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

Country information: Cameroon

Published: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010

E-mail story

It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.

Your name and e-mail address are transmitted to the recipient. Otherwise, it is considered private information; see Privacy policy.

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 18,879,000; Members, 727; Branches 3;LDS, 1 in 25,968; or .004 percent; Africa Southeast Area; Ghana Cape Coast Mission.

Cameroon, a Central African nation on the Gulf of Guinea, is bordered by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. It became independent from France on 1 January 1960. The official languages are English and French, while 24 African languages are also spoken. Forty percent of the people are Christian, 20 percent Muslim, and 40 percent follow tribal beliefs.

There were members of the Church living in Cameroon as early as 1974. On 21 July 1974, the first sacrament meeting was held in Yaounde. Attending were Ellsworth A. Cragholm, Lynn Cragholm, and her daughter Doree Taylor.

Lucas and Marva Atem, citizens of Cameroon, were baptized in October 1979 in Leeds, England, and returned to Cameroon in 1981. Louis Joseph Beyina was baptized in 1982 in Milan, Italy, and returned to Cameroon soon after. In March 1984, there were six known members of the Church living in Cameroon. They were Louis Joseph Beyina, Etoundi Adalbert Abah, and Paul S. and Gertrud Carpenter, and their children, Christian and Susanne. Carpenter baptized his daughter, Susanne, in Yaounde on 19 March 1984, the first known baptism performed in Cameroon.

The first missionaries to work in Cameroon, Paul D. and Arlene Payne, were assigned there from Nigeria for three weeks in September 1991 to locate members. Two missionary couples were assigned to serve full-time in the country in 1992. They were Gerard and Georgette Gagne of Montreal, Quebec, and Ken and Bea Nielsen from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. On 9 May 1992, Moses Ako Agbortabot was baptized by Gerard Gagne, the first known native baptism in Cameroon.

The Cameroon Yaounde Mission was created on 1 July 1992, mission headquarters were moved to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 18 May 1993. Cameroon president Paul Biya approved the Church's request for legal recognition on 9 September 1993. Up to that time about 30 people had been baptized, and another 60 investigators were attending Sunday meetings. On 5 July 1994, Missionaries were temporarily withdrawn from Cameroon due to a war between Nigeria and Cameroon.

The seminary program was introduced in 1995. The Douala Group was organized on 5 August 1996 with R. Bongongui Yondo Ernest as group leader. Cameroon became part of the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission on 1 January 2003, and was reorganized from the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission on 1 July 2005.

In 2005, membership reached 374.

Sources: "Legal status in Cameroon," Church News, 22 January 1994; Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Borgna Brunner, "Countries of the world, Cameroon ," Time Almanac 2004; Robert and Beverly Mercer, Interview, 1994, Church Archives.