Many Latter-day Saints throughout the world worship in branches of fewer than 100 members. They live with a unique combination of challenges and blessings, yet they still enjoy the program of the Church and the spirit of the gospel.
In many of these small branches, members may drive long distances, have multiple callings, or meet in rented buildings. Yet they can also enjoy a unity that comes from shared gospel beliefs, values, and goals. Close relationships develop as a result of service to one another. In such circumstances, each member is needed and develops teaching and leadership skills through Church callings. Each family that is activated or each new member that is baptized is as a treasure and benefits the branch and brings joy to everyone.
Throughout much of the world, small branches provide the foundation for the future growth of the Church in their areas. The dedication, devotion, and sacrifice of these members build “the kingdom of God” little by little as part of the “stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands [that] shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth” (D&C 65:2). Their pioneer-like contributions cannot be underestimated.
Following are stories of three branches:
In Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, members feel the hardships of a stalled economy but have been drawn together as a family unit through service projects and consistent home teaching and visiting teaching.
In Bridgeport, Connecticut, which is surrounded by many inner-city social and economic problems, members and leaders of the Bridgeport Branch reach out from positions of gospel strength to lift and succor each other.
In Warroad, Minnesota, Latter-day Saints willingly drive long distances to attend Church meetings and activities. With special success among their youth, members enjoy spiritual growth and increasing acceptance from the community.