Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Vijayawada, India Opens to Proselytism

Missionaries serving in the India Bangalore Mission report that the city of Vijayawada has opened to proselytism. Only a member group operates in Vijayawada although a branch once used to function in the city during the 1990s. Inhabited by approximately 1.5 million and located in Andhra Pradesh State, Vijayawada is the first city in India without an official ward or branch to have had full-time missionaries assigned in more than a decade. Initial proselytism efforts have been productive and there were 27 in attendance in the Vijayawada Group during a recent sacrament meeting service.

See below for a map of LDS congregations in India. Currently LDS congregations operate in cities and towns inhabited by approximately five percent of the national population.

Milestone of 3,300 Stakes Reached

The Church recently reached the milestone of 3,300 stakes in the worldwide Church. Steady increases in the number of new stakes organized have been maintained for many years now since the rate of new stake creations dramatically slowed in the early 2000s. The creation of stakes is one of the most reliable and valid measures of LDS growth as the organization of new stakes requires certain numbers of active members and full-tithe paying priesthood holders. These criteria have been increased in most areas of the world during the past 15 years in order to avoid the discontinuation of stakes in the future in case fewer converts join the Church and remain active, active members move away, or member activity rates decline.

See below for a list of when the Church reached previous milestones for stake growth (e.g. whenever the Church has achieved a net increase of 100 additional stakes).
  • 3,300 stakes - 2017
  • 3,200 stakes - 2016
  • 3,100 stakes - 2014
  • 3,000 stakes - 2012
  • 2,900 stakes - 2011
  • 2,800 stakes - 2008
  • 2,700 stakes - 2005
  • 2,600 stakes - 2001
  • 2,500 stakes - 1998
  • 2,400 stakes - 1997
  • 2,300 stakes - 1997
  • 2,200 stakes - 1996
  • 2,100 stakes - 1995
  • 2,000 stakes - 1994
  • 1,900 stakes - 1992
  • 1,800 stakes - 1991
  • 1,700 stakes - 1988
  • 1,600 stakes - 1986
  • 1,400 stakes - 1984
  • 1,300 stakes - 1981
  • 1,200 stakes - 1980
  • 1,100 stakes - 1980
  • 1,000 stakes - 1979
  • 900 stakes - 1978
  • 800 stakes - 1977
  • 700 stakes - 1975
  • 600 stakes - 1973
  • 500 stakes - 1970
  • 400 stakes - 1964
  • 300 stakes - 1960
  • 200 stakes - 1952
  • 100 stakes - 1928

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Stake in South Africa; New District in Nigeria

South Africa
The Church organized a new stake in Eastern Cape Province on July 9th. The Mdantsane South Africa Stake was organized from a division of the East London South Africa Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards: the East London 2nd, King Williams Town, Mdantsane 1st, Mdantsane 2nd, and Mdantsane 3rd Wards.

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

Nigeria
The Church organized a new district in central Nigeria on July 16th. The Otukpo Nigeria District was organized from the Otukpo Branch - a former mission branch in the Nigeria Enugu Mission. Two new branches were also created at the same time that the district was organized. Thus, the new district includes the following three branches: the Otukpo 1st, Otukpo 2nd, and Otukpo 3rd Branches. The Otukpo Nigeria District is the Church's first district to be organized in Benue State (population: 5.6 million). The Church created its first official branches in Benue State in late 2015. Today there are seven branches in Benue State - the homelands of the predominantly Christian Tiv people. Another district appears likely to be organized in the immediate future in Makurdi where there are now three branches that operate.

There are now 43 stakes and 16 districts in Nigeria. Thus far in 2017, there has been a net increase of 54 wards and branches. There have been 54 new wards and branches created, and no wards or branches discontinued. This represents the largest increase in the number of wards of branches of any country thus far in 2017, and the largest increase in the number of wards and branches for any country outside of the United States since the Church reported rapid congregational growth rates in the Philippines and certain Latin American countries during the late 1990s. However, the Church in Nigeria significantly differs from the Church in Latin America and the Philippines during the late 1990s as no North American or European missionaries serve in Nigerian missions. Also, member activity and convert retention rates in Nigeria number among the highest in the world among countries with more than 100,000 members at approximately 40-50%.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ten New Stakes to be Created in West Africa during the Remainder of 2017

A recent article on the Ghana Mormon Newsroom site indicates that the Church in West Africa expects to organize 10 new stakes in the Africa West Area before the end of 2017. Earlier this year, missionaries reported that the area presidency indicated that the Church is expected to reach 100 stakes in West Africa in 2018. As there are currently 80 stakes in the Africa West Area, it appears that there will be approximately 90 stakes in the area by the end of the year. So far, the Church has organized five new stakes and four new district in the Africa West Area during 2017 according to my count (see right column of blog for complete listing of new stakes and districts organized during the year) although the recent article on the Ghana Mormon Newsroom site states that there have been 11 new stakes and districts organized during the year thus far.

The following stakes in West Africa appear most likely to divide within the next six months. New stakes created from the division of these stakes may account for some of the 10 new stakes to be created before the end of the year:
  • Aba Nigeria North (11 wards, 2 branches)
  • Aba Nigeria Ogbor Hill (10 wards, 5 branches)
  • Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon North (12 wards)
  • Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Niangon South (13 wards)
  • Accra Ghana Adenta (11 wards, 5 branches)
  • Freetown Sierra Leone (11 wards, 3 branches)
  • Lomé Togo (14 wards, 3 branches)
The following districts in West Africa appear likely to become stakes within the next 6-12 months:
  • Adzope Cote d'Ivoire (7 branches)
  • Akamkpa Nigeria (9 branches)
  • Asaba Nigeria (7 branches)
  • Bo Sierra Leone East (5 branches)
  • Bo Sierra Leone North (7 branches)
  • Bo Sierra Leone West (7 branches)
  • Daloa Cote d'Ivoire (8 branches)
  • Ekpoma Nigeria (10 branches)
  • Kenema Sierra Leone (8 branches)
  • Ogwashi-Nsukwa Nigeria (12 branches)
  • Paynesville Liberia (11 branches)
  • San-Pedro Cote d'Ivoire (7 branches)

Monday, July 17, 2017

First LDS Branch Created in Mali

I have previously posted about the Church's recent efforts to establish an official presence in the West African nation of Mali. The first official branch in Mali was organized on July 9th and not on June 26th as I originally reported. The Bamako Branch was organized under the administration of the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission. Local members report that the first branch president is not a Malian native, but rather an African from another West African country. Currently, lds.org/maps indicates that only Bamako and northern, eastern, and southern areas within approximately 100 kilometers of Bamako are within the boundaries of the Bamako Branch and the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission. Otherwise, the rest of Mali remains under the administration of the Africa West Area Branch. A member group also operates to the immediate southeast of Bamako in Mountougoula. Local members report that preparations are underway for the assignment of the first missionaries in the near future.

Mali is the third West African country to have its first LDS branch organized during the past 18 months. The Church organized its first branch in Senegal in mid-2016 and in Guinea in June 2017.

New Stake in Nicaragua; New District in South Africa

Nicaragua
The Church organized a new stake in Nicaragua on July 9th. The Masatepe Nicaragua Stake was organized from a division of the Jinotepe Nicaragua Stake and the Masaya Nicaragua Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the La Concepción, Masatepe, Monimbo, San Carlos, and San Marcos Wards, and the Diriomo and San Juan de Oriente Branches.

There are now 12 stakes and four districts in Nicaragua. With the creation of three new stakes in Nicaragua during the past 18 months, prospects for a future temple announcement in Managua appear highly likely within the near future.

South Africa
The Church organized a new district in northeastern South Africa on July 2nd. The Polokwane South Africa District was organized from a division of the Tzaneen South Africa District. The new district includes the following three branches: the Mokopane, Polokwane, and Seshego Branches. The new district was likely organized due to no realistic prospects of the Tzaneen South Africa District becoming a stake in the near future due to the relatively small size of many of the branches in the district and transportation challenges for the district to effectively administer all six branches. Furthermore, the new district may provide greater administrative support to branches in the area and prepare for the opening of additional congregations in the near future.

There are now 15 stakes and six districts in South Africa.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June 2017 Newsletter

Click here to access our monthly newsletter for cumorah.com detailing recent LDS growth developments.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New Stakes Created in El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Missouri, New York, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Texas; New Districts Created in Brazil, Cote d'Ivoire, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Sierra Leone; District Discontinued in Poland and South Korea

NEW STAKES

El Salvador
The Church organized a new stake in El Salvador on June 18th. The San Vicente El Salvador Stake was organized from the San Vicente El Salvador District (organized in 1995) and a portion of the San Salvador El Salvador Stake. The new stake includes the following three wards and five branches: the La Paz, Los Nonualcos, and Zacatecoluca Wards, and the Cojutepeque, Ilobasco, Sensuntepeque, La Espiga, and La Torre Branches. At least two of the branches have likely become wards. However, this information has not yet been updated in the official directory. The San Vicente El Salvador District was the last district of the Church in El Salvador. Now, the entire country is administered by stakes.

There are now 20 stakes in El Salvador.

Ghana
The Church organized a new stake in Ghana on June 25th. The Koforidua Ghana Stake was created from the the Koforidua Ghana District. The new stake includes the following seven wards and four branches: the Adweso, Asokore, Effiduase, Koforidua 1st, Koforidua 2nd, Oyoko, and Suhum Wards, and the Maase, Mile 50, Osiem, and Tafo Branches. Coincidentally, the original Koforidua Ghana District was also organized on June 25th in 1995. The Church experienced slow growth in Koforidua until a few years ago. Approximately half of the congregations in the new stake were organized within the past two years. Koforidua is the eighth metropolitan area or large city in Ghana to have had a stake organized.

There are now 20 stakes and 11 districts in Ghana.

Guatemala
The Church organized two new stakes in Guatemala.

The Senahu Guatemala Stake was organized from the Senahu Guatemala District on June 4th. The new stake includes the following five wards and four branches: the Providencia, Santiaguila, Seamay 2nd, Vega, and Yalijux Wards, and the Chijolom, Seamay 1st, Semarac, and Seriquiche Branches. As previously reported, the new stake is the first Q'eqchi'-speaking stake in the Church.

The Guatemala City Don Justo Stake was organized on June 18th from a division of the Guatemala City Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Arrazola, Don Justo, El Pajón, Fraijanes, Las Flores, and San José Pinula Wards. The new stake is the Church's 22nd stake in the Guatemala City metropolitan area.

There are now 48 stakes and 15 districts in Guatemala.

Honduras
The Church organized a new stake in Tegucigalpa on June 25th. The Tegucigalpa Honduras Villa Olímpica Stake appeared to be organized from a division of the Tegucigalpa Honduras La Esperanza Stake. No information is currently available regarding which congregations are assigned to the new stake. The new stake is the Church's 12th stake in the Tegucigalpa metropolitan area. Tegucigalpa also reports one of the highest percentages of Latter-day Saints of any major city of the world as the city appears to be at least 3.65% LDS.

There are now 30 stakes and five districts in Honduras.

Mexico
The Church organized a new stake in Mexico for the first time since 2013. The Puebla México Arboledas Stake was organized from the Puebla México Mayorazgo Stake (renamed the Puebla México Angelópolis Stake) on June 25th. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Castillotla, Dieciseis de Septiembre, El Refugio, Loma Bella, San Ramón, and Tres Cerritos Wards. There are now 13 stakes in the Puebla-Tlaxcala-Atlixco metropolitan area.

There are now 231 stakes and 41 districts in Mexico.

Missouri
The Church organized a new stake in the St Louis metropolitan area for the first time since 1987. The Hazelwood Missouri Stake was organized from a division of the St Louis Missouri North Stake (renamed the Lake St Louis Missouri Stake) and the St Louis Missouri Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Alton, Hazelwood, Maryland Heights, St Charles, St Peters, and Weldon Spring Wards, and the San Carlos Branch (Spanish). There are now four stakes in the St Louis metropolitan area.

There are now 18 stakes in Missouri.

New York
The Church organized its third YSA stake east of the Mississippi River on June 18th. The New York New York YSA Stake was organized from YSA wards and branches from several stakes in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The new stake includes the following five wards and five branches: the Harlem YSA, Hoboken YSA, Lincoln Square YSA, Manhattan YSA, and Waveny Park YSA Wards, and the Brooklyn YSA, East Brunswick YSA, Manhattan SA, Plainview YSA, and Queens YSA Branches. YSA stakes in the eastern United States also operate in Buena Vista, Virginia (organized in 2012) and Washington DC (organized in 2016).

There are now 17 stakes and one district in New York.

Nigeria
The Church organized its first stake in Bayelsa State, Nigeria on May 14th. The Yenagoa Nigeria Stake was organized from the Yenagoa Nigeria District. The new stake includes the following six wards and two branches: the Akenfa, Iboghene, Kpansia, Onopa-Ovom, Opolo, and Yenezuepie Wards, and the Amassoma and Azikoro Branches. The Church organized its first branch in Bayelsa State in 2009 and organized the Yenagoa Nigeria District in 2013.

There are now 43 stakes and 15 districts in Nigeria.

Philippines
The Church organized three new stakes in the Philippines

The Puerto Princesa Philippines Stake was organized on May 21st from the Puerto Princesa Philippines District (organized in 1987). The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Puerto Princesa 1st, Puerto Princesa 2nd, Roxas, Santa Monica 1st, and Santa Monica 2nd Wards, and the Coron and Taytay Branches. The new stake is the first stake to be organized on Palawan Island - home to 1.1 million people.

The Olongapo Philippines Stake was organized on June 4th from the Olongapo Philippines District (organized in 1978). The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Cabalan, Calapacuan, Olongapo 1st, Olongapo 2nd, and Olongapo 3rd Wards, and the Mabayo and Morong Branches. The Church previously operated a stake in Olongapo between 1989 and 1993, but discontinued the stake and reverted it back to a district due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo forcing the resettlement of many Latter-day Saints who lived in the area.

The San Jose del Monte Philippines North Stake was organized from a division of the San Jose del Monte Philippines Stake on June 18th. The new stake includes the following five wards: the Francisco Homes, Kaypian, Minuyan, Santo Cristo, and Sapang Palay Wards. Rapid growth has occurred in San Jose del Monte since the original San Jose del Monte Philippines District became a stake in 2013.

There are now 99 stakes and 75 districts in the Philippines. The Church will organized its 100th stake in the Philippines within the next couple months.

Sierra Leone
The Church organized its second stake in Sierra Leone on June 18th. The Kissy Sierra Leone Stake was organized from the Kissy Sierra Leone District. Most of the nine branches in the former district have appeared to be organized into wards in the new stake. Additionally, missionaries report that there are plans to organize three additional stakes before the end of the year in Bo and Kenema. Also, the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake now has 11 wards and one branch, and the stake appears likely to divide to create another stake. Thus, there may be as many as six stakes in Sierra Leone by late 2017 or early 2018.

There are now two stakes and six districts in Sierra Leone.

Texas
The Church organized a new stake in Texas on May 21st. The Tomball Texas Stake was organized from a division of the Klein Texas Stake and The Woodlands Texas Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Champions, Gleannloch Farms, Inverness, Magnolia 1st, Memorial Springs, Parkway, and Tomball 2nd Wards. The new stake is the Church's 18th stake in the Houston metropolitan area.

There are now 74 stakes and three districts in Texas.

NEW DISTRICTS

Brazil
The Church organized a new district in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil on June 4th. The Cabo Frio Brazil District was organized from a division of the Macaé Brazil Stake. The new district includes the following three branches: the Araruama, Búzios, and Cabo Frio. The Araruama and
Búzios Branches were organized in 2015.

There are now 266 stakes and 40 districts in Brazil.

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new district in Cote d'Ivoire on May 14th. The Alepe Cote d'Ivoire District was organized from a division of the Aboisso Cote d'Ivoire District. The new district includes the following five branches: the Ahoutoue 1st, Ahoutoue 2nd, Alepe 1st, Alepe 2nd, and the Alepe Cote d'Ivoire District Branch. Four of the five branches in the new district have been organized since October 2015.

There are now 11 stakes and 13 districts in Cote d'Ivoire.

Fiji
The Church organized a new district in Fiji on June 4th. The Labasa Fiji District was organized from a division of the Taveuni Fiji District. The new district includes the following seven branches: the Labasa, Nabua, Nakawakawa, Nuku, Savusavu, Seaqaqa, and Tukavesi Branches. The Church had previously operated a district headquartered in Labasa between 1989 and 2008.

There are now four stakes and three districts in Fiji.

Papua New Guinea
The Church organized a new district in Papua New Guinea on June 25th. The Lae Papua New Guinea District was organized from four mission branches in the Papua New Guinea Lae Mission. The new district includes the following four branches: the Lae, Ngasuwampu, Taraka, and Yalu Branches. Three of these four branches were organized in late May 2017.

There are now two stakes and 12 districts in Papua New Guinea.

Sierra Leone
The Church organized a new district in Sierra Leone on May 21st. The Makeni Sierra Leone District was organized from three mission branches in Makeni. These branches include the Makama, Rogbaneh, and Teko Road Branches. The Church organized its first branch in Makeni in 2013.

There are now two stakes and six districts in Sierra Leone

DISCONTINUED DISTRICTS

Poland
The Church recently discontinued the Bydgoszcz Poland District. The four branches that previously pertained to the district have since been reassigned to the Poland Warsaw Mission or the Warsaw Poland District.

There are now two districts in Poland.

South Korea
The Church discontinued a district in South Korea. The Hongseong Korea District was discontinued and two of the three branches in the former district were closed. Branches within the district have struggled for decades with few active members and a lack of priesthood leadership. The area previously administered by the district now pertains to the Daejeon Korea Stake.

There are now 13 stakes and five districts in South Korea.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nepali Translation of the Book of Mormon Completed

The Church has published its Nepali translation of the Book of Mormon. Translation work in Nepali began in May 2010. Currently, there are only two Nepali-speaking branches worldwide, including one branch in Nepal and one branch in Salt Lake City, Utah. There are hundreds of Nepali-speaking Latter-day Saints worldwide who primarily in the United States, Nepal, Europe, and Hong Kong. There are approximately 21 million native speakers of Nepali worldwide. To view the translation, click here. For more information about a recent celebration about the new translation, click here.

First LDS District created in Cuba

Last Sunday the Church created its first district in Cuba. The Havana Cuba District includes two branches that meet in the Havana area. The Church has slowly grown in Cuba during the past decade and currently appears to have approximately 100 members. Cuba is currently assigned to the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission. No full-time missionaries have ever served in Cuba.