Sunday, November 19, 2023

36 New Missions to be Created in 2024 Analysis: Africa

This post provides an analysis of new missions to be created in Africa in 2024, as announced by the Church on November 1st. 

Of the 36 new missions to be organized worldwide in 2024, nine (25%) will be organized in Africa - the most new missions ever organized in Africa in a single year. The total number of missions in Africa will increase from 45 to 54 as a result of the creation of these new missions (a 20% increase). The decision to create these new missions in Africa has been part of a broader trend in allocating larger amounts of missionary resources to Sub-Saharan Africa. For example, in 2023 the Church organized five new missions in Africa (a 12.5% increase from 2022), and all but one of the new missions organized in 2023 were in Africa (missions organized in Africa in 2023 included the Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan North Mission, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kananga Mission, the Nigeria Aba Mission, the Nigeria Abuja Mission, and the South Africa Pretoria Mission). Other recently organized missions in Africa have included the Rwanda Kigali Mission (2022), the Cameroon Yaounde Mission (2020), the Ethiopia Addis Ababa Mission (2020), the Mozambique Beira Mission (originally intended to be organized in 2020 but actually created in 2021), Tanzania Dar es Salaam Mission (2020), the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East Mission (2019), the Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Mission (2018), the Nigeria Ibadan Mission (2018), and the Zimbabwe Bulawayo Mission (2018). The Church operated 34 missions in Africa as of year-end 2019. Thus, the number of missions in Africa will have increased by 20 just within a five-year time period. Once the new missions are created in Africa next year, the number of missions in Africa will have doubled within the past 10 years. The population of Africa is estimated to increase from 1.17 billion to 1.49 billion from 2014 to 2024. Therefore, the average African Latter-day Saint mission in 2024 will serve a smaller population (27.7 million) than in 2014 (45 million). The significant increase in new missions in Africa appears attributed to larger number of African Latter-day Saints serving full-time missions and also efforts to redistribute missionary resources from less productive areas to more productive areas of the world. 

See below for a mission-by-mission breakdown for new missions to be organized in 2024. All African nations with at least 100,000 Latter-day Saints will have two new missions organized in 2024.


The DR Congo Kinshasa South Mission will be the Church's third mission in the massive urban agglomeration of Kinshasa which has a population of 15 million people. The new mission will be organized from the DR Congo Kinshasa West Mission (organized in 1987) and the DR Congo Kinshasa East Mission (organized in 2019). Currently, there are 11 stakes in Kinshasa - most of which have grown quite large and appear likely to divide in the near future. The new mission may indicate plans to create additional congregations and stakes in Kinshasa given there has appeared to be a pause in new unit creations in recent months despite rapid membership growth in the country. Reports I have received have noted plans by area leadership to create additional stakes, although these plans have not yet been announced or implemented. The creation of the new mission will also help to better administer fledgling areas with a relatively recent Church establishment outside of Kinshasa, such as in the far west (e.g, Matadi, Goma, Muanda, Kimpese), west central (Bandundu, Kikwit), and north (Kisangani) areas of the DR Congo. Moreover, there remain many large cities that are entirely unreached by the Church within the boundaries of the current two Kinshasa missions (e.g., Genema, Kisantu, Mbandaka, Mbanza-Ngungu), and a new mission may help to better establish the Church in additional locations. French and Lingala are the most commonly spoken languages in the Kinshasa area.


The DR Congo Kolwezi Mission will be created from a division of the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission (organized in 2010). The new mission will likely include three stakes (two in Likasi, one in Kolwezi). The creation of a second stake in Kolwezi appears imminent, as the stake has grown to 12 wards and 2 branches (the stake was organized in 2019 with seven wards from a member district). The realigned DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission will probably include four stakes (all in Lubumbashi) and one district in Kasumbalesa, although two stakes in Lubumbashi appear likely to divide to create two new stakes in the immediate future. The new mission may help the Church to expand into unreached or recently reached locations in the southern areas of the DR Congo (for example, a member group was recently established in Kamina, and perhaps hundreds of isolated Latter-day Saints and prospective members have self-organized in Kikondja for decades, but are extremely remote and difficult to reach). French and Swahili are commonly spoken in the Kolwezi area. 

There will be seven missions in the DR Congo once the two new missions are organized. 2023 marks the first year the Church has organized two missions in a single year in the DR Congo. The Church organized its first mission in the country in 1987, followed by additional missions in 2010, 2016, 2019, 2023. It is also important to note that some areas of the eastern DR Congo are administered by the Rwanda Kigali Mission (organized in 2022), such as missions branches in Uvira (2), Bukavu, and Goma. No other country in the world that had only one mission in 2009 has had so many new missions organized. As of year-end 2022, there were 102,862 Latter-day Saints in the DR Congo. The population of the DR Congo is projected to be 105.6 million in 2024. Thus, the average Congolese mission will have 15 million people within its boundaries (although this is a bit of an overestimate since this calculation does not include the Rwanda Kigali Mission). The Church has reported some of its highest membership growth rates in the world in the DR Congo in recent years. 


The Ghana Accra North Mission will be the Church's third mission in Accra that will likely be organized from the Ghana Accra Mission (organized in 1985) and the Ghana Accra West Mission (organized in 2013). There are 12 stakes in the greater Accra metropolitan area, and the two missions also currently include five more stakes in outlying cities (e.g., Abomosu, Asamankese, Koforidua, Swedru, and Winneba). Three districts are also within the boundaries of the two current missions (Dzodze, Ho, Kpong). The Church has experienced variable growth rates in the Accra area within the past 45 years. The new mission will likely help to better saturate urban areas in Accra with more congregations and full-time missionaries, as well as to help expand into unreached areas in areas surrounding Accra (especially in the Volta Region).


The Ghana Takoradi Mission will be organized from the Ghana Cape Coast Mission (organized in 2005). The new mission will likely include two stakes (one in Mpintsin, one in Takoradi) and two districts (Axim and Tarkwa), although a third stake in the greater Takoradi area appears likely to be organized soon (the Mpintsin Ghana Stake currently has 11 wards and two branches). The new mission will likely conform to the boundaries of the Western Region of Ghana with a population of a mere 2.1 million people, thereby making the Ghana Takoradi Mission the African mission with the smallest population within its geographical boundaries. The new mission may provide for greater mission resources to expand into northern and western areas of Western Region which are minimally reached by the Church, as well as to provide greater saturation of mission resources in Takoradi. The realigned Ghana Cape Coast Mission will also have a comparatively small target population for mission outreach, with perhaps as few as 2.5 million people (making this mission the African mission with the second fewest people within its boundaries). Steady growth has occurred in the current boundaries of the Ghana Cape Coast Mission, with the most significant growth occurring during the first few years of a Church presence in the late 1970s and early 1980s and within the past 10 years. Of the seven stakes in the current boundaries of the Ghana Cape Coast Mission, four stakes have been organized since 2016. 

The Church in Ghana will have six missions in 2024, resulting in the average mission in Ghana having 5.8 million people. However, 14.2 million of the 34.8 million people in Ghana live within the boundaries of the Ghana Kumasi Mission (41%). Excluding the Ghana Kumasi Mission, the remaining Ghanaian missions will have an average of 4.1 million people within their geographical boundaries. The Church previously created missions in Ghana in 1985, 2005, 2012, and 2013. Thus, 2024 will be the first year that two missions have been organized in Ghana in the same year. The Church reported 101,924 Latter-day Saints in Ghana as of year-end 2022.


The Nigeria Calabar Mission will likely be organized from a division of the Nigeria Uyo Mission (organized in 2002) and the Nigeria Enugu Mission (organized in 1992). The new mission will probably include four stakes (three in Calabar, one in Akamkpa) and one district in Ugep - all located in the Nigerian state of Cross Rivers (population 4.4 million). The Church announced a temple for Calabar last month. Rapid growth has occurred in Cross Rivers State where the first stake was organized in 2002 followed by additional stakes in 2015, 2017, and 2022. It appears likely that 1-2 new stakes may be created in Calabar in the near future due to the steady creation of new wards in the city. The Church previously headquartered a mission in Calabar which was first headquartered in Uyo, although this mission's headquarters later returned to Uyo in 2019. The new Nigeria Calabar Mission may have the smallest population of any Nigerian mission if the mission includes just the 4.4 million people in Cross Rivers State. To put this into contrast, the total population of Nigeria is 229 million, so the Nigeria Calabar Mission may have only 1.9% of the total country population.


The Nigeria Port Harcourt North Mission will likely be organized from a division of the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission (organized in 1988). There are seven stakes in Port Harcourt, and the current Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission also includes three additional stakes (two in southern Akwa Ibom, one in Yenagoa) and two districts (both located near Port Harcourt in Rivers State). The current mission boundaries have approximately 10 million people within its geographical boundaries in the Nigerian states of Rivers and Bayelsa, and a very small portion of the Akwa Ibom State. Thus, each mission will likely have approximately five million people. Although initial growth was relatively slow in Port Harcourt in the 1980s and 1990s, the Church has experienced rapid growth for much of the past 10-15, as the number of stakes in the city increased from three in 2011 to seven in 2021. Several stakes appear likely to be organized in the foreseeable future in Port Harcourt due to large numbers of congregations in the city. Although it is within close proximity to Aba, it appears likely that a temple will be announced one day in Port Harcourt given the large concentration of Latter-day Saints in the city and transportation challenges in Nigeria for many members. The Port Harcourt Nigeria Stake was the Church's second stake in Nigeria when it was organized in 1990. Today, there are now 70 stakes in Nigeria. Port Harcourt will the only city in Nigeria with two missions headquartered within it (although this is not the first time two missions have been based in the same Nigerian city, as the Church briefly operated two missions in Lagos approximately 10-15 years ago).

With the creation of these two new missions, there will be 11 missions in Nigeria. Current Nigerian missions were organized in 1980, 1988, 1992, 2002 (2), 2013, 2016, and 2023 (2). Thus, the number of missions in Nigeria in 2024 will be nearly twice the number of missions in 2014. Never has any country on the Afro-Eurasian landmass had as many missions as Nigeria at present (9). Even more impressive, Nigerian missions do not include North American missionaries, and they are staffed primarily by African missionaries. The average mission in Nigeria will have approximately 21 million people in 2024, although this is not a very accurate ratio since the Nigeria Abuja Mission includes approximately 117 million people within its geographical boundaries (most of whom live in states where Sharia Law is practiced and where there is no Church presence). Excluding the Nigeria Abuja Mission, the 10 missions that will operate in the remainder of Nigeria in 2024 will service 11.2 million people per mission on average. The Church reported 221,172 Latter-day Saints in Nigeria as of year-end 2022. Nigeria appears likely to become its own church area given its large Church membership and significant opportunities for growth and expansion with such a large population.


The Kenya Nairobi East Mission will be created from a division of the Kenya Nairobi Mission (organized in 1991). Currently, the Kenya Nairobi Mission includes the entire country of Kenya (population: 56.2 million), although the mission historically serviced the entire region of East Africa prior to the creation of the Uganda Kampala Mission (organized in 2005) and then serviced Kenya and Tanzania until the creation of the Tanzania Dar Es Salaam Mission in 2020. Thus, until 2020, the Kenya Nairobi Mission has not been able to exclusively focus its missionary resources on Kenya despite his large population. Currently, there are three stakes and six districts in Kenya. Thus, the new Kenya Nairobi East Mission will probably include 1-2 stakes and three districts. The Church in Kenya has experienced modest growth since its initial establishment in 1979, and the first stake was organized in 2001. Additional stakes were organized in 2016 and 2023. The Church reported 17,438 Latter-day Saints as of year-end 2022. However, membership and congregational growth rates have accelerated in recent years, as membership increased by 9.6% in 2022 - the highest seen in over a decade. Furthermore, the Church has organized 11 new wards and branches in Kenya thus far in 2023, including the first branches in several previously unreached cities in western Kenya. The new mission will allow for greater numbers of missionaries to serve in Kenya to further expand outreach into additional areas unreached at present by the Church, further saturate the Nairobi metropolitan area (population: 6.6 million) with more congregations, and help strengthen districts to become stakes (such as in Eldoret and Kyulu). Many large cities remained unreached by the Church in Kenya. The Church created the Africa Central Area with headquarters in Nairobi in 2020. The Nairobi Kenya Temple is under construction.


The Madagascar Antananarivo North Mission will be organized from a division of the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission (organized in 1998). The Madagascar Antananarivo Mission currently services several countries in addition to Madagascar (31 million people), including Mauritius (1.3 million people), Reunion (part of France with approximately 1.0 million people), Comoros (868,000 people), and Mayotte (also part of France with approximately 346,000 people). Currently, there are four stakes and two districts in Madagascar. The Church reported 14,353 Latter-day Saints in Madagascar as of year-end 2022, whereas there were less than 1,000 Latter-day Saints each in Mauritius and Reunion. There is no Church presence in Comoros or Mayotte at present. Seychelles remains unassigned to a mission, and it is possible that Seychelles may be assigned to a mission once the new mission is organized. Thus, the new mission will likely have 1-2 stakes assigned, as well as 1-2 mission branches, although it is unclear which missions may be assigned the two districts in Reunion and Mauritius. The new mission may help to expand outreach into the virtually untouched north of Madagascar where there is only one mission branch in Mahajanga. The Church in Madagascar has achieved variable growth rates since the first branch was organized in 1990. The first stake was organized in 1990 followed by additional stakes in 2011, 2022, and 2023. The Antananarivo Madagascar Temple was announced in 2021.


The Sierra Leone Bo Mission will be organized from a division of the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission (organized in 2007) which only services Sierra Leone at present. The new mission has appeared long awaited given the rapid growth of the Church in eastern Sierra Leone which went from zero stakes and four districts in 2016 to four stakes and one district today, with multiple stakes likely to divide in the near future. I have written previously about the remarkable growth of the Church in Bo where Latter-day Saints number among the largest Christian denominations in the city. The new mission will probably include four stakes and one district in eastern and southern Sierra Leone, as well as a two branches in Koidu which appears likely to become a district once 1-2 more branches are organized in the city. The first two stakes in Bo were organized in 2017 followed by a third stake in 2019, whereas the stake in Kenema was organized in 2019. Bo appears to be one of the most likely locations in Africa for a temple announcement in the near future given the growth and size of the Church in the area. The realigned Sierra Leone Freetown Mission will likely include five stakes (all located in Freetown and all organized since 2012) and one district (Makeni). Each mission will likely have 4.5 million people within its boundaries given the population of Sierra Leone is approximately nine million. All large and medium-sized cities have an official ward or branch in the prospective boundaries of the Sierra Leone Bo Mission, and the new mission may help establish the Church in many small cities throughout the region. Sierra Leone is one of the most well-reached countries of the Church in Africa in terms of the percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population (0.34%), and also considering that all cities with at least 30,000 people have at least one ward or branch (except Port Loko). Rapid growth has occurred for the Church in Sierra Leone since 2011, and the Church reported 28,867 Latter-day Saints as of year-end 2022. Currently, Sierra Leone is the country in Africa with the most Latter-day Saints with only one mission. The Freetown Sierra Leone Temple is under construction.


Nephi said...

Great analysis Matt! I don't know how you work and raise a family and keep all this info straight! Thanks for all your hard work.

Chris D. said...

I would like to echo Nephi's comment above. Thanks again.

Chris D. said...

20 November 2023 - SALT LAKE CITY
News Release
Sites Announced for Two New Temples in Latin America
Rendering released for temple in Spain

Chris D. said...

20 November 2023 - SALT LAKE CITY
News Release
Open House Dates for the Manti Utah Temple Announced
President Jeffrey R. Holland to rededicate the St. George Utah Temple

Bryansb1984 said...

So they did the St. George, Salt Lake City and Manti, I wonder if they're going to do the Logan soon

John Pack Lambert said...

The perspective members in Kikondja communicated with Elder James E. Faust when he was president of the International Mission in the 1970s. They were told of the coming of the Hutchins (who taught and baptized the Mutombos among others) in 1986, but the Hutchins were not able to move beyond Kinshasa.

There was a visit conducted there I believe about 2 years ago and the people still hold Sunday School.

Junior Banza in his intro film for the Not by Bread Alone project, which started as stories of the Saints in Congo, but thry have now broadened to Africa since they have a lot of Rwanda related materials, mentions one story thry will highlight that even though he does not say the village I am sure is a man raised in Kikonja. When he was 25 he convinced his parents to let him leave, travel I think to Lumbubashi, where he was baptized and then served a mission.

Of course in Kolwezi itself it was Ellie Momga who traveled away to Lumbubashi, was baptized, and then came back and spent 2 years preparing about 200 to be baptized. He worse himself out baptizing all those in 1 day when he got permission. He was about 21 then. He later served in many callings including as a counselor in the Lubumbashi mission presidency, the first president of the Republic of Congo Brazaville Mission and as an area seventy.

John Pack Lambert said...

Sierra Leone is about 85% Muslim. On the other hand it has a higher religious freedom index rating than the United States.

The 3000th stake was the Freetown Sierra Leone stake organized by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. That was the first stake in the country, and at the time the only stake in mainland Africa west of Ivory Coast.

I wonder if with the Bo Mission being organized if any of the surrounding countries will be shifted to a Sierra Leone mission. In some ways it would make more geographical sense to place Senegal, Guinea and the Gambia in the Freetown Missuon than in Ivory Coast missions.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am very excited that the temple site for the Tolucca Temple has been announced. My sister-in-law has family in Tolucca. The Tabernacle Choir performed at the Tolucca Carhedral during the summer. Elder Bedbar was in Tolucca on his most recent tour of Mexico.

Nigel said...

A new stake has been created in Mozambique on Sunday 19 November 2023, Zimpeto Mozambique Stake (2241226). Currently, it's only showing on CDOL and the changes haven't been made in Maps yet. Only 4 units are in the new stake for now and anticipate more units to be added or created in the coming days. The 4 units in the new stake are Magoanine Ward (426903) and Zimpeto Ward (2115921) from the Maputo Mozambique Stake, and T-3 Ward (453803) and Circular Branch (2212625)from the Matola Mozambique Stake.

Chris D. said...

Thank you, Nigel, for that detailed update in Mozambique.

Chris D. said...

John Pack Lambert said...

I hope Maputo gets a temple announced soon. I know a second temple has never been announced for a country where the first was not yet complete, at least not since 1870 or so, but I think Mozambique is a case where such a move is justified. Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast may also see that happen.

Elder Soares spoke to a worldwide devotional for all Portuguese-speaking youth.

My mind has gone over who the next apostle might be. I came up with a list, starting with Elder Kearon, also featuring Elder Dubr, Elder Montoya and many others, and ending with dark horse candidates Elder Echo Hawk and BYU-Hawai'i president John Kauwe. What do I know. I have once made a prediction that an existing general authority would not become an apostle. And despite the fact that well under 10% do, I was wrong, and Elder Gong did become an apostle.

I guess if I am going to go with crazy theories and include Elder Echo Hawk on my list I will include Elder Sitati as well. I think he is a little more likely than Elder Echo Hawk. On the one hand no emeritus general authority has ever been called as an apostle. However Hugh B. Brown was 75 when he was called as an spostle and George Q. Morris was older than that. Elder Sitati is 71, and will still be that age at general conference. Elder Kearon who is 61 and Bishop Causse who is 60 are my top guesses, Carlos Godoy and Hugo Montoya about the same age seem possible.

I am not sure I have ever correctly predicted a new apostle. The last time an apostle or group of apostles was called and there was bot at least one member of the presidency among them was when President Eyring was called in 1995.

Elder Renlund was not a member of the presidency of the 70 and Elder Bednar was not even a general authority, but he was BYU-Idaho head and an area seventy. Elder Stevenson was Presiding bishop, so was Elder Hales, Elder LeGrand Richards and Elder Sylvester Q. Cannon.

I have a few others I would love to see as the new apostle. A few I fear to say because I oddly think speaking it will make it less likely.

I am sure this is a matter President Nelson, President Oaks and President Eyring, and the other apostles to what extent thry give input, and weighing very heavily.

There have been times when an apostle was called before the next conference. On the other hand Elder Hakes died during October conference and was not replaced until April conference. LeGrabd Richards died I believe January 1983 and was not replaced by Russell M. Nelson until April 1984, Elder Mark E. Peterson died about a year after Elder Richards, and thus Elder Dallin H. Oaks is called at the same time.

Elder Nelson and Elder Oaks, as well as Elder Bednar and Elder Monson, are I believe the only 4 post-1960 apostles called who were not already general authorities. Elder Monson is the only one who had not been either a general officer of the Church or a Church university President. Elder Howard W. Hunter is the next most recent such case.

John Pack Lambert said...

There is a somewhat less than 0 chance there will be multiple apostolic openings in April, although I really do not think such will be the case. There is also some chance that President Nelson might use the occasion to also do rearranging in the First Presidency. We have over 4 months. I think most likely 1 new apostle will be called, and I think Elder Kearon is most likely to be the new apostle, but I could very well be wrong.

James G. Stokes said...

JPL, there has typically always been an apostle with either a connection to the Smith family or who is a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith. In tribute to President Ballard, President Nelson said that he always felt privileged to have a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith as an apostolic colleague. Right now, the only other direct descendant of Hyrum Smith who is a general leader is Jan E. Newman, the Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency who will be presented for release in April that will be effective August 1. Since no apostles have been appointed from outside the current General Authorities since Elder Bednar in 2004, I don't think the Church is likely to appoint a new apostle from outside the current general leadership.

So I don't see the Church calling any emeritus GA Seventy back into the apostleship. Since Elder Cook is currently the apostle who was oldest at the time of his 2007 call, I don't think anyone now older than Elder Cook was will be called.

That being said, I think that someone in the same age range as Elders Rasband, Stevenson, Renlund, Gong, and Soares were when they were called would probably be the preferred choice. Unless I am mistaken, that would put the new apostle between 59 and 64 years old. Hope that's helpful information for you, JPL, and anyone else who might be interested in my thoughts.

Hank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
twinnumerouno said...

We also have Elder Michael A. Dunn who is a descendant of Asael Smith, the grandfather of Joseph and Hyrum.

I saw President Nelson's comments about the privilege of serving with a descendant of the Smiths. However, the church has changed in a lot of ways since 1985 when Elder Ballard replaced Elder McConkie as apostolic representative of the Smith family (Elder McConkie's wife was a daughter of Joseph Fielding Smith, I believe), and I personally have my doubts that President Nelson would consider it important to continue that tradition. (But if it is important, there are probably a number of non-General Authority Smith descendants that could be considered.)

I think the First Presidency would be more likely to select someone who is not from the US, expanding the international representation. Four members of the current Presidency of the Seventy are not from the US and seem like likely candidates although perhaps Elder Godoy seems less likely since that would mean two Brazilians in a row. Two of the 3 Americans in the presidency are likely to be given emeritus status next year, so we can confidently predict changes there whether or not one of them is the new apostle. I would also agree that Bishop Causse would be under consideration as well.

James G. Stokes said...

twinnumerouno, thanks for the reminder about Elder Michael A. Dunn's ancestral links to the Smith family. I'd quite forgotten about that. I've been going back and forth on whether President Nelson would opt for someone with a Smith family connection or whether it is more likely that the new apostle will be a current General Authority. I think that the Smith family connection is more tradition than a hard-and-fast rule. With that said, I was thinking about the original call dates of our current apostles as General Authority Seventies vs. when they were called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I'd think that the last 5 apostles called may be more indicative of where the Church will look for a new apostle. Elder Rasband was called as a GA Seventy in 2000, Elder Stevenson in 2008, Elder Renlund in 2009, Elder Gong in 2010, and Elder Soares in 2005. So the next apostle is likely to have been a General Authority Seventy for at least 5 years, which would put the prime candidates as those called as GA Seventies between 2007 and 2018 or 2019. That's a pretty wide pool.

Elders Gong and Soares were on my list of potential candidates for the apostolic vacancies. The last few times there's been a vacancy, I've been wondering about Bishop Causse (born in France) and Elder Teh (born in the Philippines). But in the vein of a pick like Elders Gong and Soares, I could also see the Church calling Elder Peter M. Johnson as the first African-American apostle. Each of the three I mentioned are in the age range I mentioned.

It's an interesting prospect to think about. Just as another interesting tidbit, I don't think the prophet will wait until the next General Conference to call the new apostle, whomever he may be. On KSL, when they were reporting on President Holland being set apart as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles a couple of days before President Ballard's funeral, they indicated on-air that they would be monitoring that development and "other changes in general Church leadership" and would pass subsequent reports thereof along on-air.

So while Brother Newman or Elder Dunn would fit the Smith family connection category, and while that would also be true of any sons or sons-in-law of President Ballard or any living family members of anyone with a connection to the Smith line, that may be less of a consideration than it has in the past. I think we could see an unconventional pick, and I don't see the prophet waiting until April to fill the vacancy in question. Just my additional thoughts in response to yours.

L. Chris Jones said...

I sometimes wonder if Vai Sikahema will get the call someday. I have paid attention to him for several years, even before he became a general authority.

miro said...

@Pascal Friedmann and any one else interested
The Leer branch in the Hanover stake became a ward again last Sunday. (It used to be a ward from 2004 to 2007 when it was downgraded to a branch as part of the newly created Oldenburg district)

This is the 5th branch in Germany that became a ward this year.
I have not seen any sign of the Friedrichsdorf (Spanish) Ward in CDOL or Meetinhouse Locactor. Was it's creation just anounced at stake conference for a future date or is the ward already meeting but not added yet in the churches database?

Pascal Friedmann said...

Hi Miro, thanks - that's excellent news! So we have Wesel, Freiberg 2, Schwenningen, Heidelberg 2 (Spanish), and Leer? Definitely a nice list. I am aware of several other branches that are quite close to becoming wards as well, including Aachen and Offenbach just in my personal sphere. Aachen in particular has had quite a few baptisms this year, mainly YSA. I just talked to the elders there a couple weeks ago and they say that they're constantly teaching 20 to 30 lessons a week. When I was a missionary, I don't believe I ever got anywhere close to 20 lessons in a transfer, even in my most productive area. Things are definitely different than they used to be over here.

There are somewhat persistent rumors about Magdeburg and Nordhausen each getting a branch again as well. Both cities had their only congregations closed in the 2010s largely as a result of members moving to more prosperous parts of the country, but each have retained groups and missionaries who have apparently done quite well lately.

Friedrichsdorf 2 (Spanish) will actually be organized officially on Sunday. Apparently just getting the creation approved by the stake membership doesn't add the congregation into CDOL. The things you learn... ;-)

miro said...

@Pascal Friedmann
Wesel was last year August 2022. Elmshorn was the one you missed.

Breckenfeld said...

I humblely think the next apostle could come from Uk or France. Let's wait a little while and find out !!!

Breckenfeld said...

I agree with you on New apostle prediction : Elder Keaton and Perhaps bishop Causse.

Daniel Moretti said...

I'm going to make a bold bet on the new apostle: Elder Massimo De Feo

Matt said...

Thierry K. Mutombo would be an excellent pick for a new apostle - one who could speak to members in at least a couple of the languages spoken in the DR Congo and help coordinate the expansion of the Church in a country with excellent prospects for growth.

Pascal Friedmann said...

I actually also believe it will be De Feo. Looks like there's two of us!

James G. Stokes said...

Elder De Feo would be an excellent pick and would fall under the parameters I suggested above in terms of age and time served as a GA Seventy.

James G. Stokes said...

Hey, Matt! In the same way you're a Church growth expert, I'm somewhat of an apostolic facts expert, as several of my files contain information about current apostles. The parameters I mentioned in my last comment seem to be a likely guide.

While I agree Elder Mutombo would be an excellent pick for the reasons you mentioned, and while he'd be the right age, I'm not sure on my end that he's been a GA Seventy long enough.

In 2017, following the death of Elder Hales, I did a blog post with a detailed list of candidates on it. Someone who commented at that time asked me why Elder Sitati wasn't on the list. I replied that my analysis at the time showed that the Church might not be ready for a native African apostle.

I don't know if that's changed. If a native African were to be called, Elder Dube would fit the parameters I mentioned above, especially in terms of time served. But, as I also mentioned above, I could see the Church calling Elder Peter M. Johnson as the first African American apostle. He's been a GA Seventy long enough, and would qualify by age. He's also recently been a mission president.

Just my thoughts as somewhat of an apostolic facts expert, for whatever they're worth.

James G. Stokes said...

Here is that post I mentioned, for anyone who may be interested:

JoellaFaith said...

bishop Causse.would be gret when he was called as a bishop he lived in germany and he packed up and left to come to us the next day he said when president monson called he looked at his wife and she told him we do whatever they want bishop Causse knew his wife would do what they want because she made a promises in the temple long ago his wife would make a good wife of an apostle she loyal to the church as well

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Mutombo will have been a general authority seventy for 4 years as of this April. Elder Hinckley was only a general authority for three and a half years at the time of his call to the 12.

I actually think Elders Kearon or Montoya or Bishop Causee are most likely, with it did cross my mind today that Hugo Martinez also seems a likely choice. Elder Dube is the African general authority that seems to fit past patterns the most. However past patterns are hard to really read well when there have been barely 100 apostles and most were not general authorities previously. We are really trying to deduce patterns from the less than 36 called since 1970, and assuming Elders Nelson, Oaks and Bednar are outliers.

If we do not assume outliers though, Brother Callister, Kevin J. Worth en and John S. Tanner might be as likely as anyone Saud before.

I actually think Joseph W. Sitati is a possibility. Alfred Kyungu may also be more likely than some think. He has only been a general authority seventy for 2.5 years,but he was an area seventy, I think actually twice. When called as a general authority he was the area seventy at that time who had been an area seventy earliest. Elder Kyungu is also 57, while Elder Mutombo is 47. The last apostle called under age 50 was President Packer in 1970. He was 46.

Elder Kyungu was the founding president of the Mbuji-Mayi mission in 2016. Today there are 2 temples planned for that mission. He was also president of one of the Kinshasa missions for a time. Maybe 3 months.

Elder Kyungu is a native of Kamina. He joined the church in Lubumbashi where he went to university. He mainly lived in Kinshasa though. So he knows DR Congo all across, and almost certainly knows Swahili, as well as French, and quite possibly a fee other languages. He has served in the Africa West Area Presidency for about 2 years.

I am just glad I have no actual position to imout on who the next apostle will be.

John Pack Lambert said...

To be fair at one time 2 of Joseph F. Smith's sons were in the 12, plus there was also John Henry Smith and George Albert Smith, so at least 5 of the 15 were from the Smith family in 1910 when Joseph Fielding Smith was called to the 12.

I would also say that including Bruce R. McConkie in this group really does seem like trying to establish a pattern. If we wanted to shoehorn more people earlier into the Smith family we could.

For example Heber J. Grant was actually be sealing a son of Joseph Smith.

Henry B. Eyring's uncle's uncle's uncle is Joseph Smith. I know this is a bit off, but it us true. His uncle is Spencer W. Kimball, married to his Dad's older sister Camilla. Spencer W. Kimball's father's twin sister Anelua was a wife of Joseph F. Smith who was a nephew of Joseph Smith.

Elder Palmer might actually be a likely person to call as an apostle.

We shall see when thry do so, which will most likely be in April.

James G. Stokes said...

JPL, looking at what happened 50 years ago may lead to faulty analysis. The Church today isn't what it was then. And both Presidents Hinckley and Nelson have emphasized the importance of having seasoned leaders.

Looking at the last 5 apostles, called, or even those called by Presidents Monson and Nelson would appear to be more pertinent indicators of what we might see. That's my reasoning for the targeted parameters I mentioned.

That being said, I too am glad the Lord governs the process and that it's the prophet's prerogative to make that call. President Nelson has been a prophet who acts sooner than later when he feels prompted to do so. That's why I don't think they'll wait until April to fill the vacancy.

Chris D. said...

Matt, once again I want to thank you for yesterday's update on your side bar list of church units.

Specifically, with regard to the newly created "Maxixe Mozambique District". I saw it yesterday but was waiting to see if anyone else noticed the change and commented. But the current frame of mind for most is the possibilities of next Apostle called.

Roberts said...

Pascal Friedman said: ". . . and Leer? Definitely a nice list. I am aware of several other branches that are quite close to becoming wards as well, including Aachen and Offenbach just in my personal sphere."

Leer tried to get Oldenburg branch to attend there for a few months in 1996 to put them over the line and be made a ward. Oldenburg declined. :)

My wife and I were in the Offenbach branch back in 2009. About ten people, and one child. A member was there from the strong Freiburg ward voluntarily, to try to help out (not assigned to the branch).

It's actually heart-breaking to see how many viable branches were closed over the last 30 years in northern Germany in favor of consolidating into "centers of strength." I think, personally, where there are strong, viable branches, it's better to nurture them so there is more of a "footprint" and presence in areas, but I know the Church has felt for a long time that it's best to consolidate into "centers of strength" so that there are larger congregations and more youth/children.

Jim Anderson said...

Off topic for a moment, but I saw some driving videos of the Queen Creek area and they have likely 60k people in an area larger than Provo/Orem with maybe half of the area north of that tacked on, anticipating a future population in excess of 300k, Take any major road and you are likely to see a meetinghouse, I saw three in one 40+ minute video, all very new.

San Tan Vakkey is larger, 100k stated by a Pinal County supervisor. But not yet its own city, there are political things going on about that, but that also could be that populated if not more so, and I have not found as much video material, I do know they need more meetinhouses to start, as Elder Rasband called a special multistake conference when he went to Queen Creek to see his granddaughter off for her mission and the sacranebt neeting she would speak in.

Whet he did was before the multistake meeting he went to two other buildings and made brief remarks to each before going back to the one hosting the broadcast to the other two. He later said words to this effect: 'I can see you need more meetinghouses here, I will take this back to Salt Lake and talk to {that department} about the need.

A temple for the two cities may not be that far off given all this, after announcement it usually takes up to four years for atemple to be planned, get approvals, then built if it is going to be large and I think this one could be large as there will be that need when completed. I heard that it might be the SR-24/Ironwood property rumored since before 2018 but the bulk of the population will be 10/20 miles south of that, so it might be as far down as the Queen Creek city limit.

From my perch for 3 nights in August to the west of the big hill that is by Hunt Highway to the Gilbert Temple it is 35 minutes to Gilbert in present day good traffic. There will be more traffic before long and more stoplights (no freeway for maybe 20 years although one is in early concept stages).

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Ohhappydane33 said...
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Unknown said...

My temple prediction track record is mediocre, so it is probably foolish of me to even attempt to predict the next apostle, but I'll be a little foolhardy and give it my best guess: I think the most likely are Elder Carlos Godoy, Elder Mark Palmer, Bishop Gerald Causse, Elder Eduardo Gavarret, and Elder Anthony Perkins.


Pascal Friedmann said...

Offenburg and Offenbach are two different cities. Offenburg hasn't had a branch in quite some time since it was consolidated with Lahr. I believe it's a decent-sized branch now but Miro might know more since it is in his stake. Offenbach is on the south side of Frankfurt and that branch may, in terms of attendance, be one of the largest in Germany. Their building is also bigger than those of many wards. Offenbach itself is a dump (sorry for the explicit language) but some of the towns in the branch are quite nice, especially out towards Aschaffenburg, and housing is cheaper than here on the north side of Frankfurt. So all things considered, the growth outlook is moderate but it is certainly among the most likely branches in the country to become a ward next.

Сњешко said...

While Elder Corbitt was speaking last April, I felt like he may be an apostle one day. So if I had to guess, I would guess he would be, but if he isn't this time, there is always a chance he may be in the future

James G. Stokes said...

Felix, regarding Elder Perkins, although he is 63, he mentioned when he spoke in the October 2021 General Conference that he was battling cancer and would probably depart mortality sooner than he expects to. With his prognosis in mind, I don't think the Church would call him if they'd have to replace him when he does pass away. I think we will also see other flavors in the mix before a second Brazilian/Soth American apostle is called, so I'm not sure either Elder Godoy or Elder Gavarret would be called either. Bishop Causer would be a solid choice, as would Elder Palmer. Just my thoughts on your thoughts.

James G. Stokes said...

Elder Corbitt would be an excellent choice. I'd like to see either him or Elder Peter M. Johnson as the first African American apostle. The fact that Elder Corbitt served in the Young Men General Presidency before serving as a GA Seventy (during which time he helped organize the 2018 "Be One" Celebration) definitely makes him a seasoned leader. But would he be called as an apostle one year or less after becoming a GA Seventy? That's a tough question to answer.

miro said...

Offenburg was relocated to Lahr a few years ago when some parts of the Freiburg ward were moved to it to strenghten the branch. Many of the of the reasigned members live in or around Emmendingen far away from Offenburg. Lahr was chosen as a more central location. Now they have around 50 active members, but still some memers from the Freiburg ward are called to go to Lahr. Offenbach was a ward between 1976 and 1981.

Eduardo said...

This is a facetious but yet perhaps insightful remark:

Part of the problem of the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ was that the method of replacement of the Quorum of the Twelve, let alone the First Presidency, never occurred very methodically nor properly. The central command and control, it would seem, was doomed to fail in some ways. However, many Apostolic Bishops (see "Reformation" by Durrand, or someone like him) continued to expand and endure with the faith of Jesus, but much like our missionary analogies, many parts of a mirror that broke off and were impossible to re-connect correctly.

Here we are 2,000 years later, and many of us are grateful that the Lord's priesthoods are behaving and moving in the right order. The Restoration is doing its thing.

Great to see it working, day in, day out.

Question for Church geographers:

How many islands with over 5,000 people have no presence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Could this be in the thousands? It makes me think of U.S. islands, many on the coast, that could qualify as such.

John Pack Lambert said...

It is true that Elder Corbitt was involved with the preparation for the "Be One" celebration. This was not at all related to his position in the general young men presidency. He was not called to the general young men presidency until 2020. Elder Corbitt's connection with the Be One celebration seems to have been connected with his work for the missionary department.

He was actually a speaker in the June 2008 celebration of the Revelation on the priesthood. At the time he was president of the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake and director of the Church's public and governmental relations office in New York.

Since I once predicted that Elder Gong would not become an apostle I consider myself to have the worst possible record on this matter.

Unknown said...

@James G. Stokes, I forgot that Elder Perkins said he had cancer. You are right, that does make him less likely. I don't think the fact that Elder Soares is from Brazil makes another apostle from South America less (or more) likely.


James G. Stokes said...

JPL, you are correct about Elder Corbitt. He was called to the Young Men General Presidency in 2020. I had forgotten he was involved in the 2008 commemoration as well. Thanks for the reminder and correction.

James G. Stokes said...

Felix, I don't think so either. But my point was I don't think they'd call two Latin American apostles in a row. There are "other flavors in the mix" I'd expect before the next Latin-American apostle is called. And I know the Lord doesn't call new apostles to represent the regions from which they are called, but to represent the Lord to the people. But I also know there may be some discontent among some Saints who feel their background is not represented in the top councils. There shouldn't be, but there is. And there will be some that find fault with any pick. Unfortunately it goes with the territory. I'm just glad the Lord governs the process.

John Pack Lambert said...

I would not at all be surprised if the next apostle is Latin American. I would more expect him to be a native speaker of Spanish, as opposed to another native speaker of Portuguese. Although I would not be shocked if another native speaker of Portuguese is called. I have my own prediction on this matter, but I have been wrong before on these things, so I will wait and see. OK, my top prediction is Elder Hugo Montoya, however Hugo Martinez would not surprise me, nor would Elder Joaquin Costa, of a few others.

I am pretty sure that we would have to go back to the 19th-century to find an apostle who was not at all raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but was clearly an adult convert. I know President Nelson was baptized in his teens, and President Hunter may have been baptized at 12, but in both cases at least one parent was a member. Elder Uchtdorf's family joined when he was about 5 or 6.

It is possible that the next apostle called will be someone who is an adult convert, but that is not for certain.

Breckenfeld said...

An possible apostle, an adult converter: Elder Kearon.

Breckenfeld said...

I MEANT, a possible apostle, an adult convert.