Church President David O. McKay visited expatriate Church members in Santiago in 1954. On May 26, 1956, Chile became part of the Argentine Mission, and the first Chilean branch (a small congregation) was organized in Santiago on July 5.
The Chile Mission was organized on October 8, 1961, with 1,100 members. When the first stake (diocese) was organized 11 years later, with Carlos A. Cifuentes as president, membership had grown to more than 20,000 members.
The Santiago Chile Temple was dedicated September 14, 1983, and at that time there were some 140,000 members of the Church in Chile. On October 29, 1988, Chile became the fourth country in the world to reach 50 stakes.
At the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Santiago Temple in 1993, it was noted that Chile, with the fastest growing Church membership in South America, had doubled in membership and in the number of stakes during that decade. Continued growth, including the creation of 26 new stakes from 1994-96, led to the creation of the Chile Area in 1996. In November of that year, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to some 48,000 members in Santiago, one of the largest gatherings of members in South America.
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