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

Country information: Nauru

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 14,000; Members, 108; Branches, 1; Percent LDS, .77,or one in 130.; Pacific Islands Area; Marshall Islands Majuro Mission.

Nauru is an island of 8.2 square miles in the west Pacific Ocean just south of the Equator and near the Solomon Islands. Four-fifths of its residents are Christian, most belong to the Nauruan Protestant Church.

There are no records of missionary work or visits by Latter-day Saints to Nauru prior to the island being assigned to the Micronesia Guam Mission when the mission was created on 1 April 1980.

It is presumed that sometime in the early 1980s, Church members from Kiribati began moving to Nauru for employment and initially met for Church services in homes. Micronesia Guam Mission President Joseph B. Keeler visited Nauru in April 1984. During that time the Nauru Branch was organized with 16 members. The branch was later transferred to the Fiji Suva Mission on 1 July 1986. Church membership has increased and declined according to the demand and export of the island's chief economic product, phosphate rock. Due to restrictions on missionary work, only temporary visits by Church representatives are allowed. Raymond and Lorraine Schmedes were the first missionary couple to make periodic visits from Tarawa, Kiribati, to Nauru beginning in 1998. They helped establish a Relief Society and Primary and also began a seminary program. The Nauru Branch had 128 members in February 1999 when it was made part of the Tarawa Gilbert Islands District.

Sources: Micronesia Guam Mission, Annual history and historical reports, Church Archives; Fiji Suva Mission, Annual history and historical reports, Church Archives.

On 1 July 2006, Nauru was divided from the Fiji Suva Mission to become part of the newly organized Marshall Islands Majuro Mission.