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

Country information: Indonesia

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 240,272,000; Members, 6,393; Missions, 1; Districts, 3; Branches, 23; percent LDS, .0027 or one in 37,584; Asia Area.

An archipelago of more than 13,500 islands, including Java, one of the world's most densely populated areas, Indonesia is a republic whose population speaks Bahasa Indonesia (the official language), Javanese, and up to 100 other Austronesian languages.

In October 1957, a man named Sutrisno (many Indonesians have only one name) became acquainted with Garth N. Jones and George H. Hansen, Latter-day Saints who were living in Yogyakarta. Sutrisno lived with Hansen's family for three years. He later formed friendships with other Church members who were temporarily residing in Indonesia, including Perry Polson, Dennis B. Butler and Ludy M. VanderHoeven. On 1 June 1969 Sutrisno became the first Indonesian to be baptized in his native country.

Elders Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Bruce R. McConkie, then of the Seventy, and other leaders visited Indonesia in October 1969. A short time later, on 5 January 1970, six missionaries from the Southeast Asia Mission arrived in Jakarta to formally initiate missionary work there. They were Frank Willard, Dale Storer, Robert Meier, Ross Marchant, Greg Hawker and Larry Hunt.

The missionaries were met by four Latter-day Saint families who were stationed in Jakarta on work assignments. Several local people assisted the missionaries with legal and other issues, including Ibrahim, an Indonesian businessman who had joined the Church in Holland; Piet Tandiman, an attorney who joined the Church; Siang Sililahih, member of the Department of Religion and Culture who had attended BYU in the 1950s; and Jan Walendouw, who knew of the Church through his business dealings with Church members Peter and Maxine Grimm in the Philippines.

Mission President G. Carlos Smith organized the Jakarta Branch on 15 February 1970 with Dennis B. Butler as president. The missionaries baptized their first two converts on 29 March and the Church was officially recognized by the Republic of Indonesia on 11 August. Before the end of the year missionaries were also working in Bandung and Bogor. Several other cities on the island of Java received missionaries in the next three years: Yogyakarta, Solo, Semarang, Surabaya, and Malang. The Java District was created on 16 November 1972. The country had 770 Church members and six branches at the end of 1974.

In 1975, Tjan Hardjiono and Suharto became the first two Indonesians to serve full-time missions in their homeland. The Indonesia Jakarta Mission was created on 1 July 1975. Hendrik Gout, the first president, was born in Java and joined the Church in 1953 in the Netherlands.

In 1977, the Book of Mormon was printed in the language of Bahasa Indonesia, the Central Java District was created (the second district in the country), the Church opened an elementary school in Jakarta, and welfare services sister missionaries arrived in Indonesia to help Church members and others improve nutrition and avoid disease. A third member district, the East Java District, was organized in February 1978.

In August 1978, Indonesia's Minister of Religion issued Ministerial Decree Number 70. It limited missionary activities of all religions among people of other faiths. Beginning in August 1979, the government refused to renew visas for several missionaries, most of whom were transferred to the Philippines to finish their missions. On 1 September, the leader of the country, President Suharto, requested that all foreign missionaries in Indonesia be gradually replaced by Indonesian nationals. The Indonesia Jakarta Mission was discontinued in December 1980 and missionary efforts were coordinated by the Singapore Mission. The Church's last young non- Indonesian missionaries left the country in August 1981. Leadership responsibility in the country now rested almost entirely on the shoulders of local Church members.

In early 1981, there were 24 Indonesian full-time missionaries serving in their homeland. By the end of 1987, the number had doubled, to 49. The Indonesia Jakarta Mission was re-opened in July 1985 with Effian Kadarusman as president. He served for four years instead of the usual three. When his intended successor encountered visa problems in 1989, the mission was again discontinued and Indonesia again became part of the Singapore Mission. At that time Piet Tandiman began serving as a local full-time counselor to the mission president in Singapore. He was succeeded in this position in 1992 by his son Juswan, who in 1994 was succeeded by Subandriyo. The Indonesia Jakarta Mission was re-opened once more in 1995.

In 1987, the Church closed its elementary school in Jakarta because of high costs, the fact that only a small number of Latter-day Saint children were able to attend, and the feeling that Church funds could be better used in supporting other educational needs in Indonesia. In the mid-1990s, missionaries began working in cities on islands outside of Java, including Sumatra and Sulawesi.

Couple missionaries from other lands began serving in Indonesia during the 1990s. A few young non-Indonesian missionaries were allowed to serve there for five months in 1993. Missionaries from Australia, Canada, Germany, and Great Britain were granted visas in 2001, but were evacuated after the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City on 11 September.

President Gordon B. Hinckley met with Indonesia's new President Abdurrahman Wahid and members of his cabinet in January 2000 and also held a conference with Church members in Jakarta. Later that year the Church donated rice, hygiene kits, and clothing to assist refugees who were fleeing from violence in East Timor. In April 2003, Subandriyo became the first Indonesian called to serve as an Area Authority Seventy.

In 2002, membership reached 5,604. In 2003, there were 5,720.

Sources: Garth N. Jones, Spreading the gospel in Indonesia: A Jonah and a contagion, 1981, Church Archives; Lorna H. Cook, The Church in the Republic of Indonesia, 1994, Church Archives; R. Lanier Britsch, From the East: The History of the Latter-day Saints in Asia, 1851- 1996, 1998; Southeast Asia Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Local unit history file (microfiche), 1983, Church Archives; Singapore Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "Indonesian Minister Thanks Church for Aid," Church News, 6 May 2000; "Travels of the Prophet," Church News, 30 December 2000; "2000: 'A Remarkable Year for the Church," Church News, 30 December 2000; "Changes Announced in Leadership Positions," Church News, 5 April 2003.

Mission — 1

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

(306) INDONESIA JAKARTA MISSION

Jalan Senopati 115

Kebayoran Baru

Jakarta 12190, Indonesia