Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 29,547,000; Members, 462,353; Stakes, 87; Wards, 568; Branches, 183; Missions, 7; Districts, 24; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.6, or one in 64; South America West Area.

Located on the Pacific Coast side of South America, Peru is a constitutional republic with a population that speaks Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.

Church History[]

Prior to 1956, Latter-day Saint families living in Peru held group meetings, but no organized missionary work was done. A Peruvian copper mine owned by Alfred W. McCune, a Church member from Salt Lake City, also brought a few members to Peru. Frederick S. Williams, a former mission president in Argentina and Uruguay, moved to Peru with his family on 1 January 1956 and soon contacted Church headquarters for permission to organize a branch and begin missionary work.

A branch in Lima was organized on 8 July 1956 by Elder Henry D. Moyle of the Quorum of the Twelve. Four missionaries, Darwin Thomas, Edward T. Hall, Donald L. Hokanson and Shirrel M. Plowman, arrived on 7 August 1956. A building for branch meetings was purchased the following November. Missionaries were sent to Arequipa later in the year. The Andes Mission, headquartered in Lima, was established on 1 November 1959. At the time, there were five branches and 300 members.

The mission was divided on 1 October 1961. When the first stake was organized in Lima on 22 February 1970, with Roberto Vidal, an early convert, as president membership was 10,771. That same year the mission was divided and renamed the Peru Mission.

Growth continued as local leaders assumed priesthood leadership. At a two-day area conference in Lima on 26-27 February 1977, presided over by President Spencer W. Kimball, 7,900 attended. Four years later in 1981, President Kimball announced a temple for Lima, which was completed and dedicated on 10 January 1986. Twelve years, later on 3 September 1998, a new mission training center, with capacity for 150 missionaries and room for expansion, was dedicated by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Just 32 years after missionary work started in Peru, seven stakes in Lima were created the weekend of 30-31 January 1988 by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. Lima then had the second largest number of stakes of any metropolitan area outside the United States. Although Peru experienced political instability, the Church continued to grow, even after extremist groups murdered three Peruvian missionaries, Christian Ugarte and Manuel Hidalgo in August 1990 and Oscar Zapata in March 1991.

In July 1993, the Peru Chiclayo Mission was created, which included the highland Andes bordering Ecuador. Seven additional stakes were created from October 1992 to October 1994; and 18 stakes were created from October 1994 to October 1996. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Lima on 8-9 November 1996 and spoke to some 35,000 people. A new area, the South America West Area, was created 15 August 1998, comprising only Peru and Bolivia, with headquarters in Lima.

A massive earthquake shook much of southern Peru on 23 June 2001, killing a young LDS girl and seriously injuring four other Church members. More than 130 member homes were destroyed and another 175 were severely damaged in the quake. One meetinghouse was reported severely damaged. The Church sent 110,000 pounds of food, blankets, hygiene kits and first aid supplies in relief aid to victims in Moquegua and neighboring towns.

In 2002, there were 368,568 members in 80 stakes and 512 wards. In 2005, membership reached 416,060.

Lima Peru Temple[]


The Lima Peru Temple is the 38th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the 1st temple completed in Peru (2015). Situated in eastern Lima in the upscale district of La Molina, the Lima Peru Temple, accentuated by six statuesque spires, rises resolutely above heavily traveled Avenida Javier Prado. The Lima Peru Temple was the third temple built in South America, following the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple (1978) and the Santiago Chile Temple (1983), and the first built in Peru. Lima, Peru, has the largest number of stakes of any city in South America.

Trujillo Peru Temple[]


The Trujillo Peru Temple is the 147th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the 2nd temple completed in Peru (2015). This temple is located on a large parcel of ground adjacent to the beautiful Campo Eterno cemetery on the highway to Huanchaco and just east of the famous ruins of Chan Chan—the largest Pre-Columbian city in South America.

Arequipa Peru Temple[]


The Arequipa Peru Temple is the 167th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the 3rd temple completed in Peru (2019).

This temple is located just three miles north of the city center near the entrance to the quiet village of Carmen Alto. The land stands on a bluff rising from the Chili River and surrounded by breathtaking pastures and mountain views including the prominent volcano Misti.

Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple[]

  • The Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple will be the fourth temple built in Peru.
  • The Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple will be the first temple built outside of the United States in the same city as another operating temple.
  • The Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple was announced in the 30th anniversary year of the Lima Peru Temple.

See Also[]


Sources: Andes Mission history, [1960-1962], Church Archives; Andes Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Peru Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Manuel Sanchez, Relatos de la Historia de la Iglesia en El Valle del Mantaro, 1990, Church Archives; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Frederick S. Williams and Frederick G. Williams, From Acorn to Oak Tree, 1987; Gordon Irving, “Peru: A Background Paper,” Church Archives; “Peru,” Ensign, February 1977; Lee Warnick, “Resourceful People of Lima Making Church ‘Blossom’,” Church News, 6 February 1988; “Shooting Claims Peruvian LDS Missionary,” Deseret News, 14 March 1991; Lee Davidson, “Were Terrorist Attacks Related to the Gulf War,” Deseret News, 26 March 1991; “Prophet Visits South America,” Church News, 16 November 1996; “5 New Areas Announced Worldwide,” Church News, 4 July1998; “New Training Center Dedicated in Peru, Leaders Asked to Raise Worthy Generation” Church News, 12 September 1998; Jason Swensen, “Church Assists Peruvian Quake Victims,” Church News, 7 July 2001.