Saturday, March 4, 2017

First LDS District in Rwanda

The Uganda Kampala Mission reports that the first LDS district in Rwanda will be organized on March 26th. Overseen by mission presidents, districts are administrative organizations that service two or more branches within a specific geographical area. The organization of a district signals progress in regards to increasing numbers of priesthood leadership, and improvements in local self-sufficiency for leadership and church administration. Furthermore, the creation of districts often proceeds the organization of additional branches or member groups within an area. Currently the Church reports three branches in Kigali, Rwanda - all of which appear likely to be included in the new Kigali Rwanda District. Currently there is no LDS presence in Rwanda outside of the capital city of Kigali.

The Church in Rwanda has reported strong growth within the past several years. Annual membership growth rates have exceeded 20% a year since the establishment of the first branch in 2008. There were a mere 17 members in Rwanda in 2008, whereas there were 344 members in Rwanda at year-end 2015. Additionally, full-time missionaries serving in Rwanda report that the number of convert baptisms has accelerated in Kigali within recent months. Although recent growth has been steady and strong, a lack of Kinyarwanda translations of LDS materials (including LDS scriptures), proselytism by full-time missionaries conducted only in English, and distance from mission headquarters in Kampala, Uganda pose challenges for more rapid growth and expansion. The creation of additional branches and member groups in Kigali also appears warranted in order to improve accessibility to LDS congregations and spur greater growth.


Ryan Searcy said...

Excellent news! I have a friend serving in that mission.

Michael Worley said...

It seems like the Church is trying to avoid the high inactivity that has plagued South America, and has limited branch planting and non-African missionaries to do so. Expansion to Rwanda is an indication of strength in Uganda, and hopefully indicates that the foundation for continued rapid growth in Africa-- be it linear or exponential-- is falling into place.

Both the Perpetual Education Fund and BYU-Pathway Worldwide will help change Africa so much.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Uganda, or any other East African country for that matter, has never had any rapid growth that I'm aware of. In Ethiopia it's actually gone backwards ("stagnant" seems like an unduly generous description when the already paltry number of branches has *decreased*). Rwanda straddles the "line" between Central and East Africa, so it's fortunate that as far as growth is concerned it seems to take more after the DRC on its west than Uganda on its north.

After an impressive start in January, the creation of new stakes and districts has plummeted. I hope it's just a statistically insignificant fluctuation and will pick up again soon.

Unknown said...

The Africa Southeast Area includes both Congos - particularly growth in the DR Congo has been explosive. The DR Congo gets overlooked a little (I think) due to how much has been happening in Cote d'Ivoire, but I would say that it still has the second-most dynamic growth pattern in the world right now.

Burundi has grown a bit faster than Rwanda as well, it seems, at least before civil unrest broke out a couple years ago.

Zimbabwe and Mozambique have also seen rather fast real growth. So has Madagascar, at least for a few years until the early 2010s. I remember when Madagascar was a pretty hot temple candidate, but it seems like things have slowed down there a little. Not sure if the Church is simply going through a maturation stage.

brycen said...

How soon do people expect a temple announcement for Kenya? Personally, I think it will be in the next couple of years, given the number of stakes now in Kenya and Uganda together (5). Of course, it's hard to predict things like this. I've been expecting it for a long time. I had a roommate who served his mission there, but there were no stakes in Kenya or Uganda in his time (I think he got home around 2000-2001).

I would also like to see some progress in South Sudan. I worked with 5 guys from there when I lived in Utah. Perhaps this new East Africa Federation, whatever it's called, will stabilize things there.

James said...

These are monumental milestones to be sure. Brycen, in response to your question, I have anticipated a temple announcement for Kenya for several years now. There are several nations in Africa and South America that may have temples announced soon. As I have mentioned before, the discussion of possible future temple sites is a major topic on the LDS Growth forum. I hope the discussion can continue both here and there. I personally think the odds of a temple in Kenya are very good, and that we will see it happen within the next five years or less. I personally think it will happen by the end of next year, if it does not happen this year. I'm sure the Lord has many surprises in store for us in terms of where future temples will be announced. I am once again sharing a link to the LDS Growth forum, and I hope it will help everyone who is interested. Thanks.

Jim Anderson said...

Proselyting first in a known language has proven to be the wise choice, this has been done before, the one I have heard specifically about is India.

But creating a district in an area with a new language triggers some things back here, to get first the most basic things into the new language first.

John Pack Lambert said...

This is good news.

I actually have to revise up the number of baptisms in Southfield Ward since I got there. A sister who was baptized in January who Ihad not realized bore her testimony today. With the baptism yesterday they have had 9 naptisms since the start of November. 7 females and two males. All are African-American except the brother baptized yesterday who is a very recent immigrant from Ghana so I am not sure the American part counts.

A family just moved into the ward that is from the Philippines.

John Pack Lambert said...

Would teaching the gospel in French be effective in Rwanda? I hope soon the church will move forward in creating materials in several African languages.

John Pack Lambert said...

Unless I missed a stake it is only 4 between Kenya and Uganda. Although Kenya does have a district that is close to being a stake.

Ryan Searcy said...

Nairobi East
Nairobi West
Kampala North
Kampala South

Ryan Searcy said...


brycen said...

Uganda's 3rd Stake was just created this year.

Eduardo said...

South Sudan has had enough political and military problems to make it hard on missionaries to go there successfully. Somalia has been very hard. I wonder if Eritrea with more Christians and stability could receive sone more elders. Too bad Ethiopia cannot progress more.
The Comoros seem to be on the slow side.
Then there are African nations that have still have not granted access, like Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Or am I wrong? Wish I were.
Each of us can think of both youth and seniors who could have done missions and didn't; their collective absence in many ways explains huge spaces around the globe, in my opinion. Some stow away their hopes for the Millenium, but it is more likely lack of faith. We need more valiant servants.
And language learners and translators, too.

Jim Anderson said...

Not having much success tweeting things out, although I've had the fish nibble on my line a time or two, have done things for three years save for the fall when I was in rehab for a stroke as I could not go online at all during that, also right now I can't make runs to Salt Lake and give out cards in the areas that are backfilling with nonmembers when the members move out as that discovery accounts for my being able to give more cards in that area than anywhere else here.

John Pack Lambert said...

I totally forgot that the stake in Kampala had just been divided.

James said...

Thanks for the ongoing discussion. The growth in Africa is truly magnificent, and this gives me hope that we will see many more temples there. I am working at the moment on gathering information that may enable me to make changes, revisions, corrections, and additions to my list of temples that might soon be announced. I will try to keep you all updated on that as I can. In the meantime, the discussion continues on that topic on the LDS Growth Forum. While it is still relatively new, it seems it is garnering and gathering more attention. I hope that many of you might feel inclined to join the discussion there, which covers a wide variety of topics related to worldwide growth of the Church. I also hope that the discussion can continue here. Thanks to you all for your insights and experiences. For what it's worth, I have done a new blog post just a few minutes ago on temple construction progress. I post a link to that, and to the forum, just in case anyone missed those I have posted before. Thanks.

James said...

I have my updated list. I welcome any comments on it. I have posted it to the LDS Growth Forum, and I hope that most of the comments I get about it will come through that outlet. I got it done just on time for General Conference in a month. Let me know what you think. Rather than posting that list here, I will instead post a link to the list as it appears on my blog. I welcome feedback. I also hope that many of you might have an interest in any of the other blog posts I have recently done. If you click on the blog title at the top of the posted link, you can also take a look at any of those posts. I look forward to the ongoing discussion. Thanks.

James said...

Another new blog post today as a result of feedback I received on my latest list of near-future temple possibilities. I fine-tuned and made adjustments to that list based on those comments and feedback. I welcome any and all continuing feedback on my selections, such as they are. I look forward to continuing to discuss these things on whatever outlet those discussions may take place. Thanks.

Eduardo said...

Any evidence that younger missionaries serving is helping YSA stay faithful or even marry sooner? Are more young men, for example, going in the first place? Is the average about 25% of young men?
Young ladies are making great advances, and find converts that the elders do not always access to.
Imagine if we had more people going on full time missions, the previously untouched counties and towns across the world that have never ever been contacted.
And more countries would open. Even China. But we have more nations to reach before them.
Recently met a new convert from Ho Chi Minh City and he was excited that the city had doubled from two branches to four, I think he said.
Taiwan seems to be growing whike maybe South Korea is slower than had been hoped.

John Pack Lambert said...

With general cultural trends for older and older age at marriage in the US, even if the average age of returned missionaries at marriage was going up, it would not show that a lower age at leaving was changing things.

Also, I think the biggest impact of the Change is it is now realized that especially young men need to be ready to serve missions when they leave high school. I have seen ward and stake level mission prep programs at a greater level since the age was reduced. The full impact of this new program and system has not yet been seen.

I wish I had hope for my girlfriend's youngest daughter serving a mission. The fact my girlfriend's roommate is an RM probably boosts that. On the other hand, I have some hope her oldest grandson will serve a mission. She clearly has that as a goal for him and so do I. He is only 4 so we have a bit of time, but probably need to work more on starting to move it past the ephemeral goal stage.

Eduardo said...

Like a 529 education savings fund, we should have bank account funds to deposit savings for full time missions. Children (and adults) can learn so much from watching an account grow and earn interest. To be frugal, sacrificing, and economically literate does not happen for enough youth. LDS kids of all people ought to know of Heber J. Grant and inspired leaders who knew how to plan and invest wisely for Godly purposes.
One reason that I thought Chile was so advanced for Latin America was they had so many people willing to commit to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and put the principles of faith and repentance first. This includes our hard earned money.

John Pack Lambert said...

I know Spencer W. Kimball was very big on encouraging children to began missionary funds.

The Church, through Sister Burton's facebook account, just announced a revision to the purposes of Relief Society.

I have to admit I wish the above article included an actual face to face interview with Sister Burton on these changes, and I wish a direct comparison of the old and new document was included.

I am guessing this will be discussed in more detail at General Conference, almost certainly at the women's meeting, and maybe in other sessions as well.

John Pack Lambert said...

I recall for sure that BYU-Pathway Worldwide has locations in Ghana. Does it have locations at present in other countries in Africa? The fact that it does all instruction in English probably makes it less useful in countries like Ivory Coast, where the main non-local language is French. I look forward to when BYU-Pathway Worldwide operates in other languages, but considering that the Church still has not published a French version of the Bible, and didn't even do a Spanish version of the Bible until 2009, I am not holding my breath for BYU-Pathway Worldwide becoming multi-lingual.

John Pack Lambert said...

One of the new mission presidents mentioned this week is Alirio Baldemar Díaz Flores (along with his wife Mirian Aydee Orellana de Diaz. Brother Diaz works as the recorder at the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Temple. He will be president of the Guatemale Quetzaltenango Mission, which is the mission he served in and evidently currently lives in. Calling a mission president to serve over their home mission in a multi-mission country is fairly rare. Brother Diaz was born in the far east of Guatemala, while he will be mission president in the west, so he was not born in the mission boundaries. Still calling someone who is currently resident there when the country has multiple missions (6 to be precise) is very rare.

Deivisas said...

Did y'all see this article on the members in Mongolia attracting attention in creative ways?:

John Pack Lambert said...

Sister Diaz was also born in the east of Guatemala, but one department further west than Brother Diaz.

John Pack Lambert said...

However if we want to point out an international couple we have to turn to Delebe Martin Goury and his wife Ruth Simone Goury.

Brother Goury is 53, so he was born about 1964. He was born in Yopoue in the Ivory Coast. The only mention to this place I could clearly find with a google search was the Church News article on President Goury's call as a mission president. Unlike a large percentage of mission presidents called from African countries, Brother Goury does not work for the LDS Church. He is the country operations manager for OneSubsea Services, a Houston, Texas/Bergen Norway based company that does work in the under the ocean oil industry.

At present Brother Goury is a bishop. He has never held a calling above the ward level, which is fairly rare for new mission presidents. He has also served as ward mission leader, elders quorum president and high priests group leader as well as a branch president.

Brother Goury is black. Sister Goury is white. Interestingly enough she served a mission, and he did not. She also has been a stake relief society president. She served in the England London South Mission, and is a native of Beverley, England, which is in Yorkshire.

From his LinkedIn Profile I learned that Brother Goury at one point lived in Leeds, England, and has a degree from London South Bank University, which is a "new" (post 1992) university, although its institutional history dates back to the 1890s.

It seems most likely that the Goury's met in England, although the details of the matter may be more complex than that.

John Pack Lambert said...

Another one of the new mission presidents is from Utah, but his wife is originally from Colombia. He also served his mission in Colombia, in the same mission as the city his wife was born in. This reminds me a lot of what I knew of the parents of a sister who was in my ward. These might be her parents, which would be very interesting, because her husband's parents, from Mexico, had also presided over a mission. OK, I did a bit more looking into the matter, and yes, these are the parents of the sister who was in my ward.

Interestingly Brother Whitesides is described as "temple recorder: Corporation of the President", while an earlier person was described as a recorder for a specific temple. This may mean Brother Whitesides is the recorder for multiple temples. I am not sure.

James said...

Hello, all! Thanks for the ongoing discussion. John, thanks to you for your wonderful updates and ongoing information about incoming mission presidents. I would also like to thank you for mentioning the updates to the purposes of the Relief Society. I have tracked down the exact wording of the old and new purposes. I will feature that change in a blog post I will do on my own blog in just a minute. It is just easier that way because it will allow me to emphasize what has changed. Stay tuned for that in a moment. The link to my blog follows. Thanks.

coachodeeps said...

Each of my 4 children have a savings plan for a mission. We currently use a dedicated savings that had a higher interest rate due to it being a long term savings account, we save some each month into those accounts, and we can add money into the account at any time. This helps each of the 3 oldest (youngest is too young to understand) to see the money grow and the savings add up. This motivates them to do more. We have a rule of money earned. It gets split 3 ways: 10% tithing, 10% mission fund, 80% fun money. The kids didn't like it at first, but now have fully bought into it. The mission funds then go into the dedicated savings. It isn't a lot, but it is a good start. That is what we do.

Scott said...

My current calling is the Las Vegas Nevada Northwest Regional Institute Director. I saw a comment above from Eduardo about young single adults and marriage statistics and convert baptisms. I thought I would leave a comment on this subject. First, I think the church has created in the US and elsewhere really good programs for YSA members. I believe marriage is still a big part of the success of this church. If men and women go on missions and get married before age 26, things work out well as far as their activity in the church. Does marriage happen for everyone? Of course not. Does it happen for church members after age 26? Of course. I am speaking in generalities. Can it improve? Yes, and it needs to improve. YSA wards are great, I was a Bishop of one. Great experience. But, they reach maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of available YSAs in the ward boundary. I believe a place that can help is institute. I believe that institute has gotten an unintended stigma attached to it, by members. Maybe I am the only one who senses this sort of a stigma, but I think there is an issue. It has that same feel as FHE or Home teaching or even temple attendance can have. Since institute is voluntary, we do not give it the same effort as other aspects of our activity in church. YSA members can find and many times do find other things to do with their time than go to institute. Also, stakes can lose their focus on creating a good institute program when so many other things are equally important to sustaining the church. The effect can be a very low enrollment in an institute program with low energy.

When I got my calling we had 25 students attending 3 classes for an area that covered four stakes. We increased the number of stakes by combining two institutes and now we have nearly 140 students enrolled. What changed? All the stakes bought in. They each called an instructor and a missionary couple to help with the program. We emphasized the social aspects, we use a lot of media and bought large screen TV with HDMI to help in class. We had Inservice on media use. We created an institute council of YSA members and an institute committee of high councilmen from each of the stakes. We introduced a service program for community charities and have done some projects. In other words, we put in a lot of energy within the parameters of the institute program to make it appealing to YSA members and their friends.

The results have been good in the past year. Two convert baptisms from two women who attended because a YSA member invited them. 4 engagements of couples who met at institute who would not have met unless we combined the institutes. Lots and lots of inactive members coming back to church, who were intimidated by attending sacrament meeting right away, but found it a lot easier to go to institute. I think we will see more results as well.

Now, I know that a regional institute cannot be created in many areas of the US. There are not enough YSA members in some parts of the country. But, in large metro area, which coincidentally is where a lot of YSA members live, I think institute can have a much bigger effect than it is doing now. Maybe the experience we are having here in Las Vegas is not unique. Maybe institute has no stigma or I only see the stigma because that is what I sense and have heard while being here. That would be great if it were true.

James said...

Thanks for sharing your insights about the institute program, Scott. I did not know all that about you. I can only speak of my own experiences in regards to the Institute program. For me, I had not intended to involve myself in the local program at least until the end of my part-time missionary service, but finding that I had some time free from that service on Wednesday evenings, when my stake held the classes, and with the consent and recommendation of my stake president to do so for an opportunity to do group study of the scriptures and other gospel topics, I started attending one night. I went with a little trepidation.

I had heard that there was a stigma associated with Institute, such that people who later wound up getting married had met originally in Institute classes. As I was still on my mission and not seeking for that level of social involvement, I was nervous that first night. But right away, the institute class welcomed me with open arms, and in that first night, the spirit of that discussion we had about the scriptures would remain written on my heart forever, even if the memory of what the lesson covered would fade, which it did. And afterwards, I enjoyed the chance to socialize a little, letting many of my classmates know what I was up to and being able to reconnect with so many people I knew very well but had not seen frequently since they had started attending the Singles' Ward. It was a great experience.

Fast forward to the end of my missionary service. I had continued attending Institute. Then about a year later, I and a young lady who regularly attended Institute from the Singles' Ward were approached by the regional institute director, who told us that our names had been recommended by our teacher to serve as members of the Regional Institute Council. We were asked if we would accept this assignment and work to get Institute attendance for our stake as high as we were possibly able to do so. We accepted that assignment. There followed monthly meetings with the remainder of the council. In addition to talking about ways to improve attendance, our biggest priority, both within our stake and with the council as a whole was to make plans for a regional devotional that would feature a respected local scholar and BYU professor, who would be talking to all of us about the importance of marriage and what his formula for a successful marriage was. And so, we went to work on both things.

James said...

For our stake, the young lady and I met a few times to divide up the responsibilities we had determined we would take care of to improve attendance in our stake. And it worked. During one of those meetings between the two of us, which was held at my parents' house, I briefed my fellow council member on the events of a council meeting she had missed, and we determined specifically what we would do to handle our assignment for the regional devotional (we were in charge of the music).

After that meeting, I was talking to my dad and younger sister about how the meeting had gone. My sister commented that she thought that I might be attracted to the young lady in question, and encouraged me to ask her out. I said I wasn't comfortable with that idea, and my dad chimed in saying that there might perhaps be someone else in whom I was interested and that my sister should stop trying to run my love life.

As it happens, I was interested in someone else at the time, but I never dated either that other council member or the young lady in whom I was interested. And it all worked out anyways. Both of the young ladies in question and myself subsequently found the ones we wound up getting married to elsewhere.

My point, which got lost in the anecdotes of my life, is that I found that the alleged stigma of institute was not the case, and it was about a year later that I started dating the woman I would go on to marry by the end of that year. And we spent many happy Wednesday nights during our dating and courtship phases at those local Institute classes. So it all worked out.

Ryan Searcy said...

Just informed that my parent's stake (Anchorage North) is having a 'special' stake conference on March 19th. News of this stake conference was released today, and will replace all regular meetings in the stake. Perhaps there will be some boundary changes?

Eduardo said...

I had very positive experiences with LDS Institutes in Indiana, Utah, and California. But most of that was back in the 1990s, before I was married.
I don't know or recall anything about a stigma about it, but the Institute building was huge in Bloomington for a place of social contact and the parking was always key for facilitation of campus life. Classes were great, because the CES program is a great constant as I see it.
The YSA program was important for many of us to feel a sense of belonging to a group that was not focused on more worldly pursuits.
Maybe talk of stigma came years later? I have heard such talk associated with the religion in general, but I chalk such discussion to people that do not espouse LDS doctrinal beliefs and practices.
I hope that Alaska is expanding, good to hear.

John Pack Lambert said...

Scott, I served my mission in Las Vegas. I remember my mission president's wife once criticizing a companionship of elders for having a list of people who did not attend institute who were on the Ward List of the YSA ward. Her response was she had never gone to institute in her life or something to that effect.

I once gave a talk in the YSA ward in which I encouraged all to attend institute. However I think encoraging of youth to do so before they leave high school is even more important.

I think institute attendance is more key than having a YSA ward, and I hope there are organized institute programs where there are not YSA wards.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Newcastle South Africa district just got an additional branch. This puts it to 8 branches. Hopefully it will soon be a stake.

Jim Anderson said...

They do try to get graduating seminary students to attend institute even if they are not going to a college just yet or a mission for whatever reason. They invite them to the Worldwide Devotionals (next one is in May).

They have also refined the curriculum, and made it more focused. And the course materials are better. In the 1930s it was the philosophy of religion, not the doctrines or scriptures, that was a focus of institute. All that changed with the talk by J. Reuben Clark. 'The Charted Course of the Church in Education' and they began teaching more doctrinal and scriptural courses soon after. That talk is in the Gospel Library > Seminary and Institute > Talks for Teachers/

They do call stake teachers in many areas to teach a class on a weeknight, usually the class is held in a meetinghouse.

brycen said...

Ryan, the last time I attended a "special" stake conference, held between the normal 2 annual conferences, in my brother's stake in Colorado, it was to reorganize the Stake Presidency because the president was moving away. But the presiding General Authority was one of the senior Seventies at the time, Elder Marlin K Jensen, now Emeritus, who my brother and I had both met during college when he was Mission President in the Palmyra New York Mission. But it might be a different reason in your case.

After college we both attended a YSA branch as well as Institute (which covered 2 stakes in New York), and I have to say I really enjoyed both. I'm not sure what the stigma is that some of you have referred to. It seems like most of the branch went to the Institute class at least some of the time. We had a really popular teacher, until he was released to serve in the bishopric of the family ward in the same building.

twinnumerouno said...

Sorry, this is a bit wordy. I would like to share 2 other experiences with "special" stake conferences in the Meeker Colorado stake since the one my brother just mentioned, back in 2008 I believe (our president called then was just released on the 26th). 2-3 years ago we had one because Elder Dallin H. Oaks was visiting Grand Junction, Colorado for a training meeting and was asked to pick a stake in the area to visit. He chose our stake because it includes 2 wards in Rangely (I attend one of them), which is a bit over an hour from Vernal, Utah and he or his mother, I forget which, had known some people in Rangely when he and his family had lived in Vernal when he was a child, after his father's death. So that was an extra stake conference for us, held basically at the whim of an apostle. Not complaining! It was actually kind of interesting to see him speak as he seemed to be doing some reminiscing and his style seemed a bit more casual than in General conference.

I wasn't in the same building, however. The conference was held in Rifle (as it is not terribly far from Grand Junction) but broadcast to all the chapels in the stake. Our stake is a bit unusual- the stake center is nominally in Meeker, which is somewhat central to the stake, but that building is not really stake center size and definitely has a small parking lot- only 1 ward there. Also the stake is very spread out, covering all of NW Colorado apart from Grand Junction, as far east as Steamboat Springs and the "Eagle Valley" ward in Avon, almost to Vail (Vail has its own ward and is part of the Golden stake near Denver, I think I saw on TempleRick's site), and also takes in Aspen Colorado and a branch in Baggs Wyoming. So the conferences normally rotate between the two largest buildings in Craig and Rifle (I believe Craig used to be the stake center), and the stake has made it normal practice to stream the conferences to a secure website, which can then be played live in every building. Thus it is now optional to drive further for a stake conference, though some members still prefer to be in the same building. (Stake priesthood meetings used to still require driving to Meeker but those are also broadcast to the chapels now.) It seems like there was even one stake conference where there were bugs in the technology at the Rangely chapel so we were given special dispensation to watch the conference from home- it was made clear that that will not be normal practice! I think most of the bugs are out of this process now so glitches seem to be minor- like trying to sing along when the chorister image and organ sound, both coming through the internet stream, appear to be off by 2 or 3 beats!

The second "special conference" was last fall- I'm not sure if they actually called it a special conference but I know we had it 1 month before the regional broadcast, which ordinarily takes the place of stake conference if I'm remembering correctly. In our stake conference, we had a new 2nd counselor sustained in the stake presidency, and also one of the 3 wards in Craig was discontinued with the other 2 getting re-aligned along with a few other ward boundary changes- perhaps both of those were reasons to hold an extra conference.

Incidentally, we also had a broadcast for some stake business before the regional conference a month later, as the 1st counselor was released and the new 2nd called as first, with another 2nd counselor called- he served a grand total of 4 months as the stake presidency was reorganized 2 weeks ago. I was out of town for that meeting and so never even got to hear the newest counselor speak though he did visit my ward a couple times- I never even knew what he looked like until his first visit!

James said...

In my experience, I have only seen "special" stake conferences when two are already scheduled for a region of stakes and then a third is subsequently sandwiched in between the other two to allow saints in a specific region to hear from a group of general authorities. That has become a more common practice of late.

If a stake presidency is to be reorganized, barring unique circumstances, it appears that stake presidency changes generally happen in conjunction with regularly scheduled events. But I could see where a moving stake president would make a special conference necessary.

In regards to stake conferences, at one in Haiti, Elder Neil L. Andersen reported this weekend the official purchase of a temple site for the Port-au-Prince temple. Nice to have that confirmed.

It is so wonderful to be part of a growing Church, even if, as reported in some periodicals, that growth is stagnating in the United States. It will be interesting to continue to see the ongoing developments in Church growth that continue to take place this year.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think the transition could be done more broadly. My stake was not helped by following the YSA ward starting at 21 for those still living with their parents policy without coupling it with a strong outreach for institute to graduating seniors and strong YSA sunday school programs in the wards. The complex rules for 18-21 are not in the new handbook.

On the other hand when I was at Eastern Michigan University we had a high school student wgo was dual enrolled in college come out to institute. Our overall attendance was low considering how many member students there were there. However since many were married and I was one of at most 3 who lived on campus our attendance was not too bad.

John Pack Lambert said...

My stake does internet streaming to 4 or the 6 chapels besides the stake center for stake conference. This is mainly because parking and space fill up in the stake center althoufh not terribly. They have found there is better attendance this way. The stake center is slightly north and west of center and the poorest part of the stake is the south-east conner. My girlfriends roundtrip goes from abot 50 miles to 3.

Other meetings like the adult session and stake priesthood meeting are held all in the stake center. However I think they have adjusted the priesthood leadership to adult session time gap on Saturday so more people can go home and get their wife and even in some cases have a quick bite to eat. Our attendance in the adult session is up from what it was a decade ago. They now have to open up the cultural hall and not just the overflow. I am not sure it is much down from the time when it was supposed to be all 12+ because that made it hard to find baby sitters.

John Pack Lambert said...

Im a little surprised the Church still announces temples before site purchase. I thought that President Monson meant that would be a step already done with the waiting until further in the process to avoid backlog. I guess I was wrong.

On the other hand in some cases temples are announced to help people build to being fully ready. I think that is why Oakland and DC closing were announced a year in advanced so people could do a last hurrah of use before the shutdown but that is a different story.

One reason so many temples announced in 1998 were dedicated in 1999 and 2000 was in many cases the church already owned the land. In the case of Detroit the Church bought the land in the 1950s and put the chapel later upgraded to a stake center on one corner with the intention of selling half the land but the land luckily never sold.

I remember one special stake conference in my stake a month after the normal one when a ward was split into 5 or more branches. I also remember one caused because a member of the stake presidency was moving. We also had one when Elder Halstrom visited. We will have a 3rd this year because of a regional/area broadcast, I am not sure how big it will be. However our stake president seems to consider it to be a continuation of the conference we had in February. I think this is partly because we will not ha e any Saturday meetings with it.

James said...

More goes into temple announcements and site procurement than anyone thinks. The Church does announce plans for a temple site at times before a site is officially revealed. There have been times in the past where a site purchase has not panned out, and where a temple announcement has then been retracted. A temple announcement seems to indicate that either a site has already been purchased or that it will be worked in short order ASAP after the announcement. In the case of Port-au-Prince, soon after the announcement for the temple was made, many members speculated where it would be located. Ultimately, the anticipated site was confirmed this weekend by Elder Andersen, but there are different procedures for different temples. I can never forget the story of how President Monson asked President Packer to accompany him to Brigham City for some Church business. At the spot where the temple now stands in that city, President Monson asked President Packer how he would feel about a temple on that site. When President Packer responded it would be an ideal location for that purpose, as the story goes, President Monson raised both hands to the square and said, "So be it." That site was subsequently procured and announced. So a lot more goes into temple announcements and site identifications than we realize. There have been instances where a proposed temple site was later confirmed, where announcements have been made while sites are still being explored, and where temples sites have been purchased for years without an announcement, pending certain conditions being met. There have also been times when temples were planned in certain areas, but, having been found to not be as feasible as originally believed, the announcement was retracted and others announced in place of that. This is yet another verification that the Lord has a different plan and timetable for how to get temples to each land in which they are located. And so many factors go into temple site selection and procurement than anyone realizes. I have been fascinated by this very subject for quite a while now. And I hope that my thoughts, in some small ways, might be beneficial to and inspirational in contributing towards the ongoing public discussion of these things. Thanks.

Mariam said...

I am Mariam,from what I can read. It has been sad news and scam to everyone about Voodoo casters or so. But to me they are so real cause one worked for me not quite two weeks.i met this man on a blog his name is Dr Abalaka is a very powerful man.I traveled down to where his shrine his and we both did the ritual and sacrifice.he had no website site, and now me and my ex are living very ok now.I don't know about you but Voodoo is real;love marriage,finance, job promotion ,lottery Voodoo,poker voodoo,golf Voodoo,Law & Court case Spells,money voodoo,weigh loss voodoo,diabetic voodoo,hypertensive voodoo,high cholesterol voodoo,Trouble in marriage,Barrenness(need a child),Luck, Money Spells,it's all he does. I used my money to purchase everything he used he never collected a dime from. He told me I can repay him anytime with anything from my heart. Now I don't know how to do that. If you can help or you need his help write him on ( i believe that your story will change for better,or if you have any question you can contact me here as also his facebook link Thank you.

Eduardo said...

Wow, Mariam. You need a good dose of the Book of Mormon! Repent and be baptized by one having the authority of Jesus Christ! And live!

James said...

Eduardo, I appreciate your frustration and call to repentance that you gave to Mariam. It is odd that she would promote such things on a blog about topics that are so far distant from that. But based on her comment above, it appears she just came here to post a single spam comment. And I doubt she has been on the blog since. While I applaud your response in terms of encouraging her to educate herself on such things, responding to her in the manner you did might not have been advisable, especially if it was just a one-time thing, and because it would give her a possible opening to assert that we as Latter-day Saints are just out to convert the world, and that we care more about the numbers than about the people. I have had one or two spam comments on my own blog. I have marked them as such without responding to them. And I'm sure that Matt will delete that spam comment before too much longer. I hope my saying this doesn't offend you. I appreciate your enthusiasm in wanting to stand up for the Church, but it might not have been a good idea to speak so strongly. As it is, there has been no other post from her to this blog for the last five days since she made the comment above, which seems to indicate that it was just a one-time effort of a spammer. I always try to ignore such comments and not let them get to me. Just wanted to note that. Keep inspiring people, Eduardo, as you always inspire me with what you contribute. Hope you are well.