Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 4,658,000; Members, 2,890; Stakes, 1; Wards, 8; Branches 1; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Percent LDS, .06, or one in 1,612; Asia Area.
On the tip of the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia, Singapore is a parliamentary democracy. Its population speaks Chinese, Malay, Tamil, and English (all are official languages). The people are Buddhist, Christian, Islam, Taoist, and Hindu.
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve and President Jay A. Quealy of the Southern Far East Mission visited Singapore in May 1963 and found three British Church members residing there. By August 1964, the number had grown to 11, and Quealy organized a group with John Waller as leader. In February 1965, Quealy took two of his missionaries to Singapore, where they held several gospel conversations and determined that it was "an ideal place for the preaching of the gospel."
The first full-time missionaries assigned to Singapore arrived on 19 March 1968: Kim A. Shipley, Joel Richards III, Rhett T. Bake, and Melvin D. Shurtz. The first convert, Alice Tan, was baptized on 4 May. The Church was legally recognized on 12 October and W. Brent Hardy organized the Singapore Branch the next day with John McSweeney as president. By the end of the year 40 converts had joined the Church.
Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Singapore in 1969. Speaking to a group of Church members on 14 April, he said, "We expect . . . that this may someday become a center from which the gospel can be directed and sent into other countries." The Southeast Asia Mission, headquartered in Singapore, was organized on 1 November 1969 with G. Carlos Smith Jr. as president. In addition to Singapore the new mission was given responsibility for missionary work in Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. By the end of 1969, there were 48 missionaries in Singapore.
In early 1970, local newspaper editors and leaders of other Christian faiths leveled attacks against the Church and its missionary methods. In March, the government refused to renew the visas of 29 Latter-day Saint missionaries. They were reassigned to other missions in April. There were only three foreign Latter-day Saint missionaries remaining in Singapore by November. By 1973 ,the Church was allowed to have one foreign missionary in Singapore, plus the mission president and his wife. Local Church members were then largely responsible for the Church's slow-but-steady growth.
In February 1970, the Singapore Branch was divided and the Church purchased a large home to hold meetings and other activities. A meetinghouse and a building for Church administrative offices were subsequently built on this site.
In January 1971, President G. Carlos Smith Jr. called a local member, Teo Thiam Chye, to serve for one year as a full-time missionary in Singapore. Missionaries were called in this manner until 1975, when Roy Thong and Peter Tan became the first local members to receive two-year mission calls. By the end of 1977, there were 12 full-time missionaries serving in Singapore, including 10 Singaporeans, one Malaysian, and one American, in addition to several members who served part-time as district missionaries. On 20 June 1974, the Southeast Asia Mission was renamed the Singapore Mission.
The Singapore District was organized on 17 January 1971 with Soren F. Cox as president. At that time Eddie Chew became the first local member to be sustained as a branch president. He later became the first local Latter-day Saint to preside over the Singapore District, serving from 1973 to 1982. Home-study seminary started in Singapore in 1975, followed by early-morning seminary in 1986 and early-morning institute in 1988.
The Singapore Mission was temporarily dissolved in July 1978. For the next 18 months Winfield Q. Cannon supervised missionary work in Singapore as a counselor to the president of the Indonesia Jakarta Mission. J. Talmage Jones was called to preside over the Singapore Mission when it was reinstated 1 January 1980.
The Church's image in Singapore received a positive boost in June 1980 when performers Donny and Marie Osmond held a concert for 30,000 people in the National Stadium. They also spoke at a fireside sponsored by the Singapore District and attended by 2,200 people, 1,800 of whom were not Church members. The Church also benefitted from the appointment of Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a Latter-day Saint, as U.S. Ambassador to Singapore. He served from September 1992 to June 1993.
On 18 March 1988, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve, businessman Jon M. Huntsman Sr., and Utah Sen. Jake Garn met with Singapore's prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, to discuss government and business issues. Huntsman inquired about the heavy restriction on the number of foreign Latter-day Saint missionaries who were allowed into the country. The number of missionary visas granted subsequently rose to 12.
In October 1993, the Ministry of Community Development invited the Church to participate in a discussion on family values. The next year on 19 June the Church hosted a booth at a National Family Day exhibition. An estimated 10,000 people visited the booth, including Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and his wife.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve organized the Singapore Singapore Stake, the first in the country, with Leonard Woo as president on 26 February 1995. The new stake had 1,650 members in four wards and two branches. Singapore's ethnic diversity is evidenced by the creation of a Mandarin Branch in 1983, a Philippine Branch in 1993, and the Clementi Branch (for members from other countries) in 1995. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to 1,450 Church members in Singapore on 30 January 2000, marking the first visit there by a Church president.
Latter-day Saints in Singapore have been active in community and humanitarian projects. In July 2000, the stake Relief Society arranged for the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir to perform at the Victoria Concert Hall and gathered personal donations, resulting in a $50,000 gift to the Asian Women Welfare Association Special School for children with multiple disabilities. In March 2001, members donated 400 boxes of clothing, kitchenware, utensils, toys, books, school supplies, shoes and computers, plus $10,000 for the purchase of rice, to Church members and an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
In 2002, membership reached 2,265.
Sources: Southern Far East Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; R. Lanier Britsch, From the East: The History of the Latter-day Saints in Asia, 1851-1996, 1998; Dale S. Cox, A brief history of the LDS Church in Singapore, 1978, in Southeast Asia Mission manuscript history, Church Archives; Pang Beng Ling, A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Singapore: Journey to Stakehood, 1964-1997, 1997; Southeast Asia Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "Seminary Class Launched," Church News, 9 November 1986; Gerry Avant, "Ambassador's Term Brief, Yet Notable," Church News, 5 June 1993; Richard Tice, "Singapore Saints," Ensign, April 1990; "Prime Minister Visits Booth," Church News, 6 August 1994; "Pres. Hinckley Completes Tour in Pacific Rim," Church News, 12 February 2000; "$50,000 Raised for Singapore Charity," Church News, 22 July 2000; "Sending Gifts to Cambodia," Church News, 28 April 2001.
Stake — 1
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
2025 Singapore Singapore 26 Feb 1995 Woo Hoi Seng Leonard
Mission — 1
(As of Oct. 1, 2007; shown with historical number.)
(89) SINGAPORE MISSION
253 Bukit Timah Road, Floor 4