Country information: Guatemala
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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 13,277,000; Members, 215,186; Stakes, 38; Wards, 231; Branches, 187; Missions, 4; Districts, 20; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.62, or one in 62; Central America Area.
Guatemala is the northernmost isthmus country in Central America. The national language is Spanish, but various Indian dialects are also spoken.
John F. O'Donnal, a member of the Church from the Mormon colonies in Mexico, moved to Central America in 1942 as an agricultural adviser of the U.S. government. In December 1946, he visited Church headquarters and made a personal appeal to President George Albert Smith to open missionary work in Guatemala. President Arwell L. Pierce of the Mexican Mission assigned Seth G. Mattice and Earl E. Hansen to work in Guatemala. They arrived 4 September 1947. John F. O'Donnal was set apart as district president on 12 August 1948 and more than 60 people attended the first meeting in a rented building in Guatemala City two weeks later. President O'Donnal baptized his wife, Carmen, the first convert in Guatemala on 13 November 1948.
Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited Guatemala on 16 November 1952 and organized the Central American Mission with headquarters in Guatemala City. The first visit by a Church president took place 13 February 1954 when President David O. McKay visited Guatemala City. By the end of 1956, branches had been established in 15 cities.
Continued Church growth in Central America prompted the division of the Central American Mission and the creation of the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission on 1 August 1965. When the Church received official government recognition on 29 June 1966, there were already 10,000 members. Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles organized the Guatemala City Stake, on 21 May 1967, the first in the country, with Udine Falabella as president. President Spencer W. Kimball presided at the Guatemala Stake conference in September 1971. The stake was divided the following year, and the mission was divided in 1976, creating separate missions in Guatemala and El Salvador.
In 1977, President Spencer W. Kimball again visited Guatemala. On 22 February, he met with Guatemalan President Kjell Eugenio Laugerud-Garcia. He also spoke at an area conference at the National Gymnasium to members from Guatemala and El Salvador, and was given the key to the city from Mayor Leonel Ponciano Leon.
By 1977, the mission had been divided again with the creation of the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, with John F. O'Donnal as president. Four stakes had been established and membership was more than 17,000. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Guatemala City Temple, 14 December 1984. John F. O'Donnal was called as temple president. At that time, membership was 40,000 in eight stakes and 13 districts. A third mission, the Guatemala City North, was created on 1 January 1988, and a fourth, Guatemala Central, was created on 1 July 1993.
Elder Carlos H. Amado, former temple committee chairman, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on 1 April 1989, becoming the first Guatemalan General Authority. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated a new 36,400-square-foot missionary training center in Guatemala City, not far from the temple on 22 January 1994. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Guatemala on 26 January 1997, and in two meetings addressed about 20,000 members from 29 stakes and districts.
By 2001, a little more than 50 years after the first missionaries arrived, Church membership in Guatemala exceeded 180,000. By 2002, membership reached 188,531. By 2003, it was 192,207.
For the first time in the history of the Church in Guatemala, more than 4,000 young women gathered for a two-day national LDS girls camp on 27-28 November 2004. More than 90 buses filled with enthusiastic young women arrived at a campground in Santa Catarina Pinula, about 10 miles outside Guatemala City.
In 2003, membership reached 192,207.
Sources: Central American Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala-El Salvador Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala District, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala Branch, Manuscript history; Church Archives; John Forres O'Donnal, Pioneer in Guatemala, The Personal History of John Forres O'Donnal, 1997; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; "Guatemala Training Center Dedicated," Church News, 12 February 1994, "An Outpouring of Love for Prophet," Church News, 1 February 1997; "Thousands gather," Church News, 4 December 2004.
Stakes — 38
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
Central America Area
2843 / Amatitlan Guatemala / 28 Jun 1998 / Vicente Bernardo Rodriguez C.
1611 / *Chimaltenango Guatemala / 22 Mar 1988
Guatemala City / 26 Oct 1986 / Mario Salazar Moran
1738 / Coatepeque Guatemala / 10 Dec 1989 / Ricardo Rolando Morales
2115 / Coban Guatemala / 29 Oct 1995 / Jorge Rafael Cabrera Galindo
436 / *Guatemala City Guatemala
Guatemala City / 21 May 1967 / Udine Falabella
2506 / Guatemala City Guatemala Alameda / 10 Jan 1999 / Luis Javier Rabanales
1618 / Guatemala City / 7 Dec 1986 / Luis Alvarez Ovando
2105 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 15 Oct 1995 / Cesar Antonio de Leon
Bosques De San Nicolas
1619 / Guatemala City / 7 Dec 1986 / Armando G. Diaz L.
1768 / Guatemala City Guatemala El Molino / 19 Aug 1990 / Jose Julio Aguilar
1620 / Guatemala City / 7 Dec 1986 / Miguel A. Gomez L.
2510 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 30 Jan 1999 / Erwin Reynaldo Rosales Chigua
1704 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 27 Nov 1988 / Carlos Estrado Mouna M.
778 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 31 Oct 1976 / Carlos Enrique Soto D.
1040 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 10 Jun 1979 / Samuel Ramirez Abrego
1745 / Guatemala City Guatemala Milagro / 15 Apr 1990 / Victor Manuel Canenguez P.
2106 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 15 Oct 1995 / Sam Mino Galvez Orellana
1733 / Guatemala City Guatemala / 9 Jul 1989 / Rene Humberto Oliva L.
2010 / Guatemla City Guatemala Palmita / 15 Jan 1995 / Carlos Francisco Arredondo C.
699 / *Guatemala City Guatemala Utatlan / 31 Oct 1976
Guatemala City / 8 Jun 1975 / Mario Antonio Lopez
2043 / Guatemala City / 30 Apr 1995 / Bruno Emilio Vasquez R.
Guatemala Villa Hermosa
1982 Huehuetenango / 19 Jun1994 / Victor M. Rodas Corado
1706 / *Huehuetenango Guatemala
Zachuteu / 19 Jun 1994
Huehuetenango Guatemala / 4 Dec 1988 / Edgar Leonardo Fuentes P.
1937 / Jalapa Guatemala / 9 May 1993 / Luis Daniel Aragon Aquino
1938 / Malacatan Guatemala / 9 May 1993 / Edilzar Joel Barrios Rodriguez
1737 / Mazatenango Guatemala / 10 Dec 1989 / Mario Antonio de Leon S.
2195 / Momostenango Guatemala / 12 May 1996 / Francisco de J. Rosales Santiago
2263 / Patzicia Guatemala / 10 Nov 1996 / Carlos Antonio Guit Ajiquichi
713 / Quetzaltenango Guatemala / 19 Oct 1975 / Jorge Herminio Perez C.
1996 / Quetzaltenango / 6 Nov 1994 / Melvin Enrique Recinos D.
Guatemala El Bosque
1497 / Quetzaltenango Guatemala West / 24 Oct 1984 / Amilcar Raul Robles A.
1168 / Retalhuleu Guatemala / 17 Aug 1980 / Manuel Efrain Barrios F.
2514 / Retalhuleu Guatemala / 28 Feb 1999 / Moises Gomez Guzman
1955a / San Felipe Guatemala / 19 Sep 1993 / Mario A. Monterroso Gonzalez
1498 / San Marcos Guatemala / 24 Oct 1984 / Abraham Raymundo Juarez C.
2469 / San Pedro Guatemala / 24 May 1998 / Arnoldo O. Gonzalez G.
1785 / Villa Nueva Guatemla / 27 Jan 1991 / Luis Gomez Garcia
2153 / Zacapa Guatemala / 14 Jan 1996 / Arnulfo Franco Martinez
1681 / *Escuintla Guatemala / 3 Apr 1990
Discontinued 12 Jun 1994
Guatemala Escuintla / 31 Jan 1988 / Enrique Leveron L.
2484 / Guatemala City Guatemala
Monte Maria / 28 Jun 1998 / Gerardo Soto Urbina
Discontinued 22 June 2008
2505 / Mazatenango Guatemala East / 13 Dec 1998 / Armando Gonzalez Figueroa
Discontinued 25 May 2008
Missions — 4
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(287) GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY
Apartado Postal 921-A
Guatemala City, 01909, Zona 9
(205a) GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY
5a Avenida 5-55, Edificio Euro Plaza
15 avo. Nivel, Oficina 1504, Zona 14
Guatemala, Guatemala C.A
(76a) GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY
Apartado Postal 340-A
Guatemala City 01909
(152) GUATEMALA QUETZALTENANGO
5a. Calle 14-35, Zona 3