Insights into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Story: 2022-05-09: An Update on the Progress of the Renovation of the Salt Lake Temple
The temple remains surrounded by scaffolding which is anchored to the temple's foundation. There is an elevator near the southwest corner. There are stairs in some locations for moving between levels.

Progress on the new underground portion of the temple is proceeding north of the temple. The basement floor is in place and concrete walls have risen beyond the bottom. There are three concrete pumping assist devices permanenly located in this area, such as I've never sceen before.

The old North Visitor Center has completely disappeared. The north wall of temple square is gone except for a 20 foot section. A new construction truck entry now exists on the north side. The entry is near West Temple to the middle of the block where trucks can now exit (with the help of a flagman). There is new construction on the west side of the line that divides temple square from north to south. This area had been designed for gardens, but construction has creeped into the area formerly occupied by the North Visitors Center. I also spotted a pile driver at the west end of the area formerly occupied by the visitor's center. Generally these are used to prepare for a tall building or object for perhaps strengthen weak ground.

Surrprisingly the plaza that fills the space between the Church Office Building, Church Administration Building, and the Joseph Smith Memorial building is not yet complete. It is still an active construction zone. New landscaping is being installed on the north and east sides of the Church Office Building.

Excavation is now happening south of the temple for another below ground structure.

Can the Salt Lake Temple be rededicated in 2025, perhaps, but there is a huge amount of work yet to do.

The main street plaza is now closed. Small walkways are provied from the north to reach the Relief Society building and from the south to reach the Joseph Smith memorial building. If this lasts through Christmas, there won't be much to "the lights on Temple Square" in 2022.

View from Northwest Corner of the Temple New section north of the temple rises. You can see the tunnel to the conference center at the left side of the photo
A concrete pump boom for taking the mud to where it is needed. There are three of these on the north side of the temple. Construction taking place where the old North Visitor Center was located.
The lower portion of the west end of the temple. The circular holes at the bottom are used to suspend the temple while the base isolators (that guard agaist earthquake dammage) are installed The north wall of the temple
Where the North Visitors Center was once locatied. The Conference Center is in the background. Excavation starting on the south side of the temple.
Spring Flowers on Temple Square - Only found between the Tabernacle and the Assembly Hall and around the Assembly Hall Temple Square from the Conference Center
Temple Square Tours are now at the Conference Center Work on the Plaza is ongoing.
Story: 2022-04-14: A Look at Church Statistics for the year ending December 31, 2021
During General Conference, the Church announced membership statistics by continent. This data surprised me. Note: You can also drill down into individual countries within a continent. The data source. Here's the continent data:
CONTINENT Members % of Total Missions % of Total Temples % of Total
Worldwide 16,805,400 100% 407 100% 170 100%
North America 9,489,479 56% 174 43% 112 66%
South America 4,232,425 25% 97 24% 21 12%
Europe 500,239 3% 34 8% 13 8%
Asia 1,259,094 7% 45 11% 8 5%
Pacific Islands 587,462 3% 18 4% 10 6%
Africa 736,701 4% 39 10% 5 3%
Here's what surprised me:
  • 81% of church members live in the western hemisphere. The church is predominantly a western hemisphere church.
  • All of Europe constitutes only 3% of church members!
  • There are MORE than a million members in Asia. Yes, ok, don't get too excited. There are over 4 billion people in Asia!
  • Africa has a larger percentage of Church Members than either of Europe or the Pacific Islands which includes Tonga where more than 50% of the population are church members.

Looking at traditional church statistics. We'll start with missionary work; because that is most interesting for 2021.

The number of full-time missionaries serving increased a bit. While the Church knows roughly how many members are of a given age, that data is not public. Thus it is unknown what a reasonable number of missionaries is at this current time. However, based on conference talks, you would have to assume that the church knows this number should be higher. With the pandemic seemingly past us, the number serving as full-time missionaries should grow during 2022.

The significant increase in the number of convert baptisms in 2021 over 2020 clearly indicates that the Church has learned how to use social media and live video to proselyte successfully. The number of convert baptisms in 2021 was more than three times that of 2020, a remarkable achievement. The increase in the number of convert baptisms iumped from 2.1 per missionary to 3.2, a rate that equals 2015 when there was no pandemic to deal with.

One of the stranger statistics that the church distributes is the number of children born to church members that were recorded on church records. Clearly the lockdowns of 2020 resulted in a large rebound of the number of children born in 2021! A more interesting statistic would be the number of children or record baptized. That's a value we don't know. With it one could determine the number of members who died or were excommunicated (oops wrong term, the proper term is membership terminated).

The forgoing charts explain the increase in church membership at the end of 2021 versus the close of 2020. The overall growth rate during 2020 and 2021 was smaller than in previous years.

The number of part-time church service missionari.first announced in 2010. The number has been in the 30,000s since 2015.

The number of church missions grew by just two during 2021 and the number for 2022 will likely be four. The two announced in January (Laie, Hawaii and Rwanda Kigali Mission) and the two announced during spring conference (Bristol England (a re-opening) and Spain North Central. It is quite uncommon for new missions to be announced at spring conference. The large jump in 2013 was due to the reduction in the age for missionary service.

There were two temple dedications during 2021 (Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada and Pocatello, Idaho) There was one rededication during 2021 the Mesa Arizona Temple. With so many new temples under construction, these values will be skyrocketing in the years to come. The Rio de Janerio temple was ready for dedication in early 2020, but the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic postposed it to 2022. The open house in Rio is now underway and it will finally be dedicated in May 2022.