Thursday, June 6, 2013

May Update on Mission Assignments by Language

Doctrine and Covenants 90:11.  For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.

13 May Languages by AreaThe Church trains missionaries in about fifty languages.  My sample size is now 223 and includes twenty three languages.  The sample is about twice as large as my original sample but still relies too heavily on calls received in May 2013.  The primary problem with May data is that it has an unusually large number of calls to missions operating in the United States, 52% of all calls compared to a three month moving average of 37%.  This skews the data to overestimate the number of missionaries serving in the United States and speaking English.  Even with the weaknesses of the sample, interesting results emerge. 

The three most common languages spoken by missionaries are the languages of European colonizers, English, Spanish and Portuguese and the calls are issued in much greater numbers to their former colonies than to the colonizing nations.  Forty-two percent of calls were to speak English and only 2% of those calls were to England.  English is the most common language of calls issued to missionaries assigned to Africa and Oceania.  Spanish is the second most common language, used by 38% of all missionaries.  A modest .4% of calls to preach the gospel in Spanish are issued to missionaries assigned to Spain.  Portuguese repeats the pattern.  Six percent of all calls were issued in Portuguese, 5% in South America, .4% in Africa, and only .4% in Portugal. 

The most commonly spoken languages native to the countries where the missionaries are assigned are Japanese (4.5%), Tagalog (2.2%), Russian (1.8%), English (1.8%) and Korean (1.3%). 

The language assignments also show some modern migratory patterns: Spanish in the United States, Canada and Australia and Mandarin in the United Kingdom.  There is no evidence of the Church following the migration of Muslims to Europe or the United States by examining language assignments.

In future posts, I will compare languages assigned to Elders and Sisters and breakout languages in the seven areas listed above by country. 

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