Brigham Young University

Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa and covers 309,496 square miles. In 1999 its population was about 17 million, and the nation’s official language was Portugese. Most also spoke one of six Bantu languages. About 30% of the people were Christian, 55% followed tribal religions, and the remainder were Muslim.

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the Church has provided its people with much humanitarian aid. Following a drought in 1992 (the worst in 100 years) and a flood in 2000, the Church shipped a million pounds of food and relief items to Mozambique.

One of the country’s first citizens to join the Church was Chico Tomo Antonio Mapenda, who was baptized in 1990 in East Germany while attending school there. He was converted by teachings and literature provided by Church members behind the Iron Curtain, and he was ordained a priest before returning to Africa. Upon his return to Mozambique, Chico taught and converted scores of others, including family members. By 1998 they had organized three unofficial branches of the Church, as only Chico was a baptized member. The Church was legally recognized in Mozambique in 1996. When the first missionaries arrived three years later they found hundreds waiting to be baptized in Beira, Maputo, and Marromeu. The latter city alone had more than 500 people waiting for the missionaries. They were under the leadership of Francisco Dique Sousa, a former Protestant minister who had become converted through reading a copy of the Book of Mormon. He had unofficially organized these unbaptized followers into nine branches and had built six meetinghouses.

On 29 October 1999 Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated the country for the preaching of the gospel. At the beginning of the year 2000, there were 311 baptized members in Mozambique, residing in 3 official branches, with many more waiting to be baptized.

[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 19,407,000; Members, 3,472; Missions, 1; Districts, 2; Branches, 17; Percent LDS, .01, or one LDS in 6,576; Africa Southeast Area; Mozambique Maputo Mission; Source: 2007 Church Almanac.]

SOURCES

Hollsinger, Don. Interview by E. Dale LeBaron. Brigham Young University, 21 April 1998.

Middleton, John, ed. Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan Library Reference USA, 1997. 92-98.

1999-2000 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998. 359.

Oral histories of early Church converts collected by E. Dale LeBaron. Copies at BYU Library, Provo, Utah; LDS Church Historical Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

E. DALE LEBARON

From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 802-3. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.