Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 2015 Newsletter

Click here to access our January 2015 monthly newsletter for The newsletter covers recent church growth and missionary developments that have transpired within the past month and summarizes new or updated resources added to our website.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

First LDS Stake to be Organized in Vanuatu in April; Applications for Stakes Awaiting Approval for Mozambique and Zambia

Missionaries serving in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission report that the Church will organize its first stake in Vanuatu this April from the Port Vila Vanuatu District. Vanuatu is the country with the fifth most members without a stake according to membership data from year-end 2013. The Port Vila Vanuatu District currently has seven branches.

The Church in Vanuatu reported 6,103 members at year-end 2013 and 31 branches at year-end 2014.

Mozambique and Zambia
Missionaries report that applications have been sent to Church Headquarters requesting the organization of the first stakes in Mozambique and Zambia. Plans call for the organization of three new stakes from the Beira Mozambique District, Maputo Mozambique District, and the Lusaka Zambia District. Mozambique is the country with the fourth most members without a stake whereas Zambia is the country with the tenth most members without a stake according to year-end 2013 membership data.

The Church in Mozambique reported 6,900 members at year-end 2013 and 26 branches at year-end 2014.

The Church in Zambia reported 2,758 members at year-end 2013 and 13 branches at year-end 2014.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Stakes Created in Arizona, Utah, and the Philippines; Districts Discontinued in Afghanistan and Argentina

On January 11th, the Church organized a new stake in Arizona. The Mesa Arizona Eastmark Stake was organized from a division of the Mesa Arizona Desert Ridge Stake and the Mesa Arizona Boulder Creek Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Augusta Ranch 1st, Augusta Ranch 2nd, Bella Via, Eastridge, Hawes, Highland Ridge, and Mesquite Canyon Wards. There are now 98 stakes in Arizona.

On January 18th, the Church organized a new stake in Utah. The Herriman Utah Pioneer Stake was organized from a division of the Herriman Utah West Stake (renamed Herriman Utah Butterfield Canyon Stake). The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Pioneer 1st, Pioneer 2nd, Pioneer 3rd, Pioneer 4th, Pioneer 5th, Pioneer 6th, Pioneer 7th, and Pioneer 8th Wards. There are now 575 stakes and one district in Utah.

On December 14th, a new stake was organized in the Philippines. The Alicia Philippines Stake was organized from the Alicia Philippines District. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Alicia 1st, Alicia 3rd, Alicia 4th, Echague 1st, Echague 2nd, and Paddad Wards and the Angadanan and Jones Branches. There are now 93 stakes and 79 districts in the Philippines.

In late 2014, the Church discontinued the Kabul Afghanistan Military District. One of the two remaining branches (Bagram) was also discontinued. The Church currently operates only one military branch in Afghanistan in Kabul. The Kabul Afghanistan Military District was originally organized in 2008.

In late 2014, the Church discontinued the Ushuaia Argentina District and consolidated it with the Rio Grade Argentina District (renamed the Tierra del Fuego Argentina District). The Ushuaia Argentina District was originally organized in 2001. Missionaries indicate that the decision to consolidate the districts was to prepare the area for a stake. The realigned district now has seven branches. There are 73 stakes and 31 districts in Argentina.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Mission in Wyoming

Last weekend, the Church announced the creation of a new mission headquartered in Wyoming. The Wyoming Mormon Trail Mission was organized on January 16th from a division of the Colorado Fort Collins, Montana Billings, South Dakota Rapid City Missions. Although boundaries for the new mission have not been announced, it appears that the mission will include several stakes in central Wyoming as evidenced by the mission being organized from three different missions. The new mission will have a strong emphasis on Martin's Cove and the Mormon Trail in proselytizing efforts - possibly in a manner similar to the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. The mission president for the new mission is the former director of the Mormon Handcart Historic Site. The new mission is the Church's first mission to be headquartered in Wyoming.

Click here to access the LDS Church News article on this development.

Friday, January 9, 2015

11 New Missions to be Created in 2015; One Mission to be Discontinued

The Church announced the organization of 11 new missions in July 2015. These missions include:
  • Argentina Buenos Aires East
  • Argentina Santa Fe
  • Bolivia La Paz El Alto
  • California Modesto
  • Costa Rica San Jose West
  • Peru Trujillo South
  • Portugal Porto
  • Trinidad Port of Spain 
  • Utah Logan
  • Utah Orem 
  • Washington Yakima 
The Church announced that one mission will be discontinued in July 2015: the Utah Salt Lake City Central Mission (organized in 2012). The total number of missions will be 416 after these changes go into effect. Reports indicate that the number of members serving full-time missions has continued to remain high (84,728) but has decreased from its all-time high of nearly 89,000 reached sometime in 2014.

I was disappointed to see so few new missions organized in 2015 despite the Church holding onto most of its gains in the number of members serving full-time missions. No new missions announced for Asia or Africa was a major disappointment. The bulk of surplus missionary manpower continues to be allocated to areas where the bulk of LDS membership resides rather than to areas where the bulk of the world's population resides. Many African nations have receptive populations yet continue to lack separate LDS missions such as Burundi, Cameron, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Togo. Hopefully we will see greater mission resource allocation to these receptive areas within the coming years. The Church has likely avoided the organization of new missions in these and other countries due to a lack of members from these nations serving full-time missions. Although self-sufficiency is important to long-term growth and efficiency, a lack of mission resource allocation to under-serviced areas may result in missed opportunities for growth when populations are receptive and missionary manpower is plentiful.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Most Comprehensive LDS Statistical Database Released

As part of work I have completed for The Cumorah Foundation (, I have completed the most comprehensive country-by-country database to provide data on membership, congregations, stakes, districts, estimated member activity rates, and the percentage of the national population residing in locations with LDS congregations. Users can download the file as an Excel spreadsheet to explore the data. We hope that this resources will fuel additional research and interest in the study of missiology and LDS Church growth. Data in the database goes back to 1930. Enjoy!

Click here to view and download the database.