Brigham Young University

Bolivia is located in the center of South America. Its population speaks Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara and is 95% Roman Catholic.

The first missionaries that entered the country came from the Andes Mission on 24 November 1964, and within two years branches were opened in Oruro and Santa Cruz. In 1968 Carlos Pedraja the first missionary called from Bolivia was called to the Andes South Mission. He later became a stake and mission president. The Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission was organized in 1977 and was later renamed the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission. On 3 March 1977 President Spencer W. Kimball visited an area conference in La Paz that was attended by about 4,373 members.

On 14 January 1979 the first stake in Bolivia was organized with Noriharu Ishigaki Haraguichi as president. The Church began sponsoring humanitarian aid projects to help members and non-Mormons throughout the country learn to improve health conditions. In 1989, after the assassination of two elders from Utah, the First Presidency decided to decrease the number of nonnative missionaries sent to Bolivia. In 1990 membership was 64,000 in the country. Ten years later at the beginning of the year 2000, there were 112,222 members living in 21 stakes and 232 wards and branches in Bolivia. On 30 April 2000 the Church dedicated the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple.

[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 8,857,000; Members, 148,630; Stakes, 22; Wards, 156; Districts, 11; Branches, 82; Missions, 3; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.6, or one in 62; Source 2007 Church Almanac.]


Hart, John L. “Prophet Breaks Ground for New Temples.” Church News, 23 November 1996, 3.

“Helping Villagers Help Themselves.” Church News, 24 February 1990, 8.

Litster, Allen. “Pioneering in the Andes.” Ensign 27 (January 1997): 16-22.

1999-2000 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998. 278.

“200,000 in Six Nations Hear Prophet.” Church News, 23 November 1996, 8.


From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 110-11. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.