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Country information: Argentina

Published: Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009

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ARGENTINA

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 40,913,000; Members, 371,885; Stakes, 70; Wards, 469; Branches, 386; Missions, 10; Districts, 38; Temples, 1, announced, 1;Percent LDS, .91, or one in 110; South America South Area.

Located on South America's eastern coast, the Republic of Argentina has a Spanish-speaking population that is 92 percent Roman Catholic, 2 percent Protestant, and 2 percent Jewish.

Latter-day Saints Wilhelm Friedrichs and Emil Hoppe and their families emigrated from Germany to Buenos Aires in the early 1920s, fleeing the economic uncertainties of postwar Europe. Friedrichs soon began publishing gospel messages in local newspapers and in 1924 asked the First Presidency to send missionaries to work among the Germans of Argentina.

Elders Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve and Rulon S. Wells (who spoke German) and Rey L. Pratt (who spoke Spanish) of the First Council of the Seventy arrived in Buenos Aires on 6 December 1925 to begin missionary work in South America. Six days later the first latter-day baptisms on that continent were performed in the Rio de la Plata for German immigrants Anna Kullick and her brother Ernst Biebersdorf, their respective spouses, and two young women.

On Christmas Day, Elder Ballard dedicated South America for the preaching of the gospel, prophesying that "the work will go forth slowly just as the oak grows from an acorn . . . [but] the South American Mission will become a power in the Church." During the next six months, the three General Authorities rented a building in which to hold meetings and distributed thousands of flyers announcing those meetings.

In July 1926, K. B. Reinhold Stoof arrived to replace Elder Ballard as president of the South American Mission, and young elders from the United States soon began to arrive. During the nine years that President Stoof and his family resided in Argentina, missionaries established branches in Buenos Aires and other nearby cities and also launched the preaching of the gospel among the German immigrants of southern Brazil.

When the mission was divided in 1935 to form the Argentine and Brazilian missions, missionary work in Argentina was confined to Buenos Aires, home to some 200 members of the Church. By that time converts had been made among working-class immigrants from a dozen European countries who were living on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. With the exception of one German branch in Buenos Aires, missionary work and church meetings were conducted in Spanish.

The first LDS chapel was dedicated in the Liniers area of Buenos Aires in April 1938, and branches were established in other major cities such as Quilmes, La Plata, Rosario, Bahia Blanca, Cordoba and Mendoza. World War II interrupted missionary work, but the mission president and the local Saints kept the Church alive until missionaries could once more return to Argentina. By 1949 Church membership had reached 1,000 but the missionaries continued to provide much of the leadership for the 27 branches.

Following the Korean War, with an increased number of missionaries available, new fields of labor were opened, leading to the establishment of the North Argentine Mission in 1962. Membership growth accelerated as local leaders were called and missionaries could devote more of their time to teaching others. In addition, missionary work was launched in neighboring Chile in 1956, with those efforts being supervised by the Argentine Mission during the next three years. By the end of 1960 there were over 4,000 Latter-day Saints in Argentina.

The increasing maturity of the Church was marked in November 1966 by the organization of the first stake in Argentina (which was also the first Spanish-speaking stake in South America and only the second such stake in the Church), with 20 more stakes being established by the end of 1980. By that time, there were five missions (two in Buenos Aires and others headquartered in Cordoba, Rosario, and Bahia Blanca) and nearly 50,000 Latter-day Saints in Argentina.

Argentina hosted two area conferences attended by President Spencer W. Kimball and other General Authorities in March 1975 and October 1978. Further progress came in 1986 with the dedication of the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple. Since 1984 Buenos Aires has been the headquarters of the South America South Area.

By December 2000, when the Argentine Saints celebrated the 75th anniversary of the arrival of LDS missionaries in South America, their country was home to 300,000 members, many of them representing the second and third generations of their families in the Church.

In recent times of high unemployment and political and social upheaval, Argentine Latter-day Saints have drawn upon the strength that comes from Church membership. Church leaders have prepared their people for such challenges by reemphasizing the basic principles of tithing, fast offerings and financial self-sufficiency. Many members planted vegetable gardens and learned to make or recondition clothing. But the Argentine Saints, showing the resilience that comes with their faith, have also reached out to the larger society in which they live, giving many thousands of hours of humanitarian and community service to those around them.

In 2003, membership reached 330,349. In 2005, membership reached 348,396.

Sources: "Argentina" in Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2004; "South American Mission" in Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church (1941); Frederick S. and Frederick G. Williams, From Acorn to Oak Tree: A Personal History of the Establishment and First Quarter Century Development of the South American Missions (1987); Nestor Curbelo, Historia de los Mormones en Argentina: Relatos de Pioneros (2000); Stanley E. Bellamy, "La Mision Argentina Cumple Treinta Anos," Liahona, December 1955; J. M. Heslop, "Argentina Conference — A Great Experience," Church News, 15 March 1975; Dell Van Orden, "Emotions swell as meetings end," Church News, 11 November 1978; "Groundbreaking for 4th temple in South America," Church News, 1 May 1983; John L. Hart, "Prophecy is fulfilled: two temples are dedicated in South America," Church News, 19 January 1986; Jason N. Swensen, "Church marks 75 years in South America," Church News, November 2000; Nestor Curbelo, "Day of service now tradition in South America," Church News, 17 October 1998; Nestor Curbelo, "Hope amid uncertainty," Church News, 2 February 2002; Nestor Curbelo, "Feeding hungry children," Church News, 20 July 2002; Nestor Curbelo, "34,000 clean up cities of 3 nations," Church News, 8 November 2003

Stakes — 70

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

South America South Area

1097 Bahia Blanca Argentina 23 Jan 1980 Daniel Humberto Fucci

2117 Bahia Blanca Argentina Villa Mitre 5 Nov 1995 Jorge Horacio Cizek

2172 Bariloche Argentina 25 Feb 1996 Miguel Angel Reginato

2259 Buenos Aires Argentina Adrogue 3 Nov 1996 Enrique Manuel Garcia

1797 *Buenos Aires Argentina Aldo Bonzi 2 Jun 1996

Buenos Aires

Argentina Ezeiza 12 May 1991 Carlos Ernesto Aguero

2239 Buenos Aires 22 Sep 1996 Oscar Altera

Argentina Avellaneda

920 Buenos Aires Argentina Banfield 14 May 1978 Heber Omar Diaz

1992 Buenos Aires Argentina Belgrano 18 Sep 1994 Nestor Esteban Curbelo

1143 Buenos Aires Argentina Castelar 8 Jun 1980 Jorge H. Michalek

2502 Buenos Aires Argentina Congreso 6 Dec 1998 Oscar Alberto Ormeno

2295 Buenos Aires Argentina Escobar 15 Dec 1996 Andres Bernardo Martin

2200 Buenos Aires Argentina 2 Jun 1996 Pedro Emilio Ayala

Gonzalez Catan

423 *Buenos Aires Argentina Liniers 10 Dec 1998

*Buenos Aires Argentina East

Buenos Aires 20 Nov 1966 Angel Abrea

1178 Buenos Aires Argentina Litoral 12 Sep 1980 Jorge Fernandez

2605b Buenos Aries Argentina Longchamps 1 Dec 2002 Ernesto Alejandro Jimenez

2276 Buenos Aires Argentina 24 Nov 1996 Ismael Hector Segovia

Marcos Paz

950 Buenos Aires Argentina Merlo 13 Aug 1978 Enrique Alfredo Ibarra

1824 Buenos Aires Argentina Monte Grande 10 Nov 1991 Hugo Vicente Riccinti

1405 Buenos Aires Argentina Moreno 20 Mar 1983 Carlos Domingo Marapodi

995 Buenos Aires Argentina North 28 Jan 1979 Tomas Federico Lindheimer

1946 Buenos Aires Argentina Sarmiento 27 Jun 1993 Carlos Antonio Moure

639 Buenos Aires Argentina West 12 May 1974 May Hugo Angel Catron

1975 Comodoro Rivadavia Argentina 20 Feb 1994 Jorge Esteban Detlefsen

2662 Cordoba Argentina East 21 Nov 2004 Juan Carlos Machado

1021 Cordoba Argentina North 29 Apr 1979 Juan Aldo L.

1959a Cordoba Argentina Sierras 7 Nov 1993 Roberto Jose Echegaray

569 *Cordoba Argentina South 20 Jun 1996

*Cordoba Argentina

Cordoba 28 Feb 1972 Arturo Palmieri

2228 Cordoba Argentina West 8 Sep 1996 Ruben B. Luis Spitale

1951 Florencio Varela Argentina 22 Aug 1993 Jorge Luis del Castillo

2639 Formosa Argentina 30 May 2004 Carlos Ruben Zayas

2059 General Roca Argentina 4 Jun 1995 Ruben Sabatino Tidei

1036 Godoy Cruz Argentina 6 Jun 1979 Salvador Molt'o

1978 Guaymallen Argentina 17 Apr 1994 Angel Licursi

1642 Jujuy Argentina 7 Jun 1987 Pedro Horacio Velazquez

1207 La Plata Argentina 23 Nov 1980 Hector Alejandro Olaiz

2284 La Plata Argentina Villa Elvira 1 Dec 1996 Angel Daniel Gatica

2654 La Rioja Argentina 17 Oct 2004 Hugo Manuel Pavon

2058 Maipu de Cuyo Argentina 4 Jun 1995 Luis Wachman

997 Mar del Plata Argentina 31 Jan 1979 Hector Luis Catron

2049 Mar del Plata Argentina North 21 May 1995 Eduardo Bautista Ferrari

570 *Mendoza Argentina

Mendoza 1 Mar 1972 Mario A. Rastelli

1918 Neuquen Argentina 20 Dec 1992 Ruben Sabatino Tidei

2210 Neuquen Argentina West 7 Jul 1996 Sergio Marcelo Redaelli

2610b Parana Argentina 16 Dec 2002 Juan Jose Resanovich

2460 Pergamino Argentina 10 May 1998 Daniel Oscar Banuls

1902 Posadas Argentina 20 Sep 1992 Manuel Aristides Franco

694 Quilmes Argentina 15 May 1975 Hugo Nestor Salvioli

1237 Resistencia Argentina 17 Feb 1981 Leopoldo Oscar Fuentes

2266 Resistencia Argentina South 17 Nov 1996 Oscar Daniel Fernandez

2160 Rio Cuarto Argentina 11 Feb 1996 Esteban Eliseo Colaberardino

636a Rosario Argentina 5 May 1974 Hugo Ruben Gazzoni

1177 Rosario Argentina North 10 Sep 1980 Daniel Arnoldo Moreno

2055 Rosario Argentina West 28 May 1995 Esteban Gabriel Resek

1260 Salta Argentina 29 Apr 1981 Victor Hugo Machado

2104 Salta Argentina West 15 Oct 1995 Angel Eleodoro Caceres

2166 San Juan Argentina Chimbas 18 Feb 1996 Ruben Dario Romeu

1871 San Juan Argentina Nuevo Cuyo 24 May 1992 Jorge Eduardo Chacon

2624 San Luis Argentina 14 Dec 2003 Daniel Alfredo Mitillo

1001 San Nicolas Argentina 22 Feb 1979 Deolindo Antonio Resek

2023 San Rafael Argentina 19 Feb 1995 Armando Hector Scorziello

1161 Santa Fe Argentina 20 Jul 1980 Raimundo Eduardo Rippstein

2085 Santa Fe Argentina North 13 Aug 1995 Pedro Manuel Zapata

2252 Santa Rosa Argentina 20 Oct 1996 Nicholas Arturo Paradiso

1945 Santiago Del Estero Argentina 20 Jun 1993 Jose Badami

1727 *Trelew Argentina North 8 Dec 1996

Trelew Argentina 11 Jun 1989 Oscar Daniel Filipponi

2288 Trelew Argentina South 8 Dec 1996 Juan Carlos Pino

1095 Tucuman Argentina 21 Jan 1980 Ronaldo Juan Walker

2004 Tucuman Argentina West 18 Dec 1994 Ricardo Ismael Rodriguez

2208 Zapala Argentina 30 Jun 1996 Humberto Nakad Saade

2385 Zarate Argentina 27 Jul 1997 Jose A. Gutierrez

Stakes discontinued

1250 Parana Argentina 29 Mar 1981 Carlos Arturo Sosa

Discontinued 15 Apr 1990

1096 San Juan Argentina 22 Jan 1980 Ricardo N. Ontiveros

Discontinued 30 Jul 1989 Argentina Cordoba Mission

Missions — 10

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

(180) ARG. BAHIA BLANCA MISSION

(32) ARGENTINA BUENOS AIRES NORTH MISSION

Calle San Andres 133 Gral. Lavalle 1828

8000 Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires 1646 San Fernando

Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina

(112) ARG. BUENOS AIRES SOUTH MISSION

(269) ARGENTINA BUENOS AIRES WEST MISSION

Quintana 447 Ballesteros 1076

1846 Adrogue 1706 Haedo

Buenos Aires, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina

(73) ARGENTINA CORDOBA MISSION

(228) ARGENTINA MENDOZA MISSION

Gay Lussac 5270, Cabildo Abierto 161

Villa Belgrano 5501 Godoy Cruz

5009 Cordoba, Argentina Mendoza, Argentina

(230) ARGENTINA NEUQUEN MISSION

(229) ARGENTINA RESISTENCIA MISSION

Zapla 24 Avenida Rivadavia 323

8300 Neuquen H3500AKE Resistencia

Argentina Chaco, Argentina

(100) ARGENTINA ROSARIO MISSION

(206) ARGENTINA SALTA MISSION

Blvd Argentino 7935 Los Eucaliptus 75

2000 Rosario, Santa Fe 4400 Salta

Argentina Argentina