BETA

Country information: Guatemala

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 13,277,000; Members, 215,186; Stakes, 38; Wards, 231; Branches, 187; Missions, 4; Districts, 20; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.62, or one in 62; Central America Area.

Guatemala is the northernmost isthmus country in Central America. The national language is Spanish, but various Indian dialects are also spoken.

John F. O'Donnal, a member of the Church from the Mormon colonies in Mexico, moved to Central America in 1942 as an agricultural adviser of the U.S. government. In December 1946, he visited Church headquarters and made a personal appeal to President George Albert Smith to open missionary work in Guatemala. President Arwell L. Pierce of the Mexican Mission assigned Seth G. Mattice and Earl E. Hansen to work in Guatemala. They arrived 4 September 1947. John F. O'Donnal was set apart as district president on 12 August 1948 and more than 60 people attended the first meeting in a rented building in Guatemala City two weeks later. President O'Donnal baptized his wife, Carmen, the first convert in Guatemala on 13 November 1948.

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited Guatemala on 16 November 1952 and organized the Central American Mission with headquarters in Guatemala City. The first visit by a Church president took place 13 February 1954 when President David O. McKay visited Guatemala City. By the end of 1956, branches had been established in 15 cities.

Continued Church growth in Central America prompted the division of the Central American Mission and the creation of the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission on 1 August 1965. When the Church received official government recognition on 29 June 1966, there were already 10,000 members. Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles organized the Guatemala City Stake, on 21 May 1967, the first in the country, with Udine Falabella as president. President Spencer W. Kimball presided at the Guatemala Stake conference in September 1971. The stake was divided the following year, and the mission was divided in 1976, creating separate missions in Guatemala and El Salvador.

In 1977, President Spencer W. Kimball again visited Guatemala. On 22 February, he met with Guatemalan President Kjell Eugenio Laugerud-Garcia. He also spoke at an area conference at the National Gymnasium to members from Guatemala and El Salvador, and was given the key to the city from Mayor Leonel Ponciano Leon.

By 1977, the mission had been divided again with the creation of the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, with John F. O'Donnal as president. Four stakes had been established and membership was more than 17,000. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Guatemala City Temple, 14 December 1984. John F. O'Donnal was called as temple president. At that time, membership was 40,000 in eight stakes and 13 districts. A third mission, the Guatemala City North, was created on 1 January 1988, and a fourth, Guatemala Central, was created on 1 July 1993.

Elder Carlos H. Amado, former temple committee chairman, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on 1 April 1989, becoming the first Guatemalan General Authority. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated a new 36,400-square-foot missionary training center in Guatemala City, not far from the temple on 22 January 1994. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Guatemala on 26 January 1997, and in two meetings addressed about 20,000 members from 29 stakes and districts.

By 2001, a little more than 50 years after the first missionaries arrived, Church membership in Guatemala exceeded 180,000. By 2002, membership reached 188,531. By 2003, it was 192,207.

For the first time in the history of the Church in Guatemala, more than 4,000 young women gathered for a two-day national LDS girls camp on 27-28 November 2004. More than 90 buses filled with enthusiastic young women arrived at a campground in Santa Catarina Pinula, about 10 miles outside Guatemala City.

In 2003, membership reached 192,207.

Sources: Central American Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala-El Salvador Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala District, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala Branch, Manuscript history; Church Archives; John Forres O'Donnal, Pioneer in Guatemala, The Personal History of John Forres O'Donnal, 1997; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; "Guatemala Training Center Dedicated," Church News, 12 February 1994, "An Outpouring of Love for Prophet," Church News, 1 February 1997; "Thousands gather," Church News, 4 December 2004.

Stakes — 38

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

Central America Area

2843 / Amatitlan Guatemala / 28 Jun 1998 / Vicente Bernardo Rodriguez C.

1611 / *Chimaltenango Guatemala / 22 Mar 1988

Guat. Chimaltenango

Guatemala City / 26 Oct 1986 / Mario Salazar Moran

1738 / Coatepeque Guatemala / 10 Dec 1989 / Ricardo Rolando Morales

2115 / Coban Guatemala / 29 Oct 1995 / Jorge Rafael Cabrera Galindo

436 / *Guatemala City Guatemala

Guatemala City / 21 May 1967 / Udine Falabella

2506 / Guatemala City Guatemala Alameda / 10 Jan 1999 / Luis Javier Rabanales

1618 / Guatemala City / 7 Dec 1986 / Luis Alvarez Ovando

Guatemala Atlantico

2105 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 15 Oct 1995 / Cesar Antonio de Leon

Bosques De San Nicolas

1619 / Guatemala City / 7 Dec 1986 / Armando G. Diaz L.

Guatemala Central

1768 / Guatemala City Guatemala El Molino / 19 Aug 1990 / Jose Julio Aguilar

1620 / Guatemala City / 7 Dec 1986 / Miguel A. Gomez L.

Guatemala Florida

2510 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 30 Jan 1999 / Erwin Reynaldo Rosales Chigua

La Esperanza

1704 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 27 Nov 1988 / Carlos Estrado Mouna M.

La Laguna

778 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 31 Oct 1976 / Carlos Enrique Soto D.

Las Victorias

1040 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 10 Jun 1979 / Samuel Ramirez Abrego

Mariscal

1745 / Guatemala City Guatemala Milagro / 15 Apr 1990 / Victor Manuel Canenguez P.

2106 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 15 Oct 1995 / Sam Mino Galvez Orellana

Monserrat

1733 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 9 Jul 1989 / Rene Humberto Oliva L.

Nimajuyu

2010 / Guatemla City Guatemala Palmita / 15 Jan 1995 / Carlos Francisco Arredondo C.

699 / *Guatemala City Guatemala Utatlan / 31 Oct 1976

Guatemala City / 8 Jun 1975 / Mario Antonio Lopez

Guatemala West

2043 / Guatemala City / 30 Apr 1995 / Bruno Emilio Vasquez R.

Guatemala Villa Hermosa

1982 Huehuetenango / 19 Jun1994 / Victor M. Rodas Corado

Guatemala Calvario

1706 / *Huehuetenango Guatemala

Zachuteu / 19 Jun 1994

Huehuetenango Guatemala / 4 Dec 1988 / Edgar Leonardo Fuentes P.

1937 / Jalapa Guatemala / 9 May 1993 / Luis Daniel Aragon Aquino

1938 / Malacatan Guatemala / 9 May 1993 / Edilzar Joel Barrios Rodriguez

1737 / Mazatenango Guatemala / 10 Dec 1989 / Mario Antonio de Leon S.

2195 / Momostenango Guatemala / 12 May 1996 / Francisco de J. Rosales Santiago

2263 / Patzicia Guatemala / 10 Nov 1996 / Carlos Antonio Guit Ajiquichi

713 / Quetzaltenango Guatemala / 19 Oct 1975 / Jorge Herminio Perez C.

1996 / Quetzaltenango / 6 Nov 1994 / Melvin Enrique Recinos D.

Guatemala El Bosque

1497 / Quetzaltenango Guatemala West / 24 Oct 1984 / Amilcar Raul Robles A.

1168 / Retalhuleu Guatemala / 17 Aug 1980 / Manuel Efrain Barrios F.

2514 / Retalhuleu Guatemala / 28 Feb 1999 / Moises Gomez Guzman

Las Palmas

1955a / San Felipe Guatemala / 19 Sep 1993 / Mario A. Monterroso Gonzalez

1498 / San Marcos Guatemala / 24 Oct 1984 / Abraham Raymundo Juarez C.

2469 / San Pedro Guatemala / 24 May 1998 / Arnoldo O. Gonzalez G.

1785 / Villa Nueva Guatemla / 27 Jan 1991 / Luis Gomez Garcia

2153 / Zacapa Guatemala / 14 Jan 1996 / Arnulfo Franco Martinez

Stakes discontinued

1681 / *Escuintla Guatemala / 3 Apr 1990

Discontinued 12 Jun 1994

Guatemala City

Guatemala Escuintla / 31 Jan 1988 / Enrique Leveron L.

2484 / Guatemala City Guatemala

Monte Maria / 28 Jun 1998 / Gerardo Soto Urbina

Discontinued 22 June 2008

2505 / Mazatenango Guatemala East / 13 Dec 1998 / Armando Gonzalez Figueroa

Discontinued 25 May 2008

Missions — 4

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

(287) GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY

CENTRAL MISSION

Apartado Postal 921-A

Guatemala City, 01909, Zona 9

Guatemala, C.A.

(205a) GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY

NORTH MISSION

5a Avenida 5-55, Edificio Euro Plaza

15 avo. Nivel, Oficina 1504, Zona 14

Guatemala, Guatemala C.A

(76a) GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY

SOUTH MISSION

Apartado Postal 340-A

Guatemala City 01909

Guatemala, C.A.

(152) GUATEMALA QUETZALTENANGO

MISSION

5a. Calle 14-35, Zona 3

Quetzaltenango, 09001

Guatemala, C.A.

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