Church History
Sierra Leone: Overview

“Sierra Leone: Overview,” Global Histories: Sierra Leone (2018)

“Sierra Leone: Overview,” Global Histories: Sierra Leone

map of Sierra Leone

A Brief History of the Church in

Sierra Leone


In the 1980s, several Sierra Leoneans joined the Church while living in other countries. After returning to Sierra Leone and finding that the Church had not yet been established there, these faithful converts—including Michael Samura, Bai Sama Sankoh, Elizabeth Judith Bangura, Monica Orleans, and Christian George—worked independently to build the Church in the country. In 1988 the first missionaries arrived in Sierra Leone, and a branch in Freetown was soon established.

When war spilled from Liberia into Sierra Leone in 1991, missionaries were evacuated. Just over 1,000 members were living in the country at the time. For nearly 11 years, as they endured violence and hunger, members put their trust in God and were “supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions” (Alma 36:3). They continued to meet often, support and uplift one another, and preach the gospel to their neighbors. By the end of the war in 2002, Church membership had grown more than fourfold to nearly 5,000.

In the decade after the war—despite ongoing regional conflict and the Ebola epidemic—growth continued and a stake was created in Freetown. Just five years later, nearly 20,000 members of the Church were living in five stakes and four districts in Sierra Leone.

Quick Facts

  • Official Name: Republic of Sierra Leone

  • Capital: Freetown

  • Largest City: Freetown

  • Official Languages: English

  • Land Area: 71,840 km2 (27,740 mi2)

  • Church Area: Africa West

  • Missions: 1 (Freetown)

  • Congregations: 67

  • Temple: 1 (Freetown)