Church History
Guatemala: Additional Information
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Guatemala: Church Chronology

1800s • Central America and Salt Lake City, Utah

Church leaders and members, curious about possible connections to the Book of Mormon in Central America, proposed missionary efforts and made exploratory visits to the region.

1886 • Salt Lake City

The Spanish translation of the Book of Mormon was published.

June 1942 • Retalhuleu, Guatemala

John F. O’Donnal moved to Guatemala, becoming the first member of the Church living there.

December 1946 • Salt Lake City

John F. O’Donnal visited Church headquarters, where he met with President George Albert Smith to personally request that missionaries be sent to Guatemala.

September 4, 1947 • Guatemala City

Seth G. Mattice and Earl E. Hansen, the first missionaries in Guatemala, were assigned to preach in Guatemala City.

September 7, 1947 • Guatemala City, Guatemala

After a short sacrament service, the first Church meeting in Guatemala, Arwell L. Pierce, president of the Mexican Mission, dedicated Guatemala for the preaching of the gospel.

August 22, 1948 • Guatemala

The first district in Guatemala was organized, with John F. O’Donnal as president.

November 13, 1948 • Guatemala City

Carmen de O’Donnal, wife of John F. O’Donnal, was baptized. She was the first Guatemalan to join the Church. Three other converts were baptized the same day.

Guatemala: Relief Society

December 2, 1948 • Guatemala City

The first Relief Society in Central America was organized in Guatemala City, with Carmen de O’Donnal as president.

June 12, 1950 • Guatemala City

The Guatemala City Branch was organized.

November 16, 1952 • Guatemala City

President Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dedicated Central America for the preaching of the gospel.

February 13, 1954 • Guatemala City

President David O. McKay, the first Church President to visit Guatemala, presided at a two-day conference with the Saints in Guatemala.

January 9, 1955 • Guatemala City

The first meetinghouse in Guatemala was dedicated by Elder LeGrand Richards.

December 15, 1956 • Patzicía, Guatemala

Missionaries began learning Mayan languages and preaching to the native people in Patzicía in their own language.

November 10, 1962 • Guatemala City

Church membership in Guatemala exceeded 10,000.

October 3, 1965 • Guatemala City

General conference was first broadcast to Central America by shortwave radio from WRUL, a Church-owned station that was broadcast from New York City.

November 1965 • Guatemala

Udine Falabella led 100 Saints on a temple excursion to the Mesa Arizona Temple.

November 1966 • Guatemala City

The Church received official recognition from the Guatemalan government.

January 9, 1967 • Guatemala City

Udine Falabella and Alan Baldizon began teaching seminary classes in Guatemala.

May 21, 1967 • Guatemala City

The Guatemala City Stake, the first in Guatemala, was organized, with Udine Falabella as president.

February 1, 1969 • Guatemala

At the request of Edgar Juan Aparicio, president of the Guatemalan Academy of Genealogical, Heraldic and Historical Studies, the Church microfilmed colonial documents from the general archives and civil registry in Guatemala.

July 2, 1970 • New York City, New York

Rafael Eduardo Castillo Valdez, a member of the Church, was appointed Guatemalan ambassador to the United Nations.

February 4, 1976 • Guatemala

An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale caused extensive destruction throughout the country.

1976 • Guatemala

Missionary discussions were translated into K’ekchi’, a Mayan language.

July 1, 1977 • Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

The Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission was created, with John F. O’Donnal as president.

1978 • Guatemala

The Kaqchikel translation of Selections from the Book of Mormon was published.

June 5–10, 1979 • Guatemala

Elder Boyd K. Packer dedicated meetinghouses in La Grandeza, Juchanep, Santa Ana, Canquixaja, San Andrés Semetabaj, Tecpán, Patzún, Comalapa, and San Andrés Itzapa.

1979 • Guatemala

The K’iche’ translation of Selections from the Book of Mormon was published.

1982–83 • Guatemala

The Mam and Yucatec translations of Selections from the Book of Mormon were published.

1983 • Guatemala

The K’ekchi translation of the Book of Mormon, the first full translation in any language native to the Americas, was published.

December 14, 1984 • Guatemala City

Guatemala City Guatemala Temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency. John F. O’Donnal was called as temple president.

April 23, 1986 • Guatemala City

The Missionary Training Center in Guatemala City was dedicated.

April 1, 1989 • Guatemala

Carlos H. Amado was called as a General Authority Seventy, making him the first General Authority from Guatemala.

October 19, 1991 • Quetzaltenango

Guatemala was rededicated by Elder Marvin J. Ashton for the preaching of the gospel.

February 1994 • Guatemala

A new Spanish translation of the triple combination was released.

September 20, 2003 • Guatemala City

The Church’s Humanitarian Services partnered with the Wheelchair Foundation to deliver 250 wheelchairs for disabled people in Guatemala City. Evelyn de Portillo, the First Lady of Guatemala, participated in the activities.

November 27–28, 2004 • Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala

More than 4,000 young women participated in a two-day “Women of Virtue” camp near Guatemala City.

December 16, 2006 • Guatemala

The Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple, the second temple in Guatemala, was announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple

December 11, 2011 • Quetzaltenango

The Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple was dedicated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency.

May 29, 2014 • Guatemala City

The expanded Missionary Training Center in Guatemala City was dedicated by Elder Carlos H. Amado.