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

Country information: Solomon Islands

Published: Monday, Feb. 1, 2010

E-mail story

It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.

Your name and e-mail address are transmitted to the recipient. Otherwise, it is considered private information; see Privacy policy.

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population: 596,000; Members, 246; Branches, 1;Percent LDS, .04, or one in 2,423; Papua New Guinea Mission, Pacific Area.

The Solomon Islands lie in the West Pacific Ocean east of Papua New Guinea. Their people speak English, Melanesian pidgin, Motu, and 120 other tribal languages. The country is a parliamentary democracy. The population is 45 percent Anglican, 18 percent Roman Catholic, 12 percent Methodist/Presbyterian, 9 percent Baptist, 7 percent Seventh-Day Adventist, 5 percent other Christian including Latter-day Saint and 4 percent indigenous faiths.

During the World War II, a number of Latter-day Saints serving in the U.S. military were stationed in the Solomon Islands. At least two servicemen groups conducted regular Church services on Guadalcanal and other of the islands in 1943-1945.

The first natives baptized were Imo Ta'asi, who joined the Church in 1986 at Brigham Young University, and Peter Joseph Salaka, a member of Parliament who had been baptized in England.

The Immigration Department of the Solomon Islands issued a directive on 27 January 1992 forbidding entry of Latter-day Saints into the country. When the first missionary couple was assigned to work there in 1994, they learned of the restriction. After appeal of the immigration directive, the Church was allowed to send representatives. The first missionaries were E. Crawford Jones and his wife, Judith, who arrived at the beginning of 1995. They were soon joined by two young elders, Glenn R. Cockburn and Sa Francis Togia.

The first meeting since World War II was held in Honiara, Guadalcanal, on 5 February 1995 with four in attendance. On 26 April 1995, Papua New Guinea Mission president John Gibson met with Prime Minister Solomon Mamaloni and presented to him a copy of the Book of Mormon.

The first Solomon Islander baptized in the islands was Eddie Misi on 21 May 1995. He later served as first branch president. The Honiara Branch was created on 4 February 1996.

In June 2000, because of political unrest, eight missionaries — six elders and one senior couple — were temporarily relocated from the Solomon Islands and sent to the Australia Brisbane Mission. Missionaries were allowed to return a short time later.

In 2003, membership was 183.

Sources: Servicemen's Group (Guadalcanal) minutes, 1944-1945, Church Archives; Servicemen's Group (Army Service Forces Band: Solomon Islands) minutes, 1943-1944, Church Archives; "The Church in the Pacific," Ensign, February 1998; "Missionary Work Opens," Church News, 15 April 1995; Missionaries Evacuated from Solomon Islands," 17 June 2000.