LDS Growth Encyclopedia on Missionary Work and Church Growth (Missiology)

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Church Directory of Organizations and Leaders (CDOL)

Author: Matt Martinich

Posted: May 3rd, 2014

The Church Directory of Organizations and Leaders (CDOL) is an online directory that provides detailed information on church organizations and leadership throughout the world. Church organizational information in the directory includes data on the geographical boundaries and organization of areas, stakes, districts, missions, wards, and branches, as well as creation dates and discontinuation dates for organizations. Leader information includes the names and contact information for virtually all church leaders around the world from branch presidents to General Authorities. Prior to launching a web-based directory, the Church released organization and leadership information on compact disk. The purpose of CDOL is to provide church leaders and employees with the needed organizational and leadership information to fulfill their responsibilities.[1] The sign-in page can be found at https://cdol.lds.org.

Ordinary church members may sign into CDOL but they only have access to reports providing congregation and organizational totals for countries with a non-sensitive church presence. All other functions of CDOL are granted to only members who hold certain callings that assign these privileges such as bishop and ward clerk. The ability for members and church employees to view and edit information in CDOL depends on their position. For example, only certain callings with CDOL directory permissions can access organization information for sensitive countries like Pakistan and China. The directory also contains data on discontinued and pending units but access to these data are restricted to only certain positions. The Church only permits members with leadership positions or callings that involve record keeping responsibilities access to the directory due to the sensitive nature of the contact information for church leaders around the world.

CDOL provides a wealth of information on changes in unit totals through organization reports. In addition to providing current country-by-country mission, temple, stake, district, ward, and branch totals and the names, locations, and configuration of these organizations, reports also provide state-by-state or province-by-province data for many individual countries. These data permit a more detailed study of church growth within individual countries as organizations are one of the strongest indications of real church growth in the LDS Church. The Church updates unit information on a daily basis resulting in CDOL providing the most current data source for the creation and discontinuation of wards, branches, stakes, and districts. Those with directory access can obtain specific information on the creation dates of operating units; another valuable tool in evaluating past growth.

CDOL provides information on language usage within the Church. In late 2012, CDOL listed 719 spoken languages for church units around the world. The designation of spoken language for church units does not determine in what language leaders conduct a congregation but rather the presence of any members who speak the language. Currently the Church publishes written materials in less than 180 languages. It is unclear whether the Church has at least one speaker of all 719 spoken languages listed in CDOL, or whether the Church has selected some of the most commonly spoken languages in the world to include in the database for future use.

Missiology and church growth researchers do not publish information that is confidential or sensitive in nature from CDOL according to the conditions of use on the website.  Researchers focus on the numbers and locations of wards and branches provided by CDOL to assist in calculating national outreach, member activity rates, and church growth trends through assessing congregational and organizational growth rates.   


[1]  "CDOL Procedures," LDS TECH, retrieved 18 September 2012.  https://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/CDOL_Procedures