Monday, September 25, 2017

Two Wards and Five Branches Created in Benin City, Nigeria in One Weekend

Unprecedented congregational growth continues in Nigeria. Thus far in 2017, there has been a net increase of 78 wards and branches. This is the largest net increase in congregations of any country outside of the United States since 2000 when the Church in the Philippines reported a net increase of 106 wards and branches. To contrast, the Church in Nigeria last year reported a net increase of 46 wards and branches.

Last Sunday, the Church in Benin City organized two new wards and five new branches. This appears to be the largest number of new wards and branches organized in a single city during a single weekend in the history of the Church in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even more impressive, the Church in Benin City has already maintained a steady stream of newly organized wards and branches. Prior to last Sunday, the Church in Benin City had already organized four new branches since late August for a grand total of 11 new wards and branches created within Benin City within approximately one month. A local member in Benin City reported that within the past year there has been an emphasis on the organization of smaller congregations that assemble closer to the homes of members and prospective members. Recently organized branches over the past year have experienced good results increasing the number of people who attend church services. Thus, this church-planting approach to growth may yield more impressive increases in membership and congregations with higher convert retention and member activity.

Potential New Temples - September 2017 Edition

I have updated my temple prediction map in preparation for General Conference this weekend. No new temple sites were added to the map of most likely locations for new temples to be announced within the foreseeable future. I think it is unlikely that new temples will be announced this conference since five new temples were announced last April. If any announcements are made, my top 10 picks for the most likely temple announcements are as follows:
  • Auckland, New Zealand 
  • Bengaluru, India OR Hyderabad, India, OR New Delhi, India
  • Benin City, Nigeria
  • Davao, Philippines OR Cagayan del Oro, Philippines
  • Tarawa, Kiribati
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Managua, Nicaragua 
  • Praia, Cape Verde
  • Rogers, Arkansas
  • Salvador, Brazil 
As part of the semi-annual tradition, your lists of top picks are always appreciated :) 

New Stakes Created in Utah (3), the Philippines (2), and Cote d'Ivoire; New Districts Created in Nigeria and Vietnam

Philippines
The Church has organized two new stakes in the Philippines.

The Mandaluyong Philippines Stake was organized from a division of the Makati Philippines Stake and the Manila Philippines Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Mandaluyong 1st, Mandaluyong 2nd, Mandaluyong 3rd, Mandaluyong 5th, and San Juan Wards. A special conference was held as part of the stake organization as the new stake became the Church's 100th operating stake in the Philippines.

The Calasiao Philippines Stake was organized from the Calasiao Philippines District on September 17th. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Calasiao 1st, Calasiao 2nd, Malasiqui 1st, Malasiqui 2nd, and Santa Barbara Wards. There are now four stakes in the greater Dagupan metropolitan area.

There are now 101 stakes and 74 districts in the Philippines.

Utah
The Church in Utah organized two new stakes on September 10th, and one new stake on September 17th.

The South Jordan Utah North Shore Stake was organized from a division of the South Jordan Utah Oquirrh Lake Stake (renamed the South Jordan Utah Eastlake Stake). The new stake includes the following six wards: the North Shore 1st, North Shore 2nd, North Shore 3rd, North Shore 4th, North Shore 5th, and North Shore 6th Wards.

The South Jordan Utah Garden Park Stake was organized from a division of the South Jordan Utah Founders Park Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Garden Park 1st, Garden Park 2nd, Garden Park 3rd, Garden Park 4th, Garden Park 5th, and Garden Park 6th Wards, and the Sagewood Branch (Care Center).

The Morgan Utah West Stake was organized from a division of the Morgan Utah Stake and the Morgan Utah North Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Enterprise, Milton, Morgan 4th, Morgan 6th, Morgan 8th, Peterson, Silver Lake, and Stoddard Wards. The new stake is the first new stake to be organized in Morgan County since 1981.

There are now 589 stakes and one district in Utah.

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new stake in Cote d'Ivoire on September 10th. The Anonkoua Cote d'Ivoire Stake was organized from a division of the Abobo Cote d'Ivoire East Stake and the Abobo Cote d'Ivoire West Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and six branches: the Agnissankoi, Anonkoua 1st, Assomin, Avocatier, and Sagbe Wards, and the Anonkoua 2nd, Anonkoua 3rd, Banco, Bocabo, Celeste, and Sodeci Branches. The new stake is the Church's eleventh stake to be organized in Abidjan. No other metropolitan area on the continental landmass of Africa, Asia, and Europe has as many stakes.

There are now 12 stakes and 13 districts in Cote d'Ivoire.

Nigeria
The Church organized a new district in Nigeria on September 3rd. The Makurdi Nigeria District was organized from three mission branches in the city of Makurdi, namely the Makurdi 1st, Makurdi 2nd, and Makurdi 3rd Branches. The Church organized its first branch in Makurdi in November 2015.

There are now 43 stakes and 17 districts in Nigeria.

Vietnam
The Church organized its second district in Vietnam on September 17th. The Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam District was organized from a division of the Hanoi Vietnam District. Moreover, three new branches were also organized in Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding areas. The new district includes the following six branches: the Binh Duong, Phu My Hung, Quan Sau, Tan Son Nhat, Thao Dien, and Thu Duc Branches. District leadership and branch leadership positions appear minimally staffed at present. The organization of these new branches has appeared to be in response to efforts to reduce travel times to church for members and investigators, and to expand proselytism efforts in the Vietnam Hanoi Mission. Moreover, the mission has also reported an increase in the number of missionaries assigned to the mission. The organization of the new district also coincided with the redesignation of the Hanoi Vietnam District Branch as the Vietnam Hanoi Mission Branch to administer members who reside in areas outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Missionaries report that branches may also be organized in additional cities in Vietnam in the foreseeable future pending government approval.

There are now two districts and 10 branches in Vietnam. In contrast, there were only four branches and one district in Vietnam at the beginning of 2017. Convert baptisms have appeared to occur more frequently in recent months in many of the branches.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New Stakes Created in Ecuador (2), Utah (2), Brazil, and Canada; Stake Discontinued in South Korea

Ecuador
Two new stakes were organized in Ecuador last Sunday.

The Guayaquil Ecuador Fortin Stake was organized from a division of the Guayaquil Ecuador Juan Montalvo Stake and the Guayaquil Ecuador Prosperina Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Elvira, Fortin, Nueva Prosperina, Nuevo Paraiso, and Sinai Wards, and the 31 de Octubre Branch. There are now 14 stakes in the immediate Guayaquil metropolitan area.

The Los Chillos Ecuador San Rafael Stake was organized from a division of the Los Chillos Ecuador Stake and possibly another stake in the Quito metropolitan area. Information on which congregations are assigned to the new stake remains unavailable. There are now eight stakes in the Quito metropolitan area.

There are now 39 stakes and nine districts in Ecuador.

Utah
The Church organized two new stakes in Utah on August 27th.

The Lehi Utah Central Stake was organized from a division of the Lehi Utah Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Lehi 1st, Lehi 5th, Lehi 6th, Mill Pond, Spring Creek 1st, Spring Creek 2nd, and Spring Creek 3rd Wards.

The Eagle Mountain Utah Nolen Park Stake was organized from a division of the Eagle Mountain Utah Stake, Eagle Mountain Utah Cedar Pass Stake, Eagle Mountain Utah East Stake, and the Eagle Mountain Utah North Stake. The new stake includes the following nine wards: the Chimney Rock, Eagle's Gate 1st, Eagle's Gate 2nd, Kennekuk, Parkside, Rock Creek, Rush Valley, Sundance, and Willow Springs Wards.

There are now 586 stakes and one district in Utah.

Brazil
A new stake was organized in Porto Alegre, Brazil on September 3rd. Members report that the name of the new stake is the Porto Alegre Brazil Viamao Stake. However, information on which stakes were involved in the creation of the new stake and what wards have been assigned to the new stake remain unavailable.

There are now 267 stakes and 40 districts in Brazil.

Canada
The Church organized its first young single adult (YSA) stake outside of the United States on August 27th. The Lethbridge Alberta YSA Stake was organized from the three original Lethbridge stakes and the Cardston Alberta Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Cardston YSA, Lakeview YSA, London Road YSA, University Heights YSA, Victoria Park YSA, Westbridge YSA, and Westview YSA Wards.

There are now 50 stakes and three districts in Canada.

South Korea
The Church discontinued a stake in the Seoul metropolitan area. The Seoul Korea Dongdaemun Stake was discontinued and retained wards were reassigned to the Seoul Korea East Stake. The Church in Seoul has experienced one of the most widespread restructurings of stakes and wards of any city in the world during the past decade as 25 wards and branches have been discontinued since 2011. Moreover, the Church has also discontinued five stakes in the Seoul metropolitan area during the past five years. Church leaders and local members report no significant changes in the number of active members in these congregations or stakes during the past decade. Rather, these stake and congregation consolidations have been motivated by an emphasis to reduce meetinghouse operational costs and organize wards with larger numbers of active members comparable to wards within the United States. Historically, most wards in Korea have had between 50-100 active members.

There are now 12 stakes and five districts in Korea.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access our August 2017 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com detailing recent LDS growth developments and new resources added to our website.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Houston Texas Temple Flooded

The Houston LDS Temple Facebook page is reporting that flood waters in Houston have entered the Houston Texas Temple and damaged the interior. Although I do not usually report about news stories regarding operating temples or natural disasters, I decided to make a post about this incident because I believe it is the first time that an operating temple has ever been significantly damaged by a natural disaster. Please comment if you have information about any other instances when the Church has ever had an operating temple damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.

Monday, August 14, 2017

2015 Philippine Census Data - Number of Self-affiliated Latter-day Saints by Administrative Division

The Philippine government recently released statistics regarding the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints in each of the 101 administrative divisions of the Philippines. These statistics were gathered as part of the 2015 census. Government census data shed insight into member activity rates in the Philippines when these data are compared to the number of church-reported members (e.g. individuals listed on church records regardless of self-affiliation or active participation in church activities). See below for a map that displays the number of self-affiliated Latter-day Saints by administrative division, and the percentage of Latter-day Saints in each administrative division.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

LDS Membership and Government Census Data - Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Philippines, and Scotland

Several governments have recently conducted censuses in which information on self-identified religious affiliation is gathered. Below are a list of countries where there have been recent figures released regarding the number of people who identify as Latter-day Saint on the census. These are new figures that I have not reported before on this site or cumorah.com. Previous data regarding Latter-day Saints and census data can be obtained here. The year of this data was obtained is provided in parentheses after the country name. Moreover, the percentage of church-reported membership who self-identify on the census is provided in parentheses after the government reported number of Latter-day Saints.
  • Australia (2016): 60,864 (41%)
  • Canada (2011): 105,365 (57%)
  • Finland (2009): 3,239 (71%)
  • New Zealand (2013): 40,728 (36%)
  • Philippines (2015): 196,303 (27%)
  • Scotland (2011): 4,651 (17%)
Census data provide valuable information regarding member activity rates in the LDS Church as people voluntarily provide information about their current religious affiliation. It is interesting to note that many Latter-day Saints on church records not only do not regularly attend church but also do not even identify as a Latter-day Saint anymore. Based upon the small sample of countries with the number of self-identified Latter-day Saints reported by the census, there does not appear to be a correlation with secularism and self-affiliation of nominal Latter-day Saints on government censuses. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Stakes in Bolivia and Honduras; New Districts in Mauritius and South Africa

Bolivia
The Church organized a new district in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on July 23rd. The Santa Cruz Bolivia Viru Viru Stake was organized from a division of the Santa Cruz Bolivia Equipetrol Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Pentaguazu, Satélite, Universitario, Viru Viru, and Warnes Wards, and the Valle Sanchez Branch. The new stake is the Church's ninth stake in the Santa Cruz metropolitan area. Prospects appear favorable for Bolivia's second temple to be announced in Santa Cruz one day due to the large concentration of stakes within a single city. However, it is unclear whether a temple will be announced within the foreseeable future given that the temple appears modestly utilized by Bolivian members according to the frequency of endowment session scheduled each week.

There are now 30 stakes and eight districts in Bolivia.

Honduras
The Church organized a new stake in Honduras on July 16th. The Potrerillos Honduras Stake was organized from a division of the Villa Nueva Honduras Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the El Mochito, Morelos, Potrerillos, Santa Cruz de Yojoa, and Yojoa Wards. There are now 12 stakes within the greater San Pedro Sula metropolitan area. San Pedro Sula appears a likely candidate for its own temple one day although it is unclear whether this will occur within the foreseeable future given the relatively recent completion of the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple (dedicated in 2013) and apparent moderate utilization of the temple by Honduran and Nicaraguan members as estimated by the number of endowment sessions scheduled a week.

There are now 31 stakes and five districts in Honduras.

Mauritius
The Church organized its first district in Mauritius on July 30th. The Mauritius District was organized from a division of the St Denis Reunion/Mauritius District (renamed the St Denis Reunion District). The new district includes all three branches that operate on Mauritius, namely the Flacq, Phoenix, and Rose Hill Branches. Mauritius is administered by the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission. The population has demonstrated good receptivity to LDS outreach, but significant shortages of foreign missionary visas have slowed growth.

South Africa
The Church organized a new district in South Africa on July 30th. The Ladysmith South Africa District was organized from a division of the Newcastle South Africa District. The new district includes the following three branches: the Ezakheni, Ladysmith, and Newcastle Branches.

Also, the South Africa Durban Mission President reported that another district will be organized in the mission later this month. The Phuthaditjhaba South Africa will be organized from the Phuthaditjhaba and Bethlehem Branches. Also, two member groups will also be organized in the soon-to-be-created district (one in the Bethlehem area and one in Phuthaditjhaba).

After the Phuthaditjhaba South Africa District is organized, there will be 16 stakes and eight districts in South Africa.

Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 Newsletter

Click here to access our July 2017 newsletter for cumorah.com detailing recent LDS growth developments and new resources added to our website.