Lithuania is a republic on the east coast of the Baltic Sea and was formerly part of the Soviet Union. Missionaries preached in this land as early as 1937.
One of the first members of the Church from Lithuania was Irute Meskiene. She was baptized in Hungary in 1988. The first permanent missionaries were called to the republic in 1992.
On 20 May 1993, Elder M. Russell Ballard dedicated Lithuania for the preaching of the gospel. The service was attended by 27 people. Earlier he had said to the missionaries: “From this small beginning, you will see the Church grow and prosper here. There will be many branches and then a district and, in the Lord’s due time, there will be stakes. Who knows, if we could look out 50 years, perhaps a small temple” (“Four European Lands,” 7).
In 1996 the mission headquarters was moved from Latvia to Lithuania, and the mission was renamed the Lithuania Vilnius Mission. By the beginning of the year 2000 there were 499 members in 3 branches.
[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 3,596,000; Members, 791; Districts, 1; Branches, 4; Percent LDS, .02, or one in 4,763; Europe East Area; Baltic States Mission; Source: 2007 Church Almanac.]
“Four European Lands Dedicated.” Church News, 12 June 1993.
1999-2000 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998. 347-48.
DAVID R. CROCKETT
From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 674. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.