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.

17 New Temples Announced

This afternoon, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, announced plans to construction 17 new temples in the following locations:

  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Cusco, Peru
  • Maceió, Brazil
  • Santos, Brazil
  • San Luis Potosí, Mexico
  • Mexico City Benemérito, Mexico
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Austin, Texas
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Montpelier, Idaho
  • Modesto, California

With today's announcement, there are now 282 temples that are planned or dedicated. Furthermore, this is also the first time in Church history when the number of temples planned has surpassed 100.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

2021 Statistical Report

This afternoon, the Church reported the following statistics as of December 31st, 2021.

  • Membership: 16,805,400 (increase of 141,737 from 2020; a 0.85% annual increase)
  • Congregations: 31,315 (increase of 179 from 2020; a 0.57% annual increase)
  • Stakes: 3,498 (increase of 35 from 2020; a 1.01% annual increase)
  • Districts: 520 (decrease of 17 from 2020; a 3.17% annual decrease)
  • Missions: 407 (increase of 2 from 2020; a 0.49% annual increase)
  • Convert Baptisms: 168,283 (increase of 42,353 from 2020; a 33.6% annual increase)
  • Increase of Children on Record: 89,069 (increase of 23,629 from 2020; a 36.1% annual increase)
  • Full-time missionaries: 54,539 (increase of 2,720 from 2020; a 5.25% annual increase)
  • Church service missionaries: 36,639 (increase of 6,112 from 2020; a 20.0% annual increase)

As noted last year, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the Church's operations in nearly all areas of the world, and this has resulted in a significant decrease in growth rates for most metrics reported in the Church's annual statistical reports. For example, the number of converts baptized into the Church in 2020 was 49.4% less than 2019, and the number of children under age 8 added to Church records was 30.6% less in 2020 than in 2019. Moreover, it is also important to note that 2021 was far from a "normal" year for the Church's operations due to the ongoing pandemic, and as a result growth rates for most metrics again were less than normal but generally substantially higher than for 2020. The number of converts baptized in 2021 was 33.6% higher than in 2020, but the number of converts baptized in 2021 was 32.4% less than the number of converts baptized in 2019. There was a greater rebound in number of children added to Church records in 2021 compared to 2020 (36.1% annual increase) compared to convert baptisms, albeit the number of children added to Church records in 2021 remained less than in 2019 (5.51% less). This was probably the greatest surprise in the 2021 Statistical Report for me given I anticipated there would be children who were not blessed and not had membership records created in 2021 that would have had this done in 2021, and thus result in a "double cohort" of children of record increase. The difference between the summation of converts baptized and new children under age 8 added to Church records and net membership increase for the year totaled 115,615 - representative for most years in the past decade (generally 90,000-120,000). This indicates that the rate of deaths, excommunications, resignations, and removal of records for unbaptized children over age 8 has remained constant during this time. Good way to conceptualize membership growth during 2020 and 2021 is that the net increase in membership for these two years combined (240,364) was approximately the net increase just for the year 2019 (251,301).

Statistics regarding congregational growth and stake/district growth were unremarkable for 2021, especially given the pandemic's impact on the ability to organize and hold conferences, reduced church attendance, and travel restrictions for Church leaders. The net decrease in the number of districts for 2021 was 17 - the largest drop in the number of districts since 2013. However, the number of districts in the Church has steadily decreased at a very low rate every year since 2009 (primarily due to the rate of districts maturing into stakes outpacing the creation of new districts). The net increase in the number of stakes for 2021 was 35 - nine more than 2020, but nonetheless the smallest net increase in the number of stakes (excluding 2020) since 2010. The annual rate of congregational growth for 2021 slightly slowed compared to 2020 to 0.57% - the lowest rate reported since 2018 (when significant congregation consolidations in Mexico artificially lowered the net increase for the year).

There was a significant increase in the number of Church service missionaries in 2021 compared to 2020 (20.0% increase), and the number of Church service missionaries in 2021 was the highest reported by the Church except for when an all-time record for this statistic was set in 2018 (37,963). However, the number of full-time, proselytizing members serving full-time missions increased by only 2,720 (5.25%) to 54,539. Again, it appears that the ongoing pandemic resulted in many young single adults postponing or cancelling plans to serve full-time missionaries. The many messages in General Conference addresses shared today regarding the importance of full-time missionary service for young men is likely in direct response to these disappointing missionary statistics and increasing opportunities for Church growth in the near future. At year-end 2019, the Church reported 67,021 full-time missionaries which indicates an 18.6% decrease for the two-year period. The Church reported gradual increases in the number of members serving full-time missions in the late 2000s and early 2010s from 51,736 in 2009 to 58,990 in 2012 (just a few months after the announcement on the lowering of the minimum age for full-time missionary service) until the number of members serving full-time missions reached an artificial high of 85,147 in 2014 that resulted from a double-cohort of age groups serving full-time missions (i.e., members who began their service at the previous minimum age versus members beginning their service at the revised age). After this double-cohort passed, the number of members serving full-time missions settled to around 65,000-70,000.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Aggregate Predictions for New Temples

Thanks to Nate, one of the followers of this blog, for creating an aggregate of the 10 "most anticipated" temples to be announced. Based on the predictions of 20 lists submitted, the following are the 10 most anticipated temples to be announced:

  1. Iquitos, Peru
  2. Kampala, Uganda
  3. Angeles, Philippines
  4. Ribeirao Preto, Brazil
  5. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  6. Spanish Fork, Utah
  7. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  8. Charlotte, North Carolina
  9. Uyo, Nigeria
  10. Herriman, Utah 

And here are the next 10 most anticipated temples:

  1. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  2. Osorno, Chile
  3. Flagstaff, Arizona
  4. Austin, Texas
  5. Tacoma, Washington
  6. Henderson, Nevada
  7. Osaka, Japan
  8. Bakersfield, California
  9. Santiago, Dominican Republic
  10. Rosario, Argentina

Monday, March 28, 2022

New Stakes Created in Idaho, Liberia, Michigan, and Ohio; Stakes Discontinued in Washington and Venezuela

Idaho

The Church organized a new stake in the Coeur d'Alene area on February 20th. The Post Falls Idaho Stake was organized from a division of the Coeur d'Alene Idaho Stake and the Hayden Lake Idaho Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Lakeland 1st, Lakeland 2nd, Pleasant View, Prairie Falls, Timberlake, and the White Pines Wards, and the Plummer Branch. There are now three stakes in the Coeur d'Alene metropolitan area.

There are now 137 stakes in Idaho.

Liberia

The Church organized a new stake in the Monrovia metropolitan area on March 13th. The Virginia Liberia Stake was organized from a division of the Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island Stake (organized in 2016 at the same time when the district was divided to create the Caldwell Liberia District). The new stake includes the following seven wards and one branch: the Banjor 1st, Banjor 2nd, Brewersville, Duala, Lagoon, St Paul Bridge, and Virginia Wards, and the Virginia Waterside Branch. The Church also redrew the boundaries of the neighboring Caldwell Liberia Stake and Gardnersville Liberia Stake so the Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island Stake now includes most of the wards in central and southern Bushrod Island. 

There are now six stakes in Liberia - all of which are located in Monrovia. There is also one district in the country located in Kakata. The creation of a second district in Liberia headquartered in Harbel appears imminent as there are now four branches in the Harbel area.

Michigan

The Church organized a new stake in Michigan on January 16th. The Holland Michigan Stake was organized from a division of the Grand Rapids Michigan Stake and the Kalamazoo Michigan Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Hastings, Holland, Spring Lake, St Joseph, Wyoming 1st, and Wyoming 2nd Wards, and the Allegan and South Haven Branches. The new stake is the Church's second new stake organized in Michigan during the past year. However, prior to 2021, the Church had not organized a new stake in Michigan since the Kalamazoo Michigan Stake was created in 1979. 

There are now 10 stake and one district in Michigan.

Ohio

The Church organized a new stake in eastern Ohio on March 6th. The Zanesville Ohio Stake was organized from a division of Akron Ohio Stake, the Columbus Ohio East Stake, and the Columbus Ohio South Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Athens, Lancaster, New Philadelphia, Newark, and Zanesville Wards, and the Cambridge and Coshocton Branches. The new stake is the Church's second new stake to be organized in Ohio within the past six months as the Dayton Ohio North Stake was created in November 2021. However, prior to 2021, the Church had not organized a new stake in Ohio since 2004.

There are now 16 stakes in Ohio.

Washington

The Church discontinued a stake in Washington State for the second time in the Church's history in the state. The Tacoma Washington South Stake (organized in 2016) was discontinued and the five wards that pertained to the former stake were reassigned to the Tacoma Washington North Stake and the South Hill Washington Stake. The Church discontinued a stake in Washington for the first time in 2020 (Kirkland Washington). 

There are now 60 stakes in Washington.

Venezuela 

For the first time since 2018, the Church discontinued a stake and reorganized the congregations into a member district. The Porlamar Venezuela Stake was reorganized as the Porlamar Venezuela District. The five wards in the stake were downgraded and reorganized into five branches. The Church in Venezuela has experienced significant struggles with growth and stability in its stakes and congregations due to political turmoil for many years. 

There are now 33 stakes and six districts in Venezuela.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

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

I have updated the list of the countries with the most members without a temple using year-end 2019 membership totals as the Church did not release country-by-country year-end 2020 membership data due to the interference of the COVID-19 pandemic on the accuracy of country-by-country Church membership data. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for November 2020, April 2020, April 2019, October 2018, April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007. I have put the country name in bold if that country has typically experienced rapid growth (annual membership growth rate of approximately 8% or higher) within the past two years with data available. Countries in Italics do not have a stake. It is very unusual for the Church to announce a temple in a country where there are no stakes, but there are multiple instances of this occurring (i.e., the Kyiv Ukraine Temple, the Bern Switzerland Temple, the Shanghai China Temple). Based on year-end 2019 membership data, the average country in the current top 10 countries with the most members without a temple had 8,880 members. Given this very low average, approximately half of the countries in the current top 10 list appear likely to have small temples announced in the foreseeable future, such as Uganda, Mongolia, the Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, and Jamaica.

The Church has made significant progress during the past 15 years with bringing temples closer to members who live in countries with the most members without temples. To put the current list into perspective, nine of the 10 countries with the most members without a temple in late 2007 (the first list I made on this blog) had more members of the Church than all but one of the countries on the current list of the countries with the most members without a temple. Per year-end 2006 membership data, the average country among the top 10 countries with the most members without a temple had 25,365 members.

It is also important to note that the Church announcing temples in locations with few members is not a new trend. For example, the 10 countries with the most members without a temple as of year-end 1985 included:

  1. Uruguay (40,700 members)
  2. Bolivia (35,600 members)
  3. Venezuela (24,000 members)
  4. Honduras (18,600 members)
  5. France (16,500 members)
  6. El Salvador (15,100 members)
  7. Hong Kong (12,200 members)
  8. Italy (12,000 members)
  9. Spain (11,600 members)
  10. Dominican Republic (9,300 members)

The average country among the top 10 countries with the most members without a temple in 1985 had 19,560 members. Also, there were a number of countries with temples announced or dedicated in 1985 that had relatively few members such as South Africa (13,100), Taiwan (11,600), French Polynesia (9,800), Sweden (6,800), and Switzerland (5,600). Nevertheless, the Church has clearly entered a robust and solid trend in announcing small temples in countries with relatively few members, especially if these countries are in areas far from the nearest temple. Furthermore, the Church in the past five years has also announced temples in countries or territories where there have never been so few members and had a temple announced. More specifically, the United Arab Emirates had only 1,699 members as of year-end 2019 - slightly fewer members of the Church than the Church in Switzerland in 1952 when the Bern Switzerland Temple was announced - a few months prior to the announcement of the Dubai United Arab of Emirates Temple in April 2020.


1. Uganda

  • 17,887 members
  • 3 stakes, 3 districts
  • 37 congregations (18 wards, 19 branches)
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple (Nairobi Kenya Temple under construction)
2. Mongolia
  • 12,261 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 23 congregations (12 wards, 11 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Shanghai China Temple announced)
3. Malaysia
  • 10,845 members
  • 0 stakes, 5 districts
  • 28 congregations (28 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Singapore Republic of Singapore Temple announced)
4. Republic of the Congo 
  • 8,542 members
  • 4 stakes, 0 districts
  • 31 congregations (23 wards, 8 branches)
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
5. Indonesia
  • 7,561 members
  • 2 stakes, 1 district
  • 24 congregations (16 wards, 8 branches)
  • Hong Kong China Temple (Singapore Republic of Singapore Temple announced)

6. Marshall Islands

  • 6,976 members
  • 2 stakes
  • 13 congregations (12 wards, 1 branch)
  • Suva Fiji Temple (Tarawa Kiribati Temple announced)

7.  Jamaica

  • 6,668 members
  • 1 stake, 1 district
  • 18 congregations (6 wards, 12 branches)
  • Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple

8.  Federated States of Micronesia

  • 6,307 members
  • 1 stake, 2 districts
  • 22 congregations (5 wards, 17 branches)
  • Cebu City Philippines Temple (Yigo Guam Temple scheduled for dedication)

9.  Guyana

  • 6,264 members
  • 0 stakes, 2 districts
  • 11 congregations (11 branches)
  • Caracas Venezuela Temple

10.  Belize

  • 5,485 members
  • 2 districts
  • 12 congregations (12 branches)
  • Guatemala City Guatemala Temple (Coban Guatemala Temple announced)

Monday, March 7, 2022

February 2022 Newsletter

 Click here to access the February 2022 newsletter for cumorah.com.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Gambia Dedicated for Missionary Work

The Church reported that Apostle Elder D. Todd Christofferson dedicated the West African nation of The Gambia to missionary work on February 24th. Elder Christofferson also met with the Gambian president during his visit and attended the baptism of 11 new converts in Banjul - the Gambian capital. These converts had been taught by missionaries in the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission - the mission that includes the country of Senegal. The Gambia remains officially unassigned to a full-time mission. Church membership as of year-end 2021 in The Gambia appeared to total 12, and with the addition of the new converts there are now 23 Latter-day Saints in the country. The Church reported 19 Latter-day Saints in The Gambia in 2013, although there was no organized Church presence or regular contact from area leadership until approximately 2018 when area leadership visited Banjul to meet with isolated members. The population of The Gambia is 2.3 million people. There is now one Latter-day Saint per 96,578 people in The Gambia - a ratio comparable for the Church in India. Leadership from the Africa West Area visited The Gambia in January 2022. The Church has held sacrament meeting services in the home of a member of the Church in Banjul. Also in January, Church leaders conducted the first two temple recommend interviews for members of the Church living in The Gambia who planned to attend the temple for the first time the following month to receive the ordinances of the endowment. 

Like Senegal, the population of The Gambia is overwhelmingly Muslim (96.4%), albeit society is generally tolerant of religious freedom and religious minority groups. With the recent establishment of the Church in neighboring Senegal, Guinea, and Mali, prospects appear favorable for the creation of a mission headquartered in Dakar, Senegal within the near future to provide greater mission president oversight and larger amounts of resources allocated to this region of West Africa where there are no missions headquartered. Currently, countries in the area are assigned to several different missions such as the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro (Guinea and unofficially Burkina Faso) and Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan East (Mali). There are 90.8 million people who live in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Membership Figure Released for Nigeria; Rapid Growth in Liberia

The Church published an article today regarding Apostle Elder D. Todd Christofferson's visit to West Africa. The article indicated that there are approximately 210,000 Latter-day Saints in Nigeria. The Church's most recently released membership statistic for Nigeria was 192,144 members as of year-end 2019. This indicates that Church membership in Nigeria has increased by approximately 9.3% during the past two years, or approximately half the rate of membership growth that the Church has experienced for most years in Nigeria since the early 2010s. Annual membership growth rates have typically ranged from 8-10% since the early 2010s. Congregational growth rates in Nigeria markedly decreased after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from approximately 50-100 new congregations being created every year to approximately 16 in 2020 and 20 in 2021. The Church in Nigeria has typically experienced rapid membership growth since its establishment in 1978, albeit there was a significantly slowdown in annual membership growth rates between 2007 and 2012 during which time annual membership growth rates ranged from 5-6%. Historical statistical data for the Church in Nigeria can be found here.

The Liberia Monrovia Mission reported that there were more than 2,200 convert baptisms during 2021 - the highest number of converts baptized in the mission since its establishment in 2013. To put this number into perspective, the Church in Liberia previously reported its highest net increase in membership for a single year back in 2016 when the Church reported a net increase of 1,460 members. The mission now has 150 missionaries assigned and all wards and branches have at least one missionary companionship assigned. The mission reported that several mission branches have divided in recent weeks, albeit it is unclear which cities had new branches organized. Moreover, the mission also reports plans to open additional cities to missionary work, such as Tubmanburg. Historical statistical data for the Church in Liberia can be found here.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

New Temple Predictions - February 2022 Edition

I have updated my temple prediction map in preparation for General Conference in April. 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 endowment sessions scheduled at the nearest temple, and member and missionary reports regarding member activity, temple attendance, and convert retention. Altogether, there are 144 potential temples on the map (33 more like temples, 108 less likely temples).

Thirteen (13) less likely locations were added to the temple prediction map in February 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 there is sufficient membership to support a small temple.

  • Birmingham, England 
  • Brisbane South, Australia
  • Cotonou, Benin 
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Kolonia, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Luanda, Angola
  • Luputa, DR Congo 
  • Majuro, Marshall Islands
  • Munich, Germany
  • Murcia, Spain
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Roanoke, Virgina
  • Prince George, British Columbia

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

  • El Paso, Texas

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. Austin, Texas
  4. Charlotte, North Carolina
  5. Santiago/Tuguegarao Philippines
  6. Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines 
  7. Tacoma Washington
  8. Colorado Springs, Colorado 
  9. Kampala, Uganda
  10. Iquitos, Peru

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

Saturday, February 5, 2022

January 2022 Newsletter

 Click here to access the January 2022 newsletter for cumorah.com.

Friday, February 4, 2022

First District to be Created in Senegal; Church Establishment Beginning in The Gambia

On February 13th, the Church will organize its first district in the West African nation of Senegal. The creation of the new district will be just two weeks after the organization of the Saint-Louis Branch on January 30th, 2022, which is the third branch of the Church in the country. There is also one member group that operates in Mbour. The Church organized its first branch in Senegal in 2016. Senegal was assigned to a mission for the first time in late 2016/early 2017. Senegal was dedicated for missionary work in 2017 by Elder David A. Bednar. The first young, proselytizing full-time missionaries were assigned to Senegal and a second branch in Dakar opened in April 2018. At the time, there were approximately 60 active members in the entire country. A member group opened in Mbour in approximately June 2019. Mission leadership began to visit Saint-Louis in approximately March 2020. There are no recent membership data released by the Church for Senegal. The most recent membership statistical reported was at year-end 2018 when there were 108 members nationwide. Senegal currently pertains to the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission. Senegal appears highly like to have its own mission organized in the foreseeable future given there is no nearby mission, a significant population of 16.1 million just within the country of Senegal, no significant restrictions on religious freedom, and opportunities for a mission in Dakar to better service other nearby nations with an emerging Church presence such as Mali and The Gambia. 

In regard to The Gambia, the first local members to receive the endowment will travel to the Accra Ghana Temple this month to receive these ordinances. Moreover, there are approximately one dozen individuals who may be baptized this month following a visit by area leadership to The Gambia to attend the inauguration of the president-elect. Sacrament meetings currently occur in a members' home in Banjul.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

First Branch Created in Northern Cote d'Ivoire

This weekend, the Church organized its first branch in northern Cote d'Ivoire. The Korhogo Branch was organized in the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission with approximately 30 people in attendance. Korhogo is the fourth most populous city in Cote d'Ivoire, and the city was previously the most populous city in the country without an official ward or branch. The Church has had a few members who have lived in Korhogo over the years, but there were not enough members to create a branch until recently despite repeated efforts from mission leadership to explore opportunities to organize a member group or branch. The Church in Cote d'Ivoire has experienced a dramatic slowdown to national outreach expansion since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Church in Cote d'Ivoire experienced one of the most significant declines in the number of monthly convert baptisms among high baptizing areas for the Church.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

New Stakes Created in Brazil, Canada, the DR Congo, Idaho, Ohio, Sierra Leone, Utah, and Washington, DC; New District Created in Angola; Two Stakes Discontinued in California; Districts Discontinued in Canada and Russia

Brazil

The Church organized a new stake in São Paulo State, Brazil on November 14th, 2021. The Carapicuiba Brazil Stake was organized on November 14th, 2021 from a division of the Alphaville Brazil Stake and the Osasco Brazil Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Ariston, Carapicuiba, São Camilo, Vila Dirce, and Nova Granada Wards. There are now 47 stakes in the São Paulo metropolitan area.

There are now 281 stakes and 40 districts in Brazil.

Canada

The Church organized its second stake in Manitoba, Canada on November 14th, 2021. The Winnipeg Manitoba West Stake was organized from a division of the Winnipeg Manitoba Stake (originally organized in 1978 and renamed the Winnipeg Manitoba East Stake). The new stake includes the follow five wards and five branches: the Brandon, River Heights, St James, Waverley, and Wellington YSA Wards, and the Dauphin, Neepawa, Portage La Prairie, Selkirk, and Thompson Branches. Also, the Church discontinued the Fort Francis Ontario District (organized in 1970) as part of the new stake creation, and retained branches were reassigned to the Winnipeg Manitoba East Stake.

There are now 53 stakes and four districts in Canada.

DR Congo

The Church organized its second stake in the city of Luputa on December 5th, 2021. The Kabusanga DR Congo Stake was organized from the Luputa DR Congo Stake (originally organized in 2011). The new stake includes the following five wards: the Contoniere, Kabusanga 1st, Kabusanga 2nd, Luputa 1st, and the Mukukuyi Wards. 

There are now 25 stakes and 3 districts in the DR Congo.

Idaho

The Church organized a new stake in Rexburg, Idaho on December 12th, 2021. The Rexburg Idaho West Stake was organized from a division of the Rexburg Idaho Stake, the Rexburg Idaho Center Stake, and Rexburg Idaho Henry's Fork Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Hibbard 1st, Burton 2nd, Burton 4th, Oakbrook, Summerfield 1st, Summerfield 2nd, Willowbrook, and the Rexburg 13th Wards. There are now 23 stakes in the Rexburg area, including 11 young single adult stakes and four student married stakes.

There are now 136 stakes in Idaho.

Ohio 

The Church organized its third stake in Dayton, Ohio on November 21st, 2021. The Dayton Ohio North Stake was organized from a division of the Cincinnati Ohio East Stake, the Dayton Ohio Stake, the Dayton Ohio East Stake, and the Toledo Ohio Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Bellefontaine, Huber Heights, Lima, Piqua, Springfield, and Tipp City Wards, and the Greenville and St Marys Branches. This marks the creation of the first new stake in Dayton since 1979. Moreover, this marks the first time a new stake has been created in Ohio since 2007.

There are now 15 stakes in Ohio.

Sierra Leone

The Church organized a new stake in Sierra Leone on December 5th, 2021. The Kossoh Town Sierra Leone Stake was organized from the Kossoh Town Sierra Leone District. All seven branches in the former district were advanced to wards. The seven wards in the new stake are the Forut, Grafton, Ibo Town, Jui, Kossoh Town, Lumpa, and Waterloo Wards. The Kossoh Town Sierra Leone District was the last remaining district in the Freetown metropolitan area where there are now five stakes. 

There are now nine stakes and one district in Sierra Leone.

Utah

The Church organized a new stake in Smithfield, Utah on November 7th, 2021. The Smithfield Utah West Stake was organized from a division of the Smithfield Utah Stake, the Smithfield Utah North Stake, and the Smithfield Utah South Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Smithfield 1st, Smithfield 2nd, Smithfield 4th, Smithfield 8th, Smithfield 9th, Smithfield 16th, and the Smithfield 25th Wards. The Church announced plans to construct a temple in Smithfield in April 2021. There are now five stakes in Smithfield.

There are now 621 stakes and two districts in Utah

Washington, DC

The Church organized a second young single adult (YSA) stake for the Washington, DC area on November 14th, 2021. The Washington DC YSA North Stake was organized from the Washington DC YSA Stake, and the new stake includes congregations located in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Annapolis YSA, Eastern Market YSA,
Friendship Heights YSA, Strathmore YSA, and the Waldorf YSA Wards. There are now three Washington DC Stakes, albeit only two of these stakes actually operate within the District of Columbia.

Angola

The Church organized a new district on November 21st, 2021. The Huambo Angola District was organized with three branches (one of which was organized on the day the new district was created). Branches in Huambo were previously assigned directly to the Angola Luanda Mission. The new district is a major milestone for the Church's growth in Angola as it marks the first time the Church has created a district outside of Luanda where one stake operates (organized in 2018). The Church initially organized its first branch in Huambo in May 2013, but the mission closed the branch in late 2015 and reverted the congregation back to a member group. The branch was reinstated in February 2018, and a second branch was organized in the city in late 2020. 

There is now one stake and one district in Angola, and it appears likely a second district will be organized in the foreseeable future for branches in the southern city of Lubango.

California

The Church discontinued two stakes in California in late 2021. The Pleasanton California Stake (organized in 1974) was discontinued, and the four wards and one branch in the former stake were reassigned to the Livermore California Stake. Also, the Jurupa California Stake (organized in 1990) was discontinued, and retained congregations were reassigned to the Ontario California Stake and the Riverside California Stake. 

There are now 147 stakes in California. The Church in California reported an all-time high of 162 stakes in 1995.

Russia

The Church discontinued the Moscow Russia District - a district that included small branches in cities surrounding the Moscow metropolitan area where one stake operates. All branches in the former district have been reassigned to the Russia Moscow Mission.

There are now three stakes and eight districts in Russia.