Country Profile

American Samoa

In May 1843, 13 years after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in the United States, four men were sent to be missionaries in the islands of the Pacific.

Elder Joseph H. Dean and his wife, Florence Ridges Dean, arrived in Samoa in 1888. Missionaries were again sent to Tutuila. By 1891 the mission in Samoa, with headquarters near Apia, was developing steadily. The first branch (a small congregation) was started in Pago Pago on 27 May 1893, and before the turn of the century, 11 branches had been organized on the island.

On 26 November 1906, a Relief Society organization for the women was founded at Mapusaga with 14 members enrolled. A Primary organization for the children was organized 24 May 1908. A Church village with a school and a supporting plantation was founded at Mapusaga 10 May 1903. In 1938, the Boy Scout organization was started at Mapusaga.

Missionaries were recalled in 1940 prior to World War II because of troubled conditions, and local members assumed more leadership responsibilities. After the war, missionaries returned and the work accelerated. A stake (diocese) was created in Pago Pago in 1969. In 1989, Eni F. (Hunkin Jr.) Faleomavaega, former lieutenant governor of American Samoa, became the first Samoan member of the Church elected to be a non-voting member of the 101st United States Congress.

During hurricanes in February 1990 and December 1991, members suffered considerable losses but local units responded well in dealing with the devastation. Membership in 1990 was 7,500, increasing to about 12,000 in 1994. Today, more than one in four American Samoans enjoy membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Journalist Use Only

Richard Hunter
New Zealand
Phone:  64(9)488-5572
Mobile: 64-21-240-7804


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.