This story was updated on 4 June 2012.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is a global faith with more members outside the United States than inside. Another sign of the Church’s worldwide reach came 27 May as Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles organized the Hyderabad India Stake — India’s first stake.
At the conclusion of the stake conference, Elder Oaks expressed gratitude to the nation of India for allowing Latter-day Saints “to meet and speak of the principles of our faith.”
A stake is an administrative unit composed of numerous congregations (called wards and branches) within a geographic area (similar to what other faiths might call a diocese). The Church operates 2,946 stakes worldwide.
Elders Donald L. Hallstrom and Anthony D. Perkins of the Seventy joined Elder Oaks in this important action.
The Church’s presence in India goes back to 1850, when two missionaries came from Great Britain to Calcutta. A few other missionaries were called from the Utah Territory in the 1850s, but these efforts did not thrive. Struggles with missionaries learning the native language hampered Church efforts.
In 1981 government regulations allowed a missionary couple to establish a branch. Most missionary teaching has been in English, but the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated into Telugu in 1981.
In 1993 a mission was created in Bangalore, with Gucharan Singh Gill, a native of India, as its president. At that time there were 1,150 members in 13 branches, which increased to 2,000 members in 18 branches five years later. The first meetinghouse in India was dedicated on 2 February 2002, housing the Rajahmundry Branch. Today, approximately 10,000 Latter-day Saints live in India.