Reaching the Nations

Brazil

By David Stewart and Matt Martinich

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Geography

Area: 8,514,877 square km.  Geographically the fifth largest country in the world, Brazil borders Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and the Atlantic Ocean.  The Amazon basin encompasses the northern interior and houses some of the world's largest tracts of unspoiled rainforest.  South central areas are dominated by the Brazilian highlands.  Forested plains, grassland, and scrubland occupy most other regions.  Major rivers include the Amazon, Araguaia, Negro, Parana, Sao Francisco, Tocantins, and Xingu.  Tropical climate occurs in northern regions whereas temperate climate occurs in the south.  Droughts and floods are natural hazards.  Environmental issues include deforestation in the Amazon Basin, poaching, pollution, land degradation, and oil spills.  Brazil is administratively divided into 26 states and one federal district. 

Population: 201,103,330 (July 2010)       

Annual Growth Rate: 1.166% (2010)    

Fertility Rate: 2.19 children born per woman (2010)   

Life Expectancy: 68.7 male, 76 female (2010)

Peoples

white: 53.7%

mulatto (mixed white and black): 38.5%

black: 6.2%

other: 0.9%

unspecified: 0.7%

Most Brazilians are descendents of European settlers or of mixed European-black ancestry.  Approximately five million Europeans immigrated to Brazil between 1875 and 1960, most of which settled in the four southernmost states (Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Sao Paulo).[1]  Blacks tend to populate north central coastal areas in the Salvador area. 

Languages: Portuguese (95%), other [primarily European languages] (5%).  Portuguese is the official language and spoken fluently by approximately 99.9% of the population.  Approximately 180 Amerindian languages are spoken, most of which have fewer than 1,000 speakers.  Languages with over one million speakers include Portuguese (191 million), Talian [a mix between northern Italian dialects and Portuguese] (4 million), and Hunsrik [a Germanic dialect with Portuguese influence] (3 million).

Literacy: 88.6% (2004)

History

Amerindian tribes populated present-day Brazil prior to the arrival Pedro Alvares Cabral who claimed Brazil for Portugal in 1500.  Portuguese rule continued into the early nineteenth century.  Dom Joao VI and the remnants of the Portuguese royal family fled Napoleon's army to Brazil in 1808 and returned to Portugal in 1821.  The following year, Brazil declared independence from Portugal and Dom Joao VI's son, Dom Pedro I, was proclaimed emperor of Brazil.  Slavery was abolished in 1888.  The Dom Pedro family maintained control of the government until 1889 when a coup led by Marshal of the Army Deodoro da Fonseca established a federal republic and effectively ended monarchial rule.  A constitutional republic government operated until 1930 when a military coup instated a dictatorship under Getulio Vargas.  Vargas ruled until 1945.  Political instability marked the 1950s and 1960s as six presidents successively served between 1945 and 1961.  Brazil's population has historically been densely concentrated along the southern coastal areas.  To ameliorate overcrowding, facilitate government administration over a large geographical area, and spur economic development, the government relocated the capital city from Rio de Janeiro to the government-planned city of Brasilia in 1960.  A coup occurred in 1964 and the military-controlled government exiled political opponents and determined Brazil's presidents until the early 1980s when a return to democracy began.  A total return to civilian rule occurred in 1985.  Since 1989, Brazil's presidents have been successively elected.[2]  With a large population, abundant natural resources, and strategic geographic location, Brazil has emerged as the region's greatest economic power.

Culture 

As a result of strong European immigration to southern Brazil from the late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century, the Brazilian states of Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Sao Paulo exhibit many cultural similarities with Western and Central Europe.  Living standards are highest in this region and the economy is more industrialized.  Northeastern Brazil and many central interior areas are among the poorest, have more homogenous Catholic populations, and rely heavily on agriculture and mining.  Mulattos tend to constitute the majority in these areas.  The widespread use of Portuguese has helped unify differing ethnic groups, although socio-economic differences create major challenges socially integrating Brazil as a whole.  Those residing in the Amazon Basin area generally live in medium to large-sized cities.  Several indigenous Amerindian groups reside in the rainforest and remote, sparsely-populated areas of the interior, and some have yet to make peaceful contact with the outside world.  Fruit, meat, rice, beans, cassava, yams, and peanuts are common ingredients in Brazilian dishes.  Dairy and wheat are more commonly consumed in the south.  Carnival, the Brazilian equivalent of Mardi Gras, is one of the largest holidays celebrated in Brazil and lasts around one week.  Heavy drinking, parades, widespread sexual indulgence, and Samba music highlight many Carnival celebrations nationwide.  Cigarette and alcohol consumption rates compare to world averages.  Illicit drug use has increased and is common in many areas.  Brazil is one of the world's greatest coffee consumers. 

Economy

GDP per capita: $10,100 (2009) [21.8% of US]

Human Development Index: 0.699

Corruption Index: 3.7

Brazil boasts a robust, diversified economy that has internationally competitive agricultural, service, and mining sectors.  Some long-standing economic challenges such as inflation have been rectified in recent years whereas others, such as a highly unequal distribution of wealth, continue to slow economic development.  26% of the population lives below the poverty line.  Brazil suffered an acute reaction to the global financial crisis in the late 2000s, but was one of the first countries to begin recovery.  Precious metals, valuable minerals, iron ore, uranium, oil, hydropower, and timber are natural resources. Services employ 66% of the labor force and generate 69% of the GDP whereas industry employs 14% of the work force and generates 25% of the GDP.  Textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, industrial and commercial metals, aircraft, automobiles, and machinery are major industries.  Agriculture employs 20% of the work force and generates 6% of the GDP.  Common crops include coffee, soybeans, grains, sugarcane, cocoa, and fruit.  Beef is a common agricultural product.  Brazil is the world's ninth largest oil producer and seventh largest oil consumer.  The United States, China, Argentina, and Germany are the primary trade partners.

Money laundering, illicit drug trafficking, smuggling, and fundraising for extremist organizations are common activities in the Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay border region.  Brazil is the world's second largest cocaine consumer and a major transshipment point for cocaine produced in the Andes destined for Europe.  Weapons smuggling and drug-related violence have increased in recent years.

Faiths

Christian: 89%

Spiritualist: 1.3%

Voodoo/Afro-Brazilian: 0.3%

other: 1.8%

unspecified: 0.2%

none: 7.4%

Christians

Denominations  Members  Congregations

Catholic  148,012,051

Seventh Day Adventists  1,227,005  6,109

Latter-day Saints  1,102,674  1,927

Jehovah's Witnesses  708,224  10,749

Religion

Nominal Catholics account for 74% of the population whereas Protestants account for 15.4%.  74% of Protestants are estimated to adhere to Pentecostal and evangelical churches.  The remaining 26% of Protestants primarily follow the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Methodist, and Congregationalist Churches.  The 2000 census counted 214,873 Buddhists, 2,905 Hindus, and 151,080 followers of other East Asian religions.  Shintoism is commonly followed among Japanese-Brazilians.  Spiritualists are primarily Kardecists.  The census reported 17,088 followers of indigenous Amerindian religious.  Syncretic Afro-Brazilian religions account for 0.3% of the population and include Candomble, Umbanda, Xango, Macumba, and Voodoo.  Some estimates for the number of Muslims in Brazil are as high as 1.5 million, but the 2000 census counted under 28,000.  There are approximately 120,000 Jews, 105,000 of whomh reside in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.[3]  

Religious Freedom

Persecution Index:

The constitution protects religious freedom which is generally upheld by the government.  There is no state religion and no registration requirements for a religious group.  Common Catholic holidays are recognized by the government. Public schools are required to offer religious education.  Anti-Semitic or racist literature is strictly prohibited.  Societal abuse of religious freedom is uncommon and is primarily directed toward non-Christian groups.[4]  

Largest Cities

Urban: 86%

São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasília, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Curitiba, Recife, Porto Alegre, Belém, Goiânia, Guarulhos, Campinas, São Gonçalo, São Luís, Maceió, Duque de Caxias, Natal, Nova Iguaçu, Campo Grande, Teresina, São Bernardo do Campo, João Pessoa, Santo André, Osasco, Jaboatão, São José dos, Campos, Ribeirão Preto, Contagem, Uberlândia, Sorocaba, Aracaju, Cuiabá, Juiz de Fora, Feira de Santana.

All 36 cities with over 500,000 inhabitants have an LDS congregation.  28% of the national population resides in the 36 largest cities. 

LDS History

The first LDS missionaries arrived in Joinville in 1928 and worked among German immigrants.[5]  The Brazilian Mission was organized in May 1935 with headquarters in Ipomeia, Santa Catarina and worked primary with German-speakers.  In 1938, 2,000 copies of the Portuguese translation of the Book of Mormon were published.  Full-time missionaries were withdrawn in 1943 due to World War II.[6]  The Portuguese translation of the Doctrine and Covenants was completed in 1950.[7]  The first LDS stake in South America was organized in Sao Paulo in 1966.  Both seminary and institute were introduced by 1971.  The Church began to grow rapidly following the 1978 Revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males.[8]  In 1985, the postal service issued a special postage stamp commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the LDS Brazilian Mission.[9]  In 1987, the Church announced the formation of the Brazil Area from the South America North Area.[10]

One LDS youth perished in flooding in 1988.[11]  In 1988, President Gordon B. Hinckley held several regional conferences and met with Brazilian president Jose Sarney, giving him a copy of the Book of Mormon and some Mormon Tabernacle Choir records and tapes.[12]  In 1990, one Brazil's most popular magazines, Manchete, featured a six page article about why Latter-day Saints do family history research.[13]  In 1991, Moroni Bing Torgan from Fortaleza was the first Latter-day Saint elected as a National Congressman in Brazil.[14]  In 1993, a Brazilian congressman praised the Church for its efforts in microfilming family history documents.[15]  In 1998, the Brazil Area divided into the Brazil North and Brazil South Areas, making Brazil the second country outside the United States with two areas.[16]  The Brazilian government recognized the 159th anniversary of the establishment of the Relief Society in 2001[17] and met with Elder Russell M. Nelson.[18]  Brazil became one of the first countries in which the Church established the Perpetual Education Fund in the early 2000s.[19]  Brazil's ambassador to the United States met with the First Presidency in Salt Lake City in 2002.[20]  In 2005, one member perished in flooding in northern Brazil.[21]  Elder Russell M. Nelson visited with the mayor of Sao Paulo and governor of Sao Paulo State in 2006.[22]  In 2007, the two Brazil areas were consolidated into a single area, the Brazil Area. 

Missions

The Brazilian Mission (later renamed the Brazil Central Mission) divided in 1959 to create the Brazilian South Mission (later renamed the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission).  In 1968, the Brazilian North Mission (late renamed the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission was organized.  Additional missions were organized in Brazil North Central [Sao Paulo North] (1972), Brazil South Central [Sao Paulo South] (1972), Curitiba (1980), Brasilia (1985), Campinas (1986), Fortaleza (1987), Belo Horizonte (1988), Manaus (1990), Salvador (1990), Porto Alegre North (1991), Sao Paulo East (1991), Sao Paulo Interlagos (1991), Ribeiro Preto (1993), Rio de Janeiro North [relocated to Vitoria in 2009] (1993), Florianopolis (1993), Recife South (1993) [relocated to Maceio in 1998], Belem (1994), Belo Horizonte East (1994), Salvador South (1994), Marila (1995) [relocated to Londrina in 1999], Goiana (1998), Joao Pessoa (1998), Santa Maria (1998), Cuiaba (2006), and Teresina (2009).  The Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission was discontinued in 2009.  The number of missions increased from one in 1950 to two in 1960, three in 1970, six in 1980, 12 in 1990, 26 in 2000, and 27 in 2010. 

Membership Growth

LDS Membership: 1,102,674 (2009)

In 1940, there were fewer than 200 Latter-day Saints in Brazil.  Membership growth was extremely slow in the 1930s and 1940s as there were only eleven convert baptisms in 1940 and eighteen in 1941.  Membership reached 360 by 1943.  By 1957, there were fewer than 1,000 members.[23]  Membership reached 6,747 in 1962[24] and 33,000 in 1976.[25]  In 1978, there were 55,000 Latter-day Saints.[26]  By year-end 1983, there were 128,148 members.

By April 1988, there were nearly 300,000 members.  The Church generally baptized approximately 22,000 new converts a year in the late 1980s.[27]  There were 442,000 members in 1993.[28]  158 converts were baptized in the Brazil Manaus Mission on December 22nd, 1993.[29]  By year-end 1994, there were 517,000 members,[30] increasing to 547,000 in 1995[31] and 650,000 in 1998.[32]  By year-end 1999, there were 743,000 members[33] and a year later membership totaled 775,822.

Steady membership growth occurred in the 2000s as membership reached 842,296 in 2002, 897,091 in 2004, 970,903 in 2006, and 1.06 million in 2008.  Annual membership growth rates ranged from a low of 2.9% in 2003 to a high of 4.5% in 2006.  Brazilian membership generally increased between 30,000 and 50,000 a year in the 2000s.  In 2001, there were 350,000 Relief Society members.[34]

In one mission, the number of convert baptisms fell from approximately 200 a month to 100 a month as a result of greater emphasis on teaching and baptizing families instead of individuals.  Increase convert retention resulted.[35]  In the late 2000s, most Brazilian stakes generally baptized over 100 new converts a year.  The Curitiba Brazil Stake generally baptized 200 converts a year in the early 1990s.[36]  The Tubarao Brazil Stake added approximately 300 new members annually in the late1990s.[37]  54,000 converts were baptized in one year in the late 1990s.[38]  In the early 2000s, Brazilian missions together baptized approximately 25,000 new converts a year.[39]  In 2009, one in 182 was LDS. 

Congregational Growth

Wards: 1,460 Branches: 467

There were two branches in Sao Paulo State by 1957.[40]  The first two stakes were created in Sao Paulo in 1966 and 1968.  In 1988, there were 20 stakes in Sao Paulo State.[41]  The number of stakes nationwide reached nine in 1975, 18 in 1980, 45 in 1985, 55 in 1990, 101 in 1995, 183 in 2000, 186 in 2005, and 230 in 2010.  In early 1997, Brazil surpassed Mexico as the country with the most stakes outside the United States.[42]  By year-end 1999, there were 186 stakes and 42 districts.[43]  In early 2011, there were 239 stakes and 49 districts.

Provided with the year the first stake was organized, Brazilian states with LDS stakes include Parana (1971), Rio de Janeiro (1972), Rio Grande do Sul (1973), Distrito Federal (1980), Paraiba (1980), Pernambuco (1980), Belo Horizonte (1981), Ceara (1981), Alagoas (1982), Santa Catarina (1982), Espirito Santo (1987), Goias (1987), Amazonas (1988), Mato Grosso do Sul (1991), Para (1991), Bahia (1992), Rio Grande do Norte (1992), Sergipe (1992), Piaui (1993), Acre (1995), Maranhao (1995), Mato Grosso (1995), Rondonia (1996), and Tocantins (2007).  In early 2011, states with ten or more stakes include Sao Paulo (74), Rio Grande do Sul (21), Parana (19), Ceare (16), Rio de Janeiro (14), Pernambuco (13), and Bahia (10).  Only two states have no LDS stakes (Amapa and Roraima) and each has one district.  Only three states have more than three districts; Rio Grande do Sul (9), Sao Paulo (8), and Minas Gerais (8).  Most currently functioning districts were organized between 1990 and 2000.

In 1987, there were 517 congregations, including 331 wards.  In 1988, there were 160 wards in Sao Paulo State.[44]  The number of congregations increased to 1,113 in 1993, including 639 wards.  There were 1,879 LDS congregations in 1999, including 1,264 wards.[45]  Congregation consolidations reduced the number of LDS units to 1,763 in 2000 and 1,668 in 2003.  Steady increases in the number of congregations occurred starting in 2004 as the number of units increased to 1,756 in 2006, 1,849 in 2008, and 1,927 in early 2011.  Since the mid-2000s, the number of congregations in Brazil generally increases between 20 and 60 a year.  Between 2000 and 2009, the number of wards increased by 166 whereas the number of branches increased by five. 

Activity and Retention

Member activity and convert retention rates are low nationwide.  Local members and full-time missionaries in many areas have regularly participated in reactivation efforts and at times contributed to increases in convert baptisms.  29 Aaronic Priesthood holders were reactivated in 1987 in the Sao Paulo Brazil West Stake.[46]  In 1988, a joint stake leadership-full-time missionary teaching effort held for two stakes in Recife had over 1,200 attend three separate meetings and resulted in some member reactivations.[47] 

Special meetings and conferences have been well attended.  1,100 less-active members and investigators attended a special meeting with President Hinckley in 1988.  That same year, 5,270 in Rio de Janeiro and 2,200 in Fortaleza attended regional conferences.[48]  In 1989, 1,000 LDS youth from four Sao Paulo stakes attended youth conferences and cleaned and beautified neighborhoods, wrote personal testimonies in the front of copies of the Book of Mormon and distributed the books to interested individuals on the streets, wrote letters to less-active youth, and donated food to the needy.[49]  21,000 from 14 stakes attended a regional conference in Sao Paulo in 1991.[50]  In 1996, 3,000 attended the groundbreaking of the Recife Brazil Temple.[51]  That same year, President Hinckley met with 5,500 members in Porto Alegre, 30,000 members in Sao Paulo, 13,000 members in Recife, and 5,500 members in Manaus.[52]  20,000 LDS youth participated in youth camps during carnival in 1997.[53]  In 1998, 3,500 attended the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple groundbreaking[54] and 3,000 attended the Campinas Brazil Temple groundbreaking.[55]  That same year President James E. Faust noted that sacrament attendance and tithe-paying faithfulness had increased dramatically.[56]  In late 2000, 78,386 attended the Recife Brazil Temple open house and 7,094 attended the dedicatory services[57] whereas 25,324 attended the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple open house and 7,590 attended the dedicatory services.[58]  In 2002, 74,985 attended the Campinas Brazil Temple open house and 8,597 attended the dedicatory services.[59]  22,463 members from 28 stakes in the Sao Paulo area viewed a special fireside transmitted via satellite in 2003.[60]  60,000 members attended a member meeting in Sao Paul with President Hinckley in 2004 which was believed to be one of the largest gatherings of Latter-day Saints to ever occur outside the United States.[61]  99,000 attended the Sao Paulo Brazil open house in 2004.[62]  55,056 were enrolled in seminary or institute during the 2008-2009 school year.

On the 2000 census, only 199,645 persons identified themselves as Latter-day Saints,[63] just 26% of the number of members reported by the LDS Church at year-end 2000.  The number of active members varies dramatically by congregation.  One of the branches in the Sao Sebastiao area had less than 40 active members in 2009.  A branch in Abaetetuba in 2009 had 40 active members.  In early 2010, one ward in the Sorocaba area had over 200 active members, and one ward in the Cruz Alta Brazil Stake had 150 active members.  One of the branches in Rondonopolis had 60 active members in mid-2010. In late 2010, the Sorriso Branch had approximately 50 active members.  In early 2011, the Itaporanga Branch had 15 active members.  Current nationwide active membership is estimated at between 250,000 and 300,000, or 25% of total membership.  

Finding

Missionaries in most areas only taught investigators from families that could hold the priesthood prior to the 1978 Revelation extending priesthood privileges to all worthy males.[64]  In 1988, 100 attended a church conference to educate others about LDS beliefs in Indaiatuba.[65]  A third of the nearly 800 that attended a special musical performance commemorating the independence of Brazil at an LDS stake center in Sao Paulo were not LDS.[66]  In 1992, the Curitiba Brazil Portao Stake produced a Book of Mormon musical which had over 1,000 attending performances.  30% to 40% of those in attendance were not LDS and the play caught the attention of local television stations.[67]  That same year, a television station in Rodonia State aired LDS missionary videos.[68]  LDS youth presented a Book of Book to the governor of Pernambuco State in 1992.[69]  In 1994, the Church participated in a symposium on religion and culture at Rio de Janeiro State University which resulted in over 200 missionary referrals.[70]  LDS employment resources have helped full-time missionaries find new investigators.[71]  In April 2005, the Church in Sao Paulo performed the musical "Savior of the World" which had a combined 3,600 in attendance at five performances.[72]

Language Materials

Languages with LDS Scripture: Portuguese, Spanish, German

All LDS scriptures and most church materials are available in Portuguese, Spanish, and German.  The Liahona magazine has monthly issues in each of these languages.

Meetinghouses

There were 308 LDS meetinghouse in 1988.[73]  In early 2011, there were an estimated 1,200 meetinghouses.  Most congregations assemble in church-built chapels whereas small branches or newly created congregations at times meet in rented spaces or renovated buildings.  

Health and Safety

High-crime neighborhoods, tropical climate, illicit drug trafficking, and dangerous roads pose safety concerns for members and missionaries.  In 2001, a North American full-time missionary was wounded with a gunshot wound after being attacked in Rio de Janeiro.[74]  In 2005, a North American missionary received a head wound in a robbery attempt.[75]  In 2008, a North American missionary died in a hit-and-run car accident in the Brazil Salvador Mission.[76]

Humanitarian and Development Work

LDS youth  provided service at rest homes in 1991.[77]  In 1992, members in Rio de Janeiro donated clothing, books, and shoes to their bishops for distribution among needy LDS members in the area.[78]  That same year, 400 members in two Sao Paulo stakes donated 1,800 hours of service collecting 500 pounds of winter clothing for the poor.[79]  Over 500 youth in Ribeirao Preto cleaned a city street in 1992.[80]  That same year, members in Bauru volunteered at an orphanage.[81]  In 1994, 14 stakes in the Sao Paulo area participated in a blood drive to replenish dwindling blood supplies in the area.[82]  That same year, members in Sao Bernardo donated two tons of winter clothing for the poor and homeless.[83]  Church members in southern Brazil donated 90 tons of food to drought-stricken northern Brazil in 1998.[84]  3,000 youth from the Rio de Janeiro area cleaned Copacabana Beach in 1999.[85]  Over 3,000 newborn kits were distributed to the needy in Rio de Janeiro that same year.[86]  3,000 youth in the Recife area cleaned a beach in 2000.[87]  In late 2000, the Church donated 120 tons in emergency relief to flood victims in northern Brazil.[88]  Local stake leadership in Manaus organized a river cleanup effort that had over 2,000 people which participated.[89]  Over 30,000 members participated in service projects nationwide in October, 2001[90] and over 25,000 members helped distributed 100 tons of food to the needy.[91]  30,000 participated in a church service event refurbishing schools around the country.[92]  The Church was recognized for its service activities under "Helping Hands" in 2002 in a meeting with leaders from the twelve main religious denominations in Brazil.[93]  500 members in ten stakes in Fortaleza conducted a Helping Hands service project for approximately 700 elderly nursing home residents.[94]  Over 1,000 members and their friends remodeled and cleaned nine public schools in Curitiba in 2003.[95]  6,000 members and their friends from 12 Sao Paulo stakes beautified, remodeled, and cleaned schools in the Sao Paulo area.[96]  In 2004, the Church provided neonatal resuscitation training to over 100 medical professionals.[97]  The Church organized a nationwide service project with 40,000 participants that benefited the elderly over 150 cities in 2004[98] and has completed similar projects in recent years.  In 2003, LDS Employment Resource Services helped 12,4000 find employment.  By the end of 2004, 5,000 loan requests were made in Brazil for the Perpetual Education Fund.[99]  In 2005, the Church distributed 620 water filters in northern Brazil.[100]  50,000 Latter-day Saints and their friends participated in school improvement projects on April 21st, 2005.[101]  60,000 members and their friends volunteered in over 200 hospitals nationwide sewing and donating hospital linens in 2006[102] and 2007.[103]  On September 7th, 2007, 60,000 members and their friends cleaned and beautified public schools nationwide.[104] 

 

Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects

Religious Freedom

Since the late 2000s, North American missionaries have experienced difficulty obtaining visas for reasons that are not entirely clear.  Consequently, the number of missionaries assigned to some missions have declined due to a shortage of full-time missionaries and delays in obtaining visas.  Latter-day Saints are generally well respected in many areas of Brazil and report no significant obstacles worshiping, proselytizing, or assembling.

Cultural Issues

Poverty or low levels of economic sustainability and a population with a traditionally Catholic background have contributed to high rates of receptivity to the LDS Church and other missionary-oriented Christian denominations for over half a century.  However, the high degree of nominalism in the Catholic Church exhibited by most the population also represents one of the primary cultural barriers compromising long-term growth ambitions of the LDS Church.  Instilling habits of regular church attendance, daily scripture reading, and personal prayer in investigators, inactive members, and new converts has been a challenge for full-time missionaries and local leaders; widespread mission policies that have emphasized short-term baptismal numbers while paying little attention to outcomes after baptism have not helped the situation.  Many nominal Catholics that joined the LDS Church have become nominal Latter-day Saints, albeit most do not identify with the Church anymore.  Greater European influence in southern Brazil has invited secularism and materialism, resulting in lower receptivity to the Church in recent years in this region, but member activity and convert retention rates appear higher than in central, interior, and northern areas.  The prominence of Latter-day Saints in Brazilian society has increased in the past several decades as members have numbered among university professors and government officials.  The Perpetual Education Fund has been well-utilized in Brazil in addressing poverty and has facilitated members receiving additional education to increase job security and boaster economic self reliance.  

Carnival presents many cultural challenges for Latter-day Saints due to high rates of alcohol use and widespread sexual promiscuity associated with festivals and celebrations throughout the country.  In 1994, LDS youth in Ponta Grossa, Santa Catarina, and Sao Paulo avoided the celebration by attending a youth conference and a service project.[105]  Full-time missionaries often visit members or stay indoors during Carnival celebrations, which can delay the progress of investigators and recent converts.  Increasing drug use and gang-related violence poses challenges for LDS proselytism efforts. 

National Outreach

51% of the national population resides in cities over 100,000 inhabitants with an LDS congregation and approximately 65% of the population resides in cities over 20,000 inhabitants with an LDS congregation.  Of the 250 cities with over 100,000 inhabitants, five have no LDS mission outreach centers (Mage - Rio de Janeiro, Parauapebas - Para, Caxias - Maranhao, Araruama - Rio de Janeiro, and Trindade - Goias).  Over 400 cities in Brazil between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants have no mission outreach center.  Based on population figures from the late 2000s, states with the largest number of unreached cities over 20,000 inhabitants include Sao Paulo (68), Minas Gerais (65), Bahia (32), Maranhao (31), Para (31), and Ceare (29).

Taking the ratio of LDS congregations to state population provides insights into the percentage of Latter-day Saints in the general population by Brazilian state.  Rio Grande do Sul, Amazonas, Acre, Parana, and Sao Paulo support the highest percentages of members as indicated by each of these states having less than 75,000 inhabitants per LDS congregation.  Brazilian states that appear to have the lowest percentage of members are Maranhao (one congregation per 469,263 inhabitants), Minas Gerais (one per 174,958), Rondonia (one per 173,389), and Para (one per 172,456).  On average, there is one LDS congregation per 99,082 people in Brazil. 

With nearly 6.5 million inhabitants - a population greater than that of Uruguay, Paraguay, and several other Latin American countries - Maranhao is the least reached Brazilian state as only 14 congregations operate in four cities, reaching fewer than 21% of the state's inhabitants.  Low standards of living, remote location, and few missionary resources dedicated to the region are primarily responsible for the lack of mission outreach in Maranhao.  In 2010, there were 31 cities with over 20,000 inhabitants in Maranhao without an LDS congregation.  The Church has begun to target some lesser-reached states, as indicated by the organization of the Brazil Teresina Mission in 2009 to administer Maranhao and Piaui.  Reliance on full-time missionaries to expand national outreach appears to be the primary barrier preventing outreach in many unreached areas.  The nearly 30 million Brazilian  populating rural areas have few or no LDS congregations within close proximity to their homes and may not receive LDS mission outreach for decades to come based on current trends of national outreach expansion. 

Many large cities possess multiple lesser-reached communities, such as Belem, Belo Horizonte, Cuiaba, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.  Distance from LDS meetinghouse has been a source of convert attrition and member inactivity.  The establishment of additional branches, dependent branches, and groups in these urban areas can increase mission outreach over the long term and provide opportunity for stronger convert retention and member activity rates as new converts are funneled into local church leadership positions with assistance from full-time missionaries and stake or district presidencies.  The Church has dedicated more resources toward enhancing its presence in large cities in accordance with the "centers of strength" philosophy adopted in nations with high receptivity but limited local leadership.  However, as Brazil has expanded its local leadership force in many of the largest cities, the organization of additional congregations to improve national outreach may be more sustainable than in times past. 

The Church has faced the enormous task of opening new cities in a coordinated fashion for decades.  It was not until the reorganization of the Porto Velho Branch and the organization of the Rio Branco Branch in 1988 that all Brazilian states in the Amazon Basin had an LDS congregation,[106] at a time when there were approximately 300,000 members nationwide.  In early 2011, the states of Roraima and Amapa remained without LDS stakes.  President James E. Faust noted in 1998 that there were 140 cities with over 50,000 inhabitants and 400 cities with over 40,000 inhabitants without LDS missionaries.[107]  Full-time missionaries have consistently served in areas with a strong church membership in an effort to build centers of strength.[108]  As a result of reliance on full-time missionaries to expand national outreach, little progress occurred in the 2000s opening new cities for missionary work due to the plateauing of world LDS missionary numbers.  Delaying the opening of additional cities may result in missing the chance when the inhabitants are most receptive to the Church and losing the receptive population to other missionary-minded denominations.   

Internet, radio, and television each appear to be potentially useful proselytism approaches in Brazil.  There has been some use of radio by full-time missionaries, but no programs that have been self-sustaining and broadcast long term.  In 1992, the Church broadcasted public service and gospel messages on a radio station in Rio Claro.[109]  Internet-based proselytism has achieved the greatest success among media-focused missionary work.  Brazil had the seventh most visitors to the Church's website in 1997.[110]  In December 2010, the LDS country website for Brazil was the most viewed country site with approximately 37,000 visits.[111]  The Church's Brazil website at http://www.lds.org.br provides Portuguese language church materials and online LDS scriptures.  Outreach through local members inviting and committing friends and relatives to learn about the Church via Facebook and other social networking sites has begun to be developed and has enormous potential to expand missionary activity into lesser-reached areas. 

Member Activity and Convert Retention

Low member activity and poor convert retention rates have originated largely from the rushed, quick-baptism techniques employed by full-time missionaries that provided minimal teaching and pre-baptismal preparation followed by little or no missionary and local member support thereafter.  High membership growth rates in the 1980s and 1990s largely arose from the reckless manner in which many missions utilized such techniques among a highly receptive population.  The conduct of proselytism by itinerant missionaries and leaders with little accountability and no long-term vested interest in building viable local congregations and leadership focus on baptismal numbers with little concern for post-baptismal outcomes often resulted in poor decisions being made to quickly baptize inadequately prepared converts.  The baptism of large numbers of new converts in the late 1980s, strained congregational resources and local leadership,[112] especially as few converts became active members.  Local leadership was often poorly developed and highly dependent on full-time missionaries during this period, yet congregational growth rates were at their highest in the history of the LDS Church in Brazil largely due to low standards for the organization of new congregations or to maintain functioning congregations.  Failure for many areas to generate additional leadership from the throngs of new converts baptized during this period is evidenced by the hundreds of congregation consolidations in the early 2000s, many of which relied heavily on full-time missionaries or required the few active members to hold multiple callings to operate.  In the late 2000s and early 2010s, greater attention had been directed toward preparing investigators for baptism and fostering local leadership growth though successful implementation of Preach My Gospel guidelines, especially in missions in southern Brazil. During this period many missions in southern Brazil baptized substantially fewer converts than missions in the north, but often reported congregational growth rates slightly lower or equal to missions in higher baptizing areas.  However, increased standards have not been fully consistent and have varied widely by mission. As of 2011, implementation of reformed missionary guidelines had not been fully implemented in all missions as several missions continued to focus on arbitrary baptismal quotas that have not lead to meaningful church growth as evidenced by increasing congregational growth rates and greater maturation of local leadership.

The consistent creation of new congregations and reduction in the number of congregation consolidations since the mid-2000s indicates some stabilization of member activity and convert retention rates notwithstanding that current rates of congregational growth continue to be well below membership growth rates.  If annual congregational growth rates were constant with annual membership growth rates which have averaged around four percent, we would expect the number of congregations to increase by 70 to 80 a year in Brazil.  Since the mid-2000s the number of congregations has typically increased by half this number. 

Member-missionary efforts have greatly facilitated church growth in Brazil and have generated more positive outcomes regarding long-term convert retention.  Including a personal written testimony of a member at the front of a Book of Mormon distributed by full-time missionaries is a simple method which increased convert baptismal rates in the past.[113]  While working at a clothing store, two members in Porto Alegre referred over 120 people to the full-time missionaries in a single month, 20 of whom were baptized.[114]  In 1993, up to 80% of investigators taught by full-time missionaries in the Brazil Campinas Mission were referred by local members.[115]  Boy and Cub Scouting have been methods to help improve member activity and convert retention among youth.[116]  One stake in the Sao Paulo area reported higher member activity and convert retention among men by an increased emphasis on baptizing full families rather than individuals.[117]  However, this practice has also substantially reduced growth rates as few families are ready to have all members simultaneously join the Church, and many worthy and prepared single individuals are not taught. Congregations that have historically relied on full-time missionaries to function and in areas where districts have been unable to mature into stakes represent both results and causes of low member activity, generating a vicious cycle of poor retention and low activity in areas that have been most severely affected by quick-baptism tactics. 

Ethnic Issues and Integration

There is little racial prejudice on a local or state level as a large portion of the population claims mixed ancestry.[118]  Member integration challenges appear largely influenced by socio-economic differences rather than racial differences, especially between southern and northern Brazil.  Racial integration issues become more pronounced on a national level, which can create some challenges for Brazilian full-time missionaries serving far from their native states. 

Language Issues

The Church greatly benefits from a homogenously Portuguese-speaking population in Brazil.  The translation of many church materials and books into Portuguese allows for increased gospel scholarship among Brazilian members compared to many other nations.  Little linguistic diversity has facilitated growth.  Portuguese is the third most commonly spoken language among Latter-day Saints; there were 780,000 Portuguese-speaking Latter-day Saints in 2000 worldwide, nearly all of which were in Brazil.[119]  Non-Portuguese speakers are few in number and will likely not receive coordinated mission outreach for many years due to the size of the LDS missionary force in perspective with the total size of the Brazilian population.  No Amerindian languages have realistic prospects for future LDS materials in the foreseeable future.

Missionary Service

By 1988, most full-time missionaries serving in Brazil were Brazilian.  Local members helped to reduce mission costs by feeding missionaries,[120] but the high price to serve a mission nonetheless reduced the number of full-time missionaries serving at the time.  Returned missionaries have offered valuable leadership manpower and experience for decades.[121]  82 of the 136 full-time missionaries in the Brazil Brasilia were Brazilian in late 1990.[122]  80% of the missionary force in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission was Brazilian in early 1993.[123] 

In 1993, the Church began construction of its second largest missionary training center outside the United States in Sao Paulo which was 10,800 square feet, had a 1,000 seat assembly room, and could accommodate 900 missionaries.  The previous missionary training center could accommodate only 200 missionaries.[124]  Brazil supplied the Church with the most full-time missionaries of any country outside the United States by 1993.[125]  The new Brazil Missionary Training Center was completed in 1997 to house up to 750 missionaries: 375 in each building but initially only one building was occupied.[126]  In 1998, the Church began sending North American missionaries destined to serve in Brazil to the Brazil Missionary Training Center for half of their missionary training to facilitate their cultural and language adaptation.[127]  In 2006, full-time missionaries serving from Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Zimbabwe received missionary training at the Brazil MTC.  The number of missionaries receiving training at the center varied from 150 to 550 and usually averaged around 300 in 2006.[128]  The number of missionaries assigned to the Brazil Manaus Mission dropped from 210 in 2009 to 150 in 2010 due to a shortage of missionaries in Brazil caused by visa delays for North American missionaries and limited numbers of Brazilian youth serving missions.  By early 2011, the number of missionaries in the center dropped to 60 due to visa complications with North American missionaries.[129]  Low occupancy of the center at present illustrates the low degree of sustainability of the Brazilian full-time missionary force and reliance on North American missionaries to make up the difference.  The Church operates a website for Brazil providing information for members desiring to serve a full-time mission at http://www.casaismissionarios.org.br/.

Leadership

Rapid growth in the number of priesthood holders has occurred periodically in Brazil.  In 1995, two stakes in Manaus sustained 116 men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood in a single day.[130]  Overall, Brazil exhibits low to fair levels of leadership sustainability as evidence by past congregation consolidations and congregational growth rates far below nominal membership growth rates.  Increasing numbers of stakes in the latter-half of the 2000s points toward some improvement but dozens of districts remain unable to mature into stakes due to lacking numbers of active Melchizedek Priesthood holders.  Sao Paulo generates the greatest body of LDS leadership in Brazil. Brazilian Latter-day Saints have regularly served in several national and international church leadership positions as mission presidents, regional representatives, area authorities, general authorities, and temple presidents. 

In 1988, Paulo R. Grahl from Canoas was called as the mission president[131] of the Brazil Brasilia Mission.[132]  In 1990, Athos Marques de Amorim from Resende was called as a mission president[133] of the Brazil Fortaleza Mission, Jairo Massagardi from Campinas[134] was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador Mission,[135] and Claudio Roberto Mendes Costa from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Manaus Mission.[136]  In 1991, Fernando Jose Duarte De Araujo from Fortaleza was called as the Portugal Lisbon South Mission president.[137]  In 1992, Sebastiao L. Oliveira from Campinas was called to preside over the Brazil Curitiba Mission,[138] and A. Heliton Lemos from Curitiba was called to preside over the Brazil Campinas Mission.[139]  In 1993, Aldo Francesconi from Sao Paulo,[140] Damasceno Moises Barreiro from Ribeirao Preto,[141] and J. Moreira Silva from Santo Andre were called as mission presidents.[142]  Also, Joao Roberto Martins Silva from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Fortaleza Mission,[143] Homero S. Amato from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador Mission,[144] Valerio Kikuchi from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission,[145] and Jose B. Puerta from Ribeirao Preto was called to preside over the Brazil Florianapolis Mission.[146]  By early 1994, over half of the mission presidents for Brazil's missions were Brazilian.[147]  In 1994, Yatyr M. Cesar from Sao Paulo was called as a mission president[148] and Expedicto J. Saraiva from San Jose Dos Campos was called to preside over the Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission,[149] Marcos A. Prieto from Sorocaba was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador South Mission,[150] and Pedro J. Penha from Cariacica was called to preside over the Brazil Belem Mission.[151]  In 1995, Gutenberg G. Amorim from Campina Grande was called to preside over the Brazil Marilia Mission.[152]  In 1996, Joao Roberto Grahl from Sao Bernardo was called to preside over the Brazil Recife Mission,[153] Vicente Verta Jr. from Sao Joao da Boa Vista was called to preside over the Brazil Manaus Mission,[154] and Jose O. Fabricio from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Ribeirao Preto Mission.[155]  In 1997, Milton Da Rocha Camargo from Sao Paulo[156] was called to preside over the Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission,[157] Carlos A. Godoy from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Belem Mission,[158] and Mauro J. De Maria from Sorocaba was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador South Mission.[159]  In 1998, Wilson R. Gomes from Sao Paulo[160] was called to preside over the Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission[161] and Antonio Casado R. from Itatiba was called to preside over the Brazil Goiana Mission.[162]  In 1999, Jose M. Arias from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Fortaleza Mission, Nivaldo Bentim from Bauru was called to preside over the Brazil Florianopolis Mission,[163] and Edson J. Lopes from Belo Horizonte was called to preside over the Brazil Maceio Mission.[164]  In 2000, Ulisses Soares from Sao Paulo[165] was called to preside over the Portugal Porto Mission,[166] Celso Rolim De Freitas from Sorocaba was called to preside over the Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission, Paulo Roberto Toffanelli from Santo Andre was called to preside over the Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission, [167] Sergio Luis Carboni from Joao Pessoa was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador Mission, Ronaldo Da Costa from Brasilia was called to preside over the Portugal Lisbon South Mission,[168] and Edson De Marques was called to preside over the Brazil Sao Paulo East Mission.[169]  In 2001, Domingos Savio Linhares from Jaboatao[170] was called to preside over the Brazil Santa Maria Mission, Aledir Paganelli Barbour from Sao Paulo[171] was called to preside over the Brazil Goiana Mission, Carlos Roberto Martins from Campinas[172] was called to preside over the Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission,[173] and Luiz Carlos S. De Franca from Belem was called to preside over the Brazil Londrina Mission.[174]  In 2002, Leonel Sa Maia from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Fortaleza Mission, Nata Cruciol Tobias from Sao Jose dos Pinhais was called to preside over the Brazil Maceio Mission,[175] Reinaldo de Souza Barreto from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Mission,[176] Guilherme Tell Peixoto from Ribeiro Preto was called to preside over the Brazil Florianopolis Mission,[177] Saul Rodrigues Duarte from Niteroi was called to preside over the Recife Brazil Mission, Adelson De Paula Parrella from Sao Jose was called to preside over the Brazil Manaus Mission, [178] Sandro Quatel Silva from Salvador was called to preside over the Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission, and Henrique Sergio Alves Simplicio from Jaboatao was called to preside over the Brazil Ribeirao Preto Mission.[179]  In 2003, Eduardo Gavarret Inzaurralde from Sao Paulo[180] was called to preside over the Paraguay Asuncion Mission,[181] Paulo C. de Amorim from Barueri was called to preside over the Portugal Lisbon Mission, Marco Antonio Rais from Porto Alegre was called to preside over the Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission,[182] and Benedito Sergio Antunes dos Santos from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission.[183]  In 2004, Silvio Geschwandtner from Porto Alegre[184] was called to preside over the Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission and Romeo Antonio Piros from Sao Paulo[185] was called to preside over the Cape Verde Praia Mission.[186]  In 2005, Victor Afranio Asconavieta Da Silva from Pelotas[187] was called to preside over the Brazil Fortaleza Mission,[188] Jarbas F. Souza from Curitiba was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador Mission,[189] Joao Louis dos Santos Oppe from Osasco was called to preside over the Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission,[190] and Paulo Henrique Itinose from Aracatuba was called to preside over the Brazil Manaus Mission.[191]  In 2006, Getulio Walter Jagher Silva from Curitiba[192] was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador South Mission,[193] and Cesar Augusto Seiguer Milder from Brasilia was called to preside over the Brazil Cuiaba Mission.[194]  In 2007, Paulo Messias de Araujo from Vitoria[195] was called to preside over the Brazil Curitiba Mission,[196] Ildefonso de Castro Deus from Curitiba was called to preside over the Brazil Campinas Mission, Luiz Manoel Leal from Ribeirao Pires was called to preside over the Brazil Londrina Mission,[197] Vaguiner Cruciol Tobias from Feira de Santana was called to preside over the Brazil Goiana Mission,[198] Rodrigo de Lima e Myrrha from Belo Horizonte was called to preside over the Brazil Santa Maria Mission,[199] and David Garcia Fernandes from Fortaleza was called to preside over the Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission.[200]  In 2008, Antonio Kaulle Machado Bezerra from Fortaleza was called to preside over the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, Gelson Pizzirani from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Brasilia Mission, [201] Mario Helio Emerick from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Recife Mission,[202] Ricardo Vieira from Sao Paulo was called to preside over the Brazil Ribeirao Preto Mission,[203] and Carlos Roberto Toledo was called to preside over the Brazil Salvador Mission.[204]  In 2009, Adilson de Paula Parrella from Alphaville was called to preside over the Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission,[205] Edison Pavan from Rio Claro was called to preside over the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission, Moroni Bing Torgan from Brasilia was called to preside over the Portugal Lisbon Mission,[206]  Jose Claudio Furtado Campos from Teresina was called as a mission president,[207]  In 2010, Ramon Cesar Catherini Prieto from Sorocaba was called to preside over the Brazil Goiana Mission,[208] Isaias De Oliveira Ribeiro from Londrina was called to preside over the Brazil Santa Maria Mission, Eduardo Lucio Mendes Tavares from Feira de Santana was called to preside over the Brazil Londrina Mission,[209] and Gilson Roberto Catherini Prieto from Sorocaba was called to preside over the Brazil Ribeirao Preto Mission.[210]

In 1989, Jose Fransico from Campina Grande was called as a regional representative.[211]  In 1991, Antonio Jose Mendonca from Petropolis was called as a regional representative.[212]  In 1992, Danilo Talanskas from Sao Paulo,[213] Darcy Coelho Domingos Correa from Sao Paulo, Walter Guedes de Queiroz from Sao Paulo,[214] Aledir P. Barbour from Sao Paulo, and Paulo R. Grahl from Canoas were called as regional representatives.[215]  In 1993, Milton Daniel Correa A. from Olinda, [216] Silvio Geschwandtner from Porto Alegre,[217] and Claudio Costa from Sao Paulo were called as regional representatives. [218]  In 1994, Aledir Paganelli Barbour from Sao Paulo, Joao Antonio Dias Filho from Recife, [219] and Fernando Jose da Rocha Camargo from Rio de Janeirowere called as regional representatives.[220]  In 1995, Fernando Jose Duarte Araujo from Fortaleza[221] were called as regional representatives.

In 1995, Claudio Cuellar from Sao Paulo, Paulo Cesar F. De Amorim from Sao Paulo, Cleto Pinheiro De Oliveira from Recife, Silvio Geschwandtner from Porto Alegre, Paulo Renato Grahl from Canoas, Adelson de Paula Parrella from Florianopolis, Iraja Bandeira Soares from Jaboatao, and Ernani Teixeira from Belo Horizonte were called as area authorities.[222]  In 1996, Cesar A. S. Milder from Sao Paulo, Joao R. C. Martins Silva from Fortaleza were called as area authorities.[223]  In 1999, Pedro J. Penha from Cariacica was called as an Area Authority Seventy.[224]  In 2000, Marcos A. Aidukaitis from Santana de Parnaiba, Gutenberg G. Amorim from Paraiba, Yatyr M. Cesar from Canoas, and Flavio A. Cooper from Campinas were called as Area Authority Seventies.[225]  In 2002, Ildefonso C. Deus Neto from Curitiba and Rodrigo Myrrha from Belo Horizonte were called as Area Authority Seventies.[226]  In 2003, Ronaldo da Costa from Brasilia, Carlos A. Godoy from Sao Paulo, Adilson de Paula Parrella from Sao Paulo, and Gelson Pizzirani from Sao Paulo were called as Area Authority Seventies.[227]  In 2004, Homero S. Amato from Sao Paulo, Luiz C. Franca from Belem, Alfredo Heliton de Lemos from Curitiba, and Domingos S. Linhares from Jaboatao were called as Area Authority Seventies.[228]  In 2005, Marcelo Bolfarini from Sao Paulo, Milton da Rocha Camargo from Santana de Parnaiba, and Carlos S. Obata from Rio de Janeiro were called as Area Seventies.[229]  In 2006, Joni L. Koch from Bal Camboriu and Carlos Villanova from Porto Alegre were called as Area Seventies.[230]  In 2007, Climato C.A. Almeida from Vitoria, Fernando J.D. Araujo from Curitiba, Paulo R. Puerta from Sao Paulo, and Nata C. Tobias from Barroca were called as Area Seventies.[231]  In 2010, Renato Capelletti from Cuiaba, Rogeiro G. R. Cruz from Rio de Janeiro, Edson D. G. Ribeiro from Sete Lagoas, Mozart B. Soares from Jaboatao, and Norland de Lopes Suza from Joao Pessoa were called as Area Seventies.[232]

In 1990, Helvecio Martins from Rio de Janeiro was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.[233]  In 1994, Claudio Roberto Mendes Costa was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.[234]  In 1998, Athos M. Amorim from Resende was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.[235]  In 1999, Adhemar Damiani from Sao Paulo was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.[236]  In 2001, Elder Claudio Costa was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.[237]  In 2005, Elder Ulisses Soares was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.[238]

In 1990, Helio da Rocha Camargo was called as the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple president.[239]  In 1993, Athos Marques de Amorim was called as the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple president.[240]  In 1996, Aledir P. Barbour from Sao Paulo was called as the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple president.[241]  In 1999, Oswaldo Silva Camargo was called as the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple president.[242]  In 2002, Sadayosi Ichi was called as the Campinas Brazil Temple president.[243]  In 2003, Nivaldo Bentim from Bauru was called as the Recife Brazil Temple president[244] and Walter Guedes de Queiroz from Sao Paulo was called as the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple president.[245]  In 2005, Ademar Damiani from Sao Paulo was called as the Campinas Brazil Temple president.[246]  In 2006, Valdemiro Skraba from Campinas was called as the Campinas Brazil Temple president[247] and Jairo Mazzagardi from Itatiba was called as the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple president.[248]  In 2007, Izaias Pivato Noguiera from Sao Joao da Boa Vista was called as the Campina Brazil Temple president.[249]  In 2010, Jose Maria Arias from Porto Alegre was called to as the Curitiba Brazil Temple president.[250]

Temple

In early 2011, the Church had seven temples in Brazil, five of which were in operation, one under construction, and one announced.  Active members have generally demonstrated moderate to above average rates of temple attendance.  102 members from Manaus traveled as a group to the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple in 1993.[251]  Temple attendance increased by one-third in 1992 and by one-fourth in 1993.[252]  In 1994, the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple generally operated at full capacity.[253]  The Recife Brazil Temple was announced in 1995 and dedicated in 2000.  In 1997, a small temple was announced for Porto Alegre,[254] which was completed in 2000.  Temples constructed in Brazil were often anticipated to serve fewer stakes than at present.  When the Campinas Brazil Temple was announced in 1997, it was anticipated that the temple would serve 20 stakes and one mission district,[255] but in early 2011 the temple district included 71 stakes and 22 districts.  In 1999, the Recife Brazil Temple was anticipated to serve 47 stakes and 13 districts,[256] and in early 2011 serviced 68 stakes and 10 districts.  The Manaus Brazil Temple was announced in 2007 and will likely be completed in late 2011 or early 2012.

Most Brazilian temples are moderately utilized at present, with the Campinas and Recife temples coming closest to reaching attendance capacity.  In 2011, the Campinas Brazil Temple scheduled 11 endowment sessions on Tuesdays through Fridays and 12 on Saturdays, the Curitiba Brazil Temple scheduled five sessions on Tuesdays through Fridays and six on Saturdays, the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple scheduled four endowment sessions Tuesdays through Fridays and six on Saturdays, the Recife Brazil Temple scheduled ten sessions on Tuesdays through Fridays and eight on Saturdays, and the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple scheduled eight sessions Tuesdays through Fridays and ten on Saturdays.

With consistent increases in the number of stakes and growing LDS membership in regions far from currently operation or announced temples, Brazil is highly likely to have additional temples built in the future.  Cities which appear most favorable for potential LDS temples in the coming decade include Belem, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador.  Additional cities which may have LDS temples over the longer term include Maceio, Ribeirao Preto, Sorocaba, and Vitoria.   

Comparative Growth

With the exception of the United States, the LDS Church engages in widespread missionary activity in no other country with as large of a population as Brazil.  Brazil has the second most missions, stakes, and districts, fourth most temples, and third most members worldwide.  In 2004, President Hinckley noted that seven percent of total LDS membership was in Brazil and than ten percent of annual worldwide convert baptisms occurred in Brazil.[257]  On average Brazilian missions service larger populations than missions in other South American countries as in 2009 there was one LDS mission per 7.4 million people in Brazil whereas there was one LDS mission per six million people in South America as a whole.  If Brazil had the same population to LDS mission ratio as Peru, there would be 61 LDS missions in Brazil.  Member activity rates in Brazil appear comparable to most of Latin America.  Brazil had more students enrolled in seminary and institute in the late 2000s than Mexico although Mexico had approximately 100,000 more Latter-day Saints on church records.  The Church experienced annual increases in the number of congregations in Brazil that were higher than any other country other than the United States during the late 2000s.  Since the mid-2000s, the Church has organized more stakes in Brazil than in any other country outside the United States.  Brazil boasts the largest number of cities with over 20,000 inhabitants without an LDS congregation in Latin America. 

Most missionary-oriented Christians report rapid membership and congregational growth in Brazil.  Jehovah's Witnesses baptized over 30,000 converts in 2009 and operated 10,749 congregations, more than five times as many congregations as Latter-day Saints .  During the year 2008, Seventh Day Adventists baptized nearly 130,000 new converts but total Adventist membership dropped from 1,331,282 to 1,227,005 as a result of a church audit of membership in South America.  Adventists continually achieve congregational growth with over 100 new congregations created annually.  Evangelicals report robust growth and far-reaching outreach in nearly every city nationwide.

Future Prospects

High receptivity, developed local leadership in many areas, a large native full-time missionary force, and hundreds of unreached medium-sized cities generate a positive outlook for future growth and national outreach expansion.  Consistent congregational growth rates ensures the perpetual organization of new stakes in the coming years.  Continued visa problems may continue to reduce the number of North American full-time missionaries to staff Brazil's 27 missions, resulting in continued delays in opening additional cities to missionary work.  The organization of additional missions will depend on increases in the number of local member serving missions.  With a large LDS membership and developed local leadership, Sao Paulo may warrant serious consideration as a site of a future LDS university for Brazilian Latter-day Saints which may increase nationwide sustainability of LDS membership.  Implementation of the Perpetual Education Fund will likely improve the economic status of many members and improve the Church's financial stability and independence, reducing traditional reliance on international funds to finance church operations.  The Church is likely to constructed several new temples in the coming years.  President Hinckley challenged Brazilian Latter-day Saints to capture a vision of the potential for future church growth in Brazil, stating that the 800,000 members in the early 2000s could be doubled and tripled.[258]  Local receptivity remains high and conditions are favorable for future membership growth, but greater care regarding convert retention, reactivation efforts, and increasing the number of local members serving missions will be required for Latter-day Saints to realize Brazil's enormous potential.


[1]  "Background Note: Brazil," Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, 9 September 2010.  http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35640.htm

[2]  "Background Note: Brazil," Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, 9 September 2010.  http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35640.htm

[3]  "Brazil," International Religious Freedom Report 2010, 17 November 2010.  http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2010/148738.htm

[4]  "Brazil," International Religious Freedom Report 2010, 17 November 2010.  http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2010/148738.htm

[5] "Brazil is third country to have 100 stakes," LDS Church News, 19 February 1994.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/25432/Brazil-is-third-country-to-have-100-stakes.html

[6]  Hart, John L.  "Vast potential of nation unfolding in growth, strength," LDS Church News, 23 April 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/17630/Vast-potential-of-nation-unfolding-in-growth-strength.html

[7]  "Companions in Brazil again after 48 years," LDS Church News, 16 December 1989.  Hart, John L.  "Vast potential of nation unfolding in growth, strength," LDS Church News, 23 April 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/17630/Vast-potential-of-nation-unfolding-in-growth-strength.html

[8]  Hart, John L.  "Vast potential of nation unfolding in growth, strength," LDS Church News, 23 April 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/17630/Vast-potential-of-nation-unfolding-in-growth-strength.html

[9]  Kimball, Stanley B.  "'Mormon' stamps grow in number," LDS Church News, 15 January 1994.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/25089/Mormon-stamps-grow-in-number.html

[10]   Deseret News 1989-1990 Church Almanac, p. 311

[11]  "Convert among hundred dead in Brazil floods," LDS Church News, 27 February 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/18104/Convert-among-hundred-dead-in-Brazil-floods.html

[12]  "Church leaders visit Brazil's capital city," LDS Church News, 2 July 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/18044/Church-leaders-visit-Brazils-capital-city.html

[13]  "Brazil area: Magazine features LDS research," LDS Church News, 6 January 1990.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/20362/Brazil-area--Magazine-features-LDS-research.html

[14]  "Brazilian 'folk hero' elected to high post," LDS Church News, 16 March 1991.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/21169/Brazilian-folk-hero-elected-to-high-post.html

[15]  "From around the world," LDS Church News, 25 September 1993.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/22938/From-around-the-world.html

[16]  "5 new areas announced worldwide," LDS Church News, 4 July 1998.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/31389/5-new-areas-announced-worldwide.html

[17]  Fontes, Natan R.  "Relief Society recognized by Brazilian legislators," LDS Church News, 31 March 2001.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/39552/Relief-Society-recognized-by-Brazilian-legislators.html

[18]  "Elder Nelson meets with Brazilian leaders," LDS Church News, 25 August 2001.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/40391/Elder-Nelson-meets-Brazilian-leaders.html

[19]  Johnston, Jerry.  "Pres. Hinckley praises roots, scope of LDS education fund," LDS Church News, 6 October 2001.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/40638/Pres-Hinckley-praises-roots-scope-of-LDS-education-fund.html

[20]  "Brazilian ambassador meets First Presidency, tours BYU," LDS Church News, 20 April 2002.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/41700/Brazilian-ambassador-meets-First-Presidency-tours-BYU.html

[21]  "Massive floods take life of Brazilian member," LDS Church News, 11 June 2005.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/47411/Massive-floods-take-life-of-Brazilian-member.html

[22]  "Hosted in Sao Paulo by governor and mayor," LDS Church News, 18 February 2006.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/48532/Hosted-in-Sao-Paulo-by-governor-and-mayor.html

[23]  Hart, John L.  "Vast potential of nation unfolding in growth, strength," LDS Church News, 23 April 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/17630/Vast-potential-of-nation-unfolding-in-growth-strength.html

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