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    Kiribati Click here for the Pacific Mormon Newsroom

    19,690

    Total Church Membership

    16.92% 1-in-6

    Population vs. Church Members

    2

    Stakes

    30

    Congregations

    11 Wards
    19 Branches

    2

    Family History Centers

    2

    History

    Made up of 36 Micronesian islands in the mid-Pacific where the equator and international dateline meet, Kiribati is a republic which became independent in 1979. The island's population speaks Gilbertese and English. About half of the population is Protestant and half Roman Catholic.

    The Church was introduced to Kiribati when Waitea Abiuta, a school teacher and headmaster of a school, asked to have graduates from his school attend Liahona High School in Tonga. Fijian mission president Eb L. Davis visited Kiribati in September 1972 and approved 12 students to come to the Church school. Students were converted at the high school and they began serving as missionaries in Kiribati on 19 October 1975.

    Among those who joined the Church were Waitea Abiuta and several of the staff and students of the school. However, when opposition to the Church arose, enrollment at the school declined. In August 1976, Grant and Pat Howlett, Church educators at Liahona High, were called to teach at the Kiribati school. Through their efforts, enrollment increased and government relations improved. Later, the Church purchased the school, renamed it Moroni Community School, and other teachers arrived from Tonga as enrollment continued to increase.

    In 1982, a new Church building was completed, and Buren Ratieta, Gilbertese branch (a small congregation) president, held services in February of that year. Among the 250 who attended the dedicatory services was the president of the Kiribati Republic, Ieremia T. Tabai. He said government leaders at first feared the Church would divide the people, but when he saw the great social contribution the Church made, he became happy to cooperate with the Church. Since that time, missionary work has expanded to more distant islands in Kiribati.

    In the fall of 1993, a group of first-time basketball players from Moroni High School, the age of United States high school sophomores and juniors, won the championship of Kiribati in their division. They also defeated the 20-30-year-olds division champions. In 1994, Teatao Teanaki, president of the Republic, was the main speaker at the graduation ceremony at Moroni High School.

    On 11 August 1996, Elder L. Tom Perry created the Tarawa Kiribati Stake (diocese), the first stake in the country.

    For Journalist Use Only

    Richard Hunter
    New Zealand
    Phone:  64(9)488-5572
    Mobile: 64-21-240-7804

    E-mail

    Africa

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    578,944

    Members

    2,010

    Congregations

    Missions

    32Missions

    Family History Centers

    281

    Temples

    3Temples

    Asia

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    1,181,411

    Members

    2,124

    Congregations

    Missions

    44Missions

    Family History Centers

    336

    Temples

    8Temples

    Europe

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    512,269

    Members

    1,408

    Congregations

    Missions

    42Missions

    Family History Centers

    704

    Temples

    13Temples

    North America

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    9,254,663

    Members

    18,167

    Congregations

    Missions

    192Missions

    Family History Centers

    2,530

    Temples

    109Temples

    Oceania (Pacific)

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    552,825

    Members

    1,251

    Congregations

    Missions

    18Missions

    Family History Centers

    299

    Temples

    10Temples

    South America

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    4,038,057

    Members

    5,546

    Congregations

    Missions

    94Missions

    Family History Centers

    941

    Temples

    17Temples