After humble beginnings, Church prospers in Brazil

PROVO, Utah — After a humble beginning and slow growth from the 1930s through 1970s, the Church in Brazil experienced fast expansion in the 1980s and early 1990s. Today, said Marcus H. Martins, an associate professor of religious instruction at BYU-Hawaii, the Church in Brazil is experiencing a period of retrenchment and consolidation.

Still, growth is dramatic. After serving as a bishop in Brazil, Brother Martins left the country. When he returned a short time later, half the congregation of his former ward did not know him.

"The numeric growth of the Church may be seen as the natural consequence of the spiritual and temporal growth of the people," he said during the Sydney B. Sperry Symposium Sept. 30. "Don't get caught up in the numbers. It is the spiritual and temporal growth of the people that cause the numbers."

Brother Martins said interviews with local leaders in Brazil give an indication of the factors affecting the growth in the country. They include:

  • Proximity of General Authorities.
  • Youth serving full-time missions.
  • Frequent training.
  • Reactivation and retention.
  • Involvement of leaders.
  • Temple experience.
  • Integration between stakes and missions.
  • Receptivity of the people.
  • Local full-time missions.
  • The 1978 revelation on the priesthood.

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