Wednesday, October 18, 2017

First Stake in Northern India to be Organized in November

Full-time missionaries report that the first stake in the India New Delhi Mission will be organized on November 5th. The New Delhi India Stake will be created from the New Delhi India District. Currently, the district has seven branches. The first branch in New Delhi (New Delhi 1st Branch) was organized in 1981. A second branch, the New Delhi 2nd Branch, opened in 1985 and the two branches were organized into the New Delhi India District in 1986. Additional branches in the New Delhi metropolitan area later opened, including the New Delhi 3rd Branch (1995), Dwarka (2008), Noida (2008), Pitampura (2009), and New Delhi 4th Branch (2010). Three of these branches - the Dwarka, Noida, and Pitampura Branches - were originally organized as member groups to help reduce travel times to the nearest LDS meetinghouse and to spur greater growth. Without this effort to organize these branches initially as member groups, it is unlikely that the Church in New Delhi would be currently able to meet the minimum criteria for a stake to be organized.

The New Delhi India Stake will be the fourth stake in India. Previously organized stakes in India currently operate in Hyderabad (2012), Bengaluru (2015), and Rajahmundry (2016). Missionaries anticipate that the fifth stake in India may be organized within the foreseeable future in Visakhapatnam; however, only four branches currently operate in the Visakhapatnam India District at present. The organization of the first stake in Pakistan also appears likely in the foreseeable future in either Islamabad or Lahore.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Congregation Consolidations Accelerate in Mexico

The Church in Mexico has recently consolidated dozens of wards and branches in several major cities during the past four months. As a result, there has been a net decrease of approximately 30 wards and branches during this time - the largest net decrease in congregations in Mexico ever reported by the Church. Although this may sound like a large number, this decrease constitutes only a 1.5% decline in the number of wards and branches in Mexico during this period.

Local members report that the primary reason that these congregation consolidations have occurred has been due to efforts by the Mexico Area to better utilize meetinghouses (e.g. church attendance filling 80% or more of available seating). Members indicate that the Church has many meetinghouses that are not fully utilized by congregations due to a lack of active members. The number of active members in the Church in Mexico has not appeared to noticeably increase or decrease within the past five years based upon hundreds of reports I have received from returned missionaries and local members in Mexico. However, the Church in several areas of the world has recently placed an increased emphasis on the organization of wards with larger numbers of active members in order to better staff leadership positions and meet member socialization needs. Thus, these recent changes appear to reflect a movement to have the size and functionality of international LDS congregations to become more comparable to those in the United States (e.g. 150-300 active members per ward). In the past, the Church has generally maintained significantly smaller congregations outside of North America (e.g. 50-125 active members per ward).

These congregational consolidations in Mexico indicate significant, ongoing concerns in regards to member activity, convert attrition, and leadership development. Unlike many other Latin American countries, the Church in Mexico has appeared unable to postpone the creation of new wards until congregations increase in the number of active members to the point that meetinghouses are better utilized. These developments are even more considering when considering that the Church in Mexico operates 34 missions and has not yet reported any noticeable improvements within the past five years in regards to growth. The Church in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador has appeared capable of postponing the creation of new units, and usually avoiding the consolidation of smaller or weaker units, until membership maximizes meetinghouse space so that congregations become more analogous in size and functionality to those in the United States and Canada. For example, reports from members in Peru note that most wards currently have 100-250 active members, whereas in the past most wards had significantly fewer active members (e.g. usually 50-125 active members). These recent growth trends in Mexico will likely significantly affect worldwide LDS growth trends, especially considering that the Church operates 6.5% of its worldwide congregations and claims 9.0% of its worldwide membership in Mexico.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Translations of the Book of Mormon and Triple Combinations

The Church announced in a letter from the First Presidency dated October 9th that the Book of Mormon and the Triple Combination (e.g. Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price) will be translated into 34 additional languages. Languages in which the Book of Mormon will be translated include:
  • Burmese
  • Efik (select passages already available)
  • Georgian
  • Navajo (select passages already available)
  • Pohnpeian (select passages already available)
  • Sesotho
  • Tshiluba
The letter noted that the Georgian translation of the Book of Mormon is nearing completion.

Languages into which the Church will translate the Triple Combination include:
  • American Sign Language
  • Afrikaans
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Bislama
  • Burmese
  • Efik
  • Georgian
  • Greek
  • Hiligaynon 
  • Hindi
  • Hmong
  • Lao
  • Lingala
  • Malay
  • Navajo
  • Persian (Farsi)
  • Pohnpeian
  • Polish
  • Serbian
  • Sesotho
  • Setswana
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Tahitian
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Tok Pisin
  • Turkish
  • Twi
  • Urdu
  • Yoruba 
 The following languages are nearing completion for Triple Combinations:
  • Afrikaans
  • Hmong
  • Lao
  • Malay
  • Polish
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenia
  • Tamil
Several of these languages have previously had the Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price translated. However, none of these languages have appeared to have had these scriptures translated into a single Triple Combination book.

With these new translations, the Church will have translated select passages or the entire Book of Mormon into 115 languages.

Monday, October 9, 2017

First Full-time Missionaries to Serve from Senegal

Senior missionaries who serve in Accra, Ghana report that the first Senegalese full-time missionaries recently began their training at the new Ghana Missionary Training Center (MTC). Two male missionaries were called at the same time from Senegal and constitute the first known members from Senegal to have ever served a full-time mission. The Church organized its first official branch in Senegal in May 2016. Currently the Dakar Branch pertains to the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission. There are four members in the branch presidency and all appear to be native Black African members. No official membership statistics for the Church in Senegal are available. No young, full-time missionaries have ever appeared to have been assigned to serve in Senegal.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 2017 Newsletter

Click here to access our September 2017 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.

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.