Sunday, September 11, 2022

New Temple Predictions - September 2022 Edition

I have updated my temple prediction map in preparation for General Conference in October. Historically, 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, the square-footage of the nearest temple, the historical number of weekly endowment sessions scheduled at the nearest temple, and member and missionary reports regarding member activity, temple attendance, and convert retention. I have made updates to the current predictions map given recent trends in temple announcements that have favored locations distant to the nearest temple where there are at least two stakes that would be serviced by a temple. Altogether, there are 163 potential temples on the map (27 more like temples, 137 less likely temples).

Thirty-three (33) less likely locations and two more likely locations were added to the temple prediction map in September 2022. Most of these locations have not experienced significant church growth in recent years, but many of these locations appear likely candidates for a future small temple due to remote location. Many of the Church's recently announced temples have been in locations with few Latter-day Saints but where there is sufficient membership to support a small temple. Locations added to the temples prediction map for September 2022 include:

  • Resistencia, Argentina 
  • Kingman, Arizona 
  • Page, Arizona
  • Yuma, Arizona 
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Araçatuba, Brazil  
  • Goiânia, Brazil 
  • Passo Fundo, Brazil 
  • Redding, California 
  • San Jose, California (more likely)
  • Santa Maria, California 
  • Santa Rosa, California
  • La Serena, Chile 
  • Rancagua, Chile
  • Bucaramanga, Colombia 
  • Medellín, Colombia
  • Otavalo, Ecuador 
  • Pensacola, Florida 
  • Düsseldorf, Germany OR Dortmund, Germany 
  • Bloomington, Illinois 
  • Acapulco, Mexico 
  • Mexicali, Mexico 
  • Poza Rica, Mexico
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan 
  • Great Falls, Montana
  • Hastings, New Zealand 
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Cincinnati, Ohio Temple OR Dayton, Ohio 
  • Bend, Oregon 
  • Huánuco, Peru 
  • Barquisimeto, Venezuela 
  • Guayana City, Venezuela 
  • Valencia, Venezuela 

The following prospective temple was transferred from the less likely category to the more likely category:

  • São José, Brazil

The following 10 locations appear most likely to have temples announced this coming General Conference. You are welcome to provide your top 10 picks for temple announcements in the comments below.

  1. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  2. Spanish Fork, Utah 
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Santiago/Tuguegarao Philippines
  5. Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines 
  6. Tacoma Washington
  7. Colorado Springs, Colorado 
  8. Kampala, Uganda
  9. Iquitos, Peru 
  10. São José, Brazil

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

 

Monday, September 5, 2022

August 2022 Newsletter

Click here to access the August 2022 Newsletter for cumorah.com. Notable updates include the creation of a new branch in Gabon, a member group established in the third largest city in Piauí State, Brazil, and the creation of a third stake in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

New Stakes Created in Mexico and Utah

 Mexico

The Church organized a new stake in the northern Mexican city of San Luis Potosi on August 21st The San Luis Potosi Mexico Industrias Stake was organized from a division of the San Luis Potosí México Benito Juárez Stake and the San Luis Potosí México Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Españita, Independencia, Industrias, Las Joyas, Oriente, and Prados Wards. There are now three stakes in the city with the two previous stakes being organized in 1981 and 1996. The Church announced a temple for San Luis Potosi in April 2022.

There are now 226 stakes and 47 districts in Mexico.

Utah

The Church organized a new stake in Syracuse, Utah on August 21st. The Syracuse Utah Fremont Park Stake was organized from a division of the Syracuse Utah West Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Eagle Estates, Fremont, Glen Eagle 1st, Lakeshore, Miller Springs, Trailside, and Turnberry Wards. There are now seven stakes in Syracuse. 

There are now 627 stakes and two districts in Utah.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

July 2022 Newsletter

 Click here to access the July 2022 Newsletter for cumorah.com.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

First Branch Created in North Cyprus

Last Sunday, the Church organized its first branch in North Cyprus and the Church's first meetinghouse in North Cyprus was also dedicated with approximately 100 in attendance. This marks one of the first times, if not the first time, in Church history when an official branch has been organized in a de facto country. The Church has generally avoided de facto nations, such as Transnistria and Abkhazia, largely due to a lack of mission resources in neighboring countries, the unclear legal status of these nations and whether proselytism is permitted, and political instability. It is unclear what city the new branch in Cyprus operates in, but it appears that it likely meets in northern Nicosia. Branch members appears to have highly diverse backgrounds with many from African nations. The new branch pertains to the Nicosia Cyprus District in the Adriatic South Mission. Essentially all Latter-day Saints in Cyprus speak English, and Church meetings are held in English. Extremely few native Cypriots have joined the Church in Cyprus. There were 534 Latter-day Saints in Cyprus as of year-end 2021. Approximately 20% of Church membership in Cyprus regularly attended church meetings in the late 2010s. For more information on the Church in Cyprus, click here.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Self-Affiliated Latter-day Saints in Mexico: 2010 vs 2020 Censuses

Recently, statistical data was released from the 2020 Mexican census. This data provides valuable insights into member activity and growth patterns in membership for the Church in Mexico compared to prior censuses. See below for a table that displays 2010 and 2020 census data regarding the number of Latter-day Saints by administrative division in Mexico. It is important to note that self-affiliation as measured by what people report on the census is not a perfect measurement of the total number of self-identified Latter-day Saints in a particular country. However, most self-identified Latter-day Saints appear to self-affiliate as Latter-day Saints in the census, so this statistic can provide valuable insights into the number of active members. The Church does not publish a breakdown of its membership by Mexican state.

Mexican States with the highest percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints on the 2020 census include:

  1. Yucatán - 0.51%
  2. Chihuahua - 0.47%
  3. Hidalgo - 0.45%
  4. Quintana Roo - 0.43%
  5. Tamaulipas - 0.40%
  6. Morelos - 0.40%
  7. Sonora - 0.38%
  8. Campeche - 0.36%
  9. Coahuila de Zaragoza - 0.35%
  10. Baja California - 0.34%

Mexican states with the lowest percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints on the 2020 census include:

  1. Michoacán de Ocampo - 0.08%
  2. Guanajuato - 0.09%
  3. Zacatecas - 0.11%
  4. Jalisco - 0.12%
  5. Nayarit - 0.14%
  6. San Luis Potosí - 0.14%
  7. Guerrero - 0.14%
  8. Chiapas - 0.16%
  9. Colima - 0.17%
  10. Tlaxcala - 0.17%

These data indicate that self-affiliated Latter-day Saints generally comprise the highest percentages of the population in Mexico in the Yucatán Peninsula and in northern Mexico along the United States border and the lowest percentage of the population in central Mexico west of Mexico City. 

The number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints increased by the highest percentage in the following states between 2010 and 2020:

  1. Querétaro - 66.2%
  2. Quintana Roo - 21.5%
  3. Hidalgo - 17.9%
  4. Puebla - 17.6%
  5. Tlaxcala - 17.4%
  6. Nuevo León - 14.7%
  7. Oaxaca - 14.0%
  8. Yucatán - 13.1%
  9. Tabasco - 12.3%
  10. Durango - 11.8%

The number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints decreased by the highest percentage, or increased at the smallest percentage, in the following states between 2010 and 2020:

  1.  Colima - -9.7%
  2. Guerrero - -8.9%
  3. Michoacán de Ocampo - -6.8%
  4. Coahuila de Zaragoza - -6.6%
  5. Nayarit - -6.1%
  6. Sonora - -1.5%
  7. Baja California - -0.3%
  8. Sinaloa - -0.1%
  9. Ciudad de México - 0.3%
  10. Chiapas - 1.9%

The percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in the population increased in only seven states between 2010 and 2020, including:

  1. Querétaro - 0.05%
  2. Oaxaca - 0.01%
  3. Puebla - 0.01%
  4. Tabasco - 0.01%
  5. Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave - 0.01%
  6. Hidalgo - 0.01%
  7. Tlaxcala - 0.004%

On the contrary, the percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in the population decreased most rapidly in the following states between 2010 and 2020:

  1. Coahuila de Zaragoza - -0.08%
  2. Baja California - -0.07%
  3. Quintana Roo - -0.07%
  4. Baja California Sur - -0.05%
  5. Sonora - -0.05%
  6. Colima - -0.04%
  7. Morelos - -0.03%
  8. Nayarit - -0.03%
  9. Sinaloa - -0.03%
  10. Nuevo León - -0.03%

Overall, the percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in the population slightly decreased from 0.24% to 0.22% between 2010 and 2020. The 2010 census reported 314,932 Latter-day Saints, whereas the 2020 census reported 337,998 Latter-day Saints. There was a net increase of only 23,066 self-affiliated Latter-day Saints between 2010 and 2020, whereas Church-reported membership increased by 246,985. Thus, the increase in the number of census-reported Latter-day Saints was 9.3% of the Church-reported increase in membership during this time. The Church in Mexico has struggled for decades with low convert retention and member activity rates. Probably only 20% of Church-reported membership in Mexico regularly attends church - a percentage that has not appeared to have significantly changed in the past two decades based on survey data from returned missionaries and local members and census data (i.e., 23.2% of Church-reported membership self-affiliated on the census in 2000). The number of Latter-day Saint congregations in Mexico decreased between 2010 and 2020 from 2,007 to 1,843 primarily due to the consolidation of wards with few active members. Moreover, Latter-day Saints are the most urbanized religious group among the largest religious groups on the Mexican census, and this appears primarily attributed to the centers of strength policy. Two-thirds (65.4%) of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in 2010 resided in cities of 100,000 or more people—the highest percentage of any other major religious group in Mexico. Only 47.7% of Mexicans lived in such cities at the time. There has also been research that indicates Latter-day Saint families in Mexico have fewer children than non-Latter-day Saint families in Mexico per Fox K (2011) Mormon fertility in Latin America found in the BYU Scholars Archive.

Querétaro stands out as an anomaly in the data for Latter-day Saints given a whopping increase of 66.2% in self-affiliated Latter-day Saints between 2010 and 2020. Moreover, Querétaro was the only Mexican state where the percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population increased by more than 0.01% during this period. Local members report that Querétaro is an important emerging economic center in Mexico that has attracted many young families who work in the tech industry. Thus, much of the growth in membership in Querétaro appears attributed to Latter-day Saint families moving to the city.

Click on the image below to see the data table for the statistical data I presented above. Data from 2010 was presented and analyzed in this post.



Sunday, July 17, 2022

New Stake Created in Mexico and Preview of 2020 Mexican Census Numbers

Last Sunday, the Church organized a new stake in the city of Querétaro. The Querétaro México Stake was divided to organize the new Querétaro México Valle Stake. The new stake includes the following four wards and two branches: the Fresnos, Juriquilla, Satelite, and Valle Wards, and the San Jose de Itubide and San Luis de la Paz Branches. With only four wards, the creation of additional wards appears imminent. There are now four stakes in the city of Querétaro where the Church organized its first stake in 1995. The Church in Querétaro has generally organized one new stake every decade. The Querétaro Mexico Temple was announced in April 2021.

The 2020 Mexican Census indicated that the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in Querétaro State increased by a whopping 66.2% from 2010 - the largest percentage increase of any state in Mexico during that time period. This percentage increase was more than twice the rate of population growth during that same period. Young families, particularly those with professional training, have reportedly been moving to Querétaro in appreciable numbers during the past decade based upon local member reports. This growth has also likely contributed to the announcement of a temple in the city in 2021. Although these statistics are very positive, the number of self-reported Latter-day Saints in Mexico as a whole increased by only 7.3% between 2010 and 2020 even though Church-reported membership increased by 23.7% during this time period. I will be posting an analysis of the 2020 Mexican Census numbers in the coming days.

There are now 225 stakes and 47 districts in Mexico.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Number of Branches in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Doubles from Eight to Sixteen

The Church in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania recently organized eight new branches in the city, thereby doubling the number of branches from eight to 16. This marks one of the largest numbers of new congregations organized in a city in a single event in Church history. At least one of these new branches (Pugu) previously operated as a member group. Recently returned full-time missionaries who served in the Tanzania Dar Es Salaam Mission report that the mission has placed an emphasis on the organization of member groups in lesser-reached urban areas in cities, and that there has been a preference to organize new branches to improve the accessibility of the Church to the urban population rather than organize a stake in Dar Es Salaam as soon as possible. The creation of a second district in Dar Es Salaam appears imminent given there are 16 branches in a single district. Dar Es Salaam is one of the most populous urban agglomerations in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an estimated 6.75 million people as of early 2022.

This rapid expansions of the Church in Dar Es Salaam is undoubtedly due to the organization of the Tanzania Dar Es Salaam Mission - the first mission ever created in the country - which was created in 2020 from a division of the Kenya Nairobi Mission. The new mission has channeled greater mission resources and oversight into the Church's missionary and outreach expansion efforts. Recently, a member group was established in the city of Dodoma, the first branch was created in Moshi, and two new branches were organized in Arusha. There are several additional cities with isolated members that may have member groups organized soon. Furthermore, the Church also officially transitioned from English to Swahili as the language used in church services and proselytism several years ago. These developments have resulted in an acceleration of membership growth since 2019 as there was a 28.8% increase in membership between year-end 2019 and year-end 2021. Nevertheless, Church membership in Tanzania remains extremely small (2,309 members as of year-end 2021), and the Church has historically experienced slow growth since its initial establishment approximately 30 years ago.

Monday, July 11, 2022

New Stake Created in the Philippines

Yesterday, the Church in the Philippines organized a new stake from a district. The Mati Philippines Stake was organized from the Mati Philippines District (originally organized in 1988). All five branches in the former district appear to have become wards in the new stake. The Mati Philippines Stake is the fourth stake to operate in the Philippines Butuan Mission (organized in 2006) which services eastern Mindanao. The other three stakes in the mission were organized in Butuan (1989), San Francisco (2018), and Tagum (2021).

There are now 124 stakes and 55 districts in the Philippines.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

New Stakes Created in Nigeria (5), Utah (5), Cote d'Ivoire (2), and Mexico (2); New District Created in Sierra Leone; Stakes Discontined in Japan (3), California (2), Australia, and the United Kingdom; Districts Discontinued in Japan (2) and Cote d'Ivoire

Nigeria

The Church organized five new stakes in Nigeria during the months of May and June. 

The Church organized the Aba Nigeria Osisioma Stake on May 15th from a division of the Aba Nigeria North Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Abayi 2nd, Osisioma 1st, Osisioma 2nd, Osisioma 3rd, Osisioma 5th, and Owerrinta Wards and the Osisioma 4th Branch. The new stake is the Church's fifth stake in Aba. Of the five stakes now in Aba, three have been organized since 2015. Aba is the location of the Church's only operating temple in Nigeria.

The Church organized the Ohafia Nigeria Stake from the Asaga Ohafia Nigeria District (originally organized in 2014) and one branch from the Abakaliki Nigeria Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Abiriba, Akanu, Amuma, Asaga Ohafia 2nd, Ebem, and Isiama Wards, and the Asaga Ohafia 1st and Edda Branches.

The Akamkpa Nigeria Stake was organized on June 12th from the Akamkpa Nigeria District (organized in 1998). The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Akamkpa Urban, Awi, Ayeabam, Ikami, Iwuru Central, and Uyanga Wards, and the Akamkpa and Mbarakom Branches. The former district was one of the oldest districts in Nigeria that had not become a stake yet. Only the Jos Nigeria District is older which was organized in 1993.

The Church organized two new stakes in Lagos. The Lagos Nigeria Ikorodu Stake was organized on June 19th from the Lagos Nigeria Ojodu Stake (organized in 2018), whereas the Lagos Nigeria Ikotun Stake was organized from the Lagos Nigeria Egbeda Stake on June 26th. The Lagos Nigeria Ikorodu Stake includes the following six wards: the Gberigbe, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Imota, Itamaga, and Ketu Wards. All but one of the congregations in the Lagos Nigeria Ikorodu Stake operate in the city of Ikorodu where the first branch was organized in 2009. The Lagos Nigeria Ikotun Stake includes the following seven wards: the Akesan, Egan, Ejigbo, Igando, Ikotun, Isolo, and Jakande Wards. There are now eight wards in the Lagos metropolitan area. At least one more stake in Lagos appears likely to divide within the near future, the Lagos Nigeria Yaba Stake, which has 11 wards.

There are now 68 stakes and 15 districts in Nigeria. Provided with current stake totals in parentheses, Nigeria is the country with the eighth most stakes following the United States (1,677), Brazil (281), Mexico (224), Philippines (123), Peru (112), Argentina (78), and Chile (74). However, it is important to note that Church membership in Nigeria as of year-end 2021 (211,000) is nearly one-third of Church membership for Chile (603,000) which has only six more stakes than Nigeria. This is primarily due to significantly higher member activity rates in Nigeria compared to Chile and all other countries with 400,000 or more Latter-day Saints on Church records.

Utah

The Church organized five new stakes in Utah between April and June. 

The Eagle Mountain Utah Eagle Valley Stake was organized on April 24th from the Eagle Mountain Utah Central Stake and the Eagle Mountain Utah West Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Cedar Trails, Eagle Crest, Eagle Mountain 6th, Frontier, Heritage, Lake Mountain, Landing, and Summit Wards. There are now 10 stakes in Eagle Mountain.

The Lehi Utah Meadow View Stake was organized on April 24th from the Lehi Utah East Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Lehi 4th, Lehi 14th, Lehi 17th, Lehi 34th, Lehi 36th, and Lehi 46th Wards and the Lehi 50th Branch (Care Center). There are now 19 stakes in Lehi.

The St. George Utah Hidden Valley Stake was organized on May 1st from a division of the St George Utah Bloomington Hills Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Bloomington Hills 5th, Desert Hills, Hidden Valley, Highland Hills, Parkway, Price Hills, and White Sage Wards. There are now 20 stakes in St. George. 

The Herriman Utah Mountain Ridge Stake was organized on May 22nd from a division of the Herriman Utah Mountain View Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Juniper Canyon, Meadow Rose, Park House, Saddle Brook, Shadow Run, and South Hills Wards. There are now 11 stakes in Herriman.

The Vineyard Utah Springwater Stake was organized from a division of the Vineyard Utah Stake. The new stake includes the following nine wards and one branch: the Springwater 1st, Springwater 2nd, Springwater 3rd (Spanish), Springwater 4th, Springwater 5th, Springwater 6th, Springwater 7th, Springwater 8th, and Springwater 9th Wards and the Geneva (Care Center) Branch. There are now three stakes in Vineyard.

There are now 626 stakes and two districts in Utah

Cote d'Ivoire

Two new stakes were recently organized in Cote d'Ivoire. Also, one district was discontinued. The Quatre Etages Cote d'Ivoire was organized on May 29th from the Abobo Cote d'Ivoire East Stake and the Dokui Cote d'Ivoire Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Abobo, Agbekoi
Belleville 1st, Belleville 2nd, Plaque 1st, Plaque 2nd, and Quatre Etages Wards. There are now 15 stakes in Abidjan - more than any other metropolitan area on the Afro-Eurasian landmass.

The Church organized the Gagnoa Cote d'Ivoire Stake on June 19th, 2022 from the Gagnoa Cote d'Ivoire District (originally organized in 2014) and the Divo Cote d'Ivoire District (originally organized in 2015). Mission leaders had worked for approximately two years to prepare the districts to become a single stake. The Divo Cote d'Ivoire district was discontinued when the new stake was organized. Also, the new stake is entirely within the boundaries of the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission. The new stake includes the following four wards and eight branches: the Divo, Dougako, Konankro, and Plateau Wards, and the Babre, Baruhio, Garahio, Guiberoua, Lakota, Ouragahio, Soleil, and Zapata Branches. All four wards in the new stake are located in Divo. It appears that updates have not been made to the Church's meetinghouse locator website in regard to which branches in Gagnoa advanced to ward status. One branch was discontinued as part of the creation of the new stake (Plateau 2nd). Gagnoa is the third city outside of the Abidjan metropolitan area to have had a stake organized following Yamoussoukro (2015) and Daloa (2017). 

There are now 18 stakes and 15 districts in Cote d'Ivoire.

Mexico

Two new stakes were organized in Mexico on June 5th.

The Nealtican México South was organized from a division of the Nealtican Mexico North Stake and the Nealtican Mexico South Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Carranza, Citlalli, Independencia, Prolongación, Yetlaneci, and Zaragoza Wards. There are now three stakes in the small city of San Buenaventura Nealtican which has a population of 13,243. The last time a new stake was created in the city was in 2012. No other city in Mexico with at least 10,000 people has as high of a concentration of Latter-day Saints as San Buenaventura Nealtican.

The Oaxaca México Brenamiel was organized from a division of the Oaxaca Mexico Monte Alban Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Casa Blanca, Cosijoeza, Guelaguetza, Lindavista, Marquesado, and Montoya Wards. The new stake is the Church's first new stake organized in Oaxaca since 2000. There are now five stakes in the city of Oaxaca. 

There are now 224 stakes and 47 districts in Mexico. The Church in Mexico reached an all-time high of 230 stakes in 2015, and the number of stakes declined to 220 in 2018 after massive congregation consolidations across most major cities in Mexico.

Sierra Leone

A new district was organized in rural Sierra Leone in a region known as Sierra Rutile. The Moriba Town Sierra Leone District was organized on June 26th from five mission branches, namely the Matagalemah, Matru Jong, Mogbwemo, Moriba Town, and Mosenesie Junction Branches. Two groups also operate within the new district: Gbangbatok and Mukongi. The first three branches in the area were organized in 2017. The creation of the new district also coincided with the completion of the first Church-built meetinghouse in the area. At least one other meetinghouse is also under construction in the area. 

There are now nine stakes and two districts in Sierra Leone.

Japan

Three stakes and two districts were discontinued in Japan in two separate events on Hokkaido and in the Osaka metropolitan area. 

On Hokkaido, the number of stakes decreased from three to two and the sole district on the island was discontinued. The discontinued Asahikawa Japan Stake was organized in 1998, whereas the discontinued Kushiro Japan District was organized in 1974. There were also at least three wards and three branches that were discontinued as part of the discontinuation of the stake and district. Unlike essentially every other area of Japan, the Church in Hokkaido had not undergone a significant reorganization of congregations and closure of stakes/districts. For example, 20 years ago there were nearly the same number of wards/branches on Hokkaido as there were prior to April 2022.

In Osaka, two stakes were discontinued, namely the Osaka Japan North Stake (organized in 1977) and the Osaka Japan Sakai Stake (organized in 1982). Also, the Church discontinued the Fukuchiyama Japan District (organized in 1980). The Church has experienced some of the most significant decline in the number of congregations and stakes/districts in the Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto area. There are now only three stakes in the metropolitan area and surrounding regions, whereas there were six stakes and two districts in 2000. At one point, the Church also briefly operated a second stake in Kyoto from 1992-1993. Moreover, the Church in Japan closed its only ward or branch in 13 cities during the past two months—10 of which were in the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area. Most of these cities had a ward or branch continuously operating for 40-50 years, and now members must travel to another city to attend church unless member groups may function under the supervision of a nearby ward or branch. However, it is important to note that most of the wards and branches closed as part of this consolidation have had few active members for many years. For example, many of the wards closed in the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area have had 50 or fewer active members for at least 5-7 years. 

There are now 22 stakes and 11 districts in Japan. In contrast, the Church in Japan reached an all-time high of 31 stakes and 19 districts in 2000.

California

Two stakes were discontinued in the East Bay area of California. During the month of June, two stakes in the East Bay area closed. The Concord California Stake was originally organized in 1963, whereas the Hayward California Stake was organized in 1956. The decision to discontinue these stakes came as no surprise given they had the minimum number of congregations to function as stakes and that there has been a steady decline in the number of members in the area for decades which has resulted in steady consolidations of wards. There are now 145 stakes in California—down from an all-time high of 162 stakes in 1995.

Australia

The Church in Australia discontinued the Gosford Australia Stake in June, marking only the second time a stake has been discontinued in Australia. The only other time the Church has discontinued a stake in Australia was in 2011 when the Sydney Australia Parramatta Stake was discontinued. Interestingly, the Sydney Australia Parramatta and the Gosford Australia Stake both operated in the same approximate geographical area in northern Sydney. The Gosford Australia Stake was organized only back in 2015. The Gosford Australia Stake had five wards prior to its discontinuation, although it used to have six wards prior to the closure of the Toukley Ward. During the past decade, new stakes have been organized in Australia in 2019, 2018, 2016 (2), 2015 (1), 2013 (3), and 2012 (2). Only one district in Australia has been discontinued in the past decade (Mildura in 2015). Also, the Australian government recently released the 2021 census data which indicated the number of self-identified Latter-day Saints decreased between 2016 and 2021 from 60,864 to 57,868. In contrast, official membership totals for Australia increased from 148,862 to 155,383. Thus, these data suggest that the number of active Latter-day Saints may have decreased during this period, albeit it is also possible that fewer less-active or inactive members on Church records self-affiliated as Latter-day Saints in 2021 versus 2016.  

United Kingdom

The Church in the United Kingdom discontinued a stake for the first time in Church history. The Lichfield England Stake was originally organized in 1977 and was discontinued in June. The stake had eight wards prior to its discontinuation, and there were two wards in the former stake that were also discontinued. Retained wards in the stake were reassigned to the neighboring Birmingham England Stake and the Coventry England Stake. It is important to note that each of these two stakes had only five wards and one branch prior to the closure of the Lichfield England Stake. Thus, the discontinuation of the stake appeared prompted to strengthen these two stakes as there were enough wards in the Lichfield England Stake to continue to operate even after two wards were closed. One ward in the Birmingham England Stake was closed as part of the stake realignment. Only one other ward had closed in the Birmingham England Stake within the past decade (Sheldon). In 2001, there were five wards and two branches in the Birmingham England Stake, seven wards and one branch in the Lichfield England Stake, and six wards and two branches in the Coventry England Stake. Thus, there has not been a significant decline or change in the number of congregations in the Birmingham/Coventry area during the past two decades until the closure of three wards and one stake in June 2022. It is possible that these changes may be due to preparations to free more leadership to staff the future Birmingham England Temple. However, it appears that the greatest contribution to the decision to close the stake has been essentially stagnant membership growth rates combined with probable decreases in member activity in the area during the past couple decades. Nevertheless, the number of active members in several wards within the area were representative for most of the British Isles as of the mid-2010s.

NOTE: Material presented in the current post regarding discontinued stakes and districts was taken from the June 2022 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Updated Kiribati Census Figures from 2020

The Kiribati government released statistics last month from the 2020 census that provides information on self-identified religious affiliation for the population of Kiribati. These data indicate that there were 6,720 self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in 2020 which is an increase of 863 from 5,857 in 2015, or 14.7%. In contrast, the population of Kiribati increased by 9,302 between 2015 and 2020, or 8.4%. Thus, the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints has increased at a rate almost twice the population growth rate during this five-year period. Self-affiliated Latter-day Saints constituted 5.6% of the national population in 2020 - an increase from 5.3% in 2015. Thirty-two percent (32%) of Church-reported membership at the time identified as Latter-day Saints on the 2020 Kiribati census, whereas 34% of Church-reported membership identified as Latter-day Saints on the 2015 Kiribati census. However, there was a net increase of 4,151 members per official Church records between 2015 and 2020 which equaled a 24.7% increase in membership. Thus, as few as 20.8% of members added to Church records between 2015 and 2020 identified as Latter-day Saints in 2020. These data indicate that the member activity rate in Kiribati has appeared to slightly decrease during the past five years by approximately two percent. Unfortunately, 2020 census data do not include an island-by-island breakdown by religious affiliation unlike the 2010 and 2015 censuses. The 2020 Kiribati census data can be found here. A previous case study I wrote that analyzed 2010 census data on religious affiliation by island can be found here.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

June 2022 Newsletter

Click here to access the June 2022 newsletter for cumorah.com. There were a significant number of developments during the past month, and I did my best to capture most of them.

Stake and District Updates

I have not forgotten about the many developments in the past couple months with new stakes and districts being organized and the discontinuation of many stakes and districts as well. I will be making these updates during the next week so everything will be caught up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Australia 2021 Census Data - Number of Self-Reported Latter-day Saints by State/Territory

The 2021 Australian Census also includes a geographical breakdown of the number of self-reported Latter-day Saints by state or territory. See below for Australian states/territories listed in descending order by the percent of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints. The number after the administrative division name is the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints, whereas the last number of the line is the percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in the population.

  • Queensland - 20,192 - 0.39%
  • Tasmania - 1,340 - 0.24% 
  • Northern Territory - 549 - 0.24%
  • Western Australia - 5,951 - 0.22%
  • New South Wales - 14,893 - 0.18%
  • Victoria - 11,457 - 0.18%
  • South Australia - 2,794 - 0.16%
  • Australian Capital Territory - 696 - 0.15%

The percentage of Christians by Australian state/territory is as follows:

  • New South Wales - 47.6%
  • Queensland - 45.7%
  • Western Australia - 41.1%
  • Victoria - 40.9%
  • Northern Territory - 40.5%
  • South Australia - 40.0%
  • Tasmania - 38.4%
  • Australian Capital Territory - 38.1%

The 2021 Australian Census data can be found here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Australia 2021 Census Data Released - Number of Self-Reported Latter-day Saints

Today, the Australian government released a breakdown of the religious affiliation of the Australian population per the 2021 census data. A total of 57,868 people self-identified as Latter-day Saints on the 2021 census constituting approximately 0.23% of the Australian population. The Church reported a total of 155,383 members in Australia as of year-end 2021. Thus, only 37.2% of Church-reported membership self-affiliated on the 2021 census. In contrast, the 2016 Australian Census reported 60,864 Latter-day Saints, or 41% of Church-reported membership at the time. There have generally been steady increases in the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints on the census in Australia during the past 35 years (35,500 in 1986, 45,200 in 1996, 53,100 in 2006). However, annual Church-reported membership growth rates have decreased considerably since the mid-1980s from 3-5% for most years in the 1980s to 2-3% in the 2000s and 1-2% for most years since 2015. The decrease of approximately 3,000 self-reported Latter-day Saints in Australia is probably best explained by slowing membership growth rates during the past five years compounded by member attrition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth who do not remain active into adulthood, children of record who are not baptized prior to age 9, adults who leave the faith, deaths of active members, and probable decreasing numbers of children of record increase.

The 2021 census numbers also provide interesting insights into the ethnicity of Australian Latter-day Saints. These data indicate Australian natives constitute 72.4% of Christians in Australia, whereas Australian natives constitute only 58.3% of Latter-day Saints in Australia. The most striking demographic finding is that only 2.73% of Australian Christians are from Oceania (outside of Australia), whereas 29.4% of Australian Latter-day Saints are from Oceania (outside of Australia). This supports data I have collected from hundreds of returned missionaries and local members in Australia that indicate Polynesians constitute a disproportionate percentage of Latter-day Saints in many Australian congregations. Furthermore, local members have reported that language-specific congregations for specific Polynesia peoples (i.e., Tongan and Samoan) often have significantly higher member activity rates compared to general English-speaking congregations in Australia. There has also been an increase in the number of language-specific units in Australia during the past five years for Samoan and Tongan speakers. Since year-end 2016, four new Samoan-speaking and two new Tongan-speaking congregations have been organized, whereas there have been one Samoan-speaking and one Tongan-speaking congregation discontinued. In contrast, there have been a total of 15 new English-speaking congregations in Australia created and 20 English-speaking congregations closed during the same time period.

The 2021 Australian Census data can be downloaded here.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - Middle East and North Africa

See below for the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country in the Middle East and North Africa as of year-end 2021. You can click on the table to make it larger. Countries with an asterisk have estimated membership totals. 


 

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - Europe

See below for the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country in Europe as of year-end 2021. You can click on the table to make it larger. Countries with an asterisk have estimated membership totals. A local member in Svalbard reported there were eight members (six active) in this Norwegian archipelago as of May 2019.



Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - Caribbean

See below for the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country in the Caribbean as of year-end 2021. You can click on the table to make it larger. Countries with an asterisk have estimated membership totals. 



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - North America

See below for the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country in North America as of year-end 2021. You can click on the table to make it larger. Countries with an asterisk have estimated membership totals. 


Monday, June 20, 2022

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - Oceania

See below for the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country/territory in Oceania as of year-end 2021. You can click on the table to make it larger. Church membership is estimated in the locations with an asterisk. Membership for Samoa is as of year-end 2019 because this country's statistical information has not been updated on the Church's Newsroom website.



Sunday, June 19, 2022

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - South America

See below for the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country in South America as of year-end 2021. You can click on the table to make it larger. Membership is estimated for the Falkland Islands as the Church has not published membership data for the Falkland Islands since 2013.


 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - Sub-Saharan

See below for a table that provides the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is important to note that the percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population significantly decreased for some countries during the past couple years, even in some countries where the Church reports rapid membership growth. This is not primarily because of changes in membership growth rates during this time. Instead, it is due to new estimates for population totals that significantly increased compared to the prior estimates. Countries with an asterisk have estimated membership totals. These estimates were made based upon reports from local members, returned missionaries, mission presidents, news media, and other sources of information. The larger the number for the estimate, the more likely it is to be accurate.



Saturday, June 11, 2022

Percent Latter-day Saints by Country in 2021 - Asia

I will be posting tables that display the percentage of Latter-day Saints by country with year-end 2021 membership data during the coming week. See below for the table for Asia. You can click on the table to make it larger. Membership is estimated for countries with an asterisk.


Saturday, June 4, 2022

May 2022 Newsletter

 Click here to access the May 2022 Newsletter for cumorah.com.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Analysis of Latter-day Saint Membership Growth Trends in the United States

Andy Larson from the Salt Lake Tribune published an article today that has some excellent graphs and analysis of membership growth trends in the United States during the past four decades. I also did a podcast interview with the Salt Lake Tribune that was published last week where I discuss some of the trends with membership growth in the United States, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This podcast can be accessed here.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Patience and Faith of the “Lost” Saints of Malemba-Nkulu

On May 17th, 2022, the following video was posted regarding the patience of prospective Latter-day Saints who have sought to have a Church presence established in the remote Malemba-Nkulu area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) since 1975. This video provides an excellent and well researched account of the Church's history in the DR Congo, video interview accounts from Congolese Church leaders, as well as the opportunities and challenges for the growth of the Church there. The information provided about the Church in Malemba-Nkulu is absolutely fascinating and inspiring as well as heartbreaking to see that the Church continues to have no official presence despite a second generation of would-be members of the Church now organizing, teaching, and learning the Gospel as best as they are able to do so despite its significant isolation from the nearest city with an official member group (Kamina). Most importantly, it highlights how the Church has achieved excellent member activity and convert retention rates in the country where it has established a presence, and it underscores the urgent need for the Church expand into additional areas of the country where many continue to wait for a baptism and an official congregation of the Church. As I noted last month, the Church in the DR Congo reported the most rapid membership growth rate in the world during the two-year period from 2019-2021 at 29.4% with a net increase of 44 congregations. There were 89,136 Latter-day Saints in the DR Congo as of year-end 2021. The current estimated population of the DR Congo is 108.4 million, indicating that only 0.082% of the population is a Latter-day Saint. The video noted in one map displayed that there is now a member group in the large city of Tshikapa which likely has a current population of nearly one million people. Finally, the video indicated that there are reports that many of the wards and stakes in Kinshasa will divide this summer to create many new congregations and stakes in the city to accommodate the major recent influx of converts.


Monday, May 9, 2022

April 2022 Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access the April 2022 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com. The newsletter archives can be accessed here back to 2012 - the year that we began to produce monthly newsletters.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Major Stake Realignment in Kinshasa, DR Congo

I have received a report that tomorrow, May 1st, there will be a major realignment of stakes in Kinshasa in what will probably result in the creation of more stakes. There are currently 11 stakes in Kinshasa. I will provide an update once I receive more information.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Membership by US State in 2021, Percent Membership Growth by US State for 2020-2021

State-specific membership figures for year-end 2021 are provided below. States and the District of Columbia are ranked in order for largest to smallest in regard to official Church-reported membership. States/Districts in bold do not have a temple announced or dedicated.

  1. Utah - 2,161,526
  2. California - 734,989
  3. Idaho - 471,241
  4. Arizona - 438,249
  5. Texas - 371,007
  6. Washington - 283,609
  7. Nevada - 182,569
  8. Florida - 164,558
  9. Oregon - 151,151
  10. Colorado - 149,007
  11. Virginia - 96,748
  12. North Carolina - 91,521
  13. Georgia - 87,908
  14. New York - 82,866
  15. Missouri - 75,375
  16. Hawaii - 74,858
  17. New Mexico - 69,069
  18. Wyoming - 67,454
  19. Ohio - 63,007
  20. Illinois - 56,535
  21. Tennessee - 55,456
  22. Pennsylvania - 52,149
  23. Montana - 51,289
  24. Oklahoma - 50,800
  25. Indiana - 46,253
  26. Michigan - 45,185
  27. Maryland - 43,309
  28. South Carolina - 42,902
  29. Alabama - 38,845
  30. Kansas - 38,640
  31. Kentucky - 37,077
  32. New Jersey - 34,163
  33. Arkansas - 34,027
  34. Alaska - 33,250
  35. Minnesota - 32,863
  36. Louisiana - 29,550
  37. Iowa - 28,471
  38. Massachusetts - 27,932
  39. Wisconsin - 27,582
  40. Nebraska - 25,055
  41. Mississippi - 21,936
  42. West Virginia - 17,179
  43. Connecticut - 15,625
  44. South Dakota - 11,297
  45. North Dakota - 11,287
  46. Maine - 10,987
  47. New Hampshire - 8,967
  48. Delaware - 5,595
  49. Vermont - 4,655
  50. Rhode Island - 4,283
  51. District of Columbia - 3,136

See below for a list of states and the District of Columbia ranked in order by biennial membership growth rate for the two-year period of 2020 and 2021. The biennial membership growth rate is reported because the Church did not publish state-by-state membership statistics for the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 10 states with the most members in this list are indicated in italics:

  1. South Dakota 6.48%
  2. Arkansas 5.32%
  3. Tennessee 4.79%
  4. Missouri 3.93%
  5. South Carolina 3.73%
  6. Kentucky 3.32%
  7. Oklahoma 3.20%
  8. Alabama 2.86%
  9. North Carolina 2.74% 
  10. Florida 2.68%
  11. Texas 2.48%
  12. Idaho 1.98%
  13. Wisconsin 1.68%
  14. Utah 1.66%
  15. Montana 1.46%
  16. Mississippi 1.33%
  17. New Hampshire 1.07%
  18. Kansas 0.86%
  19. Vermont 0.69%
  20. Indiana 0.66%
  21. Ohio 0.61%
  22. Georgia 0.57%
  23. Rhode Island 0.56%
  24. Arizona 0.40%
  25. Maine 0.26%
  26. Virginia 0.26%
  27. Michigan 0.25%
  28. Iowa 0.24%
  29. West Virginia 0.21%
  30. New Jersey -0.03%
  31. Louisiana -0.13%
  32. Nebraska -0.17%
  33. Hawaii -0.20%
  34. Maryland -0.23%
  35. District of Columbia -0.25%
  36. Pennsylvania -0.27%
  37. Massachusetts -0.39%
  38. Wyoming -0.41%
  39. New York -0.51%
  40. New Mexico -0.56%
  41. Illinois -0.62%
  42. Delaware -0.69%
  43. Alaska -0.73%
  44. Colorado -1.00%
  45. Nevada -1.16%
  46. Minnesota -1.24%
  47. Oregon -1.56%
  48. Connecticut -2.01%
  49. Washington -2.03%
  50. North Dakota -2.28%
  51. California -2.84%

Previous lists of membership growth rates by US state are available for 2017 and 2018.

Monday, April 25, 2022

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Latter-day Saints without a Stake or District: April 2022 Edition

Each country or territory with at least 200 members without a stake or district is provided below with the number of members (as of year-end 2021), number of congregations (at present), and current, if any, affiliation with another stake or district.

  1. Armenia - 3,537 members - 5 branches
  2. Bulgaria - 2,395 members - 7 branches
  3. Northern Mariana Islands - 897 members - 1 ward - part of the Barrigada Guam Stake
  4. Greece - 792 members - 2 branches
  5. Qatar - 700 members? - 2 wards, 1 branch - part of the Abu Dhabi Stake
  6. US Virgin Islands - 589 members (2019 statistic)- 2 branches
  7. Curacao - 575 members - 1 branch - part of the ABC District based in Aruba 
  8. Turkey - 573 members - 9 branches 
  9. Palau - 532 members - 1 branch - part of the Barrigada Guam Stake
  10. Luxembourg - 523 members - 1 ward, 1 branch  - part of the Nancy France Stake
  11. French Guiana - 482 members - 1 branch - part of the Guadeloupe District
  12. Moldova - 448 members, 2 branches
  13. Grenada - 396 members - 1 branch - part of the Kingstown St Vincent District
  14. Saint Lucia - 394 members - 3 branches - part of the Kingstown St Vincent District
  15. Kuwait - 359 members - 1 ward - part of the Manama Bahrain Stake 
  16. Tuvalu - 335 members, 1 branch
  17. Iceland - 331 members - 3 branches
  18. Niue - 312 members - 2 branches
  19. Gabon - 300 members?, 2 branches 
  20. Laos - 300 members? - 2 branches 
  21. Isle of Man - 299 members - 1 ward - part of the Liverpool England Stake
  22. Saint Maarten/Saint Martin - 286 members - 1 branch - part of Lesser Antilles North District
  23. Jersey - 281 members - 1 ward - part of the Poole England Stake
  24. Antigua and Barbuda - 276 members, 1 branch - part of Lesser Antilles North District
  25. Central African Republic - 263 members, 1 branch 
  26. Martinique - 261 members, 1 branch - part of Guadeloupe District
  27. Republic of Georgia - 258 members - 2 branches
  28. Cayman Islands - 224 members, 1 branch - part of the Nassau Caribbean District
  29. Malta - 223 members - 1 branch
  30. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 212 members, 1 branch - part of Lesser Antilles North District
  31. Kazakhstan - 205 members - 3 branches
Of these 31 countries and dependencies, 10 previously had a district including Bulgaria (2), Armenia, Greece, Curacao, Palau, French Guiana, Moldova, Turkey, Niue, and Iceland.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Congregational Growth by Country: 2020-2021

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the two-year period including the years 2020 and 2021. The Church did not publish official congregational statistics for the year 2020. The biennial percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. United States +217 (1.50% increase)
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo +44 (20.9% increase)
  3. Nigeria +36 (4.99% increase)
  4. Brazil +34 (1.59% increase)
  5. Philippines +17 (1.37% increase) 
  6. Ghana +13 (3.96% increase)
  7. Cote d'Ivoire +7 (2.80% increase) 
  8. Sierra Leone +7 (8.86% increase) 
  9. Mexico +6 (0.33% increase) 
  10. Mozambique +6 (13.6% increase) 
  11. Papua New Guinea +6 (7.41% increase) 
  12. Colombia +5 (2.01% increase) 
  13. Dominican Republic +5 (2.55% increase) 
  14. Kiribati +5 (13.51% increase) 
  15. Liberia +5 (9.43% increase) 
  16. Tanzania +5 (62.5% increase) 
  17. Venezuela +5 (2.19% increase) 
  18. Malawi +4 (50.0% increase) 
  19. Zambia +4 (30.8% increase) 
  20. Zimbabwe +4 (8.75% increase) 
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 20 countries totals 435; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the two-year period of 2020 and 2021 (375). Seven countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during the two-year period of 2020 and 2021. Altogether, the net decrease in congregations in these seven nations totaled 55. 
  1. Japan -10 (3.83% decrease)
  2. Taiwan -10 (9.26% decrease) 
  3. Argentina -9 (1.23% decrease)
  4. Russia -7 (7.22% decrease) 
  5. Armenia -6 (54.6% decrease) 
  6. Uruguay -5 (3.73% decrease) 
  7. Portugal -5 (7.46% decrease)
Previous lists for annual congregational growth by country are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

New Stakes Created in Nigeria and Utah; New District in Nigeria

Nigeria

The Church recently organized a new stake in Nigeria. The Mbaise Nigeria Stake was organized from the Mbaise Nigeria District. Originally organized in 2010 with four branches from the Owerri Nigeria Stake, the Mbaise Nigeria District had 12 branches at the time it was reorganized into a stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and seven branches: the Amuzi, Eziala, Oboama 1st, River-Rine, and the Umuelem Wards and the Ahiara, Amumara, Egbelu, Ibeku, Mbutu, Oboama 2nd, and Owutu Branches. The Umuelem Branch (now the Umuelem Ward) was one of the first branches of the Church created in Nigeria in 1978.

The Church also recently organized a new district in Ugep where the Church organized its first branch in 2016. The new district includes four branches in central Cross Rivers State - the Ekori, Ikom, Ugep 1st, and Ugep 2nd Branches - all of which have never been assigned to a stake or district before. 

There are now 63 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria.

Utah

The Church organized a new stake in Cache County, Utah. The Hyde Park Utah North Stake was organized from a division of the Hyde Park Utah Stake and the North Logan Utah Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards and one branch: the Aspen Meadows, Green Canyon, Greenville, Hyde Park 3rd, Hyde Park 9th, Hyde Park 10th, and Meadow View Wards and the Pioneer Branch (Retirement). 

There are now 621 stakes and two districts in Utah.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

17 New Temples - Analysis - Part II

San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple

The San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple will be the Church's 18th temple in México and the first temple in San Luis Potosí State. The new temple district will likely include six stakes in north-central Mexico in San Luis Potosí State, Aguascalientes State, and Zacatecas State. The first stake in San Luis Potosí was organized in 1981. There are only two stakes in the city of San Luis Potosí, and prospects appear likely for a third stake to be organize in the foreseeable future if additional wards are organized. Stakes in San Luis Potosí currently attend the Guadalajara México Temple.

Mexico City Benemérito Mexico Temple

México City Benemérito Mexico Temple will be the Church's 19th temple in México and its second temple in the México City metropolitan area. The México City Mexico Temple has one of the largest temple districts in the Church with 88 stakes and six districts currently assigned. However, there are several previously announced temples that will reduce the number of stakes assigned to the México City México Temple such as the Puebla México Temple and the Querétaro Mexico Temple. Local members have reported that the more than 40 stakes in the México City metropolitan area have historically had low rates of temple attendance. Combined with the large size of the México City Mexico Temple, the the announcement of a second temple in México City has occurred later than other major metropolitan areas with large numbers of stakes. There are only five other metropolitan areas outside of the United States with two temples, namely São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Lima, Peru; and Manila, Philippines. The Church in México has previously dedicated or announced the following temples: the México City México Temple (dedicated in 1983), the Colonia Juárez Chihuahua México Temple (dedicated in 1999), the Ciudad Juárez México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Hermosillo Sonora México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Oaxaca México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Tuxtla Gutiérrez México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Tampico México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Villahermosa México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Mérida México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Veracruz México Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Guadalajara México Temple (dedicated in 2001), the Monterrey México Temple (dedicated in 2002), the Tijuana México Temple (dedicated in 2015), the Puebla Mexico Temple (announced in 2018), the Querétaro Mexico Temple (announced in 2021), the Torreón Mexico Temple (announced in 2021), and the Culiacán Mexico Temple (announced in 2021).

The Church in Mexico has reported very slow membership growth rates (less than 2%) since 2014. Church membership increased by 1.13% between year-end 2019 and year-end 2021. Furthermore, a significant consolidation of wards and stakes occurred in 2018 resulting in a net loss of approximately 100 congregations and nine stakes. The Church reported 1,498,296 members, 1,849 congregations, 222 stakes, 47 districts, and 32 missions as of year-end 2021. The Church in Mexico is soon to be eclipsed by the Church in Brazil in regard to the number of Church-reported members as the Church in Brazil reported 1,456,238 members, 2,176 congregations, 281 stakes, 40 districts, and 36 missions as of year-end 2021. Church membership in Brazil increased by 1.84% between year-end 2019 and year-end 2021.

Tampa Florida Temple

The Tampa Florida Temple will be the Church's fourth temple in Florida following the Orlando Florida Temple (dedicated in 1994), the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple (dedicated in 2014), and the Tallahassee Florida Temple (announced in 2021). The new temple district will likely include six stakes in the temple district - all located in the Tampa area and nearby cities. The first stake in Tampa was organized in 1959. Church membership in Florida increased by 2.7% between year-end 2019 and year-end 2021. As of year-end 2021, there were 164,558 members, 282 congregations, 34 stakes, and four missions in Florida.

Knoxville Tennessee Temple

The Knoxville Tennessee Temple will be the Church's third temple in Tennessee following the Memphis Tennessee Temple (dedicated in 2000) and the Nashville Tennessee Temple (dedicated in 2000). The new temple district will likely include all four stakes in eastern Tennessee and one stake in western North Carolina. The first stake was organized in Knoxville in 1972, and there are two stakes in Knoxville today. Church membership in Tennessee increased by 4.8% between year-end 2019 and year-end 2021. As of year-end 2021, there were 55,456 members, 112 congregations, 12 stakes, and two missions. The Church in Tennessee has often reported some of the most rapid membership growth rates among states in the United States during the past two decades.

Cleveland Ohio Temple

The Cleveland Ohio Temple will be the Church's second temple in Ohio in modern times following the Columbus Ohio Temple (dedicated in 1999). It is important to note that the first temple of the Church following its founding in 1830 was built in Kirtland, Ohio and is now owned by the Community of Christ. Kirtland is essentially a suburb of Cleveland today. The original Kirtland Stake was organized in 1834, but it was later discontinued. In modern times, the first stake in Cleveland was organized in 1961. The new temple district will likely include five stakes in northern Ohio that are currently assigned to the Detroit Michigan Temple. The Church in Ohio has reported extremely slow membership growth for many years. As of year-end 2021, there were 63,007 members, 127 congregations, 14 stakes, and two missions.

Wichita Kansas Temple

The Wichita Kansas Temple will be the Church's first temple in Kansas. The new temple district will likely include five stakes in Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma. The first stake in Wichita was organized in 1962, and a second stake in the greater Wichita metropolitan area was organized in 1998 in Derby. The Church in Kansas generally experiences slow membership growth. There were 38,640 members, 74 congregations, seven stakes, and one mission in Kansas as of year-end 2021. Prior to the announcement of the Wichita Kansas Temple, Kansas was the state in the United States with the most Latter-day Saints without a temple. The Church in Kansas generally reports slow, but steady, rates of membership growth.

Austin Texas Temple

The Austin Texas Temple will be the Church's seventh temple in Texas following the Dallas Texas Temple (dedicated in 1984), the Houston Texas Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Lubbock Texas Temple (dedicated in 2002), the San Antonio Texas Temple (dedicated in 2005), the McAllen Texas Temple (announced in 2019), and the Fort Worth Texas Temple (announced in 2021). The new temple will likely include nine stakes in central Texas. The first stake in Austin was organized in 1973. The Church has experienced rapid membership and congregational growth in the Austin area during the past 15 years. As of year-end 2021, the Church in Texas reported 371,007 members, 737 congregations, 78 stakes, two districts, and 10 missions. The Church reported moderate rates of membership growth (over three percent annually) for decades until the mid-2010s when annual membership growth rates have slowed to 1-2%.

Missoula Montana Temple

The Missoula Montana Temple will be the Church's third temple in Montana following the Billings Montana Temple (dedicated in 1999) and the Helena Montana Temple (announced in 2021). The new temple district will likely include four stakes in western Montana. The Church organized the Missoula Montana Stake in 1957. As of year-end 2021, the Church in Montana reported 51,289 members, 127 congregations, 13 stakes, and one mission. The Church in Montana generally experiences very slow membership growth rates.

Montpelier Idaho Temple

The Montpelier Idaho temple will be the Church's ninth temple in Idaho following the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple (dedicated in 1945), Boise Idaho Temple (dedicated in 1984), the Rexburg Idaho Temple (dedicated in 2008), the Twin Falls Idaho Temple (dedicated in 2008), the Meridian Idaho Temple (dedicated in 2017), the Pocatello Idaho Temple (dedicated in 2021), the Burley Idaho Temple (announced in 2021), and the Rexburg Idaho North Temple (announced in 2021). The new temple will likely include six stakes in its temple district in extreme southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming. As of year-end 2021, the Church in Idaho reported 471,241 members, 1,213 congregations, 136 stakes, and 3 missions. The Church in Idaho has generally reported annual membership growth rates of approximately one percent for the past 15 years.

Modesto California Temple

The Modesto California Temple will be the Church's 10th temple in California following the Los Angeles California Temple (dedicated in 1956), the Oakland California Temple (dedicated in 1964), the San Diego California Temple (dedicated in 1993), the Fresno California Temple (dedicated in 2000), the Redlands California Temple (dedicated in 2003), the Newport Beach California Temple (dedicated in 2005), the Sacramento California Temple (dedicated in 2006), the Feather River California Temple (announced in 2018), and the Yorba Linda California Temple (announced in 2021). The new temple district will likely include seven stakes in the central San Joaquin Valley. Unlike any other state in the United States, the Church in California has consistently experienced a net decline in membership since 2014, and there was four-year period of negative membership growth in the mid-2000s. The Church in California reached an all-time high for Church membership in 2013 at 780,200. As of year-end 2021, there were 734,989 members, 1,189 congregations, 147 stakes, and 15 missions. Annual membership growth rates since 2014 have ranged from zero to -1.0%, albeit church membership declined by 2.85% between year-end 2019 and year-end 2021. High cost of living and a desire for many Latter-day Saints to move closer to family in other states have numbered among the most common reasons why Church membership in California continues to decrease.

Friday, April 8, 2022

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake - April 2022 Edition

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2021 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 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 - 12,500 members? - 12 districts
  2. Malaysia - 10,719 members - 28 branches - 5 districts
  3. Guyana - 6,417 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  4. Belize - 5,519 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  5. Pakistan - 5,300 members? - 13 branches - 3 districts
  6. Malawi - 3,612 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  7. Armenia - 3,537 members - 5 branches - 0 districts
  8. Romania - 3,087 members - 15 branches - 3 districts
  9. Cameroon - 2,409 members - 14 branches - 2 districts
  10. Bulgaria - 2,395 members - 7 branches - 0 districts
  11. Tanzania - 2,309 members - 15 branches - 1 district
  12. Eswatini - 2,158 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  13. Poland - 2,089 members - 11 branches - 1 district
  14. Ethiopia - 1,943 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  15. Cook Islands - 1,893 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  16. Suriname - 1,759 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  17. Sri Lanka - 1,671 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  18. Macau - 1,456 members - 2 branches - 1 district 
  19. Solomon Islands - 1,374 members - 5 branches, 1 district
  20. Lesotho - 1,369 members - 6 branches - 1 district
As noted in the list from 2021, 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. Tanzania also appears a likely candidate for a stake in the near future since most members live in Dar Es Salaam. There are too few members and growth rates are too slow for stakes to be likely in the next couple years in Sri Lanka, the Solomon Islands, and Lesotho. 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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

UPDATED: The 10 Countries with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation - April 2022

I have updated the list of the countries with the most members without a temple using year-end 2021 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for March 2022, November 2020, April 2020, April 2019, October 2018, April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007. Countries in Italics do not have a stake. The Republic of the Congo was removed from this list given the announcement of the Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple on April 3rd, 2022. Togo has since ascended to the list to replace the Republic of the Congo.


1. Uganda

  • 18,995 members
  • 3 stakes, 3 districts
  • 37 congregations (18 wards, 19 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Nairobi Kenya Temple under construction)
2. Mongolia
  • 12,301 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 23 congregations (12 wards, 11 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Shanghai China Temple announced)
3. Malaysia
  • 10,719 members
  • 0 stakes, 5 districts
  • 28 congregations (28 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Singapore Republic of Singapore Temple announced)
4. Indonesia
  • 7,564 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations (16 wards, 8 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Singapore Republic of Singapore Temple announced)

5. Marshall Islands

  • 6,977 members
  • 2 stakes
  • 13 congregations (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • Suva Fiji Temple (Tarawa Kiribati Temple announced)

6.  Jamaica

  • 6,718 members
  • 1 stake, 1 district
  • 18 congregations (6 wards, 12 branches)
  • Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple

7.  Guyana

  • 6,417 members
  • 0 stakes, 2 districts
  • 11 congregations (11 branches)
  • Caracas Venezuela Temple

8.  Federated States of Micronesia

  • 6,107 members
  • 1 stake, 2 districts
  • 22 congregations (5 wards, 17 branches)
  • Cebu City Philippines Temple (Yigo Guam Temple scheduled for dedication)

9.  Togo

  • 5,997 members
  • 2 stakes
  • 22 congregations (15 wards, 8 branches)
  • Ghana Accra Temple

 10.  Belize

  • 5,519 members
  • 2 districts
  • 12 congregations (12 branches)
  • Guatemala City Guatemala Temple (Coban Guatemala Temple announced)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2021

The Church has released year-end 2021 membership and congregation totals for most nations with a reported Church presence. These statistics can be accessed on Church's official website at https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics. Only Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands were omitted from the analysis below because there is a current error on the Church's Newsroom site that prevents access to these data.

Unlike previous years when I have provided this list, I am unable to provide the annual membership growth rate for the year 2021 for each country with published membership data. This is because the Church did not publish year-end 2020 membership data due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the accuracy of membership data. Consequently, membership growth rates presented below represent the two-year period from year-end 2019 to year-end 2021 (interesting fact: prior to 1999, the Church used to only release country-by-country membership data biennially). Countries with the highest biennial membership growth rates for 2020-2021 (10% or greater) are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid annual membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The percentage next to the country name is the biennial growth rate percentage, which is followed by the country's membership at year-end 2021. Countries in bold experienced a biennial membership increase greater than 400 during 2020-2021 (I usually do an annual membership increase of 200 so this way it provides more of an apples-to-apples comparison to prior years. However, I did not think it would be accurate to divide the biennial membership growth rate in half to get the annual membership growth rate as this would assume the growth rate was constant for both 2020 and 2021, and this is obviously incorrect given the global membership totals reported by the Church in its annual statistical reports).

  1. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 29.4% - 89,136
  2. Tanzania - 28.8% - 2,309
  3. Liberia - 22.6% - 17,823
  4. Angola - 19.2% - 4,160
  5. Benin - 18.6% - 4,765
  6. Republic of the Congo - 15.8% - 9,892
  7. Malawi - 14.9% - 3,612
  8. Sierra Leone - 14.6% - 26,108
  9. Papua New Guinea - 13.7% - 35,033
  10. Tuvalu - 13.2% - 335
  11. Togo - 12.7% - 5,997
  12. Turkey - 11.9% - 573
  13. Rwanda - 11.7% - 843
  14. Iceland - 10.3% - 331

The following is a list of the top ten countries with the highest negative growth rates (i.e., fastest rate of membership decline) during the biennial period of 2020-2021. The percent growth rate is provided next to the country name, and the number to the right of the percentage growth rate is the year-end 2021 membership total for the country. Only France (-1,730) and Reunion (-117) experienced a net decline of 100 or more members during the biennial period of 2020-2021 among these ten countries with the greatest percentage decrease in membership.

  1. Montenegro - -16.7% - 30
  2. Reunion (Department of France) - -12.2% - 841
  3. Kazakhstan - -10.9% - 205
  4. Grenada - -9.59% - 396
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina - -8.22% - 67
  6. Guernsey (part of the United Kingdom) - -8.06% - 57
  7. Saint Kitts and Nevis - -7.83% - 212
  8. Bahrain - -6.94% - 228
  9. France - -4.33% - 38,200
  10. Sint Maarten - -3.70% - 286

Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership increase for the biennial period of 2020-2021. Each country is provided with the numerical national increase in membership for this two-year period. 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, 2017, 2018, and 2019. 72.8% of the 2020-2021 net increase in Church membership can be attributed to the following 10 nations.

  1. United States - 41,987 - 17.5%
  2. Philippines - 27,836 - 11.6%
  3. Brazil - 26,303 - 10.9%
  4. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 20,265- 8.4% 
  5. Nigeria - 19,075 - 7.9%
  6. Mexico - 16,766 - 7.0%
  7. Ghana - 7,373 - 3.1%
  8. Peru - 5,524 - 2.3%
  9. Bolivia - 5,183 - 2.2%
  10. Venezuela - 4,586 - 1.9%

Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership decrease for the biennial period of 2020-2021. Each country is provided with the numerical national decrease in membership for this two-year period. Coincidentally, there were ten countries where membership experienced a net decreased by 100 or more during 2020-2021.

  1. France - -1,730
  2. United Kingdom - -1,378
  3. Germany - -268
  4. Uruguay - -248
  5. Hong Kong - -224
  6. Federated States of Micronesia - -200
  7. Malaysia - -126
  8. Sweden - -121
  9. Reunion - -117
  10. Belgium - -106 

The most significant developments with membership growth trends by country during the past two years have been the rapid acceleration of membership growth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a country where only 0.53% of total Church membership is located but where 8.4% of total membership growth during the past two years has occurred), the significant slowdown in membership growth in the countries with the most Church-reported members (like the United States, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Peru, and Chile), and stagnant membership growth or a decline in the number of Church members in many countries with few (less than 10,000) members (excluding Sub-Saharan Africa). The trend for many, if not most, countries in the Church during the past two years has been similar to the Church's global membership growth rate in that the growth rate for the two-year period is comparable to what the annual growth rate was prior to 2020, or that it has decreased by approximately 50% from normal. This decline appears primarily attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on missionary work and Church operations in nearly all countries of the world.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

17 New Temples - Analysis - Part I

This is part one of the analysis regarding new temples announced today due to the large number of announced temples. I will post part two within the next week.

Wellington New Zealand Temple

The Wellington New Zealand Temple will be the Church's third temple in New Zealand after the Hamilton New Zealand Temple (dedicated in 1958) and the Auckland New Zealand Temple (announced in 2018). The new temple will probably service six stakes on the southern North Island and the two stakes and one district on the South Island. There are three stakes in the Wellington metropolitan area - the most recent of which was created in 1997. The most recently organized stake in the probable temple district was organized in 2016 on the South Island. There were 115,236 Church-reported members in New Zealand as of year-end 2019. The Church has reported steady membership and congregational growth in New Zealand in recent years. Stakes in southern New Zealand pertain to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple.

There are now 19 temples planned or dedicated in Oceania (including Hawaii).

Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple

The Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple will be the Church's first temple in the Republic of the Congo. The Church reported 8,542 Latter-day Saints in the country as of year-end 2019. Based on year-end 2019 membership data (the most recent membership data published by the Church at the moment), the Republic of the Congo had the fourth most Latter-day Saints among countries without a temple. The Church has reported rapid membership growth in the Republic of the Congo since the mid-2010s. The first stake in the country was organized in 2013, and two new stakes were recently created in 2020. Moreover, the Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple will likely be within close geographic proximity to the neighboring Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple (dedicated in 2019) as only the Congo river separates the two cities. Thus, the two temples will likely be the two closest temples to one another on the Afro-Euroasian landmass when it the Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple is completed. There are three stakes in Brazzaville. The new temple will likely include the four stakes in the Republic of the Congo and two districts in Cameroon. The Republic of the Congo is currently assigned to the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple.

There are now 20 temples planned or dedicated in Africa.

Barcelona Spain Temple

The Barcelona Spain Temple will be the Church's second temple in Spain following the Madrid Spain Temple (dedicated in 1999). The new temple will likely service four stakes in northern Spain and perhaps the Baleares Spain District. The new temple follows the pattern of recent temple announcements in Europe that have favored locations with relatively few stakes within the prospective temple district. The Church organized its first stake in Barcelona in 1982, and the two most recently organized stakes in the area were created in 2009 and 2012. 

Membership growth rates in Spain have consistently outpaced essentially all other Western European nations for many years, with annual membership growth rates of 2-3% since the late 2000s. The number of congregations in Spain has been essentially stagnant for the past decade, although the number of wards increased from 67 in 2009 to 93 in 2019. Stakes in northern Spain pertain to the Madrid Spain Temple.

Birmingham England Temple

The Birmingham England Temple will be the Church's third temple in England following the London England Temple (dedicated in 1958) and Preston England Temple (dedicated in 1998). The new temple will likely service 8-10 stakes in central England. The last time a new stake was organized in the region was in Coventry in 1993. The Church in England during the past decade has experienced stagnant congregational growth, although the number of wards has slightly increased. Extremely slow membership growth occurs in England for most years. As for the United Kingdom as a whole, the Church has reported slight increases in membership since year-end 2016 from 185,848 to more than 190,000 at present according to the Church's news release today. In contrast, the Church in the United Kingdom reported stagnant membership growth or slight declines in membership between 2009 and 2016. Stakes in the potential new temple district are currently divided between the London England Temple district and the Preston England Temple district.

There are now 21 temples planned or dedicated in Europe.

Cusco Peru Temple

The Cusco Peru Temple will be the Church's fifth temple in Peru following the Lima Peru Temple (dedicated in 1986), the Trujillo Peru Temple (dedicated in 2015), the Arequipa Peru Temple (dedicated in 2019), and the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple (announced in 2016 and under construction). The new temple will likely have one of the smallest temple districts in Latin America in terms of the number of stakes and districts assigned. Currently, it appears that there will likely be four stakes and five districts assigned to the new temple. It is important to note that the Cusco area has a high percentage of Amerindian peoples and travel is difficult due to the rugged terrain. There are two stakes in Cusco, and the first stake was organized in 1985. The most recently organized stake in the region is the Sicuani Peru Stake which was created in 2006. Stakes in the Cusco area currently attend the Arequipa Peru Temple. The Church in Peru has approximately 625,000 members per the Church's announcement today, and annual membership growth rates have generally ranged from 2-4% since the mid-2000s. Congregational growth rates accelerated immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the pandemic on the Church in Peru has appeared significant given lockdowns and significant disruptions to Church operations.

Maceió Brazil Temple

The Maceió Brazil Temple will be the Church's 15th temple in Brazil and the first temple in Alagoas State where there are six stakes. There are five stakes in Maceió. The first stake in the city was organized in 1982 and the most recently organized stake was created in 2016. The new temple will likely have nine stakes and one district in its temple district. Stakes in Maceió currently attend the Recife Brazil Temple.

Santos Brazil Temple

The Santos Brazil Temple will be the Church's 16th temple in Brazil and the fourth temple in São Paulo State. The new temple will likely include five stakes and two districts that operate in the coastal areas of São Paulo State. The first stake in the Santos area was organized in 1973, and the most recently organized stake was created in 2007. Multiple new stakes appear likely to be organized in the near future in the Santos area due to steady congregational growth. The Santos area is currently assigned to the São Paulo Brazil Temple.

The Church in Brazil has reported slowing annual membership growth rates that have generally been 2-3% since the mid-2010s. The Church today reported that there are 1.5 million Church-reported members in Brazil, whereas there were 1,429,935 Church-reported members as of year-end 2019. This means that the Church in Brazil is about to surpass, or has surpassed, the number of Church-reported members in Mexico which has been the country with the second most Latter-day Saints according to official Church records.