Country information: Republic of Korea
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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 48,509,000; Members, 81,251; Stakes, 17; Wards, 94; Branches, 48; Missions, 4; Districts, 6; Temples, 1; percent LDS, .17, or one in 597; Asia North Area.
Latter-day Saint servicemen performed the first missionary work during the Korean War, between 1951 and 1953. Among the first Korean members was Ho Jik Kim, converted while earning a doctorate in the United States. He was baptized on 29 September 1951 in the Susquehanna River, near Harmony, Pa. He became an influential leader in the Korean government and paved the way for missionaries to enter Korea. His children, Tai Whan and Young Sook, were among the first four baptized in Korea, on 3 August 1952.
The first missionaries, Richard L. Detton and Don G. Powell, arrived in Korea in April 1956. At that time, membership in Korea was 64. The missionaries focused much of their work among young students.
Originally part of the Northern Far East Mission, the Korean Mission was created on 8 July 1962 with Gail C. Carr, one of the early missionaries to Korea, as president. The new mission had seven branches in Seoul, Pusan and Taegu. The Book of Mormon was printed in Korean in 1967. From 1974 to 1977 a girls choir in an orphanage operated by Latter-day Saint member Whang Keun-Ok was promoted on national media. The first stake in Korea — and the first stake on mainland Asia — was created in Seoul on 8 March 1973. The Church's first visitors' center in Korea was opened on 7 October 1974, in Kwang Ju, the provincial capital in southwestern Korea to introduce the Church to the Korean people.
President Spencer W. Kimball visited Korea on 26 October 1980, and spoke to 6,000 members in two sessions of an area conference. One session was held outdoors with a stiff wind sending the wind chill factor to many degrees below freezing.
The Seoul Korea Temple was dedicated 14 December 1985 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. When the 1988 Summer Olympic Games were held in Korea, the BYU Folk Dancers performed at the opening ceremonies. The ceremony was viewed by an estimated audience of 1 billion worldwide.
Elder In Sang Han, called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on 1 June 1991, was the first Korean General Authority. In 1992, a record of the testimonies of the early Korean converts was published by Spencer J. and Shirley Palmer. In 1995, the book was published in English.
In May 1996, President Gordon B. Hinckley conducted meetings for members and missionaries in Seoul and Pusan during an extended visit to Asia. He also attended a press conference and luncheon with members of the media in Korea.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve met with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong on 28 April 2001 while in Seoul for a regional conference. Elder Oaks presented the prime minister with a copy of the "Proclamation on the Family" and a sculpture of a family.
In 2003, membership reached 75,149.
Members of the Church from across Korea gathered in Olympic Gymnasium No. 1 on 31 July 2005, to join with President Hinckley for a regional conference. He had come as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the dedication of Korea for the preaching of the gospel. An estimated 10,000 attended.
Sources: R. Lanier Britsch, From the East, The History of the Latter-Day Saints in Asia, 1851- 1996, 1998; George W. McCune, A tribute to Brother Tatsui Sato, 1996; John D. Nash, History of the Church in Korea, 1998; Spencer J. Palmer, The Church Encounters Asia, 1970; Dell Van Orden, "Saints Throng to Area Meetings in the Far East," Church News, 1 November 1980; Gerry Avant, "Renewing Ties with Asian Lands, Peoples," Church News, 8 June 1996; Spencer J. Palmer, "Pioneering in South Korea, Ensign, October 1997; "Korean jubilee" Church News, 6 August 2005.
Stakes — 17
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
Asia North Area
1865 / Anyang Korea / 24 May 1992 / Young Hwan Lee
1059 / *Busan Korea
Pusan Korea / 6 Sep 1979 / Chaewhan Chang
1385 / *Cheongju Korea / 23 Sep 1986
Seoul Korea Chong Ju / 28 Nov 1982 / Chung Yul Hwang
1435 / *Daegu Korea
*Tae Gu Korea / 24 Jun 1993
*Dae Gu Korea / 3 Dec 1990
Daegu Korea / 24 Jun 1983 / Chan Tae Kwon
2440 / *Daejeon Korea
Taejeon Korea / 8 Mar 1998 / Song Yoom-heon
1196 / *Gwangju Korea / 26 Apr 2002
Kwang Ju Korea / 25 Oct 1980 / Bjong Kyu Pak
1306 / Inchon Korea / 12 Nov 1981 / Chea Huo
1596a / Jeonju Korea / 27 Apr 1986 / Ju In Pak
1382 / *Masan Korea / 13 Apr 1995
Pusan Korea West / 20 Nov 1982 / Gil Whe Do
604 / *Seoul Korea
Seoul / 8 Mar 1973 / Ho Nam Rhee
1412 / Seoul Korea Dongdaemun / 24 Apr 1983 / Son Wun Ju
1017 / Seoul Korea East / 18 Apr 1979 / Won Yong Ko
1386 / Seoul Korea Gangseo / 28 Nov 1982 / Do Hwan Lee
1060 / Seoul Korea North / 9 Sep 1979 / Moo Kwang Hong
834 / *Seoul Korea South
Seoul Korea West / 22 May 1977 / Chang Sun Kim
1387 / Seoul Korea Yeong Dong / 28 Nov 1982 / Jae Am Park
1866 / Suwon Korea / 24 May 1992 / Yong Hwan Lee
Missions — 4
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(124) KOREA BUSAN MISSION
Dongnae P.O. Box 73
(71) KOREA SEOUL MISSION
Kwang Hwa Mun
PO Box 210
Korea Seoul 110-602, Korea
(170) KOREA SEOUL WEST MISSION
Songpa, PO Box 31
Seoul 138-600, Korea
(191) KOREA DAEJON MISSION
Daejon PO Box 38
Daejon 300-600, Korea