Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Country information: Barbados

Published: Monday, Jan. 25, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 284,000; Members, 696; Branches, 4; Districts 1; Percent LDS, 0.21, or one in 45; Caribbean Area; West Indies Mission.

A Caribbean independent sovereign state of Great Britain, English-speaking Barbados is made up of one island where about 70 percent are Anglican.

In January 1853, six elders arrived in Jamaica on a mission to the West Indies. During a meeting Alfred B. Lambson and Jesse Turpin determined to go to Barbados. After purchasing tickets for their passage, the two elders were removed from the boat by a British government official who did not want Mormon American missionaries traveling to additional islands in the British Empire. The six elders soon returned to the United States unable to preach anywhere else in the West Indies.

A ship carrying Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve stopped for one day in Barbados on 20 November 1925. Elder Ballard continued to Argentina where he dedicated South America. During World War II an LDS serviceman, Clinton E. Weil, was stationed in Barbados and married a local woman. After the war he returned to Barbados and lived there from 1957-1958. He held his own Church services with his 4- year-old son and upon leaving the country donated the Book of Mormon and other Church books to a library in Bridgetown.

Greg Young, a Latter-day Saint from the United States, had family members who operated a hotel in Barbados. During the Christmas holidays he visited Barbados and shared the gospel with a friend John Naime. On 16 April 1978, Young baptized John, June, Norman, and Gema Naime, the first converts in the country. John and Norman were then ordained priests and upon John Naime's request, he was ordained an elder on the same day as his baptism.

President Richard L. Millett of the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission met the Naimes after they visited Salt Lake City in 1978. In September 1979, President Millett sent Brent Hintze and Kent Bunker to begin missionary work. The first branch in Barbados was the Christ Church Branch, created on 20 October 1979. It was followed by the organization of the Black Rock Branch on 24 August 1983. The Oistins Branch was created 19 February 1985.

On 13 March 1988, Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve blessed the islands of the West Indies. On the same day, he also dedicated the Christ Church Branch building, and Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy dedicated the Black Rock Branch building. The Christ Church Barbados District was organized 16 June 2002 with John Naime as president. The district is comprised of three branches.

In 2003, there were 601 members.

Sources: George A. Smith, Rise, Progress, Travels, 1872; Aaron F. Farr, diary, 1853, Church Archives; Melvin J. Ballard, Letter to Martha J. Ballard, 20-30 November 1925, Church Archives; Clinton E. Weil, Letter, 10 August 1981, Church Archives; Richard L. Millett, History of the Church in the Caribbean, 1977-1980; Puerto Rico San Juan Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; West Indies Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; John Rappleye, interview with John Naime, 1987, Church Archives.