Progress and Potential: The Church in Mexico and Central America

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    Progress and Potential:

    The Church in Mexico and Central America today is a thriving, vibrant, and confident segment of the kingdom of God on earth. Here, descendants of Joseph, 100,000 strong, rejoice in the knowledge of their origins, in the warm and generous support of Church leaders and members throughout the world, and in their glorious future as promised by prophets, ancient and modern.

    Most of the Church growth in these lands of Middle America has been tightly compressed into the short span of the last twenty years. In 1952 only the voices of the Mexico and Central America Missions and the Juarez Stake could be heard proclaiming the gospel. Since that time, five other missions have been organized in Mexico and Central America.

    As thousands of converts have swelled the ranks of the Church, stake and ward organizations have also been organized extensively, and today Mexico alone has seven stakes.

    During the latter part of this period the Church educational system has been expanded to keep pace with the ever-increasing membership. Units of the Church in Mexico are presently served by primary, secondary, preparatory, and normal schools, as well as primary-level and secondary-level seminary instruction.

    Other facilities, including a clothing plant, a translation-printing-distribution center, a genealogical branch library, a building department, a real estate and finance office, and a number of health service facilities, have been built to accommodate the needs of the fast-growing Church membership.

    Prospects for the future in Mexico and Central America are bright. There is every indication that this marvelous growth will continue.

    A recent study on population trends, made by the staff of the Church Commissioner of Education, indicates a possible membership in Mexico of 300,000 by 1990—three times what it is today. Think of the exciting and challenging implications for future leadership, educational programs, real estate needs, building requirements, translation-printing-distribution work, genealogical research, temples, missionary service, fellowshiping needs, and general services!

    Approximately one-third of the present total Church membership in Mexico resides in stakes. If that pace of growth continues, then by 1990 as many as 105,000 adults and 51,000 young adults may be needed to supply leadership for a projected 20 future stakes and 200 wards and branches.

    How grateful we are for inspired leaders who have provided educational facilities now to prepare young leaders to fill the future needs of the Church membership in Mexico and Central America!

    As now projected, the 1990 population may require as many as 140 meetinghouses, averaging three wards or branches per chapel.

    By 1992, the need for printed materials in Spanish may parallel the present need for materials in English, and printing and distribution needs may increase as much as 200 percent. The present growth and competence of our translation-printing-distribution services at Editorial Deseret augur well for meeting our projected future requirements.

    Genealogical research in the new microfilm library in Mexico City is expanding, and names are being provided for ten annual temple excursions to the Arizona Temple. But this is only a beginning for this magnificent library, where over 90,000 microfilm rolls (11,250,000 pages) of research source material are available to the Saints. This is the largest collection of genealogical microfilm outside Salt Lake City.

    As all of the leadership resources, programs, materials, and services of the Church become correlated and activated for the “perfecting of the saints” and “for the work of the ministry,” then the “body of Christ” will indeed be edified, as the apostle Paul said centuries ago. The more than 100,000 Latter-day Saints in Mexico and Central America today look forward to increased membership, expanded Church programs, and continued blessings from the Lord for them and their children through the instrumentality of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    STAKES

    Juarez—1,696 members—December 9, 1895 *

    Mexico City—5,609 members—December 3, 1961

    Mexico City North—4,232 members—May 7, 1967

    Mexico City East—5,247 members—November 15, 1970

    Monterrey—7,090 members—March 22, 1970

    Monterrey East (membership included with Monterrey Stake)—May 7, 1972

    Tampico (membership included with Mexico City North Stake)—February 27, 1972

    Guatemala City—5,648 members—May 21, 1967

    MISSIONS

    Mexico—9,106 members—November 15, 1879 *

    Discontinued 1889, reopened June 8, 1901

    Mexico North—11,118 members—June 10, 1956

    Mexico North Central—10,950 members—August 5, 1968

    Mexico Southeast—18,091 members—March 27, 1963

    Mexico West—10,388 members—November 1, 1960

    Central America—9,065 members—November 16, 1952

    Guatemala-El Salvador—17,864 members—August 1, 1965

    CHURCH POPULATION

     

    Mexico

    Central America

    1953

    7721

    367

    1954

    9210

    552

    1955

    no report

    855

    1956

    10,931

    1241

    1957

    12,415

    2073

    1958

    13,068

    2685

    1959

    17,414

    3097

    1960

    17,724

    4339

    1961

    21,178

    7259

    1962

    23,121

    10,744

    1963

    26,353

    13,842

    1964

    39,278

    16,570

    1965

    43,367

    19,873

    1966

    49,524

    20,506

    1967

    54,649

    23,334

    1968

    59,377

    24,581

    1969

    67,965

    28,805

    1970

    67,850

    34,214

    1971

    81,324

    31,823

    Makeup of today’s membership:

     

    3,230

    1,040

    Melchizedek Priesthood holders

     

    8,045

    4,233

    Aaronic Priesthood holders

     

    19,433

    7,540

    Other male members

     

    40,629

    15,092

    Female members

     

    9,897

    3,918

    Children

    Show References

    1.   *

      Date organized