Saturday, July 20, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Brunei

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Brunei. With a small population of less than half a million, Brunei has a predominantly Malay population and some of the most significant religious freedom restrictions in Southeast Asia. The Church had two member groups in Brunei approximately 10 years ago, although it is unclear whether these groups both continue to operate. The Church's district based in Miri, East Malaysia administers to Church members in Brunei. See below for the Future Prospects section of this updated article:

With a small population and heavy government restrictions on non-Muslim faiths, Brunei is unlikely to experience significant church growth in the medium-term future. No other Muslim nation in Southeast Asia is as intolerant towards Christians. Government restrictions and Malay cultural customs limit missionary efforts among religious minorities to personal contacts of Church members in Brunei. Prospects exist for groups to mature into independent branches under the Miri East Malaysia District if foreign members with leadership experience remain active and stay in the country for extended periods of time. Greater progress will not occur until local members join the Church in greater numbers. Additional foreign members who relocate to Brunei may help strengthen congregations if they are able to locate them. Information on meetinghouse locations accessible upon request to Church Headquarters or mission headquarters may have a tremendous impact on better organization and accounting of members in the country, and help establish a more permanent Church presence in the long term.

Monday, July 1, 2019

June 2019 Newsletter

Click here to access the June 2019 newsletter for www.cumorah.com.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

New Stakes Created in the Philippines (2), Dominican Republic, Florida, Nigeria, and Peru

Dominican Republic
The Church organized a new stake in Santo Domingo on June 9th. The Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Duarte Stake was created from a division of the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic San Geronimo Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Las Esperanza, La Yuca, Los Angeles, Los Girasoles, Pantoja 1st, and Pantoja 2nd Wards. The new stake is the Church's 14th stake in the greater Santo Domingo metropolitan area.

There are now 21 stakes and nine districts in the Dominican Republic.

Florida
The Church organized a new stake in central Florida on June 30th. The Ocala Florida Stake was organized from a division of the Gainesville Florida Stake and the Lessburg Florida Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Belleview, Lecanto, Ocala 1st, Ocala 2nd, and Williston Wards, and the Cross City and Ocala 3rd (Spanish) Branches.

There are now 33 stakes in Florida.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) on June 23rd. The Abuja Nigeria Wuse Stake was organized from a division of the Abuja Nigeria South Stake (renamed Abuja Nigeria Lugbe Stake). The new stake includes the following seven wards and three branches: the Asokoro, Jikwoyi, Karu, Masaka, Mpape, Nyanya, and Wuse Wards, and the GRA, New Nyanya, and Orozo Branches. Additionally, the Abuja Nigeria North Stake was realigned with the Abuja Nigeria Lugbe Stake and renamed the Abuja Nigeria Kubwa Stake. The Church has achieved rapid growth in Abuja during the past decade. The original Abuja Nigeria Stake was created in 2012 followed by a second stake in 2016. Stakes in Abuja and the Jos Nigeria District, along with most of northern Nigeria, were recently reassigned from the Nigeria Enugu Mission to the Nigeria Lagos Mission.

There are now 58 stakes and 18 districts in Nigeria.

Perú
The Church organized a new stake in Lima, Perú on June 30th. The Lima Perú Naranjal Stake was organized from a division of the Lima Perú Los Olivos Stake and Lima Perú El Olivar Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Canta Callao, Huandoy, Los Próceres, Márquez, Naranjal, and Oquendo Wards. The Church has organized several new wards in this area of the Lima metropolitan area within the past 1-2 years. The new stake is also nearby the site for the new Lima Perú Los Olivos Temple. There are now 48 stakes in the Lima metropolitan area.

There are now 109 stakes and 18 districts in Peru.

Philippines
The Church organized at least three new stakes in the Philippines.

The Orion Philippines Stake was organized on June 23rd from the Orion Philippines District (organized in 1988). All five branches in the former district were advanced into wards, including the Cabcaben, Limay, Mariveles Bataan, Orion, and Pilar Branches. Local members report that the district worked for at least two years updating membership records and as a result of removing deceased members or the records for members who had moved away, the district has recently qualified to become a stake. More specifically, there must be certain ratios of active, full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders to total membership in each unit (one per less than 25 members). Additionally, two additional congregations will likely be organized soon as a result of recent increases in church attendance and leadership maturation.

The Iriga Philippines Stake was organized on June 23rd from the Iriga Philippines District (organized in 1992). The new stake includes the following five wards, two branches, and two member groups: the Bato, Buhi, Iriga 1st, Iriga 2nd, and Iriga 3rd Wards, the Baao and Cotnogan Branches, and the Ibayugan and Nabua Groups. Also, member reports indicate one additional stake was organized in the Philippines in June albeit it is unclear where this new stake was organized.

With the Orion Philippines Stake and Iriga Philippines Stake, there are now 113 stakes and 64 districts in the Philippines

Friday, June 28, 2019

Creation of the Africa Central Area Announced

Today the Church announced the creation of the Africa Central Area, effective August 2020. The new area will be organized from a division of the Africa Southeast Area, which includes countries from Sudan in the north to South Africa in the south, and countries from Mauritius in the east to Cameroon and the Central African Republic to the west. Information on what countries will be assigned to the new area has yet to be released, albeit it appears most likely that the area will include countries from Sudan in the north to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Tanzania in the south, to Somalia in the east and Cameroon to the west. Kinshasa, DR Congo appears the logical headquarters for the Africa Central Area as it is the city with the most stakes (11) in Central Africa and East Africa where the only operating temple is located in these region (one temple is also announced for Nairobi, Kenya). The DR Congo is also the country in the region with the largest population with 85 million people, suggesting that placement of area headquarters in this nation would provide for more resources allocated to this area where rapid Church growth has consistently occurred since the Church's initial establishment in the mid-1980s. The establishment of the new area will provide for significant increases in resources to this region of Africa in regards to manpower, financial resources, and attention by international Church leaders regarding missionary work and outreach expansion.

The Africa Central Area will be the Church's third Africa-based area of the Church. The Church organized the Africa Area in 1990 (later renamed Africa Southeast) followed by the Africa West Area in 1998. North Africa was assigned to the Middle East/Africa North Area upon its creation in 2008. Additionally, it appears highly likely that the Church will organize a Nigeria Area in the foreseeable. The Church has reported its most rapid growth in Africa in West Africa during the past decade. Currently, the Church in Nigeria is approaching 200,000 members, 700 congregations (wards and branches), 58 stakes, 18 districts, seven missions, and two temples (one announced, one in operation).

Thursday, June 20, 2019

New Stakes Created in Peru (2), Liberia, and Brazil; New Districts Created in Canada, Kiribati, Nigeria, and Uganda; Stake Discontinued in California; District Discontinued in Uruguay

Peru
Two new stakes were organized in Peru.

The Tarapoto Peru Stake was organized from the Tarapoto Peru District on June 16th. All five branches in the former district appear to have become wards in the new stake. These branches include the Aeropuerto, Partido Alto, Shilcayo, Tarapoto, and Yurimaguas Branches. The original Tarapoto Peru District was organized in 1990. The new stake is the Church's first stake in San Martín Region which is inhabited by over 800,000 people.

The Lima Peru Miramar Stake was organized from the Lima Peru Puente Piedra Stake and the Ventanilla Peru Stake on June 16th. Information on which congregations assigned to the new stake remains unavailable. There are now 47 stakes in the Lima metropolitan area.

There are now 108 stakes and 18 districts in Peru.

Liberia
The Church organized a new stake in Monrovia, Liberia on June 16th. The Gardnesville Liberia Stake was organized from a division of the Caldwell Liberia Stake and the Monrovia Liberia Stake. Information on which wards pertain to the new stake remains unavailable. There are now five stakes in Liberia - all of which are located in Monrovia. The Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island Stake currently has 11 wards and one branch and appears likely to divide in the near future. The Church has experienced unprecedented growth in Liberia during the past five years as the Church has grown from three districts to five stakes and one district, the number of congregations has increased from 24 to 52, and the number of members has increased from 8,929 to more than 13,275 at present.

Brazil
The Church organized a new stake in western São Paulo Brazil. The Ribeirão Preto Brazil South Stake was organized on June 9th. The new stake was organized from a division of the Ribeirão Preto Brazil West Stake, which had 11 wards prior to the creation of the new stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Bebedouro, Jaboticabal, Jardim Iraga, Parque Ribeirão Preto, and Vila Virginia Wards. There are now three stakes in Ribeirão Preto. The Church used to operate four stakes in the city between 1993 and 2001. There has been good progress in the past five years with the creation of new wards and steady increases in the number of active members in the city to the point that a third stake was able to be organized. Unlike the 19990s, wards in the city appear to have an average number of active members for Brazil (i.e. 50-150 per ward), whereas wards in the city appeared to have few active members during the 1990s (likely between 25 and 75).

There are now 274 stakes and 39 districts in Brazil.

Canada
he Church reinstated a district for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Newfoundland and Labrador District was created from three mission branches in the Canada Halifax Mission: the Bay Roberts, Corner Brook, and St. John's Branches. A member group also appears to operate in Gander. The district operated many years ago and appeared to be discontinued in the early 2000s.
There are now 51 stakes and four districts in Canada.

Kenya
The Church organized a new district in western Kenya. The Kisumu Kenya District was created from the Kisumu Branch. Three new branches were also organized the same day that the district was created, including the Kisumu 2nd, Luanda, and Nyabondo Branches. Member groups appeared to operate in Luanda and Nyabondo prior to the creation of these branches. In fact, the member group operated in Nyabondo for perhaps as long as eight or nine years before it became a branch. A member group may also continue to operate in Sondu. This is the second district organized in Kenya in 2019, with the first district created this year being the Kitale Kenya District.

There are now two stakes and six districts in Kenya.

Kiribati
The Church organized a new district in Kiribati on June 11th. The Southern Kiribati District was organized from eight mission branches in the southern islands of Kiribati. These branches include the Buariki, Buraitan, Kabuna, Matang, Muribenua, Nuka, Tekaman, and Utiora Branches. Of these eight branches, five have been organized since the beginning of 2019. The islands of Tabiteuea, Beru, Nikunau, Nonouti and Onotoa are included in the new district. The Church once used to operate a district for outer islands in Kiribati outside of Tarawa Atoll that was organized in the mid-1990s and included islands north of Tarawa, but the Church closed the district in 2006. The Church has reported rapid growth in these southern outer islands as indicated by Church-reported statistics and government census records from the most recent census in 2015. Some islands in this region of Kiribati have had the number of census-reported members increase from less than five to as many as 40-50 within a five-year time period. Also, most recent figures reported in Church Newsroom articles indicate that membership in Kiribati has surpassed 22,000. If this is accurate, membership has increased by approximately 10% within the first six months of 2019. The recent success of the Church in Kiribati points to the importance of consistently expanding missionary outreach into previously unreached areas to achieve greater growth.

There are now two stakes and three districts in Kiribati.


Nigeria
A new district was organized in Delta State on June 16th. The Sapele Nigeria District was organized from three mission branches within the Sapele metropolitan area. A fourth branch was also organized the same day the district was organized. The first branch in Sapele was organized in 2014 followed by additional branches created in 2015 and 2018. The new district includes the following four branches: the Jesse, Oghara 1st, Oghara 2nd, and the Sapele Branches.

There are now 57 stakes and 18 districts in Nigeria.

Uganda
The Church organized a new district in Uganda on June 16th. The Gulu Uganda District is the Church's first district to ever operate in northern Uganda. The new district is within the homeland of the Acholi people. The new district was created from two missions branches and a third branch organized on the same day as the new district. The new district includes the following three branches: the Bardege, Gulu, and Pece Branches. Significant progress has occurred in the past three years with increases in active membership and strengthening local leadership that has permitted the organization of a third branch and a district in Gulu.

There are now three stakes and three districts in Uganda. All three districts in Uganda have been organized since the beginning of 2019.

California
The Church discontinued a stake in southern California. The Torrance California Stake was discontinued and two of the six wards assigned to the former stake were closed. Retained wards were reassigned to the Palos Verdes California Stake. Active membership has steadily moved away for this area of California over the past two decades, necessitating the closure of the stake and multiple congregations.

There are now 153 stakes in California

Uruguay
The Church discontinued a district in southeastern Uruguay. The Rocha Uruguay District was discontinued and two of the three branches in the former district were closed (Castillos and La Paloma). The Church has reported essentially stagnant growth in this area of Uruguay for many years. The decision to discontinue the district and close these branches appears due to few active members in the district and plans to have the sole remaining branch, the Rocha Branch, become a ward as the congregation was reassigned to the nearby Maldonado Uruguay Stake. At most recent report, the Rocha Branch had approximately 100 active members.

There are now 18 stakes and two districts in Uruguay.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Federated States of Micronesia

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for the Federated States of Micronesia. The Church has reported moderate growth in the country since its initial establishment in the mid-1970s. Today, Church-reported membership constitutes six percent of the national population. Since 2000, the greatest growth and progress has occurred in Pohnpei where the first stake in the country was organized in 2014 despite only four branches on the island in 2000 (today there are five wards and four branches). The Church in Chuuk has reported inconsistent progress and no new branches organized since the mid-1990s. However, the Church has tried for many years to strengthen the Church in Chuuk to organize a stake in the foreseeable future. See below for the future prospects section of the article:

The Church has achieved moderate growth in the Federal States of Micronesia despite high church activity and discipleship in other Christian denominations. Much of this growth has come with the Church concentrating large amounts of missionary resources on a nation with a small population that has been historically receptive to Christianity, and the greatest recent successes have been overwhelmingly concentrated on Pohnpei. Receptivity of the Church has varied by island group in recent years, with Pohnpei exhibiting the strongest receptivity and church growth as evidenced by the number of congregations increasing from four to nine since 2000, and other island groups showing little or no growth. Self-sustaining church growth in the coming decades will require less reliance on foreign full-time missionaries in an era of limited missionary manpower to staff island nations of just a hundred thousand like Micronesia. Consistent increase in the number of priesthood holders and the development of fully functioning branches entirely staffed by local members will be required for the district in Chuuk to become a stake over the medium term. Congregation planting approaches in Chuuk and on Pohnpei may lead to greater increases in active membership and national outreach. The few congregations on Yap and Kosrae make branches vulnerable to dissolution unless active members do not emigrate and active membership remains stable or increases. Outreach in the outer islands such as Mortlock Islands, Namonuito Atoll, Nomwin Atoll, Pulusuk, Ulithi Atoll, and Woleai Atoll may occur in the foreseeable future if primarily headed by local church leaders and mission leadership. However, many of these remote, sparsely populated islands will likely remain unreached for years or decades to come if any Church presence is established at all one day.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

New Stakes Created in the Philippines (2), Utah (2), Argentina, and Mexico; Stakes Discontinued in Chile (3) and Taiwan

Philippines
The Church has organized two new stakes in the Philippines.

The Baliwag Philippines Stake was organized from the Baliwag Philippines District. Organized in 2004, the former district had five branches at the time it became a stake on May 26th. All five branches appear to have become wards in the new stake.

Today (June 9th), the Church organized a new stake from a division of the Lipa Philippines Stake (organized in 2001). The Batangas Philippines Stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Batangas 1st, Batangas 2nd, Bauan, Rosario, and San Jose Batangas Wards, and the Ibaan Branch.

Additionally, the Church is scheduled to organize at least three more new stakes in the Philippines before the end of the month. Two of these stakes will be located in Iriga and Orion. I have not yet been able to confirm the location of the other new stake to be organized.

Currently, there are 111 stakes and 66 districts in the Philippines.

Utah
The Church organized its fifth Tongan-speaking stake in Utah on May 19th. The Orem Utah 2nd (Tongan) Stake was organized from a division of the Provo Utah Wasatch (Tongan) Stake (renamed Provo Utah 1st (Tongan) Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards and one branch: the American Fork 2nd Ward (Tongan), Eagle Mountain 13th Ward (Tongan), Eagle Mountain 14th Ward (Samoan), Lehi 41st Ward (Tongan), Lehi 42nd Wad (Samoan), Orem 8th Ward (Tongan), Orem 13th Ward (Samoan), and Pleasant Grove 10th Ward (Samoan), and the Saratoga Springs 12th Branch (Tongan). It is unclear why the Church did not organize a Samoan-speaking stake instead of a second Tongan-speaking stake, albeit Tongan and Samoan-speaking units are often included in the same stakes in the United States.

The Nibley Utah West Stake was organized from a division of the Nibley Utah Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Nibley 6th, Nibley 7th, Nibley 8th, Nibley 9th, Nibley 10th, and Nibley 12th Wards.

There are now 602 stakes and one district in Utah.

Argentina
The Church organized a new stake in southern Argentina on June 2nd. The Tierra del Fuego Argentina Stake was organized from the Tierra del Fuego Argentina District. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Andino, Austral, Chacra, Monte Olivia, and Ushuaia Wards, and the Puerto Williams and Rio Grande Branches. Church leaders have prepared the district for many years to become a stake. For example, in 2014 the Church discontinued the Ushuaia Argentina District and combined it with the Rio Grande Argentina District to prepare the southernmost region of Argentina for a stake. With two stakes in the Tierra del Fuego region of South America (the other located in Punta Arenas, Chile), prospects appear favorable for a small temple in this isolated region of the world.

There are now 78 stakes and 28 districts in Argentina.

Mexico
The Church organized a new stake in Puebla, Mexico on June 2nd. The Puebla México Ometoxtla Stake was organized from a division of the Puebla Mexico Cholula Stake and Tlaxcala Mexico Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Almecatla 1st, Almecatla 2nd, Coronango, La Joya, and Ometoxtla Wards, and the Xoxtla Branch. The new stake is the Church's third new stake organized in the greater Puebla city area during the past decade. Unlike other major cities in Mexico, the Church in Puebla has reported steady congregational growth and no discontinued stakes. The Church announced a temple for Puebla in 2018.

There are now 221 stakes and 47 districts in Mexico.

Chile
Local members in Santiago report that three stakes were discontinued on June 2nd. These stakes include the Santiago Chile Gran Avenida Stake (organized in 1993), Santiago Chile Las Araucarias Stake (organized in 1995), and Santiago Chile O'Higgins Stake (organized in 1992). Unlike other areas of Santiago, the Church in southern Santiago has struggled with very low member activity rates for many years without noticeable success with improving church attendance. It is unclear how many wards were discontinued as part of the changes, but perhaps as many as 10-20 wards were closed in the process of the stake consolidations. Other areas of Santiago reported average-sized church attendance for South America (generally 75-150 active members) with some improvements in increasing church attendance in recent years. The decision to close these three stakes in southern Santiago does not appear related to any recent church growth developments, but rather a long overdue administration change in an area where mission and stake efforts to revitalize missionary work have been unproductive. Additionally, local members noted concerns with socialization problems at church in some units affected by the changes due to few active members. Several church meetinghouses will be sold due to these changes. This marks the first time since 2005 that a stake has been discontinued in Chile.

There are now 74 stakes and 16 districts in Chile.

Taiwan
For the first time in Church history, the Church has discontinued a stake in Taiwan. The Pingtung Taiwan Stake, organized in 2010, was discontinued and retained units were combined with the two Kaohsiung stakes. Southernmost Taiwan has struggled for many years with lower activity rates and a greater lack of church growth compared to other cities in Taiwan. These changes appeared associated with a lack of growth since the Kaohsiung Taiwan North Stake was organized in 2015, and problems associated with stakes and wards running with fewer than the minimum number of active members needed to properly operate. The Asia Area appeared to make an emphasis about five years ago to organize wards with fewer active members, likely in an effort to reduce travel times and assist in reactivation efforts (such as in Hong Kong). Additional ward and stake consolidations may occur in other areas of Taiwan, albeit reports from return missionaries indicate wards with more active members and with better growth trends in other major cities such as Taichung and Taipei compared to Kaohsiung. Thus, it appears more likely that some additional ward consolidations may occur if the Asia Area is placing an emphasis on the establishment of wards with larger numbers of active members. However, the greatest impact on recent church growth trends in Taiwan is a significant reduction in membership growth rates during the past five years to only 1-2% a year versus 3-10% a year in the 2000s. The Church in Taiwan has also historically struggled with very low member activity rates, which delayed the establishment of stakes in several areas of the country.

There are now 16 stakes in Taiwan.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Updated Country Profile - American Samoa

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for American Samoa. Unlike other nontraditional Christian denominations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American Samoa has achieved steady, significant growth in recent years. The Church reports more than 16,000 members, five stakes, 43 congregations, and one announced temple despite a tiny population of only 50,000. There are only sixteen villages where the Church does not operate a ward or branch specific for these villages. As much as 95% of the population appears reached by the Church.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

May 2019 Newsetter

Click here to access our May 2019 newsletter for www.cumorah.com detailing recent Church growth developments and updated resources on our website.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Percent Members by Country - 2018

Below is a list of all of the countries and dependencies/territories of the world with the percentage of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in each location as of 2018. Countries with an asterisk indicate that membership figures are estimated due to no official membership data released to the public. I have made these estimates on my own without unauthorized data. Previous data are available for 2008, 2016, and 2017. Population figures were obtained from the CIA World Factbook for all locations except of overseas departments of France. Population data for French overseas collectivities/departments was accessed via http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/OA or the most recent government source.

Please click on the table to be able to read the data. Unfortunately I have to upload these tables as pictures with blogger.

ASIA




CARIBBEAN/ATLANTIC ISLANDS

EUROPE




MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA


NORTH AMERICA





OCEANIA




SOUTH AMERICA




SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Tuvalu

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Tuvalu. With a mere 11,000 inhabitants, Tuvalu has had a Church presence since 1985 and is assigned to the Fiji Suva Mission. Moderate membership growth has occurred since the late 2000s as Church membership increased from 131 in 2008 to 268 in 2018. Also, there were eleven young adults who served full-time missions at the same time from the only branch in the country as of the mid-2010s. See below for the Future Prospects section of the article:

Moderate membership growth since the late 2000s and a significant increase in the number of young adults who serve full-time missions are positive developments that may indicate a breakthrough reaching the Tuvaluan population. Time will tell whether new converts and returned missionaries will remain active, increased membership growth will be sustained, and additional congregations will be organized as greater numbers of local priesthood leaders are trained. Restricting the number of full-time missionaries to a single companionship may be in the best interests of maintaining local member involvement in missionary work and leadership until additional congregations are organized.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Stakes Created in Canada, Guatemala, Nigeria, and the Philippines; New District Created in Cote d'Ivoire

Canada
The Church organized its second YSA in Canada in Calgary, Alberta on May 5th. The Calgary Alberta YSA Stake was organized from stakes in the Calgary area and includes the following six wards: the Brentwood YSA, Carburn Park YSA, Edworthy Park YSA, Highland Park YSA, Pine Creek YSA, and Priddis Valley YSA Wards. The new stake is the Church's eighth stake in Calgary.

There are now 26 stakes in Alberta, and 51 stakes and 3 districts in Canada.

Guatemala
The Church organized its second Q'eqchi'-speaking stake in Guatemala on May 5th. The Chulac Guatemala Stake was organized from the Chulac Guatemala District (organized in 1992). The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Buena Vista, Chulac, Corralpec, Sajonte, and Semuy Wards, and the Searanx and Sepamac Branches. The Church's first Q'eqchi'-speaking stake was organized in Senahu in 2017.

There are now 50 stakes and 13 districts in Guatemala.

Nigeria
The Church recently organized a new stake in Abia State. The Umuahia Nigeria South Stake was organized from a division of the Umuahia Nigeria Stake. Information on which wards and branches are assigned to the new stake is currently unavailable; however, the stake had seven wards and eight branches prior to division. Thus, it is likely several branches became wards or new wards were organized in order for the new stake creation to occur, or some units from the Okpuala Ngwa Nigeria Stake were included in the new stake. The Umuahia Nigeria Stake was originally organized in 1996, but the stake was discontinued and divided into two districts in 2005 (Umuahia and Okpuala Ngwa). The Umuahia Nigeria Stake was reinstated in 2014, whereas the Okpuala Ngwa Stake was organized in 2015. Significant congregational growth has occurred particularly in the Umuahia Nigeria Stake since its creation.

There are now 57 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria.

Philippines
The Church organized a new stake in Nigeria on May 5th. The Camarin Philippines Stake was organized from a division of the Novaliches Philippines Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Bagong Silang 1st, Bagong Silang 2nd, Camarin 1st, Camarin 2nd, and the Sampaguita Wards. There are now 29 stakes in the Metro Manila area.

There are now 109 stakes and 67 districts in the Philippines

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new district on April 28th. The Danané Cote d'Ivoire District was created from missions branches in the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission. The new district includes the following three branches: the Danané 1st, Danané 2nd, and Mahapleu Branches. The new district is the Church's third new district organized in Cote d'Ivoire in 2019, and all three of these new districts are located in the Montagnes District, where the Church operated no districts before 2019. Missionaries report plans to organize additional branches and districts in the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission. Likely locations for future districts include Issia, Meagui, Saioua, Sinfra, and villages in rural communities nearby Daloa and Yamoussoukro. For example, there are currently plans to organize a second branch in Issia, and possibly a second branch in Saioua. A second branch was recently organized in Sinfra, and two new branches were recently organized in Meagui. Also, several new wards/branches appear likely to be organized in Daloa given recent reports from missionaries.

There are now 14 stakes and 15 districts in Cote d'Ivoire. In contrast, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire reported only three stakes and one district in 2009. Thus, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire has by far experienced the most rapid growth within the international Church during the past decade. Given recent growth trends, it appears likely that the Church may announce a second temple in Abidjan considering half of the Church's 12 stakes in the city are ready to divide, the relatively small size of the temple for the rapidly growth Church in the country, historically high levels of temple attendance, and distance from the temple site in Cocody to many of the members in Abidjan. This would be an extraordinary development if another temple were announced as the Church only recent started construction on the Church's first temple in the country, the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple. Yopougon appears the most likely candidate for Abidjan's second temple given this area of the city has five stakes and is on the west city of the metropolitan area, whereas Cocody is located on the east side of the metropolitan area.

Updated Country Profile - New Caledonia

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for New Caledonia. The Church has maintained an official presence in New Caledonia since 1961 yet reports fewer than 2,500 members and only one stake. New Caledonia has the fourth lowest percentage of Church members of any country or territory in the Pacific at 0.86%. Nevertheless, New Caledonian members are known for their faithfulness with regular temple attendance. The Church in New Caledonia has persistently experienced problems with its expansion outside of Nouméa primarily due to tribalism, leadership development problems, and small target populations. See below for the Future Prospects section of this article:

Slow membership and congregational growth in New Caledonia since the 2000s and difficulties with sustainable expansion of the Church into additional areas generate a mediocre outlook for church growth in the coming years. Additional cities may have branches or wards organized, particularly in the Nouméa area where the Church is the strongest and where most New Caledonians reside. However, the outlook for expansion into other areas of the islands appears unfavorable given persistent struggles with leadership development and tribalism in rural communities. The opening of additional cities to proselytism through efforts initiated by stake leadership, greater numbers of local members serving full-time missions, and stronger member-missionary approaches are needed to reverse slow church growth trends.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April 2019 Monthly Newsletter - Cumorah.com

Click here to access the April 2019 monthly newsletter for www.cumorah.com.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

UPDATED - Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2018

I previously posted on the countries with the highest membership growth rates during 2018. These data came from the Church's Newsroom site at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics. However, I have obtained additional year-end 2018 membership totals that I want to include in an updated post as there are eight additional nations that experienced an annual membership growth rate of 10% or higher during 2018.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2018 (10% or greater) are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage, which is followed by the country's membership at year-end 2018. Countries in bold experienced an annual membership increase greater than 200 during 2018. Countries in red are ones added to this list with additional official membership data I have recently obtained.

  1. Guinea - 103.3% - 61 
  2. Senegal - 63.6% - 108
  3. Cuba - 47.5% - 357
  4. Oman - 30.5% - 107
  5. Rwanda - 25.7% - 749
  6. Montenegro - 21.1% - 23 
  7. North Macedonia - 20.6% - 41
  8. Angola - 19.3% - 2,933
  9. Bosnia and Herzegovina - 15.9% - 80
  10. Israel - 15.3% - 332
  11. Gabon* - 15.3% - 151
  12. Togo - 14.6% - 4,736
  13. Mozambique - 13.3% - 12,274
  14. Solomon Islands - 12.8% - 1,240
  15. Benin - 11.5% - 3,463
  16. Turks and Caicos Islands - 11.4% - 147
  17. Cote d'Ivoire - 11.1% - 48,776
  18. Morocco - 10.5% - 95
  19. Sint Maarten - 10.4% - 277
*Membership total only reflects one of the two branches as one of the Gabonese branches is incorrectly reported under the Republic of the Congo.

Also, see below for membership totals for additional countries not reported on the Church Newsroom site.
  • Bahrain - 223
  • Belarus - 511
  • Bermuda - 197
  • British Virgin Islands - 138
  • Mali* - 9
  • Qatar - 537
  • Vietnam - 2,466
*Membership appears to comprise those who live outside of the Bamako Branch under the Africa West Area Branch. The Bamako Branch is incorrectly reported under Cote d'Ivoire. However, membership in Mali appeared to increase by more than 100% during 2018. Local members report that membership nationwide appeared to be around 80-100 at year-end 2018. There were 42 members in Mali as of April 2018. 

New Districts Created in Ghana and Kenya

Ghana
The Church organized a new district in Ghana on April 28th.

The Axim Ghana District was organized from a division of the Tarkwa Ghana District (organized in 2016). The new district includes the following three branches: Axim, Esiama, and Nkroful. The Tarkwa Ghana District now has only two branches (Brenu-Akyirim and Tarkwa) and one member group (Bogoso) although the member group appears to have become a branch or may become a branch in the near future.

There are now 24 stakes and 12 districts in Ghana.

Kenya
The Church organized a new district in western Kenya.

The Kitale Kenya District was organized from a division of the Eldoret Kenya District (organized in 2011). The new district includes the following five branches: Kitale, Mautuma, Misikhu, Naitiri, and Sikhendu. The realigned Eldoret Kenya district now has four branches (all located in the city of Eldoret): Eldoret, Huruma, Langas, and Sosiani.

There are now two stakes and five districts in Kenya.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Significant Realignment of Missions in Nigeria Announced

On April 23rd, the Africa West Area Presidency announced a significant realignment of the seven missions in Nigeria. No missions will be closed or opened as part of the changes. However, the Nigeria Calabar Mission will be renamed the Nigeria Uyo Mission, which was the original name of the mission from 2002-2008, and mission headquarters will be relocated to Uyo. Here are additional changes that have been announced:
  • Reassignment of four mission branches from the Nigeria Calabar Mission to the Nigeria Enugu Mission (Ikom, Ogoja, Ugep 1st, and Ugep 2nd Branches)
  • Transfer of two stakes from the Nigeria Calabar Mission to the Nigeria Owerri Mission (Abak Nigeria Stake and Ikot Ekpene Nigeria Stake)
  • Transfer of two stakes from the Nigeria Calabar Mission to the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission (Ikot Akpaden Nigeria Stake and Ikot Akpatek Nigeria Stake)
  • Transfer of two stakes and one district from the Nigeria Enugu Mission to the Nigeria Lagos Mission (Abuja Nigeria North Stake, Abuja Nigeria South Stake, and Jos Nigeria District)
  • Transfer of one stake and one district from the Nigeria Owerri Mission to the Nigeria Enugu Mission (Umuahia Nigeria Stake and Asaga Ohafia Nigeria District)
The area presidency announced that these changes "are being made to better position the missions in Nigeria for the future growth and establishment of the Church," and added, "We anticipate significant future growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nigeria and recognize the Lord’s hand in bringing this about."

The Church in Nigeria has indeed experienced some of the most impressive worldwide growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in recent decades. Church membership increased from 12,000 in 1989 to 42,746 in 1999, 88,374 in 2008, and 177,280 in 2018. Annual membership growth rates have exceeded 7% since 2013. The number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) has grown from 72 in 1989 to 185 in 1999, 260 in 2008, and 649 in 2018. There has been a net increase of approximately 30 wards and branches in 2019 thus far. Stake growth in the past decade has been particularly significant with the number of stakes increasing from 16 to 56.

Despite recent progress, the Church in Nigeria remains comparatively small. Church membership accounts for only 0.087% of the population, or one Latter-day Saint per 1,148. There remain 12 states in Nigeria without a single ward or branch although most are in the predominantly Muslim north. Several cities with more than 500,000 people have no Church presence. Nigeria will also soon surpass Pakistan and Brazil in population as the world's fifth most populous country as there are now more than 200 million people. If the Church in Nigeria were to maintain the same ratio of population to missions (one mission per seven million people), there would need to be 29 missions in Nigeria.

The mission realignments announced by the area presidency have good potential to better distribute mission resources and Church units across the seven missions. Many of the changes have good potential to help the Church expand into previously unreached areas, particularly those with high population densities nearby cities with a well-established Church presence such as between Port Harcourt and Efik, and between Enugu and Umuahia. Greater expansion in Central and Northern Nigeria may occur. The Nigeria Calabar Mission previously had 14 stakes and two districts - the largest number of stakes assigned to a single mission in all of Africa. Now, the realigned Nigeria Uyo Mission will have a more manageable number of stakes with 10 stakes and two districts.

The changes also appear inspired with long-term plans to organize additional missions. For example, the Nigeria Lagos Mission will now have two separate geographical areas, one in the Lagos metropolitan area and the other including most of central and northern Nigeria. It appears that the Church may organize a mission headquartered in Abuja in the foreseeable future given this change. Also, the Church may organize a mission headquartered in Delta State to service the rapidly growing Nigeria Benin City Mission which now has 11 stakes and three districts within its boundaries.

Many new stakes will likely be organized in the near future due to steady growth in active membership and the organization of new wards and branches. See below for a list of stakes likely to divide in the near future to create additional stakes:
  • Aba Nigeria North (10 wards, 4 branches)
  • Abak Nigeria (9 wards, 1 branch) 
  • Abuja Nigeria North (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Abuja Nigeria South (11 wards, 3 branches)
  • Benin City Nigeria Oregbeni  (9 wards, 1 branch)
  • Benin City Nigeria Ugbowo (10 wards, 3 branches) 
  • Ikot Ekpene Nigeria (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Lagos Nigeria Ojodu (9 wards, 1 branch)
  • Lagos Nigeria Yaba (9 wards)
  • Onitsha Nigeria (10 wards, 4 branches)
  • Ukat Aran Nigeria  (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Warri Nigeria (14 wards, 2 branches)
Many districts also appear close to becoming stakes. There are currently a total of 17 districts. See below for a list of stakes likely to be created from districts in the near future.
  • Akamkpa Nigeria (9 branches)
  • Asaga Ohafia Nigeria (7 branches)
  • Ijebu-Ode Nigeria (8 branches)
  • Jos Nigeria (8 branches)
  • Mbaise Nigeria (12 branches)
  • Ogwashi Nigeria (8 branches)
  • Okrika Nigeria (10 branches) - or division into several districts
  • Ondo Nigeria (6 branches)
  • Oron Nigeria (7 branches)
Altogether, the Church in Nigeria may add as many as 21 new stakes in the next two years.

Additionally, a couple new districts appear likely to be organized from mission branches in the near future. Probable locations with the likely number of branches include:
  • Sapele (3 branches)
  • Ugep (4 branches)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Membership by US State in 2018, Percent Membership Growth by US State in 2018

See below for a list of states in the United States ranked in order by the most members as of year-end 2018. Locations in bold do not have a temple dedicated or announced.
  1. Utah - 2,109,578
  2. California - 761,054
  3. Idaho - 456,496
  4. Arizona - 432,161
  5. Texas - 357,625
  6. Washington - 289,068
  7. Nevada - 184,565
  8. Florida - 158,617
  9. Oregon - 153,338
  10. Colorado - 150,958
  11. Virginia - 95,873
  12. North Carolina - 87,768
  13. Georgia - 85,927
  14. New York - 82,732
  15. Hawaii - 74,699
  16. Missouri - 71,774
  17. New Mexico - 69,333
  18. Wyoming - 67,421
  19. Ohio - 62,326
  20. Illinois - 57,001
  21. Pennsylvania - 51,954
  22. Tennessee - 51,863
  23. Montana - 50,333
  24. Oklahoma - 48,268
  25. Indiana - 45,395
  26. Michigan - 45,039
  27. Maryland - 44,094
  28. South Carolina - 40,887
  29. Kansas - 38,077
  30. Alabama - 37,913
  31. Kentucky - 35,779
  32. New Jersey - 33,926
  33. Minnesota - 33,331
  34. Alaska - 32,298
  35. Arkansas - 31,765
  36. Louisiana - 29,750
  37. Iowa - 28,408
  38. Massachusetts - 27,805
  39. Wisconsin - 27,003
  40. Nebraska - 25,046
  41. Mississippi - 21,561
  42. West Virginia - 17,045
  43. Connecticut - 15,834
  44. North Dakota - 11,406
  45. Maine - 10,994
  46. South Dakota - 10,654
  47. New Hampshire - 8,875
  48. Delaware - 5,620
  49. Vermont - 4,622
  50. Rhode Island - 4,165
  51. District of Columbia - 2,805
See below for a list of states and the District of Columbia ranked in order by membership growth rate for the year 2017. The 10 states with the most members in this list are indicated in italics:
  1. North Carolina +1.90%
  2. Kentucky +1.86%
  3. Delaware +1.68%
  4. Arkansas +1.63%
  5. Tennessee +1.59%
  6. North Dakota +1.44%
  7. Idaho +1.37%
  8. Texas +1.22%
  9. Florida +1.21%
  10. New Hampshire +1.19% 
  11. Indiana +1.16%
  12. Alabama +1.14%
  13. Minnesota +0.97%
  14. Arizona +0.96%
  15. Wisconsin +0.93%
  16. Utah +0.92%
  17. Iowa +0.88%
  18. Oklahoma +0.87%
  19. Maryland +0.85%
  20. Massachusetts +0.83%
  21. Missouri +0.79%
  22. Kansas +0.79%
  23. South Carolina +0.69%
  24. West Virginia +0.66%
  25. Georgia +0.66%
  26. New Jersey +0.59%
  27. Ohio +0.58%
  28. Hawaii +0.57%
  29. Virginia +0.52%
  30. Nevada +0.50%
  31. New York +0.45%
  32. Maine +0.43%
  33. Michigan +0.42%
  34. Nebraska +0.40%
  35. Pennsylvania +0.37%
  36. South Dakota +0.26%
  37. Wyoming +0.22%
  38. Washington +0.19%
  39. Vermont -0.06%
  40. Louisiana -0.12% 
  41. Montana -0.17%
  42. Illinois -0.19%
  43. Connecticut -0.23%
  44. Rhode Island -0.29%
  45. Colorado -0.31%
  46. Oregon -0.40%
  47. New Mexico -0.42%
  48. Alaska -0.58%
  49. Mississippi -0.75%
  50. California -0.81%
  51. District of Columbia -1.51%
Membership growth rates by state in 2018 were very similar compared to membership growth rates by state in 2017. The most significant development in 2018 was ongoing slowing of membership growth rates in the United States. I believe this is the first time in many decades that the annual membership growth rate did not exceed 2.0% for any state.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Norway

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Norway. The Church in Norway has arguably experienced one of the slowest growth rates during the past century in the worldwide Church as Church membership has increased from only 1,507 in 1930 to 4,598 in 2018. It has taken nearly 20 years for the Church to report a net increase of 600 members between the late 1990s and 2018. Most convert baptisms in recent years have appeared to be immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The Church in Norway maintains an impressive level of national outreach as 53% of the population lives within 10 kilometers of a Church meetinghouse or a city or town with its own ward or branch. The establishment of a second stake in Drammen in 2012 indicated some progress with leadership development although the number of active members nationwide has not appeared to noticeably change in two decades. Oslo appears a likely candidate for a small temple one day as Norway is the only Nordic country with at least 1,000 members without a temple. See below for the future prospects section of the article.

The Church has established congregations in most areas and has the basic infrastructure to meet outreach needs in most areas, but secularism remains a cultural influence that has reduced receptivity. The missionary complement assigned to Norway has been cut to less than half of its prior levels without noticeably affecting growth. The Church depends heavily on the larger Latter-day Saint populations in the Oslo area and in a few additional cities such as Bergen to stabilize the national church population and looks to this region for future growth. Many members in small branches are considering moving to the Oslo area that, over time, may lead to additional consolidations of smaller branches in northern Norway. The heavy emigration of Latter-day Saints in the nineteenth century has continued, although at a slower rate in recent years and has made local growth harder to achieve. Outreach directed toward youth is needed due to low birth rates among Latter-day Saints and the small number of youth converts in order to ensure long term growth.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Additional Membership Growth Analysis for 2018

As I noted last week, I wanted to provide some additional analysis of membership growth by country for 2018. See below for a list of countries with reported Church membership in 2018. Countries are ranked in order by the percentage growth in membership for the year 2018. I also provide whether this growth rate is the slowest or fastest growth rate since the previous year that surpassed it. Of the 156 countries/territories in the analysis, eight appeared to have had the slowest year of membership growth ever reported during 2018 (Albania, Benin, Brazil, Lithuania, Madagascar, Serbia, the United States, Venezuela). No country reported its fast membership growth rate ever during 2018. Seventy-eight (78) of the 156 countries (50%) reported a slowdown in membership growth compared to 2017. Thus, in regards to the number of countries with a reported Church presence membership growth did not appear to significantly change in regards to acceleration or deceleration of growth. However, the magnitude of membership growth rates has declined - a trend that has been ongoing for decades.

Rwanda 25.67% - slowest since 2017
Montenegro 21.05% - fastest since 2016
Angola 19.32% - fastest since 2014
Bosnia and Herzegovina 15.94% - fastest since 2014
Israel 15.28% - fastest since 2016
Togo 14.56% - fastest since 2016
Mozambique 13.28% - slowest since 2017
Solomon Islands 12.83% - slowest since 2017
Benin 11.53% - slowest ever (since Church establishment in 2004)
Cote d'Ivoire 11.12% - fastest since 2017
Kazakhstan 10.66% - fastest since 2014
St. Maarten 10.36% - fastest since 2016
Congo, Republic of 9.96% - fastest since 2003
Sierra Leone 9.48% - slowest since 2017
Vanuatu 9.44% - slowest since 2017
Cameroon 9.37% - slowest since 2015
Liberia 9.20% - same as 2017
Lesotho 8.86% - fastest since 2016
Congo, Democratic Republic of 8.40% - slowest since 2008
Nigeria 8.27% - fastest since 2015
St. Kitts and Nevis 7.58% - fastest since 2016
Ghana 7.16% - slowest since 2009
Malawi 7.14% - slowest since 2008
Zambia 6.96% - slowest since 2015
French Guiana 5.84% - slowest since 2016
Sri Lanka 5.69% - fastest since 2008
Namibia 5.61% - fastest since 2015
Burundi 5.49% - slowest since 2016
Cape Verde 5.36% - fastest since 2016
Uganda 5.28% - slowest since 2005
Tanzania 5.12% - fastest since 2016
United Arab Emirates 4.89% - fastest since 2015
Panama 4.73% - slowest since 2017
Zimbabwe 4.68% - slowest since 2014
Slovakia 4.41% - fastest since 2016
Botswana 4.38% - same as 2017
Tuvalu 4.28% - slowest since 2016
Nauru 4.27% - slowest since 2015
Papua New Guinea 4.00% - slowest since 2013
Kenya 3.98% - fastest since 2012
Fiji 3.74% - slowest since 2015
Ireland 3.56% - fastest since 2016
Kiribati 3.56% - slowest since 2014
St. Vincent 3.51% - slowest since 2015
Isle of Man 3.48% - fastest since 2009
Suriname 3.30% - fastest since 2016
Cambodia 3.29% - slowest since 2016
Madagascar 3.16% - slowest ever (since Church establishment in early 1990s)
Swaziland 3.16% - fastest since 2016
India 3.13% - slowest since 1981
Antigua and Barbuda 2.95% - slowest since 2015
Costa Rica 2.95% - fastest since 2017
Haiti 2.94% - slowest since 2006
Northern Mariana Islands 2.82% - slowest since 2016
Dominican Republic 2.82% - fastest since 2011
Curacao 2.79% - fastest since 2010
Bahamas 2.78% - fastest since 2014
Spain 2.77% - fastest since 2014
Guyana 2.76% - slowest since 2016
Malaysia 2.74% - fastest since 2016
Thailand 2.67% - slowest since 2016
Albania 2.66% - slowest ever (since Church establishment in early 1990s)
Philippines 2.58% - same as 2017
Peru 2.53% - fastest since 2014
Poland 2.52% - fastest since 2016
Mauritius 2.52% - fastest since 2016
Latvia 2.51% - fastest since 2013
Colombia 2.45% - fastest since 2014
St. Lucia 2.45% - slowest since 2013
Singapore 2.44% - fastest since 2011
South Africa 2.42% - slowest since 2016
Malta 2.39% - slowest since 2008
French Polynesia 2.27% - slowest since 2010
Guam 2.23% - slowest since 2015
Bolivia 2.20% - fastest since 2014
Mongolia 2.18% - fastest since 2014
Central African Republic 2.14% - slowest since 2016
Jersey 2.07% - fastest since 2015
Samoa 2.06% - same as 2017
Ecuador 2.02% - fastest since 2016
Guatemala 1.95% - fastest since 2016
Argentina 1.87% - fastest since 2014
Jamaica 1.82% - fastest since 2016
Honduras 1.76% - fastest since 2016
Marshall Islands 1.71% - fastest since 2016
Guernsey 1.61% - slowest since 2015
Portugal 1.61% - same as 2017
Nicaragua 1.58% - slowest since 1989
Paraguay 1.52% - slowest since 2016
Mexico 1.42% - fastest since 2016
Iceland 1.41% - fastest since 2016
Niue 1.31% - same as 2017
El Salvador 1.30% - fastest since 2016
Croatia 1.28% - fastest since 2016
Australia 1.26% - slowest since 2001
World 1.21% - slowest since 1937
Taiwan 1.21% - same as 2017
Czech Republic 1.19% - slowest since 2013
France 1.14% - slowest since 2016
Uruguay 1.12% - fastest since 2014
Tonga 1.09% - fastest since 2016
Bulgaria 1.08% - fastest since 2015
Indonesia 1.05% - slowest since 2013
New Caledonia 1.04% - slowest since 2014
Belize 1.02% - fastest since 2016
Guadeloupe 0.98% - slowest since 2014
Barbados 0.96% - slowest since 2009
Italy 0.95% - slowest since 1993
Trinidad and Tobago 0.95% - fastest since 2016
Chile 0.92% - fastest since 2013
Netherlands 0.89% - slowest since 2015
Luxembourg 0.88% - slowest since 2016
Hungary 0.84% - fastest since 2015
Reunion 0.84% - fastest since 2014
Romania 0.82% - fastest since 2015
Austria 0.81% - slowest since 2016
Brazil 0.78% - slowest ever (since prior to 1940)
New Zealand 0.69% - slowest since 2000
South Korea 0.64% - fastest since 2015
United States 0.60% - slowest in at least one century
Cook Islands 0.60% - fastest since 2011
Canada 0.57% - slowest since 2008
Ethiopia 0.52% - fastest since 2016
Belgium 0.44% - fastest since 2015
Martinique 0.43% - fastest since 2014
Macau 0.41% - slowest since 2013
Japan 0.40% - same as 2017
Switzerland 0.36% - fastest since 2016
Micronesia 0.34% - slowest since 2004
American Samoa 0.31% - slowest since 2016
Puerto Rico 0.31% - fastest since 2016
Hong Kong 0.30% - fastest since 2015
United Kingdom 0.30% - slowest since 2016
Estonia 0.18% - fastest since 2016
Sweden 0.15% - slowest since 2015
Denmark 0.09% - slowest since 2015
Palau 0.00% - slowest since 2012
Slovenia 0.00% - fastest since 2016
Ukraine -0.13% - slowest since 2016
Armenia -0.28% - fastest since 2016
Germany -0.30% - slowest since 2007
Finland -0.43% - fastest since 2016
Greece -0.50% - slowest since 2014
Norway -0.54% - slowest since 2016
Aruba -0.68% - slowest since 2013
Venezuela -0.85% - slowest ever (since Church establishment in the 1960s)
Moldova -0.96% - slowest since 2013
Cyprus -1.09% - slowest since 2010
Grenada -1.18% - slowest since 2006
Turkey -1.65% - slowest since 2009
Serbia -1.85% - slowest ever (since Church establishment in the late 1980s/early 1990s)
Cayman Islands -2.16% - slowest since 2011
Virgin Islands, U.S. -2.60% - fastest since 2016
Lithuania -4.29% - slowest ever (since Church establishment in the early 1990s)
Georgia -5.60% - slowest since 2016
Dominica -9.32% - slowest since 2010

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Missing Country-by-Country Church Data

For many years, I have made numerous requests for the Church Newsroom website staff to publish country-by-country membership and congregational data for all countries with a non-sensitive Church presence. My requests continue to be ignored or redirected without follow through despite my persistent efforts. Moreover, I have credible information that the Statistical Department indeed releases this data to the Newsroom site, but that the site does not publish it for an unknown reason. Here are a list of countries that have been consistently not reported on the website that do not have a sensitive Church presence (i.e. congregational information is published on lds.org/maps):
  • Bahrain
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • North Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Senegal
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Vietnam
I think that if additional requests are made, the Newsroom site would provide data for these countries as they would see a greater public interest in these data. Please complete the following feedback from the Newsroom site to assist my efforts to provide the public access to this information. The form can be found here: https://ldsrt.allegiancetech.com/cgi-bin/qwebcorporate.dll?idx=HRP7TU. Please copy and paste into your browser.

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake - 2019 Edition

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2018 and congregational and district totals are current. Estimated membership for mainland China and Pakistan is provided as official statistics are unavailable. The number of branches and districts in mainland China is not provided due to the sensitive nature of the Church in that country. Previous lists of the countries with the most members without a stake can be found here.
  1. China - 12,000 members?
  2. Malaysia - 10,504 members - 33 branches - 6 districts
  3. Guyana - 6,001 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  4. Belize - 5,429 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  5. Pakistan - 4,600 members? - 14 branches - 3 districts
  6. Armenia - 3,560 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  7. Romania - 3,077 members - 15 branches - 2 districts
  8. Malawi - 2,941 members - 8 branches - 2 districts
  9. Bulgaria - 2,444 members - 7 branches - 0 districts
  10. Cameroon - 2,125 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  11. Eswatini (Swaziland) - 2,057 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  12. Poland - 2,033 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  13. Ethiopia - 1,933 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  14. Cook Islands - 1,854 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  15. Tanzania - 1,726 members - 8 branches - 1 district
  16. Suriname - 1,630 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  17. Sri Lanka - 1,597 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  18. Macau - 1,455 members - 3 branches - 1 district
As noted in the list from 2018, prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, Swaziland, and Cameroon as all of these countries have at least one district that is close to reaching the minimum qualifications for a stake to operate.  Low member activity rates, an insufficient number of branches in individual member districts, slow or stagnant growth, and few full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders will likely continue to delay the organization of stakes in other countries for several more years to come.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

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 2018 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for October 2018, April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007. This is the first time since I started making these lists on my blog that there is a country with less than 10,000 members in the top ten for most members without a temple. I have put the country name in bold if that country has typically experienced rapid growth (annual membership growth rate of approximately 8% or higher) within the past five years. Also, all of the countries on the list are located in Asia, Africa, or Oceania.

1. Papua New Guinea

  • 28,249 members
  • 2 stakes, 12 districts
  • 80 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
2. Sierra Leone
  • 21,286 members
  • 5 stakes, 4 districts
  • 70 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
3. Kiribati
  • 20,390 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 36 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
4. Uganda
  • 16,823 members
  • 3 stakes, 2 districts
  • 34 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
5. Liberia
  • 13,275 members
  • 4 stakes, 1 district
  • 52 congregations 
  • Accra Ghana Temple
6. Mozambique
  • 12,274 members
  • 3 stakes, 1 district
  • 37 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
7. Madagascar
  • 12,257 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 40 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple 
8. Mongolia
  • 11,895 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
9. Malaysia
  • 10,504 members
  • 0 stakes, 6 districts
  • 33 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
10. Vanuatu
  • 9,615 members
  • 1 stake, 3 districts
  • 36 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple

Friday, April 12, 2019

Congregational Growth by Country: 2018

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2018. The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +49 (0.34% increase)
  2. Nigeria +48 (7.99% increase)
  3. Brazil +22 (1.05% increase)
  4. Cote d'Ivoire +21 (10.0% increase) 
  5. Democratic Republic of the Congo +15 (8.29% increase)
  6. Liberia +13 (37.1% increase)
  7. Peru +12 (1.61% increase)
  8. Ghana +11 (3.63% increase)
  9. Philippines +9 (0.74% increase) 
  10. South Africa +7 (3.83% increase) 
  11. Mozambique +5 (17.3% increase)
  12. Uganda +4 (13.8% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 12 countries totals 216; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2018 (30). Twelve (12) countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2018. Altogether, the net decrease in congregations in these 12 nations totaled 218. This was primarily due to a significant decline in the number of congregations in Mexico (-141). This decline in Mexico was attributed to changes in the Mexico Area policies in regards to the size of wards. More specifically, this change in policy has focused on better utilization of meetinghouse space by the establishment of congregations with larger numbers of active members. As a result, the Church closed scores of wards in the Mexico City metropolitan area. The plan in Mexico City to combine wards took years in planning to execute due to the large number of stakes and wards in the city. It appears unlikely that sizable numbers of congregation consolidations will continue in Mexico into 2019 as nearly all major metropolitan areas in Mexico have undergone similar congregation consolidations.
  1. Mexico -141 (7.64% decrease) 
  2. Venezuela -15 (6.49% decrease)
  3. Argentina -12 (1.60% decrease)
  4. Chile -11 (1.86% decrease)
  5. Germany -7 (4.61% decrease) 
  6. Australia -6 (1.98% decrease) 
  7. South Korea -5 (4.85% decrease)
  8. Russia -5 (5.15% decrease)
  9. United Kingdom -4 (1.24% decrease)
  10. Italy -4 (4.12% decrease)
  11. Colombia -4 (1.63% decrease)
  12. Canada -4 (0.81% decrease)
Previous lists for annual congregational growth by country are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2018

The Church has released year-end 2018 membership and congregation totals for most nations with a reported Church presence. These statistics can be accessed on Church's official website at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2018 (10% or greater) are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage, which is followed by the country's membership at year-end 2018. Countries in bold experienced an annual membership increase greater than 200 during 2018. 

  1. Rwanda - 25.7% - 749
  2. Montenegro - 21.1% - 23
  3. Angola - 19.3% - 2,933
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina - 15.9% - 80
  5. Israel - 15.3% - 332
  6. Togo - 14.6% - 4,736
  7. Mozambique - 13.3% - 12,274
  8. Solomon Islands - 12.8% - 1,240
  9. Benin - 11.5% - 3,463
  10. Cote d'Ivoire - 11.1% - 48,776
  11. Sint Maarten - 10.4% - 277
Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership increase for the year 2018. Each country is provided with the numerical national increase in membership. Additionally, the percentage of total church membership increase is provided for each country. Lists are also available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. 73.7% of the 2018 net increase in Church membership can be attributed to the following 10 nations. 
  1. United States - 39,943 - 20.4%
  2. Mexico - 20,391 - 10.4%
  3. Philippines - 19,771 - 10.1%
  4. Peru - 14,771 - 7.6%
  5. Nigeria - 13,535 - 6.9%
  6. Brazil - 10,817 - 5.5%
  7. Argentina - 8,455 - 4.3%
  8. Ghana - 5,586 - 2.8%
  9. Guatemala - 5,306 - 2.7%
  10. Ecuador - 4,921 - 2.1%
With the country-by-country breakdown for membership in 2018, it can be determined what countries appear primarily responsible for the significant slowdown in membership growth in 2018 compared to 2017. These countries include:
  1. Brazil (18,855 members less than 2017 increase)
  2. United States (9,748 members less than 2017 increase)
  3. Venezuela (2,199 members less than 2017 increase)
Additionally, it appears that the Church has stopped reporting membership for some sensitive countries with a Church presence in its overall membership totals reported in General Conference. In recent years, this number has generally ranged from 10,000 to 20,000. The bulk of this membership consists of members who live in mainland China (estimated at more than 10,000 members, Pakistan (estimated at approximately 4,400 members), and Saudi Arabia (estimated at approximately 1,500 members). Furthermore, the Church has not published membership and congregational data for year-end 2018 for Russia for the first time even though information about the Church in Russia in regards to the locations of its congregations remains public. At most recent report in year-end 2017, the Church in Russia had 23,252 members. Therefore, the sum of Church membership for Russia and sensitive countries should equal approximately 40,000, yet the Church's year-end 2018 membership totals for countries listed on the Newsroom site (16,251,031) is only 25,339 short of the worldwide total reported for year-end 2018 per the annual statistical report figure (16,313,735). Thus, there appears to have been an error in reporting the worldwide total for Church membership for year-end 2018, or the Church has stopped reporting its membership for sensitive countries in world totals, which would result in a decrease of approximately 15,000-20,000 members from what would ordinary be reported.

I will provide additional analysis of year-end 2018 membership by country in the coming days.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Andorra

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for the European micro-state of Andorra. The Church has operated the Andorra Branch since 1993 although the branch has held its meetings in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain since the early 2010s. Nevertheless, a member group was recently reestablished within the country of Andorra a couple years ago. There appear to be less than one hundred members in the country today. See below for the Future Prospects section of the article:

The continued operation of the Andorra Branch without the permanent assignment of full-time missionaries for significant periods of time in the past two decades indicates that local leadership and active membership are self-reliant and capable of fulfilling administrative tasks with minimal mentoring and supervision from missionaries and mission leaders. There has been good progress in the 2010s with the augmentation of church attendance from approximately thirteen in mid-2011 to thirty by early 2018. The establishment of a member group that assembles within Andorra has appeared primarily responsible for increases in Church attendance and reactivation efforts. Low receptivity to non-Catholic denominations will likely continue and result in stagnant membership growth for the foreseeable future unless local members are able to develop proselytism approaches culturally tailored to the needs and societal conditions of Andorra. Progress with the Church in Andorra within the foreseeable future will likely center on Spanish-speaking Latin Americans who live in the country for employment purposes as they are the most receptive group according to reports from full-time missionaries. However, the group in Andorra is vulnerable for closure in the future due to the small size of active membership and lack of adequate numbers of local leadership to staff an official branch. Moreover, the transient nature of members who temporarily live in the country for employment purposes poses challenges for long-term stability for the Church in Andorra, specifically with leadership development.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Eight New Temples - Analysis

See below for an analysis of the eight new temples announced today by President Russell M. Nelson. This marks the third most temples ever announced on a single day after October 7th, 2018 (12 temples) and April 1st, 1981 (nine temples). This group of locations probably constitutes the most unusual cohort of temples ever announced by the Church to date given the small size of Church membership in these locations, historically slow growth in most of these locations, and geographical distribution. Also, I believe this marks the first time when I did not accurately predict any of temples actually announced in General Conference per my top ten list I publish within the month before General Conference (five of the eight temples were on the map of 55 likely and 38 less likely locations for future temples).

The location and number of temple announcements within the past year suggests a significant shift to build temples in areas where there have historically been long-term membership in the Church regardless of the number of stakes or current/recent growth rates. For example, half of the new temples announced today have not had a new stake organized within the probable future temple district during the past decade. Also, most of the temples announced would service small Latter-day Saint populations. For example, of the eight new temples announced only three temples appear likely to service more than five stakes (Tooele Valley, Utah; Antofagasta, Chile; San Pedro Sula, Honduras). This suggests a shift to reinstituting small temples like during President Gordon B. Hinckley's presidency of the Church. Also, there remain many locations where steady growth has occurred in the past 1-2 decades, but no temples have been announced, such as Rogers, Arkansas; Benin City, Nigeria; and Santa Cruz, Bolivia to name a few. I believe we may see 5-15 new temples announced per General Conference going forward given this recent shift in temple construction.

Pago Pago Samoa Temple
The Pago Pago Samoa Temple will be the Church's first temple in the United States territory of American Samoa and second temple in the Samoan Islands. With a mere population of 51,000 according to the CIA World Factbook estimate, American Samoa is now the country/territory with the smallest population with a temple dedicated, under construction, or announced. The Church has reported steady growth in American Samoa for many years. The Church initially announced a temple in Samoa for American Samoa in 1977, but moved the location from Pago Pago to Apia, Samoa in 1980 to better meet the needs of Samoan members who were most heavily concentrated on Upolu. The population of American Samoa in 2018 was the same as it was in the early 1990s, yet Church membership increased from 12,000 to 16,390. Between 2000 and 2018, the number of stakes increased from four to five, the number of wards increased from 29 to 38, the number of branches remained unchanged (5), and the percentage of members in the population increased from 22.2% to approximately 32%. Based upon year-end 2017 membership data, American Samoa was previously the country/territory with the fourth most members without a temple. It is anticipated that the new temple will services five stakes - all of which are located in American Samoa.

Okinawa City Okinawa Temple
The Okinawa City Okinawa Temple will be the Church's fourth temple in the sovereign nation of Japan. The new temple will likely serve only one stake and one district - both of which are headquartered on Okinawa. The Church previously had two stakes in Okinawa, but closed one of the stakes (Ginowan Japan Stake - created in 1999) in 2014 and combined many of the Japanese-speaking congregations on the island. Today, the Okinawa Japan Stake (organized in 1980) has five wards and three branches. The Okinawa Japan Military District (organized in 1979) has four branches, three of which are located on Okinawa. The Church also briefly operated a mission in Okinawa between 1990 and 1996. Okinawa has a population of 1.4 million people. The announcement of the Okinawa City Okinawa Temple came as a complete surprise to me given the small size of the Church in Okinawa and the lack of growth on the island in recent years. This development suggests that the Church may announce temples in many additional, remote locations around the world where only one or two stakes operate, such as Fairbanks, Alaska; Puerto Arenas, Chile; and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Neiafu Tonga Temple
The Neiafu Tonga Temple will be the second temple to be built in Tonga after the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple was dedicated in 1983. The new temple is located on Vava'u and will likely service five stakes and two districts in central and northern islands of the country. The Church organized its first stake in Vava'u in 1975. Three additional stakes were organized in Vava'u in 1980, 1995, and 2017. 18.7% of the population of Vava'u identified as Latter-day Saint on the 2016 census. Church-reported membership for Tonga constitutes 60% of the population although individuals who self-identified as Latter-day Saint on the 2016 constituted only 19% of the population. Nevertheless, Latter-day Saints number among the fastest growing major churches in Tonga based on census data.

Tooele Valley Utah Temple
The Church announced its 21st temple in Utah in the Tooele Valley. The new temple will likely service the 10 stakes and one district in Tooele County, as well as the two stakes in Elko, Nevada for a total of 12 stakes and one district. The first stake in Tooele was organized in 1877. The number of stakes in the Tooele Valley has increased from six to 10 since 2000.

Moses Lake Washington Temple
The Moses Lake Washington Temple will be the Church's fourth temple in Washington. Temples have previously been dedicated in Seattle (1980), Spokane (1999), and Columbia River [located in Richland] (2001). The new temple appears likely to service only four stakes although a fifth stake may be organized in the foreseeable future from the Moses Lake Washington Stake (11 wards, 1 branch at present). Slow growth has occurred for the Church in the Moses Lake area of Washington, with the most recently organized stake in the probable future temple district being created in Ephrata in 1980. The first stake in the area likely to be serviced by the temple was organized in Moses Lake in 1954.

San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple
The San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple will be the Church's second temple in Honduras. The Church dedicated its first temple in Honduras, the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple, in 2013. Rapid growth has occurred in northern Honduras within the past decade as evidenced by the number of stakes increasing from nine in 2010 to 15 at present. The new temple will likely service 15 stakes and one district in northern Honduras.

Antofagasta Chile Temple
The Antofagasta Chile Temple will be the Church's third temple in Chile and first temple in northern Chile. The Church has previously dedicated temples in Santiago (1983) and Concepcion (2018). The new temple will likely service seven stakes and two districts in northern Chile. Prior to the announcement, Chile was the country with the most members with only two temples dedicated, under construction, or announced.

Budapest Hungary Temple
The Budapest Hungary Temple will be the Church's first temple in Hungary and third temple in Eastern Europe (excluding former East Germany) after the Kyiv Ukraine Temple (dedicated in 2010) and the Russia Temple (announced in 2018, city yet to be announced). The new temple will likely service three stakes (one in Hungary, two in Austria) and as many as eight districts in Hungary (2), Romania (2), Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The Church in Hungary has historically experienced some of the greatest growth for the Church in former communist Central Europe and Eastern Europe. However, the Church in Hungary nevertheless has only 5,250 members, of whom only about 1,000 regularly attend church. The new temple has good potential to help discourage Hungarian members from emigrating and strengthen the Church's sense of community.