The first known members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Brazil were two German families who immigrated to Brazil — one in 1913 and the other in 1923. During the decade that followed, others joined the Church, and the first congregation was organized in Joinville in 1930.
By the end of the 1950s, the number of Church members totaled 3,700. Today, more than 1.1 million Latter-day Saints live in Brazil.
The history of the Church in Brazil’s Amazon region dates back to the arrival of the first Church members in approximately 1967. At that time, the industrial boom and growth in the city of Manaus triggered a search throughout Brazil for skilled labor. Many workers came to Manaus from all parts of the country, including some Latter-day Saints from other regions in Brazil.
In 1978 the first Latter-day Saint congregation in Manaus was organized. Continued growth led to the organization of the first stake — a group of congregations similar to a diocese — in 1988.
Members of the Church in Manaus have a long legacy of devotion to temples — houses of the Lord where they participate in sacred ceremonies and make special promises to God. At great expense and sacrifice during hard economic times for Brazilians, many early Latter-day Saints in Manaus traveled long distances to receive the blessings of the temple. These were arduous, round-trip journeys of 15 days — 7 days by boat and 8 days by bus.
These journeys of faith instilled in the hearts of many Latter-day Saints in Manaus a hope that one day they would have a temple of their own. Great joy erupted among these members when in May 2007, it was announced by the First Presidency — the Church’s highest governing body — that a temple would be constructed in Manaus. Upon hearing this announcement, many wept. Others expressed thanks through prayer and fasting.
The Manaus Brazil Temple is the 138th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide and the sixth in Brazil. The first temple in Brazil was constructed in Sao Paulo and dedicated in 1978. Others are located in Recife, Porto Alegre, Campinas and Curitiba, with one under construction in Fortaleza.
The number of Latter-day Saints and congregations has grown dramatically in Manaus and the surrounding region. Today, approximately 40,000 members of the Church in this area gather in more than 80 congregations to learn how to better follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and participate in activities that strengthen families and serve the community.
The Manaus Brazil Temple will open its doors to the public for tours from Friday, 18 May, through Saturday, 2 June. No tours will be given on Monday evenings and Sundays. The temple will be dedicated during three special sessions on Sunday, 10 June 2012.