Sunday, October 21, 2018

New Stakes Created in Bolivia, Ecuador, Idaho, and Peru; District Discontinued in the Federated States of Micronesia

The Church organized a new stake in Santa Cruz on October 14th. The Santa Cruz Bolivia La Libertad Stake was organized from a division of the Santa Cruz Bolivia La Pampa Stake and the Santa Cruz Bolivia La Merced Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the La Cañada, La Libertad, Plan Tres Mil, and Primero de Mayo Wards. Based upon survey data from local members and returned missionaries obtained within the past 3-4 years, at least two of the wards had 140 or more active members. There are now 10 stakes in Santa Cruz - more than any other city in Bolivia. The Church has experienced steady stake growth in Santa Cruz since the first stake was organized in 1979 as additional stakes have been organized in 1981, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2017 (2), and 2018. Furthermore, the number of wards in Bolivia has also increased within the past 10 years from 165 in 2008 to 194 at present.

There are now 33 stakes and eight districts in Bolivia

The Santa Rosa Ecuador Stake was organized from the Santa Rosa Ecuador District on September 23rd. The district was originally organized in 1994 and has tried for many years to become a stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Huaquillas, Pasaje, Santa Rosa 1st, Santa Rosa 2nd, and Santa Rosa 3rd Wards, and the Arenillas and Piñas Branches.

There are now 41 stakes and eight districts in Ecuador. The Church has experienced steady stake growth in Ecuador due to increasing numbers of wards. For example, there were only 33 stakes and 10 districts in Ecuador in 2008.

The Church organized a new stake in Rexburg at Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-Idaho) on September 30th. The Rexburg Idaho YSA 11th Stake was organized from the Rexburg Idaho YSA 1st Stake, Rexburg Idaho YSA 2nd Stake, Rexburg Idaho YSA 3rd Stake, Rexburg Idaho YSA 6th Stake, Rexburg Idaho YSA 7th Stake, Rexburg Idaho YSA 8th Stake, Rexburg Idaho YSA 9th Stake, and Rexburg Idaho YSA 10th Stake. The new stake includes the following 12 wards: the Rexburg YSA 11th, Rexburg YSA 16th, Rexburg YSA 28th, Rexburg YSA 35th, Rexburg YSA 49th,  Rexburg YSA 50th, Rexburg YSA 68th, Rexburg YSA 85th, Rexburg YSA 114th, Rexburg YSA 115th, Rexburg YSA 116th, and Rexburg YSA 117th Ward. There are now 11 YSA stakes and four student married stakes in Rexburg.

There are now 132 stakes in Idaho.

The Church organized a new stake in Lima, Peru on October 14th. The Lima Perú Mayorazgo Stake was organized from a division of the Lima Perú Santa Patricia Stake and the Lima Perú Vitarte Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Covima, Mayorazgo 1st, Mayorazgo 2nd, Portales, and Veintisiete de Abril Wards. The Lima Perú Mayorazgo Stake is the second stake in Lima to be organized in 2018. There are now 44 stakes in the Lima metropolitan area - more stakes than any other metropolitan area in the world outside of the United States.

There are now 104 stakes and 19 districts in Perú.

Federated States of Micronesia
The Yap Micronesia District was recently discontinued and the two branches that previously pertained to the district (Colonia and Thol) were reassigned to the Barrigada Guam Stake. Additionally, the Koror Branch on Palau was also reassigned to the Barrigada Guam Stake. Inclusion of these branches into a stake provides the opportunity for one or more branches to advance into wards if each branch meets the minimum criteria for a ward to function. The Yap Micronesia District was originally organized in 1989. There is now one stakes and two districts in the Federated States of Micronesia.


Aritz Lizarraga Olascoaga said...

I have a question expecting the wise comments of the usual followers of this blog. I have met & read of people who served LDS missions in the Indian (Amerindian, native American) reservations. They said the Indians were backward going in their traditions. They were not particularly mild in the treatment of animals...Somebody told me of an experience of horse that was cruelly beaten up to death. The Amerindians,
especially in the reservations, also are chained to government aids and tend to abuse of alcohol & to be idle because the government pays them to live like that. It's a vicious cycle hard to get out from. Hence there's no real gospel success. The church has a stagnant growth... to pose in a nice way. English is not my native language so I beg my pardon for my mistakes,like my wording, in posing this topic. The mestizo & zambo populations are thriving churchwise. It's like the scales, of unbelief of which The Book of Mormon speaks, are falling down. Yet it seems something is still bound to happen to the Amerindian so they change some wrong traditions. I hope I'm not misinterpreted because I have great appreciation for the American Indians. It's like there's a great growth spurt, a great number of Amerindians are gonna join the Church, but something is still needed to happen before a great harvest among these Lamanites. I wonder if temples in Indian reservations would help Amerindians open their hearts to the gospel. The Navaho reservation could hold the first temple in an Indian reservation. I know this reservation is practically surrounded by temples, like the ones in Monticello, Saint George Albuquerque & especially Snowflake. However an LDS temple in an the middle of the Navajo nation would do a lot of good to these Lamanites. Who knows perhaps the Navajo reservation with it's attached Amerindian reservation might become the 51 State of the USA. It would be a great thing to have Mormon temples in Indian reservations no matter what.

James said...

Thank you, Matt, for this report. Great to hear of these new stakes. Artiz, the continuing growth of the Church poses a challenge, particularly for those living in areas where local traditions do not agree with the gospel message. Many of those nations are still clinging to the unrighteous traditions of their fathers. The Book of Mormon indicates that kind of thing occurred in that time period, and that remains true today.

That said, there are some Native American communities where the Church continues to thrive. Not sure if you were aware of this, but one of the General Authorities released earlier this month was the first Native American called to general Church service, Elder Larry Echo Hawk. Following his release, he was invited, along with Elder Paul B. Pieper, to meet with Native American Latter-day Saints. The details of that meeting can be found through the Church website at the address below:

I look at the Church's progress (and the lack thereof) with Native American citizens in the same way I look at similar progress in the Middle East. The Church has not yet taken root in those communities, and the traditions of their ancestors remain ingrained in their attitudes and actions today. But that does not mean that the Lord is unaware of those individuals, and I feel certain that, in His way and time, and in accordance with His will, the Gospel can and will take greater root in these areas. Will it take time? Of course it will. Anything good does. At the same time, the Lord knows how, when, and in what manner His work needs to move forward. So I think there is every reason to hope that the tide will turn when hearts are ready, and I am perfectly content with that acknowledgement. Just some preliminary thoughts. Let me know if you need clarification of anything I have said here.

Pascal Friedmann said...

The Oklahoma City Temple is, if my maps are correct, actually located on the Iowa Indian jurisdiction. Though frankly their influence in everyday life in the OKC area is much less pronounced than that of many other tribal areas in Oklahoma, particularly in the north-eastern corner of the state.

This is, I believe, not what you've been talking about, but in general I don't believe building temples on real reservations will be very beneficial. That's because altogether, the overwhelming majority of reservations only holds a few hundred residents. Even the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners area is actually home to only about 350,000 people (some of which are likely not natives themselves). That's about half of Wyoming's population, which is far more heavily LDS and only got its temple a couple years ago.

The Church in this area would probably need to make a significant reversal to growth trends to see a temple built in a "real" native community (thus not Page or so) within the next 10 years.

Eduardo said...

Elder George P. Lee was a general authority, native American, but auspiciously released. He complained publicly about Native issues, but I think he had some personal issues that got him dismissed.
A lot of the observations about these US reservations are true. Sadly.

Unknown said...

Elder Lee was not just dismissed, he was excomunicated.

That said about two years ago a major newspaper ran an article on the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among the Navajo.

There is growth among Native American populations. The Catawba in South Carolina are another example.

I know on my mission there were cases when Native Americans were treated in down right racist ways. I served from 2000 to 2002 and also had missionaries in my mission that would whisper that being African-American meant you were cursed.

I am glad the Church has made clear statements on this matter but still wonder if the fact that it is contrary to Church doctrine to believe or teach that skin color is a curse from God has been publicized enough.

James said...

And, if I may add, Brother Lee was particularly excommunicated over multiple concerns. He took issue with President Benson discontinuing Church-sponsorship of programs for Native American Church members, and implied that if President Kimball knew what was being done by President Benson, he would not approve. He also implied Church leaders had falsely slandered him with accusations of misconduct (including immoral behavior and teaching false doctrine). But it later was proven in court that in 1989 (around the time of his excommunication), he had been guilty of immoral misconduct, to which he later admitted. The tragedy of it is, his troubles didn't end there, and, as far as I can tell, he never requested or received a restoration of blessings prior to his passing away in 2010.

If I could make just a general comment here. We have spoken previously on this blog and in other settings about how tragic it is when people have done things that cause their removal from the Church records, either through their own volition (requesting the removal of their names from those records) or because they lacked self-control and either rebelled against the teachings of the Church or its' leaders or did something of a nature that requires such actions. And the tragedy is added to when such individuals do not feel they can reconcile with the Church.

What a lesson for us, though. We are seeing more examples (though they are few and far between in terms of Church leaders being subject to Church disciplinary measures) of the truth in the idea that in these last days, even the very elect may be deceived if they do not watch themselves and their behavior.

That said, I am pleased to see that the Church has done more to disavow old-fashioned ideas that were out-dated and should not continue to be embraced. Surely those in the top leadership of the Church are very much aware of the controversial nature of previous positions that were announced and emphasized. But there is also the fact that some things that the world now sees as controversial on the part of Church doctrine, principles and practices will not change, no matter how much the world views such stances as outdated or out-of touch. Just some additional thoughts, for what they might be worth to anyone.

Eduardo said...

The tremendous Church growth in West Africa hopefully is a solid indicator that skin color has nothing to do with how worthiness or leadership standing is judged. Cultural factors influence how priesthood is received; it is more culture than race. Many African-Americans come from tough economic situations, which makes it harder to accept a new way of life. Just as many whites face the same conditions. Native Americans, or First Nation people (Canada), have many trials economically.
Not all native Americans are necessarily Lamanites. Many probably have older Asian roots. Like Ephraim and Mannasah, there is likely a large intermixing of heritages among the tribes today. Judah and Benjamin among the remnants of Nephites, Mulekites, Lamanites, too.

Aritz Lizarraga Olascoaga said...

You were plain & cheered me up about the Navajos & other Lamanites. I look forward to seeing the day when native Americans accept the gospel fully in great numbers & main their good traditions & give up the ones.

Aritz Lizarraga Olascoaga said...

Thanks for all your comments on the Amerindians, their traditions, future growth of the gospel among them, future Mormon temples in Indian reservations ... I knew you wouldn't disappoint me & would give me good inputs about it. Thanks for your opinions, seriously.

twinnumerouno said...

One more comment about Elder George P. Lee, if I may. There is a verse in Third Nephi, 21:23, which states that the House of Israel, including "the remnant of Jacob," will be the ones leading the work to rebuild the New Jerusalem in America, with righteous Gentiles assisting them. My understanding about the "false doctrine" charge is that he was publicly teaching that the Native Americans would be leading that work, with white people in a subservient role, and continued teaching that even after other Church leaders corrected him. (I'm not sure if I got it right, as this information is not listed in his wikipedia article, and I don't remember where I heard it.)

Elder Lee was also apparently accused of polygamy, which was also the charge that led to the excommunication of Elder Richard R. Lyman in 1943, the last time an apostle was excommunicated.

twinnumerouno said...

Sorry, I meant to say "which implies that the House of Israel ...", but apparently Elder Lee believed it was certain and that he knew what it meant.

James said...

I don't know why it is that any Church member would insist and assert that their views on certain issues should be seen as more harmonious with the Lord's will than any official statement or policy announced by the Brethren. That reminds me of the statement made by Joseph Smith about how to know when anyone is on the "high road to apostasy." The case of George P. Lee is a sad classic example of that. If one sees his or her own opinions as more exalted and harmonious with the Lord's will than the official word of the Lord as declared by His prophets, seers, and revelators, then of course, that is an issue that needs to be corrected. Either way, it is a tragedy.

James said...

I posted this in another thread a few minutes ago, but it bears repeating. With my ongoing thanks to you all for the ongoing excellent discussions we have here, and to Matt for providing such great content and for allowing our conversations about such topics to be so wide-ranging, and for continuing to allow me to do so, I would like to again share the address of my blog below, and I would welcome any comments anyone has on the latest content I have posted there. It has been a busy week in that regard between my coverage of President Nelson's initial South American leg of his ongoing Global Ministry Tour and all other Church news and temple developments which have been reported in recent days. The address of my blog follows below. Thanks again to you all.