Monday, January 8, 2018

New Mission to be Created this July in the Philippines

Missionaries serving in the Philippines Angeles Mission report that the mission will divide this July to create the new Philippines Cabanatuan Mission. The Philippines Angeles Mission was originally called the Philippine Cabanuatuan when it was organized in 1992 until the mission relocated to Angeles and was renamed the Philippines Angeles Mission in 1999. The decision to organize a new mission in this region of Luzon may indicate plans for the Church to more thoroughly saturate this area with missionaries, especially considering Angeles City and Pampanga report some of the lowest percentages of Latter-day Saints in the general population among the major administrative divisions of Luzon according to 2015 census numbers. Once the new mission is organized, there will be 22 missions in the Philippines.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 2017 Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access our December edition of our monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.

Top Ten Most Encouraging and Top Ten Most Discouraging LDS Growth Developments in 2017

Click here to read about the top ten most encouraging and top ten most discouraging LDS growth developments of 2017 according to our research at The Cumorah Foundation. Reader feedback would be appreciated.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Historical Growth Milestone Reached in Nigeria - Net Increase of 100+ Wards/Branches in One Year, 600+ Congregations in Nigeria

The Church in Nigeria organized its 100th new ward/branch for the year 2017 on December 10th. Additionally, this milestone coincided with the Church in Nigeria reaching 600 official congregations (i.e. wards and branches) for the first time - only one year after the Church reached the 500 wards/branches milestone in December 2016. Information on previous congregational milestones in Nigeria can be found here. Prior to 2017, the largest increase in the number of wards/branches in Nigeria occurred in 2016 when there was a net increase of 46 wards/branches. Of the 101 new official congregations organized in Nigeria thus far in 2017, only 28 are wards. Nigerian states where new wards/branches have been organized in 2017 include Rivers (20), Edo (14), Akwa Ibom (11), Delta (9), Abia (8), Cross River (7), Abuja [Federal Capital Territory] (5), Ebonyi (5), Ondo (5), Benue (4), Imo (3), Lagos (3), Oyo (3), Plateau (3), and Anambra (1). Thus far in 2017, the number of congregations has increased by slightly more than 20%.

There are three main mechanisms that are driving this recent surge in new ward/branch creations in Nigeria. The first mechanism has been the organization of new branches in cities, towns, or villages where no previous LDS presence operated. These congregations generally have very few members on the records and only recently met the minimal number of active members and priesthood holders to be organized into branches. Accelerated congregational growth in these situations reflects national outreach expansion rather than increases in the number of active members warranting the division and creation of new units. The second mechanism for congregational growth in 2017 has been the division of wards/branches due to increasing numbers of active members. This has been the traditional method the Church has employed to organize new congregations, and appears to have been primarily responsible for the creation of most new wards organized during 2017 as wards require more active and nominal members to operate than branches.

The third and most significant mechanism that has driven accelerated congregational growth in Nigeria in 2017 has been the implementation of a "church planting" approach to growth. More specifically, in this approach stake and mission leaders emphasize the organization of small congregations that assemble closer to the homes of members and populations targeted for proselytism in order to spur greater growth. This tactic of "planting" smaller branches in lesser-reached urban areas has seen tremendous success in West Africa as a whole almost wherever it has been implemented because it improves the accessibility of the Church to the general population. Rapid growth has been achieved in certain West African cities where this tactic has been implemented such as in Daloa, Cote d'Ivoire; Cotonou, Benin; and Kumasi, Ghana. The Church in 2017 has most widely implemented this tactic in Benin City, Edo State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Stake leaders in Benin City recently reported that initial efforts to organize branches in lesser-reached urban areas in 2015 and 2016 has not only helped to improve activity rates and member participation for members who live within the boundaries of these new units, but has also drawn larger numbers of converts. Nevertheless, the Church in Nigeria has not reported accelerated membership growth during the past few years based upon the most recent statistics available. For example, LDS membership in Nigeria increased by 7.7% in 2016, 9.3% in 2015, and 10.0% in 2014. Thus, LDS congregational growth rates in 2017 may be between one-third and one-half of membership growth rates for 2017 given recent historical averages. There were 152,903 members in Nigeria as of year-end 2016.

See below for a list of all 101 new wards/branches organized in Nigeria thus far in 2017. You can access maps for LDS congregations and other church growth-related topics here:

Abiriba Branch
Adeyemi College Road 2nd Branch
Adonte 2nd Branch
Afaha Ward
Agho Branch
Akpabuyo Branch
Akpaju Branch
Akugbe Branch
Akure 3rd Branch
Akure 4th Branch
Aladja Branch
Amamong Branch
Amapu 2nd Ward
Amasiri Branch
Amayam Ward
Amufi Ward
Anantigha Ward
Asaga Ohafia 2nd Branch
Ayeabam Branch
Azuabie Ward
Bassa Branch
Bie-Ama Branch
Big Qua Town Ward
Bukuru Branch
Byazhin Ward
Choba 2nd Ward
DLine Branch
Dopemu Ward
Ediba Ward
Edobor Branch
Ekae Ward
Elekahia Ward
Enechi Akuma Branch
Erediauwa Branch
Eziala Branch
Farin Gada Branch 
Gwagwalada Branch
Idogbo Branch
Ikot Essien Etok Ward
Ikot Nkan Branch
Ikot Udoabia Branch
Ikpe Ward
Imota Branch
Isah 2nd Branch
Isiama Branch
Itim Branch
Jakande Ward
Location Branch
Lokogoma Ward
Madalla Branch
Makurdi 2nd Branch
Makurdi 3rd Branch
Mayne Avenue Ward
Mgbuoba Ward
Ndon Utim Ward
Nkwagu Branch
Nsukwa 2nd Branch
Nyanghasang Ward
Oboama 2nd Branch
Ogbomosho Branch
Ogbuebule Oboro Branch
Oghogho Branch
Ogidi Branch
Oguola Branch
Ogwashi-Uku 4th Branch
Ogwashi-Uku 5th Branch
Ogwashi-Uku 6th Branch
Oke Itunu Branch
Okocha Ward
Old GRA Road Ward
Olodo Branch
Olokoro Branch
Ondo 2nd Branch
Onne Branch
Orogbum Ward
Osisioma 3rd Branch
Ossissa Branch
Otukpo 2nd Branch
Otukpo 3rd Branch
Ovbiogie Branch
Ovwian 2nd Ward
Owoseni Ward
Ozizza Branch
Ozuola Branch
Pere-Ama Branch
River-Rine Branch
Rumuepirikom Ward
Rumuokwurushi Ward
Rumuola Branch
Rumuwoji Branch
Sabongari Branch
Sogho Branch
Ugbor 2nd Branch
Ugep 2nd Branch
Umuahia 4th Branch
Umuosu Ubakala Branch
Upper Owina Branch
Uya Oro Branch
Uyo Road Branch
Woji 2nd Branch
Yaba 2nd Branch 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

10-Year Anniversary of ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com!

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the creation of ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com. I originally founded the blog to help organize my thoughts and to provide accurate information for people who wanted to learn more about the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The creation and maintenance of this blog has been a significant source of motivation and excitement for me regarding this subject. This blog has helped to develop my interest in LDS Church growth and missionary work in a manner that perhaps no other medium could have provided. I have appreciated the thousands of comments provided by readers over the past decade. There have been posts on a variety of news updates or topics such as new temple announcements, the creation of new stakes, the opening of additional countries to proselytism, analysis of LDS growth trends, and so on. There have been a total of 1,091 published posts and 2.6 million page views since July 2010 (first month these were tracked by Blogger). Since I started this blog, I have been interviewed by many reporters and media outlets in several countries regarding many of the developments I have posted. Furthermore, I have also worked for The Cumorah Foundation since 2009 developing original resources that examine the growth of the Church and the effectiveness of the missionary program.

Some of my favorite stories or topics I have posted on over the past 10 years include the following:
  • Future temple and mission announcements/speculation
  • Analysis of annual LDS statistical reports and country-by-country data
  • Publication of findings from returned missionary and member survey data (5,670 responses since 2012!)
  • Lists of countries with the most members without a stake or without a temple
  • Translations of LDS scriptures and materials into additional languages 
  • The reduction in the minimal age for missionary service and the creation of 58 new missions in a single year
  • Accelerating stake growth in the 2010s
  • The recent rapid growth of the Church in West Africa
  • The expansion of the Church into previously unreached countries (e.g. former Yugoslavia, Burundi, Rwanda, Gabon, Senegal, Guinea, Mali)
  • Examination of missed opportunities for growth
  • Discussion of problematic and ineffective proselytism and growth strategies in the LDS missionary program
  • Analysis of member activity and convert retention challenges
  • Use of social media for proselytism
  • The relationship (or lack thereof) between internet usage and LDS growth 
  • Identification of variables that foster or deter growth 
  • Debunking myths of rapid worldwide LDS growth
  • Debunking claims of worldwide LDS growth stagnation or decline
  • LDS developments in sensitive countries
  • Discussion regarding the number of excommunicated and resigned members
  • Resource development for cumorah.com.
I hope that this site has been useful for others who have sought accurate and current information about the growth of the LDS Church around the world. Ideas for additional improvement or topics of analysis are welcome! I also would like to hear about what stories and posts you have particularly enjoyed or found useful. I look forward to the next 10 years of updates and analysis on ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Stakes Likely to Split Outside the United States and Canada - December 2017 Edition

Below is an updated list of stakes that may split within the near future. Previous lists are available for December 2012, January 2014, December 2014, November 2015, and November 2016.

AFRICA
  • Aba Nigeria North (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Aba Nigeria Ogbor Hill (10 wards, 5 branches) 
  • Abeokuta Nigeria (10 wards, 5 branches) 
  • Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon South (10 wards)
  • Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Yopougon Attie (10 wards)
  • Accra Ghana Adenta (11 wards, 5 branches)
  • Ashaiman Ghana (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Assin Foso Ghana (9 wards, 8 branches)
  • Benin City Nigeria Ihogbe (10 wards, 4 branches) 
  • Benin City Nigeria Ugbowo (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Cocody Cote d'Ivoire (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Ibadan Nigeria (11 wards, 2 branches) 
  • Ikot Ekpene Nigeria (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Kimbanseke (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Masina (11 wards, 1 branch) 
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Mokali (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Ngaliema (10 wards, 1 branch) 
  • Lagos Nigeria Agege (10 wards)
  • Lagos Nigeria Ikeja (10 wards, 1 branch) 
  • Port-Bouet Cote d'Ivoire (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Port Harcourt Nigeria West (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • Warri Nigeria (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Ukat Aran Nigeria  (11 wards, 1 branch)
  • Winneba Ghana (8 wards, 7 branches)
  • Yamoransa Ghana (9 wards, 5 branches)
ASIA
  • Jakarta Indonesia (9 wards, 1 branch)
  • Butuan Philippines (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • Hsin Chu Taiwan (10 wards)
  • Iloilo Philippines North (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • Lipa Philippines (10 wards, 2 branches)
  • Mandaue Philippines (9 wards, 1 branch)
  • Singapore (10 wards)
  • Tao Yuan Taiwan (9 wards)
CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
  • Coatzacoalcos Mexico Puerto (13 wards, 1 branch)
  • Managua Nicaragua (9 wards, 1 branch)
  • Mazatenango Guatemala (11 wards, 1 branch) 
OCEANIA
  • Faaa Tahiti (10 wards)
  • Ha'apai Tonga (9 wards, 5 branches) 
  • Punaauia Tahiti (11 wards)
  • Upolu Samoa Saleilua (9 wards, 2 branches)
SOUTH AMERICA
  • Belém Brazil (9 wards)
  • Belém Brazil Icoaraci (9 wards)
  • Buenos Aires Argentina Castelar (10 wards)
  • Fortaleza Brazil (9 wards)
  • Fortaleza Brazil Bom Jardim (9 wards)
  • Joao Pessoa Brazil Rangel (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • Lima Peru Canto Grande (10 wards) 
  • Lima Perú Santa Isabel (9 wards)
  • Rio Branco Brazil (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • Santa Maria Brazil (10 wards, 1 branch)
  • São José Brazil (9 wards, 1 branch)
  • São José dos Campos Brazil (10 wards)
  • São Paulo Brazil Casa Grande (9 wards)
  • São Paulo Brazil Guarapiranga (10 wards)
  • São Paulo Brazil Penha (10 wards) 

New Stakes Created in El Salvador Ghana, Nigeria, and Utah; New Districts Created in South Africa and Zimbabwe

El Salvador
The Church organized a new stake in western El Salvador on December 10th. The Santa Ana El Salvador Los Pinos Stake was organized from a division of the Santa Ana El Salvador Molino Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the El Centro, Los Pinos, Metapan, Río Zarco, and Santa Ana Norte Wards, and the Tecana and Texistepeque Branches. The new stake is the Church's fourth stake to be organized in the city of Santa Ana.

There are now 22 stakes in El Salvador.

Ghana
The Church created a new stake in central Ghana on December 10th. The Asamankese Ghana Stake was organized from the Asamankese Ghana District. Information on which of the 10 retained branches have become wards remains unavailable. Asamankese is the Church's third new stake organized in the interior region between Accra and Kumasi in 2017. Prior to 2017, only districts operated in this region of Ghana. Furthermore, the Asamankese Ghana District was previously the Church's oldest district in Ghana as it was originally organized in 1987.

There are now 21 stakes and 10 districts in Ghana.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new stake in Nigeria on December 10th in Cross River State. The Calabar Nigeria North Stake was likely organized from a division of the Calabar Nigeria Stake. Information on which congregations have been assigned to the new stake remains unavailable. The Church organized the new stake only two years after the original Calabar Nigeria Stake divided to create the Calabar Nigeria South Stake in 2015. Furthermore, the Church in the Nigeria Calabar Mission has experienced unprecedented stake growth during the past three years as the number of stakes in the mission increased from six to 13. As a result, the mission appears very likely to divide in the immediate future.

There are now 45 stakes and 16 districts in Nigeria. Currently, the Church in Nigeria ties with the Church in the United Kingdom as the country with the tenth most stakes.

Utah
The Church organized a new stake in American Fork on December 10th. The American Fork Utah South Stake was organized from a division of the America Fork Utah Stake and the American Fork Utah West Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the American Fork 10th, American Fork 16th, American Fork 35th (Spanish), Harbor 1st, Harbor 2nd, Harbor 3rd, Pacific Drive 1st, and Pacific Drive 2nd Wards.

There are now 592 stakes and one districts in Utah.

South Africa
The Church in South Africa organized a new district on December 10th. The Mbombela South Africa District was organized from two mission branches in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission: the KaNyamazane and Nelspruit Branches. The new district is the Church's third new district created in South Africa in 2017, and is the third new district in South Africa organized with only two branches since 2016. It has been very unusual for the Church to organize districts with only two branches. Information from full-time missionaries indicates plans in at least one of these districts to create member groups to help spur greater growth. It is likely that additional branches will be organized in the new Mbombela South Africa District, as well as other recently organized districts.

There are now 16 stakes and nine districts in South Africa.

Zimbabwe
The Church organized a new district in Zimbabwe for the first time since 2012. The Kadoma Zimbabwe District was organized from four mission branches in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, namely the Chegutu, Kadoma 1st, Kadoma 2nd, and the Kaguvi Branches. The original Kadoma Branch was organized in 1990, whereas the Chegutu Branch and the Kadoma 2nd Branch were created in 2015. The Kaguvi Branch is located in Chegutu and was organized two weeks before the new district was created.

There are now seven stakes and three districts in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Two New Stakes in Monrovia, Liberia and the Expansion of the Church Beyond Monrovia

There are many significant growth developments from Liberia that have occurred or will soon occur.

First, the Liberia Monrovia Mission reports that two new stakes will be created in the country this coming Sunday. Both of the remaining districts in Monrovia - the Caldwell Liberia District and the Paynesville Liberia District - will become stakes in a historic conference. The mission reports that there are approximately 5,000 members in these two districts. Once the new stakes are created, there will be four stakes in Monrovia. The Church created its first stake in Monrovia back in 2000, but discontinued the stake in 2007 due to leadership challenges and member inactivity. The Church reestablished a stake in Monrovia in November 2016, called the Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island Stake. A second stake was created in April 2017 - the Liberia Monrovia Stake.

Second, with both remaining districts in Monrovia advancing into stakes, the mission has begun to look at aggressive expansion into the almost entirely untouched remainder of the country since resources have been freed from the mission that previously supported and supervised member districts in Monrovia. The Church organized branches in Harbel and Kakata back in 2007, and since this time has added only one additional branch to Kakata in 2016. No other cities have had an official LDS presence. However, there are several cities where members have moved over the years that have requested an establishment of an official LDS presence and the assignment of missionaries. I have personally had members in multiple cities in Liberia contact me asking for advice and support such as from Ganta and other areas in the interior. However, these requests have not yet been granted for the most part due to previous struggles with Ebola and political conflict over the years. Nevertheless, the Africa West Area Presidency has recently approved plans for the mission to expand into new areas outside of Monrovia now that the political situation in the country has stabilized.

Third, the mission president visited members and prospective members in Totota and Buchanan in November 2017 and organized official member groups. Over 30 attended the first sacrament meeting in Totota on November 12th and a member group was officially organized. On November 19th, the mission president met with over 40 people who attended the first sacrament meeting in Buchanan and organized an official branch. A former district president from Monrovia is among isolated members who live in Buchanan. The mission found an apartment to lease for full-time missionaries and assigned the first missionaries to serve in Buchanan at the end of November. Missionaries are anticipated to be assigned to Totota within the next month or so. The mission also reports that the area presidency has already approved the creation of official branches for both Buchanan and Totota. These branches appear likely to be created in the immediate future. The mission created an official member group in extreme southeastern Liberia in the town of Harper several months ago where 15-20 members meet for church services every Sunday. The mission set 75 chairs to Harper to help provide adequate seating for the many who have been attending church services there. However, plans to open Harper to missionary work and organize a branch may require more time due to its remote location.

Fourth, the mission also reports plans to organize two new branches in Kakata and/or Harbel, and the creation of one or two member districts. There are approximately 1,000 members who live in the two Kakata branches and the one Harbel branch. The mission has recently averaged approximately 100 convert baptisms a month for the entire country.

These developments highlight the often sudden and quiet process in which the LDS Church grows and expands. Although little progress can occur for many years or even decades, the right combination of variables can lead to sudden and surprising growth such as what has been recently observed in Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria, and currently in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Conditions in Liberia appear highly favorable for additional expansion and growth that likely keeps up with recent rapid growth that began within the past five years.

See below for a map of LDS congregations in Liberia.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Stakes Created in Bolivia (2), Tonga (2), Brazil, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Nevada, Paraguay, Sierra Leone; Stake Discontinued in Colorado

Bolivia
The Church organized two new stakes in Bolivia on November 12th in the city of Cochabamba.

The Cochabamba Bolivia Aeropuerto Stake was organized from the Cochabamba Bolivia Cobija Stake (renamed the Cochabamba Bolivia Sarco Stake) and the Cochabamba Bolivia Jaihuayco Stake (renamed the Cochabamba Bolivia Alalay Stake). The new stake includes the following five wards: the Cobija, Jaihuayco, La Chimba, Lindo, and Villa México Wards.

The Cochabamba Bolivia Blanco Galindo Stake was organized from the Cochabamba Bolivia Quillacollo Stake (renamed the Cochabamba Bolivia Los Alamos Stake) and the Cochabamba Bolivia Cobija Stake (renamed the Cochabamba Bolivia Sarco Stake). The new stake includes the following five wards: the Colcapirhua, Ingavi, Jardin, La Floresta, and Los Alamos Wards.

There are now seven stakes in Cochabamba, and 32 stakes and eight districts in Bolivia.

Tonga
The Church organized two new stakes in Tonga.

The Nuku'alofa Tonga Capital Stake was organized on November 19th from a division of the Nuku'alofa Tonga Harbour Stake and the Nuku'alofa Tonga North Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Kolomotu'a, Longolongo, Nuku'alofa 5th, Nuku'alofa 7th, and Nuku'alofa 14th Wards.

The Neiafu Vava'u Tonga Central Stake was organized on November 26th from a division of the Neiafu Vava'u Tonga Stake, Neiafu Vava'u Tonga North Stake, and the Neiafu Vava'u Tonga West Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Feletoa, Leimatu'a 1st, Leimatu'a 2nd, Mataika, Neiafu 3rd, and Neiafu 5th Wards, and the Houma Branch.

There are now 21 stakes and two districts in Tonga.

Brazil
The Church organized a new stake in Parana State, Brazil on November 26th. The Foz do Iguaçu Brazil Stake was organized from a division of the Cascavel Brazil Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Cataratas, Foz do Iguaçu, Itaipu, Portal de Foz, and Porto Meira Wards, and the Medianeira Branch.

There are now 21 stakes and two districts in Parana State. There are now 268 stakes and 40 districts in Brazil.

Costa Rica
The Church organized its eighth stake in the San Jose metropolitan area on November 19th. The Heredia Costa Rica Belén Stake was organized from a division of the Alajuela Costa Rica Stake and the Heredia Costa Rica Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Belén, El Tejar, Flores, La Ribera, and Ojo de Agua Wards, and the Santa Barbara Branch.

There are now 10 stakes and two districts in Costa Rica.

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new stake in Abidjan on December 3rd. The Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon Centre Stake was organized from a division of the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon North Stake and the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon South Stake. It is unclear what wards are assigned to the new stake. There were 25 wards in the two original stakes prior to the creation of the new stake. The Church has experienced rapid growth in the Yopougon sector of Abidjan as new stakes have been organized in this area of the city in 1997, 2010, 2014, and 2015. Furthermore, the 20th anniversary of the creation of the first stake in Abidjan was recently held.

There are now 12 stakes in the Abidjan metropolitan area. There are more stakes in the Abidjan metropolitan area than in any other metropolitan area on the continental landmass of Africa, Asia, and Europe.

El Salvador
A new stake was created in western El Salvador on November 19th. The Ahuachapán El Salvador El Espino Stake was organized from a division of the Ahuachapán El Salvador Stake and the Atiquizaya El Salvador Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Campestre, El Arco, El Espino, Las Brisas, Las Rosas, and Suncuan Wards.

There are now 21 stakes in El Salvador.

Nevada
The Church organized a new stake in Las Vegas on December 3rd. The Las Vegas Nevada Desert Foothills Stake was organized from a division of the Las Vegas Nevada Meadows Stake and the Las Vegas Nevada Redrock Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Amber Hills, Carl, Cimarron, Hillpointe, Paseos, and Pueblo Wards.

There are now 27 stakes in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. There are now 42 stakes in Nevada.

Paraguay
The Church organized a new stake in Paraguay on November 19th. The Limpio Paraguay Stake was organized from the Mariano Roque Alonso Paraguay District and the Luque Paraguay Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and four branches: the Huguito, Juan de Salazar, Limpio, Mariano Roque Alonso, Piquete Cue, and Salado Wards, and the Benjamin Aceval, Emboscada, Remansito, and Villa Hayes Branches.

There are now 11 stakes and nine districts in Paraguay.

Sierra Leone
The Church organized a new stake in Freetown on December 3rd. The Freetown Sierra Leone East Stake was created from a division of the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake, marking the first time the Church in Sierra Leone has organized a new stake from the division of a previously operating stake. Organized as the Church's 3,000th stake and the first stake in Sierra Leone back in December 2012, the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake had 11 wards and three branches prior to the division of the stake. Information on which congregations are assigned to the new stake remains unavailable. Never has the Church ever grown in a country from one stake to five stakes as quickly as in Sierra Leone. Four of the five stakes in the country were organized in 2017. Additional new stakes in Sierra Leone appear likely to be organized in the new future based upon missionary reports.

There are now five stakes and four districts in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Freetown Mission appears highly likely to divide in the immediate future to create a second mission in the country with headquarters likely in Bo. Also, there has been a net increase of 335 stakes worldwide within the past five years since the creation of the original Freetown Sierra Leone Stake.

Colorado
The Church recently discontinued the Golden Colorado Stake. With only four wards, the stake was combined with the former Lakewood Colorado Stake (renamed the Front Range Colorado Stake). The Church has discontinued multiple wards within the Golden, Colorado area over the past 15 years primarily due to members moving away from the area. Furthermore, the Golden Colorado Stake was recently reduced in size with the reassignment of the Buena Vista Branch to the Alamosa Colorado Stake, the Granby Branch to the newly created Craig Colorado Stake, and the Frisco Ward and Vail Ward to the Rifle Colorado Stake. This marks the first time in LDS history that a stake has ever been discontinued in Colorado. It appears likely that one more stake may be discontinued in the Denver area within the foreseeable future due to members moving away from older areas of the city.

There are now 35 stakes in Colorado.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 Newsletter

Click here to access our November 2017 cumorah.com newsletter regarding church growth updates.