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

Country information: Malta

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 405,000; Members, 132; Branches, 1; Percent LDS, .03, or one in 3,068; Europe Area; Italy Catania Mission.

Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a republic with a population that speaks Maltese and English, and is mostly Roman Catholic.

On 26 February 1852, Apostle Lorenzo Snow and Jabez Woodard arrived on Malta and began to preach the gospel. Elder Snow departed for Gibraltar on 16 May 1852, leaving Woodard and James F. Bell to carry on the work. Shortly thereafter, Ferndinanda Seiapati and Jean Alais Frouche were the first people baptized on the island. Thomas Obray arrived on 30 May 1852 having been appointed to succeed Woodard as mission president. The following 20 June a branch was organized. Most of the converts were British military personnel. Opposition surfaced, however, and many converts were threatened by military officials with loss of rank or punishment for their involvement in the Church. Many remained faithful, but others fell away.

In 1854, many branch members left Malta to serve in the Crimean War. Four mobile branches were organized to serve the members at war from the original branch in Malta. By 1856, however, the main branch was dissolved.

Sources: Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; Malta Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "French, Italian, German, and Malta Missions," Millennial Star, 14:603; Deseret News, 10 October 1854; Malta Branch, Sunday School minutes, Church Archives; Italy Catania Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; JoAn B. Bitton, Personal account of the island of Malta, 1976, 1993, Church Archives; Malta Branch, General minutes, Church Archives.