The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

As of January 1, 2011, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) reported 563,689 members in 74 stakes and 23 districts, 620 congregations (421 wards[1] and 199 branches),[1] nine missions, and one temple in Chile.[2]


The LDS Church has flourished in Chile for the past forty years, becoming, by some estimates, the second largest church in the country.

Early apostle Parley P. Pratt was among the first Mormon missionaries to preach in Chile, landing in Valparaiso in November, 1851, along with Elder Rufus Allen and Phoebe Sopher, one of Pratt's wives, who was pregnant at the time. The mission party was impressed by the Chilean countryside and people. Pratt wrote that the people he met in Chile were "a neat, plain, loving and sociable people; very friendly, frank, and easy to become acquainted with," but the mission trip met with tragedy when the Pratt's month-old son died in January 1852.[3] Hampered by language difficulties and a lack of literature in the Spanish language (selections of the Book of Mormon were not translated into Spanish until 1875)[4] the missionaries left Chile after four months without having a successful baptism.[3] Pratt used his experience in South America to advise Brigham Young that the success of future missionary efforts would be based on translations of the Mormon scriptures.[5] Another difficulty was that, at the time of Pratt's visit, the Chilean constitution did not permit the practice of any religion besides Catholicism.[6]

Missionary work in Chile began in earnest in 1956, when the country was made part of the Argentine mission and the first small branch was formed.[7] By 1961, the country had 1,100 members and the Chilean mission was organized. The following three decades saw explosive growth in church membership, with the church membership doubling every two years at its peak.[3] The growth sparked a building boom during these decades. Hundreds of LDS meetinghouses were constructed, capped by the dedication of the Santiago Temple in 1983. Church growth continued in the 1990s, with the country having the greatest growth in LDS membership in South America during the decade. Between 1994 and 1996, 26 new stakes were dedicated in the country.[7] A second temple, in Concepción, was announced in 2009.

Although an average of 12,000 people were baptized annually between 1961 and 1990, membership growth has now cooled and the church has a large number of inactive members. According to census data, 0.9% of the population claims to be Mormon, based upon those aged 15 and over who identify themselves as Mormon. The church itself reports that it has 543,628 members in Chile, which is equal to about 3.3% of the population. If accurate, these numbers makes the LDS Church the single largest denomination in Chile after Catholicism.[8] LDS statistics counts everyone baptized, including children age eight or older as well as inactive members. Using unofficial sources, the Cumorah Project website estimates that 20% of Chilean members actively attend church services.[9] The church is now retrenching after its period of high growth and hundreds of units have been decommissioned since 1998.[9] In 2002, the church sent Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to remain in Chile for a year to train leadership and minister to the church,[10] a role typically held by members of the quorums of the seventy. Due to high levels of member inactivity, 37% of the stakes created in Chile have since been discontinued.[11]

Jorge F. Zeballos, a former mining engineer, is a Chilean-born LDS general authority. He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April, 2008.[12] Zeballos is the second Chilean to serve as a general authority. He followed Eduardo Ayala, who served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 1990 to 1995.



Santiago Chile Temple.jpg

24. Santiago Chile edit


Santiago, Chile
2 April 1980
15 September 1983 by Gordon B. Hinckley
12 March 2006 by Gordon B. Hinckley
33°26′10.22640″S 70°36′34.27560″W / 33.4361740000°S 70.6095210000°W / -33.4361740000; -70.6095210000 (Santiago Chile Temple)
20,831 sq ft (1,935 m2) and 76 ft (23 m) high on a 2.61 acre (1.1 ha) site

161. Concepción Chile (Under Construction) edit


Concepción, Chile
3 October 2009
17 October 2015 by Walter F. González[15]
Announced by Thomas S. Monson in General Conference, 3 October 2009.[13][14]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

External links[edit]