News Release

Three New Mormon Missions and 13 New Stakes for Pacific Area

Three new missions and 13 new stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been organized or announced in the last several months in the Pacific Area, in response to membership growth.

A Latter-day Saint mission is a defined geographical area where a number of missionaries serve in various cities, towns and villages.  Most missions have from 100 to 250 missionaries — including young missionaries, as well as senior, retired couples.

Of the 347 missions worldwide, 14 are located in New Zealand, Australia and the islands of the South Pacific.

The new missions announced for the Pacific Area are the New Zealand Hamilton Mission, the Australia Sydney North Mission, and the Papua New Guinea Lae Mission.

These three new missions, along with 55 other new missions in other parts of the world, will bring the number of missions in the Pacific Area to 17, and worldwide, to 405.

A stake is a group of Mormon wards [congregations] in a geographical area.  The word stake is taken from Old Testament tent imagery in which the “tent,” or church, is held up by supporting stakes (see Isaiah 54:2). There are usually five to ten wards in a stake. A stake usually has approximately 2,500 to 3,000 members.

New stakes have recently been organized in: Melbourne, Australia (two); Brisbane, Australia (two); Auckland, New Zealand (two); Samoa (two); Hamilton, New Zealand; French Polynesia; Tonga; American Samoa; and New Caledonia.

The Pacific Area now has a total of 123 stakes — from Perth in the west, to Papeete in the east; and Port Moresby in the north to Christchurch in the south.

Countries in the region with the most stakes are Australia (36), New Zealand (28), Samoa (18), and Tonga (18). There are approaching 3,000 stakes worldwide.

In the year 1830 in a small log cabin in upstate New York, U. S., the Church was organized with six members.  Since that time the Church has grown to a worldwide membership approaching 15 million. 

The first 10 converts in New Zealand were baptized in 1854, five months after the first missionaries arrived.  A congregation was soon organized at Karori.

With a firm sense of gathering to the Church’s centre of strength in Salt Lake City, many faithful members emigrated as soon as they had the means to do so. This fact contributed to the slow growth of the Church in New Zealand in those early years.

Membership in the mid-1880s grew rapidly, especially among the Maori people. Today there are nearing half a million Latter-day Saints throughout the Pacific Area.  Church members and visitors attend wards and stakes that are divided into geographical areas.  At the present time there are 766 wards in the Pacific Area.

The membership of the worldwide Church continues to grow and today is listed as the fourth-largest religion in the United States.

Growth in the Church is driven by both convert baptisms and natural growth through the birth of children in Latter-day Saint families.

On average, construction of at least one new Mormon chapel is completed somewhere in the world each day, in order to house the growing membership. 

One of the most recognized characteristics of the Church is missionary service.  Missionaries are men and women who can be seen on the streets of hundreds of major cities in the world as well as in thousands of smaller communities. 

The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thousands of young prospective missionaries have responded enthusiastically to the October 2012 semi-annual conference announcement by President Thomas S. Monson that lowered the age requirement for missionary service. Young men can now serve at the age of 18 and young women at age 19.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that the change in policy “will allow more young men and women to enjoy the blessings of missionary service,” and noted that “the Saviour’s mandate to His followers was to go into the entire world and preach the gospel.”

Pacific Area President of the Church, Elder James J. Hamula, says that the creation of new missions and stakes will further strengthen the Church in the Pacific Area. “Wherever you have strong missions and stakes, individuals, families and communities are blessed.”

“Our aim,” he added, “is to help our members to live good lives, based on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. We strive to be good citizens, good employees, good neighbours, good fathers and mothers.”

“We also invite our friends and neighbours, not of our faith, to worship with us at any of our chapels, or to ask their Mormon friends, or local missionaries, about how our beliefs are enriching our lives. Some may choose to learn more about us by visiting”



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