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United States information: Hawaii

United States information: Hawaii


Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 304,060,000; Members, 5,974,041; Stakes, 1,438; Wards, 11,289; Branches, 2,074; Districts, 12; Missions, 106;Temples in use, 62; under construction or announced, 7; Percent LDS, 2, or one in 51.

A few stakes and missions have headquarters in states other than that for which they are named. To simplify this listing, these stakes and missions are listed in the states for which they are named. Numbers preceding stakes and missions are their chronological numbers assigned at the time of creation. Letters are added if number has been used previously.

(* Stake name changed 14 Jan 1974 or as indicated otherwise.)


Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 1,288,000; Members, 68,128; Stakes, 15; Wards, 122; Branches, 10; Missions, 1; Temples, 2; Percent LDS: 5.3, or one in 19.

Four missionaries were called in 1843 to go to the Sandwich Islands, as they were then known. They stopped instead at Tubuai, one of the southern islands of French Polynesia. In 1846, Sam Brannan and his party of Mormon immigrants aboard the ship Brooklyn stopped in Hawaii, en route to California and the Great Basin.

In 1850, gold-mining elders serving in northern California were called to open a mission in Polynesia. They landed in Honolulu 12 Dec. 1850, under the direction of Hiram Clark. On 10 Feb. 1851, Clark baptized a 16-year-old Hawaiian man, the first convert in Hawaii. Some missionaries were not as successful and returned discouraged to the mainland. But George Q. Cannon, James Keeler, William Farrer, Henry W. Bigler, and James Hawkins remained and converted a number of people. Cannon baptized three well-educated Hawaiians, Jonathan Napela, Uaua, and Kaleohano, who later became prominent missionaries for the Church.

On 6 Aug. 1851, the Kula Branch was organized in the village of Kealakou on the island of Maui. At a conference on 18 August, four more branches were organized in Keanae, Wailua, Wainau and Nonomanu. During that year membership reached 220. The first meetinghouse on the islands was built in 1852 in Pulehu on the island of Maui. It still stands. By 1854, a colony and plantation were started at Lanai as a place of refuge from persecution from other religious groups.

Perhaps the best known missionary to the Sandwich Islands was a future Church president, Joseph F. Smith, who began his first mission when he was 15-years-old. Arriving in 1854, he worked in the islands for three years, serving as conference president on Maui, Hawaii and Molokai. He eventually served three missions to Hawaii. President Smith was so beloved by Hawaiian saints that immigrants from Hawaii to Utah named their settlement in Tooele County, "Iosepa," as he was known in Hawaiian.

The Book of Mormon was published in Hawaiian in 1855. In 1857 and 1858, missionaries left for the mainland because of the Utah War. No missionaries returned until July 1861, when Walter Murray Gibson arrived. He was a recent convert called on a mission to the South Pacific. He soon usurped Church leadership and took over the Church organization and property. Leading Hawaiian elders notified the Church of Gibson's actions and Brigham Young sent Elder Ezra T. Benson and Lorenzo Snow of the Quorum of the Twelve to investigate. Soon after their arrival they excommunicated Gibson. Elders Benson and Snow also took measures to resume active missionary work under the direction of Joseph F. Smith.

Defrauded by Gibson of its property in Lanai, the Church purchased 6,000 acres at Laie, on the island of Oahu, on 26 Jan. 1865. Soon thereafter, a colony, school and sugar factory were started.

Sunday School was introduced to the islands in 1871, YMMIA in 1872, Relief Society in 1875, and Primary in 1883. In 1877, Church leaders were given permission by the Hawaiian government to perform marriages. This came in part due to better relations with the Hawaiian government after visits by the King and Queen to the colony at Laie in 1872.

Later, many of the Hawaiians wanted to gather to Utah to receive their temple blessings, so the Church purchased a ranch in Skull Valley, near Tooele, Utah, and the Hawaiian Saints founded the colony of Iosepa in 1889. By 1910 the colony was disbanded and the colonists returned to Hawaii.

The Church built a temple in Laie, which was dedicated 27 Nov. 1919. The temple was extensively remodeled in the 1970s and rededicated on 13 June 1978.

The Oahu Stake, the first in Hawaii, and the first outside of North America, was created 30 June 1935, by Heber J. Grant. While visiting there, the former missionary to Japan felt a need for a mission to the many Japanese people in Hawaii. On 24 Feb. 1937, the Japanese Mission (later called the Central Pacific Mission) was organized in Hawaii. Over the next dozen years, nearly 700 Japanese-Americans were converted. Many of the missionaries and converts helped open and continue missionary work in Japan after World War II. Hawaiian members also opened the door for missionary work in many South Pacific islands. The Central Pacific Mission was merged with the Hawaiian mission in 1950.

Taking advantage of a law allowing one hour per week from school for students to study religion, classes were started in the school year 1938-1939 for young Latter-day Saints to study their faith. With that success, formal seminary classes were introduced in 1941. Those classes were discontinued in 1948 when a Supreme Court ruling prohibited churches using school facilities as classrooms. Early-morning seminary was introduced in 1953.

During World War II most young men of missionary age were called into the service and missionary work was dramatically reduced. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Church services were discontinued between December 1941 and October 1942 due to the danger that armed attacks might pose to large groups meeting together. During the war, to compensate for the loss of missionaries, many servicemen were assigned to do part-time missionary work on the islands.

The Church College of Hawaii opened in Laie on 26 Sept. 1955 in temporary buildings. Formal dedication of the new campus was held on 17 Dec. 1958. Many members from the South Pacific and Asia have been educated there. On 1 July 1974 the college came under the direction of BYU and had its name changed to BYU-Hawaii. On 12 Oct. 1963, the Polynesian Cultural Center, a cluster of villages representing various South Pacific cultures, was opened. It quickly became one of Hawaii's most popular tourist attractions.

A small temple in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii, was dedicated 23 Jan. 2000, the sesquicentennial year of the establishment of the Church in the Hawaiian Islands.

Membership reached 61,715 in 2003.

President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, joined students, faculty and alumni in a weeklong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Brigham Young University-Hawaii held Oct 16-23, 2005. He recounted an experience of Elder David O. McKay, then of the Quorum of the Twelve. During a visit 84 years earlier, Elder McKay envisioned a Church school of higher learning for Laie, to complement the then recently dedicated Hawaii Temple. Years later, in February 1955, as president of the Church, President McKay presided over the groundbreaking. Classes commenced in September of that year with 153 students. By 2005, there were 2,400 students from Asia, the Pacific Islands, the United States and many other parts of the world.

In 2004, membership reached 64,608. In 2005, membership reached 65,447.

Sources: Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; R. Lanier Britsch, Moramona: The Mormons in Hawaii, 1989; Margaret Comfort Bock, The Church of Jesus Christ in the Hawaiian Islands," thesis, 1941; Julie A. Dockstader, "Second sacred edifice in Hawaiian Islands," Church News, 29 January 2000; Richard C. Harvey, "The development of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii," thesis, 1974; Gerry Avant, "Hawaiian jubilee," Church News, 29 October 2005.

Stakes — 15

(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)

No. / Name / Organized / First President

North America West Area

807 / *BYU-Hawaii 1st / 22 Nov 1981 / BYU-Hawaii / 23 Jan 1977 / Eric B. Shumway

1313 / BYU-Hawaii 2nd / 22 Nov 1981 / Herbert Kamaka Sproat

2654 / BYU-Hawaii 3rd / 24 Oct 2004 / Von Dean Orgill

473 / *Hilo Hawaii

Hilo / 15 Dec 1968 / Rex Alton Cheney

222 / *Honolulu Hawaii

Honolulu (Hawaii, Guam) / 28 Aug 1955 / J. A. Quealy Jr.

348 / *Honolulu Hawaii West

Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) / 4 Feb 1962 / George Q. Cannon

729 / Kahului Hawaii / 9 Nov 1975 / Evan Allan Larsen

560 / *Kaneohe Hawaii

Kaneohe (Hawaii) / 21 Nov 1971 / Robert H. Finlayson

851 / Kauai Hawaii / 24 Jul 1977 / Garner Dalton Wood

669 / Kona Hawaii / 24 Nov 1974 / Haven J. Stringham

113 / *Laie Hawaii

Oahu / 30 Jun 1935 / Ralph E. Wooley

1395 / Laie Hawaii North / 16 Jan 1983 / Willard Kaaihue Kekauoha

2291 / Makakilo Hawaii / 8 Dec 1996 / Ruben J. K. Paet

1103 / Mililani Hawaii / 3 Feb 1980 / Kotaro Koizumi

566 / *Waipahu Hawaii

Pearl Harbor West (Hawaii) / 20 Feb 1972 / William E. Fuhrmann

Mission — 1

(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)


1500 S. Beretania St., Suite 416

Honolulu, HI 96826

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