The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nigeria
As of December 31, 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 177,280 members in 54 stakes, 15 districts, 649 congregations, seven missions, and one temple in Nigeria. By the start of 2018 membership had increased to over 163,000.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) announced creation of new Owerri mission in Nigeria in 2016.
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In the 1950s and 1960s several thousand native Nigerians became interested in joining the LDS Church, despite the Church having no formal presence in the country. In November 1962, LeMar Williams was set apart as a mission president in Nigeria. However, he was not able to get a visa as an American. Elder N. Eldon Tanner, a Canadian, went to Nigeria and began negotiations with the Nigerian government. While he was there, he dedicated Nigeria for the preaching of the gospel.:85 Ambrose Chukwuo, a Nigerian college student studying in California, read Mormonism and the Negro and sent a letter to a Nigerian newspaper condemning the LDS Church's teachings on blacks This newspaper published Chukwuo's letter, and also the letters of other students with similar opinions. The Nigerian government did not give the LDS church a permit to proselyte and David O. McKay postponed proselyting plans.:85–87:24 In 1965, Williams obtained a visa to go to Nigeria and began preparing to set up a mission in Nigeria. Since black Nigerians couldn't hold the priesthood, Williams was going to baptize those who were ready and set up auxiliary organizations that could function without the priesthood.:91 Black Nigerians would be allowed to pass, but not bless the sacrament.:23 However, several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expressed concern about teaching black people and called for the program to be terminated. After a unanimous vote, they decided to end the program. They contacted Williams and told him to leave Nigeria immediately.:93 The Biafran war in 1967 further postponed church work there.:94
With the Revelation on the Priesthood in 1978 plans were again began to start the Church in Nigeria. Ted Cannon and his wife Janath Cannon along with Rendell N. Mabey and his wife Rachel were sent to Nigeria, arriving in November 1978, five months after the revelation. They based their operations out of Enugu, and the first branch they organized was with Anthony Obinna as president. Most of the earliest converts they baptized were in various villages throughout south-eastern Nigeria and had been meeting and seeking Church membership for years if not decades.
At first Nigeria was administered by the International Mission of the Church. In 1983 a Nigerian mission was organized, which originally also covered Ghana.
In 1988 the first stake of the Church was organized in Aba Nigeria with David W. Eka as president. In 1993 the second stake in Nigeria was organized in Benin City.
In 1998 Gordon B. Hinckley became the first president of the Church to visit Nigeria, presiding at a large meeting in Port Harcourt. In 2000 Hinckey announced plans to build a temple in Nigeria in the city of Aba. The temple was dedicated by Hinckley in 2005. In 2009 the Aba Temple was closed as foreign temple worker missionaries were withdrawn due to violence in the area. The temple was reopened in 2010 with a Nigerian as temple president and all temple workers being Nigerian.
By 2018 there were over 50 stakes in Nigeria. In that year Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build a temple in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos' first stake had been organized in 1995, and in 2015 it had gone from 3 to 5 stakes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was still most heavily concentrated in south-east Nigeria, with Akwa Ibom State alone having 12 stakes.
Much of northern Nigeria had no presence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many areas in mid-Nigeria had only began to have significant organizational presence of the Church in the mid-2010s.
By mid-2019 there were 58 stakes in Nigeria, with the 58th stake being the 3rd based in the capital city of Abuja. The Abuja stakes were far and away the most northern in Nigeria, with the district in Jos containing the only other units of the Church even close to that far north. The growth had in some places been very fast, with Yorubaland (not including heavily Yoruba Lagos State) having gone from no stakes in 2013 to 5 by 2019.
Other states that saw significant growth were Delta State, that went from a few branches in a district outside the state in 2015 to three disticts and a stake in 2019. Benue State in the more central area of the country had one branch in 2015, and did not get a district until 2017. By 2019 the state had 3 districts.
Nigeria currently has 1 operating Temple and 1 Temple that has been announced.
|121. Aba Nigeria Temple||edit|
|199. Lagos Nigeria (Announced)||edit|
- "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country: Nigeria", Newsroom, LDS Church, 31 December 2018, retrieved 2014-05-12
- "Country information: Nigeria", Church News 2013 Church Almanac, Deseret News
- "Mormon Church announces in missions in Vietnam and Africa".
- Prince, Gregory A.; Wright, William Robert (2005). David O. McKay and the rise of modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press. ISBN 0-87480-822-7.
- Richard E. Turley Jr. and Jeffrey G. Cannon. "A Faithful Band: Moses Mahlangu and the First Soweto Saints". BYU Studies Quarterly. 55 (1).
- LDs Church Newsroom article on Nigeria
- "Country information: Nigeria", Deseret News Church Almanac (multiple almanacs from various years), Deseret News
- New mission presidents by area for 2013
- "Twelve Temples Announced as October 2018 General Conference Closes: Number of temples operating, announced or under construction now above 200", Newsroom, LDS Church, 7 October 2018
- LDS Church announces plans to build 12 new temples worldwide, pioneer generation temples will be renovated, KSTU Fox 13, 7 October 2018