Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 45,644,000; Members, 163,764; Stakes, 27; Wards, 167; Branches, 98; Missions, 4; Districts, 13; Temples, 1; percent LDS, .36, or one in 279; South America North Area.
Located in the northwest corner of South America, Colombia is a republic.
Andes Mission president J. Vernon Sharp and his wife, Fawn, visited Bogota in 1960 to assess prospects for missionary work. However, active efforts did not begin until early 1966, when approximately 45 members, mostly North Americans, were meeting in branches in Bogota and Cali. Two missionaries, Randall Harmsen and Jerry Broome of the Andes Mission, were assigned to Bogota in May of that year. They soon rented the former residence of a military general for the first Church meetinghouse. Among the first converts in Bogota was Antonio Vela. Aura Ivars was the first convert in Cali. A government resolution on 6 December 1966 gave the Church legal status. The Colombia-Venezuela Mission was created in 1968. By 1971, there were 27 branches established in 10 cities, and the mission was divided, with the new Colombian Mission headquartered in Bogota. In 1975, the Colombia Cali Mission was created and the Colombia Barranquilla Mission was formed in 1988. Seminaries and institutes were begun in 1972, and by 1976, there were 900 students taking part in the educational programs.
President Spencer W. Kimball visited Colombia and spoke to a gathering of 4,600 at an area conference on 5 March 1977. That year, the first stake in Colombia was created in Bogota on 23 January. Two years later, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visited Colombia in January 1979.
In September 1989, internal political difficulties led to a temporary withdrawal of North American missionaries. In the 1980s and early 1990s, extremists occasionally committed acts of violence against Church facilities. Despite these problems, missionary work continued to progress. Membership in Colombia by 1999 had reached 129,105. The first General Authority from Colombia was Julio Davila, who was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1991.
A temple was announced for Colombia on 7 April 1984, and a site for the temple was announced in 1988. However, construction was delayed pending government approvals. Following countrywide fasts of Latter-day Saints, government approval was received and the long-awaited construction of the Bogota Colombia Temple began in the late spring of 1995. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Bogota 8 November 1996, spoke to 7,100 members, and toured the temple construction project while there. After 15 years, the temple was dedicated on 24 April 1999, in what President Hinckley called "the greatest event in the history of Colombia."
Earlier that year, on 25 January 1999, a devastating earthquake struck the mountain community of Armenia, Colombia, and the Church responded immediately with relief supplies. The day after the earthquake which killed 920 people including three Church members, a truck from the stakes in Bogota arrived in Armenia with food, clothing, and water. Two trucks arrived later from Cali and another from the two stakes in Medellin and nearby districts.
In 2002, membership reached 139,351, and 146,302 in 2004.
The warm relationship between the Church and this South American country was highlighted 2 December 2005 when the Colombian Congress honored the Church for its humanitarian service that has bettered the lives Colombians in need. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy accepted the congressional commendation.
Sources: Andes Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Colombian Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Gordon Irving, "Colombia: A Background Paper," Church Archives; Sistema Educativa de La Iglesia, Historia de la Iglesia en Colombia, 1986; Bombing of the El Prado Ward meetinghouse, January 1994, Church Archives; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Jack E. Jarrard, "Church in Colombia Moving Ahead," Church News, 1 February 1969; Colleen J. Heniger, "The Saints in Colombia," Ensign, October, 1976; "Colombia," Ensign, February 1977; Dell Van Orden, "Love, Respect and Emotion End Area Conference Series," Church News, 12 March 1977; "9 Missions Created, World Total Now 221," Church News, 19 March 1988; "Work Begins on Colombia Temple," Church News, 3 June 1995; "Prophet Visits South America," Church News, 16 November 1996; "Hundreds of LDS Affected by Earthquake, Church News, 6 February 1999; John L. Hart, "Greatest Event in History of Colombia," Church News, 1 May 1999; Jason Swensen, "Colombian Congress honors LDS humanitarian service," Church News, 10 December 2005.
Stakes — 27
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
South America North Area
1537 / *Barranquilla Colombia El Carmen / 30 May 1992
Barranquilla Colombia / 30 May 1985 / Libardo Rodriguez
1879 / Barranquilla Colombia Hipodromo / 31 May 1992 / Donaldo A. Osorio P.
1880 / Barranquilla Colombia Paraiso / 31 May 1992 / Jose Peralbo Aparicio
805 / Bogota Colombia / 23 Jan 1977 / Julio E. Davila P.
1113 / Bogota Colombia Ciudad Jardin / 2 Mar 1980 / Miguel Oswaldo Porras
1659 / Bogota Colombia El Dorado / 18 Oct 1987 / Humberto Lopez S.
2326 / Bogota Colombia El Salitre / 16 Mar 1997 / Orlando Moscoso P.
2336 / Bogota Colombia Granada / 13 Apr 1997 / Hector Hernandez Malaver
1008 / Bogota Colombia Kennedy / 11 Mar 1979 / Miguel A. Vargas
2327 / Bogota Colombia Suba / 16 Mar 1997 / Juan Alfonso Cerquera
2382 / Bogota Colombia Tunjuelito / 22 Jun 1997 / David Fabian Saavedra L.
1308 / Bucaramanga Colombia / 22 Nov 1981 / Horacio Julio Insignarez
2666 / Bucaramanga Colombia Terrazas / 16 Jan 2005 / Nelson Ardila Vasquez
937 / Cali Colombia 10 Jun 1978 / Luis Alfonso Rios
1054 / Cali Colombia Americas / 24 Aug 1979 / Libber A. Montoya O.
2306 / Cali Colombia Versalles / 9 Feb 1997 / Arnold Porras Martinez
2377 / Cartagena Colombia / 15 Jun 1997 / Rafael A. Ulloque Barrios
2613a / Cartagena Colombia Los Alpes / 18 May 2003 / Jairo de Jesus Bardi Lopez
2698 / Cucuta Colombia / 4 Dec 2005 / Javier Orlando Manosalva A.
2845 / Duitama Columbia / 28 Jun 2009 / Jairo Alonso Morales Correa
1697 / Medellin Colombia / 5 Jun 1988 / Arnold Porras Martinez
2213 / Medellin Colombia Belen / 14 Jul 1996 / Harold Cristian Cruz Arango
2738 / Monteria Colombia / 5 Nov 2006 / Efrain Ernesto Chavez Cabrales
2363 / Neiva Colombia / 25 May 1997 / Carlos Julio Cubillos Mora
2161 / Pasto Colombia / 11 Feb 1996 / Jose L.Santacruz Fernandez
1968 / Pereira Colombia / 19 Dec 1993 / Jose Luis Gonzalez
2606b / Soacha Colombia / 16 Mar 2003 / Walter Ciro Caldero R.
2739 / Valledupar Colombia / 12 Nov 2006 / Climaco G. Barragan Romero
1878 / Barranquilla Colombia Cevillar / 31 May 1992 / Carlos M. Lopez M.
Discontinued 1 Nov 1998
2391 / Cali Colombia Jardin / 7 Sep 1997 / Nestor Antonio Lopez
Discontinued 29 June 2008
2245 / Ibague Colombia / 13 Oct 1996 / Cesar Hernando Bravo Parra
Discontinued 21 May 2000
Missions — 4
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(215) COLOMBIA BARRANQUILLA MISSION
Apartado Aereo 50710
Calle 82 No. 55-20, Apto 2
Barranquilla Atlantico, Colombia
(79a) COLOMBIA BOGOTA NORTH MISSION
Apartado Aereo 90746
Sante fe de Bogota 8, D.C.
(270) COLOMBIA BOGOTA SOUTH MISSION
Apartado Aereo 77604
Santa Fe de Bogota DC
(120) COLOMBIA CALI MISSION
Apartado Aereo 4892