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

Country information: Trinidad & Tobago

Published: Monday, Feb. 1, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 1,230,000; Members, 2,489; Districts, 1; Branches, 12; Missions, 1; percent LDS, .2 or one in 494; Caribbean Area.

Off the east coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad & Tobago is a parliamentary democracy where the people speak English as the official language. The major religions are Roman Catholic, 32 percent; Protestant, 29 percent; and Hindu, 25 percent.

A visit to England by Elizabeth Rogers led to her baptism there in April 1974. When she moved back to Trinidad in 1976, she wrote to President Spencer W. Kimball requesting missionaries. Howard J. Marsh, Venezuela Caracas Mission president, sent missionaries into the country for short periods of time as early as March 1975, but official recognition of the Church was denied and permanent missionary work could not be established for many years.

Among the first converts to the Church were Lucy Payne and the Basil D. and Felicia Borde family baptized in 1977 by missionaries Daniel Rector and Michael Willis. Basil Borde worked as a newspaperman and wrote articles about the Church in order to dispel misconceptions held by public and government officials. During a visit to Trinidad by Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy and Venezuela Caracas Mission President Dale E. Miller, the Trinidad Branch was organized on 5 June 1980 in Port of Spain with Errol O. Balfour as branch president.

Trinidad was transferred to the West Indies Mission in September 1983. The first missionaries from the West Indies Mission were Chris Doty, Doug Mathews, Randy Clark and David Roos who helped organize a citywide cross-country race that raised the Church's profile. Missionaries still could not actively preach in the country, so in 1987 Frank Talley, Regional Representative in Puerto Rico, and his wife, Arline, organized a Health Fair in Trinidad to teach hygiene and principles from the Word of Wisdom. The fair resulted in 300 referrals and the baptism of Kelvin Diaz. He was chief executive of the Boy Scouts of Trinidad and head of civil service training for the government. Diaz used his influence with the government in April 1988 for 10 missionaries to enter the country and subsequent missionaries to proselyte in the country.

On 22 February 1990, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Trinidad along with Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy and blessed the land. The Trinidad Tobago Mission was created on 1 July 1991, but discontinued in 1994, with Trinidad becoming the new headquarters of the West Indies Mission. Growth in Trinidad led to branches developing throughout the island in Port of Spain, San Fernando, Arima, Sangre Grande, Couva and Curepe. The Port of Spain Trinidad District was formed 3 March 1996 with Albert Alleyne as district president.

President Gordon B. Hinckley stopped in Trinidad on 20 May 2002 after dedicating temples in Brazil and Paraguay. He addressed 900 people at a member meeting in the Cascadia Hotel conference center in St. Anns. Also in attendance was Donna Carter, the minister of religions for the government of Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to the meeting, President Hinckley met with the prime minister of the republic, Patrick Manning.

In 2002, there were 1,778 members.

Sources: Jean A. B. Borde, History of the Saints in Trinidad and Tobago, Church Archives; Kenneth L. Zabriskie, History of the West Indies Mission, [ca. 1989], Church Archives; A. Dean and Darnell Z. Jeffs interview, Church Archives; Arnold Irvine, "New Friendship Brings About Major Changes," Church News, 6 March 1983; "2 New Missions in U.S. and West Indies," Church News, 10 July 1983; "Services in 3 South America Nations and Island Republic," Church News, 10 March 1990; "Visit to West Indies Because 'We Love You,'" Church News, 1 June 2002.

Stakes — 1

(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)

No. / Name / Organized / First President

Caribbean Area

2820 / Port of Spain Trinidad / 1 Mar 2009 / Emrol Ian Gould

Mission — 1

(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)

(178a)TRINIDAD &TOBAGO MISSION

#1 Morequito Ave

ValPark Shopping Plaza Bldg 10

PO Box 543

Valsayn, Trinidad, West Indies