Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 10,708,000; Members, 38,188; Stakes, 6; Wards, 33; Branches, 40; Missions, 2; Districts, 4; percent LDS, .36, or one in 280; Europe Area.
At the southwest corner of Europe, the Republic of Portugal is a parliamentary democracy. Its population is 97 percent Roman Catholic.
The earliest known members of the Church to live in Portugal were Latter-day Saints serving in the U.S. military beginning about 1954. A few Latter-day Saints serving in the military lived there through the 1960s and 1970s.
In April 1974, a bloodless coup resulted in a change in the Portuguese government. Shortly thereafter, David M. Kennedy, ambassador at large for the Church went to Portugal to determine if missionaries could be sent there. Portuguese government officials gave their permission within an hour.
In November 1974, the Portugal Lisbon Mission was formed with W. Grant Bangerter as president. He was joined by four missionaries who had been transferred from other missions in Brazil. They were Elders Werner de Carmargo from the Rio de Janeiro Mission, Dale Earl Thompson, and Paulo Marcello Perisse, from the Sao Paulo North Mission, and W. Shane Topham, of the Sao Paulo South Mission. Four more joined them in December and many others soon followed. The first converts in the mission were Maria De Lourdes Dias Prista and Maria Jose Dias Prita on 4 March 1975.
The Church experienced rapid growth in Portugal. The first thousand converts were made by July 1978. The Lisbon Portugal Stake, the first in the country, was created on 10 July 1981. The Portugal Porto Mission was formed from the Portugal Lisbon Mission in July 1987. The Lisbon mission was further divided in 1989 to create the Lisbon North and Lisbon South missions.
In 1999, there were 35,248 members in Portugal.
Much of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission was combined with the Portugal Lisbon South Mission on 1 July 2002 to create the Portugal Lisbon Mission, the original name of the first mission in Portugal. A smaller portion of the former Lisbon North mission, which was one of five missions in Europe that was consolidated in 2002, was placed in the Portugal Porto Mission.
By 2003, membership reached 37,170, making it the largest congregation of members in a European country. In 2005, membership reached 37,812.
Sources: Missionary Training Center, Culture for Missionaries: Portugal, 1984; "Discovering Gospel Riches in Portugal," by Don L. Searle, Ensign, October 1987; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Lisbon Portugal Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Record of members, Portugal, Church Archives.
Stakes — 6
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
2610e Coimbra Portugal 14 Apr 2002 Joaquim Teixeira da Silva
1276 Lisbon Portugal 10 Jun 1981 Jose Manuel da Costa Santos
1729 Lisbon Portugal Oeiras 25 Jun 1989 Vitor Manuel Pereira M.
1613 *Porto Portugal North 5 Nov 2000
Porto Portugal 2 Nov 1986 Alcino Pereira Da Silva
1723 *Porto Portugal 5 Nov 2000
*Porto Portugal South 10 Nov 1998
*Matosinhos Portugal 28 May 1989 Alexandre Rocha Benidio
1652 Setubal Portugal 6 Sep 1987 Octavio Da Silva Melo
Missions — 2
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(115) PORTUGAL LISBON MISSION
(203) PORTUGAL PORTO MISSION
Rua Amalia Luazes, No. 23 - Sala 1
AZORES AND MADEIRA ISLANDS
The Azores Islands, located 800 miles off the coast of Portugal in the North Atlantic, includes nine main islands that are populated. Both archipelagos are Portuguese territories where Portuguese is spoken.
The earliest known Latter-day Saints living on the island were members of the U.S. military assigned to Lajes Air Field about 1954. By 1958, a servicemen's group was functioning, and on 1 October 1967, the group was disbanded and the Lajes Branch was organized. The following 9 October Maria Morgado was baptized on the island by members of the branch. She is the first known native to be baptized on Portuguese soil.
On 16 July 1978, President Allen K. Coryell of the Portugal Lisbon Mission traveled to the Azores to see if missionaries could begin work there. Two missionaries, Alice R. Kuster and Steven M. Sims were called on 6 September 1979 to go to the island.
The first Portuguese branch was organized in Angra on 5 March 1980. The Terceira Portugal District was created on 16 September 1982 to administer the branches on the islands.
Sources: Record of Members, Portugal, Church Archives; Servicemen's Group (France), Record of members, Church Archives; Ljaes Azores Servicemen's Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Lisbon Portugal Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports.