News Release

Africa Dominates Global List of Countries with Most Rapid Church Growth

Recent stats fulfill Elder Holland’s prediction that “Africa will someday be seen as a bright land full of gospel hope and happiness.”

Eight of the top ten countries with the most rapid church growth in the world come from Africa. According to an article from LDS Living based on number of congregations added, Tanzania takes the lead with a 62.5% increase in number of congregations over 2020 and 2021.

In second place comes Malawi, with a 50% increase, followed by Zambia with 31% expansion, the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a 21% increase, Mozambique with a 14% increase, Liberia with a 9% increase, Sierra Leone with an expansion rate of just under 9% and Zimbabwe with an 8.75% growth rate. Also on the top ten list were Kiribati and Papua New Guinea – both island countries in the Oceania region.

Members singing in a sacrament meeting in a Church meetinghouse
Members singing in a sacrament meeting in a Church meetinghouse
Members singing in a sacrament meeting in a Church meetinghouse© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In a May press conference, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that the most rapid growth in the Church was happening in Africa.

When asked why, he responded, “Africa has been influenced in many parts of the continent through early Christian missionaries. When you go to visit with a congregation there and you recite a verse from the Bible, everyone in the congregation, without looking at a text, can recite it with you. There’s a very strong Christian tradition. So, the message of the restoration of the primitive Church strikes a resonant chord with these people. They come, they see our congregations, they participate, and they desire to join.”

The current growth in the Church in Africa seems to be the fulfillment of a comment made by Professor of Church History at Brigham Young University E. Dale LeBaron, who in an August 1990 article wrote, “It is evident that the Lord loves the people of Africa and desires to bless these patient people. The Church is having a great impact on the lives of these Africans, and they in turn are having, and will continue to have, a great impact upon the Church.”

In the same vein, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 2011 commented, “Africa will someday be seen as a bright land full of gospel hope and happiness.”

One of the ways in which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints marks its growth is through the construction of temples, where people can achieve a closer connection to God, as they perform sacred temple ordinances for themselves and loved ones who have passed away. Africa’s first temple opened its doors in Johannesburg in 1985, servicing the entire continent, with faithful saints travelling many kilometers over many hours, sometimes even days, to come and experience the joy of worshipping in the Lord’s house.

A map shows the Church’s temples throughout the African continent. Temples and their statuses are as of January 21, 2022. Graphic by Aaron Thorup, courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Currently, there are five temples operating in Africa, but with the surge of new memberships, seventeen more temples will be operational within the continent in future. Of the seventeen, five are currently under construction, and 12 have recently been announced.

The church was first established in Africa in 1853, with Cape Town as its first point of contact. While growth was steady, the biggest surge came in the 1980s.

As the church expands in Africa, church materials are being translated more widely into African languages. At last count, The Book of Mormon has been translated into eighteen languages spoken on the African continent, including:

  • Afrikaans
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Efik
  • FanteLingala
  • Igbo
  • isiXhosa
  • isiZulu
  • Kinyarwanda
  • Kisii
  • Kiswahili
  • Malagasy
  • South Sotho
  • Setswana
  • Shona
  • Twi
  • Yoruba

To view which resources are available in your local language, click on "Online Store" on or browse the Gospel Library App in your native language.

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