Country information: Taiwan
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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 22,974,000; Members, 49,054; Stakes, 10; Wards, 79; Branches, 22; Missions, 3; Districts, 2; Temples, 1; percent LDS, .21, or one in 468; Asia Area.
Located off the southeast coast of China, Taiwan has a population that speaks Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwan and Hakka dialects. They mostly adhere to Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
In 1955, a convert to the Church, Stanley Simiskey, was stationed in Taipei, Taiwan, with the U.S. military. He found a few other Latter-day Saint servicemen and they began holding Church meetings. Simiskey served as leader of the Church group in Taipei and was on hand in March 1956 to greet President H. Grant Heaton of the Southern Far East Mission, headquartered in Hong Kong, who visited Taiwan to explore the possibility of sending missionaries there.
The first four missionaries arrived on 4 June 1956: Duane W. Degn, Keith A. Madsen, Weldon J. Kitchen, and Melvin C. Fish. Soon a branch was established in Taipei with Simiskey as president. Thomas V. Kintaro Sr., the husband of a Church member, was baptized on 22 July 1956. The first Chinese converts in Taiwan, Ch'iu Hung-hsiang and Tseng I-Chang, were baptized on 27 April 1957. By year's end, more than 50 people had joined the Church. Missionary work was started in Tainan in 1957, and in Taichung in January 1958.
In May 1958, the Chinese and American members in Taipei began holding separate meetings, and in 1959 Liang Jun-shen was called as the first local branch president. By May 1959, there were seven branches in Taiwan. Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve was the first General Authority to visit, holding several meetings between 25 May and 1 June of that year. By September, the missionary force had grown to 46.
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, visited Taiwan in May 1960, the first of his many visits to that land. In 1961, he worked with others to purchase a piece of land in Taipei. On 2 November 1963, ground was broken on the site for a Latter-day Saint chapel and Elder Hinckley dedicated the completed building on 16 October 1966. A meetinghouse was also constructed in Kaohsiung during the 1960s.
Taiwan was organized into the North, Central, and South districts on 17 November 1964. The presidents were, respectively, Liang Jun-shen, Ung Min-Tsan, and He Shuen-Ding.
In 1957, a committee was appointed in Hong Kong to translate the Book of Mormon into Chinese, but the translation was not completed. Elder Hinckley called Larry K. Browning and Hu Wei-I to start anew on the translation in Taipei in 1963. Browning left Taiwan in September 1964 and Hu finished the initial translation in November. The Chinese Book of Mormon was printed in December 1965.
The Southern Far East Mission was renamed the Hong Kong-Taiwan Mission on 1 November 1969, and on 1 January 1971, the Taiwan Mission was formed with Malan R. Jackson as president. The seminary and institute program was established in Taiwan in September 1973. By 1975, there were 7,000 members in 30 branches and about 200 full-time missionaries.
President Spencer W. Kimball presided at area conferences in Taipei in August 1975 and October 1980. Both meetings were attended by approximately 2,500 Church members and friends. During President Kimball's first visit he also met with Yen Chia-Kan, president of the Republic of China, and during his second stay he met with President Chiang Ching-kuo and Prime Minister Sun Yun-suan. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley created the Taipei Taiwan Stake on 22 April 1976 with Chang I-Ch'ing as president. Chang was later called, in November 1984, to serve as Taiwan's first local regional representative.
The Taiwan Mission was renamed the Taiwan Taipei Mission in 1974 and was divided in July 1976 to form the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission. The Taiwan Taichung Mission was created in July 1979 and then discontinued in 1982. The next year the headquarters of the Kaohsiung Mission were moved to Taichung. The Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission was re-established in 1998. From about 1979 to the late 1990s, Taiwan saw an average of about 1,000 people join the Church each year.
On 31 March 1982, the Church announced that it would build a temple in Taiwan. It was constructed on the first Church-owned property in Taipei, adjacent to the original meetinghouse. The mission home that had stood on the site since the early 1970s was razed and the Church bought a six-story office building across the street, thereby creating a three-building complex: the temple, a meetinghouse, and administrative offices. The Taipei Taiwan Temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency on 17 November 1984.
The Taiwan track and field team trained at Brigham Young University's athletic facilities in Provo, Utah, in 1984 to prepare for the Los Angeles summer Olympics. The following year the Taiwan government invited 45 members of the BYU track and field team to compete in the National Track and Field Championships at Taitung. BYU was the only foreign team invited. In 1989, the Church and the University of Chinese Culture completed a 10-year joint project to microfilm Chinese family records throughout Taiwan, and in June of that year a week-long genealogical exhibition, attended by 6,000 persons, was held in the new National Center Library in Taipei.
Hsu Shui-The, Taiwan's Minister of Interior, visited with local Church leaders in Taipei on 3 May 1990 as part of an effort to enlist the help of religions to strengthen families. During his visit he quoted from former Church president David O. McKay: "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." The Church subsequently distributed bumper stickers displaying the slogan in Chinese characters in a successful public relations campaign.
Shih-An (Kent) Liang became the first Latter-day Saint in Taiwan called to serve as an Area Authority on 15 August 1995. Church President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to more than 3,000 Church members and friends in the Taipei International Convention Center on 23 May 1996, 40 years after the arrival of the first missionaries, stating, "The work will prosper in this great land."
In 2002, membership reached 36,598; and 38,731 in 2003.
President Hinckley addressed some 1,200 members prior to dedicating a new Church Administration Building-Taipei on 1 August 2005. Members described the meeting as a time of memories, laughter and tears.
In 2005, membership reached 42,881.
Sources: Gary Williams, Taiwan report, 1957, in Southern Far East Mission historical reports, Church Archives; 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; Lyn R. Jacobs, Mormon Non-English Scriptures, Hymnals, & Periodicals, 1830- 1986: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1986; "History of the Church in Hong Kong," Ensign, September 1991; Taiwan Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Wang Lu-Pao, Church history in China, 1984-85, Church Archives; Janice Clark, "Taiwan: Steep Peaks and Towering Faith," Ensign, August 1975; Dell Van Orden, "Saints Throng to Area Meetings in the Far East," Church News, 1 November 1980; "At Taiwan National Meet, BYU Track Athletes Win Events, Friends," Church News, 28 April 1985; "Chinese Records Filmed," Church News, 17 June 1989; Paul Hyer, "Chinese Visit Exhibit, Learn of Ancestors," Church News, 17 June 1989; Kellene Ricks, "Official Visits the Church in Taiwan," Church News, 2 June 1990; "The Church in Taiwan–40 Years," Church News, 22 June 1996; "Church Names Area Authorities," Church News, 5 August 1995; "He Bears Testimony, Reaffirms Blessings," Church News, 8 June 1996; "Ties to Taiwan," Church News, 6 August 2005.
Stakes — 10
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
2643 / Chung Hsing Taiwan / 20 Jun 2004
2622 / Hsin Chu Taiwan / 14 Dec 2003 Wei Chin Hong
1303 / Kaohsiung Taiwan / 6 Nov 1981 / Ho Tung Hai
2003 / Taichung Taiwan / 18 Dec 1994 / Chou, Wen Tsung
2759 / Taichung Taiwan North / 21 Apr 2007 / Chang, Jui Sheng
2373 / Tainan Taiwan / 15 Jun 1997 / Hsin-chin Chen
2468 / Taipei Taiwan Central / 24 May 1998 / Shuei-Tyan Konrad Tzeng
1326 / Taipei Taiwan East / 14 Mar 1982 / Yuan-Hu Yen
755 / *Taipei Taiwan West / 14 Mar 1982
Taipei Taiwan / 22 Apr 1976 / I-Ch'ing Chang
2598 / Tao Yuan Taiwan Stake / 08 Jul 2001 / Chen, Cheng Erh Michael
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(146) TAIWAN TAICHUNG MISSION
498-11 Wu Chuan Road
(94) TAIWAN TAIPEI MISSION
Floor 4, No. 24, Lane 183
Chin Hua Street
Taipei 106, Taiwan ROC