BETA

Country information: Gabon

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 1,515,000; Members, fewer than 100; Africa Southeast Area;DR Congo Kinshasa Mission.

Gabon, in western Africa, borders the Atlantic Ocean, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. It became independent from France on 19 August 1960. The people are predominantly Christian, while less than 1 percent are Muslim. The official language is French, with Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi also spoken.

The first records showing Church activity in Gabon indicate that three Church members met together in Libreville, in the early 1980s, for Sunday School meetings. They were Jacqueline Poulette Augustin Demolombe, from France, Ron Mortensen, an employee of the American Embassy, and Mbanzabugabo Celestin. Celestin was born in Gabon and baptized in Germany on 7 November 1980.

Jerome Obounou-Mbogo, a Gabonese diplomat, visited Utah in August 1990 and met with Elders Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve and Richard P. Lindsay of the Second Quorum of Seventy. Jean Mickouma, a member of the Church from Gabon, accompanied Obounou to Salt Lake City. Mickouma joined the Church several years earlier while working in Washington, D.C.

The Church received permission to enter the country in 1992. Gabon was assigned to the Africa West Area on 15 August 1998. On 15 August 2003, it was transferred to the Africa Southeast Area. There are no branches or missions. Few members live in the country, but occasionally members have served there in behalf of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies over the past decades.

Sources: "African Dignitary Visits Church Headquarter," Church News, 25 August 1990; "7 New Missions Created; Total Now 275," Church News, 29, February 1992; "Three Areas to be Realigned Aug. 15," Church News, 14 June 2003.

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