Saturday, May 19, 2018

Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac - NEW EDITION IN PROGRESS

At cumorah.com, David Stewart and I have just begun to update our country profiles contained in our reference work, Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac: 2014 Edition. These profiles are available on cumorah.com although information for most country entries are approximately 6-7 years old. It is our goal to update these profiles approximately every 5-6 years. Given the amount of work needed to update the previous edition, we are currently unsure whether the new edition will be officially titled the 2019 or 2020 edition. Check out our updated profile for Bosnia and Herzegovina we posted earlier today. We will be posting updated profiles regularly, hopefully as often as a weekly or daily basis for the next 1-2 years.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

New Stake in French Polynesia

The Church organized a new stake in French Polynesia on April 29th. The Bora Bora Tahiti Stake was organized from a division of the Raromatai Tahiti Stake and the Punaauia Tahiti Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Anau, Cumorah, Faanui, Maupiti, and Vaitape Wards, and the Haamene and Hipu Branches. All but one of the congregations (Faanui) are designated as Tahitian-speaking. The new Bora Bora Tahiti Stake includes LDS congregations on three islands: Bora-Bora (3), Tahaa (3), and Maupiti (1). The creation of the new stake in Bora Bora comes after many years of preparation by mission and stake leaders according to reports from full-time missionaries. More information about the creation of the new stake can be found here.

There are now 10 stakes and 3 districts in French Polynesia, whereas there were only 6 stakes and 3 districts in 2010. The Church has experienced a significant increase in membership growth, congregational growth, and stake growth during the past 5-6 years. For more information, click here.

Monday, April 30, 2018

April 2018 Newsletter

Click here to access the April 2018 newsletter for cumorah.com detailing recent church growth developments.

We are also in the process of updating country LDS statistical profiles on cumorah.com. So far, most countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, and Oceania have been updated with 2017 numbers. Click here to access the database for LDS statistical profiles, almanac country entries, and the LDS International Atlas.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Percent LDS by Country - 2017

Below is a list of all of the countries and dependencies/territories of the world with the percentage of Latter-day Saints in each location as of 2017. Countries with an asterisk indicate that LDS membership figures are estimated due to no official LDS membership data released to the public. Previous data are available for 2008 and 2016. Population figures were obtained from the CIA World Factbook for all locations except of overseas departments of France. Population data for French overseas collectivities/departments was accessed via http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/OA or the most recent government source.

Click on the tables to view these data more clearly in your browser. I have obtained additional year-end 2017 membership data for several countries previously not published by the Church on the Mormon Newsroom website, such as for Bahrain, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Gabon, Kosovo, Kuwait, Macedonia (FYROM), Oman, Qatar, Senegal, and Vietnam.

ASIA

CARIBBEAN


EUROPE


MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA


NORTH AMERICA


OCEANIA


SOUTH AMERICA

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA



Thursday, April 12, 2018

UPDATED: List of the Countries with the Most Members without a Stake - 2018 Edition

Below is an updated list of the countries with the most Latter-day Saints without a stake. Membership totals are as of 2017 and congregational and district totals are current. Estimated membership for mainland China and Pakistan is provided as official statistics are unavailable. The number of branches and districts in mainland China is not provided due to the sensitive nature of the Church in that country. Previous lists of the countries with the most members without a stake can be found here.

  1. China - 11,500 members?
  2. Malaysia - 10,224 members - 32 branches - 6 districts
  3. Guyana - 5,840 members - 11 branches - 2 districts
  4. Belize - 5,374 members - 12 branches - 2 districts
  5. Pakistan - 4,400 members? - 14 branches - 3 districts
  6. Armenia - 3,570 members - 11 branches - 1 district
  7. Romania - 3,052 members - 15 branches - 2 districts
  8. Malawi - 2,745 members - 8 branches - 2 districts
  9. Angola - 2,458 members - 14 branches - 2 districts
  10. Bulgaria - 2,418 members - 9 branches - 0 districts
  11. Swaziland - 1,994 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  12. Poland - 1,983 members - 12 branches - 3 districts
  13. Cameroon - 1,943 members - 13 branches - 2 districts
  14. Ethiopia - 1,923 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  15. Cook Islands - 1,843 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  16. Tanzania - 1,642 members - 6 branches - 1 district
  17. Suriname - 1,578 members - 5 branches - 1 district
  18. Sri Lanka - 1,511 members - 4 branches - 1 district
  19. Macau - 1,449 members - 3 branches - 1 district
Prospects appear most favorable for the formation of stakes within the next few years in mainland China, Malaysia, Guyana, Belize, Pakistan, Swaziland, Angola, and Cameroon as all of these countries have at least one district that is close to reaching the minimum qualifications for a stake to operate.  Low member activity rates, an insufficient number of branches in individual member districts, slow or stagnant LDS growth, and few full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders will likely continue to delay the organization of stakes in other countries for several more years to come

UPDATED: The 10 Countries/Dependencies with the Most Members without a Temple Announced, Under Construction, or in Operation

I have updated the list of the countries and dependencies with the most members without a temple with year-end 2017 membership totals. Temples that service stakes, districts, and mission branches in each country are identified. Previous lists are also available for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, mid-2011, late 2008, and late 2007.

1. Papua New Guinea
  • 27,163 members
  • 2 stakes, 12 districts
  • 80 congregations
  • Sydney Australia Temple
2. Puerto Rico
  • 23,234 members
  • 5 stakes, 0 districts
  • 41 congregations
  • Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
3. Kiribati
  • 19,690 members
  • 2 stakes, 2 districts
  • 31 congregations
  • Suva Fiji Temple, Laie Hawaii Temple
4. Sierra Leone
  • 19,443 members
  • 5 stakes, 4 districts
  • 67 congregations
  • Accra Ghana Temple
5. American Samoa
  • 16,339 members
  • 5 stakes
  • 42 congregations
  • Apia Samoa Temple
6. Uganda
  • 15,979 members
  • 3 stakes, 0 districts
  • 31 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple
7. Cambodia
  • 14,256 members
  • 2 stakes, 4 districts
  • 29 congregations
  • Hong Kong China Temple
8. Cape Verde
  • 14,205 members
  • 3 stakes, 2 districts
  • 42 congregations
  • Madrid Spain Temple
9. Liberia
  • 12,157 members
  • 4 stakes, 0 districts
  • 37 congregations 
  • Accra Ghana Temple
10. Madagascar
  • 11,881 members
  • 2 stakes, 3 districts
  • 40 congregations
  • Johannesburg South Africa Temple

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Congregational Growth by Country: 2017

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2017. The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches for each country is also provided:

  1. Nigeria +101 (20.2% increase)
  2. Brazil +34 (1.7% increase)
  3. Cote d'Ivoire +28 (15.4% increase) 
  4. Ghana +26 (9.4% increase)
  5. Democratic Republic of the Congo +12 (7.1% increase)
  6. Sierra Leone +12 (21.8% increase) 
  7. Guatemala +10 (2.3% increase) 
  8. Bolivia +7 (2.8% increase)
  9. Philippines +7 (0.6% increase)
  10. South Africa +6 (3.4% increase)
  11. Vietnam +6 (150% increase) 
  12. Costa Rica +5 (6.7% increase)
  13. Liberia +5 (16.7% increase)
  14. Papua New Guinea +4 (5.3% increase)
  15. Samoa +4 (2.6% increase)
  16. Zimbabwe +4 (5.3% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 17 countries totals 271; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2017 (202). Ten countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2017.
  1. Mexico -29 (1.4% decrease) 
  2. South Korea -12 (10.0% decrease) 
  3. Netherlands -7 (21.2% decrease) 
  4. United Kingdom -6 (1.8% decrease)
  5. Colombia -6 (2.3% decrease)
  6. Argentina -6 (0.8% decrease)
  7. Germany -5 (3.0% decrease)
  8. Belgium -5 (31.3% decrease)
  9. Portugal -4 (5.6% decrease)
  10. Japan  -4 (1.5% decrease)
Previous lists for annual congregational growth by country are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

Country-by-Country Membership Statistics Released for 2017

The Church has released 2017 membership and congregation totals for most nations with a reported LDS presence. These statistics can be accessed on Church's official website at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics. However, the international site has had some bugs in it and the data continues to revert back to 2016 when I search various countries. Country-specific Mormon Newsroom sites do not appear to have this issue, such as the Kenya Mormon Newsroom site which I used to obtain year-end 2017 country-by-country data.

Countries with the highest annual membership growth rates in 2017 (10% or greater) are listed below. Lists for nations with the most rapid membership growth rates are also available for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The percentage next to the country name is the annual growth rate percentage, which is followed by the country's LDS membership at year-end 2017. Countries in bold experienced an annual membership increase greater than 200 during 2017. 

  1. Rwanda - 52.8% - 596
  2. Cameroon - 19.3% - 1,943
  3. Benin - 17.7% - 3,105
  4. Angola - 15.8% - 2,458
  5. Solomon Islands - 15.4% - 1,099
  6. Mozambique - 15.2% - 10,835
  7. Burundi - 14.6% - 692
  8. Tuvalu - 12.2% - 257
  9. Israel - 11.6% - 288
  10. Vanuatu - 11.1% - 8,786
  11. Cote d'Ivoire - 10.9% - 43,895
  12. Malawi - 10.4% - 2,745
  13. Sierra Leone - 10.0% - 19,443
Below is a list of the top ten countries by numerical membership increase for the year 2017. Each country is provided with the numerical national increase in membership. Additionally, the percentage of total church membership increase is provided for each country. Lists are also available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. 68.8% of the 2017 net increase in LDS membership can be attributed to the following 10 nations - the lowest it has been in at least 10 years. 
  1. United States - 49,691 - 21.1%
  2. Brazil - 29,672 - 12.6%
  3. Philippines - 19,434 - 8.2%
  4. Mexico - 18,372 - 7.8%
  5. Peru - 11,595 - 4.9%
  6. Nigeria - 10,842 - 4.6%
  7. Argentina - 7,201 - 3.1%
  8. Ghana - 5,530 - 2.1%
  9. Guatemala - 4,979 - 2.1%
  10. DR Congo - 4,845 - 2.1%
Here are a few observations with these country-by-country membership growth numbers:
  • The Church continues to report decelerating membership growth rates in several countries that support the largest church memberships. For example, the Church reported a significant slowdown in membership growth in the United States during 2017 as church membership increased by only 0.75% - the lowest annual membership growth rate for the Church in the United States in perhaps as long as a century. The Church in Mexico also reported the slowest membership growth in 35 years of a mere 1.30% during 2017. As a result, membership growth in these countries has contributed less and less to world membership growth rates. Moreover, growth rates in these countries strongly affect world membership growth rates. For example, LDS membership in the six countries with the most members (the United States, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Chile, and Peru) constitutes 71% of total church membership worldwide. Thus, even small changes in growth rates in these six nations significantly influence world membership growth rates. Lack of member-missionary participation, ineffective proselytism approaches, and the increasing influence of secularism on society appear primarily responsible for these trends.
  • Most countries in most regions of the world, except Sub-Saharan Africa, experienced slow membership growth (less than 3.0%) during 2017. Of the 157 countries/territories with year-end 2017 membership reported by the Church on the Mormon Newsroom website, 99 reported annual membership growth rates of less than 3.0% during 2017.
  • Not all countries with the most members reported slowing LDS membership growth in 2017. Annual membership growth rates slightly increased from 2016 to 2017 in several nations with large church memberships such as the Philippines (2.4% versus 2.6%), Peru (1.8% versus 2.0%), and Brazil (2.1% versus 2.2%). 
  • The most rapid membership growth continues to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 13 countries with the most rapid membership growth in 2017, nine are located in Africa and three are located in Oceania.
  • The Church in Rwanda has experienced significant membership growth. Within five years, the Church in Rwanda has grown from 121 members to 596 members. Also, the vast majority of these members, perhaps as high as 80%, regularly attend church based upon recent reports I have received from mission leadership and missionaries in the country.
  • After a four-year period of approximately 20% annual membership growth in Cote d'Ivoire, membership growth rates decreased to 10.9% in 2017. There has not appeared to have been any significant development to cause this slowdown in growth, but rather this may be better accounted by perhaps a slower-than-average year. There has not appeared to have been any indication that receptivity among the Ivorian population has waned. For example, missionaries in the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission recently reported that the mission is poised to baptize 2,000 converts within just the first five months of 2018. 
  • A net decrease in church membership occurred in 25 countries during 2017. Most of these countries are located in Europe or the Caribbean, have fewer than 1,000 members, and reported a net membership decrease of less than five percent during the year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Changes and Announcements during President Nelson's Presidency

President Nelson has made an unusually large number of announcements and changes since he became President of the Church. See below for a list of announcements or changes that are significant or alter previous policies, traditions, or organizational structure in the Church:
Some themes I have noticed with these changes/announcements include:
  • Emphasis on the internationalization of the Church
  • Redistribution of church resources from less productive areas for growth to more productive areas for growth
  • Simplification of organizational structure
  • Efforts to revitalize and strengthen a sense of community in the Church
  • Methods to reverse slowing LDS growth trends while conserving resources
I predict that we will see more announcements and changes in the coming months, especially given that the frequency of these announcements/changes has shown no recent signs of slowing down. See below for some potential changes/announcements that I believe are likely. These predictions are solely based on my own opinion and analysis of the data, and were not obtained from any unauthorized sources. I take full responsibility for these predictions.
  • Revision of the Church Handbook of Instructions (both volumes)
  • Change to the missionary program in regards to the missionary lessons, proselytism tactics, prebaptismal preparation, and post-baptismal fellowship
  • Change in the structure of the missionary program organization to help reconcile disconnect between mission leadership and local leadership
  • Women playing more of an administrative role in the Church outside of the Relief Society, Young Women's, and Primary organizations such as in regards to missionary work and temple/family history work
  • Additional temple announcements
  • Continued redistribution of mission resources from the global north to the global south (i.e. additional mission closures and new missions being created)
  • Expansion of the LDS canon to include official proclamations
  • Revision of the LDS hymnal

Sunday, April 8, 2018

CORRECTION: Missionaries Assigned to Senegal; Senegal, Mali, and Guinea Update

I wanted to correct an inaccurate post from last February regarding the assignment of full-time missionaries to Senegal. Church leaders confirmed that the first young, proselytizing missionaries were assigned to Senegal within the past week from the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission. Furthermore, the Dakar Branch was divided today to organize a second branch in Dakar called the Parcelles Branch which appears to meet in the Parcelles neighborhood of Dakar. Please refer to my previous post from last February regarding additional information about the Church in Senegal.

The Church also continues to experience progress in other West African countries where an LDS presence was recently established. As noted last February, the first convert baptisms occurred in February in Mali. Local members are optimistic that full-time missionaries from the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission will soon be assigned to serve in Mali within the near future pending government approval. I have not received any new information regarding the status of assigning full-time missionaries to Guinea where the first branch was organized last year. However, the Conakry Branch had 30 members at year-end 2017. Local members reported that there were 23 adults who attended church meetings at the time and that there were seven investigators.