Monday, May 9, 2022

April 2022 Monthly Newsletter

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


Сњешко said...


Randolph Finder said...

Can someone please help me with the following: What Stake is the "Washington DC Branch" in? This is the Deaf Branch and while the geographic ward in its building is now in the Washington DC stake, I don't *think* the Branch is. Note this branch pulls in the Deaf from at *least* 8 stakes.

J S A said...

Washington DC Branch (Sign Language) (143863)
Parent Suitland Maryland Stake (512184)

J S A said...

Participating Units Annandale Virginia Stake (505625)
Annapolis Maryland Stake (516473)
Ashburn Virginia Stake (523259)
Centreville Virginia Stake (508209)
McLean Virginia Stake (515205)
Mount Vernon Virginia Stake (518107)
Oakton Virginia Stake (504092)
Seneca Maryland Stake (518018)
Silver Spring Maryland Stake (505781)
Washington DC Stake (501433)
Woodbridge Virginia Stake (450847)

Chris D. said...

Eduardo said...

Yes, interesting, as it says in Serbian. I am learning some Balkan skills, I guess.

I had a Croation boss that got upset with me when I asked him how to say things in "Serbo-Croatian". He would get all red and exclaim, "There is no Serbo-Croatian!"


Cool to see growth in the South Pacific, I am assuming in French.

Speaking of Korea and Japan, I wonder if some Koreans will help-repopulate Japan as time goes by. While the languages are vastly different, there are cultural affinities, as well as convenience in distance from home. I think Koreans have more kids, so the outgrowth I think would be natural to transfer over to Nippon.

Koreans can learn Japanese easier than most, I think. I know a few who have.

Nigeria will be a huge source of the Church of Jesus Christ in the future, as it is for many Christian faiths now.

Jim Anderson said...

There is still some leftover animosity between Japan and Korea relative to some matters associated with Japan's actions at the start of WWII, this was brought out when a dance music artist who went by MINK hit in the US with a powerful song lyrically called 'The Glory of Life', which went big in a number of countries. MINK stood for 'Made IN Korea' in that instance.

Chris D. said...

Eduardo said...

Sure, there are plenty of racial, cultural, historical differences between Japan and the Koreas, as there is a ton of bad blood with the Chinese. However, I think that many economic and other cultural realities will push more Koreans towards Japan.

Maybe it is the biggest minority of modern Japan? Not big like other nations' immigrant populations, like Germany or England, but still I think it has potential for more growth.

Church membership helps people overcome their old grudges, too.

That is the goal, in my opinion.

Randolph Finder said...

In terms of hyphenations that cause issue...

I've *never* met a Jew who uses the term Judeo-Christian.

Randolph Finder said...

In terms of Participating Units for the Deaf Branch. It actually does surprise me that the participating Units list is as *small* as it is. I was told by a member a few years ago that one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency was from Pennsylvania. The farthest north of those stakes is either Seneca or *possibly* Silver Spring, neither of which reach the Pennsylvania line. What sort of approval would be required for a member who wasn't in a participating unit (a stake north of those 12 stakes for instance) to have their records there?

Randolph Finder said...

And under the heading of I didn't think it was allowed for anything other than a *nasty* marital separation.

My wife's Ministering Brother was in my wife's ward for many years and then became Bishop of another ward and has since returned. The *bizarre* thing is that his wife and children did *not* have their records moved to the other ward during the time he was Bishop there. My wife's ward is English speaking, the Ministering Brother was born in Argentina, his wife was born in Finland and they met when they were both on their missions in France. He became Bishop of the Spanish speaking ward in the same building, his wife and youngest son (who don't speak Spanish well, in fact the youngest of the four is the one who speaks Finnish the best in addition to English) stayed in the ward they had been since their Spanish wasn't good enough to be comfortable. He's now on Stake High Council. (He's a research fellow at National Institutes of Health and has been on the Stake Covid-19 group as well)

Eduardo said...

I have had Jewish professors in political science who might have used Judeo-Christain as a term, but that is an interesting point. Athur Stein at UCLA may have been secular, or perhaps a practicing believer, I am not sure. Professor Wolfenstein was an atheist communist. I am not sure if he would use that term together.

Western or Judeo-Christian, or other terms for the modern systems of economics or world structure, can be interchangeable and are fluid as far as popularity of use.

Point taken.

It is possible I had some professors who were Jewish that I did not know if they were or not.

In secular courses that is often not an issue.

I do not know if there is a preferred term for these descriptions in 2022.

That Bishop with Spanish and Finnish is a hard to follow story for me. Interesting, a point about our melding worlds, which is how the Church of Jesus Christ and the world is moving.

I will look up Korean numbers in Japan, I think I have read some articles about it, like in the Economist, over the years.

Jim Anderson said...

Bishops not serving in their home wards are very common in Utah in regars to YSA wards, this has been the case with the BYU area YSA wars for decades. Likewise their counselors. UVU now has this, and the other universities and even YSA units unaffiliated with a University or college by location have this too almost everywhere a YSA unit might be.

L. Chris Jones said...

My boss is assigned outside his home ward to the Spanish speaking branch in his area.

James said...

A number of people in my parents' stake have filled/are filling ecclesiastical roles with BYU student wards. I believe that may also be true for other stakes near universities with student congregations.

Jim Anderson said...

Stake presidencies, bishoprics, and high councilors usually all come from the Provo/Orem area and sometimes a little beyond that and at the very least are in Utah County. Some work at Bayu as well.

Stake presidents serve for 5 years, bishops for 3, it is a bigger task to run a student stake, missionaries, first time temple attendance, marriage, that all ads up to their workload.

Christopher Nicholson said...

In addition to our own branch, my dad has served as branch president of two different branches that were too small to support themselves.

L. Chris Jones said...

Just last month one of the counselors in my Ammon Idaho bishopric was released due to a call to serve in a BYU-Idaho ward bishopric.

Nephi said...

My wife and I were living in Bunkerville, NV and the Deaf Branch in St. George asked my wife to be the Relief Society President and me the Young Men's President. Approvals were need by both Stake Presidents. Our entire family records were moved and we commuted 45 miles one way each week to attend church. My wife would travel 2 additional times a week to meet with sisters and take care of any business. We did this for 2 years.

Chris D. said...

John Pack Lambert said...

People being assigned to serve outside the ward they are resident in is very common. My branch the executive secretary lives outside the branch. He serves as a stake service missionary in the branch along with his wife who is the second counselor in the young women presidency.

YSA units always have the bishop as someone from outside the unit, and most of the time one if not both of the counselors in the bishopric are also not from the unit. The bigger question is whether these married men have their wives assigned to the unit. That also seems to have been the opening point, assigning one member of a couple to one unit and another to another.

When I was a freshman at BYU our ward clerk was not a member of our ward, but a married man who lived outside the ward. I do not even remember for sure if his wife came, and this is despite working with him a lot since I was assistant ward finance clerk. I do remember our bishop and I believe also his counselors had their wives comes to the ward. I believe that was the general patterns at least for bishoprics I interacted with at BYU.

In my home stake the YSA ward shifted to in general having the spouses of the members of the bishopric assigned to work with the ward as well in about 2007. Before that we had one bishop whose wife first did not come much because their son still a teenager and later because she was in the stake young women presidency. Another bishop all his children were grown but his wife was relief society president in their home ward. Starting in about 2007 they started offically calling the wives of the members of the bishopric to help support the YSA unit, but that was not done before then.

I do know of at least two cases where the primary aged children of a bishop of a YSA unit would attend the YSA ward. One was a YSA ward in Henderson, Nevada that actually did have an organized primary. They basically had 3 children come, and the other two because of split custody issues only came about every other Sunday. The handbook actually says that single parents should attend their home ward but be encouraged to attend YSA activities outside of regular Church time. This is a big reason why mid-singles magnet wards are more common than full mid-singles wards, because so many mid-singles have children.

I also had a companion on my mission who was from Fremont, Ohio. His father had been branch president in Tiffin, Ohio, which was a different branch. I believe his him and his mom, and sibblings had stayed in Fremont branch whole his dad served in Tiffin branch, but it has been over 21 years since he was my mission companion, so I do not remember the details even if I may at one point have known them fully.

John Pack Lambert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
twinnumerouno said...

We have had previous discussions about new temples getting presidents, so this information might duplicate that. The church has just released a (presumably complete) list of the new temple presidents who will begin their service in September.

Reading through this list, I see presidents for the new Belem Brazil, Feather River California, Helena Montana, Quito Ecuador, Richmond Virginia and Saratoga Springs Utah temples. I hope I didn't miss any.

The list also includes new presidents for Kyiv Ukraine (currently closed due to the war), Hong Kong China and St. George Utah (still closed for renovation, although one is ready for re-dedication when conditions allow and the other is supposed to be nearing completion) and Provo Utah, which could close for renovation sometime next year.

James said...

twinnumerouno, that's actually an updated version of the list that was originally published in February or March. If you follow the links to the biographies of the couples assigned to each of the temples you've named, the Feather River California, Helena Montana, Hong Kong China, Richmond Virginia, and Saratoga Springs Utah couples are all said to begin their service "in September":

But for the first couples called to preside over the Quito Ecuador and Belem Brazil Temples, the wording is different:

The article notes that all the other leaders will begin serving in September, but that the first leaders for the Quito temple will begin serving "later." Not "later this year", just "later." That implies that the Church may not be counting on being able to dedicate the Quito temple before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, in sharing the biographies for the first leaders of the Belem Brazil Temple, the other leaders were also noted to "begin their service in September with the exception of the Fernandeses who will begin when the temple is dedicated." That gives me hope the Belem temple might be able to be dedicated before September. I will be interested to see what happens there.

Hope this analysis is helpful to all who read it.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Since we talk about the age of Stakes occasionally, I thought I'd share this post from a Stake in my mission:

"On April 22, the Lexington Kentucky Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints celebrated its 50th anniversary. Kentucky was one of the last few states to not have organized stakes.

The roots of the Church in Kentucky go back to the early 1900’s with the first members being baptized in Bath County in 1901.

In 1930, the Lexington Branch was organized. In 1970, the Kentucky North District and the Kentucky Central District were organized into the Lexington Kentucky District.

On April 22, the Lexington Kentucky Stake was organized. In 2003, the Lexington Kentucky Stake was formed from part of the Lexington Kentucky Stake and the Owingsville Kentucky Stake.

The 50th Anniversary Celebration was kicked off with Lexington Kentucky Mayor Linda Gorton reading and presenting the stake with an official proclamation.

The celebration was highlighted with memories from Betty Moody, widow of the first Stake President, along with memories shared by each of the stake presidents since President Moody.

They include Ted Lassiter, Paul Nichols, Paul Moeck, Robert Hymas, Sam Lindmark, as well as current President Glenn Krebs. Roger Wells, who was first counselor to President Moody, also shared memories. Former Stake Relief Society Presidents, Lynn Phillips, Jane Sproul, and Bonnie Hamilton also shared memories.

Don Curtis, Stake Historian, wrapped it up with a brief history of the Church in Kentucky.

Various musical numbers including a strings performance of My Old Kentucky Home, one by a Bluegrass Ensemble, one by a youth duet, one by a primary choir, and one by the Commonwealth Branch Choir. The Commonwealth Branch is the Congolese branch in the stake.

Included here are links to the comments from those who were not able to attend in person.

Sister Moody:
Sister Phillips:
President Hymas:

Photos included in this post are from the event and include a photo of the Mayor’s Proclamation and a plaque that was made from a 200 year old tree that overlooked the building for 50 years.

On Saturday, April 23, each ward and branch in the stake held a brief breakfast followed by a local service project. There are also photos included in this post that are from the various projects."

John said...

The Wilmington Delaware Stake, the only stake in Delaware until 2012 (and it covered at least 99% of Delaware until that time) does something - maybe not of that scale - like that every ten years. The next time will be for its 50th anniversary, in 2024.

brycen said...

Update on the Smith Family Memorial being dedicated tomorrow in Topsfield, Massachusetts by President M Russell Ballard.

He will be accompanied by Elder LeGrand Curtis Jr (General Authority Seventy), Elder Richard Hutchins (Area Seventy) and Craig B. Ballard of the Young Men General Board.

It will be at 11 am, EDT, Saturday May 14th, and there will be very limited in-person attendance, but the event is also being broadcast:

I will not be able to watch it but I will also get to attend a special Stake Conference with President Ballard on Sunday, and will give another update that evening.

Bryce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryce said...

Anyone else check out the "2021 Annual Report: Caring for Those in Need"? Pretty fascinating read, got a link to the 48-page report in my email but a summary was published a few hours ago too:

Randolph Finder said...

Decided to slice to run the overall numbers in a slightly different way. When a Missionary goes out into the field at 18, he's seen the growth of the Church over the previous decade and might expect them to stay that way over his lifetime (50 years later at age 68 to pick a convenient date).

In *many* years that missionary would underestimate. a missionary who went out in 1942 (which would have been both unusual and the year that President Nelson would have gone out) would have seen the church was approximately 1.3 times the size that it had been in 1932, so he would expect it to grow by a factor of 1.3 over the next 5 decades (1.3^5=3.76) for a size of 3.45M in 1992, in fact, the church in 1992 was 8.45M.

In fact any missionary sent out between 1916 and 1960 would have underestimated, with the greatest underestimation for a missionary would have been one sent out in 1939 (Expected 2.1 million by the time he turns 68 in 1989, actual in 1989 was 7.3M approximately 3.5 times what they expected)

However after 1960, things *really* change. The missionary sent out in 1960 would have guessed almost exactly right. (Expected in 2010: 13.9M, actual 14.1M). However only 5 years later, the missionary would have drastically *overestimated*. For a missionary sent out in 1965 he would have guessed more than double the actual size (Expected in 2015: 41.1M, actual 15.6M). The overestimation percentagewise remained fairly constant from 1965 to 1971 (the last year that I can do this calculation with real numbers) with the actual numbers being between 36.5% and 39.7% of estimation.

Some of this *is* that the late 1950s and 1960s had some of the most significant growth in the history of the church.

Note, I did try to map this into the future, assuming a 2% growth rate per year, which is higher than it has been since 2013, but I *could* see it returning to. In that case, the Missionary who would have overestimated the *most* was the one sent out in 1990. (Expected in 2040 101.6M, "actual"(given the 2% growth rate) 24.4M). Less than a *quarter* of what the missionary expected in their lifetime when they went out in the field...

John said...

I'd have to see that plotted out to understand it. Meanwhile, I compared temple growth to overall membership growth a little while ago, and temples are basically keeping up with membership, even though membership has slowed down. It seems to be a matter of a President of the Church every so often calling for a boost. President Hinckley dedicated so many temples not just because he had a boost with what became the 10700 square foot standard design, but because he dedicated most of the temples from President Kimball's boost.

Matt said...

More consolidation of stakes and a district announced in Japan, yesterday

Osaka Stake
Osaka North Stake
Osaka Sakai Stake
Kobe Stake
Kyoto Stake
Fukuchiyama District

Current Reorganization:
Osaka Stake
Kobe Stake
Kyoto Stake

So Osaka North and Osaka Sakai Stakes were dissolved along with the Fukuchiyama District.

Any dissolved branch will still function as a group tied to another branch or ward.

Chris D. said...

Thank you, Matt, for the update on Japan consolidations.

John Pack Lambert said...

With these recent consolidations I expect another temple to be announced for Japan this year. I know some would find this surprising, but I really think that consolidated stakes will make it easier to justify having another temple due to demand on members time issues. Plus my sense is that President Nelson very much wants to make temples accesilbe to more people, and a strong argument can be made that some outer areas of Honshu the temple is not accesible.

Elder Mutombo's article in the June 2022 Ensign about the temple is very telling in this regard. His father had a dream just after the family was baptized in which he saw a white building. The senior missionary couple explained that this building represented the temple, and from that point on Elder Mutumbo's father had a goal of attending the temple. His father was still alive to rejoice in a temple announced for Kinshasa in 2011 and was present at the groundbreaking in 2016. Elder Mutombo's father died in about 2017. Elder Mutumbo performed the endowment for his father in the Jordan River Temple in 2018 while Elder Mutumbo was in Utah for the new mission president's training seminar before he and his wife went to preside over the Maryland Baltimore Mission. It was not until after the temple was dedicated in Kinshasa in 2019 that the whole family was sealed.

Elder Mutombo himself was married in Nov. 2002 but not sealed until Nov. 2004. Both Elder and Sister Mutombo served missions, Elder Mutombo in Ivory Coast, and Sister Mutumbo in Kinshasa (she served in Elder Mutumbo's parents ward). It is not clear to me if they were endowed before their missions. When they served (they would have started no later than 2000, Elder Mutombo may have gone on his mission in about 1996) the only temple on the African Continent was in Johannesburg.

What is clear to me from this is that the need for more temples is keen. I really hope that Uganda and Zambia have temples announced this year.

James said...

JPL, respectfully, I still don't see the logic behind the temple building. It's like "down is up" is the logic.

It isn't just you, somehow making a case that closing 2 stakes and a district INCREASES the likelihood of the temple in an area. Honestly, that logic is what the church seems to be following in many instances lately. Again, I simply don't get it. It isn't rational.

This is also found in the talk about a Champaign temple. I'm not saying it won't happen. I'm saying it has no rational basis. Yes, Elder Bednar likely has a soft spot for the area with his son being Stake President there. But the stake itself is getting closer to closing a unit than expanding in any real sense. One of the Champaign wards is absolutely tiny. The Danville ward has shrunk substantially. And this is a state where official church membership (disregarding activity) has shrunk in the past two years by ~350 members.

Temples in Africa I think I can understand and get behind, because the potential growth is there to support a temple. Given the time it takes for a temple to be completed, it would make sense to forecast growth in various areas. But with Japan/Champaign/England/Romania/Washington/California, you are talking about a shrinking membership over time. It isn't reasonable to build temples in those locations.

Сњешко said...

I think that in regard to the California it's more a game of catchup rather than growth. I personally feel that ten is enough "catch-up",
But you know, my opinion isn't considered in any sort of scheme in regard to the temples

Ohhappydane33 said...

For all the talk of California's decline, the fact remains that California still has 50+ percent more membership than Idaho does, so California's soon to be ten temples isn't really all that excessive compared to Idaho's soon to be eight.

Anonymous said...


I agree that closing church units doesn't indicate that a temple is more likely. However, right-sized units make the church stronger than otherwise, and a stronger church could lead to a temple, given that temples continue to be announced in seemingly less and less urgent locations. Perhaps that is what JPL is getting at?

Just because the rationale may not be evident, doesn't mean it isn't rational :-)
Just because the reasonableness may not be evident, doesn't mean it isn't reasonable :-)

Also, while there are ways in which stakes support temples, there are ways in which temples support stakes.

I think sometimes temples are built when needed the strengthening will be welcomed. I think when some righteous members' move, they seek a place closer to a temple (i.e. people gather towards the temple).

There are so many factors.

Anyway, just a few thoughts... I hope this helps.

James said...

Anonymous, your observations are on point. James, I'd just add that the answer to this question also boils down to what the Lord says in Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." What it boils down to is that any possible consideration relating to where a temple could be built pales in comparison with the works, designs, and purposes of God for His children in these latter days.

And at a time when the prophet has repeatedly emphasized the importance of temple worship, is it really any surprise that locations that might not make sense on paper from an earthly perspective actually make perfect sense for the purposes of God in blessing His children and furthering His work on both sides of the veil.

Hope those additional insights help.

James said...

@Anonymous, I'm welcome to any new data that support a reasonable/rational basis for temples like Ephraim, Champaign (rumored), Austria, Cody, Birmingham, Sao Paolo East, Brazzaville, etc. Some of the temples make perfect sense to me. Austin, Richmond, Tampa, and many of the African temples announced are easy to get behind.

I understand that we don't have all the data used to make decisions. It's just that with some of them, the data are directly opposed to the decision to build a temple there. Japan closing 3 stakes and 2 districts this year is not a good indicator of a temple. Being a right sized unit certainly frees up resources, but our priors are that they were right-sized to begin with.

When it comes to temples being a precursor to growth or temples helping stakes, do we have any data at all to support this assertion? Right now, I would guess we would need at least 20% more membership in the Champaign area to fully support a temple. Would building the temple now facilitate a 20% increase in membership for the area?

@James, if that's what you believe, then set aside your predictions of where temples will go. This blog uses data to predict future growth, no?

That's totally fine for you to defer to revelation ex post for some of the headscratcher locations for new temples. But why would anyone (e.g., JPL) PREDICT a temple in Japan after a closure of 3 units out of 6 in the area? Are we in the business of PREDICTING irrational (meaning, "not our thoughts") revelation now? The less it makes sense to us, the more likely God is involved? And therefore the less it makes sense, the more likely it will happen?

I want to make it clear I'm not aiming to be in any way confrontational. I'm completely agnostic about the church and its growth. I just find the data side of the growth fascinating, and oftentimes the comments sections on this blog reveal a whole lot of confirmation bias.

For example, nobody here seems to want to discuss how/why the net increase in wards nearly halfway through the year is 20. 20 wards in 5 1/2 months? Using

So 20 wards created, and 17 temples announced in the same period. Sure, some of those temples may be playing catchup, or predicting future growth. But at what point has the church "caught up" with past growth? Because future congregational growth is not a very promising indicator for building temples today, some African nations being the sole exception.

Сњешко said...

While it is true that compared to Idaho California is still lacking, but as of right now both Arizona and California have about 73000 members per temple. Thus California and Arizona are on the same level in regard to "need" for a temple. You could honestly even make the argument that Arizona is more in need as California has a shrinking member population whereas Arizona is more stagnant

James said...

With all due respect, you know nothing about my process, so it's disingenuous for you to assert Matt uses a data-driven process while assuming and asserting in the same breath that I do not. Had you bothered to ascertain the facts on the matter, you'd know that I have a network of Latter-day Saint contacts in most major regions of the world who give me direct insight into feasible prospects in their neck of the woods.

You would have also found out that I spend large chunks of time pouring over current temple district sizes and distances and analyzing past temple announcements and Church leader ministry trips to check the feasibility of every added location on my list.

And you would have also found out that my record of accuracy in temple predictions averages between 60-80 percent every 6 months. But by all means, believe me to be uninformed and hypocritical if you will. That's clearly the easier default for you. Either way, no offense intended or taken.

James said...

I also host extensive commenting periods on my blog between each General Conference to enable feedback from others to inform my choices as well, so I never rely on only my own research and analysis.

James said...

And in every post-conference analysis, I am the first to admit when I've been incorrect about any of the locations that are officially announced. All of these facts could have been easily ascertained by you had you looked into my process before calling me out on it.

James said...

Hi James,

Oh dear. It seems I communicated poorly. I apologize - it was not my intent to call you out at all - quite the opposite, in fact.

What I am trying to say is that if temple locations are determined by God's revelation, which are beyond our reasoning, then why engage in your analysis at all?

I actually really appreciate your approach you take and the insights you have provided about where temples may come. I enjoy a data-driven approach, which is what you appear to use based on my limited knowledge of you (and I already had seen your blog before I commented to you. I know you are very involved with documenting the comings and goings of church leaders). What I am saying is that if temple locations are beyond our understanding because they come from God, any of our work to make sense of it would be useless. I don't buy that idea, and I don't think you do, either, based on your approach to predicting future locations. In fact, I'd say that I would be supportive of most of your predictions more than the actual temple announcements that come out, given that they are more clearly supported by evidence of the need for a temple.

I was attempting to give you credit for your thoughtful data-driven predictions for temples, and point out how it would be odd for you to, ex ante, pick locations that are not driven by reason. Sure, you won't hit some, and you can attribute that to God understanding things better than you if you wish. No problem there. What WOULD be odd is if you picked locations that made no sense in an attempt to read God's mind. I'm seeing a lot of that in the comments sections here - not from you, as far as I've seen.

James said...

Also, I'm very glad you post your picture on here. If not, one of use would have to start going by Jim to keep things from getting confusing. :)

miro said...

In many places in the wolrd the church changed it's opinion what the right-sized congregation is. (Outside US and Canada) From the 1950 to around 2000 many small wards and brnaches helpt the church grow world wide. It was said that ward or branch of around 50 grows well and when the ward gets around 100- 120 in attandence the members get lazy and don't share the gospel anymore and it needs to be devided.
But for the past 22 years or so many of this wards and branches did not grow at all. (many shrinked)
The church anazlized the situation and the conclusion was that a there were a lot fewer converts than in the past and that a lot more youth / ysa stopped attending or left the church. Larger wards did a lot better with the youth. So since about 5-7 years 100 - 230 is the right-sized ward.
Many wards and brnaches are far away form that goal. So in many places were travel might warant it congergations are combined.

James said...

Thanks for setting the record straight. Sorry if I misconstrued what you were trying to say. If it helps, several of the locations having temples announced don't make sense on paper or by usual reasoning or analysis.

Yigo is a prime example. Guam's first temple was not built in the capital city of Hagathna or in Barrigada, where the sole Guam stake is located. While I anticipated temples in Russia, India, and UAE, those announcements occurred sooner than I anticipated. And I was blindsided by Shanghai.

In the last two General Conferences, the Vitoria, Maceio, and Santos Brazil and Culiacan Mexico temples were not anticipated using my normal criteria. And I have been able to reject any rationale for locations based on outlandish reasoning.

But I also know that "normal" criteria pales in comparison to revelation through the prophet.. So we're bound to see more unexpected announcements in the years ahead.

Thanks again for setting the record straight and your kind words. They are appreciated.

James said...

No problem. Another regular contributor here is Jim Anderson, who used to go by James. That caused confusion here when it was unclear to which of us each comment. Thankfully, in view of your recent comments, it's easier to figure out which one of us is being addressed here.

Chris D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Christopher Duerig, not sure why you saw what you saw when you saw it, but if you follow the link now, it actually goes where it should. Probably a temporary glitch. If you ever encounter something like this again, might be a good idea to clear your browser history, including cache and cookies. As someone who knows a fair amount about computers, anytime I run into oddities like this, it's usually because the history, cache and cookies have not been cleared out for a while. Not sure if that was the problem here, but at some point between your 6:10 comment and now, the link to the Green Bay stake led to the correct information on the map. Hope this comment is helpful.

Chris D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Anderson said...

Someone forgot the - sign indicating west of the prime meridian. East of that the numbers ascend until you get to the International Date Line where the numbers reverse but with the minus sign.

James said...

Chris, I received an email about your comment, which enabled me to click on the link you shared above to the area in question. Still leads to the Green Bay Wisconsin Stake. Again, that's following the exact link you shared. So the error must be on your end. I duplicated the same results by both desktop and phone. But Jim Anderson's comment below may explain the issue either way. No offense intended, and I hope none is taken.

James said...


Really interesting theory, and I could see it being supported in some areas.

If this was a churchwide shift in perceptions of the "ideal" size, then why are we not seeing worldwide closure of wards and branches? Wouldn't we see a huge shift in wards across the globe if there was a systematic change like that?

Also, are there any data to support this idea that the ideal size has changed? For example, I know there used to be an official number of active Melchizidek Priesthood holders and tithepayers for the creation of any ward. Have those numbers changed in the past 5-7 years? Has Matt captured any data of active members per ward changing in the past decade?

R. Jofre said...

As far as I know, we also got two Matts (maybe three). I wish everybody here added extra stuff to their name, even a pseudonym or some extra initials, or "from Des Moines", "the Martian" or anything. Please consider it. I'll be grateful.

miro said...

No this policy change about "ideal" ward size is not church wide. Form what i have heard and read, is that. Af few years ago, a firend of mine working for the Europe area office told me that the ideal ward size is around 150 attending and that they try to divide ward when attendance reaches 220 - 230. The same numbers where mentioned form somene from Peru and I think somone from Mexico in the comments of this Blog.
I think this change is happening in areas outside the US where the church has been steablished for a few decades but growth has become stagnant. So I same it might also apply for Japan and South Korea.
At the moment we see this mass closing happening in Japan Hokaido and Osaka, last year Tokio. A few years ago in Soul South Korea, Belgium and the Netherlands and Northern Germany. A few Years ageo it was also done in Mexico.
In the instance of Belgium -Netherlands and Germany I know the process was planned for more than a year. So it takes time and is not done everywhere at the same time but over many years.

The official number of active Melchizidek Priesthood holders are still there. It is 15 "full-tithe paying" for a ward, 4-6 for a branch and 99 for a stake. So the minimum requriements are often easly met in areas where the church has been etablished for a while.

I estimate that still many of the wards and stakes getting closed in Japan still fulfill the minimum requeirement, but they have been shrinking over the past years and have lost a lot of youth and that the church is now trying to address that problem.

A few years ago the Hamburg Germany and the Neumuenster Germany stke where combined. The Hamburg stake had > 500 attending and the Neumuenster steke > 600. Both still met the minimum requirement for active pristhood holders. A lot of the ward hat between 70 - 100 active members where as in the 20 years ago many of this ward hat 80 - 130 attencne. So there was a decline.

According to leaked data, from the UK sacrament meeting attendance on Reddit (I will not put the link here) there where 10 stakes in the UK in 2020 with less than 500 sunday attendance. So why was the Neumuenster stake with more than 600 closed and none of the UK stakes. I think the reason was that the Hamburg stake had less than 1900 members (around 1700) on its records and and the Neumuenster stake mabe as well. Also total membership has been shrinking in northern germnay in the last years.
But all of the UK stakes still exist poroppably beacause the still have well more than 1900 member (requriement for stakes outside US and Canada) on their lists.

The Tirana stake has around 450 members attending weekly and most of the ward have between 50 - 70. But there it is not possible to have a stake and larger wards and they still have a lot of baptisms for Europe. It is likly that they still fulfill the minimum pristhood requirements.

Unknown said...

I think the temple building spree of the last several years is much more about "branding" and image than it is about making temple ordinances (for the living and the dead) more accessible. Many local leaders where these temples are being built readily admit that they have neither the patronage, nor the available temple workers in many of these areas. It is the simple building of the temples themselves that is the primary goal now, in my view.

Temples were closed and heavily restricted far longer than they needed to be in many areas (especially North America), and even now in "phase 4" (ostensibly no restrictions), appointments are still required. I think that appointments will now be a permanent feature, even in "large" temples (Jordan River, Gilbert, etc.). I think this is because of a shortage of and inability to find workers, even in "Mormon Corridor" areas (the scheduling system allows temples to restrict traffic if there are staffing issues). In weaker areas, it's even harder to staff temples, of course.

Demographically, the staffing and patronage issues are only going to get worse, as people have far fewer children in successive generations (and fewer youth and young adults stay active and committed in the Church). Building hundreds of temples in "exotic" places (the ones people ooh and ahh over in Conference) where the Church is very weak is going to result in very underused and understaffed temples.

Jim Anderson said...

The report I keep hearing is that temple attendance skyroceted just before the Pandemic. Then the pandemic where they closed in order to be good global citizens and also after a patron that went to Bountiful contracted Covid the day after and died a day or two after that, now all but 35 temples are phase 4.

The old way of staffing did constrict the pool of workers somewhat but those prior things are all gone, my last stake president became a worker when that was announced, while he was serving as stake president too.

Use of temples is generally lighter on Tuesday through Thursday, but picks up somewhat on Friday and Saturdays. Orlando patrons said once that one worker told them that on weeknights they were lucky to have 40 all evening, but one ward came with that many for one session. That also was before President Nelson's talks, near 2020 reports had it that one was packed to the gills on Fridays and Saturdays. Thus Tampa.

Unknown said...

May 18th Unknown here.

I am skeptical that temple attendance skyrocketed just before the pandemic. I think attendance has been declining for decades --- and the effective two year shutdown has set it back in a big way that will be difficult to climb out of (especially given unfavorable demographics in coming years).

For at least a decade, bishoprics and stake presidencies have been encouraged to also be temple workers (especially veil workers, but other approved areas as well). This has to be due to an effort to boost temple workers.

We were struck in the open house for the Mesa temple how small all of the ordinance rooms are. Mesa had some very large endowment rooms, and they have been replaced with very small rooms. It seems clear that going forward, "by appointment" sessions will be small. I think that part of the reason behind this is to "mask" flagging temple attendance in smaller sessions. I mean, this is the Mesa temple, serving a very large number of patrons.

The Gilbert temple presidency has begged people to come back to the temple when visiting stakes for stake conference. We have been told to just show up as walk-ins, without making an appointment, because we will be able to be accommodated. We have been told that attendance is w-a-y down. This makes the appointment system dumb (there isn't a need for it), but again, I think the purpose is to mask and accommodate skeleton crews of temple workers.

Unknown said...

May 18th Unknown:


I served in the Hamburg mission, and my father served in the North German Mission before that. The consolidation of units has been tragic. Many well-functioning branches have been rolled into big city wards, which leads to much less of a "Mormon footprint" for growth outside of metropolitan areas. I know that part of the consideration is more of a critical mass of youth, but I think it's tragic. It's really sad to look at the units on "Find a Meetinghouse," or Directory of Leaders for those who have access to that.

Randolph Finder said...

Washington DC is going to be *really* interesting after it reopens. The temple has for the last decade plus a "Temple workers" ward (Rock Creek ward) of 50-60 members, I believe (yes, that's small, but you figure they are all there by choice). Replacing those temple workers is going to be interesting. (and it was , for its size, one of the least used temples in the world)

Jim Anderson said...

President Nelson did say last April (not this one) when he announced the 20 temples, 'we are building for the future'. So it was forseen that there might be a matter of getting everyone back, but that something in the future would occur. While that has not yet, it will happen, but how?

Christopher Nicholson said...

Endowment sessions in Logan, Utah are small enough that people still sit in every other seat without being asked. But I think the appointment system is set to only allow that many people.

Jim Anderson said...

Heard that Provo is back to normal every 20 minutes on Friday/Saturday, no reports on how full anything is.

Сњешко said...

@Shelama Why are you here? What is your goal? What are your intentions?

Chris D. said...

19 May 2022 - Riyadh News Release

Church Leader Shares Common Values in Saudi Arabia
Visit of Elder Anthony D. Perkins represents a historic first