Saturday, April 11, 2020

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 2019 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for April 2019, October 2018, April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007. 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 two years. Also, all of the countries on the list are located in Asia, Africa, or Oceania.

1. Kiribati
  • 20,946 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 38 congregations (11 wards, 27 branches)
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
2. Uganda
  • 17,887 members
  • 3 stakes, 3 districts
  • 36 congregations (16 wards, 20 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Nairobi Kenya Temple announced)
3. Mozambique
  • 15,032 members
  • 4 stakes, 2 districts
  • 47 congregations (25 wards, 22 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Harare Zimbabwe Temple announced)
4. Liberia
  • 14,538 members
  • 5 stakes, 1 district
  • 54 congregations (38 wards, 16 branches)
  • Accra Ghana Temple (Freetown Sierra Leone Temple announced)
5. Madagascar
  • 12,887 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 42 congregations (16 wards, 26 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Harare Zimbabwe Temple announced)
6. Mongolia
  • 12,261 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations (12 wards, 12 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Shanghai China Temple announced)
7. Malaysia
  • 10,845 members
  • 0 stakes, 6 districts
  • 31 congregations (31 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Bangkok Thailand Temple announced)
8. Vanuatu
  • 10,210 members
  • 1 stake, 3 districts
  • 37 congregations (5 wards, 32 branches)
  • Suva Fiji Temple 
9. Republic of the Congo 
  • 8,542 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 27 congregations (17 wards, 10 branches)
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
10. Indonesia
  • 7,561 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations (15 wards, 9 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Bangkok Thailand Temple under construction)


Eduardo said...

Is Kiribati (I believe pronounced KiribAHS) the archipelago or island that is so low lying that the ocean will overwhelm it with global warming? Or is it Tuvalu or Nauru? I always mix up things with those three.
Palau I think of differently, closer to the Philippines and I believe has highlands.
That makes me wonder how many islands around the world are supe low lying.
It could be tricky to build a temple in a place where the sea is displacing people in significant numbers.

Christopher Duerig said...

@Matt, just a small observation :

You have stated here that the Country of Mozambique is assigned to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.

According to this Deseret News Church News article, "...represented among the Latter-day Saints in the Durban temple district of South Africa’s East Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces as well as the nations of Lesotho and MOZAMBIQUE."


2nd, You have listed both Malaysia and Indonesia as assigned from the Hong Kong to the announced Bangkok Thailand Temple. Personally, I believe the Phnom Penh Cambodia temple is closer than the Bangkok Thailand. But that is just my opinion.

James said...

Hey, Chris! For Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Saints there are currently 925.9 miles from Bangkok, and 1,354.9 miles from Phnom Pehn. For Jakarta Indonesia, Saints there are 1,933.6 miles from Bangkok, and 2,326.5 miles from Phnom Pehn. So for both Malaysia and Indonesia, they are closer to Bangkok than they will be to Phnom Penh. So unless travel cost, rigor, or difficulty becomes a factor presented to the Saints in either nation, it would make sense if both Malaysia and Indonesia are assigned to Bangkok over Phnom Penh. Of course, I say that without knowing whether or not the Brethren will agree with that argument, or whatever other line of reasoning Matt used in compiling the data and information he shared in this post.

With no updated version of this list having been released in October of last year, I was gratified to see that the latest edition thereof justified my theory that Republic of the Congo and Indonesia would be the newest two additions thereunto. Aside from that, the data I compiled had led me to list Mongolia, Liberia, Madagascar, and Mozambique as third, fourth, fifth, and sixth on that list, whereas Matt's latest post has Mozambique, Liberia, Madagascar, and Mongolia as third, fourth, fifth, and sixth on that list. With the profound and significant Church growth which has occurred in Mozambique, it is no wonder that that nation has jumped ahead so far on that list.

I am grateful for Matt's analysis on this. With the exception of this last General Conference, President Nelson has habitually announced temples for 1-3 nations on the latest top ten list every six months. With a temple dedicated in Kinshasa, and another one just announced for Lubumbashi DR Congo, I could see the Church holding off on announcing a temple for the Republic of the Congo for the time being.

The same holds true for Uganda while the Nairobi Kenya temple is in the construction phase, at least for the moment. We also know that Liberia is experiencing financial hardship, above and beyond what COVID-19 has been doing, so that prospect may be delayed for the time being as well. And it wouldn't shoc me if a temple in Kiribati or Vanuatu were delayed for a bit as well until the other recently-announced temples are further along in Auckland New Zealand, Pago Pago American Samoa, Neiafu Tonga, and Port Moresby Papua New Guinea. But as I have said before, I am not convinced that the doomsday projections about Kiribati and Vanuatu being submerged within the next centery or less would be a deterrent to the Church's efforts to build temples in either or both nations in the near future.

In the meantime, unless I am mistaen, the only two nations on this latest edition of the top ten list may be Madagascar and Mongolia, both of which, in my opinion, are liely to see temples announced sooner rather than later. With Madagascar being separated from the rest of the continent by a large body of water, any temple to which the Saints therefrom are assigned will present a difficult hardship for the Saints to reach it, so that nation is the top African candidate on my list. And for Mongolia, no other temple which is in any phase will be any closer to the Saints in that nation than Hong ong is right now, so we may see action taken towards a temple in that nation sooner rather than later.

My thanks to Matt for this report, and to all of you for indugling me in this lengthy comment.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Nice to see this list again.

I like going back and seeing which countries have been knocked off the list by announcements over the last few years. And to see the numerical growth of the nations still on the list.

I wonder if, in a few conferences, all the ones on the list will be under 10,000?

John said...

Not quite related, but I was looking at the map recently. I wonder if Asheville might be a better choice for a temple site than Charlotte. That way it could reach the Kingsport stake and the two stakes in Knoxville better.

L. Chris Jones said...

I'm not sure in this case, but I think other factors over distance make a difference for an assigned temple. Some places may be easier to fly to as in price, number of weekly flights to another country, and diplomatic relations between countries such as the ease of getting a VISA or if one is needed

Christopher Duerig said...

On another note, while reviewing Rick's website, it looks like a possible candidate site for the announced Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Temple is about 25 miles north of the city in Cranberry, PA, next to the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania North Stakecenter.,-80.141991&z=17&m=google.hybrid&layers=temple,,temple.renovated,stakecenter&q=Pittsburgh%20Pennsylvania%20North%20Stake&find=stake:511498

John Pack Lambert said...

I think both Knoxville and Charlotte getting temples would make more sense than building a temple in Asheville. You want large local member populations to staff the temple and utilize it during the week. Plus Charlotte would he a temple for the Catawba who have been faithful members of the Church for well over 130 years. I think that group of Native Americans converted in large numbers in the 1880s.

John said...

I don't see Knoxville getting its own temple any time soon. And considering that Tallahassee is getting a temple and not Jacksonville, Asheville could be seen as an alternative to Charlotte that could better reach East Tennessee (currently going to Atlanta, Nashville, or Columbia, SC).

The Spencers said...

Eduardo, I believe you're thinking of the Marshall Islands, although Kiribati may be in the same predicament.
I can see a temple being built in Tarawa, Kiribati, to serve both of those nations. However, the temple in Guam may serve them instead.

twinnumerouno said...

The Spencers, I think you're right that the Marshall Islands will be served by the Guam temple, though the one in Papua New Guinea could be a little bit closer when that is built. (I say this based on looking at Rick's temple map, see URL below. I love maps but have no direct knowledge of distances and other travel issues in the Pacific area.)

If Kiribati is assigned to the Guam temple though, I will be surprised- it looks to me like Guam is farther from Kiribati than just about all the other Pacific temples, not counting New Zealand and Australia. I think Apia Samoa is the closest temple to Kiribati, at just under 1500 miles if the info I got from google is correct (the distance given from Kiribati to Guam is over 4000 miles). (Rick's temple map at appears to show Kiribati as being roughly the same distance from Samoa, Tahiti and Kona Hawaii, the 3 closest temples on his map. But it is very hard to get any map exactly to scale, and I don't expect it in this case. In any case, Guam is much farther away.)

As for the possibility of the Marshall Islands being assigned to a Kiribati temple, a search on Google gives 3 completely different answers for the distance between the two, so I don't have enough information to give an opinion. But Rick's temple map appears to show that Guam is closer than Kiribati. The distances are vast enough, well beyond Pres. Monson's 200 miles, that they will both probably have a temple when it is feasible- recent announcements suggest that the requirements may not be as high as some of us (I) have been in the habit of thinking.

Eduardo said...

It would be amazing if these Polynesian or Micronesian Islands were able to hold out from COVID-19 until a potential vaccine were found, possibly around 2022. Hurrah for the Saints there, holding out so far! I wonder if the missionaries are actively teaching more or less, or if they have technology sufficient to reach out to those interested or in spiritual need.
Three countries that have not reported virus cases in Asia must have them, in contrast. Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and North Korea.
Spiritually, I believe this pandemic is touching and moving people in significant ways. In social media I have seen many people rededicated to attendance. I hope this has a temple affect, too. And family history compilation should be higher, right? What about indexing?
What are the top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas without a temple? Charlotte and Hampton Roads have to be two of them. San Jose, CA, too, plus Milwaukee. And Jacksonville.

Keaton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Anderson said...

This will gove some interesting thinking going on in the Family History Department at church headquarters, I gave some details elsewhere.

Says that at most in some areas, we have only an 11 percent engagement rate in family history in terms of logins, name submission, and other tnings. If you are a leader (not a counselor or secretary unless you are in a bishopric, the Family History Activity Report will show you stats for your ward and stake, it is in LCR.

The Spencers said...

Unless it's changed in the last couple of years, the Marshall Islands and Kiribati are part of the same mission (I assume due to proximity and similarity in languages). That doesn't necessarily mean they would be assigned to the same temple, though. There are several factors that affect it. I think language is one. Diplomatic relations are another since that affects the ease of travel between nations. Even ocean and wind currents affect sea and air travel patterns in the Pacific. With Kiribati being north of the equator, that may make a difference. I don't know.

Thomas Jay Kemp said...

James Anderson spoke to the engagement rate of members with Family History.
As a random survey to the readers of this blog:

1. This year - did you personally login to FamilySearch? Add a photo or story? Add a name or source to the Family Tree?
2. This year - have you used the Ordinances Ready app/feature to print cards to take to the Temple?
3. Has EVERY person in your household done 1 or 2 above? (Yes - even children can do this - you just need to use the 'Help Others' option to help your children log in and print cards in THEIR own name. Try that - its awe inspiring for the kids).

Often members rely on one person in the household or family to supply family file cards to the entire family.
What is your pattern?
1. One person in our household prints all of the family file cards from their FamilySearch account for us.
2. A family member living elsewhere sends us cards to take to the Temple.
3. We usually get family file cards from friends.
4. We seldom/never take family file cards to the Temple - we use the name slips provided by the Temple.


Bkfarnbachjourneys said...

Here are some answers.
1. Yes. Yes. Yes.
2. Yes
3. Yes (first year though)

Pattern: Both supply names but one does more than the others.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Thomas Jay Kemp

1. Yes. Yes. Yes.
2. Yes
3. No. The 3 adults have, but I don't believe the kids have.

2 of the adults in the household usually print off the temple names. The other adult and occasionally some of the older kids do it (usually for a youth activity).

Eduardo said...

Thomas: good questions. These questions should spur us to do more. I have done some family history work online, but not enough with the temple. Looking forward to DC Temple re-opening, but I could still do more.
I would like to put these questions to my wife and kids.

coachodeeps said...

1. Yes, yes, yes.
2. Yes. (Love it!)
3. No, 4 of 5 old enough, yes. Teaching my children one at a time during no church.

Pattern: Though I work on my family history, much of the work for my direct and most indirect lines have been completed back to 1600 or before. My uncle is working his wife's lines from Italy and has several thousand names that need the work done, so we have been helping him. We have done hundreds of names from the same area in Italy and these records have just recently been made available to the church and FamilySearch. In fact, he found the records by indexing them and fell upon a name that read familiar to his wife. Amazing how the Lord works!

Anyway, Working my own wife's lines, similar findings, some new areas to work there.

However, we have adopted two of our children and I have just started working their lives in the last year as we were able to gather some much needed information to get us back to those who have passed away (Great grandparents). We quickly hit a road block on several lines, but are making some progress! Just this past Sunday, my daughter and I were blessed to find the obituary to her great grandmother and it gave tons of information on the family we didn't know. Next step is to find birth and death dates and places for these people and it will open up many things.

I have been adding pictures and details of close ancestors and current living family for many years and have taught many others how to do this, but this is my first real opportunity to work on family history that is going to give fruit of ordinance work to be performed. I am excited and learning so much!

Thomas Jay Kemp said...

@Bkfarnbachjourneys @Johnathan Reese Whiting @Eduardo @coachodeeps

Thank you - good to have a snapshot of what others are doing.
@coachodeeps - you say "4 of 5 old enough" - remember that EVERY child can do this - the 2 year or the 102 year old. You gate in the younglings by using 'Help Others' and then you login as them. Let the little ones press the buttons joining in the gathering. EVERY member has a FamilySearch account by being a member of the Church. So, nothing to 'set up'

Why? Give the youngest members of your family the joy of participating in the Temple - years before they are able to attend in person. Give them the joy of 'gathering' by printing cards in THEIR own name - that they give to their older siblings or to the ward to complete the work.

Like this Conference - it will be memorable - unforgetable for them and the family - on both sides of the veil.

We can do this.


coachodeeps said...

I hadn't thought about doing that, Tom. I will give it a try for my youngest.

James said...

Tom, in answer to your survey (sorry to be late to the game):

1. Yes. No. No. (The latter two answers are mainly due to ongoing health issues my wife and i have been having for the last couple of years that have limited our ability to be too involved with FamilySearch for the moment.
2. No (Also due to health).
3. No (Also due to health).

Pattern questions:
The only one that really applies is the note that my mom's family (particularly her and her youngest brother) have been sending me ordinance cards for which I can reserve temple ordinances, but since going to the temple has not been a feasible possiblity right now, and even before that time, within the last 2-3 years, my ability to do temple work at all has been limited, since there has been a string of weeks or months where, aside from regular doctor appointments or occasionally being able to attend a Church service, I have been stuck at home due to mostly my own health issues, but occasionally those of my wife as well.

The one good thing for our situation that may come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is that now, just about all of the people in our assigned Church congregation are having the same kind of experience (where a situation beyond their control is keeping them at home for an extended period of time) that we have been having on our end for the last several years. So this pandemic may in some way lead to greater understanding of our current situation.

For what it's worth, those are just some thoughts from me. Thanks.