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.


  1. Israel has two branches; they must be pretty small to not exceed 200 members.

    1. Yes, when I lived in Acre, Israel (beautiful ancient port city) working for the Israeli Antiquities Authorities as an archaeologist conservationist, I was part of the "Haifa Group, "which was a sub-unit of the Galilee Branch.

      Public transportation in Israel on Shabbat is nonexistent since these services don't run on the Sabbath. And since membership is so small, there is no carpool-like option. I had to walk pretty far to catch a "sherut" service, which would drive me to Haifa, where I would then have to walk very far again (reminder: no public transportation on Shabbat) and meet in the basement of a nondescript motel with 4 other people on a good day, which was attended by one Priesthood Holder, the the first counselor in the Branch Presidency, who was not married. And was also my counselor in the Single Adult Presidency. It might be different. That was around 2012.

      When we had Branch Meeting or Branch Activity (Me and the 1st and 2nd Counselor of the Branch Presidency), we just rented a car and drove in the Galilee.

      @ Randall Finder, a bit late, but חַג פֵּסַח שַׂמֵחַ !

    2. @Bruce, I'm assuming you knew of the Tel Aviv & Jerusalem Branches.

      Also, Bethlehem, Palestine has a branch.

      I have a special story about the branch President of Bethlehem. (I will not use any names). It was one of the most astounding miracles in my life. I won't go into too much details for it is too sacred, but when I first moved to Acre (Northern Israel), I didn't have a phone or wifi because I was living in the in the Old City (an old Ottoman building on the promenade), and I didn't know where the Church was or how to contact them because it's not publicly available and I had a medical issue while doing some archaeological fieldwork while working on the Roman aqueduct.... And I really needed a Priesthood Blessing (but I knew, having lived on a Kibbutz between Jerusalem and Tell Aviv previously for some other archaeological work, that there are hardly any members in Israel/Palestine, unless you count the BYU students, which you don't). But I prayed anyways, and as I walked home that evening through the market (bazaar), and some feral cats caught my eyes as they fought over some fish from fishermen, and others were watching this spectacle too....and I looked up and saw an older gentleman wearing a BYU T-shirt. Guess who he was? Not the BYU Jerusalem professors - although I love them - I've been went many moons ago. No, it was the Bethlehem Branch President and his wife. For some reason, they decided to go visit the Crusader Fortress in Acre that day... It was truly a miracle. I was able to receive a Priesthood Blessing and he was able to get me connected with the Galilee Branch President. It was one of the most profound miracles in my life.

      God had truly heard little old me in my pain and worries and even though I doubted that the Priesthood could be sent to me... Behold, a miracle out of Bethlehem came. How wonderful it is that God works through others, and I am so grateful that the Branch President of Bethlehem and his wife listened to the promptings of the Spirit!

    3. @Mon Chou

      Really cool story about your Branch President in Bethlehem and the answered prayer. :)

      It's cool that you're an archeologist, too! Do you specialize in Roman Ruins? Or do you ever go over to Egypt?

  2. The list of countries that used to have a district but no longer do is a sad one, in that it mostly represents places where either church membership or church activity rates (or both) underwent significant decline or even in a few cases almost total collapse. Still, those cases provide important insight into issues the church can sometimes face and contain lessons relevant to the growth and strengthening of the church elsewhere and efforts to revitalize it in those countries. In some cases I am familiar with the reasons for decline (the story of Armenia will by now be familiar to many readers/commenters on this blog), but there were a few countries in particular that caught my eye -- places with a really high number of members relative to number of branches (which is bad because it indicates low activity rates) and with only 1 or 2 branches where there used to be a district. I was particularly curious about Palau, Niue, and Curacao. The website contains some information about the history of the church in Palau and Curacao under the Reaching the Nations resource, but not about Niue. In the case of Palau, it sounds like language barriers are at least part of the problem, with church often being in English in spite of most members being Palauan speakers. In the case of Curacao, it sounds like a classic case of quick baptism tactics causing long term issues for the vitality of the church.

    A commenter on here (or maybe it was Matt?) once observed that activity rates in various countries seem to reflect the activity rates of converts in their old church prior to joining the restored church. I wonder if in places where there is not a strong culture of church attendance, or where language or other barriers have created a culture of inactivity among members (such as Palau), it might be more beneficial to emulate church planting efforts of some missionary minded protestant denominations rather than the traditional missionary strategy of sending single young men and young women. Having a family that provides a core of leadership and fellowship and models what it means to be actively part of both the church and the gospel might be more effective in some situations. While it would be a considerable sacrifice for the families called to do so, it also would not be totally unprecedented -- we do ask something similar of families of men called to serve as mission presidents, and could do so for church planting assignments as well.

  3. Mon Chou - I have been told that at one time there were four branches in what is still called by many The West Bank, although none of them currently show up in the church's Meetinghouse Locator program. The program currently shows branches in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Beer Shiva, all English-speaking. It no longer shows the Galilee Branch, which is a shame because that was quite the branch at one time - spoke four languages (English, Hebrew, French, and Russian according to The Church News), and members who were able came from southern Lebanon. The Church had even bought a building. Sad that it doesn't show up in the Meetinghouse Locator.

    1. Wow! The Galilee Branch has been dissolved? How sad. Many memories there with the people and the meetinghouse. The meetinghouse is likely still there for the purposes of the BYU Jerusalem program, but I'm sad to hear about the branch being dissolved. While I know membership has largely been expats, I do remember at least a few Israeli families in the Galilee Branch - I believe a couple teenage brothers who were about to serve in the IDF & missions thereafter, but of course, that was years ago, and I'm sure they've moved to the larger cities now. Yeah, that branch was diverse. I also remember the second counselor was Ukrainian (of Jewish descent) and he didn't know English or Hebrew so it was a unique experience for us all. The good days.

      But it makes sense, there were hardly any of us, public transportation is nonexistent on Shabbat, most members are expats coming and going, no proselytizing, and northern Israel is quiet rural outside Haifa.

    2. Yeah, I do believe there was a Hebron Branch in addition to the Bethlehem Branch I mentioned earlier when I left last. I didn't know about the other two branches. Interesting. Are the other ones in Ramallah & Nablus? There are a lot of check-points making travel a bit hard so I wonder if the other branches are because there are more members or because of difficult travel?

      I knew a couple of the Palestinian members on a personal level, having met them in Arabic classes at BYU, but I do believe they married other students at BYU and live in the USA now.

  4. I think there might be another factor in places no longer having a district. I have a sense that at some time there was a decision that if having a district would involve most of the district leadership being full time missionaries they would forego that and leave it directly under the mission until they had developed enough leadership locally to head the district. So what you need to have a district is more than you used to.

    Now Armenia has faced outright collapse and large scale apostasy. Bulgaria may have to a lesser extent, but with Bulgaria it is also probably this different philosophy on what you need to justify a district.

  5. In the case of Niue, I believe they have seen lots of emigration especially to New Zealand. When Elder Groberg was mission president in Tonga his former companion Feki was district president in Niue. Feki's wife was Niuean.

  6. Michael Lewis' Boomerang explains how corrupt Greece and the Greek culture is. Hopefully the EU and their own people within Greece have developed towards some kind of honesty and integrity since 2011, which could help some members live within a realm of more truth. Adopting the Church of Jesus Christ has a special hold in some places, and these 31 places are unique to the challenges involved. More solid families are needed in each place, like my little new branch in Santa Juana, Chile. It takes time and luck (blessings, faith) to get those strong families to grow the faith.

    The little town of Tijeral has hung on as a branch, always inspiring to me with no missionaries assigned. They must have good families, I always thought.

  7. Israel has 4 branches and a little more than 300 members. So the branches are small. But it has a district and that's the reason it is not on the list of this post.

    1. For clarification reasons (as it seems things have shifted since I lived there last), by branches in "Israel" do those include the West Bank? Not being political - just trying to determine the total amount of branches for the Israel/Palestine region all together? Thanks.

  8. I think the main reason for church decline of church in many eastern european (like Bulgaria) countries is emigration of active membership to the US, Canada, Austrailia and Western Europe.

    I have a friend from Bulgaria that used to be in the district presidency, but know he lives with his familily in England.

  9. The US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands both have under 100,000 people. USVI at 87,000 and NMI at 55,000.

    Niue on the other hand has 1,618 people. In 1970 it had 5,130. 10% of the population is members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 1,618 is a 5 year old figure, it may be lower today. Would that be enough for a stake if every resident was a member?

    So Niue has less than a third the population it did 50 years ago.

  10. Eagle Mountain Utah Eagle Valley Stake (2199599)
    Active Date: 24 Apr 2022
    Cedar Trails Ward (488607)
    Eagle Crest Ward (1250175)
    Eagle Mountain 6th Ward (456055)
    Frontier Ward (2133032)
    Heritage Ward (530069)
    Lake Mountain Ward (2173964)
    Landing Ward (271454)
    Summit Ward (551015)

  11. Lehi Utah Meadow View Stake (2200422)
    Active Date: 24 Apr 2022
    Lehi 50th Branch (Care Center) (2123134)
    Lehi 4th Ward (11118)
    Lehi 14th Ward (118265)
    Lehi 17th Ward (170739)
    Lehi 34th Ward (540013)
    Lehi 36th Ward (480401)
    Lehi 46th Ward (1935232)

  12. Spring Mountain Branch (Mandarin)
    Active Date: 24 Apr 2022
    Locations: Nevada, United States

  13. Spring Mountain is a major road in Las Vegas, so that new language branch is in Las Vegas. Some wards are named for major roads there. There is a Desert Inn ward, it is named for Desert Inn Road. The place it was named for is long gone, it was a hotel.

    Also posted is the Lindon Temple groundbreaking, with Elder Pearson's statement about the surge in temple construction that is and will be happening.

    1. Yes, that branch is located near Las Vegas' Chinatown.

  14. Jerusalem District (607088)
    Active Date: 1 Jan 1977
    Beer Sheva Branch (2115689)
    Jerusalem Branch (90077)
    Jordan River Branch (English) (2161087)
    Tel Aviv Branch (487880)

  15. I just learned some exciting news in regards to the Salt Lake Temple and thought I'd pass it along! The Angel Moroni is not going back up when the renovation is completed, but it's not going to remain a spire either; the Savior will be established atop!

    Also, there's some other symbolic architectural design elements seen from an aerial view from Temple Square as a whole (something about buildings in the shape of crosses and others in the shape of arches -- like the new logo).

    **I learned this from Gary Smith's (the head artist of the Salt Lake Temple renovation) son, Nate Smith.

  16. Just like J S A reported here earlier today, here is the "Eagle Mountain Utah Eagle Valley Stake - 2199599" on the Classic Maps boundary.,-112.00245&z=15&m=google.hybrid&layers=stakecenter&find=stake:2199599

  17. And here is the boundary of "Lehi Utah Meadow View Stake - 2200422".,-111.825572&z=14&m=google.hybrid&layers=stakecenter&q=11118&find=ward:11118

  18. With new stakes in both Eagle Mountain and Lehi a Lehi Utah Temple seems to become more likely.

  19. Hi Matt,

    First of all, I really appreciate all this work you do. I have a broader question regarding the ability for others to use the raw data you and/or others have compiled and placed on Is there any way these data could be provided in a more modern, usable format?

    For example, if I want to extract congregational statistics for Iowa over the last decade, it's really great that I can go to Cumorah and look up the statistical profile for that state. The problem is that the data are presented in a jpeg image of an Excel table. Why? Can't this be put into a Google doc with no editing permissions so that people can easily look across different states and years? If I want to compare the decade in growth for Wisconsin vs. Michigan, I'd have to really go through a ton of work using in its current state.

    In other words, is there a way to access this raw data more easily? I think it would really improve the quality of conversation and insights we have on this site an elsewhere.

  20. I'm interested in writing a piece on the quick rise and fall of the Church in Armenia. Where can I find all of the context beyond the dates a stake was organized/disorganized, etc?