Church History Then and Now


three youth

Recent changes in the missionary age requirements and the new Sunday learning experience for youth remind us that Church history is always evolving—with your membership and experience being a special part. See how the Church has grown over the years, and look forward to how it will change during your lifetime. You can play an important part in it as you prepare to serve God and His Kingdom.

Temples Built throughout the World*

Your Part: As temples continue to be built throughout the world, think about how you can participate in temple work. Talk with your family about the possibility of attending the temple to do baptisms for the dead. You can participate in FamilySearch to find ancestors who may not yet have received their saving ordinances in the temple. And always live worthy of a temple recommend.

temples infographic

Number of Stakes since 1830*

Your Part: As you can see, the Church is growing faster than ever before. Read Elder M. Russell Ballard’s quote below, and then think about the special gifts you have been given and can keep developing to help the Church reach individuals throughout the world. You will have many opportunities as “you are true and faithful to the doctrine and gospel of Christ,” says Elder Ballard. Consider writing in your journal or talking with your family about the decisions you will make in your youth and how you are preparing now to be worthy to serve the Lord in Church callings and other opportunities in the future.

stakes infographic

Church Membership since 1830*

Your Part: Think about what you can do to share the gospel today. Consider praying for opportunities to be a missionary in your youth. Young men, prepare now to be a full-time missionary.

membership infographic

You Are the Future Church Leaders

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“In the Church, your leaders at the ward, stake, and general levels will be inspired to call you to serve in those callings that you have prepared yourself for as a result of your wise choices to keep the commandments of God.

“Thirty years from now the leadership of the Church will largely depend on how well each one of you is prepared to fulfill the calls to serve in the Church that will come to you. …

“… Suppose the Church creates 100 stakes a year. That means by 2040, just 30 years from now, the number of stakes will have doubled to approximately 6,000. … Now ask yourself—where are the 6,000 stake presidents? Where are their first counselors, second counselors, executive secretaries, clerks? Where are the 6,000 times 12, or 72,000, high councilors? And suppose that every stake has an average of 10 units … , where are the 60,000 bishops, first counselors, second counselors, executive secretaries, clerks, elders quorum presidents and their counselors, … Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidents and counselors, and on and on? Where are they? … You are they! Will you be ready to accept the callings that the Lord will extend to you? …

“… I pray with all of my heart that you’ll do those things tonight that you need to do if you need to make some course corrections in the way you’re living.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Follow the Doctrine and Gospel of Christ” (Church Educational System fireside, Nov. 7, 2010, LDS.org).

Show References

  1.   *

    Numbers reflect the statistics as of December 31 of each year listed.

  2.   **

    The Kirtland Temple was dedicated in 1836 but had to be abandoned when the Saints moved west. It was no longer in use in 1840.

  3.   ***

    The Nauvoo Temple was dedicated in 1846 but had to be abandoned when the Saints moved west. It was no longer in use in 1850. It was later burned by fire and then rebuilt and dedicated in 2002.