Saturday, July 11, 2009

YouTube Video: The Growth Of The LDS Church From 1847-2007 Represented Graphically

The following YouTube video created in 2007 shows the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints graphically from the time the Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 until 2007. You'll see with the passage of time graphic representations of new stakes popping up in different parts of the world:

Note that up until World War I, most of the Church's growth took place in the Intermountain West of the U.S., with some nominal growth in Mexico, the Eastern U.S., and coastal Western Europe, primarily the British Isles and Scandinavia.

After World War I, growth began to increase along the West Coast of the U.S., in the Eastern U.S., and continued in Western Europe, but did not stray far beyond those regions. This indicates that although World War I disrupted the old order of nations, it did not bring about a general spread of democracy. The doors to Gospel penetration were ajar, but not fully opened. It took the far more devastating World War II to knock out many more of the vestiges of totalitarianism, although Russia and China remained totalitarian thereafter.

After World War II, growth in the Eastern U.S. became significant, and spread further into Western Europe up to the borders of the Iron Curtain. Japan and Australia/New Zealand began to take off, and steady growth began in South America. The Church then took off in the Phillipines. After the fall of Russian Communism in 1992, growth began in the former Warsaw Pact nations and in European Russia.

There remains three major areas with little to no Gospel penetration; India, China, and the Middle East. The Middle East remains the greatest source of instability in the world, while China is enigmatic. The appointment of Jon Huntsman Jr., an active Latter-day Saint, as ambassador to China could prove to be a pivotal event in world history. Whether China loosens up and eventually allows Gospel penetration, or closes up and becomes revanchist may significantly depend upon how Huntsman handles his job, in addition to the policies ordered by whoever the President is. The inexperience of Barack Obama remains a major concern.

Latter-day Saints believe the Lord uses war to open up nations to Gospel penetration. We lucked out when war wasn't needed to open up Russia. Will we luck out again and open up China without needing war? Many, both LDS and non-LDS alike, have had visions of a World War III in which Russia and China combine to attack the United States. While there's no immediate danger of such a conflict, it is not impossible in the future. Bringing the Gospel to the nations can civilize them and reduce the likelihood of conflict. Many believe the demise of the Soviet bloc actually began with the dedication of the LDS temple in Freiberg, Germany in 1985. Freiberg was in East Germany at that time. Five years later, the two Germanies united. Accident? Coincidence? Not!!!

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