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

Country information: Uganda

Published: Monday, Feb. 1, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 32,370,000; Members, 6,919; Mission, 1; Districts, 2; Branches, 16; percent LDS, .02, or one in 4,678; Africa Southeast Area; Uganda Kampala Mission.

Records from the South African Mission indicate that Lorel Nicole was baptized in Uganda on 1 July 1969, which is quite possibly the first Latter-day Saint baptism in that country. Non-Ugandan Latter-day Saints living and working there in the early 1970s met in small groups that reported to the Switzerland and International missions.

In the 1980s, several Ugandans living abroad joined the Church, returned to Uganda, and wrote to Salt Lake City wanting to know if the Church was established in Uganda. The International Mission responded with Church literature and encouragement to live the gospel. At this same time, other Ugandans who came across references to the Church also wrote to headquarters wanting information and contact with the Church. Among them was Mugisa James Collins, who had heard about the Church from a pen pal in Denmark.

Charles Osinde, a native Ugandan, joined the Church in 1989 while living in Scotland. Just before Osinde returned to Uganda, the Area Presidency in England gave him a list of seven members and a few investigators and asked that he try to locate them. Osinde found Mugisa James Collins.

In October 1989, Guy and Peggy Denton, Church members from Utah, moved to Uganda to organize agricultural education programs at Makasero University. The Dentons held Church services in their home. In February 1990, Elder Robert E. Sackley, a counselor in the United Kingdom-Ireland-Africa Area Presidency, visited Uganda and began applying for legal recognition of the Church. He located Osinde and introduced him to the Dentons, and they began meeting together on Sundays. A short while later, Collins was taught the gospel by Guy Denton and baptized in Lake Victoria by him, the first native Ugandan to be baptized in the country.

The first full-time missionary couple to be stationed in Uganda, Lark and Arlea Washburn, arrived in Kampala on 8 December 1990. The first Ugandan missionaries, Robert Kagabo and Amos Tumwesigye, began their service in the Kenya Nairobi Mission in December 1992.

The first branch in Uganda was organized on 31 March 1991 in Kampala, with Guy Denton as president, Charles Osinde as first counselor, and Mugisa James Collins as second counselor. A short while later, on 16 February 1992, a district was organized with Guy Denton as president. A second district was organized in Jinja in December 1993.

Uganda became part of the Kenya Nairobi Mission when it was organized 1 July 1991. In October of that year, Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Uganda and blessed the land.

The Church was registered in the cities of Kampala and Jinja on 23 April 1991. On 16 June 1992, the Church received nationwide recognition as a registered religious organization by the National Board for Non-Governmental Organisations.

In 1997, two meetinghouses were constructed in Uganda, one in Jinja and the other in Kampala. The Kololo meetinghouse in Kampala, the first to be completed, was dedicated in September 1997.

In March 1998, missionaries, along with many citizens of Kampala, were invited to participate in a citywide clean up campaign just prior to the visit of U.S. President Bill Clinton. Several missionaries, while helping to cut the grass at the presidential airstrip across the street from the Kololo meetinghouse, were interviewed by Uganda's First Lady, Janet Museveni.

Membership in 2003 was 3,580.

The Uganda Kampala Mission was organized 1 July 2005, and included the countries of Uganda and Ethiopia.

In 2005, membership reached 3,920.

Sources: Cumorah's Southern Messenger, September 1969; Kenya Nairobi Mission history, 1998, Church Archives; Lark and Arlea Washburn oral history, 1997, Church Archives; Lark Washburn papers, 1991, Church Archives.

Missions — 1

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

UGANDA KAMPALA MISSION

PO Box 8989

Kampala, Uganda