Area (LDS Church)
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), an area is an administrative unit which typically is composed of multiple stakes and missions. These areas are the primary church administrative unit between individual stakes or missions and the church as a whole.
The areas as they now exist were formed in January 1984. Prior to that time, general authorities served as "area supervisors" and at times resided outside of Salt Lake City. In 1984, 13 initial areas were created; by 1992 there were 22, and by early 2007 there were 31. As of August 2019 there are 21 areas.
Future area divisionEdit
On June 28, 2019, the First Presidency announced a future area division which will go into effect in August 2020, when the nations comprising the current Africa Southeast Area will be split between the new Africa Central Area and the renamed Africa South Area.
On August 19, 2019, while on assignment in the Africa Southeast Area, W. Christopher Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, announced that the headquarters for the new Africa Central Area will be based in Nairobi Kenya, and identified by name the nations that will constitute the new area in August 2020. As a result of the planned area division, effective August 2020, there will be 22 geographical areas of the church.
Until 2003, each area had a president and two counselors, all of whom were typically general authorities (area seventies were sometimes asked to be counselors). This three-man body was known as the area presidency. In that year, the church eliminated area presidencies for areas located in the United States and Canada, which were all then placed under the direct supervision of one of the members of the Presidency of the Seventy, thus freeing more general authorities from specific area assignments. Since these areas were previously administered by area presidencies located at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, the administrative change was not as drastic as it might seem.
In April 2018, the church announced that, effective August 1, areas in the United States and Canada would once again be supervised by a three-man presidency. This will enable members of the Presidency of the Seventy to more fully assist the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in their duties, and to fill other assignments as needed.
Roughly one year later, in 2019, church leaders clarified that the 10 North American areas would be merged into 6 (with the Idaho and North America Central areas being consolidated into the North America Central, the North America Northwest, and North America West areas being consolidated into the North America West Area, and the Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South areas being consolidated into a single Utah Area.
Also unique to the 2019 assignments was a change in the administration of the Middle East/Africa North Area. In prior years, two General Authority Seventies were assigned oversight for that area, which was administered from headquarters. However, beginning in August 2019, a three-man area presidency will serve the needs of that area. While the president and first counselor are General Authority Seventies who will continue their oversight from headquarters, the second counselor, an area seventy who lives and works within the boundaries of the area, will continue to do so and serve as a member of the area presidency.
The areas outside the United States and Canada continue to be governed by area presidencies that are typically composed of general authorities and area seventies. Rather than living in Salt Lake City, the area presidency members in these areas usually reside in a headquarters city that is located within the geographic boundaries of the area. Area seventies who serve in the area presidencies reside in their own homes, which may or may not be in the area headquarters city.
The church now has 15 areas outside North America and 6 areas inside North America for a total of 21. Area presidency assignments are generally filled by General Authority Seventies or area seventies]].Area assignments are typically announced in the spring each year, with changes effective that year on August 1.
The following is an alphabetical list of the areas of the church and related leadership assignments as of 1 August 2019.
The following statistics are current as of August 1, 2019, and are taken from the LDS Church Growth Blog, statistical profiles on cumorah.com, and the Facts and Statistics page of the Church's official website (www.churchofjesuschrist.org). Ward and branch totals and membership numbers were last updated in 2015.
- Allen, James B. and Glen M. Leonard. The Story of the Latter-day Saints 2nd Edition, p. 654.
- Mehr, Kahlile (Spring 2001). "Area Supervision: Administration of the Worldwide Church, 1960-2002". Journal of Mormon History. 27 (1): 192–214.
- Africa Southeast Area to be Divided into Two Areas, South African Newsroom, 28 June 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- Africa Central Area Office to be in Nairobi Kenya, South African Newsroom, 19 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- First Presidency Announces 2018 Area Leadership Assignments, Mormon Newsroom, 5 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- First Presidency Announces 2019 Area Leadership Assignments, lds.org, 26 April 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- Although [[area seventies may serve in an area presidency. In limited cases in the past, area seventies have comprised the whole presidency, but in recent years only a few area seventies have served in an area presidency. As of August 2019, the church has two area seventies serving in area presidencies: the Second Counselors in the Europe East and Middle East/Africa North Areas.
- For several years, the assignments were effective on August 15, but August 1 has been the effective date since 2007.
- The developing Church in Mongolia now belongs to the North Asia region, Newsroom: Mongolia, 24 July 2019, retrieved 30 July 2019.
- Current as of mid or late 2013. Information taken from lds.org and cumorah.com.