Sunday, July 18, 2021

New Stakes Created in the Philippines (4), Utah (2), Brazil, Cabo Verde, the DR Congo, Finland, Michigan, and Nigeria; New District Created in Brazil; District Reinstated in Canada; Stakes Discontinued in Japan (3) and California (2); Districts Discontinued in Brazil and Moldova

I apologize for the delay with updates on stake/district organizations and discontinuations. I am optimistic that I will been more consistent with these updates in the weeks and months ahead.

The Philippines 

The Church has organized four new stakes in the Philippines.

The Marikina Philippines East Stake was organized on May 23rd from a division of the Antipolo Philippines Stake and the Marikina Philippines Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Bagong Nayon, Cogeo, Marikina 6th, Sumulong 1st, and Sumulong 2nd Wards. 

The Cauayan Philippines Stake was organized on May 30th from the Cauayan Philippines District. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Cabatuan, Cauayan Isabela 1st, Cauayan Isabela 2nd, Cauayan Isabela 3rd, and San Mateo Wards, and the Naguilian and Victoria Branches. The original Cauayan Philippines District was organized in 1996.

The Vigan Philippines Stake was organized from the Vigan Philippines District on June 13th. All five branches in the former district were reorganized into wards, including the Cabugao, Santo Domingo, Sinait, Vigan 1st, and Vigan 2nd Wards. The Vigan Philippines District was originally organized in 2002 from a division of the Narvacan Philippines Stake (which was later renamed the Candon Philippines Stake). 

The Tagum Philippines Stake was organized from the Tagum Philippines District on June 27th. Five of the six branches in the former district were reorganized into wards. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Maco, Tagum 1st, Tagum 2nd, Tagum 3rd, and Tagum 4th Wards, and the Kapalong Branch. The original Tagum Philippines District was organized in 1993. The new stake is the Church's third stake in the Philippines Butuan Mission - a mission in the Philippines (organized in 2006) which had only one stake until 2018. There remain six districts in the Philippines Butuan Mission.

There are now 122 stakes and 57 districts in the Philippines. Despite significant progress with dozens of districts becoming stakes in the past decade, the Philippines continues to have the most districts of any country in the Church. Brazil is the country with the second most districts at 39.


The Church has organized two new stakes in Utah on June 6th.

The Heber City Utah Old Mill Stake was organized from a division of the Heber City Utah Stake, the Heber City Utah East Stake, and the Heber City Utah North Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards and one branch: the Cobblestone, Heber 3rd, Heber 4th, Heber 7th, Heber 15th, Old Mill 1st, Old Mill 2nd, and Old Mill 3rd Wards, and the Heber 13th (Spanish) Branch. There are now six stakes in Wasatch County.

The Hyrum Utah West Stake was organized from a division of the Hyrum Utah Stake and the Hyrum Utah North Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Hyrum 1st, Hyrum 3rd, Hyrum 5th, Hyrum 6th, Hyrum 10th, Hyrum 11th, Hyrum 13th, and Little Bear Wards. There are now 38 stakes in Cache County.

There are now 619 stakes and two districts in Utah.


The Church organized a new stake in Brazil on June 6th. The Palhoça Brazil Stake was organized from a division of the São José Brazil Stake. The new stake includes the following four wards and one branch: the Fazenda do Max, Forquilhinhas, Palhoça, and Pedra Branca Wards, and the Santo Amaro Branch. There are now 10 stakes in Santa Catarina State.

The Church organized a new district in Brazil on May 2nd. The Campo Maior Brazil District was organized from three mission branches in the Brazil Teresina Mission. The new district includes the Campo Maior, Piripiri, and Surubim Branches. Two of the branches in the district (Campo Maior and Surubim) are located in the city of Campo Maior. There are now three stakes and two districts in Piaui State.

The Church discontinued a district in Brazil. The Ipoméia Brazil District was discontinued and branches that pertained to the former district were reassigned to the Chapecó Brazil Stake and the Lages Brazil Stake. The district was originally organized in 1990 and included five branches when it was discontinued. The district was likely discontinued because it had no realistic prospects to become a stake in the foreseeable future, but there appear to be at least two branches which may become wards now that they are within the boundaries of a stake.

Cabo Verde

The Church organized a new stake in Cabo Verde on June 6th. The Assomada Cape Verde Stake was organized from the Assomada Cape Verde District (organized in 2015) and the Praia Cape Verde Stake (organized in 2012). The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Achada Grande, Achada Mato, Assomada 1st, Assomada 2nd, Praia 2nd, and Tarrafal Wards, and the Calheta, Pedra Badejo, and Ribeirão Manuel Branches. The Church discontinued one branch (Chão Bom) in the district as part of the organization of the new stake in order for one of the units to be large enough to become a ward (Tarrafal). 

There are now four stakes and one district in Cabo Verde.

DR Congo

A new stake was organized in the DR Congo on July 4th. The Kikula Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake was organized from a division of the Likasi Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (organized in 2016). The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Kakanda, Kakontwe 1st, Kakontwe 2nd, Kelangile, Kikula 1st, and Kikula 2nd Wards, and the Dipeta, Fungurume, and Kambove Branches. The new stake primarily consists of congregations in the western half of the city of Kikula, albeit the new stake also includes congregations in three additional cities (Fungurume, Kakanda, and Kambove). 

There are now 24 stakes and 6 districts in the DR Congo.


The Church organized its first new stake in Finland since 1983. The Jyväskylä Finland Stake was organized from three districts and two wards from neighboring stakes in southern Finland on May 16th. Of the five wards in the new stake, three were organized from branches in the former districts. Use of technology and steady or increasing numbers of active members in northern Finland appear primarily responsible for the creation of the new stake. The Church in Finland has one of the highest member activity rates in the developed world (as high as 50% attending Church regularly, 66% of Church-reported membership self-affiliated on the census in 2015) which is attested by the Church operating three stakes in the country even though there are slightly less than 5,000 members on the records. However, the Church closed two branches as part of the new stake’s creation—a significant negative development considering the last time the Church had discontinued a congregation in Finland was in 2006. Nevertheless, the Church in Finland has roughly maintained the same number of congregations in Finland (approximately 30) for decades, whereas the Church in most European nations has experienced a significant consolidation of wards and branches since 2000.


The Church organized a new stake in Michigan - the first time a new stake has been organized in Michigan since the Kalamazoo Michigan Stake was created in 1979. The new stake was organized on May 23rd from the Ann Arbor Michigan Stake, the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake, and the Westland Michigan Stake, and it includes the following six wards: the Commerce, Farmington Hills, Howell, Livonia, Northville, and White Lake Wards. The Church in Michigan has experienced stagnant congregational growth and extremely slow membership growth in recent years. The creation of the stake was unusual given that none of the stakes in the Detroit area were large and ready to divide prior to the creation of the new stake. However, on rare occasions the Church has organized new stakes in such situations which has appeared prompted by efforts to provide more leadership mentoring and a lower ratio of members to Church leaders. 

There are now nine stakes and one district in Michigan.


The Church organized a new stake in Nigeria. The Ijebu-Ode Nigeria Stake was organized on May 30th from the Ijebu-Ode Nigeria District (organized in 1993). The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Ilese, Imodi, Imushin, Irewon, Isoku, and Sagamu Wards, and the Ago-Iwoye, Igbeba, and Ijebu-Ife Branches. Of the congregations assigned to the new stake, two units were created at the same time the stake was organized (the Imushin Ward and the Igbeba Branch). 

There are now 61 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria.


The Church reinstated a district in Canada. The Québec City District was reinstated (originally organized in 1977), and the district was organized from a division of the Longueuil Quebec Stake. Information of the Church's official meetinghouse locator website appears to remain incomplete on which branches are assigned to the reinstated district. However, there are likely at least seven branches assigned to the district (Alma, Charlesbourg, Chicoutimi, Lévis, Québec, Rimouski, and Victoriaville).

There are now three stakes and one district in Québec, and there are now 52 stakes and five districts in Canada.


The Church discontinued three stakes in Japan. The Church discontinued the Fujisawa Japan Stake (organized in 1998), the Musashino Japan Stake (organized in 1982), and the Saitama Japan Stake (organized in 1977). Approximately half a dozen congregations closed at approximately the same time as the discontinuation of these three stakes. All three of the stakes were located in the Tokyo metropolitan area and each had six wards (and the Fujisawa Japan Stake also had one branch as well). The Church in Japan has gradually consolidated congregations in the Tokyo metropolitan area over the past two decades, and the decision to discontinue the stakes was likely prompted due to an insufficient number of congregations to continue to operate the status quo number of stakes in the area. The Church in Japan reached an all-time high of 31 stakes in 2000. With the closure of the three stakes, there are now 25 stakes and 13 districts in Japan. Annual membership growth rates in Japan have been less than one percent since 2003.


The Church discontinued two stakes in California. The San Diego California North Stake (organized in 1969) and the Santee California Stake (organized in 1985) were discontinued, and remaining congregations in these stakes were reassigned to neighboring stakes. These changes resulted in the number of stakes in the San Diego area decreasing from six to four. Decades of active membership leaving the area combined with an insufficient number of converts joining the Church or members moving to the area to offset these loses has been principally responsible for this decline. The Church most recently had discontinued the San Diego Sweetwater Stake in 2016. 

There are now 149 stakes in California. The Church in California reported an all-time high of 162 stakes in 1995.


The Church discontinued its sole district in Moldova. The Chisinau Moldova District (originally organized in 2009) was discontinued, and the Balti and Orhei Branches were also closed. There remain only two branches in Moldova - both of which are located in Chisinau. The Church in Moldova has reported very slow growth since its initial establishment in the late 1990s. There were 430 members on Church records in Moldova as of year-end 2019.


Unknown said...

I hope and pray for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California. Maybe and hopefully in my lifetime, the church will see a comeback in new convert baptisms and member reactivations. So that way they can reverse the decline and reinstate recently discontinued stakes while also even creating new stakes. I wish there was more that the church can do other than proselyting and traditional missionary work. There is still so much potential in the state of California and I remain optimistic about the future.


Danny said...

Californians are choosing move to states that are more favorable to them. I wish I had the data to show that conservative and religious are leaving the state, but this could simply be demographics aging and moving to more retirement friendly tax areas. Sell the expensive California home and live in a cheap cost of living state is a pretty standard retirement plan for millions reaching their 60s.

Eduardo said...

Being in the San Bernardino Spanish Branch from 2003 to 2005, we baptized a good number of converts. Many members wished to move away, some went to Utah, others back to their native lands.

MainTour said...

So were two districts discontinued in Finland then? They are not on your list.

John Pack Lambert said...

8 wards seems high for a new stake. I still have Heber City on rhe short list for new temples, but have to admit stake numbers make a temple in Spanish Fork or Mapleton more likely short term. Of course half the temple announced in April surprised me, so what doI know.

John Pack Lambert said...

Santa Catarina state has 10 stakes but no temple. I would not be surprised if a temple isannounced for there.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Farmington Hills Michigan Stake also took a ward from the Grand Blanc Michigan Stake. I know this because my sister is in that ward and was in the Grand Blanc Stake and has not moved. It is the White Lake Ward. That ward wasformed by splitting the Clarkston Ward a week before the stake was organized. On the other hand the Brighton Ward in the Ann Arbor stake was elimanated shortly before the boundary changes with most of that ward going to Howell Ward and the new stake. However I belueve southern portions of the old Howell Ward and the old Brighton Ward were moved to Chelsea and Ann Arbor 1st Wards and stayed in the Ann Arbor Stake. I have to wonder though if there may be plans to shortly realign boundaries within the new Farmington Hills Stake.

John Pack Lambert said...

While conversions, retentions and reactivations could be higher in California, the problem is not realky that any of these are low.

An unspoken issue is family size decline and marriage postponement, but these are not unique problems to California.

Housing costs is not good for young families, so this does have an impact.

The problem in California is the number of active members dieing and moving out far exceeds those becoming adults and moving in.

California is lisinga congressional district. Its population is still growing but not at the rates it was in the past.

Rhe net loss of stakes in California is only 13, but the total number that once were there and no longer are is more.

There are some areas of California that are currently at their highest number of stakes.

The situation is domewhat driven by state wide policies but also by local dynamics both in and outside the Church. California is either tied with Utah or one ahead for the most non-English speKing stakes in the US. California is at 3 or 4 Spanish and 2 Tongan. Utah is at 5 Tongan.

That the Church has never had a Chinese, Korean or other Asian language stake in California is not that surprising. However better outreach to Asians may be key in the longrun to better Church growth.

On the other hand, I have a steong sense that the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints absolutely do not like language specific stakes. Language specific wards have had ups and downs but are probably here to stay, the stakes have gone down in number. There used to be at least 4 more Spanish-speaking stakes in the US then there are today. Although native Spanish speakers in stake leaderships in some places are more common. However how many non-English speakers get called to leadership positions is another matter.

My stake the biggest issue brewing is if we are deploying enough African-Americans in leadership, we do not have much of a linguistic issue. Well we do, but if anything wedo better at placing non-native speakers of English in leadership positions thsn they represent a percentage of stake memvership. A huge percentage of our population in some areas is from Asia, much southwest Asia but orher parts of the continent as well, but missionary outreach to and retention of such populations in the Church has not been super great. The Westland Stake to our west has an even larger Arab population and yet may have even fewer members from southwest Asia. This ispartly vecause their population is mainly Muslim Arabs while ours is much more Christian. I had an elder's quorum president who was a native of Iraq for example. I have never actually had a black elders quorum president.

miro said...

So i spoke with a former missionary form my stake that just returned from Armenia about the closings of the districts and the branches. He said the reason was too few active melchizedek pristhood holders in the branches. He think's that corona and the war propably contributed to that. With the shortage of missionaries during corona time it became clear that the operating of so many branches with so few pristhood holders was a strugle.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Happy Pioneer Day to Matt Martinich and my fellow Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Growth Blog followers!

(Whenever this post gets moderated and posted, of course.) ;)