The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tonga
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) (Tongan: Siasi ʻo Sīsū Kalaisi ʻo e Kau Māʻoniʻoni ʻi he Ngaahi ʻAho Kimui Ní or Siasi Māmonga) was established in Tonga in 1891. According to the LDS Church, Tonga has a higher per-capita number of Latter-day Saints than any other country in the world.
The current membership of the church is 60,680, which represents 57% of the population of Tonga.
As of year-end 2007, the LDS Church reported 54,281 members, 16 stakes, 2 districts, 125 wards, 39 branches, 1 mission, and 1 temple in Tonga. The claimed membership total represents approximately 46% of the population of the kingdom.
In 1996, the LDS Church reported about a third of the Tonga's population to be members. However, according to 1996 census data, 14% of the population self-identified as Latter-day Saints at the time. LDS Church membership statistics are different from self-reported statistics mainly because the LDS Church does not remove an individual’s name from its membership rolls based on inactivity in the church.
When the first LDS Church missionaries in Tonga arrived in Tonga on July 15, 1891, Tonga was part of the church's Samoan Mission. On July 8, 1916, the Tongan Mission was organized. The mission at the time included much of the South Pacific. The mission was renamed the Tonga Mission on June 10, 1970. On July 23, 1971, the Tonga Mission was divided and the Fiji Mission was created from it. The Tonga Mission was renamed the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission on June 20, 1974.
The church's Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple was dedicated in 1983 and was rededicated in 2007.
|23. Nuku'alofa Tonga|
- Church News: Country information: Tonga, lds.org, accessed 2010-08-21.
- 1997-98 Deseret News Church Almanac. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News).
- United States Department of State, "Tonga" in International Religious Freedom Report 2008, state.gov, accessed 2008-10-21.
- Membership, Retention on the Rise.“News of the Church,” Ensign, Jun 2007, 75–80. Church membership growth numbers are often interpreted inaccurately, which can lead to misconceptions in the media, Brother Buckner said. Therefore, it is important to clearly understand what these numbers signify. They represent the number of Church members, but they do not represent activity rates. The Church does not remove an individual’s name from its membership rolls based on inactivity.
- "Church Statistics Reflect Steady Growth". LDS Newsroom. 11 April 2007 it is a challenge for the Church to keep track of all of its members, especially if they do not regularly attend Sunday services. The Church does not remove an individual’s name from its membership rolls based on inactivity.
- Public to Tour Renovated Temple in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, "Press release", Newsroom (LDS Church), 2007-07-10, retrieved 2012-10-07
- Weaver, Sara Jane (2007-11-05), "LDS Tonga Temple rededicated", Deseret Morning News, retrieved 2012-10-07
- New Zealand/Pacific Islands LDS Newsroom
- Church News: Country information: Tonga
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Official Site (New Zealand/Pacific Islands)