BETA

Country information: Nepal

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 28,563,000 Members, fewer than 100; branches, 1; Asia Area.

A few Latter-day Saints from other countries lived in Nepal beginning about the mid-1970s and were at various times organized into Church groups. During the 1970s and 1980s, a handful of Nepalese joined the Church in the U.S., Hong Kong, England, and Nepal. Three Nepalese Church members lived in Kathmandu in 1985. The Church received public exposure in Nepal in 1980 and 1986 through performances of the Young Ambassadors, a BYU entertainment group.

Elders John K. Carmack and Kwok Yuen Tai of the Asia Area presidency visited Kathmandu in February 1993 and organized a group with Madhav Kumar Rimal, who was baptized in 1982, as leader. In early 1994, President Gurcharan S. Gill of the India Bangalore Mission rented an apartment in Kathmandu where missionaries could stay while they renewed visas enabling them to return to India. He recommended that a missionary couple be assigned to Kathmandu.

Robert and Linda Houghton were the first missionary couple to arrive on 2 June 1994. Nepal became part of the India Bangalore Mission on 25 August of that year and President Gill organized the Kathmandu Branch the following 25 October with Dirk Richards as president. The first young full-time missionaries, David Pitcher and Joshua Chiles, arrived on 1 December 1994.

In July 1995, there were nearly 50 Church members in Nepal. Missionaries were subsequently disallowed from actively seeking converts there. Senior missionary couples continued to serve in humanitarian projects and give support to local Latter-day Saints.

The first Kathmandu Branch conference was held in March 1996. At that time, Panna Lal Khadgi, thought to be the first Nepalese baptized in his homeland, was sustained as branch president. Dilip Shrestha became the first Nepalese to serve a full-time mission when he was called to the India Bangalore Mission in 1997.

The Kathmandu Branch held its first youth conference on 6-7 July 2003, attended by seven Church youth and 14 investigators. An article that appeared in the New Era magazine that same month noted, "Once converted, Nepali people can teach each other, and these young people have not been afraid to speak about their new faith."

Sources: R. Lanier Britsch, From the East: The History of the Latter-day Saints in Asia, 1851- 1996, 1998; India Bangalore Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; David Jardine, "The India Bangalore Mission: A Season of Change and Blessings" 2000; Fay Klingler, "Himalayan Setting for Edification, Service: Members, Investigators Mingle During Nepal's First Church Youth Conference," Church News, 19 July 2003; Lynne S. Topham, "Light in the Land of Mystery," New Era, July 2003.

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