Additional Resource

History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Visayas

In 2011, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will commemorate a jubilee anniversary, celebrating 50 years of formal Church presence in the Philippines.

The history of the Church in the Philippine Islands began with the liberation of the country from the Japanese by the American landings in Leyte on 20 October 1944, culminating in the fall of Manila in February 1945.

From the outset, servicemen's group leaders organized Latter-day Saint (LDS) meetings, the first at Tacloban on the coast of Samar at a U.S. Naval installation. Held in various locations throughout the islands, these meetings were frequently interrupted by air raids and other exigencies of war. With the significant continued U.S. military presence in the Philippines, numerous LDS servicemen stayed in the country even after the war.

Following the war years, President Joseph Fielding Smith, worldwide leader of the Church, dedicated Korea and the Philippine Islands for the preaching of the gospel at Clark Air Base on 21 August 1955. The Philippines became part of the Southern Far East Mission of the Church.

After great effort, and with the assistance of a Filipino government official named Ping Bachelor, legal registration was finally extended to the Church six years later, and the appropriate clearances were secured to allow full-time missionaries to enter the country.

Consequently, in the early morning of 28 April 1961, around 100 Latter-day Saints gathered together on the grounds of the American War Memorial Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio as Elder Gordon B. Hinckley (then an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) rededicated the Philippines for missionary work.

Amidst the rising sun and rows of grave markers, President Hinckley invoked a blessing “that there shall be many thousands who shall receive this message and be blessed thereby. … We pray that there shall be many men, faithful, good, virtuous, true men who shall join the Church.” A tiny seed was planted. Now nearly 50 years later, the tiny seed has grown into a "mighty tree" — like the mahogany trees that dot the forests of this island country.

On 28 June 1967, the Southern Far East Mission was divided to create the Philippines Mission, with Paul S. Rose as its first president. It was a huge mission covering the entire country, and work soon spread to eight of the major islands with great success. On 1 July 1974, the mission was divided to create the Philippines Cebu Mission from the Manila Mission, with Carl D. Jones presiding in Cebu.

From those two missions Church growth has continued, and today there are some 2,000 missionaries serving in 16 missions throughout the archipelago. The vast majority of these young adults are native Filipinos, and in 1983 the Church established a training center in Manila where they could be prepared prior to beginning their service. Total Church membership in the Philippines is approaching 650,000, with over a thousand congregations meeting each week.

With continued Church growth, there was increasing need for a temple to serve the faithful members, many of whom would save for years in order to travel to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland to have their marriage solemnized in a temple.

The announcement of the first temple in the Philippines was made on 1 April 1981, and on 25 August 1982, groundbreaking and site dedication for the temple took place. Located in Quezon City, Metro Manila, the temple came with great sacrifice from the local Saints, who financed a significant portion of the cost from small personal contributions.

On 25 September 1984, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor to the president of the Church, dedicated the Manila Philippines Temple. That temple serves half a million members in the Philippines, Micronesia, and Southeast Asia. It became the 29th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Responding to continued growth, in April of 2006 Church leaders announced a second temple in the Philippines, to be located in Cebu City. Ground was broken on 14 November 2007, with Apostles Dallin H. Oaks and Quentin L. Cook officiating. Elder Oaks had served as the presiding authority of the Church in the Philippines from August 2002 through 2004.

When dedicated on 13 June 2010, the Cebu City Philippines Temple will become the 133rd operating temple in the Church. It will serve more than 200,000 members in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Tens of thousands of guests are expected to tour the temple prior to dedication. Public open house dates begin on 21 May 21 and continue through 5 June.

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