Friday, September 30, 2016

September 2016 Newsletter

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John Pack Lambert said...

Senador Canedo, the city the is the heart of Goiania's petro-chemical industry, just got a branch. This is a postive development. Senador Candeo had 70,000 people in 2005, and had risen to over 100,000 more recently. I think the Church needs to start following the Daloa-plan for new area growth if there is much hope that Brasilia will get a temple soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

It looks like the Hurricane Utah West Stake is likely to split soon, since it has 13 wards. The Hurricane Utah Stake has 10 wards and a branch. So maybe Hurricane Utah West Stake would take from Hurricane Utah Stake. The La Verkin Utah Stake just to the north has 12 wards. I could see these 3 stakes being rearanged into 5 in the near future.

Cory said...

Right now on KSL In between sessions, there is a program about Utah humanitarian groups visiting Mali. It's pretty focused on trying to Utahns to help in the humanitarian needs.

Eduardo said...

The local priesthood choir of West Valley and Magna sounded really good.Last night all the talks were really good, I think Elders Holland and Oaks and a few seventies were spot on. Hometeaching and missionary work could make our faith grow much more if we did them better. I think we can. And social media, too.
We could do more.

John Pack Lambert said...

I really liked Elder Holland's talk. He cut to the core meaning of hometeaching. I do not think I have ever heard a talk by Elder Holland that was not top notch.

I liked President Monson's talk, but it was really sad how weak his voice was. He was using his top notch speaking ability, including the power of the pause, but with some hard to describe decrease in the decline of his voice quality it was not as powerful as his talks once were. I think having lost Fraces also has been weighing on him. I am actually surprised he has outlived his wife by 3 years.

He seemed to be in better shape in the morning session. Well, not morning to those of is in the eastern time zone.

Has there been a decision to shorten priesthood meeting to an hour and a half from two hours. It seems like the last three priesthood meetings have been shorter. President Monson's message of the Plan of Salvation on Sunday, along with President Uchtdorf's lauding it as a key in missionary work was quite moving.

The New York World's Fair and the Mormon Pavilion there had a huge impact on the Church and how it presented its message for the next 2 decades or more. Also, it was a major point of growth for the Church in the New York City area, and the point from which the Church had Spanish-speaking units in New York City.

Eduardo said...

I think my parents might have attended the World's Fair in 1964 and joined the Church in 1968. They may have gone while flying through JFK on their way to West Africa.

coachodeeps said...

I think the shorter Priesthood Sessions are in part due to the fact that President Monson speaks for just 5 minutes now. He used to speak for about 25 to 30 minutes at Priesthood or other sessions.

My stake was the organizing stake for the Priesthood Choir. Many of my stake members were involved and it was great to see them singing in the choir. They practiced weekly for 3 hours for the past month and a half with a dress rehearsal the Saturday morning of the women's conference. They said the practices were not for the faint st heart. They did a fantastic job and was one of the best Priesthood choirs in recent memory.

coachodeeps said...

I think the shorter Priesthood Sessions are in part due to the fact that President Monson speaks for just 5 minutes now. He used to speak for about 25 to 30 minutes at Priesthood or other sessions.

My stake was the organizing stake for the Priesthood Choir. Many of my stake members were involved and it was great to see them singing in the choir. They practiced weekly for 3 hours for the past month and a half with a dress rehearsal the Saturday morning of the women's conference. They said the practices were not for the faint st heart. They did a fantastic job and was one of the best Priesthood choirs in recent memory.

Adam said...

Article on the Trib about some leaked briefing videos given to the quorum of the 12 apostles from around 2007-2012. Obviously the anti's a running around with the discussions with gays, but there are some interesting tidbits in there in regards to church growth. One video they talk about how many Book of Mormon hits they are getting from Muslim countries as they try to figure out how to expand their reach there. They get around 500 hits a month from closed-doored countries and are sharing it on Facebook (in 2012.)

My wife brought up if we should be watching these as they weren't meant for general public viewing, but I think don't mind it because I enjoy seeing apostles in day-to-day life and don't take anything too seriously. If I see anything else interesting related to church growth as I go through them I'll give some updates, (unless it is recommended I don't.)

Adam said...

20-25k members have been converted from Islam (through 2012.) They hit on how the Canada Toronto Mission has been teaching and baptizing many Persians. The mission president had elders learn Farsi so that they could regularly teach Muslims, only teaching those that are actively interested in learning about the gospel. About 40 Persians a year join the church in that mission and they are readily assimilated with the rest of the body of the church.

Unknown said...

Growth in Church units through Sept 30, 2016:

Net Increase in wards and branches + 236; + 307 W - 71 B, + 66 stakes - 6 districts
+ 3 missions + 3 temples
Increase in US + 72 W&B; + 110 W - 38 B, + 27 stakes + 0 districts + 2 temples
Increase outside US + 164 W&B; + 197 W - 33 B, + 39 stakes - 6 districts
+ 3 missions + 1 temple

Areas of Greatest Growth: Africa + 142 W&B; + 102 W + 40 B + 15 stakes + 2 districts
+ 2 missions
US States with Greatest Growth: Utah + 35 W&B; + 42 W - 7 B + 1 temple; AZ + 25 W&B;
+ 22 W + 3 B; TX + 21 W&B; + 20 W + 1 B

Increase in Church Units for 2015 through Sept.: + 299 W&B; + 305 W - 6 B + 37 stakes
- 8 districts + 4 temples + 12 missions
Through Sept 2015 US + 99 W&B; + 108 W - 9 B + 7 stakes - 1 district
+ 2 temples + 4 missions
Through Sept 2015 outside US + 200 W&B; + 197 W+ 3 B + 30 stakes - 7 districts
+ 2 temples + 8 missions

BYULAW said...

Having visited Toronto several times, this is a very diverse city with many languages. I know there are several Spanish congregations in the vicinity, a Cantonese, and a mandarin ward. I'm encouraged by the Persian outreach, but I think more could be done to diversify the church in that area. I am not sure what is currently being done but would like to see Italian, Tagalog, Urdu, and Punjabi outreach. My impression is that immigrants almost universally throughout the world tend to be more receptive to the church than those who are culturally and religiously established in an area. Maybe church planting with foreign language groups in cities like Toronto, New York and Chicago would have more success instead of trying to assimilate them into existing wards and branches.

Cory said...

I also know an Elder that recently returned from the Los Angeles mission. He Spoke Farsi and made outreach to Muslims. He said that during his service, the first presidency told them they could not baptize people that did not have permanent residency. This is interesting because the church is open to undocumented immigrants in the US being baptized, resulting in many Latin American immigrants being baptized. But for some reason there is a different policy for Muslims. He said the work slowed down quite a bit after that. I Don't know if this is a new policy or just a restatement of a current one. I guess the reasoning is that if they were to return to their native country they could be killed for conversion.

Ryan Searcy said...

In some Muslim countries, converting to another faith is considered apostasy and can sometimes result in a death sentence, something I believe the Church wishes to avoid.

Adam said...

Watched all the videos, only other thing of interest is a presentation by Elder Hafen about YSA activity from 2008. Some of my notes:

- Married YSA's are twice as active as single YSA's
- Only 6% on international members are married in the temple by age 30
- YSA Activity rate is 30% in the US, 20% outside of the US and 25% altogether
- There are 70 men per 100 women
- 85% of YSA live in conventional wards (not sure if this was international or not)
- 20% of YSA records are at Church HQ in the lost bin
- Of the YSA left on family rolls, Bishops don't know around 25% of the names, and another 25% are inactive
- Active singles often don't hold any responsibility in family wards
- YSA activity threatens multi-generational church
- Church needs to "Use them or will lose them,"
- There's a cliff in the activity rate upon high school graduation
- (again 2008 here) 25-50% of students in college wards aren't students, and at the time you could have roommates in different wards depending on whether or not they were going to school, caused for messy records.
- average temple age of newly married couples is 24 for men and 23 for women.

You can see a lot of the discussion lent itself to the mission age change a few years later. Be interesting to see what the numbers are now with all the new changes. *one day*

Kenny said...

And all the changes in YSA Wards and Stakes.

John Pack Lambert said...

You can't say "married YSAs", I think what is meant is "married YAs", which would be young adults. The S stands for single.

My first reaction to the twice as active stat is "how many YSAs are living in sin?" Another is "how many people who are listed as YSA are really married YA, but we don't know because home teaching is spotty and they are inactive".

On the other hand it has been since 2008 that the Church has majorly revamped the way YSA and student wards are aligned.

John Pack Lambert said...

I would think "permanent resident" would only apply for potential Muslim converts from areas where there is some sort of threat. I would see no reason why in a US mission student visa Muslims from Nigeria or several other countries where the Church has a presence could not be baptized.

Here is a report on the contents of the videos. The videos are less than 8 hours, so I think some attempts to assess the sources for consultation used by the 12 from the videos are seriously flawed.

One of the videos evidently dealt with considerations of how to increase outreach to Kurds. From what I understand, probably the best avenue for that would be targeted outreach in Germany.

John Pack Lambert said...

If there is a Wikipedia article that needs editing it is the one entitled "Black People and Mormonism". The main source on Black Latter-day Saints in the US is from a book published in 2004. The article has even less to say about the huge growth of the LDS Church in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and several other countries.

Just the pure magnitude of the outdatedness of the article frustrates me. This work [] is not one of the sources in the article, but two books by Jerald and Sandra Tanner are. I have not convinced myself I have the patience to read that book, but it is a fair and scholarly work, and needed in the article.

mrcuff said...

Does anyone have any thoughts as to why only three Stakes were created this month? With the closure of two Stakes, that is only a net increase of one.

L. Chris Jones said...

Maybe due to general conference prep.

Nathanial said...

@John, Cory, Adam, and others, I served in England, where there is a high Muslim population. We were regularly cautioned about teaching Muslims because they can go back to there home country (especially from England) and be killed. This had to do with laws of their home country and not Muslim law. There is actually church policy that we had to follow when it came to teaching Muslims, although I do not remember the details.

With that being said, I find comfort in the plan of salvation. Because Christ performed the atonement, we will all have the opportunity to accept Him as our Savior, either in this life in the post mortal world. Thus, we have missionary work and temples. I know God will bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.

I did find that the Muslims were sincere is belief of God as any LDS, Catholic, or Church of England members would be.

MainTour said...

Nathaniel - You have that backwards. Death penalty for Muslim apostasy is caused is a lawed pushed into national law by a strict fundamentalists interpretation of Islamic Law by Muslims. The non-muslims (or even moderate muslims) in any given country would never support such legislation!!!

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Sitati in a talk at an academic conference at the University of Utah a year ago stated that over the last 5 years half of the converts in Europe were people from Africa. I do not know what was defined as Europe and what as Africa. I am also not sure if this would have included children of African parents born somewhere outside Africa.

Nathanial said...

MeinTour, Please keep in mind the Islam religion is a religion of peace. I love the people of Islam. It saddened me that I could not teach them, because I know many would accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I took comfort in my testimony of the plan of salvation. The church donates to other charities throughout the world who can better serve people in the affected areas, included Muslim charities. The church checks the backgrounds of the charities and do not donate to any that are associated with causing harm.

I also take comfort in my testimony of the prophets and apostles. I know they are guided by the spirit and lead the growth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also know that local leaders guide the growth of church. The gospel of Jesus Christ will overcome all obstacles.

Nathanial said...

John, interesting of point about converts in Europe. It sounds like church in/from Africa is growing everywhere.

Ryan Searcy said...

According to this article released today, there are 23 missionaries serving from Juneau, Alaska, a place that only has 3 wards and a YSA branch.

John Pack Lambert said...

That comes to between 5 and 6 people serving from each ward or branch. Although the article says "from the Juneau Area" which in this case may be used to signify the Juneau Stake.

twinnumerouno said...

Here's another news item- at the Meeker Colorado Stake conference today, the stake president announced the discontinuation of the Craig 3rd ward. He said all 3 Craig wards had been struggling and this would bring about some increase in strength in the two remaining wards. He also said the boundary with the Steamboat Springs ward was changing but I didn't really understand how it was changing.

twinnumerouno said...

The stake president also made a comment in my ward's ward conference last month that contrary to speculation, the Meeker stake is not going to be split.

Unknown said...

Three wards were discontinued in the Salt Lake Granite Stake — Belvedere, Ivins, and Fairmont.

coachodeeps said...

@Ryan D Curtis-I used to live in the Salt Lake Granite Stake and the Fairmont Ward. It was a small Ward 8 years ago and there were plenty of buildings for the number of wards in the stake. I am curious what the church will do with the buildings. Will one or more be used for a specialized ward/stake? Well you fill in the details? Seems this is a problem in the Salt Lake City area. There are many buildings due to previous needs that are needed much less die to change in where LDS population and growth is currently.

coachodeeps said...

@Ryan D Curtis-I used to live in the Salt Lake Granite Stake and the Fairmont Ward. It was a small Ward 8 years ago and there were plenty of buildings for the number of wards in the stake. I am curious what the church will do with the buildings. Will one or more be used for a specialized ward/stake? Well you fill in the details? Seems this is a problem in the Salt Lake City area. There are many buildings due to previous needs that are needed much less die to change in where LDS population and growth is currently.

L. Chris Jones said...

In the building I attend in Ammon, Idaho, one of the three wards is from the neighboring stake. In SLC some stakes could share buildings. We could move specialized units such as Mid-singes, YSA, or language wards and Branches into those buildings.
Isn't much of the growth and Downsizing in the Salt Lake area due to changing demographics. People moving to other areas in the valley? For example, Salt lake city shrinking but South Jordan growing?

Mike Johnson said...

Ryan, thank you for the article. Very interesting.

>>>There are 23 missionaries from the Juneau area currently serving around the world. These outstanding young people take one and a half or two years out of their lives to go and serve others.

I can't help wondering if this reference could be to the entire Juneau stake and not just the wards and branch in Juneau City and Borough. The stake is quite far spread, arguing against this possibility. But, this is probably a piece put together by the stake public relations specialist. 7 of the 23 are mentioned by name--perhaps these are from one of the wards in the Juneau area. I note that 4 of these 7 are nephews of the author (Jacqueline F. Tupou) and that the Bishop of the Nugget Falls Ward per LDS Maps is Bishop Tupou.

I also wonder if all of the 23 are young missionaries or if the total includes senior couples.

The Juneau YSA Branch covers the entire stake, but people would have to live in or near Juneau to attend in person. The Tongass Branch, headquartered in Juneau, covers all parts of the stake not in one of the wards or regular branches--the equivalent for a stake of a district branch or a mission branch. It is possible that the stake president is the branch president--both are surnamed Gilbert. It is also possible they are not the same person--a relative or perhaps no relation. We often find mission presidents as the branch president for a mission branch and the same with district presidents and district branches.

ARDA lists the following for the end of 2010:

Juneau City and Borough (4 congregations, 1711 adherents) This was before the reorganization of wards and the building of the new stake center. It also includes the Tongass Branch. 2 family wards, 1 YSA branch, 1 administrative branch with the potential for groups in various places outside Juneau City and Borough.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough (1 congregation, 731 adherents) Ketchikan Ward

Sitka City and Borough (1 congregation, 344 adherents) Sitka Ward

Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (1, 174) Craig Branch

Petersburg Census Area (1, 110) Petersburg Branch

Wrangell City and Borough (1, 110) Wrangell Branch

Haines Borough (1, 81) Haines Branch

Hoonah-Angoon Census Area (1, 78) Gustavus Branch

Skagway Municipality (1, 77) Skagway Branch

Yakutat City and Borough (1, 57) Yakutat Branch

(plus the branch in the Yukon)

Ryan Searcy said...

Mike Johnson

To my knowledge, there are no groups in Alaska. However, there are several places that seem likely for groups to operate. My biggest guess is Glennallen, which used to have its own branch, but was discontinued to allow the Valdez Branch become a ward. It is a 2-hour drive from Glennallen to Valdez, additionally, in the winter time, it depends if Thomson's Pass has been plowed or not, Valdez may not be accessible. Alternately, it is almost the same amount of travel time to Palmer. The Valdez Ward is one of the largest wards in Alaska, and arguable one of the larges in the U.S. I think only the Fairbanks 3rd Ward would be larger.

There are 3 large-area congregations that cover multiple towns with limited access: Fairbanks 3rd Ward, Tongass Branch, and Anchorage Bush Branch. A while back, there was a very small branch in Naknek, and it is probable there may be a group there. Hooper Bay is the largest bush community that does not have its own congregation, however, most of western Alaska is Yup'ik speaking, and there are no church materials in that language.

The Tok Branch was recently discontinued, and the area is now part of the Delta Junction Ward, which makes sense. The chapel was listed in Eagle, which is near the Canada Border up on the Yukon River, at the end of a road that is closed in winter (gravel road, not easily plowed). Tok and many other communities along the Alcan would have a much easier time going to Delta Junction than Eagle for services.

For the Tongass Branch, the 3 largest communities are Hoonah (rumored to be part of the Gustavus Branch), Angoon, and Metlakatla (part of the Ketchikan Ward).

Some ideas I have had for boundary changes largely affects the Bush Branch, where it would cover every community in Alaska that does not have its own branch, nor accessible by road (except the Juneau Stake). This would effect primarily the Fairbanks 3rd Ward and the North Slope Branch. In addition, for the Juneau Stake, the ward and branch boundaries would be extended to cover all of the empty space that is in that region (for instance, the Juneau Wards only cover the residential areas, and right outside is part of the Tongass Branch.

Mike Johnson said...

MainTour and Nathaniel, the main issue isn't the laws of the countries, but that family members whose honor has been affected by family members leaving Islam take it into their own hands to kill them thinking that that preserves their social standing.

I don't think any Moslem country has the death penalty for apostasy.

Islam, like Christianity, espouses peace. But, there have been plenty of cases of people becoming very violent in the name of both. I don't like the phrase "Religion of Peace" because it is usually used in relation to violent acts by some members of a religion.

I have had some Islam experts explain to me the context of the war and violence suras of the Quran, that make perfect sense to me. But, that context is not often recognized and taught in some circles. It is a little like the Zion's Camp sections of the D&C. There is strong language about marching on Missouri with an unofficial military force to redeem the land. We know the context and also have the Lord explaining what happened in the D&C and directly a different result. Thus, I don't think Latter-day Saints have the same issue as some Moslems who read their scriptures and see some instructions that make it sound very much in opposition to the idea of being a religion of peace. Islam means "submission" and it is more directly translated a religion of submission than a religion of peace. When individuals submit to the will of God and they believe God has commanded them to destroy non-believers, it doesn't become a religion of peace.

That said, the Church and many members have had very good relationships with lots of Moslems. The Abu Dhabi stake center was built on land gifted to the Church by the Crown Prince. While there are issues with preaching the Gospel in Islamic countries or with people expected to return to them, the situation seems to be improving.

L. Chris Jones said...

I heard that the Quran says something about respecting the "People of the book." I have the understanding that means believers in the new and old testament such as Jews and Christians.

Eduardo said...

While millions upon millions of people respect the Ahl al-kitab (People of the Book, Jews and Christians) unfortunately there are thousands of extremists that take some Qoranic verses, some extremist violent hadith (claimed sayings of Prophet Muhammad, disputed and debated by Muslims as legit or not), and modern fatwas of Muslim clerics that advocate violence against kuffar (non-believers) and murtadiun (apostates like Arab secular governments). I don't know when things will calm down completely, but I hope LDS continue to make in-roads with Muslims and the Millenium should settle most accounts.

Mike Johnson said...

Ryan, thank you.

I was going to add the Delta Junction Ward for the large areas. But, I see you added that below. These are huge areas for these wards and branches. The Fairbanks 3rd Ward does meet in a chapel in Fairbanks (403 Lazelle Rd Fairbanks, AK) but it goes all the way up to the northern coast. My guess is nobody drives to church each week from much of the ward. They may attend church using telecommunications.

I am not sure what you mean by there not being any groups. Groups are informal and the Church doesn't track or publish them. They require only mission or stake president approval to set up or discontinue. They are common in spread out areas, so I would think in places like Alaska there could be several. On the other hand, I have heard that telephone or internet are used for services. I would think even then, somebody would be assigned as a group leader (who doesn't need the Melchizedek Priesthood). The primary reason administrative branches are set up (Anchorage Bush and Tongass branches appear to work like administrative branaches but are in stakes and not missions where we usually find them) is to organize groups.

Groups may also be parts of wards or branches. I would think that the Fairbanks 3rd ward has one or more groups that it administers. It also would not surprise me that even though the Palmer and Glennallen branches were merged to form the Palmer Ward that the ward maintains a group in Glennallen.

Boundaries in the Juneau Stake (and perhaps all of the Alaska stakes) are problematic on LDS Maps. The Gustavus Branch shows up across the bay from Gustavus. The meeting house shows up in Gustavus and has a Gustavus address, but outside the branch according to LDS Maps. Right click on Gustavus and you get the Tongass Branch.

The Craig Branch is suspicious as well. Craig (and the meeting house) sit just outside the boundary running up the inlet, with branch taking in Klawack. Again right-click on Craig and you get the Tongass Branch. I suspect the Craig Branch takes in Craig. But, I don't know how much of Prince of Wales Island is in the Craig Branch. The Craig branch does have the largest membership of any branch in the stake (if the Juneau YSA Branch had that membership it would be a ward).

Mike Johnson said...


I was saddened, but not surprised, to see the Tok Branch go away. I had noted that the address is in Eagle (101 2nd Ave, Eagle, AK) which Google Maps identifies as "J&I Crafts" indicating that the branch may have met in facilities leased from a business or perhaps owned by a member. To be a branch in a stake requires 4-6 active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders and 20 members. A group needs only one Aaronic Priesthood holder. Unless everybody moved out, died, or went inactive, my guess they downgraded the branch to a group dependent on the Delta Junction Ward.

When I first mapped out the Church in Alaska about 3 years ago I built comparisons with the Catholic Church. The Southeast Fairbanks Census Area has a population of about 7000. ARDA listed the Church as having at the end of 2010 2 congregations with 404 adherents. The Catholic Church had 2 congregations listed with 366 adherents. The LDS congregations had to be the Delta Junction Ward and the Tok Branch (which covered both Tok and Eagle with the meetinghouse in Eagle). The Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks lists 3 parishes--Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (Delta Junction), Holy Rosary Catholic Church (Tok), and Saint Francis Xavier (Eagle). The diocese website says "However, most practicing Catholics have left the Eagle community and Saint Francis Xavier parish is now considered inactive." It also says, "Religious Sisters who helped preserve a strong Catholic presence in Tok include Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and Sisters of St. Joseph. A Sister of St. Joseph presently serves as Pastoral Administrator of Holy Rosary. A Diocesan priest visits from Delta Junction." So, the Catholics with similar numbers has one "inactive parish," one parish with a nun as the pastoral administrator, and one regular parish. The LDS in the census area appear similar with one ward and insufficient numbers to keep a stake branch functioning. To be a branch in a stake requires at least 20 members. If they didn't all go away, then I suspect that the Delta Junction ward now maintains a group in either or both Tok and Eagle. Tok and Eagle probably took members in both areas to qualify as a branch in a stake. Given the distance between them, members in Tok may have been a group in the branch. It is possible that members gathered in both Tok and Eagle and met over the phones or internet to make it work. They may do the same, but "call in" to the Delta Junction Ward.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@L. Chris Jones: A good Muslim friend of mine discussed with me once that the Muslim faith does respect the "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians). I'm not sure if it was a Quranic teaching. I assume it was. I'm glad you brought this up! I will actually ask her for more information.

MainTour said...

A most enlightening read from Deseret Books on this subject is "My Name Used to Be Muhammad". The story of a young man who converted from devout Islam to Christianity and Mormonism. He faced intense persecution and not just from his own family.

phxmars said...

The Phoenix Arizona Deer Valley Stake is splitting in two weeks.

Mike Johnson said...

Exciting news about the Phoenix Arizona Deer Valley Stake.

I wonder if the Phoenix Arizona North Stake to the south will be involved. Each stake has 10 wards. The Glendale North Stake to the west has 6 wards and may not be part of a stake reorganization. The Paradise Valley stake to the east has 7 wards.

Unknown said...

I have suspected a split in in the Phoenix Deer Valley stake was pending. I served in the neighboring Glendale North Stake on my mission.

Note, this is what I am guess will happen.
I suspect this realignment will involve the Scottsdale North Stake and the Glendale North Stakes. The new Stake would be called the Phoenix Anthem Stake or something like that. The five wards in the the Anthem area with two wards in the cave creek area, from the Scottsdale North Stake, will constitute the new Stake. Finally the wards at the chapel by the Phoenix temple, from the Glendale North Stake, would join the Deer Valley Stake to bring it back up the strength. This is what I suspect will happen based on my experience down there on my mission and my observations of the west valley of Phoenix growing.

J S A said...

Phoenix Arizona Thunderbird Park Stake (2070677)
created october 9 2016

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you, J S A. As usual, Temple Rick is on top of it:

Phoenix Arizona Thunderbird Park Stake
Arrowhead Ranch Ward
Mountain Ridge Ward
Sierra Verde Ward
Sonoran Mountain Ward
Stetson Valley Ward
Thunderbird Hills Ward
Desert Canyon Branch (Correctional Facility)

phxmars said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phxmars said...

None of the wards mentioned are in the Deer Valley Stake. Those are all wards west of the temple and mostly north of the 101 Loop. I am told that the Deer Valley Stake split involves 1-2 wards in the Phx North Stake.

It seems that the church is trying to align the AZ stakes into that 150-200 per ward/ 6-7 wards per stake "sweet spot" that was mentioned in an earlier discussion.

My own stake as 10 wards but there are not any stakes bordering us that have adequate numbers of wards to peel off to create a new stake. The stake to the west just took one of our previous wards and the stake to the south has 5 wards. There are no stakes to our north and east that are feasible for a split. I hadn't considered the Deer Valley wards near Anthem to create a northern stake, but the wards meeting in Cave Creek come awfully close to the 101 to make a stake of that configuration less than ideal. I think more growth in Northern Scottsdale needs to occur before we see the Scottsdale North Stake split.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am virtually positive that Iran has the death penalty for apostasy, however I am not sure even Iran has imposed it recently.

Sudan has on occasion sentanced people to death for apostasy, but I am not sure they have carried it out.

However family members meeting out justice is probably a much bigger concern than governments doing so.

I have talked to missionaries here in the Detroit Mission who think we could probably have 3 or 4 Arabic areas. The missionaries in my ward have baptized a few Chaldeans (Catholics from Iraq) over the years and are often teaching them. Southfield and Oak Park probably also have enough Chaldeans to support missionary efforts.

In Dearborn and also in the Palmer Park Ward (the one ward that meets in Detroit, 2 branches meet in the city, and 2 other wards have good chunks of it, including one where the Young Men President lives in the city) both in Hamtramck and in the part of Detroit just to the east of Hamtramck there are enough Yemeni immigrants to justify Arabic speaking missionaries. These people are generally permanent residents, and in Dearborn many were born in the us. However there is still strong familial pressure, and those who do not know English would be most susceptible to such.

John Pack Lambert said...

Mike Johnson makes some very good points about the Qu'ran verses on violence being taken out of context. The comparison of the Qu'ran to the Doctrine and Covenants is very good. Except, due to various factors, I think the full context of the verses in the Doctrine and Covenants is easier to understand.

I have read some works by Muslim scholars who insist that the main probably with both the Salafis and the radical violent political Islamists who are generally a sub-set of Salafism is that they reject the body of Muslim scholarship and read the Qu'ran directly.

Some insist one of the problems is that Saudi Arabia has used its oil wealth to set-up Islamic scholars that support the Salafi/Wahabi interpretation of the Qu'ran, one lacking the inights of scholarship, as leaders in mosques throughout the world.

One book I read on this subject was entitled "The Two Faces of Islam" by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz. Some might say Schwartz was a Jewish convert to Islam. That is inaccurate. He was baptized as a Presbyterian at birth, but his mother was a member of the Communist Party. Both his parents were anti-religious, which makes me think he was baptized in one of the predecessors of the PCUSA, probably the most left-leaning mainline Protestant Church. His father was ethnically Jewish. Schwartz converted to Sufi Islam in the 1990s, I believe as a result of exposure while working as a journalist in Bosnia.

On the other hand, the Church has been thriving in Sierre Leone, and that is a majority Muslim country. Of course its 60% Muslim is a far cry from the 99%+ seen in Turkey.

John Pack Lambert said...

I promise this will be my last post in a row.

The Henderson Nevada Stake Lake Mead has gotten what I think is its first new ward since I was a missionary in Nevada back in 2002. That is exciting. What was then the Black Mountain Stake, which to locals was the only other part of Henderson, they didn't consider Green Valley as part of Henderson, has now become 3 stakes, although it did incolve taking the Boulder City wards from the Lake Mead Stake.

A stake in Abijan Ivory Coast, which was only formed in 2014, is now to 13 wards.

Mike Johnson said...

phxmars, the creation of the Phoenix Arizona Thunderbird Park Stake last Sunday is clearly a different stake creation than the one predicted for the Deer Valley area in the next couple of weeks.

The Phoenix Arizona Deer Valley Stake has ten wards:
Buffalo Ridge Ward
Deer Valley Ward
Rose Garden Ward
Daisy Mountain Ward
North Valley Ward
Anthem Ward
Gavilan Peak Ward
Parkside Ward
North Canyon Ward
Pinnacle Vista Ward

When I first saw the suggestion of splitting the Phoenix Arizona Deer Valley Stake, it appeared obvious to me that a likely split would be the first five wards I list in one stake and the last five in the other. They seem to be grouped in these two groups of fve wards. While 5 wards at least are required to create a stake (I have seen stakes created with 4 wards and 2-3 branches, but Handbook 1 says 5 wards minimum), I did wonder about whether each group of 5 could form a stake.

The idea that the southern five wards (the top five I list) get two wards from a neighboring stake makes sense. My guess is it will be from the Phoenix North stake to the south and not the 6-ward Glendale North stake to the west. But, that is only a guess based on looking at LDS maps.

I am not out there in the Phoenix area, but I don't think 6-7 wards is the sweet spot, but rather potential stakes typically need at least that many wards to reach all of the minimum requirements. Thus, it is not uncommon throughout the country or even the world for 1 stake to become 2 or 2 to become 3 when all of the resulting stakes meet the requirements about that level. But, then they are allowed to grow from that point. Not the sweet spot for a size of stake, but rather the minimum for a stake to be viable.

In North America it should be 3000 members of record, 5 wards, and 24 active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders (not including those required for the ward--15 per ward and 4-6 per branch in a stake) for all stakes resulting from the reorganization. If all of the resulting stakes in the reorganization can meet these requirements the area leadership forwards the request from the stakes involved to the First Presidency for approval or denial. This supposed sweet spot is really when the minimum requirements allow the creation of a new stake. It isn't about a decision to make smaller stakes. In fact most of the stakes created in North America prior to about 2010 were created with lower requirements than they have now.

Mike Johnson said...

John, the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon South Stake two years ago (October 2014--I pulled it off CDOL on 23 October 2014) had 6 wards:

Azito Ward
Coprim Ward
Niangon 1st Ward
Niangon 2nd Ward
Sideci 1st Ward
Sideci 2nd Ward

Now, as you note, this stake created in June 2013 now has 13 wards:

Azito 1st Ward
Azito 2nd Ward
Base Cie 1st Ward
Base Cie 2nd Ward
Beago Ward
Coprim Ward
Gloris Ward
Niangon 1st Ward
Niangon 2nd Ward
Ornella Ward
Sideci 1st Ward
Sideci 2nd Ward
Sogefiha Ward

In Cote d'Ivoire, 2 years ago there were 6 Stakes with 55 wards and 5 branches, 3 Districts with 21 branches, and 10 direct report mission branches. Total of 91 congregations.

Today there are 11 stakes with 97 wards and 7 branches, 9 districts with 60 branches, and 11 direct report mission branches for a total of 175 congregations in Cote d'Ivoire which is nearly double in two years.

The Yamoussoukro Cote d'Ivoire District 2 years ago had 13 branches. Today, it is a stake (Yamoussoukro Cote d'Ivoire Stake) with 10 wards (Agbanou Ward, Assabou Ward, Bouafle Ward, Fondation Ward, Habitat Ward, Koko Ward, Kokrenou Ward, N'Zuessy 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Wards) that came from 7 of the branches (Agbanou Branch, Bouafle Branch, Habitat Branch, Koko Branch, Kokrenou Branch, and N'Zuessy 1st and 2nd Branches). The Daloa Cote d'Ivoire District today has 8 branches that came from 6 of the branches that had been in the Yamoussoukro District.

Cory said...

The Growth in the Ivory Coast never ceases to amaze me. The geographical sizes of the wards in some areas of the city are becoming very small. Not quite as small as Utah, but getting close especially in the northern and west parts of the city. Looking at the lds maps, it strikes me to see that around half, perhaps less meet in rented or remodeled facilities. The Maps aren't that updated, but it's easy to recognize an LDS built Chapel from above. I appears that each stake only has one or two constructed meetinghouses or stake centers. There is a meeting house, probably stake center in the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Toit Rouge Stake that has a lot of empty space behind it. I would guess the Temple will be built there if the chruch does not acquire additional property. I also hope the temple is rather larger than the other temples being built today and those built in Africa. Considering that the stakes there are of the highest of the church to submit names, plus a large growth potential, I think it would merit are larger than normal temple.

TempleRick said...

In considering where the Church may choose to build the temple in Abidjan, I found a blog with a clever description of the city's communes helpful. I'll share it here.

Cocody = Beverly Hills (the bourgeois)
Plateau = Manhattan (skyscrapers)
Marcory = Las Vegas (the place that never sleeps)
Treichville = Kingston (drugs in the streets)
Kousmassi = Bogotá (gangland)
Port Bouet = Hawaii (coconuts and palms)
Adjame = Texas (urban jungle)
Attecoube = Bronx (the strongest make the law)
Yopougon = Rio de Janeiro (alcohol, sex, parties, beautiful girls)
Abobo = Baghdad (danger everywhere)

Cory said...

Thanks Rick, that interesting. It also explains why the church is very dense in Yopougon and Abobo and less so in the other regions.

Mike Johnson said...

I agree that the Church is quite "dense" in Yopougon and Abobo, but the descriptions don't particularly explain why.

John Pack Lambert said...

My guess based on the above is that the Church will build the temple in Cocody is at all possible. Bloomfield Hills where the Detroit Temple is built definately fits such a description. However other temples have not been built in the high end area, so I could be wrong.

In general LDS Church growth occurs most in low income areas, although members tend to over time become more middle-class. This often leads to class differences between converts and life long members. It is also arguably an overly simplistic view. At one point in my mission the area that was most affulent also had the highest level of baptisms, in part because there were lots of new missionaries there who had not yet learned that one could not baptize in affluent areas.

On the other hand even though I did serve in that affluent zone, it was my first area which by most assesments was the most ghetto area I served in that also had the most high-end housing. Las Vegas at least would have high price high rises very close to low income housing.

Even at that I am not sure why Attecoube and Treichville would not be growth areas. Sometime though the placement of Church density might result from where the Church has started.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@L. Chris Jones and Eduardo Clinch:

I'm finally getting back here with the info I learned about the "People of the Book" from my Muslim friend.

My question to her: "Someone asked me a question about the Islamic view of the "People of the Book," and I thought you would be the best person to ask. So, essentially, the questions were: "What is the definition of the 'People of the Book.'" (i.e. Does it refer to Jews and Christians?)and "Does this teaching come from the Quran, and if so, where is it located?" Thanks. :)"

Her answer: "The people of the book are generally speaking Christians and Jews. However, it has a deeper meaning and refers to any people that have received divine revelation through a prophet of God. Just keep in mind that this is in accordance with the islamic view of who can be a prophet. So, the followers of Moses, peace be upon him, would be considered "people of the book" and the followers of Noah, peace be upon him, would be considered "people of the book" but the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are not considered "people of the book" although he claimed prophecy and started his own religion. Another thing to note is that some scholars of islam have included Buddhists as people of the book because the Budda was most likely a prophet and there are more prophets of the past than we have record of. Sabians and Zoroastrians are also considered to be people of the book.

Just note that lay muslims often only know that Christians and Jews are people of the book but they don't know more than that.

This wikipedia article has good information regarding what muslims believe:

Where does this teaching come from? It comes directly from the Qur'an, but the problem here is how do we know what it means? The specifics come from other verses of the Qur'an, and then ahadith which are sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

The status of the people of the book and their relevance to muslims would be found in books of islamic law and spirituality. For example, we can eat the food of the people of the book under certain conditions: and muslim men can marry non-muslim women if they are from the people of the book under certain conditions as well

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions."