Philippines gains 3rd new mission; now 12 in nation

The third new mission in the Philippines to be created this year has been announced by the First Presidency, bringing the total number of missions in the Philippines to 12.

Created Sept. 1 following a division of the Philippines Quezon City Mission, the new Philippines Ilagan Mission is the 29th mission of the Church organized this year. Last July, new missions were created in San Pablo and Tacloban, Philippines.Church growth in the Philippines has been such that the Quezon City mission, which was created July 1, 1989, has been divided three times in a little more than a year.

The new Ilagan mission takes the larger, but less-populated area on the forested coasts in northeastern Luzon, where mountain mines and timber offer natural resources. The total population of the new mission is 2.8 million, of whom 9,189 are LDS living in one stake and five districts.

Included in the Quezon City mission is the more populated area near Manila, which has a population of 5.6 million. Some 12,324 members live in four stakes and one district in this mission.

LDS servicemen first arrived in the Philippines as early as the Spanish-American War of 1898. However, many of the Church's historical roots in this island nation were planted by LDS servicemen in Luzon in the early 1940s. The Luzon Servicemen's District was organized in 1953 and continued until local members were organized into the Luzon District.

Growth in local membership began with the arrival of two sets of missionaries who started missionary work in the Philippines in 1961. Within five years, the number of missionaries had increased to 66 and the number of members to 2,000.

By 1967, membership extended to the eight major islands of the Philippines. From 1970 to 1973, membership jumped from 6,400 to nearly 13,000. That year Elder Ezra Taft Benson created the Manila stake, the first of 38 stakes now organized in the islands. Of these, eight have been created since last January, more that were created in the entire United States during the same period.

During the 1980s, membership increased from 90,000 in 1984 when the Manila temple was dedicated, to 149,000 in 1987, to 213,000 at the end of 1989.

While at the dedication of the Manila temple, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency remarked, "I don't know of any place in the world where the harvest has been so great in such a short period of time."