Country’s LDS population celebrates as the 100th stake was being officially created

The LDS Church just celebrated their biggest gains in numbers yet in the Philippines. The event was celebrated with great pomp with singing and dancing at the Kia Theatre in Manila. The colorful cultural events were described as something that will “bring unity, peace and harmony among the Filipinos as it continues to grow and spread throughout the isles of the sea,” by the General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s Philippines Area, Elder Shayne M. Bowen.

The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines traces its roots to 1898, when two LDS Missionaries began preaching in the country for a short while until World War II put an end to missionary activities. Two decades later, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley revisited the Philippines, and declared the country as a potential missionary ground. Nenita Gapiz was one of the first in the country to be baptized into the faith, and watched proudly as the cultural events took place on the stage. By 1969, the faith had spread wide in the country, and even recorded the most number of baptisms in the area.

One of the crowning glories of the Church is the moment when the leaders created the 100th stake of the country, making the Philippines the fifth country in the world to have received 100 stakes. Besides, the country also happens to be the only non-Western country to have 100 stakes. With a membership of 746,000, the gains made by the LDS Church in the Philippines is phenomenal because rarely has a mission station ever made so many converts in such a short time as the Philippines has done. The occasion was very reminiscent of what Hinckley said of their missionary work back in 1961 – “What we will begin here will affect the lives of thousands and thousands of people in this island republic, and its effect will go on from generation to generation for great and everlasting good.”

With two temples and two more to be built, the Philippines has 21 missions with 100 stakes. The cultural events were made up of performances showcasing the various indigenous cultures of the Philippines – something that did not go unnoticed by the visiting Church leaders. Elder Neil L. Andersen proudly said, “What do you learn from these kinds of experiences? You learn of all that is good about life.”

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