Saturday, May 30, 2020

May 2020 Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access the May 2020 monthly newsletter for

Updated Country Profile - Portugal

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Portugal. Portugal holds the distinction of the European country with the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints at 0.44%, but it also ranks among the countries with the lowest member activity rates (estimated at 11%). Convert retention rates for the past decade have generally been about 50% for one year after baptism for new converts. However, the bulk of Church membership in Portugal joined the Church between 1980 and 1995 when adequate pre-baptismal standards were not widely enforced. See below for the Future Prospects section for this article.

Portugal continues to present a receptive population to Latter-day Saint missionary efforts in comparison to other European countries as evidenced by generally 500-1,000 new converts baptized a year in only one mission. However, poor convert retention and low member activity accumulating over the past several decades have presented major concerns and have contributed to the closure of many branches and difficulties for districts to mature into stakes. Rejection of past rush-baptize tactics and rebuilding of mission policies based on scriptural mandates and the need for converts to firmly establish basic gospel habits prior to baptism will be key to the Church’s long-term efforts to experience real growth and develop a stable, self-sustaining and self-perpetuating local membership. Reestablishing a Church presence in cities that formerly had mission outreach centers will be vital to expanding nation outreach in Portugal, and this has already begun to occur within the past decade with some sustained success as most of these branches have continued to operate for many years now with local branch presidents. However, congregation consolidations have continued to occur, particularly in the largest cities. Youth involvement in church education programs like seminary, institute, family history and temple work, and missionary preparation classes may ensure greater convert retention and member activity, in addition to increasing the size of the local missionary force.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Updated Country Profile - Italy

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Italy. The Church reestablished missionary activity in Italy in 1966, and today there are approximately 27,500 members nationwide. The Church has achieved significant progress with the establishment of stakes in the country and the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple in 2019. There were only three stakes in 2000, whereas today there are 10 stakes. However, the establishment of stakes has come at the cost of closing dozens of branches to establish larger congregations due to slow membership growth during this period. Consequently, the Church in Italy maintained a more widespread presence in the late 1990s than 20 years later even though Church membership increased by over 11,000 during this time. Nevertheless, the Church in Italy has many strong wards with as many as 150 active members today. However, the Church will need to reverse its trend of declining national outreach in order to achieve greater growth. See below for the Future Prospects section of this article:

The trend of decreasing numbers of congregations and missionaries during the past two decades has resulted in more limited national outreach. Although membership has matured in many areas, smaller cities and rural areas have seen little or no progress in the growth of the Church over the past two decades. Long-term growth and self-sufficiency of the Church will largely depend on increasing native-Italian missionaries, breakthroughs in outreach among Italians, and a sustained reversal of congregational declines. Some positive developments have occurred in lieu of the Rome Italy Temple announcement and dedication, such as increasing convert baptisms of full Italian families. However, the Church in Italy continues to struggle with a lack of progress among Italian members and expanding the Church’s outreach rather than consolidating it. With the entire country administered by stakes as of 2020, stake presidents may have better opportunities to identify cities and towns which appear favorable to begin member groups to help spur greater growth. In sum, future Latter-day Saint growth in Italy will strongly depend on the local Italian Church’s ability to be self-sufficient in leadership and missionary needs, and the mobilization of local members to take the lead to find, prepare, and fellowship new converts who develop a lifelong conversion to the Church.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Updated Statistical Profiles - Provinces and Territories of Canada

See below for a list of province and territory statistical profiles for Canada which I have recently posted on With the exception of Alberta, none of these profiles have been posted previously. In general, the Church in Canada has reported essentially stagnant membership growth in most provinces or territories. The percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population has been stagnant or has declined for the past 10-20 years in essentially all provinces and territories with the exception of Quebec.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Updated Country Profile - Switzerland

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Switzerland. Switzerland has the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints of any Central European country, although only 0.11% of the population is a Latter-day Saint on Church records. The Church in Switzerland has a strong and highly self-sufficient leadership which contributed to Switzerland's selection as the location for the first European temple in the 1950s. Furthermore, Church leadership in Switzerland is also skilled and has very few Church employees who also serve in local lay positions. Nevertheless, very slow membership growth has occurred for decades and only 34% of Church-reported members regularly attend worship services. Significant ethnic diversification of Latter-day Saint congregations in Switzerland has occurred in the past two decades due to higher receptivity among immigrants, particularly from Latin America and Africa. See below for the Future Prospects section of this article:

Slow Latter-day Saint membership growth and a decline in the number of congregations during the 2000s and 2010s indicate modest convert retention rates and no recent expansion of national outreach. The creation of two new stakes and the maturation of several branches into wards during this period illustrates some progress strengthening existing congregations and local leadership, but many of these developments may be due to the influx of immigrant converts. Switzerland demonstrates that a mature church presence that has been established for decades longer than in most European nations does not guarantee greater potential for national outreach expansion, and, more often, national outreach declines over time as active Latter-day Saint populations form tight-knit socio-religious communities and reduce their interaction with the general population. Latter-day Saint populations appear much more stable in Switzerland than in many other Central European nations, but little church growth will likely occur unless greater member involvement in missionary activity occurs, along with adapting proselytism and teaching approaches to nominal Christian and secular Swiss populations. The creation and growth of the Frauenfeld Ward in the 1990s and 2000s and the growth of the church among English and Spanish-speakers in Geneva and Zurich illustrate that potential for church growth remains but requires vision, flexibility, and utilization of opportunities by local members and church leaders alike.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Updated Country Statistical Profiles - May 8th, 2020

See below for a list of updated country statistical profiles on All countries and territories with data reported on the Church Newsroom site have now been updated with 2019 figures. I will next update state and province profiles for the United States and Canada.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Updated Country Statistical Profiles - May 1st, 2020

See below for a list of additional country statistical profiles that have been updated on

Archived Newsletters - October 2012-Present

Thanks to our website designer, Zeeshan Ahmad, we have uploaded all of the monthly newsletters for since we began these newsletters back in October 2012. Click here to access the newsletter archive. Going forward, we will be posting the monthly newsletters directly to the site. Enjoy!