Country information: Spain

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 40,525,000; Members, 44,304; Stakes, 9; Wards, 62; Branches, 71; Missions, 4; Districts, 9; Temples, 1; percent LDS, 1.1, or one in 915; Europe Area.

Located in southwest Europe, Spain is a constitutional monarchy. Its people speak Spanish, Catalan, Galician, and Basque, and 90 percent are Roman Catholic.

In 1932, missionaries Ray L. Richards and Garland F. Smith traveled from the Swiss and German Mission to Spain to investigate the possibilities of conducting missionary work there. Though no report of their experiences is known, Spain’s laws governing religious freedom were restrictive at that time and would have prevented a successful missionary program. That was to remain the case until 1967. In 1952, Juan Ventura learned about the Church “through correspondence in 1949” and was baptized in France in 1952. He married and moved to Salt Lake City, but returned to live in Spain in 1972.

In 1954, Spain and the United States entered into an agreement allowing US military bases to be established in Spain. By 1956, servicemen’s groups were meeting at bases throughout Spain, and the first branch was established for servicemen stationed at Torrejon Air Base about 1957. One of the first converts in Spain, Jose Maria Oliveira, was baptized in France on 12 March 1966, because it was illegal for non-state religions to perform ordinances in Spain. Gabriel Diez became the first known native member of the Church to be baptized on Spanish soil on 27 November 1966.

On 28 June 1967, the Spanish Parliament enacted the religious liberty law allowing all Churches the right to function in Spain. Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Spain in April 1967 to explore the possibility of establishing the Church under the new law, and Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve traveled to Spain in November of 1967 to review the developments in the Church’s efforts to establish itself there.

The Madrid Spanish Speaking Branch was organized 7 January 1968 with David B. Timmins as president. Jose Maria Oliveria became the first native president of the branch later that same year.

The Church became fully recognized on 22 October 1968. Early in June 1969 four missionaries, Clark Hinckley, Jose Louis Barco, Craig Ward, and Robert Hernandez arrived from the North Argentine Mission and began missionary work in Madrid on 6 June 1969.

The Spain Mission (renamed the Spain Madrid Mission in 1974) was officially organized on 1 July 1970 with R. Raymond Barnes as president. That was followed by the organization of the Madrid District on 12 September with Jose Maria Oliveria as president. During this period, many Spanish-speaking Church members from around the world were transferred by their businesses to Spain and this helped to strengthen the new branches.

On 1 July 1976, the Spain Madrid Mission was divided and the Spain Seville and Spain Barcelona Missions were created. The first meetinghouse built by the Church was dedicated on 10 July 1977 in Madrid. Spain’s first stake was created in Madrid on 14 March 1982 with Jose Maria Olivera as president.

President Hinckley has met with King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on three occasions. The first meeting was in the Fall of 1978. Then, on 9 March 1992, President Hinckley met with the King and Queen, and presented them with a personalized, leather-bound copy of the Book of Mormon. He also met with the King and Queen on 18 March 1999 and presented them with a figurine of the Christus. The next day, President Hinckley dedicated the Madrid Spain Temple. The complex where the temple is located also houses a missionary training center and Church offices.

Membership in 1999 was 30,439.

On 11 March 2004, terrorist bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid. A few Latter-day Saints were injured in the explosions. Many Latter-day Saints attended an ecumenical service on 25 March of that year to memorialize those killed in the attacks.

Membership in 2005 reached 39,784.

Sources: Swiss Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Betty Ventura, “The Saints in Spain,” Ensign, April 1975, 6-11; “Mormons Meet King of Spain,” Church News, 14 October 1978; Spain Madrid Mission, history files, Church Archives; Madrid Servicemen’s Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Michael J. Mitchell, History of the first Church unit in Spain, Church Archives; Jose Maria Oliveria, Interview, 1997, Church Archives; Spain Madrid Mission, History files, Church Archives; French Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Spain Madrid Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; “Church Leaders Make Courtesy Visit to Spain’s King and Queen,” Church News, 28 March 1992, 3; “President Hinckley visits King, Queen of Spain,” Church News, 20 March 1999, 5; Jason Swenson, “Victims Memorialized: Mission President Offers Prayer in Madrid Service,” 24 April 2004.

Stakes — 10

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

Europe Area

1370 Barcelona Spain 31 Oct 1982 Jose Lara Straube

2022a Cadiz Spain 19 Feb 1995 Cristobal Rodriguez Vasquez

2408 Elche Spain 9 Nov 1997 Manuel Parreno Ruiz

2640 Granada Spain 13 June 2004 Rafael Munoz Campos

2365 Hospitalet Spain 1 Jun 1997 Vicenc Lacambra

2507 Madrid Spain East 17 Jan 1999 Jose Leopoldo Reina A.

1327 *Madrid Spain West 17 Jan 1999

Madrid Spain 14 Mar 1982 Jose Maria Oliveira Aldamiz

1687 Seville Spain 14 Feb 1988 Jesus Manuel Benitez S.

2617 Valencia Spain 8 June 2003 Ramon Bleda Tevar

2854 Vitoria Spain 5 Sept 2009 Saulo G. Franco

Missions —4

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


Calle Calatrava, 10-12, bajos

E – 08017 Barcelona, Spain


Calle Bidearte 6, 4o Dcha

48930 Las Arenas (Vizcaya), Spain


Avenida de Espana 17

Local 01-1

Alcobendas 28100



Paseo Jesus Santos Rein No. 2

Edf. Ofisol 3rd floor D-E

29640 Fuengirola, Malaga



Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 1,844,000; Members, 3,500; Districts, 3; Branches, 18;percent LDS, .19, or one in 527; Europe Area; Spain Las Palmas Mission.

The Canary Islands, two provinces of Spain in the South Atlantic off the northwestern coast of Africa, are rugged volcanic mountainous islands with rich soil and long beaches where sand from the western Sahara Desert has drifted. Thirteen islands make up the provinces, seven of which are inhabited: Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, Gomera, and Hierro.

The first converts baptized in the Canary Islands were Juana Vega Garcia, Francisco Dominguez Pena, his wife, Francisca, and their son, Javier, on 13 June 1979. They were introduced to the Church by Jesus Ramon Gomez Vega, a native of Gran Canaria, who had accepted the gospel while residing in Spain where he was baptized in 1973. He served in the Spain Madrid Mission before returning home to share the gospel with his mother, Juana, and friends, the Pena family.

For the first several months, meetings of the small Church group were held in the Pena home. The first missionaries to the Canary Islands were Elders David L. Gill and Scott C. Jensen of the Spain Seville Mission who arrived 30 September 1979.

The first branch was organized in Las Palmas on 29 January 1980. The first district, Las Palmas Gran Canarias, was organized 2 October 1984, with eight branches. The second district, Santa Cruz de Tenerife Canaria, was organized 8 August 1989, with six branches.

The Spain Las Palmas Mission, headquartered on Gran Canaria Island, was created on 1 July 1988 from portions of the Spain Seville and Portugal Porto missions. Marion K. Hamblin was called as president. In the first year of operation, the mission baptized 1,000 converts, and by 1990 was averaging 80 baptisms per month.

President Gordon B. Hinckley stopped in Las Palmas on 13 February 1998 on his way to Nigeria and spoke to 775 members.

The mission experienced a great loss on 18 January 1999 when full-time missionaries Jaarl M. Papenfuss and Joshua M. Prymak were drowned off the coast of Tenerife. A large wave swept the two missionaries off a cliff and into the ocean. One made it to shore but the other, Elder Prymak, was unable to swim to safety. Elder Papenfuss, who witnessed the scene from a safe position on the shore, attempted to save him, but both perished.

Three tall sailing ships of Sea Trek 2001, re-enacting the Mormon emigration, spent three days in Las Palmas on 6-8 September before embarking across the Atlantic.

Sources: Spain Las Palmas Mission, Annual historical reports, Church Archives; Las Palmas Branch, Annual historical reports, Church Archives; Lewis A. Leake, Canary Islands historical resource file, Church Archives; Maria Torio de Gomez Vega, Los comienzos de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Dias en las Islas Canarias, Church Archives; Las Palmas De Gran Canaria Spain District, Annual historical reports, Church Archives; “President Hinckley Uplifts Members in Nova Scotia, Africa, Northern Mexico,” Ensign, May 1998; “9 Missions Created: World Total Now 221,” Church News, 19 March 1988; Gospel Takes Wing in Canary Islands,” Church News, 10 November 1990; Gerry Avant, “Many are Still Blazing Gospel Trails,” Church News, 24 July 1993; “Spirit of President Hinckley’s Visits Lingers,” Church News, 7 March 1998; “2 Missionaries Drown off the Canary Islands,” Church News, 23 January 1999; “Canary Islands to Host Sea Trek 2001 Celebration, Church News, 7 July 2001; Manuel Benitez, “Sea Trek Spirits Remain High,” Church News, 8 September 2001.