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

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.