Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 38 No 2
The Maturing of the Oak: The Dynamics of Latter-day Saint Growth in Latin America
The Maturing of the Oak: The Dynamics of LDS Growth in Latin America Mark L. Grover IN 1926 JUST BEFORE LEAVING ARGENTINA after a six-month mission and few baptisms, Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Council of the Twelve Apostles drew on natural images to suggest the future growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South America: "The work of the Lord will grow slowly for a time here just as an oak grows slowly from an acorn. It will not shoot up in a day as does the sunflower that grows quickly and then dies. But thousands will join the Church. It will be divided into more than one mission and will be one of the strongest in the Church... . The South American Mission will be a power in the Church." That prophecy has seen partial fulfillment during the past seventy-five years. From 1925 through the 1960s, the Church struggled with limited growth. However, in the past forty years, the Church in Latin America went from less than 1 percent (.72) of the entire Church to almost 37 percent by January 1, 2004. On the same date, Church membership in Latin America was 69 percent of the total Church outside of the United States and Canada. Apostle Ballard's prediction that South Amer- MARK L. GROVER served his mission in Brazil, received his Ph.D. in Latin American and African history from Indiana University, and is presently the Latin American Studies librarian at Brigham Young University. He is finishing a book on the history of the Church in South America during the 1960s. He presented versions of this article at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, International Forum Series, March 19, 2003, and, on May 20, 2004, as part of "From the Podium: The KBYU-FM Lecture Series." 1. Quoted in Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1949), 100.