Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 13,277,000; Members, 215,186; Stakes, 38; Wards, 231; Branches, 187; Missions, 4; Districts, 20; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.62, or one in 62; Central America Area.

Guatemala is the northernmost isthmus country in Central America. The national language is Spanish, but various Indian dialects are also spoken.

Church History[]

John F. O’Donnal, a member of the Church from the Mormon colonies in Mexico, moved to Central America in 1942 as an agricultural adviser of the U.S. government. In December 1946, he visited Church headquarters and made a personal appeal to President George Albert Smith to open missionary work in Guatemala. President Arwell L. Pierce of the Mexican Mission assigned Seth G. Mattice and Earl E. Hansen to work in Guatemala. They arrived 4 September 1947. John F. O’Donnal was set apart as district president on 12 August 1948 and more than 60 people attended the first meeting in a rented building in Guatemala City two weeks later. President O’Donnal baptized his wife, Carmen, the first convert in Guatemala on 13 November 1948.

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited Guatemala on 16 November 1952 and organized the Central American Mission with headquarters in Guatemala City. The first visit by a Church president took place 13 February 1954 when President David O. McKay visited Guatemala City. By the end of 1956, branches had been established in 15 cities.

Continued Church growth in Central America prompted the division of the Central American Mission and the creation of the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission on 1 August 1965. When the Church received official government recognition on 29 June 1966, there were already 10,000 members. Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles organized the Guatemala City Stake, on 21 May 1967, the first in the country, with Udine Falabella as president. President Spencer W. Kimball presided at the Guatemala Stake conference in September 1971. The stake was divided the following year, and the mission was divided in 1976, creating separate missions in Guatemala and El Salvador.

In 1977, President Spencer W. Kimball again visited Guatemala. On 22 February, he met with Guatemalan President Kjell Eugenio Laugerud-Garcia. He also spoke at an area conference at the National Gymnasium to members from Guatemala and El Salvador, and was given the key to the city from Mayor Leonel Ponciano Leon.

By 1977, the mission had been divided again with the creation of the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, with John F. O’Donnal as president. Four stakes had been established and membership was more than 17,000. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Guatemala City Temple, 14 December 1984. John F. O’Donnal was called as temple president. At that time, membership was 40,000 in eight stakes and 13 districts. A third mission, the Guatemala City North, was created on 1 January 1988, and a fourth, Guatemala Central, was created on 1 July 1993.

Elder Carlos H. Amado, former temple committee chairman, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on 1 April 1989, becoming the first Guatemalan General Authority. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated a new 36,400-square-foot missionary training center in Guatemala City, not far from the temple on 22 January 1994. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Guatemala on 26 January 1997, and in two meetings addressed about 20,000 members from 29 stakes and districts.

By 2001, a little more than 50 years after the first missionaries arrived, Church membership in Guatemala exceeded 180,000. By 2002, membership reached 188,531. By 2003, it was 192,207.

For the first time in the history of the Church in Guatemala, more than 4,000 young women gathered for a two-day national LDS girls camp on 27-28 November 2004. More than 90 buses filled with enthusiastic young women arrived at a campground in Santa Catarina Pinula, about 10 miles outside Guatemala City.

In 2003, membership reached 192,207.

Guatemala City Guatemala Temple[]


The Guatemala City Guatemala Temple is the 32nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the 1st temple completed in Guatemala. This temple stands on an elevated site in the neighborhood of Vista Hermosa on the eastern side of the city. A missionary training center and patron housing facility are also part of the temple complex. Six soaring spires surround the landmark building. The beautified ground are open to the public.

The Guatemala City Guatemala Temple was the first temple built in Central America (and in Guatemala). The Guatemala City Guatemala Temple was the third temple built in a Spanish-speaking country, following the Santiago Chile Temple (1983) and the Mexico City Mexico Temple (1983).

The Guatemala City Guatemala Temple was originally named the Guatemala City Temple.

Templo de Quetzaltenango[]


El Templo de Quetzaltenango es el 136 templo en funcionamiento de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días (Iglesia SUD) y el segundo templo terminado en Guatemala.

Este templo de inspiración maya descansa en lo alto de una loma en el borde occidental de Quetzaltenango (comúnmente conocido como Xela) entre las impresionantes montañas y volcanes del valle de Quetzaltenango. Muy cerca se encuentra el zoológico de la ciudad, el Parque Zoológico Minerva, y está frente a los condominios de Los Cerezos. Una instalación de alojamiento para clientes también comparte los hermosos jardines, que están abiertos al público.

See Also[]



Sources: Central American Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala-El Salvador Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala District, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Guatemala Branch, Manuscript history; Church Archives; John Forres O’Donnal, Pioneer in Guatemala, The Personal History of John Forres O’Donnal, 1997; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; “Guatemala Training Center Dedicated,” Church News, 12 February 1994, “An Outpouring of Love for Prophet,” Church News, 1 February 1997; “Thousands gather,” Church News, 4 December 2004.