Thursday, April 12, 2018

UPDATED: The 10 Countries/Dependencies with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation

I have updated the list of the countries and dependencies with the most members without a temple with year-end 2017 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007.

1. Papua New Guinea
  • 27,163 members
  • 2 stakes, 12 districts
  • 80 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
2. Puerto Rico
  • 23,234 members
  • 5 stakes, 0 districts
  • 41 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
3. Kiribati
  • 19,690 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 31 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
4. Sierra Leone
  • 19,443 members
  • 5 stakes, 4 districts
  • 67 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
5. American Samoa
  • 16,339 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 42 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple
6. Uganda
  • 15,979 members
  • 3 stakes, 0 districts
  • 31 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
7. Cambodia
  • 14,256 members
  • 2 stakes, 4 districts
  • 29 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
8. Cape Verde
  • 14,205 members
  • 3 stakes, 2 districts
  • 42 congregations
  • Madrid Spain Temple
9. Liberia
  • 12,157 members
  • 4 stakes, 0 districts
  • 37 congregations 
  • Accra Ghana Temple
10. Madagascar
  • 11,881 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 40 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple


John Pack Lambert said...

It is interesting that Kiribati and Sierre Leone have virtually the same number of members but Sierra Leone has more than twice as many congregations. This probably indicates a higher number of active members. However since the number of active members per congregation varies a lot due to a lot of factors it is hard to say.

John Pack Lambert said...

Just in the last 3 years the number of congregations has gone up from 42 to 67, or basically by 50%, in Sierra Leone. This despite the fact that that it had a major increase in the number of wards in the same period of time.

John Pack Lambert said...

Tad Walch has already written two articles from London while waiting for President Nelson to show up and speak. This one features a photo of a British LDS family who are of Nigerian descent, and opens with mention of them cooking Jollof rice. Brother Paul Omo-Bamawo will give the opening prayer at the meeting tonight (which may have already started) where President Nelson will speak to saints all across Great Britain and Ireland. Brother Omo-Bamawo has been in Britain since 1997, so he was not there yet in 1995 or 1996 when President Hinckley answered a reporters question about the Church being seen as a white institution by pointing out one of the London stakes had a black man in the stake presidency and membership that was about a third black. I was going to say African, but some of those members may have families that have lived in Britain for generations, and although the black people originating in Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies have ancestries that go back to Africa, at least primarily (they more likely than not have some European ancestors at some point, and there are people who look black in the West Indies who in addition to African ancestry also have Chinese or more commonly East Indian ancestry, also the amount of indigenous American ancestry had by West Indian residents is hard to say, especially considering that after conflicts in colonial New England such as the Pequot and King Philips War many of the surviving Native Americans were sent as slaves to the West Indies), but even if a person born in London in 1978 to Jamaican parents could be sure that every one of their ancestors at some point had been brought as slaves from Africa to the West Indies (all brought no later than 1807, so that is a minimum of probably a few hundred ancestors, and assumes they all came at the very end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to British colonies), they still are culturally distinct from an immigrant or child of an immigrants from Nigeria. Even if our 1978 born Jamaican could demonstrate that all his ancestors were Igbo people brought from Nigeria, or maybe all were Akan captured by Fante agents operating with in cooperation with the Dutch at Cape Coast, it would still not mean we should treat him as ethnically the same as a woman born in London all of whose grandparents had been born in the Akan Metropolis of Kumasi.

Adam said...

Saw that the Church Legal Department shut down LDSChurchTemples from showing the church statistics. We can't even see the new stakes/wards now. I figured I would just go back to reading your monthly updates on congregational growth but so those were taken off as well. Did the two coincide with one another, and do you know if there is any way to be able to read new ward/stake creations?

Christopher Duerig said...
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Christopher Duerig said...
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Ryan Searcy said...

According to, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have both been reassigned to the Suva Fiji Temple.

John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder if that change for Papua New Guine and the Solomon Islands is because of better air travel service to Fiji now or because Australia is becoming a harder destination to get approaval to travel to. I fear it is more the latter.

With church growth in those three countries as well as Vanuatu, another temple in that region is hoped for. I expect once a few more of Papua New Guinea's 12 districts are made stakes we will see a temple.

The new mission president in Papua New Guinea is coming from the US instead of from within the Pacific Islands area as the last few have. However he is coming from Hawaii, and both he and his wife are natives of Tonga.

The Chatelain's said...

What if with these new unit announcements you do, the name of the unit but not the stake was given or vice versa. This way those that have high interest can do the remaining legwork.

John Pack Lambert said...

Of the current first presidency, I believe only President Oaks has ever actually resided outside the US, when he was president of the Philippines Area.

Of the current members of the Quorum of the 12, all have resided outside the US. Elder Soares since he spent the majority of his life in Brazil. He also was mission president three years in Portugal and served in the Africa South East Area Presidency living in South Africa.

Elder Gong besides being a missioary in Taiwan and in the Area Presidency/Area President in the Asia Area living in Hong Kong, and traveling extensively to South and South-east Asia (the article on him mentions he and his family colaborating with a school in Cambodia and another in Vietnam, and I believe another in Nepal, to paint and brighten up the school, major focus on involving all the schools students in the endevor), also lived for about 3 years in China working on the staff of the US embassy. His work in DC as a foriegn policy analysis may have also took him on many international trips. Elder Gong was also a Rhodes Scholar, earning both his masters and PhD at Oxford, so he was resident in Britain for 5 or more years, although he did travel back to the US some of that time, since it was a summer in that period when his father was a visiting professor at BYU that he began dating Susan who is now his wife.

Elder Rendlund was a missionary in Sweden, in the Area Presidency/Area President of the Africa South-east Area and thus resident in South Africa (I am not sure if he and Elder Soares were there at the same time),

Elder Rasband is the member of the 12 who has some of the least time spent abroad, at least resident abroad. Since he served in the East States Mission (basically the New York New York Mission, but started in New Jersey), was mission president in that same mission, his only time actually living abroad was when he was a counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency.

Elder Andersen was a missionary and mission president in France. He was area president in Brazil and also served in the Europe West Area Presidency.

Yamil Inosotroza said...

I think it is important to consider not just the country where there is no temple but the number of units in nearby countries that are assigned to distant temple. There are many examples but the Hong Kong, Kyiv temples and temples in Africa are good examples of that in thinking where a new temple will be built. The difficulties in moving between countries should be considered as well, and a good example of this is the announcement of a temple in Russia because of the relationship between that country with Ukraine where is the closest temple.

twinnumerouno said...

One of the articles about Pres. Nelson that was published in Deseret News after his new calling said he lived, I believe, in Japan and Korea during his service as a military doctor. And I also remember hearing that Pres. Eyring met his wife in Paris, where she had been living, and they lived there together for a little while after their marriage.

twinnumerouno said...

I had to look up Elder Bednar, I had forgotten about his mission to Germany. I believe you are correct about all of the Quorum of the Twelve having lived outside of the US. (If my memory is correct than all of the current apostles have.)

Ray said...

@ The Chatelain's
Regarding the new and discontinued wards and branches, I have no way of knowing where they are or what their name is, just the country or state that reports the change.

John Pack Lambert said...

President Eyring met his wife in Vermont. It was at a district YSA event. He was in the district presidency and working on a doctorate at Harvard. She was a Standford University student studying at Harvard for the summer.

A previous summer Kathleen Johnson had done summer studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and another such studies at the University of Vienna. After their marriage the Eyrings lived in California where President Eyring was a professor at Stanford.

I am pretty sure that President Eyring was a counselir in the district presidency to Wilbur Cox who was reactivated by President Nelson.

John Pack Lambert said...

I had forgotten about President Nelson's military service. I am not sure how much time he spent in Korea as ipposed to working at the Walter Reed Medical Center in the DC area.

Of the members of the Quorum of the 12 all served full-time missions, except Elder Uchtdorf, while none of the current first presidency did.

Elder Rasband is the only one who was a missionary in the US. Elders Ballard, Holland and Cook all served in England. Elder Bednar in Germany, Elder Christopherson in Argentina, Elder Andersen in France, Elder Stevenson in Japan, Elder Renlund in Sweden, Elder Gong in Taiwan and Elder Soares in his home country of Brazil although not the part of Brazil he is from.

twinnumerouno said...

Regarding Pres. Eyring, I may have misunderstood something in this article, published in the Deseret News about the Paris temple last year:

Re-reading it, I'm not sure if he lived in Paris or just went for a visit with his wife- it does say that she had lived and studied in Paris. (I thought it had said they met there but I guess I remembered that wrong.)

As for Pres. Nelson, a Deseret News article published in 2016 said this about his military service, after mentioning his time at Walter Reed Hospital in D.C.:

"In Korea, President Nelson served as part of a four-man surgical team that visited every mobile army surgical hospital in Korea, several battle aid stations, and many American hospitals in Japan."

This appears to me to be more than just a brief visit- that article at least did not say how long he was at any of the places he was stationed.

twinnumerouno said...

It's really amazing to think about how much experience our apostles and other leaders have in various parts of the world, both in terms of where they have lived, served as missionaries and as mission presidents, and in their service as General Authorities. It's also awesome to think how many of them speak other languages!

Mike Johnson said...

Elder Renlund grew up speaking Swedish and lived much of his life in Sweden and Finland growing up before returning to Sweden as a missionary. When he arrived at the University of Utah as an undergraduate, he reportedly did not speak English very well.

Mike Johnson said...

So which MASH doctor best fits President Nelson during his deployment in Korea during the Korean War?

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding in that President Nelson did a study on the whol e MASH system. At least my impression is he was not on the ground other than for observatuons. It has been about 15 years since I read Elder Condies biography of President Nelson and that biography is only one volume so it does not cover his life in the detail I wish it did.

John Pack Lambert said...

I agree that President Nelson's time in Korea was not light, but also it was not the same as being assigned to a MASH unit.

Sister Eyring studied at UC Berkeley not Stanford as I said. President Eyring worked his first summer of grad school as a consultant for a Canasian company, but he was most of that time in NYC.

In 1964 President Eyring spent a year at MIT. Their second son was born in Nassachusetts. They lived in a rented house in Lexington.

John Pack Lambert said...

LDS maps show if I counted right 15 wards and branches in Benin, all within one stake. This includes such outlying units as the Porto Novo Branch. Ouidah is shown within the boundaries of the Cococodji Ward. This is quite a ways from Cococodji, and it being the location of a new branch would not surprise me.

Allada which I seem to recall being mentioned as a place missionary work has begun is not shown within the boundaries of the stake, so it is possible one of the new branches was formed in Allada and not assigned to the stake. Allada is further inland than other areas the Church has a presence in Benin, but still very much in southern Benin in the overall scheme of things.

Nephi said...
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Eduardo said...

Of the five or six (oh, seven!) doctors shown on MASH, the TV program, President Nelson would be a combination BJ Honneycut with his down to earth personality and Charles Winchestor III with his precise language and formal manners.
Incidentally, one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, Chaim Potok, portrays a semi-autobiographical story of a Jewish chaplain who serves in the peninsula during the war and has a Mormon assistant that he really likes. I think the story in that respect was pretty true to life.
I wonder how many LDS served in Korea.
That is one way we spread the Gospel that most Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, do not have much access. On the other hand, JWs may have some resonance with some believers for being pacifistic and non-aligned with earthly governments and worldly causes. There is an idealistic purity in those notions that one could imagine God or Christ would support. Charles Russell. Not a dumb guy, apparently.

Alex said...

Well, now you have to update this again! 6 months, and 3 of the top 10 now have temples announced.