Sunday, October 30, 2022

2021 Canadian Census

This past week, demographic data regarding religious affiliation and ethnicity was released for the 2021 Canadian census. These data can be found here. Some of the most noteworthy findings in the census data in regard to major religious groups include the percentage of Canadians who identify as Christian declined from 67.3% in 2011 to 53.3% in 2021, the percentage of Canadians who reported no religious affiliation increased from 23.9% in 2011 to 34.6% in 2021, the percentage of Canadians who identify as Muslim increased from 2.0% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2021, and the percentage of Canadians who identify as Hindu increased from 1.0% in 2001 to 2.3% in 2021.

The 2021 census noted 85,315 self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in Canada, or 0.23% of the total population and 42.8% of official Church-reported membership for year-end 2021. The percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints compared to Church-reported membership was 56.9% in 2011. However, it is important to note that figures for Latter-day Saints in Canada on the census are extrapolated from sample data - not the entire data set. The database notes indicate that 25% of the persons in private households in occupied private dwellings were utilized for sample data to make the estimates for religious affiliation by group. Thus, the database also includes 95% confidence intervals for ranges with the data reported. Consequently, the following analysis should be considered with this in mind, especially given that these data may be prone to error for a small religious group (less than one percent of the population) in which only 25% of households were considered. It is unclear what the process was for the selection of the 25% sample, but I would assume that it was done randomly by statistical area to ensure that this sample is representative of the population. Despite this limitation, the census estimates appear to match well with Church-reported membership, even for areas where there are few Latter-day Saints on the records (like Northwest Territories). In other words, the census data do not appear to over-estimate the number of Latter-day Saints in areas with few Latter-day Saints.

The 2021 census figure for Latter-day Saints is 20,050 less than the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints tallied in the 2011 census (105,365) - a 19.0% decline in one decade. This marks one of the most significant percentage declines in the self-affiliation of Latter-day Saints noted on a national census. The percentage decline in the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints between 2011 and 2021 is similar to the percentage decline of self-affiliated Christians in the Canadian population during this same time period. The demographic composition of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in the 2021 Canadian census was as follows: 85.2% not a visible minority (White, First Nations), 5.15% Latin American, 3.65% Filipino, 1.89% Black, 1.58% Chinese, 0.73% "multiple visible minorities," 0.47% Japanese, 0.35% "visible minorities not included elsewhere," 0.32% Korean, 0.28% Southeast Asian, 0.28% South Asian, 0.04% West Asian, and 0.02% Arab. In contrast, the Canadian population is 73.5% White/First Nations, 7.08% South Asian, 4.72% Chinese, 4.26% Black, 2.64% Filipino, 1.91% Arab, 1.60% Latin American, 1.07% Southeast Asian, 0.99% West Asian, 0.91% "multiple visible minorities," 0.60% Korean, 0.48% "visible minorities not included elsewhere," and 0.27% Japanese. Thus, self-affiliated Latter-day Saints are slightly more White than the general Canadian population, Latin Americans are significant over-represented in self-affiliated Latter-day Saints (more than three times the national percentage of Latin Americans), and self-affiliated Latter-day Saints are significantly under-represented in South Asians, West Asians, Southeast Asians, Arabs, and Blacks. Ranked from the highest to the lowest percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in the population, the 2021 census noted the percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints by Province/Territory as follows: Alberta (1.43%), British Columbia (0.32%), Northwest Territories (0.24%), Yukon (0.20%), Saskatchewan (0.17%), Nova Scotia (0.17%), Prince Edward Island (0.12%), Ontario (0.12%), Manitoba (0.11%), New Brunswick (0.10%), Quebec (0.04%), Newfoundland and Labrador (0.03%), and Nunavut (0.03%). The percentage of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints of Church-reported official membership by province/territory is as follows: Northwest Territories (53.1%), Alberta (52.3%), British Columbia (33.5%), Prince Edward Island (31.5%), New Brunswick (30.6%), Nova Scotia (28.7%), Saskatchewan (28.6%), Yukon (26.4%), Manitoba (23.2%), Quebec (22.0%), Newfoundland (20.8%), and Ontario (20.2%). Thus, these data suggest that the Church has the highest member activity rates in Northwest Territories and Alberta and the lowest member activity rates in Ontario, Newfoundland, and Quebec. These findings are consistent with reports from local members and returned missionaries over the decades in regard to member activity rates in these locations.

Although the census data suggest a major contraction in active members, other statistical indicators do not suggest that there has been a major decline in active membership. For example, congregational growth rates in Canada have not supported major changes in the number of active Latter-day Saints in the country. Congregations require certain minimum criteria to operate, and increases in the number of congregations correlates with increases in active membership. The number of congregations in Canada increased from 477 as of year-end 2011 to 499 as of year-end 2021. Moreover, Church membership in Canada increased from 185,149 to 199,534 during this 10-year period. The average number of members per congregation in Canada increased from 388 in 2011 to 400 in 2021 - one of the lowest members-to-congregations ratios in the world among countries where there are at least 100,000 members on the records. These data indicate membership growth rates have outpaced congregational growth rates - a finding typical in situations where the member activity rate may be decreasing (or where the number of active members per congregation is increasing). Furthermore, there has been a slight increase in the number of stakes in Canada between 2011 and 2021, as there were 47 stakes in 2011 and 53 stakes in Canada in 2021. The significant decline in census-reported Latter-day Saints indicate that significant congregation consolidations may occur in the foreseeable future. However, it is unclear whether the decline in self-affiliated Latter-day Saints was primarily due to larger numbers of less active/inactive Latter-day Saints no longer self-affiliating with the Church on the census, active members leaving the Church, or a combination of the two. Furthermore, it is also unclear whether birth and death rates in the Church may also account for these changes in census data, albeit this seems unlikely given Church-reported membership growth trends have not appeared to significantly change in recent years. I have not been able to find data from the 2011 Canadian census that breaks down religious affiliation by province/territory - such data would be valuable to assess how self-affiliation has changed in the past decade by province or territory. 

Finally, I wanted to post a link to the local member Church growth survey. Please complete this survey on the Church in your congregation to assist our research for The Cumorah Foundation. You can complete the survey here.


Danny said...

additional factors in this is the methodology and external factors (including all things related to the pandemic) for this particular survey are different vs previous.

I would hesitate to rely on this data.

Steven Cuff said...

The religious box for censuses was often filled with “Mormon”, before President Nelson asked for avoiding that.
Now, who knows what is to be used?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christian, Church of Jesus Christ-LDS, Saints, Church of Jesus Christ, LDS, Latter-day Saint?

Whizzbang said...

Canadian here, born and raised LDS. They split our Stake last year, built a temple and I think there will be further adjustments to the boundaries. I think we lose as many people as we gain-i.e. new converts, move ins from elsewhere. Some wards shrink while others balloon and then they switch. Canada is rural too and that doesn't help, small branches, large distances for youth activities, few people going on missions or staying here after they come back. I don't know if this is current, but there are as many members in Alberta as there in the rest of the country.

brycen said...

Exciting announcement from the Church today:

Site locations have been announced for 6 temples today: 3 in the US, 2 in Mexico and 1 in Brazil. Also the Willamette Valley Oregon temple had its groundbreaking on Saturday.

James G. Stokes said...

Yesterday afternoon, actually. But still exciting nonetheless.

Eduardo said...

Canada is an amazing nation of smart economics and diversity. The Church of Jesus Christ growth there will continue. I am grateful to all the missionaries who have served there, which includes those who found Parley P. Pratt. President Monson was a mission president there, and he led my wife's uncle, Gary Ballard. I know others who served their missions in Canada, and some members from there that are all time greats.

Elder Atwood from my Chile mission was pretty good.

The cause of Zion will go forth and grow there. Thanks for the analytics.

brycen said...

Great comment - you may be thinking of President John Taylor, who did indeed join the Church in Canada, though he was from England originally. Parley P Pratt was traveling through upstate New York when he came across a man who owned a copy of the Book of Mormon.

I also had ancestors who lived in Canada and joined the Church, one of their friends and neighbors in Ontario was a brother of Brigham Young. I believe President M Russell Ballard was also a mission president in Ontario, serving in the Toronto Mission, a few years after President Monson.

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

Parley P Pratt was the missionary that taught John Taylor in Toronto

James G. Stokes said...

Interestingly enough, Heber C. Kimball was an apostle who was blessed with a unique talent for prophecy. He felt impressed to give Elder Pratt, who was dealing with some pretty hefty trials at the time, a blessing, during which he told his fellow apostle that he (Elder Pratt) would be sent on a mission to Canada, and that through his (Elder Pratt's) labors would come the opportunity for the Church to open missionary work in England. Elder Pratt baptized Brother John Taylor and Joseph Fielding and his sisters Mary and Mercy Fielding. Years later, when Joseph Smith told Heber C. Kimball that he (Elder Kimball) would be sent to open the work in England, those who traveled with Elder Kimball included John Taylor and several other individuals converted through Elder Pratt's missionary labors in Canada. As we also know, Mary Fielding became the second wife of Hyrum Smith, and their son, Joseph F., later also became an apostle and president of the Church. Were it not for Elder Pratt's labors in Canada, the Church could not have successfully expanded to England, and the English converts from Elder Kimball's mission would not have been in a position to help save the Church during a key period of major financial hardship for the Church that led to several falling away from the Church. The Lord definitely knew what He was doing when he sent Elder Kimball to give Elder Pratt the blessing that started that whole process.

James said...

Thanks for sharing your insights, Matt! One last thought as I've perused the blog, and I'm wondering if maybe a post of yours in the future could address this:

I tend to think that the numbers we get in church membership tend to suffer from a common relevance vs. reliability tradeoff often discussed when it comes to accounting measurement of fair values vs. historical cost:

1. The church's numbers have a perception of being highly reliable. When you see membership has increased by 22,000 in a country, members assume they can reliably infer what that means: 22,000 more people were either born in the church, moved into the area, or were baptized than those who removed their records or knowingly died/moved out. We know the formula, and as are as we know the number tends to reflect what it reports. It is very reliable, but not very relevant, unfortunately, because it doesn't reflect active membership. It's like measuring land at historical cost - yes, we know Disney bought 100 acres in California 100 years ago for $20 an acre, but that isn't really helpful to know today, is it? Likewise, the church's official membership numbers tell us very little in terms of whether the church is actually growing (which is important for people who are interested in church growth on this blog).

2. Meanwhile, these Census numbers tend to have some measurement error baked into it, through survey methods, question formatting, etc. The measure is less reliable, but much more relevant. People can differ in terms of their willingness to accept a certain level of uncertainty in measurement, but at the very least, the Census numbers are getting a lot closer to what people really want to know. I'd say adding a reasonable range around a point estimate of Census numbers is appropriate, but also an acknowledgement that these numbers are actually what we are looking for - a measure of active membership of the church. Even given a wide range for measurement error or bias, the numbers suggest that the church is shrinking in Canada.

James said...

The only other thing I'll mention on this is our need to correct for biases. In your 2010 Mexican Census post, nobody at all questioned the integrity of the data. The 2010 Census showed a 50% increase in self-reported membership in 10 years.

Meanwhile, when the 2020 Census numbers were released, and the post on here given, which showed very little growth if any at all, we saw comments like:
"I want to clarify that the data of the 2020 census in Mexico isn't accurate."
"Census in Latin America are not reliable"

We continue to see the same thing here with Canada. There was no post I could find from the 2011 Canadian Census, but because the numbers aren't favorable, we see comments reflecting extreme hesitancy to rely on the census data. I have no issue with skepticism, but we don't see any skepticism at all in church-reported numbers or census data that are more positive, and instead wholesale rejection of the data provided here.

Matt said...

Thank you James for you comments. Yes, I totally agree about care needed to guard against bias. This is one of the main objectives of my blog - to provide accurate information and a forum to discuss and analyze these data and what they may mean.

As for the comments about the 2021 Canadian census, I do have some concerns about how accurate and reliable these data are for Latter-day Saints given that Latter-day Saints are overwhelmingly concentrated in just a couple western provinces and whether or not the sampling they used to extrapolate the national numbers took into effect matters of rural versus urban distribution of Latter-day Saints (there are some significant rural populations of Latter-day Saints in southern Alberta, for example, due to the Mormon colonies). I am not sure why they did not just use the whole data set - this would seem to have provided the most accurate information on self-affiliation. I agree that the Church in Canada has likely seen a slight decline in active membership in the past five years given the census data and a net decline in congregations in 2022 thus far, but we are not seeing other metrics that substantiate the drastic membership decline noted on the 2021 census (or at least this has not happened yet). Furthermore, there are a lot of strengths that can be used from the 2021 census that give us insight into issues like discrepancies in member activity rate by province/territory. The Pew estimates for Latter-day Saints in the United States have declined in the past decade, but this has seemed to be due to overestimating prior numbers due to their sampling method. Really, active membership in the United States is about 1% of the population (maybe more like 0.8%), and when you have such a small religious minority, even very small differences in methodology can have a huge impact on estimates.

Something I think that would be very helpful to know is where this decline in 20,000 or so members on the census actual came from. I suspect that it is likely a majority of people who were inactive or less-active before who used to identify as Latter-day Saint on the census, but now they no longer do. Historically, those who have requested name removal (resignation) are overwhelmingly inactive - and they have been inactive for years or decades. Another major source of disaffiliation in the Church, if not the biggest source, are children of record who leave the Church during adolescence or early adulthood. This has been a chronic problem throughout the world and compounds its impact in decades to come with these individuals not having children in the Church. At any rate, I think it is also important to note that the 2021 Canadian census suggests that trends in Latter-day Saints are more similar to the general Christian population than what I think most Latter-day Saints would be open to admitting. As Latter-day Saints, we can learn a lot from religious studies about effective policies and cultural issues.

Unknown said...

@James, I appreciate those observations, and the distinction between reliability and relevance. I'm also glad you pointed out the unequal demands for rigor applied to good vs bad news in church growth. I had thought about commenting on that as well, so I am glad I wasn't the only one who noticed it.


Pascal Friedmann said...

I agree with a lot of the sentiment here. I also affirm that especially in the last few years, we have seen that the general trends that affect organized religion have not left the Church untouched, although we are absolutely experiencing (and will probably continue to experience) a watered-down version of the decline we are seeing in mainline protestantism.

This is anecdotal, but we are friends with the pastor at the local United Methodist Church here in town. We've been to their Sunday services and some midweek get-togethers at their church and the demographic trends they are experiencing are absolutely frightening. We're in a quite young, small Midwestern town (half the population is directly tied to the university), but those who attend on a given Sunday at the local UMC are on average probably older than 80. Last time we went, I did not see a single full family (parents and children) in the entire chapel. Attendance for weekly youth programs is less than 10 (including the pastor's children) even though there are almost 4000 members on the rolls of the congregation. By LDS standards, activity rates would likely be in the 2-3% ballpark.

The trends are the same but the scope is very, very different.

L. Chris Jones said...

A question I had was also the decline in the general Christian population. How does the rate of growth or decline compared to other denomination or Christianity in general?

John Pack Lambert said...

General trends within the Christian population ignore very stated changes in distribution of the population.

I also want to warn a continued statement that we should follow the counsel of President Nelson and refer to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members in proper ways, and not with abbreviations or nicknames.

James said...

Thanks, Matt! That's really helpful context surrounding the Canadian census numbers. It's interesting that when we aren't skeptical of positive growth reports, sampling errors may correct themselves and result in "bad news" that was never really there (e.g., the Pew Research example you gave). It's better to actively critique any reports we get from in and out of the LDS church in terms of reported membership.

I think you do great work trying to report unbiased information from any source. Just read your citation in the latest news article in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the article James. Hopefully it drives some traffic to the blog and it's worth a read.

Adam said...

So tithing in Canada increased 10% over the past year? Obviously one should expect slight YoY increases, but a 10% increase certainly doesn't sound like a dwindling membership.

Matt said...

Adam - That is a very interesting observation. Where did you find this?

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually done groups with dwindling memberships see an increase in donations because thry get so much money from people giving in their wills. Evidently this is a factor in Episcopal Church finances.

The US at times this year has had annualized inflation at 8% I believe. Still a 10% rise in tithing, as opposed to overall donations, is probably an indication of at least a slight rise in tithe paying.

That does not rule out some portion of non-tithe payers going from coming to Church to not showing up at all.

That said, you have to make sure that the figure one sees is just tithing. I believe Canada is one of the countries where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has to report income, donations and expenditures. I have no idea how detailed these reports need to be though. Do they break out donations by type, or lump them all together?

Also, to really see if the figure gives us any idea what ii going on in Canada we would want to see what the total trend of tithing is for the last 10 years, also figure out what Canadian inflation has been in that period of time.

John Pack Lambert said...

Light the World's giving machines are expanding to 28 cities this year. Last year they were only in 10, same with 2019. There were no locations in 2020.

It is 20 full season and 8 lesser time frame locations. Full details will not be out until the 16th of November. There is a way to donate if you can not got to the machines.

There are 4 past cities not being used. The most missing is London, there are no European locations at all.

The least missing is Lai'e since Homolulu is on the list. The other missing are Oakland, California and San Jose, California. Sacramento is chosen.

Manilla returns from 2019, and Salt Lake City, Orem, Gilbert, Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City, Nashville and New York City all come back from Las year.

Added are Seattle, the first location in the northwest US, Washington, DC; Glendale, Arizona, which is the first case of 2 in the same metro area; Brisbane, the first for Australia; Cebu City, which I think is most surprising to me, Mexico City and Guatemala City. Oh also Houston, Texas.

The shirt term locations are Gila Valley, Arizona; Flagstaff, Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, St. Augustina, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; Charleston, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina.

It will be interesting what specific locations are chosen. Mainly they have been malls, sporting centers and temple visitors centers or space close to temples.

Nancy said...

JPL, I'm also very interested in the Light the World initiative this year. The mobile locations fascinate me, and I'm curious how those will be handled. A bus, sort of like a blood donor bus? Or an on-the-ground set up that is disassembled and moved each time? I have loved the idea, and have given twice. I hope the mobile one is in Charleston when we are there visiting family.

James G. Stokes said...

Nancy, I am not JPL, but the information the Church put out on that is available in the following 2 reports:

If anyone has more information than these two sources, I'd be curious about that as well. Hope that helps. And my apologies to JPL if I'm stealing your thunder here.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Does anyone have/know of a list of the US States/Territories in order by number of most to least temples?


Utah: ???
Idaho: ???
California: ???

If not, then I'm going to make one by counting them all up, but I thought I might ask first in case it could save some time. :)

Gnesileah said...

Johnathan, check out this list:
(it just includes the 50 states and DC, but you can get the territories at the world level)

twinnumerouno said...

You can also try the Church temples site, which has statistics pages, including this one that shows the number of temples for each state:

If you click on the word temples, it will sort the states from most temples to fewest.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the ballpark cost to build a 10,000sq ft temple in the US (excluding land)?

James G. Stokes said...

Anonymous, not sure if this helps, but Cory Ward, who comments here somewhat regularly, writes for "This Week in Mormons", and took a deep-dive look last year at the Helena Montana Temple:

I don't know if there are better sources on the modular design, but if there are, anyone else can feel free to chime in with additional links to those.

Brett Stirling said...

@James Thank you for context around how people can and do react to negative or positive news. I think this also feeds into looking at an overall global narrative and trends regarding growth patterns and potential factors influencing that positive or negative growth. I think people are inclined to extrapolate small personal evidence or stories to contextualise their confirmation bias against reports that are contrary to their world views. This often leads people to neglect or minimise other well documented reasons and larger trends that paint an uncomfortable picture.

Adam said...

In regards to the amount of Canadian tithing going up, I quickly read around 4 articles or so when I saw the news and thought I remember seeing the number, but now I can't find the article or must've misread. I'll see if I can go back and find it if it is out there.

Pascal Friedmann said...

Also note, during the pandemic, quite a few people worked less, which naturally lowered the amount of tithes and offerings paid due to the proportional nature of income and tithing. Since then, many more people have started working again, and wages have gone up significantly for many people, even compared to pre-pandemic levels

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Gnesileah & twinnumerouno

Thanks guys. That's exactly what I was looking for!

I should've guessed that Rick had already created that list. He's always on the ball.

astolfo83 said...

Noting for the future, love this error or redirect. Someone at Church HQs clearly didn't finish the job. Foom the following link:

Text that appears at website:

TODO: redirect to or show our own list of apps, or redirect to Maps Classic then in the future show our all layers map app?

Further links at this address to the following:

Meetinghouse Locator

My Ward & Stake

I chuckled.

Melody Nelson Walden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James G. Stokes said...

JPL, you are likely going to be thrilled about this:

And in view of today's announcement, it's more or less a given now that the Church will be making some temple news announcement every Monday for the next little while, likely between 1-3 PM Utah time, which has been the standard time for the last several announcements. More specifically, those announcements have been coming in at around 2:00 PM. With this temple having the 20,000 square foot design (which is twice the size of Helena Montana, Casper Wyoming, and Elko Nevada), I'm wondering if the rendering will show that this is the first temple to use modular components twice as big as those 3 original modular temples. That would enable Michigan's newest temple to be constructed more swiftly in comparison to other temples of a similar square footage. This is the first of the 18 temples announced last month by President Nelson to have such an announcement. For further analysis from me on today's announcement, please see the following blog post:

JPL, you are, of course, welcome to share your reaction here, but if you or anyone else has any specific comments on my report from today, I might suggest those are better left on the threads of the post about it on my blog. For now, my thanks once again to you all.

James G. Stokes said...

Melody, it appears that you and I both posted comments about the site confirmation at around the same time. I hope you didn't decide to delete your comment because of mine. If my comment had nothing to do with your choice to delete yours, I just wanted to say that either way. I always appreciate reading your comments here.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Some cool new features in Family Search for those who haven't yet heard:

"What's New?
Sources side sheet. You can now view a person's sources from the Details tab. In the Tools section, click Sources. The sources appear in a list along the right side of the screen.
Improved sourcing. You can now tag sources to all types of information in the Vitals and Other Information sections.

My Layout Settings. You can now reorganize the Details tab:

You can choose whether to display the information in the Vitals and Other Information sections in one or two columns.

Change the order of the sections.
Alert Notes. Each person in Family Tree provides a new alert notes to feature. It notifies other users about the presence of research notes or warnings that other users should read before making edits.

Other Relationships. You can now record relationships between people that are not direct parent-child or spouse relationships.

Improved filtering and layout of the memories tab.

About Tab. The new person page has an "About" tab that provides an engaging way to learn about a person in Family Tree.

And more! See what else is new."

Melody Nelson Walden said...

James, your comment didn't have anything to do with it. I appreciate your comments, also. I just felt that my question had been answered. I believe that the temple in Grand Rapids will happen rapidly. Thank you for all the research and analysis that you do.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am overjoyed that we got details on the Grand Rapids Temple so soon. I am surprised by it. We still do not have any information for Cleveland announced 6 months earlier.

Detroit is at roughly 11,000 Square feet, so Grand Rapids will be almost twice as big. The site for the Grand Rapids Temple is larger than for the Detroit Temple and adjacent stake center.

The Grand Rapids Temple will also be in the city of Grand Rapids proper.

Being a Detroiter I dream of the day we get a Detroit City Center Temple. That day is likely a Long way off.

Although keep in mind that President Nelson was 21 when the Jacksoville Stake was formed. That was the first stake organized in the boundaries of the Southern Stakes mission. One of the apostles there for the organization was Charles A. Callis who had been mission president in the southern states for decades. He prophesied that some there would live to see after more stakes being organized a temple. This prophecy is normally thought to have been fulfilled by the Atlanta Temple, but there may be a way to read it as being fulfilled by the Jacksonville Temple.

I am starting to have a little hope that Grabd Rapids Temple will be built as speedily as Detroit Temple. This is not duper likely though.

Normally Detroit Temple is counted as announced in August 1998 and dedicated in October 1999. That is only 14 months. Even if we toll Grand Rapids from today, there have in the last 15 years been very few temples that were finished 14 months after the site was announced.

If we argue Detroit was one of the 30 times President Hinckley announced in April 1998 without being very specific, we still have less than 19 months. None of the 20 temples President Nelson announced in April 2021 are finished yet, so we just seem to not be moving that fast right now.

Gnesileah said...

@JPL, it appears the Grand Rapids Temple will actually be located in the City of Kentwood, although will still use the Grand Rapids post office. I'm excited for it too, and will come out and visit it after completion.

twinnumerouno said...

The satellite image for the Grand Rapids site appears to show a church of another denomination there- I'm wondering if that could be a labelling error.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

A bit more info (step by step process) on adding "Other Relationships" to your Family Tree:

"How do I add Other Relationships to Family Tree?

In Family Tree, you can add Other Relationships to connect individuals who were not family or whose family relationship cannot be identified."

This is for adding people like servants, boarders, employees, etc.

L. Chris Jones said...

The street image and photographs for the Grand Rapids site does show the sign of another denomination. It appears that the church may have bought the site from another denomination. Much like many of our old meetinghouses have been bought and used by other churches. The site appears to be very nice.

Melody Nelson Walden said...

The church on the Grand Rapids temple site was built in 1998. From listings of the property, it looks like the Church had it under contract at the time of General Conference. I haven't found any records of the date of sale, but I believe it has been completed. Here's a link to one listing site.

One of our previous stake presidents joked that he was expecting a temple in Ada Mi (his residence). This is pretty darn close.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Since the focus of this blog is on Church Growth, I've noticed everyone here hyper-focused on temples, but I must ask? Where are all the new stakes? They have slowed to an absolute trickle this year. Which also begs the question: Will 2022 be a year that the Church announces more temples than there will be in net stake growth? And, if so, will that be a first?

Pascal Friedmann said...

Currently I don't actually know where to procure information on new units. Is there anything available for people who don't have access to CDOL?

Adam said...

For some reason if you try the search and then go back to the main page you can still access the church organizational totals. Or use this hyperlink.

Chris D. said...

The new Naga Philippines North Stake - 2202271, has been updated on the Find a Meetinghouse site.,123.172265,13s&id=ward:2186039

Which includes the new Naga 5th Ward - 2186039.

miro said...

I have limited acces to CDOL

The Naga Philippines North Stake was organized on Nov 6.
It looks like no stakes where organized in october.

Valenzuela y Escobar said...

I don't have access to CDOL, it seems to me a little updated platform, although it helps somewhat.
Regarding the growth of new baptized, I think it is still low, it is difficult for more people to join the LDS church and others, every day people believe less and question the doctrines and their leaders more.
In my Diego de Almagro ward in the Republica stake, in Santiago de Chile, we have had several baptisms, we have 3 couples of missionaries, the people who are baptized are much less than in the 1990s, the work of the missionaries is very good and effective, the biggest problem in my opinion is the same as always, that the baptized know very little about the church and what is expected of them, in addition, the null or little help of the leaders to fellowship and support so that the new Stay active in the gospel and in the church.
I attend a large neighborhood in terms of land and assets, at least 200 people attend, the chapel is very far away, people do not have time or money to get there, a lot is required of the baptized.
Today, in my opinion, the announcements of temples are growing more, I hope there are more announcements for my country and in every place that is required, and that the difference between some temples and others is not so noticeable, some are very modest and others very luxurious

James G. Stokes said...

The Church of Jesus Christ Temples page shows the number of current stakes and districts on its' statistics page, and I know the Church News highlights the creation of new stakes and districts with a list of the units involved, but those updated generally come 2-4 months after those units are created. It seems that the Church is tightening up parameters for who can access information and under what circumstances. It appears that is being done to prevents Church critics from putting a negative spin on the information. That also seems to be the explanation for why some information about Church assignments at the general level is also unavailable, particularly relating to apostolic assignments. Hope that helps.

Chris D. said...

A side note : Does anyone know which mission the Lake Norman North Carolina Stake, that was organized in September, was assigned to? I forgot to add that to my Church Units database before the Classic Maps site went down.

Any info is greatly appreciated.

L. Chris Jones said...

I'd like to know as well. My son leaves for North Carolina Next month on a mission.

James said...

If the church is becoming more opaque to safeguard from the "negative spin" of church critics, that would be an incredible disappointment. The solution against critique should never be to hide information, but it does seem the church sometimes takes that approach (whether it be re: finances, issues with church history, membership, etc.).

For example, simply reporting new stakes and omitting stake closures will only serve to obfuscate reality and erode trust in the entity providing the information (the church). Transparency should be paramount, and with transparency, any spin (positive or negative) can be sorted out.

Moralez99 said...

Charlotte Mission

Ohhappydane33 said...

My stake closed earlier this year, Concord California Stake, and even though the Church doesn't disclose stake closures in the Church News, it's not as if nobody knows, especially those of us directly affected by the closure, so I'm not sure what the point is of not announcing stake closures.

ND Reynolds said...

There must be a better way to deal with church critics than hiding information...unless there is a reason for this opacity.

Chris D. said...

Moralez99, Thank you for your prompt, and not biased response to my question. I appreciate it.
Concise and to the point. I like it.

Anonymous said...

One thing I realized while involved with drafting notes to a company's’ annual financial statements is this: providing or having more or all information is often not better. Providing or having relevant, useful info is key. There are many good reasons for this.

Michael Worley said...

Stake openings seem to come 1-4 years after a stake achieves the minimum number for a stake split/district upgrade. Since the pandemic was at its worse point ~2 years ago, a drop in stake creations make all sorts of sense. Impressive more recent growth, particularly in Africa, suggests a rebound in stake creations in the next 1-4 years. (If I'm wrong, so be it.)

That said, other trends are at play:
1. Many members, for practical reasons/debt avoidance are avoiding purchasing homes in California. In Concord, highlighted above, it costs $575K+ for even a 816 square foot home. Yes, incomes are much higher in California as well, but many members have additional costs non-members do not have-- members tend to have more children in keeping with church teachings than a similarly situated couple would have without those teachings.
2. Christianity and organized religion is experiencing substantial shifts more generally and the Church seems to not be fully immune from these trends.
3. In Utah/Arizona it seems the church is in general growing as members migrate to places that are (relatively cheaper). As these states unfortunately also get expensive, Idaho and other locations may see new stakes in coming years,

Michael Worley said...

I should note what was implied by my last comment-- the pandemic hindered baptisms, and thus, membership growth, in many many stakes.

James said...


I completely agree with your comment about relevant information taking precedence. The purpose of financial reporting (according to the FASB) is to provide decision-useful information to those who allocate capital. Relevance and faithful representation are the two most important characteristics of high-quality financial reporting.

But is the church really focusing on providing relevant information to its stakeholders? Decision-useful information? Faithfully representative information? No. Not even to its internal decision-makers. It isn't like the Church is being TOO transparent and needs to cut back on providing TOO much information.

For example, relevant, decision-useful information would be active, attending membership. Do Bishops and ward members receive a measure of active, attending membership? No. We all get "born in the covenant, or baptized at some point, and as far as we know they haven't died or moved or actively removed their records." How does this measure of membership help anyone? Forget people like me who like to think about this information as a hobby. Unit leadership is woefully handicapped by having irrelevant information. As a former Bishopric member, it was infuriating to have a list of 400+ names on the rolls and have no idea when they last attended church. I ran into people on our list who were baptized 30+ years earlier, as children, and hadn't taken a step into the church since then. People who had no interest in being visited or counted among the membership of the church. My guess is, at some point in the next few years, another poor Bishopric member will knock on their doors yet again, only to waste each others' time (yet again).

And yes, stakeholders should get to see the results of church stewardship. Transparency is a principle that fosters trust, in the same way Jesus elicits our trust when He says "ask, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." If God freely imparts wisdom to those who ask, the church should emulate.

coachodeeps said...

The sister of my friend lives in Saratoga Springs. She was working with the temple preparation cleaning crew. She was polishing the handrails around the temple. It is now done and the temple has been turned over from the construction company to the church facilities department. It is nearing completion.

John Pack Lambert said...

The meetinghouse locator makes it possible to track what wards and branches exist.

I do not think the decision to make it harder to determine boundaries was prompted by fears of how people would react to stakes being discontinued.

I think it is prompted by worries about how much people can learn from knowing where exact boundaries are.

There is a need to focus on useful and relevant information. In the 1970s all general authorities were sustained each general conference. All general officers. Various committees were sustained. The whole board of education. The president, director and organisms of the Tabernacle Choir.

That said, paying tithing is not an investment. It does not make you partial owners.

At another level the Church is being far more transparent than in the past. In the 1998 time frame they were not announcing temples until they had a clear site. Now they seem to announce earlier.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I've also heard anecdotally that a lot of previously active members realized they didn't miss church meetings during the pandemic and didn't go back after they resumed. Of course this is in addition to some (probably very few) who apostatized over he church's endorsement of masks and vaccines (and/or its responses to a couple of political things that just happened to also occur during that timeframe). I would love to see an in-depth look at the pandemic's impact on the church, though such a thing will probably require a few more years of hindsight to be done properly.

James said...

I agree the church is more transparent on most things than in the recent past (pre ~1980). I can't think of an organization in the world that isn't more transparent than they were in the past. That's the world we live in today. You either choose to be transparent or you're forced to some extent to the transparency table. The church has been forced to the transparency table in some form or another on various issues over the years (GA living allowances, reserve funds, historical issues, etc.). The fallout of being forced to reveal information rather than revealing it willingly is nearly always negative for the church. By obfuscation, the church is perceived as hiding information. The first-best response to this scenario is to become transparent, not to retrench into continued obfuscation.

I'm not sure I understand your argument, JPL, about the Meetinghouse Locator. First, it isn't clear why the church would be concerned with people knowing where boundaries are. Second, with enough effort, one could theoretically determine all ward boundaries with the Meetinghouse locator. Third, transparency isn't just about making information available - it's about making it easily accessible. Putting information somewhere but requiring effort to extract the information is not transparency.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

Anecdotally, my Ward's attendance is up since the lockdown. People who hadn't been in a while connected to our online meetings and are now active. I don't think this is typical though

DeeAnn said...

We don't know why the church took away the ability to see stake boundaries. All answers are just speculation. I trust our church leaders to make decisions that are for the benefit of the church and its members. It might not be apparent to us the reasons, but I trust that it's not for nefarious purposes.

Matt said...

I have read through these comments. So, the trend when I have spoken to journalists who interview researchers who study other religions is similar to those interested in Latter-day Saints - it is often getting more difficult to get more statistical information regarding religious groups. I spoke to a reporter years ago who told me that it seems that it is getting harder and harder to find statistical data published by churches on their growth and membership. This does not appear to be due to efforts to conceal unflattering data. Instead, it seems the main reason why is due to a perceived lack of interest in these data. Stories sell and attract interest - numerical data generally are not very sought out by most people. I would agree that this is the case with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church News almanac series ended almost a decade ago, and the reason why was because of a lack of interest and poor sales, not due to efforts to conceal the data. The recent decision to discontinue the Classic LDS Maps site does not appear to have anything to do with making it harder to get data on organizational changes. In fact, when the site launched many years ago, I was amazed at the huge amount of data available on this site. The current site has some major problems that hopefully are addressed, like no ways to search stakes and districts, and also there is nowhere where you can find mission boundaries anymore. So really, things have returned to where they were about 10 years ago in terms of the meetinghouse locator.

I received a request from a Church Employee to write a letter a couple years ago regarding my concerns with the lack of data published by the Church in regard to its growth and statistics. I am considering posting this letter on my blog since this effort did not appear to get any attention from those who it was shared with, and it provides a thorough overview of how things have changed over time. To be honest, it seems the issues with fewer statistical data being available to general membership is the belief by Church Employees that most members are not interested in the data combined with Church Employee incompetence and bureaucratic red tape. Despite no matter how many times I have contacted the Church to get updates posted on the Newsroom site regarding no Church data reported for many nations with a non-sensitive status (i.e., Senegal, Bermuda, Gabon, etc.), nothing has been updated.

James said...

That is fascinating, Matt! What is really surprising to me is that my own anecdotal observation is that members ARE interested in the data. Church leaders are more than willing to give out snippets of data in general conference - number of temples operating, humanitarian aid given, number of stakes, etc. So maybe church leaders don't perceive there is some demand for anything more than that?

It's so frustrating to hear of the lack of response to your efforts to improve the situation, especially because there is just so much low-hanging fruit on how to improve membership statistics. I just can't help but think that at the very least, the church has to compile the data for easy access somewhere, right? How does an area authority properly assess growth in the area and metrics of concern, without detailed, accurate metrics? How do general authorities assess where to create new missions or stakes without growth metrics?