Sunday, September 6, 2020

New Stakes Created in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Wyoming


The Church organized a new stake in Florida on August 23rd. The Orlando Florida West Stake was organized from a division of the Lakeland Florida Stake, Leesburg Florida Stake, and the Orlando Florida South Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards and one branch: the Avalon, Buena Vists YSA, Citrus Ridge, Davenport, Lake Crescent, Lake Louisa, Lake Reams, and Winter Garden Wards, and the Bear Bay (Mandarin) Branch. The new stake is the Church's sixth stake organized in Florida since 2015. 

There are now 34 stakes in Florida.


The Church organized a new stake in Georgia on August 16th. The Newnan Georgia Stake was organized from a division of the Colombus Georgia, Fayetteville Georgia Stake, and Powder Springs Georgia Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Carrollton, Flat Creek, Newnan, Peachtree City, Sharpsburg, and Summer Grove Wards, and the LaGrange, Lanett, and West Georgia YSA Branches. The Newnan Georgia Stake is the Church's third new stake organized in the past two years after the Coal Mountain Georgia Stake (2018) and the Winder Georgia Stake (2020).

There are now 19 stakes in Georgia. 


The Church organized a new stake in Massachusetts on August 30th. The Worcester Massachusetts Stake was organized from a division of the Blackstone Valley Massachusetts Stake, the Springfield Massachusetts Stake, and the Nashua New Hampshire Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Acton, Gardner, Littleton, Oxford, Worcester 1st, and Worcester 2nd Wards, and the Worcester 3rd (Spanish) Branch. The new stake is the Church's third new stake organized in Massachusetts since 2016 following new stakes in North Shore (2016) and Blackstone Valley (2017). 

There are now seven stakes in Massachusetts.


The Church organized a new stake in Wyoming on August 30th. The new stake was created from a division of the Gillette Wyoming Stake and the Billings Montana East Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Buffalo, Colstrip, Sheridan 1st, Sheridan 2nd, and Sheridan 3rd Wards, and the Ranchester and Sheridan YSA Branches. 

There are now 18 stakes in Wyoming.

New Temple Predictions - September 2020 Edition

I have updated my temple prediction map in preparation for General Conference in October. It is unclear whether or not the Church will announce additional temples this coming conference given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of proxy ordinance work for deceased persons. Nevertheless, the Church may announce new temples this conference given the steady trend in new temple announcements that has continued for several years. As a result, I have updated my list of the top 10 most likely locations to have a temple announced.

Data used to identify probable locations for future temples include the size of the Church in a specific geographical area (i.e. number of stakes and districts, the number of wards and branches), the age of the oldest stake in a specific geographical area, church growth trends, distance to the nearest temple, number of endowment sessions scheduled at the nearest temple, and member and missionary reports regarding member activity, temple attendance, and convert retention. In September 2019, I divided prospective temple sites into more likely and less likely categories. This change appeared warranted given recent trends of temple announcements in remote areas of the world with few relatively Latter-day Saints, such as Tallahassee, Florida; Cobán, Guatemala; Budapest, Hungary; and Okinawa, Japan, that appear less likely to receive temple announcements given historical trends. Altogether, there are 131 potential temples on the map (40 more like temples, 91 less likely temples).

Locations added to the temple prediction map include:

    • Noumea, New Caledonia (less likely)
    • East London, South Africa (less likely)
    The following 10 locations appear most likely to have temples announced this coming General Conference if any new temples are announced. You are welcome to provide your top 10 picks for temple announcements in the comments below.
    1. Santa Cruz, Bolivia 
    2. Monrovia, Liberia 
    3. Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines
    4. Tarawa, Kiribati
    5. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
    6. Missoula, Montana
    7. Colorado Springs, Colorado 
    8. Santiago or Tuguegarao, Philippines 
    9. Charlotte, North Carolina
    10. Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

    See below for the map of likely and less likely new temple sites:

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020

    New Branches Created in Botswana and Namibia

    Last month, the Church organized two new branches in the Botswana/Namibia Mission in cities where no branches have previously operated. 

    The Ongwediva Branch was created in northern Namibia and becomes the first branch to ever operate in this region of the country. The Church has operated a member group for a number of years in the small city of approximately 20,000 people. Remote location has posed a major difficulty for the Church to become established in Ongwediva as the nearest city in Namibia with a branch is Windhoek - more than 350 miles away. Other missionary-focused Christian groups have reported rapid growth in this area of the Church, and the creation of the new branch may present additional opportunities to channel resources into this area of Namibia. There are only three cities in Namibia with a branch: Windhoek (3), Ongwediva, and Swakopmund. Swakopmund was previously the most recently reached city in Namibia by the Church as the branch in the city was organized in 2015. Ongwediva was the ninth most populous city in Namibia without a branch prior to the branch creation.

    The Serowe Branch was created in Botswana last Sunday. Serowe is the first city in Botswana to have had its first Latter-day Saint branch organized since 2014 when the Mogoditshane Ward was created. There are now nine cities in Botswana with a ward or branch. Serowe was previously the second most populous city in Botswana without a ward or branch.