Sunday, May 14, 2023

Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2022

The Church has released year-end 2022 membership and congregation totals for most nations with a reported Church presence. These statistics can be accessed on Church's official website at Only Samoa and Russia were omitted from the analysis below because either membership data were not reported for year-end 2021 (Russia) or the Church had not updated its membership figure for 2021 (Samoa) and consequently it is unclear how much membership increased for the year 2022.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates for 2022 are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid annual membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. A list of the biennial membership growth rates for countries between year-end 2019 to year-end 2021 can be found here. The percentage next to the country name for the list below is the annual membership growth rate for 2022. Countries in bold experienced a membership increase greater than 200 during 2022

  1. Burundi - 50.7% - 1,240
  2. Rwanda - 36.9% -1,154
  3. Tanzania - 29.9% - 2,999
  4. Mozambique - 18.6% - 18,443
  5. Benin - 17.7% - 5,606
  6. Republic of the Congo - 16.1% - 11,481
  7. Iceland - 15.4% - 382
  8. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 15.4% - 102,862
  9. Turkey - 14.8% - 658
  10. Angola - 14.4% - 4,760
  11. Liberia - 14.1% - 20,335
  12. Cameroon - 13.0% - 2,721
  13. Kazakhstan - 11.7% - 229
  14. Namibia - 11.2% - 1,110
  15. Sierra Leone - 10.6% - 28,867
  16. Bahrain - 10.5% - 252
  17. Dominica - 10.3% - 160

The following is a list of the top ten countries with the highest negative membership growth rates (i.e., fastest rate of membership decline) during 2022. The percent growth rate is provided next to the country name, and the number to the right of the percentage growth rate is the year-end 2022 membership total for the country.

  1. Ukraine - -7.8% - 10,344
  2. Singapore - -2.9% - 3,202
  3. Isle of Man - -2.4% - 281
  4. Republic of Georgia - -2.3% - 252
  5. Federated States of Micronesia - -2.3% - 5,966
  6. Marshall Islands - -2.1% - 6,832
  7. Netherlands - -1.9% - 9,185
  8. Cook Islands - -1.6% - 1,862
  9. Slovakia - -1.3% - 305
  10. Martinique - -1.1% - 258

Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership net increase for 2022. Each country is provided with the numerical national increase in membership for the year. Additionally, the percentage of total church membership increase that is accounted for by each country is provided (i.e., a percentage of the world membership increase for 2022 that is within that country). Lists are also available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. A list of the biennial period of 2020-2021 is also available. 65.3% of the 2022 net increase in Church membership can be attributed to the following 10 nations.

  1. United States - 41,009 - 20.8%
  2. Philippines - 20,209 - 10.3%
  3. Brazil - 16,283 - 8.3%
  4. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 13,726 - 7.0% 
  5. Nigeria - 9,953 - 5.1%
  6. Mexico - 9,424 - 4.8%
  7. Peru - 5,530 - 2.8%
  8. Ghana - 5,416 - 2.7%
  9. Bolivia - 3,699 - 1.9%
  10. Ecuador - 3,453 - 1.8%

Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership decrease for the biennial period of 2020-2021. Each country is provided with the numerical national decrease in membership for this two-year period. There were only six countries that experienced a net decreased by 100 or more during 2022.

  1. Ukraine - -872
  2. Hong Kong - -248
  3. Puerto Rico - -230
  4. Netherlands - -180
  5. Marshall Islands --145
  6. Federated States of Micronesia - -141


Here is an analysis of these numbers:

First, annual membership growth rates significantly accelerated for many countries where the Church has historically experienced rapid membership growth in comparison to not only during 2020-2021 but also during 2019, 2018, and 2017. This indicates that annual membership growth rates have not only returned to previous levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in many of the nations where the Church usually reports its most rapid growth, but that membership growth rates have actually increased since prior to the pandemic. In 2019, there were only 11 countries where church membership increased by 10% or more during the year (and only 11 in 2018 and 13 in 2017), whereas there were 17 countries where church membership increased by 10% or more during 2022. There were also three countries which had an annual membership growth rate of 20% or more during 2022 (all of which had over 1,000 members by the end of the year), whereas in 2019 there were only two countries that had an annual membership growth rate of more than 20% (and one of these had only 36 members at the end of the year). Even more impressive, there were only two countries with 10,000 or more members in 2019 where the annual membership growth rate was at least 10% during the year (Mozambique and the DR Congo), whereas there were five countries with 10,000 or more members in 2022 that had an annual membership growth rate of 10% or more during the year (Mozambique, the Republic of the Congo, the DR Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). The last year there were at least five countries with at least 10,000 members when annual membership growth rates exceeded 10% for the year was in 2014 (and the countries where Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, the DR Congo, Cape Verde, and Nigeria). To put this into perspective, there were some years in the 2000s (such as 2007 and 2008) when there were no countries with at least 10,000 membership that had an annual membership growth rate of at least 10%. Moreover, this also marks the first time in 30 years since the Church has achieved an annual membership growth rate of 10% of higher in a country (i.e., the DR Congo) where there are at least 100,000 members (the last time this occurred was in Ecuador in 1992-1993). 

Second, Africa stands out as the world region where the majority of the most rapid membership growth occurs. Of the 17 countries that had an annual membership growth rate of 10% or more, 12 were in Africa. Also, all five countries outside of Africa where Church membership increased by 10% or more have fewer than 1,000 members. In Africa, the countries that have stood as consistent high performers for rapid membership growth rates in the past decade include Angola, Benin, the DR Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Outside of Africa, there are few countries that regularly have annual membership growth rates of 10% or more (and nearly all of these have very few members), but these nations include Turkey, the Solomon Islands (which experienced stagnant growth in 2022 primarily due to no missionaries assigned to the country), and Tuvalu (which also experienced stagnant growth in 2022, although it is unclear whether this may be because the membership figure was not updated since it is identical for 2021).

Third, membership growth is becoming more equalized among countries in the world than it used to be. In 2008, 77% of membership growth in the worldwide Church occurred just in 10 countries (the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Guatemala, and Colombia). However, only 65% of membership growth in the worldwide Church occurred in the 10 countries with the highest net increases in Church membership during the year 2022. A more distributed membership growth dynamic has been a function of two processes: 1. Countries the most members have experienced decelerating growth and 2. some countries with small to medium size membership are growing at the same rate of more rapidly. For example, the Church in Mexico (country with the second most members) reported its slowest annual membership growth rate (0.63%) in over 70 years in 2022, and the Church in Brazil (country with the third most members) reported one of its slowest membership growth rates ever (1.1%) in 2022.

Fourth, countries with annual membership growth rates of 5.0-9.9% generally follow the same trends as countries with 10% or more annual membership growth. In 2022, there were 16 countries where membership growth increased within this rage of which 11 were in Africa. The countries that were not in Africa included Malta (9.4% annual membership growth rate), Cyprus (9.4%), Israel (8.0%), Montenegro (6.7%), and Guernsey (5.3%) - all of which had fewer than 1,000 members. Most of these nations have previously ranked among countries with the most rapid membership growth rates in the past 15 years, albeit these nations also often have wide fluctuations in growth (including decline). 

Fifth, annual membership growth rates in the United States slightly increased in 2022 compared to recent years. Membership in the United States increased by 0.61% in 2022, whereas the Church reported an increase of 0.62% for the two-year period including 2020 and 2021 (suggesting the annual membership growth rate was likely around 0.30% for these years assuming the rate of growth was constant during that time). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church reported annual membership growth rates of 0.59% in 2019 and 0.60% in 2018. Annual membership growth rates in the United States remain far below previous years which averaged 1.0-1.5% in the early to mid 2010s and 1.5-2.0% in the 1990s and 2000s. 

Sixth, there were several "anomaly" countries where membership growth trends in 2022 were significantly different than what has been typically seen in recent years. Here are a few of some of the notable examples I found browsing the data. In Spain, the annual membership growth rate (3.37%) was the highest reported by the Church since 2010. This is an impressive development considering the Church in most of Europe experiences essentially stagnant growth (or slight decline). In Kenya, the Church also reported its most rapid membership growth (9.6%) seen since 2010. In Burundi, Church membership increased by approximately 50% - the most rapid growth seen since 2013. In Ukraine, the Church reported a significant decline of 7.8% which was caused primarily by Ukrainian Latter-day Saints leaving the country due to the war. The Church published figures for the number of members in Russia as of year-end 2022 - the first time this has been done since 2017 when there were 23,252 members. However, the Church reported a mere 4,995 members as of year-end 2022. It is unclear whether this may be a reporting error or if this may reflect a mass exodus of Russian Latter-day Saints to other nations. However, this figure may be accurate given scores of congregations have closed in Russia since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In Iceland, membership increased by 15.4% - the highest reported since 2001 (albeit, to put this into perspective, there were only 382 members on the records for Iceland as of year-end 2022).


Ohhappydane33 said...
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Matt said...

I saw a comment asking why growth has decelerated in Cote d'Ivoire, but it was removed by the author. Yes, Cote d'Ivoire stood out as one of the countries with the most rapid membership and congregational growth in the 2010s ('Ivoire). Annual membership growth rates exceed 10% between 2012-2018 and reached an all-time high of 22.7% in 2016. The main reason why membership growth rates have slow so much in the country has been because the Church has created very few new congregations in previously unreached cities compared to previous years. The reason why this is the case is probably due to efforts to try to strengthen the many districts in the country (there used to be just 1 about 10 years ago, and now there are 16) to become stakes. The Church in Cote d'Ivoire was especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with operations being significantly disrupted. Membership increased by 8.73% during the two-year period of 2020-2021, whereas membership increased 5.91% in 2022, so we are seeing more rapid growth in 2022 compared to the two previous years. Recent reports I have gotten from Cote d'ivoire suggest things are starting to pick up again, and several new wards have recently been organized in Abidjan (three new wards just in the Quatre Etages Cote d'Ivoire Stake). We will have to see if growth rates return to what they were from 2012-2018, but this is going to be much harder to achieve because the number of members has increased so much, and it is difficult to achieve such rapid growth rates with a large base of members.

Noachj said...

Just saw on the church website that The Orlando Florida Temple will be closed from 8 April 2024- 3 December 2024. This is third time it’s been pushed back. The first was pre-COVID it was suppose to be done in 2020, then it was supposed to be in December of this year. So we will see if this stands this time.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Ohhappydane33 said...
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Ohhappydane33 said...
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James G. Stokes said...

Hello again, everyone! After Matt published this post this morning, I took some time to look at data on the top ten nations with the strongest Church membership without a temple. If/when Matt next does that top ten list, the following nations should be on it in the following order: Uganda, Mongolia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Jamaica, Guyana, Togo, Micronesia, Belize, and Zambia. Matt, I look forward to that update whenever you can make it happen. Also, there has been a major reshuffle in the queue of temples anticipated to be completed by or before the end of this year. The McAllen Texas and Red Cliffs Utah Temples may be the last two to be dedicated by the end of this year. Then at the beginning of next year, we should see dedications for the Lima Peru Los Olivos, Puebla Mexico, Layton and Orem Utah, Urdaneta Philippines, Salta Argentina, Taylorsville Utah, Coban Gauatemala and Casper Wyoming Temples, all of which could occur before the April 2024 General Conference.

Also, as a fun fact, on the last day of this month, President Eyring will officially be 90 years old, marking the first time ever that all members of the First Presidency are 90 or older. And with the next major temple construction announcement just about 16 hours away, I think we will see at least 1 (but possibly 2) new temple dedications announced, at least 1 groundbreaking set, at least 1 exterior rendering released and/or at least 1 site location confirmed. But I wouldn't be shocked if the Church makes announcements on 3 or more temples. Just wanted to pass these updates along to you all here. Thanks.

David Todd said...

It is nice to see the growth in Eastern and Central Africa. This region is so very under-reached.

Daniel Moretti said...

Espero que a renderização de São Paulo Leste seja liberada logo. Parece que foi feito algum trabalho para limpar e nivelar o terreno.

Unknown said...

Most of the countries with the most growth or contraction are unsurprising. I do wonder, however, why the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Cook Islands are shrinking. Is it just a lot of out migration, to the point that it outweighs converts and children of record?

What is the source of the growth in Iceland? While Iceland is small enough that a few families moving can translate into sizable percentage changes, the fact that it was in the top 10 in 2022 *and* in the 2020-2021 biennial summary seems more than just a fluke. Is it increasingly successful missionary work? Is there a pattern of migration from countries with more members?

Somewhat relatedly, anyone know what membership in the Faroe Islands currently is like? There are no congregations there, but from what I understand there has been a sizable influx of migrants from the Philippines, where of course there are many church members. I wonder if in time there will be enough members from the Philippines and other countries to the Faroe Islands to create a small branch, or at least a home group.


JTB said...

Increased outreach in remote areas of Nigeria:

Chris D. said...

Dedication and open house dates set for the McAllen Texas Temple today.

Fredrick said...

I think everyone can now put Tulsa, Oklahoma on their short list for temples announced for next conference.

Eduardo said...

Great stats and analysis, thanks.

OhHappy, if you could share context or commentary with your posts, I would appreciate it. The random https or web pages make me less inclined to trust or care what they have to say.

I know I myself can be random, but hopefully my thoughts do not come from completely unrelated sources, or provide some context. Mostly my brain, wandering thoughts.

Does anyone know if the Scottsdale Arizona Mission is being dissolved? I am getting some different reports about it.

Thanks all!

Christie said...

So excited! A sister in our ward spoke Sunday about her family's experiences as pioneers in the area. Her parents are both 91 and her dad was just recently released as our Gospel Doctrine teacher. The Church has come so far in the RGV during her lifetime and now a temple!

Pascal Friedmann said...

The Friedrichsdorf Germany stake conference is coming up the first Sunday in June. There are some rumored changes in terms of units; the most likely one would be the creation of a Spanish-speaking ward or branch, possibly with an integrated Portuguese group. There have been a few Spanish sacrament meetings held in Friedrichsdorf to try it out; attendance has generally been between 100 and 160, mainly from the three wards in the northern Frankfurt suburbs. Those numbers shocked me, given the fact that this is definitely more than the number of Spanish speakers who attend Church in those three wards regularly. I suspect that some members and investigators from Frankfurt join as well (although they would not be in the new unit as Frankfurt is its own stake), but I have also heard that a significant percentage of attendees are non-members.

Outside of that, it's pretty much the same old; there are still rumors about Gießen and Marburg splitting off from the geographically giant ward in Wetzlar. In fact, missionaries have been serving in Gießen for several years now and have had some of the greatest success teaching and baptizing YSA in perhaps all of continental Europe.

I was surprised to recently learn that the Friedrichsdorf ward, despite being usually quite close to the illusive 200 active member limit imposed on most German wards before a split (although I have seen wards split much sooner than that), is unable to split currently because it actually only has 217 members total - which I think is 33 short of the technical requirement for nominal membership of two wards. I believe that if it ever were to split, we would be left with a ward for only Friedrichsdorf proper, and one for Bad Homburg and Oberursel. Obviously, if there was a Spanish unit created, those plans would move much farther out. While we are absolutely a center of strength here in the Frankfurt area, the high activity rates ironically make it more challenging to create more units, as the "broad less active mass" of members that other parts of the world have is largely missing here.

Also, Germany reversed its recent negative membership growth trends and added 292 members last year, for an annual positive growth rate of 0.7%. On the ground, "real growth" seems significantly higher. Things are looking up (especially in contrast to virtually all other denominations).

I also think I can shed some light on what is happening in Spain. The Church there has recently (within the last year) started a program for investigators to help them get married so they can be baptized when cohabitating with someone. It is now an official Church program, supported by the local government in Utah County, which allows couples to be married remotely via Zoom (the paperwork in Spain prior to marriage is extremely lengthy and cumbersome, including for natives, but it is much worse for foreigners). So far, more than 200 couples, and occasionally their extended families, have been married and baptized as a result of this program, often after waiting for their Spanish marriage paperwork for years. The Church has established a fund to help couples pay for the required fees. This is information from a friend of mine, whose husband was the first ever beneficiary of this program after trying to get married to my friend for almost five years. This program may be the driving cause of a (perhaps semi-natural) spike in induced membership growth.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Mangu, Nigeria outreach is very exciting. With Abuja getting its own mission this July we may see more breakthroughs in Central Nigeria.

I am hoping that a temple will be announced this year for Abuja. We shall see.

John Pack Lambert said...

There were plans to replace the roof of the Detroit Temple this August/September but evidently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not able to get any contractors to bid on the project so it has been indefinitely postponed. If these are widespread issues the Church may need to review how it goes about doing building improvements.

Chris D. said...

Eduardo, to answer your question. In previous comments here sometime ago, there were rumors of some missionaries being called to a "Arizona Flagstaff Mission", which as of today does not exist on Church records. The Arzona Scottsdale Mission, you ask about is just a few miles south of Flagstaff. Just like last year the Chilean mission moved to a more northern location and was renamed Chile Puerto Montt. And a few years before that the Utah Salt Lake City Mission, as it was known then, relocated a few miles north to the city of Layton, and was renamed the "Utah Layton Mission". I can see a scenario that the "Arizona Scottsdale Mission" offices relocate to Flagstaff, Arizona and be renamed the Arizona Flagstaff Mission.

Any other thoughts about this, anyone else?

Ohhappydane33 said...
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JTB said...

I concur, the city had almost 300,000 back in 2006, so it undoubtedly has a much larger population now. Lots of room to grow. And the whole southern part of Plateau state doesn't have a church presence, so this could potentially open up more of that area to outreach in the future.

L. Chris Jones said...
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L. Chris Jones said...
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L. Chris Jones said...

Riobamba Ecuador District to be organized into a stake this weekend. The following Facebook post and invitation is in both English and Spanish.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Pascal Friedmann said...

Flagstaff is a new mission that is currently drawing missionaries from both Scottsdale and Phoenix for reassignment. I cannot confirm that the Scottsdale office is being relocated but this is certainly one way to look at it, assuming that Scottsdale is indeed closing.

Chris D. said...

Pascal, I do apologize. You are correct. After reviewing the past Church News posts. There will be a Arizona Flagstaff Mission with a new Mission President to begin around July 1st this year.

North America Southwest
Mission President Companion
Arizona Flagstaff Scott Stratton AnnaLisa Stratton

Valenzuela y Escobar said...

Seeing a real growth in the units of the church, I do not see it as simple, I think from what I have seen in all these years, that the numerical growth is cyclical, the number of baptized is not the same as the number of people who attend The number of people with a calling or responsibility is not the same either, I feel that our church is stagnant like all religions.

I attend a neighborhood in Santiago that had an attendance of 200 people before the pandemic, today with luck 100 people attend, and getting them to have an appeal is very, very difficult.

Last Sunday I went to the chapel that I stopped attending in 2005, I went to the mission in 1994 and the attendance was approximately 120 people, today they do not reach 90 people.

Conversion is personal, the level of commitment is personal, faith is personal, and that makes each person decide how much they bond with the church, with the brothers and with the community, every day more selfishness is seen, it is as if the baptized were asleep.

I find strength in doing family history, attending the temple, and being clear about my goals.

miro said...

Regarding the membership number of Russia, i could imagine that the church is only allowed to report mebemers that gave permission to be reported. So the around 5000 members reported include the active mebership, the ones the church has contact and good relations.

SteveW said...

Turkish growth is mostly immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, especially in Istanbul and Ankara branches. Very few native Turkish members in this growth. From recent visits to both cities and Izmir where there is a branch.

SteveW said...

Encountered my first home group in Khartoum two years ago while one of my sons was working for an Qatari IT firm. There was a South African LDS Charities couple and a family of five from the US Embassy. No known Sudanese native members.

David McFadden said...

I doubt decline of members in Russia because of moving away is the reason for the decline. If you look at countries where they primarily fled to (ie. Georgia, Kazakhstan, etc.), these countries saw NO SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN MEMBERSHIP - even to account for a fraction of Russia's decrease.

It appears the membership numbers has been purged to only account for active/semi active members. 4995 across 69 congregations is aprox. 72 active members/congregation, or just under 500 members per reported stake/district of that same year. Congregations in districts are branches, regardless of size. That appears closer to a count of active/semi-active members of struggling stakes/districts.

This is likely to conform with anti-terrorism laws passed starting in 2017 that restricted the church. The church is considered by the government as an "American church". Proselyting is no longer permitted. All FHC in the country had to be closed. Talking about the church outside the church buildings and visiting less-active members is prohibited.

Therefore, it seems apparent that membership records of less active members in Russia were likely purged. I don't can't find any other possible cause.

David McFadden said...

What's amazing is even with the Anti-terrorism laws and local persecution, is how many appear to remain active and how many congregations still exist despite this law.

Correction/clarification: Anti-terror laws against the church actually started in 2016. The law prohibits preaching, praying, disseminating religious materials, and even answering questions about religion outside of officially designated sites. At that point, Missionaries became known as "volunteers". By February 2022, all foreign "volunteers" had left the country. I'm not sure what additional restrictions, if any, has occured since the beginning of the latest Ukraine War.

SteveW said...

Any insights in Germany on growth among the 1 million mostly Syrian refugees in 2016. I have seen media reports with Syrian Muslims joining Christian churches in goodly numbers. In fact one media report in the Economist said there could be 20% of these Muslim refugees have become Christians in the last 7 years.

SteveW said...

I am in contact with Russian members in Moscow and my daughter with those in Yekaterinburg. Very few Russian members leaving the country. Yes, the anti-proselytizing laws that began in 2016 has caused stagnation in Russia. The church is consolidating branches and member numbers are reflective of activity. If you are not active, the members are probably being taken off the rolls.
The church as said nothing about this remarkable decrease from 2017 to 2022 of almost 24,000 to 4990 members in Russia.
Matt or anyone else: has there in church history been a numerical membership decline like this in such a short period of time? When we left Iran in 1980 there were only two branches and at most 200 members.

Qcumber said...

What abut Russia. The situation is quite unusual here.

Beside the law of 2016 which has limited missionary work, there was a law of 2018 which restricted data privacy.

From 2018 every member of the church has to sign a consent of a personal data (even if he or she had signed something before). Members who haven't signed the consent are still considered members (if they prove their membership of course), but they are not counted in church records anymore according to the local laws.

But... You understand that only active members sign such consents. So typically only active members are counted now in Russia (because less-active who were baptized in 1990s or 2000s merely do not sign the consent).

That's the reason why the official membership in Russia has decreased. And I suppose that that was the reason why did the Church withhold publishing membership since 2018.

SteveW said...

Qcumber thank you very much for the clarification. If I remember right the Church was not publishing membership from 2018 to 2022.
I was mostly in the Middle East during this time and wasn't paying much attention to this. Now that I am heading a software company with Russian members in Moscow and Dubai the last five months it was something that was on my mind.

SteveW said...

Qcumber thank you very much for the clarification. If I remember right the Church was not publishing membership from 2018 to 2022.
I was mostly in the Middle East during this time and wasn't paying much attention to this. Now that I am heading a software company with Russian members in Moscow and Dubai the last five months it was something that was on my mind.