovo - 50
  • Kuwait - 267
  • Mali - 10
  • Mauritania - 2
  • Montenegro - 5
  • Morocco - 85
  • Niger - 5
  • Oman - 78
  • Qatar - 548
  • Senegal - 13
  • Seychelles - 3
  • The Gambia - 19
  • Turks and Caicos Islands - 92
  • United Arab Emirates - 1,286
  • UK - England - 145,385
  • UK - Northern Ireland - 5,297
  • UK - Scotland - 26,598
  • UK - Wales - 9,491

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Stakes in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nigeria; New Districts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Poland

Dominican Republic
Last Sunday, a new stake was created in the Dominican Republic. The Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Independencia Stake was organized from a division of the San Cristobal Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Central, and Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Las Caobas, and Santo Domingo Dominican Republic San Geronimo Stakes and includes the following five wards and one branch: the Haina 1st, Haina 2nd, Herrera 1st, Independencia, and Mirador Wards, and the Altagracia Branch. There are now 13 stakes in the Santo Domingo metropolitan area and 20 stakes and nine districts in the entire country.

Last Sunday, the Church organized a new stake in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The Guayaquil Ecuador Juan Montalvo Stake was organized from a division of the Guayaquil Ecuador Pascuales Stake and includes the follow six wards: the Alegria, Colinas del Sol, Elvira, Fortin, Sinai, and Union Civica Wards. There are now 15 stakes in the Guayaquil metropolitan area and 36 stakes and nine districts nationwide.

Last Sunday, the Church organized a new stake in Nigeria. The Umuahia Nigeria Stake was organized from the Umuahia Nigeria District. No details are currently available regarding whether all 13 original branches are within the new stake and which branches became wards. There are now 23 stakes and 21 districts in Nigeria.

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Last Sunday, the Church organized a new district in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Mwene-Ditu Democratic Republic of the Congo District was organized from four mission branches within the city. The Church organized two of these mission branches in late 2013. The first branch in Mwene-Ditu began operating in 2008. There are now 12 stakes and four districts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Last Sunday, the Church created its third district in Poland. The Bydgoszcz Poland District was organized from a portion of the Warsaw Poland District and the Poland Warsaw Mission and includes the following four branches: the Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Poznan, and Szczecin Branches. The Church has two additional districts that operate in Warsaw (1979) and Katowice (2004).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Stakes in Hawaii, Italy, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah; Districts Discontinued in Chile, Italy, Panama, and the Philippines

I have gotten a bit behind providing updates on stakes and districts being created and discontinued. Here's an overview of some recent activity over the past month or so.

On May 4th, the Church created a new stake in Hawaii - marking the first time a non-student/YSA stake has been created in the state since 1996. Based on Maui, the Kahului Hawaii West Stake was created from a division of the Kahului Hawaii Stake (originally organized in 1975) and includes the following six wards:
the Hoolehua, Kahului, Kaunakakai, Lahaina 1st, Lahaina 2nd (Tongan), and Wailuku Wards. There are now 16 stakes in Hawaii.

On May 11th, the Church created a new stake from the Florence Italy and Rimini Italy Districts. The Florence Italy stake includes the following five wards and seven branches: the Firenze, Livorno, Pisa, Prato, and Rimini Wards, and the Ancona, Forli', La Spezia, Montevarchi, Pesaro, Ravenna, and Siena Branches. The Rimini Italy District was discontinued as a result of the formation of the new stake. There are now 10 stakes and one district in Italy.

New York
On April 13th, the Church organized the Lynbrook New York Stake from the Lynbrook New York District and a portion of the Queens (now Woodside) New York Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Flushing 2nd, Freeport, Jamaica 1st, Jamaica 2nd (Spanish), Little Neck, and Lynbrook Wards, and the Flushing 1st (Spanish), Flushing 3rd (Korean), and Mineola (Spanish) Branches. There are now 16 stakes and one district in New York

North Dakota
On May 4th, the Church created its third stake in North Dakota from a division of the Bismarck North Dakota Stake. The Minot North Dakota Stake includes the following five wards and three branches: the Minot 1st, Minot 2nd, Minot 3rd, Williston 1st, and Williston 2nd Wards, and the New Town, Rugby, and Stanley Branches. The last stake to be organized in North Dakota was the Bismarck North Dakota Stake in 1996. Church membership in the original Bismarck North Dakota Stake has doubled within the past three years due to members moving to the area for the booming oil industry.

On May 4th, the Church created a new stake in Texas from a division of the Frisco Texas Stake. The Frisco Texas Shawnee Trail Stake includes the following seven wards: the Aubrey, Cross Roads, Frisco 2nd, Little Elm, Prosper 1st, Prosper 2nd, and Prosper 3rd Wards. There are now 61 stakes and three districts in Texas.

On April 20th, the Church created a new stake from dividing the Bluffdale Utah Stake. The Bluffdale Utah South Stake includes the following eight wards: the Bluffdale 1st, Bluffdale 5th, Bluffdale 8th, Bluffdale 9th, Bluffdale 10th, Bluffdale 13th, Bluffdale 14th, and Bluffdale 15th Wards. There are now 570 stakes and one district in Utah.

The Church recently discontinued the Melipilla Chile District and closed one of the four branches that previously pertained to the district. The three retained branches now pertain to the Talagante Chile District, which missionaries have reported for several years has been diligently striving to become a stake within the near future. However, member activity and convert retention problems remain extremely severe, as evidenced by the Church once operating separate stakes in Melipilla and Talagante and the failure of missionary and church growth efforts to reestablish a single stake in the area. There are now 74 stakes and 22 districts in Chile.

The Church recently discontinued the Alcalde Diaz Panama District and reassigned branches to the San Miguelito Panama Stake. The Church appeared to try to have the district become a stake as it is located in the Panama metropolitan area and had five branches. Panama also experiences catastrophically low member activity rates and has had nearly half of its LDS congregations closed over the past 15 years. There are now seven stakes and four districts in Panama.

The Church recently discontinued the Mapandan Philippines District and reassigned its branches to the Mangaldan Philippines District. Only three branches pertained to the former district, which was created as a result of the discontinuation of the original Mangaldan Philippines Stake in 2003. The Mangaldan Philippines District now has seven branches. There are now 88 stakes and 82 districts in the Philippines

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Worldwide LDS Congregational Growth Rates Accelerate

Within the past few months, there has been a substantial net increase in the number of wards and branches worldwide. The number of congregations has increased by nearly 100 within the past three months; a significant development considering the Church reported only modest annual increases in the number of congregations worldwide that ranged between 124 and 315 since 2008. If these congregational growth rates continue for the remainder of 2014, there may be a net increase of 400 or more congregations for the year, which would be the highest net increase experienced by the Church since 2005.

It is still to early to tell whether this acceleration in congregational growth is attributed to the surge in the number of missionaries serving worldwide and if these new growth trends will be sustained for the long-term. However, the opening of additional locations to missionary work (such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, Brazil, Europe, and the Philippines) and the implementation of church-planting rather than church-splitting tactics in many areas of the world appear largely responsible for these improvements in congregational growth trends.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Two Cities Open to Missionary Work in Kosovo

Missionaries in Kosovo report that two cities recently opened to missionary activity for the first time. Prizren (pop: 85,119) and Pejë (pop: 48,962) now have missionaries and appear to have had member groups organized that are likely led by the missionaries. The Church assigned its first young, proselytizing missionaries to Kosovo in mid-2011. Within the past couple months, the Church organized its second Kosovar branch in Gjakova. The opening of two additional cities to missionary work has coincided with the organization of the first stake in Albania where the Adriatic South Mission is headquartered. The Church frequently experiences accelerated national outreach expansion in countries following the organization of the first stake.

See below for a map of LDS units in Kosovo.

View Branches in the former Yugoslavia in a larger map