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

United States territory: Guam

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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(See also Micronesia)

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 178,000; Members, 1,874; Branches, 3; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Percent LDS, 1, or one in 95; Asia North Area; Micronesia Guam Mission.

The largest of the Mariana islands in the South Pacific, the self-governing U.S. territory of Guam has a population that is mostly Roman Catholic. Guam became a U.S. possession on 21 June 1898 following the Spanish-American War.

There are no records of missionary activity on Guam or visits by Latter-day Saints prior to World War II. The first known members on Guam came with the U.S. armed forces during the war. Servicemen's groups numbering from 50 to 300 members existed on Guam from 1944- 1945.

Families were able to join their servicemen stationed in Guam as early as 1946 and all of the groups were consolidated into one Guam Servicemen's Group. Membership grew steadily and all auxiliaries were fully organized when the Guam Branch, with Victor Olson as president, was formed under the direction of the Japanese Mission on 9 October 1951. Soon members raised enough money to purchase land and two quonset huts in Anigua, to be used for a meetinghouse. Prior to this, meetings were held in military facilities.

The branch was transferred to the Southern Far East Mission when the Japanese Mission was divided in July 1955. The first full time missionaries, Dannie T. Gallego and Paul R. Ray, arrived in January 1957. Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated the Guam Branch meetinghouse on 18 June 1959. The Guam Branch became part of the Honolulu Stake on 15 October 1959 and missionary work was assumed by branch members called as stake missionaries.

Land for another meetinghouse was purchased in April 1964. On 3 March 1970, the Guam Branch became a ward in the Honolulu Stake and a new meetinghouse in Barrigada was dedicated on 10 March 1970 by Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve. Full-time missionary work in Guam resumed on 7 July 1970 when Michael D. Corrigan and Vern H. Liljenquist were assigned to work there by Hawaiian Mission president Kenneth W. Gardner. There had been no full-time missionaries in Guam since becoming part of the Honolulu Stake due mostly to distance. Guam is separated from Hawaii by 3,300 miles of ocean. Missionary work expanded at that time to include the native Charorro people besides American servicemen.

The Honolulu Stake was divided on 21 November 1971, and the ward became part of the newly created Kaneohe Stake. The ward was divided in May 1976. The two wards shared the same meetinghouse in Barrigada. The first Chamorro couple to join the Church, Donald and Maria Calvo, were baptized on 21 May 1977. The Agat Branch was created in the southern part of Guam in 1978. In 1979, Herbert J. Leddy, the first missionary of Chamorro lineage, was called to the Tennessee Nashville Mission.

The Micronesia Guam Mission was created on 1 April 1980. In 1989, selections of the Book of Mormon were translated into Chamorro, and that same year, Herbert J. Leddy became the first Chamorro member to be called as district president. The Barrigada Central Branch was created in January 1992 to meet the needs of an influx of Micronesian Church members coming to Guam.

President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Guam on 31 January 2000 while on a tour of Pacific Rim countries. He was welcomed to Agana by Carl Gutierrez, governor of Guam, along with 684 Church members. President Hinckley's address was carried to a meetinghouse on the island of Saipan via telephone connection. He recounted visiting Guam in 1965 with Elder Hugh B. Brown and meeting with only fifteen members at the time.

In 2005, membership was 1,669.

Sources: Servicemen's Group (Orote, Guam), Meeting minutes and attendance records, 1944- 1946, Church Archives; Servicemen's Group (Nob Hill), Meeting minutes and attendance records, 1946, Church Archives; Servicemen's Group (Guam), Meeting minutes and attendance records, 1947-1948, Church Archives; Japanese Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Southern Far East Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Honolulu Stake, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guam 1st Ward, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Kaneohe Hawaii Stake, Manuscript history and historical records; Church Archives; Guam District, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Alan E. Muller, "A historical account of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Guam," 1955, Church Archives; Micronesia Guam Mission, A Brief History of the Micronesia-Guam Mission, 1980-1990, Church Archives; R. Lanier Britsch, Unto the Islands of the Sea, 1986.

Mission — 1

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

(178) MICRONESIA GUAM MISSION

PO?Box 21749 GMF

Barrigada, GU 96921