Saturday, May 14, 2011

First LDS Stake in Indonesia to be Organized May 22nd, 2011

Missionaries serving in the Indonesia Jakarta Mission report that first LDS stake in Indonesia will be organized on May 22nd.  The Jakarta Indonesia District will become a stake at a special conference under the direction of Elder David A. Bednar.  Currently the district has nine branches, seven of which are in the Jakarta metropolitan area.  The Church experienced rapid membership and congregational growth in the 1970s but growth has slowed for over the past three decades largely due to no major efforts to expand national outreach by organizing additional congregations in lesser-reached communities with LDS congregations and in unreached cities and areas of the country.  Slow rates of LDS Church growth in Indonesia are manifest by membership increasing from 4,000 to 6,683 and the number of independent congregations increasing from 20 to 22 between 1992 and 2010.  Overall member activity rates for the LDS Church in Indonesia are higher than most nations in East Asia as active membership is estimated to account for 40% of total church membership.  Indonesian LDS leadership is more self reliant than most nations Asia with fewer than 10,000 members and the percentage of members who have served a full-time mission appears higher than most nations with fewer than 10,000 members today.  The organization of a stake in Indonesia indicates that progress has occurred in reaching the needed number of active, tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders and that local leadership and membership has matured to the point that additional ecclesiastical and administrative responsibilities can be delegated to local members rather than mission leadership. 

For more information on LDS Church growth history, opportunities, challenges, and prospects, refer to the Indonesia country profile at


Craig said...

Jakarta will be the second stake in a Muslim country. It is a milestone, however, because it is is not made up mostly of foreigners.

The Arabian Peninsula Stake was organized in 1983, formerly a district of the International Mission. The name was changed to Manama Bahrain Stake in 2008 and divided April 2011 to form a district in Manama and stake name changed to Abu Dhabi. Wards and branches in most Middle East countries are not shown on Church directories to protect American, Philipino, etc. members.

Daniel said...

Finally it will happen. There has been talk of it happening since the mid 90's.
Probably the reason it hasn't been created yet is because of transportation issues. Jakarta is a huge city with at least 12 million people. Even though the stake will cover just one metro area it may take at least 2 hours for some members to get to Stake conference. I am disappointed there haven't been missionaries sent all over the country. There are some islands they could go to where they would baptize 100's within months. But it is a blessing that there is now a center of strength and a piece of zion in Indonesia.

Nellie said...

Proselytyzing Muslims allowed in Indonesia? Or would you be baptizing 100s of Hindus and Buddhists?

Matt said...

The LDS Church openly proselytes in several Muslim-majority nations, such as Albania and Sierra Leone, and assigns full-time missionaries who work off of referrals or among non-Muslims in several other Muslim-majority nations, such as Pakistan. Nominal Muslims in Indonesia comprise the majority of Muslims in the country and the Church does not appear to have any restrictions regarding the teaching and baptism of nominal Muslims in Indonesia. Church policy regarding the baptism of formerly-Muslim converts varies by location and the nationality of the convert. At times, some converts must be interviewed by the mission president to determine whether there are any safety risks involved. In such situations, prospective converts are almost always self-referrals or have learned about the Church from a close friend or family member.

Matt said...

Also, I do not believe that the Church has had very many converts who were once Buddhist or Hindu in Indonesia. I would estimate that half were formerly nominal Muslims and the other half belonging to another Christian denomination, but I do not have any precise numbers or reports from returned missionaries and members.

Brett said...

I could be wrong, but it has always seemed to me that much more than half of Church members in Indonesia would have been Muslim formerly. In fact, the Church has grown very, very slowly in predominantly Christian areas like Medan and Manado but has numerous branches in predominantly Muslim areas of Java.

Tashina said...

I served as a missionary in Indonesia from 2006-2008. I wanted to address Andrew's comment about being disappointed about the lack of missionaries in the country. I too wish that the Church could send more missionaries, but when I was serving, the Indonesian government only granted a set amount of missionary visas to the Church. I think the Church would send more missionaries if that were a possibility.

When I was serving, we were allowed to teach Muslims but we had more rules about how we could approach individuals. We could not knock on doors, but we could speak with everyone. Individuals had to inquire about our purpose in the country or ask about the Church directly for us to speak with them. That said, we still taught many Muslim families and had success and baptisms. While I was serving, we taught mostly Christians followed by Muslims and then a random mix of other religions. We were not allowed to baptize anyone who originated from a country where conversion to Christianity was punishable by death. All Muslims wanting to be baptized were interviewed by the Mission President so they could be warned of potential dangers to their families. Finally, we had to receive verbal permission from the father or husband to teach Muslim women.

I hope that helps!

adventure knitter said...

(Post from Tyler DeWaal, Singapore Mission '99-'01)

Let me share a bit of insight on proselyting in a Muslim country. Malaysia and Indonesia are both secular Muslim countries, but even though they are neighbors, the rules for teaching and preaching are different. In Malaysia, at least 10 years ago, there was NO WAY we could teach Muslims- couldn't even invite to church. We could talk to them, enjoy a Ramadan meal with them, and ask them to point out their Christian friends, and frankly, they were genuinely nicer than most other Malaysians.

One reason it was set up this way is that Malaysia is a bit more restrictive than Indonesia in terms of religious expression- Malaysia having to deal with a sizeable Chinese and Indian population.

Secondly, the Singapore Mission, which covers Malaysia, was staffed mostly by American/Brit Elders & Sisters, whereas Indonesia is mostly local missionaries. The church in Indonesia has more of a local feel and is therefore a bit more welcome by the government. Frankly, the church in Malaysia does the best it can to stay under the radar, so to speak.

And this is related to the third reason: Foreign Missionaries were kicked out of Singapore in the 1970s due to religious sensitivities that is a lengthy story- suffice it to say that missionaries in Singapore Mission (inc. Malaysia) are very careful about doing things that could endanger the presence of the church in the area. Indonesia also has some of those same things going on, but my guess is just that it's not as strict.

Muslims in both countries are often just nominal ones. Luckily, at least in Indonesia, the church is able to teach and preach to Muslims.

Pakistan was in our mission and was the highest baptizing zone by far- almost exclusively member referrals among the Christian population. There are at least 8-10 units there, as of June 2008- I bet it's over 10 by now- young and immature, but growing! Unfortunately, a Stake in Pakistan is far away due to distance and the "official" standing of the church.

martin said...

I was a missionary during president gouts term of 1975 through 1978 most of our contacts were muslim we were able to baptize nearly 30 percent muslim and about 70 % were already christian we were pretty well under the radar as much as we could not openly procelyte and were there to teach english it was greate experience