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.

LDS Growth in West Africa - Review and Projections

Today I posted an article on cumorah.com that provides a review of LDS growth trends in West Africa and projections for future growth within the coming 15 years. Click here to access the article. Here are some figures from this article that I found particularly interesting:
  • The annual number of convert baptisms has nearly tripled since 2010 from approximately 10,000 in 2010 to 19,993 in 2013 to 23,000 in 2014 and approximately 27,000 in 2016.
  • Membership has increased proportionally throughout the area within the past 20 years (e.g. 57% versus 52% in Nigeria, 29% versus 25% in Ghana, 5% versus 6% in Sierra Leone, 3% versus 4% in Liberia) although Cote d’Ivoire has been an outlier (6% versus 12%). 
  • There are few members and no official church presence in Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Niger, and Western Sahara. The combined population of these countries as of 2016 was 58.0 million, or 15.8% of the total population of the Africa West Area.
  • Forty-nine percent (47%) of congregations in West Africa operated in Nigeria in 2016, whereas 26% operated in Ghana. The remainder of West African congregations functioned in Cote d’Ivoire (17%), Sierra Leone (5%), Liberia (3%), Togo (2%), Benin (1%), and Senegal (0.1%).
  • In early 2017, the Church reported 340 cities and towns with an official LDS presence including 192 in Nigeria, 91 in Ghana, 41 in Cote d’Ivoire, seven in Sierra Leone, four in Benin, three in Liberia, one in Senegal, and one in Togo. As a whole, the number of cities with an LDS presence in West Africa increased by 233% between 2001 and early 2017.
  • Provided with the range of estimated membership by the year 2030 per low (e.g. 5% for Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone; 7.5% for Liberia; 10% for Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin) and high (e.g. 10% for Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone; 15% for Liberia; 20% for Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin) growth rates given historical growth trends, projected LDS membership by nation for the year 2030 is as follows: Nigeria (300,000-600,000), Ghana (145,000-275,000), Cote d’Ivoire (150,000-500,000), Sierra Leone (35,000-67,000), Liberia (30,000-80,000), Togo (15,000-50,000), Benin (10,000-34,000), Senegal (1,000-2,000), Guinea (1,000-2,000), and Mali (1,000-2,000). 
  • The Church may operate as many as 30 missions in West Africa by 2025 and 37 missions by 2030 given historical growth trends in the number of missions for the region.
  • The Church may operate as many as 264 stakes in Nigeria, 120 stakes in Ghana, 72 stakes in Cote d’Ivoire, eight stakes in Benin, eight stakes in Liberia, eight stakes in Sierra Leone, and eight stakes in Togo by the year 2025 given historical growth trends. 
  • The Church in West Africa may operate as many as 13 temples by the year 2030 if the average temple administers 38 stakes given projected stake growth trends.  
  • The Church will continue to remain a small minority in West Africa as a whole and in individual nations for many decades to come even if high projections for growth rates are maintained due to the comparatively small size of the LDS Church at present. Membership may constitute as high as one percent of the population in a few nations by the 2030s.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

New Era of LDS Expansion in West Africa

I recently received a report that the Church in West Africa will organize its first branch in another previously unreached nation within the Africa West Area in the immediate future. Although the source did not disclose the country where this branch will be created, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso appear to be the most likely possibilities. The Church within the last 18 months has created its first branches in Senegal (May 2016), Guinea (June 2017), and Mali (July 2017). The opening of branches in these nations has been the greatest coordinated effort of the Church to expand into previously unreached countries since the Church organized official branches in the former Yugoslav republics during the early 2010s (e.g. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro). The seven countries within the Africa West Area without an official LDS presence currently include Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Niger, and Western Sahara.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Potential New Mission Districts

See below for an updated list of mission districts which I think are likely to be organized in the next couple years. Mission districts are analogous to stakes as they administer multiple branches (usually three to ten), but they have less independence in church administration and leadership than stakes. The creation of mission districts signals progress in church growth as it is an important step for the Church to establish a "center of strength" in a new location from a handful of mission branches into a more organized entity which has potential to become a stake. The creation of a district from mission branches suggests maturation in local leadership to provide sufficient manpower and the emergency of a sizable number of quality leaders to staff both branch and district callings.

Potential new districts listed below were identified based on recent congregational growth trends, missionary reports on the number of convert baptisms and activity rates, and distance and location from other nearby stakes and districts. Previous lists are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Locations where there are fewer than three branches are included if there is a high likelihood that additional branches will be organized within the near future in order for a district to be organized.

Like other administrative and congregational units, the creation of districts is approved by the First Presidency.  Information used to compile this list does not contain any unauthorized information and I take full responsibility for this work.

AFRICA (26)

  • Akure Nigeria (4) [Akure 1st, Akure 2nd, Akure 3rd, Akure 4th Branches - all assigned to the Nigeria Benin City Mission]
  • Atta Nigeria (6) [Amakohia Ward and the Atta, Amaimo, Ogwa, Orlu, and Umundugba Branches - all currently administered by the Owerri Nigeria Stake] 
  • Blankro Cote d'Ivoire (3) [Blankro 1st, Blankro 2nd, and Blankro 3rd Branches - all currently administered by the Agboville Cote d'Ivoire District)
  • Bonny Nigeria (3) [Asarama, Bonny, and Finima Branches - all currently assigned to the Okrika Nigeria District]
  • Bori Nigeria (3) [Bori, Nortem, and Sogho Branches - all currently assigned to the Okrika Nigeria District]
  • Bujumbura Burundi (5) [Bujumbura 1st, Bujumbura 2nd, Bujumbura 3rd, Kalundu, and Uvira Branches - all currently administered by the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission]
  • Fort Dauphin Madagascar (3) [Bazaribe, Fort Dauphin, and Tanambao Branches - all branches currently administered by the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission]
  • Francistown Botswana (3) [Francistown, Gerald, and Monarch Branches- all currently administered by the Botswana/Namibia Mission]
  • Gulu Uganda (2) [Bar Dege and Gulu Branches and the Kitgum Group - all currently administered by the Uganda Kampala Mission] 
  • Kadoma Zimbabwe (3) [Chegutu, Kadoma 1st, and Kadoma 2nd Branches - all currently assigned to the Zimbabwe Harare Mission] 
  • Kakanda  DR Congo (2) [Fungurume and Kakanda Branches - both currently assigned to the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission]
  • Kakata Liberia (3) [Harbel, Kakata 1st, and Kakata 2nd Branches - all currently assigned to the Liberia Monrovia Mission]
  • Kasambalesa DR Congo (4) [Bilanga, Golf, Kasambalesa 1st, and Kasambalesa 2nd Branches - all currently assigned to the Kisanga DR Congo Stake]
  • Kitale Kenya (5) [Kitale, Mautuma, Misikhu, Naitiri, and Sikhendu Branches - all currently administered by the Eldoret Kenya District] 
  • Klerksdorp South Africa (3) [Jouberton, Klerksdorp, and Potchefstroom Branches - all currently assigned to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission]
  • Libreville Gabon (2) [Libreville 1st and Libreville 2nd Branches - both assigned to the Republic of Congo Brazzaville Mission]
  • Lira Uganda (2) [Adyel and Lira Branches - both administered by the Uganda Kampala Mission]
  • Makurdi Nigeria (3) [Makurdi 1st, Makurdi 2nd, and Makurdi 3rd Branches - all currently assigned to the Nigeria Enugu Mission]
  • Man Cote d'Ivoire (5) [Bangolo, Danané, Duekoue, Logouale, and Man Branches - all currently assigned to the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission] 
  • Matadi DR Congo (2) [Buima and Matadi Branches - both assigned to the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission]
  • Meagui Cote d'Ivoire (3) [Meagui 1st, Meagui 2nd, and Meagui 3rd Branches - all assigned to the Soubre Cote d'Ivoire District]
  • Nelspruit South Africa (2) [KaNyamazane and Nelspruit Branches - both currently assigned to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission]
  • Nsukwa Nigeria District (4) [Adonte 1st, Adonte 2nd, Nsukwa 1st, and Nsukwa 2nd Branches - all currently assigned to the Ogwashi-Nsukwa Nigeria District]
  • Sapele Nigeria (2) [Oghara and Sapele Branches - both currently assigned to the Nigeria Benin City Mission]
  • Techiman Ghana (4) [Dwumoh, Kenten, Krobo, and Vatican Branches - all currently assigned to the Ghana Kumasi Mission]
  • Ugep Nigeria (2) [Ugep 1st and Ugep 2nd Branches - both currently assigned to the Nigeria Calabar Mission]
ASIA (2)
  • Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam (3) [Thảo Điền, Than Son Nhat, and Quan Sau Branches - all currently assigned to the Hanoi Vietnam District]
  • Tagudin Philippines (4) [Balaoan, Bangar, Luna, and Tagudin Branches - branches currently assigned to either the Candon Phillipines or San Fernando Philippines Stakes] 
EUROPE (1)
  • Krasnodar Russia (3) [Krasnodar Tsentraly, Novorossiysk, and Sochi Tsentralny Branches - all branches currently assigned to the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission]
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (1)
  • Tefé Brazil (3) [Coari, Jutaí, and Tefé Branches - all currently assigned to the Brazil Manaus Mission]
OCEANIA (1)
  • Aoba Vanuatu (6) [Apopo, Lobori, Lolotinge, Lovutialao, Navuti, and Redcliff Branches - all currently assigned to the Luganville Vanuatu District]

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
  • 1,500 stakes - 1984
  • 1,400 stakes - 1983
  • 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%.