Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 14,573,000; Members, 185,663; Stakes, 33; Wards, 212; Branches, 82; Missions, 3; Districts, 10; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.3, or one in 78; South America North Area.

Located on the equator on the Pacific Coast side of South America, the Republic of Ecuador is divided into three zones by two ranges of Andes mountains. Its population speaks Spanish or Quechua.

Church History[]

A telephone call from Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, to President J. Averil Jesperson of the Andes Mission in Lima, Peru, on 22 September 1965, directed the beginning of missionary work in Ecuador. Four missionaries, Craig Carpenter, Bryant R. Gold, Joel Lindon Robinson, and Paul O. Allen, were sent to Quito, and on 9 October, Elder Kimball visited the city. Less than a month after Elder Kimball’s visit, nine people were baptized on 31 October 1965 in Alangasi de la Merced, located about 50 miles southeast of Quito.

Missionary work progressed rapidly. In the city of Guayaquil missionary work began on 28 January 1966. When the Ecuador Mission, headquartered in Quito, was created on 1 August 1970, membership was 1,000. Ecuador’s first stake was organized in Guayaquil 4 June 1978 under the leadership of President Lorenzo Garaycoa. A second mission in the country was organized in Guayaquil on 1 July 1978. Some early missionary efforts were conducted among the Otavalo Indians near Quito, among whom the first all-Lamanite stake in South America was organized in 1981. In 1989, the headquarters for the South America North Area was moved from Lima, Peru, to Quito, Ecuador.

Membership in 1999 approached 150,000 in 32 stakes.

Although the construction of a temple for Guayaquil was announced in March 1982, it was not finished and dedicated until 1 August 1999. On 11 August 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley became the first Church President to visit Ecuador. He toured the temple under construction and in two meetings, described to 15,000 Ecuadoran Church members how he had been impressed to find the site several years earlier. At a regional conference on 31 July 1999 President Hinckley spoke to nearly 22,000 members and told them, in contemplation of the temple dedication the following day, “This is a day to be remembered by Latter-day Saints for many years to come.”

In 2002, membership reached 156,988, and 161,396 in 2003.

See Also[]


Sources: Andes Mission manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; “Ecuador,” Ensign, February 1977; “Language No Barrier,” Church News, 11 November 1978; Gerry Avant, “Tip Your Panama Hat, This is Ecuador,” Church News, 14 February 1981; “Ecuador’s First Stake Formed in Guayaquil,” Church News, 8 July 1978; Elayne Wells, “In the Andes, Lehi’s Children Grow Strong in the Gospel,” Church News, 17 February 1990; “Temples in Latin America,” Church News, 25 June1994, “Ecuador Receives 1st Visit from a President of Church,” Church News, 23 August 1997; “‘A Wondrous Day’ at Dedication of Guayaquil Temple,” Church News, 7 August 1999; John L. Hart, “Burst of Zeal Opens Work in Ecuador,” Church News, 6 November 1999.