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

Country information: Mauritius

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Mauritius located east of Madagascar. The official languages are English, and French, while Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, and Bojpoori are also spoken. Fifty-two percent of the people are Hindu, while 28.3 percent are Christian, 16.6 percent Muslim, and 3.1 percent follow other beliefs.

George Kershaw, a Latter-day Saint from South Africa, served as a missionary for two months in Mauritius in 1856. His only known converts were an army private and several members of the crew of the ship on which he arrived.

In recent years, the first known Mauritian to be baptized was Sylvie Babajee who joined the Church outside the country on 5 June 1966. Mauritius and the Mascarenes Islands came under the direction of the International Mission in 1979. The first baptisms on Mauritius were for Rowan Sanjay Narraidoo, Harold Clement Desire Essoo, Alain Kheeroo, Jocelyn Rudy (Ruddy) Lenette, Jayprakash (Vyas) Mohabeer, and Gerard Gabriel Goder who joined the Church on 27 November 1981.

Preston and Isabelle Gledhill, arrived on 29 December 1980, the first full-time missionaries assigned to work on the island. The Mauritius Branch was organized on 25 February 1982 with Don Norton as president. Senior missionary couple, Edward A. and Louise P. Schmidt, served a teaching mission to Mauritius from 1984 to 1986. It was during this time that Sister Schmidt introduced the seminary and institute curriculum to the island. On 1 July 1985, the parliament of Mauritius passed a bill granting the Church legal recognition.

Several months later, on 24 October 1985, Richard A. Clawson and Blake C. Rick arrived on Mauritius as the first young missionaries to serve there. Between 1984 and 1987, missionaries were called to the Mascarene Islands from French-speaking missions in Europe.

In 1986, Mauritius was transferred from the International Mission to become part of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission. On 1 July 1988 the Mascarene Islands Mission was created. Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve visited the island on 22 November 1988. On 1 July 1998, Mauritius was placed in the newly created Madagascar Antananarivo Mission.

In 2004, there were 361 members organized in two branches. In 2005, membership was 358.

Sources: Hal H. Hunter, The history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mascarene Islands, 1987, Church Archives; Madagascar Antananarivo Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Borgna Brunner, "Countries of the World, Mauritius," Time Almanac 2004; Louise P. Schmidt, Conversation, 29 April 2004.