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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Some Personal Observations Regarding the Top Ten Nations with the Strongest Church Presence Without a Temple in Any Phase

Hello again, everyone! I don't know how many of you follow Matthew Martinich's Church Growth Blog in addition to this one, but he has had a time-honored tradition for the last several years in which, following the announcement of any new temples in the most recent General Conference, he revisits his list of the top ten nations of the world which have the strongest Church presence that do not have a temple in any phase..

For example, in the April 2018 edition, of that list, 3 of the nations on it went on to have temples announced the following October: Puerto Rico, Cambodia, and Cape Verde, which had ranked second, seventh, and eighth respectively on that list. Matt went on to revise that list for October 2018, and during the subsequent April 2019 General Conference, only 1 of the nations on that edition of the list had a temple announced: namely, American Samoa, which then ranked fourth on that list.

I could perhaps have pulled the data from earlier editions of that list as well, but I think the most recent 3 serve as an example of what I want to illustrate. Given the fact that President Nelson has focused both on announcing so many new temples (with 27 new ones announced in his first three General Conferences as prophet) and on doing what he can in between each conference to keep clearing the queue, I think it may be safe to assume that temples will continue to be announced every six months for the foreseeable future, with perhaps others being announced in between each April, October, and subsequent April.

And I would likewise anticipate that the temple announcements he makes over the next several years will be for many of the locations on every new list of the top 10 nations with the stronges Church presence that do not have a temple in any phase. In fact, it seems safe to assume that each new set of annouoncements will see 1-3 temples announced for nations on each edition of that list.

With this information, and the latest edition of that list in mind, I have taken the opportunity to do my own analysis on each location and to compile pertinent facts about each. I will post that analysis below, but have one or two other thoughts on this subject which I wanted to share first. Given my research below, I feel like I could narrow the most imminent prospects on this list to the first most likely as follows: Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, and Mongolia.

Aside from the distances involved, the relevant reasons I narrowed down the 10 below to the 4 I named above are as follows: The Church has held land in reserve in Port Moresby for at least the last decade; Sierra Leone has seen an outstandingly significant amount of congregational growth and overall strength, Madagascar is separated from the rest of the African continent by water, which requires both rigiorous travel and expense; and that none of the temples in operation, under consstruction or announced are within a reasonable distance for the Mongolian Saints to go.

If the whispers about the extent and timing of President Nelson's plans is any indication, it seems more likely than not that within the next 2-3 General Conferences, the list of the top ten nations could look entirely different than it currently is. Having noted all of these things, I would like to now share my list, which follows below. In order to not disturb the flow of that information, I will end here and now as I always do:

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

May 2019 Notes on the Top 10 Nations with the Strongest Church Presence without a Temple
1.      Papua New Guinea—The Saints in the capital city of Port Moresby currently travel 1,706 miles one-way to worship at the Sydney Australia Temple, and 2,177 miles to the Suva Fiji Temple, to which PNG is currently assigned. Additionally, land has been set aside for a temple there for the last decade or longer, so it seems more likely than not that a temple may be built there sooner rather than later.
2.      Sierra Leone—In order to get to the temple to which the Sierra Leonean Saints are currently assigned (Accra Ghana) requires a one-way journey of 1,290.1 miles. Once the Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire Temple is dedicated, that will cut the distance to 960 miles one-way. Also, given the consistent Church growth in Sierra Leone (where three new stakes were created in a 3-week period in late 2017), this nation recently went from third to second on this list. With all of that in mind, a temple in Freetown seems to be merely a matter of time as well.
3.      Kiribati—For the Saints in the capital city of Tarawa, their currently-assigned temple is Suva Fiji, and getting there requires a one-way journey of 1,402 miles. Since no other temples which are under construction or announced will be any closer, a temple there is surely a possibility at some point.
4.      Uganda—The Saints in Kampala currently have a one-way journey of 2,471.2 miles to worship in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. Once the Nairobi Kenya Temple is built and dedicated, the distance will shrink down to 403.7 miles. With that in mind, a temple in Kampala seems feasible within the next 3-5 years, if not sooner.
5.      Liberia—Getting to their assigned temple in Accra requires a one-way trip of 976.1 miles for the Monrovian Saints. Once the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple is dedicated, that mileage will be reduced to 646. If a temple were to be built in Freetown Sierra Leone, the distance would then go down to 322.3 miles, which is still above the 200-mile goal set by previous Church Presidents.
6.      Mozambique—When the Maputo Saints travel to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, that involves a one-way journey of 338.3 miles. A temple there could be possible within the next decade.
7.      Madagascar—This nation is separated from the remainder of the African continent by water, so for the Saints in Antananarivo to get to any temple presents somewhat of an undue hardship. A one-way trip to Johannesburg requires a journey of 1,338 miles. Once the Harare Zimbabwe Temple is built and dedicated, that distance will be cut to 1.082 miles. Since part of President Nelson’s focus is on placing temples in more remote areas, a temple in Antananarivo may be announced within the next 2 years or less.
8.      Mongolia—The Hong Kong China Temple district includes Mongolia, and the Saints in Ulaanbaatar journey 1.811 miles to get there. No other currently-operating or announced temples are closer than that, so a temple in Ulaanbaatar is surely just a matter of time.
9.      Malaysia—Saints in Kuala Lumpur currently journey 1,566 miles one-way to worship at the Hong Kong China Temple. Once the Bangkok Thailand Temple is dedicated, that distance will be cut to 914.5 miles.
10.  Vanuatu—The Saints in Port Vila (where the only Vanuatu stake is based) travel 665 miles to worshipm at the Suva Fiji Temple. AFAIK, no other announced temple is closer than that. A teple there seems possible within the next decade, if not sooner.