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)

26 comments:

James said...

Matt, thanks for this report. I had theorized in an earlier post that these ten nations would be on the next top ten list, so I'm grateful I was correct on that. with the Church not releasing country-by-country membership data last year, I'll be curious to see if these nations are in the same order once the information is released. I have mentioned in the past that President Nelson seems to be knocking 1-3 nations off of the top ten list with temple announcements every six months. Bearing in mind that we saw the Budapest Hungary Temple announced in April of 2019, followed by the announcement of the temple for Vienna Austria in April 2021, I do not think it is out of the question for Uganda to have a temple announced this time, especially since the Nairobi Kenya Temple had a groundbreaking last year.

Mongolia and Indonesia may be the very next two Asian temples, especially now that Mongolia falls under the Asia North Area, with Indonesia in the Asia Area. I also think a Republic of the Congo Temple is very likely. At least a couple of people in previous discussions here and on the threads of my blog mentioned the prospect of a Pointe-Noire Republic of the Congo Temple. So I wouldn't be shocked if all of these 4 nations (Uganda, Mongolia, Indonesia, and Republic of the Congo) are all off of this list by the end of this year.

I've also heard that a Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Temple is likely sooner rather than later. The Marshall Islands might not see a temple announced until the current Pacific Area temples that are next in line for a groundbreaking (Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea) are underway. A new contact of mine from the Pacific Area indicates that all three of those temples could have a groundbreaking before the end of this year. I think that at the beginning of the fourth quarter of this year (perhaps September or October) might be the window for the former two, with the latter likely in December of this year or perhaps January of 2023.

I mentioned in my comment in the previous thread that the early July rededication for Tokyo was surprising to me. New Zealand is anticipated to reopen to the United States in April or May, at which point the Hamilton rededication might be arranged for late July or early August. I think that there might not be any other temple dedications set for the first half of this year, so Quito, Belem, San Juan, and Helena might be set for August and September.

It appears that the Church is having the younger, less senior apostles handle the dedication of new temples, while the senior apostles (First Presidency and senior half of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) handle temple rededications. I also mentioned on my blog recently that I'm surprised nothing official has been announced for the 4 US cities that had temples announced in October of last year. I had heard that a groundbreaking for Belo Horizonte was being tentatively planned for May, so I'm a little surprised that nothing has been announced there.

I've not seen anything official on the Kumasi Ghana Temple since that rendering was presented to the king of the Kumasi region. But aside from that temple and the 4 newest temples in the United States, I'm also keeping my eyes open for news on the Managua Nicaragua, Lagos Nigeria, Cagayan de Oro Philippines, Dubai United Arab Emirates, and Kaohsiung Taiwan Temples. I wouldn't be shocked by a large number of temple dedications, rededications, and groundbreakings being scheduled for the second half of this year.

For any who may be interested, in this week before General Conference, I will be publishing my report on temple construction during this first quarter of 2022, in addition to the final version of my April 2022 General Conference predictions. In the meantime, my thanks once again to you all.

Eduardo said...

I have not been able to publish.

Ok.


Dubai and Okinawa show that all these nations are worthy of temples.

Noah said...

There is now a location on Google Maps for the Benin City Nigeria Temple. There are, however, several buildings currently occupying this site, so I'm not entirely convinced that this is accurate.

John said...

I don't think Belize goes to a temple in Guatemala. Relations between the two countries are hostile - Guatemala claims Belize's territory. I know they are part of one of the El Salvador missions. (Similarly, the Falkland Islands are part of a Chilean mission.)

James said...

Matt, one additional comment from me: the Nairobi Kenya Temple is under construction, not announced. Under Malaysia, you note that the Singapore Republic of Singapore Temple is announced, but under Indonesia, you noted it's under construction, which is not correct. Under Micronesia, you state Yigo is announced, but it's completed with a dedication scheduled for May 8. Under Belize, you note the Coban and Guatemala City Guatemala Temples. So I wondered why you didn't note the Greater Guatemala City Guatemala Temple. Were those intentional, or just inadvertent oversights? Thanks.

James said...

Sorry if that came across as nitpicky. Just wanted to clarify either way.

Butterfly and Bones said...

I am young and do not have all the knowledge and wisdom that many of you do, so please forgive my naivete when asking this question and if I don't phrase it properly.

What do you think of the possibility of the Church announcing a Temple in Poland -- Warsaw or Krakow? I know the membership is tiny in Poland and there is only the Warsaw District, and I know we cannot foresee the future, especially now with the situation with Ukraine & Russia, but with so many displaced Ukrainians in Poland, I wonder if Eastern Europe could use a further beacon of hope (I know Budapest has been announced)? I'm not articulate, and I know what they need right now is peace, security, food, shelter, etc. above all else. Hopefully, the Ukrainian diaspora is temporary and over soon. And I would hope that any temple announcement in Poland would not be interpreted as a prophetic message about the future state of the Ukraine/Russia war (so, yeah, I guess a temple won't be announced as it would be too political a topic... and the membership numbers aren't there).

I guess... I just really feel really bad for the many Ukrainian members who fled their homes and are without access to the Temple at a time when they really need a refuge from the world and are facing very important decisions regarding their family and are seeking peace and comfort. But I suppose even if there was a Temple announcement for Poland, it would still take many years for it to materialize -- and I sure pray that they could return to their homeland before then.

Butterfly and Bones said...

I guess on a more practical question that some of you may be able to answer, what is the proper procedure/protocol for evacuating a Temple during Wartime? Is the Temple boarded up? Are items carefully removed and evacuated or stored in a safe place? Do we have any knowledge concerning these matters?

L. Chris Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Pack Lambert said...

With Shanghai evidently limited to Citizens of China I do not believe it will be feasible to assign Mongolia to that temple.

I am thinking Uganda is the country on this list that is most likely to have a temple announced. 3 stakes and 3 districts seems respectable. I would be more confident if Kenya already had a 3rd stake, but I really hope they announce a temple for Uganda.

Paul said...

Does anyone know about the status of the Ukraine Temple?

James said...

Paul, the Church closed the Ukraine Temple indefinitely shortly after Russian forces entered Kyiv. Because existing buildings, particularly those with people inside, have been key targets for Russian forces, and also because of the mass exodus of so many Ukrainian residents to neighboring nations, the temple is anticipated to remain closed until such time as it is safe to reopen and there are sufficient workers and patrons available to warrant opening it again. It's not great news, but I understand the reasoning behind that. Please let me know if you have any other questions pertaining to this.

Pascal Friedmann said...

There is no real experience with temples located in war zones with active, close-by combat action. That said, the temple does not seem to be near territory that is actively being fought over right now. The area is quite solidly under Ukrainian control (which obviously doesn't prevent shelling).

L. Chris Jones said...

What about the status of the Laie Hawaii Temple during WWII? I know it is on the opposite side of the island from Pearl Harbor. But was Pearl Harbor the only target during the war? I've heard stories about the temple being nearly hit but some of those stories might be just that, stories or legend. I've also heard stories that there have been some shelling on or near or the Manila Philippines Temple property when certain armed anti-government or terrorists or something (maybe during an attempted coup) were fighting at one point. However I'm not sure what's true myth at this time.

L. Chris Jones said...

Found this: https://thirdhour.org/blog/faith/lds-temples/temple-rebel-occupation

And this: https://www.ldsliving.com/chad-hawkins
https://www.moronichannel.org/newsroom/temples/7-facts-about-the-manila-philippines-temple/
And:

L. Chris Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Thanks for the corrections James - I edited the post.

The Kyiv Ukraine Temple is still standing and does not appear to have suffered any damage per the most recent photograph I saw about 1-2 weeks ago.

L. Chris Jones said...

Do we have missionaries in the Falklands(Malvinas)? It appears there is a mission administrative branch, but I could not find a meetinghouse location in the meetinghouse locator tool.

L. Chris Jones said...

That looks like a church built meetinghouse on that site. Either it will share the site and built next to the existing building. Or like other recent temple sites, the meetinghouse is torn down and replaced by only a temple or rebuilt alongside the temple in a reconfiguration of the site.

Eduardo said...

Poland does not have good numbers for supporting a temple, that I know of. The amazing and traumatic movement of at least four million refugees from Ukraine may stir up a lot of previously conceived notions about the effectiveness of nations, military alliances, churches, relief organizations. I cannot help but believe that the Lord is using terrible and awful choices of people and leaders like Putin to eventually help God’s children to find the right way to return to Him, and learn of His power and priesthood.
We pray for all those involved, and us to help them.
I think all the above nations should get a temple of the Lord.

Christopher Nicholson said...

There is a story that a Japanese pilot tried multiple times to bomb the Laie Temple, but he couldn't. The details of the story are less than plausible, but unlike most folklore, we know the missionary who claimed to hear the story straight from the pilot years later (and gave his last name too).
https://latterdaysaintmag.com/is-this-story-true-pearl-harbor-pilot-couldnt-bomb-hawaii-temple/

Sometimes temples are miraculously protected, but the Nauvoo Temple was destroyed by mobs, the Apia Temple burned to the ground during renovation, and the Houston Temple was seriously damaged by a hurricane flood. If anything happens to the Kyiv Temple, it can be restored or rebuilt. So I'm far more concerned about irreplaceable human lives.

L. Chris Jones said...

However Houston aside, both the Nauvoo temple and Apia were destroyed while the temples were not in full operation. (Nauvoo after the saints were leaving and heading West and Apia during a renovation)

Michael Worley said...

Temple guesses:

Asia: Mongolia, New Dehli, `Philippines
Africa: Angola, Benin
Europe: Scotland, Poland
Utah: Lehi, Richfield
California: Bakersfield, San Fernando
Idaho: Idaho Falls greater area
Virginia: Buena Vista
South Dakota: Rapid City
Maine: Augusta
South America: 1 in Brazil, 1 in Paraguay/Uruguay
Islands: Malaysia, Tonga #3
Dark Horses: Beijing, Cairo, Kansas City Area #2

James said...

By the way, Noah, thanks for the information about the Google Maps location for the Benin City Nigeria Temple. That is information of which I was not aware. I think that the addition of such locations to Google Maps can be taken as a positive sign that more official information might be coming down the pike for that temple. That being said, I wouldn't be unduly concerned about the fact that the current Google Maps location shows other buildings on the site. The Church has frequently been known to demolish existing structures to build temples and ancillary buildings on property allotted for temples in the past, so it might not be as much of a concern. Looks like I need to make additional updates to my information. Thanks again, Noah.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Christopher Nicholson

That's a good point. All three of those temples were rebuilt or renovated, plus the Provo Tabernacle was destroyed by fire and rebuilt as a temple.

To add to that: the ancient Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed and rebuilt several times, and is prophesied to be rebuilt once and for all some day.

Alex said...

Welp, with the Republic of Congo getting a temple announced, this list is already outdated. Yay!