Monday, October 8, 2018

UPDATED: The 10 Countries/Territories 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 or more recent membership data if available. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for April 2018, 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. Sierra Leone
  • 20,045 members
  • 5 stakes, 4 districts
  • 67 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
3. Kiribati
  • 19,690 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 32 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
4. American Samoa
  • 16,339 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 43 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple
5. Uganda
  • 15,979 members
  • 3 stakes, 0 districts
  • 31 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
6. Liberia
  • 12,544 members
  • 4 stakes, 1 districts
  • 44 congregations 
  • Accra Ghana Temple
7. Madagascar
  • 11,881 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 40 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple 
8. Mongolia
  • 11,641 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 25 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
9. Mozambique
  • 10,835 members
  • 3 stakes, 1 district
  • 33 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
10. Malaysia
  • 10,224 members
  • 0 stakes, 6 districts
  • 32 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple


Ryan Searcy said...

I'm pretty sure that Papua New Guinea has been assigned to the Suva Fiji Temple for quite some time now. It was reported on the on Rick's Temples Site before it was shut down, and it still shows Fiji serves Papua New Guinea.

James said...

Ryan, you are correct on that. The weird thing is that the Suva Fiji Temple is further away from the Saints in Papua New Guinea than the Sydney Australia Temple. Perhaps it is easier or cheaper for the Saints in Papua New Guinea to get to Suva than it has been for them to get to Sydney.

Additionally, if we take into account the temples that are either under construction or announced, that changes the game a little as well for many of these temples. But the thing of it is, almost all of these new top 10 nations are much more than 5 times further away from their currently-assigned temple than the 200-mile goal set by previous Church Presidents. And for those that are not an unreasonable distance, the method whereby they get to their currently assigned temple

The funny thing is, I could have sworn that more of the 12 new temples yesterday were on the April edition of this list, but it appears that only Puerto Rico, Cambodia and Cape Verde were on that list. What probably threw me off is that Sierra Leone has seen a spike in membership in the last six months, according to this report, so that nation and Kiribati have switched spots. That's awesome.

And it is interesting that 5 of the current top 10 are on the African continent. It is also amazing that President Nelson has announced 19 temples within the first year of his presidency. That is unheard of, AFAIK. And it sounds like this is only the beginning.

A couple of sidenotes: First, the Ghana edition of the Newsroom on the Church's official website has confirmed that the groundbreaking for the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple will be held on November 8, with Elder Neil L. Andersen presiding. In the accompanying picture, it looks like the temple is smaller, and, as such, may only take around 18-24 months to construct. And I am sure that the English version of the Newsroom website will share the same news within this next week. So that is exciting.

There is still a possibility that other temples could also begin construction, with or without a groundbreaking, within the last couple of months remaining during this year. I am endeavoring to keep my eyes on all Church news updates and newly-reported temple developments and will post about such things on my blog as time and circumstances allow.

With my thanks to all of you for continuing to contribute to the ongoing dialogue here, on the reddit named for this blog, and on my blog, and to Matt for his thorough and attentive work on this blog and on the reddit, and for allowing me to share posts from my blog, I am again including the address below for any who would want to look (and comment on) over any of the new content I have posted in recent days, particularly about the General Conference weekend we just enjoyed. Thanks again to you all.

Brett Stirling said...

Fiji could be easier for PNG to travel to with Visas.

Eric S. said...

President Nelson, along with his wife and Elder and Sister Stevenson, will visit several South American cities (Lima, La Paz, Asuncion, Montevideo, and Concepcion) later this month culminating in the dedication of the Concepcion Chile Temple.

Christopher said...

Is Rick's site still a work in progress? I am missing that site more than ever with the new temple announcements!

Eric S. said...

Christopher, it's back up and running!

James said...

Not only is the site up and running, but there have been some game-changing alterations in the general estimates for many new temples undergoing construction and the existing temples undergoing renovation.

But the breaking news doesn't stop there. The Church has just made the transcripts of the talks given during the October 2018 General Conference available. A link to those transcripts follows below:

I hope we will all heed President Nelson's invitation to review these talks frequently. Thanks again to you all.

The Chatelain's said...

Wanted to know if there are plans on Rick’s temple site to put the wards and branches back on the site?

Christopher said...


Eduardo said...

A comment about places with most members per Church of Jesus Christ unit: Matt has published those lists in recent years, which are very instructive, in my opinion. It very much indicates places of high inactivty of attendance.
Chile is always one of them.
It is great to see the Philippines, with high numbers like that, getting their fifth or sixth temple announced.
Concepcion will be only the second for Chile, which has membership spread even farther than the Phillipines.
This temple can/could impact over a quarter million Church members, most of whom are less active.
So awesome. Great to see.
Way to Phillipines! I wish Chile would get another 4 more.

James said...

The Chatelain, the individual units once listed on that site were removed at the request of the Church legal department. Unless something has changed between the time the site went down and now, that information will not be able to again be listed, which is understanding in one way and frustrating to another degree. That said, the restored version of the site does include an updated count of stakes, districts, wards, and branches, which will continue to be updated as more information is made available. But the specific unit details will not be coming back, AFAIK.

Eduardo, with the announcement of the temple in Davao, that brings the number of temples in the Philippines to six. That is based on an extensive and explosive amount of growth in the Philippines.

As to Chile, which is still a Church stronghold, but which may not be seeing growth at a comparable rate to what has been occurring in the Philippines, there are a couple of Chilean cities on which I have my eye for future temples: Valparaiso and Antofagasta. It could be that, in the case of Chile, the Church is waiting to announce the next temple there until after the Concepcion Chile Temple is dedicated. The Church has periodically done that. I recognize that this does not explain the two new temples announced for Argentina this year, as both might be under construction at the same time, but I imagine that something the Brethren are seeing with the situation of the Church in Chile has led them to hold off on considering other temples there until after the Concepcion temple is dedicated at the end of this month.

Thanks again to you all.

Levi said...

It doesn’t look like the national/state totals for wards and stakes were posted on Rick’s site. Is there possibility of those being added again? Or is that still out of legal bounds of what would be allowed?

Hans said...

Hi Matt, I'am Hans, from Chile, and a I was a follower of your blog of changes in local units, including creations and discontinuations of church units. It cessed follow technical problems with your lds church temples blog. Why it doesn't exist anymore? Do you have another link for this precious actualizations?
I appreciate, also, your professionalism and dedication for research and analyze church developments trends.
Greetings and a big hug from Chile!

Christopher Duerig said...

James said...

Levi, although your comment was posted after mine, you may have missed what I said in relation to the questions asked by The Chatelain above, which are similar to what you asked. To reiterate the relevant part of that comment: "the individual units once listed on that site were removed at the request of the Church legal department. Unless something has changed between the time the site went down and now, that information will not be able to again be listed, which is understanding in one way and frustrating to another degree. That said, the restored version of the site does include an updated count of stakes, districts, wards, and branches, which will continue to be updated as more information is made available. But the specific unit details will not be coming back, AFAIK."

Hope this helps.

Eduardo said...

I think that all top 10 countries without temples should have them announced in the near future. Malaysia is tougher than I had thought previously; it appears there are 3-4 districts spread across Sarawak that make a potential temple in western Malaysia closer to Singapore even more difficult for possible travel.
Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea have concentrated members; all these countries should bring the list to 211.
Patagonia still needs a temple by any definition. The future of Africa is bright: Praia is a huge blessing. Madagascar will happen.
Can our church still not enter Cuba? I feel it is about time...
Again, the second temple of Chile is such a big deal, I feel...reaching so many disaffected members and non-members. Keep it coming!

The Chatelain's said...

What about a compromise where ward and branch statistics are displayed on country and state basis? The stake/district level seems too vague, raw data

L. Chris Jones said...

We are in Cuba with at least two branches. However there are no missionaries there yet.

Christopher Duerig said...,-82.41946&z=18&m=google.road&layers=stakecenter&q=Havana%20Cuba%20District&find=stake:2102072

Levi said...


Eric S. said...

The "facts and statistics" section on the Newsroom page lists the total number of congregations (wards and branches) per each state and country. Each individual ward and branch in stakes and districts can be seen on the classic maps when logged in to your church account. It would be tedious to add up and separate them, but it could be done. Rick just barely got his site back up, so perhaps it is something that he hasn't had time to put together yet.

James said...

While I appreciate everyone's enthusiasm for the volume of the data available on the Church of Jesus Christ Temples website, at the end of the day, the fact is that (if memory serves) there were several pieces of data which the site did not have (primarily sensitive units) which factored into the total number of Church units that there actually are.

From what was indicated and the way it was indicated prior to the site crash, unless something big has changed in terms of what information the Church is comfortable allowing to be featured on that site (since the site has always acknowledged it is not an official Church site), then all of us need to be prepared for the prospect that individual unit information may never come back. Would it be useful if it did? No doubt.

But this is about much more than what is useful. If all official unit updates were allowed to be showed on a site that is not officially endorsed, approved, or supported by the Church, there are those who would call the data into question, which might have the potential for reflecting badly on both the Church, and on the unofficial site for temple information. But the removal of the official information from an unofficial site means that the information that is there can be seen as above reproach.

I could be wrong about this, but if removing that official information has had that effect, it may be worth it in the long run. And at very least, with the restored site, we do have an ongoing tally of the number of units which do not fall into the sensitive category, which, if memory serves, had been taken off of the site before it crashed. In my mind, that is more than a fair trade-off.

Oh, and as a sidenote, the one bad thing about the "Facts and Statistics page" of the Newsroom on is that, AFAIK, those numbers there are only updated annually, which means any data there is only current as of December 31 of last year or January 1 of this year. That means they may not be as up-to-date as current information provided in previous comments here. Just some additional thoughts for consideration, for what they might be worth to any of you.

James said...

Sorry. Another thought just struck me. If the work of restoring the Church of Jesus Christ Temples website involves restoring the former level of statistical information, that would likely take away from time which is needed to restore the photographic galleries (where applicable) for each temple, which, as I understand it, was not as important as getting the most vital parts of the site back up and running. I hope all of us would not want the cart put before the proverbial horse. Odds are that the statistical data will never be back to the extent it once was, but if plans are to make it available at some point, it would certainly be my preference that the photo galleries for the temples would be restored first. For the purposes of determining future readiness for dedications, rededications, or groundbreakings, such photographic evidence would be an important determining factor. Just wanted to mention that. Would I be elated if the statistical information came back to the extent it was previously provided? Of course. But of the two, I can see why prioritizing the restoration of photograph galleries would make more sense.

L. Chris Jones said...

Rick had many years of data on his temples site. It will probably take a long time to get it back to how it was. But what he has now is very well organized. but it is not as smartphone friendly as it was. But I expect this will be fixed in due time. Rick put a lot of work into the site. I am glad it is back up.

Christopher Duerig said...

Here are 5 church Districts that were listed on Rick´s Temples site, before the sensitive info was withdrawn and the crash, that were not included in the updated Site last weekend :


Only 1 District listed in P.R.C. :

Macau China District

under the Hong Kong China Temple District.

As Such Rick lists total of 531 Districts officially, but my list shows 536.

Gnesileah said...

Bouafle Cote d'Ivoire District
- Dehita Branch created

Codody Cote d'Ivoire Stake
- Angré 2nd Branch upgraded to Ward

Ruashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake
- Zambia Ward created

Mpintsin Ghana Stake
- Inchaban Ward created

Swedru Ghana Stake
- Odoben 2nd Branch upgraded to Ward

Tarka Ghana Stake
- Esiama Branch created

Monrovia Liberia Stake
- Old Road Branch created

Paynesville Liberia Stake
- Wein Town Ward created

Beira Mozambique Manga Stake
- Dondo Branch reinstated

Abak Nigeria Stake
- Abak 2nd Branch upgraded to Ward
- Ikot Oku Mfang Branch upgraded to Ward

Owerri Nigeria Stake
- Orlu Branch upgraded to Ward
- Uratta Branch upgraded to Ward

Yenegoa Nigeria Stake
- Etegwe Branch created
- Obgia Branch created

San Jose del Monte Philippines North Stake
- Citrus Ward created

Ipswich Australia West Stake
- Brassall Ward renamed Brassall 1st Ward
- Brassall 2nd Branch (Samoan) created
- Karana Downs Ward discontinued

Micronesia Guam Mission
- Koror [Pw] Branch transferred to Barrigada Guam Stake

Yap Micronesia District discontinued
- Colonia and Thol Branches transferred to Barrigada Guam Stake

Auckland New Zealand Tamaki Stake
- Tamaki 5th Ward created

Nuku'alofa Tonga Ha'akame Stake
- Peauma'a Ward created

Bulgaria/Central Eurasian Mission
- Central Eurasian Mission 1st Branch renamed Bulgaria/Central Eurasian Mission 1st Branch
- Pleven Branch discontinued

Verona Italy Stake
- Bergamo 3rd Branch discontinued

Oradea România District renamed Cluj-Napoca România District

Geneva Switzerland Stake
- Saint Genis [Fr] Branch upgraded to Ward

General Roca Argentina Stake
- Godoy Ward discontinued
- Villa Regina Ward renamed La Perla del Valle Ward

Guaratinguetá Brazil Stake
- Pindamonhangaba Branch upgraded to Ward

Novo Hamburgo Brazil Stake
- Ivoti Branch discontinued

Uberlândia Brazil Stake
- Parque do Sabiá Ward renamed Jardim Botânico Ward

Santa Rosa Ecuador District upgraded to Stake

Les Palmes Haiti Stake
- Jacmel Branch upgraded to Ward

Fresnillo México Stake
- Chichimequillas Branch discontinued
- Mendoza Branch discontinued
- Santa Bárbara Branch discontinued

Tuxpan México Stake
- Santiago de la Peña Branch discontinued

Capiatá Paraguay Stake
- Ysapy Branch upgraded to Ward

Paramaribo Suriname District
- Nieuw Amsterdam Branch created

Puerto La Cruz Venezuela Stake
- Los Altos Branch discontinued

Gnesileah said...

Mobile Alabama Stake
- Azalea Trail Branch (Spanish) created

Marana Arizona Stake
- Los Robles Branch (Correctional Facility) created

Phoenix Arizona Stake
- Independence Ward renamed El Oso Ward
- Manistee Ranch Ward renamed Westgate Ward

Bentonville Arkansas Stake
- Centernton 3rd Ward created

Carlsbad California Stake
- Carlsbad YSA Ward discontinued
- Marine Corps Recruit Depot Military Branch transferred to Chula Vista California Stake

Citrus Heights California Stake
- Rusch Park Ward discontinued

Los Angeles California Stake
- Adams Ward discontinued

Manassa Colorado Stake
- Sanford 3rd Ward created

Naples Florida Stake
- Liberte Branch (Haitian-Creole) created
- McGregor Branch created

Orlando Florida South Stake
- Bear Bay Branch (Mandarin) created

Ammon Idaho East Stake
- Ammon 12th Ward renamed Quail Ridge 1st Ward
- Ammon 17th Ward renamed Quail Ridge 2nd Ward
- Ammon 22nd Ward renamed Cottages Ward
- Ammon 29th Ward renamed Cottonwood Ward
- Ammon 32nd Ward renamed Stone Arbor Ward
- Iona 4th Ward renamed Thunder Ridge 2nd Ward
- Iona 8th Ward renamed Thunder Ridge 1st Ward

Emmett Idaho Stake
- Black Canyon Ward created

Idaho Falls YSA Stake created
- Parkside YSA Branch from Firth Idaho Stake
- Shelley YSA 1st Branch from Shelley Idaho South Stake
- Shelley YSA 2nd Branch from Shelley Idaho Stake
- Ammon YSA Ward from Idaho Falls Ammon West Stake
- Bonneville YSA Ward from Ucon Idaho Stake
- Community Park YSA Ward from Idaho Falls South Stake
- Dunbar YSA Ward from Idaho Falls North Stake
- Foothills YSA Ward from Ammon Idaho Stake

Rexburg Idaho YSA 7th Stake
- Rexburg YSA 122nd Ward created

Rexburg Idaho YSA 8th Stake
- Rexburg 123rd Ward created

Rexburg Idaho YSA 11th Stake created
- 11th Ward from 8th Stake
- 16th Ward from 1st Stake
- 28th Ward from 6th Stake
- 35th Ward from 7th Stake
- 49th Ward from 2nd Stake
- 50th Ward from 3rd Stake
- 85th Ward from 9th Stake

New Albany Indiana Stake
- Corydon 1st Ward renamed Corydon Ward
- Corydon 2nd Branch (Spanish) renamed Clarksville Branch (Spanish)

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Stake
- Three Rivers Branch (Spanish) created

Clinton Utah West Stake
- Clinton 30th Ward created

La Verkin Utah Stake
- Virgin Ward renamed Virgin River Ward

Nephi Utah Stake
- Nephi 12th Ward created

Orem Utah Lakeview Stake
- Lakeview 4th Ward created

South Jordan Utah Garden Park Stake
- Garden Park 7th Ward created

Austin Texas Stake
- Elgin Branch upgraded to Ward

Kingwood Texas Stake
- Humble Ward discontinued
- Cleveland 2nd Branch (Spanish) discontinued
- Mills Branch Ward created

San Antonio Texas Stake
- Palo Alto YSA Branch discontinued

West Richland Washington Stake
- Sunrise Ridge Ward created

Ray said...

Gnesileah, thank you so much for all your work. I get exhausted just reading everything and can't imagine how much time it must take to assemble all this information. We all appreciate it greatly!

Paula Thornton said...

I'm curious as to why the Abidjan, Ivory Coast temple is being built when the Accra, Ghana temple is so close (relatively speaking, compared to the rest of the continent). I'm sure there are any number of factors that can prevent/deter the timeline/availability of locations for temples).

Michael Worley said...

I think the number of stakes in Abidjan--five in 2012, twelve now-- make a temple there more an immediate need then for the four stakes in Liberia, the five in Sierra Leone, and the fewer in, say, Mozambique or Gabon, made it a higher priority. That said, Liberia and Sierra Leone both appear growing at such a pace that they will be priorities for announcements within 4 years, if not sooner, depending on how long this announcement splurge keeps up.

Growth in West Africa has been (and seems to remain) unusually fast, so it is likely we'll see a cluster of 5-8 temples there before we fully reduce distances to temples across the rest of non-Muslim Africa. The Muslim predominant countries remain largely closed to missionaries-- excepting Sierra Leone, Senegal, and parts of Nigeria and Liberia. Unfortunately, there'll likely be no temples there until our success in the four nations I mentioned and other factors translates to more freedom to baptize in Chad, Egypt, Mali, and others.

James Anderson said...

Three reaons for Ivory Coast:

At the time of announcement there were seven stakes in Abidjan, one was then formed the next week, more have been formed since including aat least one outside the city.

Although the distance was not much compared to some, going to Ghana was tedious due to an insurgency in one of the countries they had to pass through.

But the big one is that temple submissions by members and the associated family histry work was the highest of practically any other area in the Church. That, and the need to go to Ghana to do the work led to the decision, thee is a conference talk about the connection between family history and temple work done by the submitter for their own ancestors, so they needed a temple both to facilitate that and encourage more. If you leave names of at the temple or do the same in FamilySearch Tree, the backlig for male names is usually one to three years. In one place that backlog is eight years.

'Fill this temple up, we'll build another, fill that temple up, we'll build another' --Gordon B. Hinckleportedly said in Columbus Ohio when that was dedicated.

Stats for the St. George metro area used by marketers for placing media ads place the population of Washington County at 157k, Cedar City is about 50k. So while a second temple in St. George was not on any of our radars, it should have been given that the temple already there may have been at capacity for some time and we have no way of knowing things there except from anecdotal reports from those who go there.

twinnumerouno said...

Paula, I looked up a few things when I saw your question. I don't know how much you know about that part of Africa, but maybe this can help answer the question. (I mean no offense if you already know this.) First, it is over 300 miles from Abidjan to Accra- which would take from 4 to 10 hours to drive depending on how fast people can drive on those roads (which I don't know). (Just because it looks close on a map of the continent of Africa doesn't mean it's actually that close, in practical terms.)

Second, if the temple in Abidjan were open now it would have 23 stakes and 17 districts (according to the site, which is half of the 50 stakes and 29 districts currently going to Accra. (That total includes 14 stakes and 12 districts in Cote D'Ivoire, 5 stakes and 4 districts in Sierra Leone, and 4 stakes and 1 district in Liberia.) The Church usually builds temples where the membership is strong, and Cote D'Ivoire is one place where the need is pretty strong.

Finally, it is my understanding that one of the factors in the announcement of this temple was that back when there were only 5 stakes in the country, 3 of those stakes were listed as having high percentages of its members submitting family names for temple work, among the highest in the whole church.

One final thought: there are lots of places including the US where temples have been built closer together than that, relatively speaking (if you look at where the US temples were located in the early to mid-1900's, it would similarly look like they were all bunched together, and more recently the first 5 temples in Brazil were all located along the eastern coast), and sometimes with fewer members than what Abidjan will have.

(There may be better examples than mine, but in just this recent temple announcement, I never considered the idea that Yuba City, California, only an hour from Sacramento, would get a temple. Also, I would have thought that southern Argentina's distance from Buenos Aires would cause it to get a temple before Mendoza, which is somewhat close to Cordoba and even closer to Santiago, Chile.)

I guess the bottom line is that there are various factors, including distance and strength of the church, that help determine need for new temples, but ultimately it is up to the Lord (through His prophet). (Many of the places that don't have temples have church membership that is low to non-existent. Others are probably under consideration but need a bit more growth before they will be able to support a temple.)

I hope this helps.

Paula Thornton said...

Wow! Three very informative responses. How do so many people know so much about the data there? All responses were much appreciated and insightful. That's exactly what I needed.

Does Uganda fall into the 'closed' category? Just curious as I've started a conversation with someone there.

Michael Worley said...

Uganda has three stakes and a mission.

David Todd said...

Uganda would have been a good candidate for a first temple to be built in east africa simply for distance issues before one was announced for Nairobi. While there is still a large distance between Kampala and Nairobi, it is not likely that another temple will be announced until it is felt that the membership in Kampala is strong enough to sustain a temple. This means both staffing it and keeping it regularly attended. Though Uganda has three stakes, one of them is geographically distant from Kampala in another city called Jinja, so only two stakes exist in the city of Kampala. We saw a temple announcement in Phnom Penh, cambodia this conference- a city that has only had a church presence for a few decades and not much more membership than Kampala and isnt much more distant from an announced temple in Bangkok than Kampala is to Nairobi. This may mean that a temple in Kampala could come sooner than we may expect if it is the lord's will for it to be built, so we can never count it out. However if I had to make a guess, I would say that a temple in Uganda is likely to come but not in the next 3-5 years. I can definitely see it announced within 10 if the church continues to grow there.

John Pack Lambert said...

I can see Kampala getting a temple, still Thailand has 5 stakes I believe, while Kenya has only 2 at present, although one or two of its districts may be close to getting a stake.

There is also a factor that international crossings are not all created equal. One reason that Nicaragua did not get a temple sooner despite the huge number of members and growing number of stakes (Nicaragua due to some historical factors has very poor activity rates), is that travel into Honduras is extremely easy.

As Bishop Davies mentioned, Vancover only became a candidate for a temple after crossing the international border to Seattle become undoable.

So one big factor is how easy it is to go from Uganda to Kenya. Another is that while the Church in Cambodia is relatively new, the Church in Thailand has been there since the late 1960s and weathered some very hard times. Never underestimate the importance of longevity of the Church in a place, and Thailand had it.

The Abijan to Accra Temple distance is 330 miles. I found one site that gave the travel time as 9 hours and 34 minutes. This probably does not include any delays at the border caused by having to process through customs, and assumes driving the whole way without ever stopping.

Another factor is just since the Abijian Ivory Coast Temple was announced the number of stakes in Ivory Coast has doubled and is likely to continue to increase even more in the near future. There are only two stakes outside of the Abidjian Metro Area in Ivory Coast.

With the number of stakes just in Ghana and Ivory Coast even not considering Liberia and Sierre Leone's 9 stakes in the mix, there are enough to justify a second temple.

The placement of those two temples are in the two metro areas in the temple district that together have almost half the stakes. They are also two of the three metro-areas on the Afro-Eurasian landmass with the most stakes. With Puebla and Auckland getting temples announced last Sunday, I am pretty sure there is no longer a metro-area with over 10 stakes without a temple announced. If there is, it would probably be a good top guess for another temple to be announced.

I still think Benin City will be the next temple announced for Nigeria. After that it is hard to predict, because even with a Benin City Temple the Aba Nigeria Temple would have a large number of stakes for its size, although well below what some temples that are essentially the same size, such as the Lima Peru Temple, have.

One question I cannot answer is weather it is more likely that Aba Nigeria Temple will be expanded or a new temple will be built in Port Harcourt, Calabar, or maybe in a village in Akwa Ibom state, the Nigerian state with the most stakes.

David Todd said...

I am just going off of memory, but O think El Alto/ La Paz might have 10 stakes? Maybe I am way off?

twinnumerouno said...

Pretty close, David. According to, El Alto has 4 stakes and there are 5 in La Paz. (Looking at the map of the Cochabamba temple district, the Achacachi district would also go to a temple in La Paz/El Alto.)

Paula, I can't speak for anyone else, but I have been fascinated by maps since I was 5 or 6, and so I have been following this blog and the temple site above (under its previous name of or .com) for years, which have a lot of information for those who have an interest in making these things a subject of study.

twinnumerouno said...

Looking at Bolivia though, Santa Cruz also has 9 stakes by itself, along with 1 in nearby Montero. (That's not counting 4 distant stakes and 2 districts in southern Bolivia that could, though I'm not certain, be slightly closer to Santa Cruz than to Cochabamba.) Combining that with the problem of elevation sickness coming from the fact that there is a major elevation difference between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba (Santa Cruz has an elevation of 1365 ft above sea level, Cochabamba is over 8000 ft above sea level, and by the way, La Paz is 11,975 ft above sea level), some have suggested that Santa Cruz may get a temple before La Paz.

For comparison purposes, Santa Cruz is not much higher than the highest points in Illinois and Indiana. Comparing to my home state of Colorado, Santa Cruz is less than half the elevation of the lowest point in this state, about 3300 ft above sea level. Continuing with this comparison, Cochabamba is about like the major mountain passes around where I live in NW Colorado, and La Paz is significantly higher than Leadville, Colorado, which at 10k ft above sea level is the highest incorporated city in the US. You could also compare La Paz to having a city at the top of Mount Hood in Oregon.

twinnumerouno said...

Going back to the map at, there are also 3 stakes in Peru that are currently assigned to the Cochabamba Bolivia temple, but they are closer to Arequipa than to La Paz and should switch to that temple when it is completed.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

My last mission área was Corydon, Indiana. Back then, the ward was only a branch, and there was only one Spanish-speaking member (that I translated for). That was in 2004. It pleases me greatly that the branch has become a ward and that there's now a Spanish branch as well. Though it looks like they're moving it to Clarksville.

Eric said...

Cool... where is that?
Oh boy! Like Lion King!

Unknown said...

The spanish branch formed in Mobile and the Mandarin branch in Orlando are exciting. I am thinking it would be really cool if President Nelson gave a talk in Mandarin. He gave a talk in Spanish in the Dominican Republic.

Eduardo said...

Utah? Where is that?
North America!
Oh, man! Like Daniel Boone!

David Todd said...

Depending on how you count the metro areas, San Pedro Sula, Honduras may have up to 12 Stakes.

James said...

I greatly appreciate the additional comments here. If I may interject a note of my own: a temple in any location is not just about serving the area in which it is built. All temples currently operating serve Saints in stakes and districts scattered in other regions. My understanding is that a medium-sized temple in Abidjan would not just serve the Ivory Coast, but also many of the other surrounding regions. But the long and the short of it is that the Saints in and around many areas in which announced temples are being built have an inordinate amount of travel (either by mileage distance, rigor of the journey, or the financial sacrifice it takes to get there). My mom, who was born and raised in South Africa, came here on a "short vacation" some 40 years ago, and she did not get back "home" in the interim until last year.

In her case, her parents were found by the missionaries when she was about 2, and some 5-10 years later, she and her family had to sell almost everything they owned to be able to afford a single trip to the nearest temple (which was in England). The first temple in her homeland was not announced, nor constructed or dedicated, until she'd been here for several years. As she went on to serve a mission, marry my dad, and raise four children, one thing she impressed very firmly in our minds is how blessed we are to have temples nearby.

Fast forward to just recently. After being born and raised in Utah, my older sister and her husband (along with their son and with her expecting twins) moved to the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts and Nevis so my brother-in-law could attend an accelerated program equivalent to medical school. Their nearest assigned temple during that time was the Santo Domingo Temple in the Dominican Republic, and they too learned how awesome it is to have temples nearby and not have to go through undue hardships to worship there. They have since moved on to the residency and clinical process for my brother-in-law, and are currently back east. With them living in Georgia, they are a fair distance from the temple in Atlanta.

James said...

But that is nothing compared to the situation of the Saints who fall under the districts of the Memphis Tennessee, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Raleigh North Carolina, and Baton Rouge Louisiana Temples. With each of those being closed for renovation now, the Saints in those regions (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Western Tennessee and Southwestern Kansas) all have inordinate distances to travel to their nearest temples until each of those four are rededicated next year.

I recently did a post on my own blog exploring the distances involved in the list of top ten nations with the strongest Church presence that do not have a temple in any phase. In the midst of the research for that post, I believe I found that 7 out of those top 10 have a journey of 1,000 miles or greater to their nearest temples. And the same also interestingly applied to at least 9 of the 12 locations that had a temple announced, with most of those locations having a grossly inordinate distance to travel.

Previous Church Presidents have indicated they would like to see every Church member within 200 miles of a temple. While it is unclear whether that is 200 miles one way or there-and-back, the 19 temples announced by President Nelson this year will, once built, cut some strenuous burdens on the Saints in those areas. While there has been no official confirmation on the question, in previous discussions here, a few of us mused about whether President Nelson's future plans for temple construction would involve halving or quartering that 200-mile distance. If something like that occurs (towards which it certainly seems Church leadership is heading), then that opens up a wide scope of locations, including places like Uganda, to the possibility of a temple announcement occurring in the near future.

As to Bolivia, I can see a second temple being announced for either Santa Cruz or La Paz in the near future (though both will eventually have one, I am sure). Of the two, I favor La Paz, but the data I have studied shows Santa Cruz as more likely in the near term. As far as another temple in Central America, San Pedro Sula Honduras seems to be a sure bet for a temple at some point. But I heard from someone who lives and works in Central America that the next temple in that area will likely be one to split the current Guatemala City Guatemala Temple district, in other words, a second temple somewhere in the current Guatemala district, in the mold of what we saw recently occur in Lima Peru and Manila Philippines.

These are just some additional thoughts, for what they may be worth to anyone here. Thanks again to you all.

Eduardo said...

Cuba needs to grow and then there should be at least 4 temples there.

James said...

Very true, Eduardo. But let's not put the cart before the horse there. Has Cuba even formally recognized the Church? If not, then it may well be a while. At the same time, I believe it has been two or three years since Vietnam formally recognized the Church, and there has been a lot of positive trends in that nation in terms of the growth seen since that time. With the Lord at the helm, miracles are never out of the question, and may indeed be more likely than not. It is my hope that something will happen in several nations of the world which will enable the removal of corrupt politicians currently in power. Having more stable leadership at the helm in those regions will certainly aid in the process of the Church being able to take root and grow in such areas. Hope this additional comment is helpful to all who read it.

Unknown said...

However staffing a temple is in large part done most by members near there so a count of near stakes matters.

James said...

True. I am sure that that is just one of many factors which goes into the consideration of where, when, and how soon temples can be built worldwide. And I also appreciate the fact that many of the temples announced earlier this month seem to have been announced now in anticipation of the future growth that will occur in some of those locations. I know the announcement of one for Yigo Guam took many, myself included, by surprise, but I am sure President Nelson sees something in the future of the Church in that area that we don't know about which justifies that choice.

James Anderson said...

Guam right now looks to be a place where a smaller temple, on the smaller of the designs being built, will go, not unlike Tahiti, the original Hawaii Temple, and Winnepeg.

However they are listing Peru in the stories about the Ministry Tour as having 600k members. Argentina has less than that and both will have four when all that are announced are done, so I smell another one at least for Peru, but where?

James said...

Those are well-spoken observations, James Anderson. Port-au-Prince Haiti also falls into the category of smaller temples meant to serve a very small region, but which are being built for convenience of the Church membership in those areas.

I have often thought that Peru will get another temple. My study points to the idea that a temple in Iquitos may be the best option. It has been 2.5 years since we had a temple announced in Peru, and given that Argentina has had two new locations announced this year alone, another Peruvian temple seems more likely than not. As for the merits of a temple in Iquitos, it is 629 miles from Lima, 4 miles less than that from the Los Olivos region, 498 miles from Trujillo, and 972.6 miles from Arequipa.

Based on what we have seen President Nelson do in terms of reducing the mileage from the nearest temple just within the last year, and given the distances cited above, a temple in Iquitos may be just a matter of time. Next conference perhaps? Hope this information helps.

twinnumerouno said...

I was wondering about the distance from Iquitos to Manaus, Brazil, but it is about 900 miles and includes a border crossing. It looks to me like that trip would be pretty prohibitive, whether they fly or take a boat. (The two cities are connected by river, and getting there would be mostly if not all downstream. However, that probably does not make enough of a difference to make it worthwhile.)

twinnumerouno said...

Also there will probably be a temple in Chiclayo at some point when the Trujillo district needs to be split.

James said...

Iquitos is next on my list, followed by Cusco. Given the unexpected nature of some of the 19 temples announced this year, it is difficult to know how soon any nation, city, or region might get a temple. I don't believe we have ever had 19 temples announced in a single year, and I never would have guessed two new temples for Argentina this year alone. But Iquitos and Cusco do seem to be the next nearest prospects. Chiclayo may be more of a longer-term option.

The difficulty I face in molding my thoughts on such prospects is knowing how extensive exactly temple announcements will be in the future. With the 19 temples announced this year, we have 32 that are now waiting for a groundbreaking (though that will go down to 31 once ground is broken for the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple next month). Regardless of what happens during the last two months of this year in terms of other temples having a groundbreaking, I would anticipate that at least 7 will have a groundbreaking next year, and perhaps the same in 2020. But if President Nelson had the foresight to announce 19 temples this year, we are almost certain to see something equally big happening to clear the current backlog. What that might be remains to be seen, but it will be exciting to find that out.

Unknown said...

Cusco may well be the next temple for Peru. With 44 stakes in Lima though the forst action after Lima Los Olivos is done may be to redo the Lima Peru Temple into a larger temple then 8t is now. This may be hard due to issues of land present, I do not know.