Reaching the Nations International Church Growth Almanac

Country reports on the LDS Church around the world from a landmark almanac. Includes detailed
analysis of history, context, culture, needs, challenges and opportunities for church growth.

Regional Profile - East Asia

Reaching the Nations

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By David Stewart and Matt Martinich


Area: 16,290,857 square km.  Extending from Mongolia in the north to Indonesia in the south, the Philippines and Japan to the east, and Burma and China to the west, East Asia possess nearly all the world's climates and terrains due to its large geographical area dominated by large mountain ranges, deserts, islands, rivers, and surrounding ocean.  East Asia borders the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Indian Ocean to the south and southwest.  Coastal areas of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Japan consist of countless peninsulas and islands.  Tropical climate occurs year round in most of Southeast Asia and the Philippines whereas subtropical to temperate conditions occur in mountainous areas in northern Burma, Laos, and Thailand, Taiwan, and southern China.  Japan, the Korean Peninsula, the North China Plain, the Sichuan Basin, and Manchuria experience temperate climate marked by humid, hot summers and cold, dry winters.  Semi-arid and arid conditions occur in western China and Mongolia where there are several large deserts, most notably the Gobi and Taklamakan.  Cold temperate climate occurs in northern interior areas  Major rivers in East Asia include the Yangzi, Huang, Chang Jiang, Xi Jiang, Mekong, Irrawaddy, Chao Phraya, and Han.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, droughts, and forest fires are common natural hazards.  Major environmental issues include pollution, sound government management of high population density areas, rapid urbanization, acid rain, fresh water scarcity, deforestation, soil erosion, and desertification.


Chinese: 58.4%

Japanese: 5.7%

Korean: 3.4%

Burmese: 1.7%

Population: 2,185,250,760 (July 2011)       

Annual Growth Rate: 1.008% (2011)    

Fertility Rate: 1.97 children born per woman (2011)    

Life Expectancy: 70.87 male, 76.32 female (2011)

Languages: Chinese languages (54.9%), Japanese (5.7%), Javanese (3.9%), Vietnamese (3.6%), Korean (3.4%), Thai dialects (2.3%), Burmese (1.6%), Sunda (1.6%), Filipino (1.2%), Bahasa Indonesian (1.1%), Malay dialects (1.1%), Tagalog (1%), other (18.6%).  Languages with over one million native speakers include Chinese languages (1.2 billion), Japanese (124.6 million), Javanese (85.2 million), Vietnamese (78.7 million), Korean (76.2 million), Thai dialects (50.3 million), Burmese (35 million), Sunda (35 million), Filipino (26.2 million), Bahasa Indonesian (24 million), Malay dialects (24 million), Tagalog (21.9 million), Cebuano (15.8 million), Khmer (15 million), Zhuang dialects (14.6 million), Madura (13.6 million), Miao dialects (10.1 million), Uighur (8.4 million), Batak dialects (7.05 million), Ilocano (6.92 million), Mongolian (6.1 million), Hiligaynon (5.77 million), Minangkabau (5.53 million), Bicolano dialects (4.6 million), Musi (3.93 million), Aceh (3.5 million), Banjar (3.5 million), Bugis (3.5 million), Tibetan dialects (3.4 million), Bali (3.33 million), Karen dialects (3.2 million), Shan (3.2 million), Lao (3.0 million), Betawi (2.7 million), Bouyei (2.6 million), Waray-Waray (2.57 million), Sasak (2.1 million), Nuosu (2 million), Pampangan (1.9 million), Makasar (1.6 million), Tay (1.48 million), Dong dialects (1.46 million), Kazakh (1.25 million), Bai dialects (1.24 million), Pangasinan (1.16 million), Muong (1.14 million), Rohingya (1.0 million), Okinawan (1 million), and Maguindanao (1 million).

Literacy: 59-99% (country average: 89.5%)


Believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world, East Asia and its culture has been dominated by China for millennia as China was home to some of the most advanced civilizations in the ancient world.  Ancient Chinese civilizations thrived in the east and went through several cycles of unification and division from several centuries before Christ until the establishment of the Song Dynasty in the tenth century A.D.  China once held large portions of Southeast Asia in its sphere of influence, and surrounding peoples with which the Chinese came into contact - Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, and others - adapted much from Chinese language, culture, and technology.  Indigenous states or empires ruled Korea, Japan, and areas of Southeast Asia prior to Chinese domination of regional culture, language, and technology.

The defeat of the Chinese armies at what is now Talas, Kyrgyzstan, by the Arabic Abbasid Caliphate in 751 AD ended Chinese hopes of hegemony in Central Asia.  Korea became a unified nation in the seventh century.  Vietnam became an independent kingdom in 939 AD.  The powerful Angkor Empire occupied Cambodia between 900 and 1200 A.D.  The first known kingdom that encompassed most of present-day Burma was the Bagan or Pagan Kingdom between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries.  Arab traders visited the southern Philippines and introduced Islam between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.  Christianity spread throughout the Philippine archipelago during the following several centuries.  The Mongols invaded East Asia in the thirteenth century and at its high point, the Mongol Empire stretched from Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, and the Middle East to the west, Iran, Tibet and southern China to the south and to the Pacific Ocean to the east.  Westward Mongol expansion was halted only by the death of Genghis Khan in 1227 AD.  The empire fragmented into smaller Mongol states, such as the Yuan Dynasty in China under Kublai Khan.  In the fourteenth century, the Lan Xang kingdom was established in present-day Laos.  Between the seventh and fourteenth centuries AD, the Buddhist Srivjaya Empire flourished on Sumatra and the Hindu Kingdom of Majapahit governed eastern Java.  Much of present-day Indonesia was unified under alliances in the fourteenth century.  Islam was introduced in the twelfth century and became the dominant religion on Java and Sumatra by the sixteenth century.  The Sultanate of Brunei reached its height in power and influence in the region between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.   

The Ming Dynasty began in the fourteenth century and reestablished Chinese rule in China.  In the fifteenth century, Thailand became a unified kingdom and the Vietnamese conquered the Champa Kingdom and extended its borders south to the Mekong Delta.  In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese established the first European settlement in East Asia in Macau and colonized Timor-Leste.  At this time, China began colonizing Taiwan which was previously populated by Polynesians.  In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain.  In the seventeenth century, the Qing Dynasty came to power and expanded China's border to include Mongolia.  Christianity and Islam were introduced to eastern islands in Indonesia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Indonesia was colonized in the early seventeenth century by the Dutch and quickly became one of the wealthiest European colonies worldwide.  With minimal interaction with its neighbors and Western powers, Korea was nicknamed the "Hermit Kingdom" due to its isolative stance.  Thailand was never colonized by a European nation.  European powers, especially the United Kingdom, occupied large regions of China and fought for greater influence and power in the nineteenth century in several military conflicts including the Opium Wars.  Singapore came under British control in 1824.  The British annexed Hong Kong following the Chinese defeat in the First Opium War in 1842.  In Japan, Western influence quickly reformed economic, political, and social systems and institutions in the late nineteenth century known as the Meiji restoration as the feudal system was removed, the emperor gained greater political power, and Western-style legal and education systems were implemented.  By the end of the nineteenth century, Japan had modernized and became a world power. 

In the nineteenth century, the British conquered Burma and Malaysia and the French colonized Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.  The British made Brunei a British protectorate in 1888.  Chinese resistance to foreign domination culminated in the Boxer Rebellion of 1898-1901.  Japan captured Taiwan in 1895 and did not return control to China until 1945.  Filipino intellectuals aspired for independence in the late nineteenth century, which was interrupted by the United States annexing the islands during the Spanish-American War in 1898. 

Japan annexed Korea in the 1900s, making the peninsula a protectorate in 1905 and a Japanese colony in 1910.  In 1912, the Republic of China was established, ending the Qing Dynasty.  During the first half of the 20th century, Chiang Kai-Shek and the Nationalists attempted to unify China and fought the communists lead by Mao Zedong.  Mongolia became an independent nation in 1921 with help from the Soviet Union and had a communist government set up in 1924.  Japan annexed former German territorial possessions in the Pacific north of the Equator in 1919 through a mandate of the League of Nations.  Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937.  In 1935, the Philippines became a self-governing American commonwealth.  In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor and within a couple years had conquered Micronesia, the Philippines, Indonesia, northern New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Southeast Asia, and several coastal areas of China.  The United States and Allied forces successively liberated Japanese-controlled territories beginning in 1943 and ultimately forced Japan to surrender in August 1945 after the dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Approximately three million Japanese perished as a result of the war and Japan lost all of its overseas possessions, including Korea, Manchuria, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands.  Korea regained independence from Japan in 1945.  Burma achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1948 and a military regime and single party ruled followed shortly thereafter and persist to present day.  Following the Second Sino-Japanese War,  civil war broke out in China in 1949.  Communist forces overpowered the Nationalists who fled to Taiwan and maintained the Republic of China, whereas the Communists established the People's Republic of China on the mainland.  In 1946, the Philippines achieved independence from the United States.  France granted independence to Vietnam in 1945, Laos in 1949, and Cambodia in 1953.  Malaysia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957.  Singapore seceded from Malaysia in 1965. 

Between the 1950s and 1970s, Mao Zedong sought to rapidly modernize China and attempted to outcompete the world's leading agriculture producing, but resulted in tens of millions of deaths due to famine caused by drought, poor agriculture practices, and the shipment of food by government officials to certain areas to fabricate unexpectedly abundant harvests.  Mao also initiated the Cultural Revolution, which aimed to erase China's cultural history and traditions through destruction of historical sites, the banning of art and literature seen as a threat to the communist state, and the production of art and literature supporting the communist and socialist cause by state-sponsored writers and artists. 

Military-oriented governments were in power in most nations in East Asia between the 1960s and the 1980s.  Proxy wars fought between the Soviet Union and the United States occurred in Korea (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1960s-1970s), resulting in the continued division of the Korean Peninsula at present and the temporary division of Vietnam between capitalists and communists until the north overtook the south in 1975.  Internal and regional instability was intense in Southeast Asia between the 1960s and the 1980s as several islands in Indonesia attempted to secede, wars were fought between Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and the Khmer Rouge committed mass genocide through implementation of revolutionary socialism.  Regional and internal stability in Southeast Asia did not return until the 1990s.  China has achieved remarkable economic growth since the early 1980s due to economic reforms establishing a free-market economy but nonetheless maintains strict government control and resistance to greater societal change as indicated by the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.  Rapid economic growth during the late twentieth century also occurred in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.  Hong Kong and Macao were both officially ceded to China by the end of the twentieth century but maintain previously instituted economic and democratic freedoms.  Timor-Leste gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 after decades of ethnic and military conflict between separatists and Indonesian military forces.

East Asia has experienced several serious conflicts and natural disasters in recent years.  The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami devastated coastal areas of the Sumatra, killing over 130,000 and leaving half a million homeless.  Separatists in Aceh reached a peace deal with the government in 2005.[1]  Thousands have died from violence caused by Malay separatist movements in southern Thailand.  Taiwan has not declared independence from China; issues relating to independence versus reintegration with mainland China continue to be debated.  Military skirmishes between North Korea and South Korea have continued since the signing of the armistice in 1953 and remain largely unreported.  There have been proposals from both North Korea and South Korea to reunify the peninsula as a single nation, but these efforts have not come to fruition due to escalated hostility regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons program, North Korea's belligerent attitude, periodic military hostilities, and conflicting political and ideological systems.  In the 2000s, the Philippines continued to face serious challenges with corruption in all areas of society and sporadic fighting in Mindanao with Muslim insurgencies.[2]


Chinese culture and religions have heavily influenced East Asia as a whole.  Historically, China was a technologically advanced civilization and was the first to invent paper, printing, the compass, and gunpowder and boasts a proud, ancient tradition of astronomy.  Traditional Chinese values focus more on stability, harmony, order, and societal good, and less on change, innovation, and personal liberties than Western societies.  Chinese cultural values often emphasized the importance of emulating exemplars of the past and revering ancestors.  Education is highly valued.  Principles of personal, family, and national honor and behavior according to socially accepted principles are very important to Chinese.  Confucianism and Daoism originated in China and many principles in these religions are apparent in nations which have received strong Chinese influence such as Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia.  Confucianism provided the source and philosophy for government and society in China for nearly two millennia and served as the basis, at least in part, for a well-ordered system of civil service exams for prospective public servants under the emperors.  Communist reforms in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Laos have removed much of the previous role religion played in culture and daily life although many traditional beliefs and practices are still widespread.  Many East Asian nations have preferred males over females - especially in the countryside - resulting in a disproportionate number of males due to gender-selective abortions (which are illegal in most nations), and a gender imbalance with many men unable to marry. 

Greater fusion of Western and Eastern ideals and values has occurred in nations or territories which received greater Western influence, namely Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and South Korea.  Today these nations and territories experience excellent living standards, are highly secularized, are possess some of the safest cities in the world.  Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, and many other East Asian peoples are renowned for their high work ethnic, ingenuity, and business skills which have transformed their nations into some of the most technologically advanced in the world. 

The Philippines has adapted many aspects of culture from China, the United States, and Spain.  Many nations in Southeast Asia exhibit strong influences from indigenous culture.  Tribalism and indigenous cultural practices are widely practiced in Indonesia.  Nomadic lifestyles and agrarianism dominate daily life for many in Mongolia.  Ethnic tensions primarily occur in Burma, Cambodia, China, and Indonesia and are often religiously or socio-economically related. 

Buddhism and communism or one-party politics are the primary influences on society in Burma, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam.  In Burma and Taiwan, there are a large number of Buddhist pagodas, monasteries, and temples which hold cultural significance.  Shintoism, Buddhism, and militarism dominated Japanese society for centuries prior to the mid-twentieth century.  Islam is the dominant influence on society in Brunei and Indonesia and is a major societal influence in Malaysia. 

Although there are major differences in cuisine in East Asia, commonly eaten foods include rice, fish, vegetables, fruit, noodles, soup, and pork.  Tea is widely consumed.  Soccer and martial arts are the most popular sport.  Illicit drug trafficking and the sex industry are common in areas of Southeast Asia.  Cigarette and alcohol consumption rates vary widely by nation, but are generally higher than world averages. 


GDP per capita: $7,400 national median (2011) [15.6% of US]

Human Development Index: 0.702

Corruption Index: 4.3

Economies in East Asia exhibit a wide continuum of development and government policies that have resulted in some nations achieving the most rapid, sustained economic growth in the world whereas other nations numbering among the poorest and most destitute.  The advanced, high-technology and trade-oriented economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan have diversified economies and have brought widespread wealth and high living standards to their populations.  Many of the world's largest, most powerful companies are based in these nations and territories.  In Japan, high government debt, approximately twice the nation's GDP, has contributed to the stagnation of economic growth in recent years however.  China is a world economic power second only to the United States after surpassing Japan in 2010, but wealth has been unevenly distributed.  Economies in Brunei and Macau are highly specialized into oil exploitation and tourism, respectively, but also experience advanced economic development and wealth.  Steady economic growth has been achieved in recent years in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia but these nations are still developing and have not reached high standards of living.  Moderate to low levels of economic growth have occurred in the Philippines and Mongolia largely due to corruption.  Antiquated, unsound economic policies in the past and present and war have contributed to poor levels of economic development and sustainability in Burma, Laos, North Korea, and Timor-Leste.  Agriculture employs over 50% of the work force in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam and nearly 40% in China.  Major industries in the region include electronics, mining, manufacturing, clothing, tourism, machinery, shipping, petroleum, natural gas, plastics, logging, rubber and palm oil processing, food processing, and pharmaceuticals.  Rice, wheat, barley, cassava, corn, fruit, vegetables, coffee, cocoa, sugar beets, coconuts, soybeans, fish, and pork are common agricultural products.  Most trade occurs within East Asia and also with the United States and Western Europe. 

The level of perceived corruption widely varies in East Asia, with Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan experiencing low levels of corruption whereas Burma, Laos, Cambodia experiencing high levels of corruption.  In Burma, information concerning much of the perceived illegal activity occurring is limited due to the tight control exerted by the government.  Common illegal activity includes drug trafficking, illegal logging, human trafficking, and close ties between junta leaders and organized crime.  Burma is the world's second largest producer of opium after Afghanistan.  Human trafficking occurs with neighboring nations as well as between rural communities and industrial centers for industrial, commercial, and sex trade purposes.  Laws punishing corruption are not enforced.  Over the past few years, the only area where corruption has been reduced has been in money laundering.[3]   In China, a centralized government with few checks and balances has perpetuated corruption.  China has struggled to fight drug trafficking, especially heroin originating from Southeast Asia.  Human trafficking of Chinese in nations around the world for exploitation and a poor human rights record are major international concerns.  China has experienced some success in addressing organized crime in some of the larger cities.  Hong Kong is an international transshipment point for heroin and methamphetamine, an increasing user of illicit synthetic drugs, and a money laundering center due to its modern banking infrastructure.  In Indonesia, personal associations often heavily influence business deals and transactions.  Customs is regarded as one of the most corrupt areas of government.  Bribery is common.  Investment laws reduce competition and economic growth.  The government lacks transparency in many areas.[4]  In Laos, bribery is widespread and there are few checks and balances to prevent corruption among officials or address its occurrence.  In Malaysia, human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor are ongoing concerns which have not been adequately addressed.  In North Korea, the level of perceived corruption is difficult to ascertain as the government heavily controls outsiders visiting the country.  The centralized government is highly susceptible to corruption as high-ranking government officials possess totalitarian powers.  In the Philippines, past efforts to address corruption have been unsuccessful and inconsistent.  Many face significant challenges finding work and attaining suitable living standards due to corrupt practices in business and local government.  Poor economic freedom and living conditions drive many Filipinos abroad in search of employment.  The expatriate Filipino community may number as many as 10 million and consists primarily of migrant workers. In South Korea, bribery occurs frequently and is a means to exert influence on others.  Prostitution and sexual crimes are the most common law offenses.  Thailand serves as a center for many illegal activities in Southeast Asia, such as human trafficking, prostitution, illegal drugs distribution, and poaching.  In Vietnam, freedom of speech is limited and complicates the exposure and punishment of corruption. Government has stepped up its fight towards corruption among government officials and police, but has seen limited results. 


Buddhist: 12.4%

Muslim: 12.3%

Christian: 9.2%

Shinto: 4.9%

other/Chinese religions/none: 61.2%


Denominations  Members  Congregations

Catholic  113,838,415

Seventh Day Adventists  1,649,139  8,364

Latter-day Saints  998,833  1,886

Jehovah's Witnesses  536,047  8,453 (includes only countries with reported statistics)  


Nonreligious individuals and those who follow some aspects of East Asian and Chinese religions such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism constitute the majority of the population in China, Hong Kong, North Korea, South Korea, and Vietnam.  A 2007 survey found that 31% of Chinese citizens over 16 years old were religious believers.  In 2007, a public opinion polling firm based in China concluded 11-16% of adults identify as Buddhists and less than one percent consider themselves Taoist.  Most religiously active Chinese follow an agglomeration of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.[5]   Nonreligious individuals and the followers of some aspects of East Asian and Chinese religious account for sizeable percentages as minorities in Mongolia (40%), Macau (35%), Laos (31.5%), Singapore (16.5%), Brunei (10%), and Japan (7.8%).

Buddhists comprise the majority or the largest religious group in Burma, Cambodia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Taiwan, and Thailand.  Most Burmese and Laotians are Theravada Buddhists.  In Japan, the majority of the population doubly affiliates as Shinto and Buddhist, resulting in the number of religious members totaling approximately 206 million, nearly twice the Japanese population.   There are six major schools of Buddhism (Tendai, Shingon, Jodo, Zen, Nichiren, and Narabukkyo) and two main schools of Shintoism (Jinjahoncho and Kyohashinto).[6]  Countries in which Buddhists account for sizeable percentages as minorities include Singapore (42.5%), South Korea (23.2%), Malaysia (19.2%), Brunei (13%), and Vietnam (9.3%).

Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei are predominantly Muslim.  Indonesia represents a patchwork of religious traditions, although most Indonesians are Sunni Muslim.  Most ethnic Malays are Muslims and live in West Malaysia.  Sharia law is enforced and adherence to Muslim teachings is conservative in Brunei.  Countries in which Muslims account for sizeable percentages as minorities include Singapore (14.9%) and the Philippines (7%). 

The Philippines and Timor-Leste are the only East Asian nations which are predominantly Christian.  Catholics constitute between 80 and 85 percent of the Philippine population.  Primarily non-Catholic Christian denominations include Seventh Day Adventists, the United Church of Christ, United Methodist, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Assemblies of God, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Southern Baptists, the Philippine Independent Church, and Iglesia ni Cristo.  Some Christians incorporate indigenous beliefs into their religious practice.[7]  In Timor-Leste, approximately 98% of the population is Catholic.  Traditional customs and beliefs continue to be followed by many, although they are not viewed as religious.[8]  Christians account for the largest and most active religious group in South Korea.  Many ethnic minority groups in Southeast Asia have higher percentages of Christians than other major religious, particularly in northern Burma, Eastern Malaysia,  and Papa Province, Indonesia.  Countries in which Christians account for sizeable percentages as minorities include South Korea (26.3%), Macau (15%), Singapore (14.6%), Brunei (10%), Hong Kong (10%), Malaysia (9.1%), Indonesia (8.7%), and Vietnam (8.3%). 

Religious Freedom

Persecution Index:

The constitutions of most nations in East Asia protect religious freedom but religious freedom is not upheld by all governments in the region.  Religious freedom is widely enjoyed in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Timor-Leste with only a few restrictions or abuses of religious freedom.  In Cambodia, the official religion is Buddhism which is promoted by the government.  Religious groups must be registered to construct buildings and hold meetings.  Only Buddhism can be taught in public schools; other religions can be taught in private schools.  In Japan, there have been some societal abuses of religious freedom reported in recent years which have targeted religious minority groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church.  Acts of abuse have included abductions and negative rhetoric by a government official.[9]  In the Philippines, there are no proselytism bans in Muslim-populated areas, but the Muslim minority has resented Christian proselytizing efforts as they are viewed as an attack on their identity and homeland.  Muslim separatist groups control some areas of Mindanao.[10]  In Singapore, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church are banned and are fined for distributing literature as they are seen to disrupt social order.  Government closely monitors religious communities to maintain social order.[11]  In Thailand, there is no state religion but Buddhism receives greater favoritism and government funding.  Government limits the number of foreign missionaries but the quota on foreign missionaries has increased in recent years.  Missionaries proselyte freely without government interference.  Laws restrict freedom of speech as it is illegal to insult Buddhism.[12]  In Timor-Leste, some instances of societal abuses of religious freedom have occurred and were typically aimed at Protestant denominations.  However, demonstrations to bar the operations of these denominations have failed due to government and international police support of preserving religious freedom.[13]

Greater government restrictions on religious freedom occur in Brunei, Burma, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, and Vietnam.  In Brunei, the official religion is Islam.  Less tolerance is demonstrated towards non-Muslims than in the past, as indicated by the government discontinuing the right to religious instruction in private schools.  Proselytism by non-Muslim groups is forbidden. The government promotes Islam and pressures Muslims to refrain from inter-faith relations.  Some non-Muslim groups report challenges in bringing religious literature into Brunei.  Marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is prohibited.  In Burma, foreign missionaries were expelled in the 1960s.  Religious groups experience increasing difficulty importing religious literature at present.  Local Christians oftentimes are not allowed to proselyte.  Christian and Muslims face restrictions on vocabulary as the Pali language is viewed as sacred and only to be used by Buddhists.  Christian and Muslims face delays or restrictions from constructing new buildings and maintaining existing ones.  Preferential treatment of Buddhists and persecution of South Asian Muslims frequently occurs.[14]  In China, there is no state religion.  Five state-sanctioned religious groups (Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant) are registered as patriotic religious organizations which may register individual congregations and operate places of worship or assembly.  Proselytism may occur in a private setting or registered place of worship.  Foreigners are banned from proselytism and face many restrictions interacting with local citizens.  The distribution of religious literature is controlled by the government.  Registered religious groups may produce and gather materials for the use of their members.  Members of many religious groups have been imprisoned by government authorities for failing to comply with local laws and regulations pertaining to religious practice and generally serve prison sentences in labor camps.  In recent years, the government has permitted the public greater access to religious writers and granted NGOs permission to conduct humanitarian work.  The degree of religious freedom varies by location, with Tibet and Xinjiang Autonomous Regions experiencing the lowest levels of religious freedom.[15]  In Indonesia, the government only recognizes six religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism.  Unrecognized religious groups or sects stemming from recognized religious groups are deemed deviant and often persecuted, but can register with the government as social organizations.  Members of unrecognized religious groups often face challenges obtaining identity cards, registering marriages and births, and building meetinghouses.  Local laws in some areas restrict the religious freedom of religious minorities and the government has not used its power to revoke such laws.  The government has done little to prosecute those alleged of abusing the religious freedom rights of others.  The degree of religious freedom entitled to religious minorities widely varies by location and is largely controlled by local or regional government.  Proselytism and the distribution of religious literature is banned by the government under the justification that such activity may lead to disruption in public order in religiously diverse areas.  Foreign missionaries may operate in the country and must obtain religious worker visas.[16]  In Laos, the government especially restricts religious activities in rural areas.  Christians have faced limitations or are prohibited to import Bibles and religious materials whereas Buddhists do not have restrictions.  Violators can face fines and have materials confiscated.  Foreigners are forbidden to proselyte.  Christians in some provinces face harassment even when they assemble in private homes.[17]  In Malaysia, the law forbids the proselytism of Muslims.  If Muslim Malays are interested in converting to another religion and wish to denounce Islam beforehand, they must appeal for public apostasy in order to have their Muslim status revoked.  Proselytism laws vary among provinces, with the most liberal provinces in East Malaysia. In Mongolia, proselytism is limited by legislation.  Religious visas are difficult to obtain.  Law requires that a certain percentage of individuals affiliated with foreign organizations must be staffed by Mongolians.  Government requires religious organizations to have Mongolians holding over half of the total number of clergy or employee positions.  Between July 2008 and October 2009 around 70 foreign religious workers were forced to leave Mongolia.  Christians and Muslims in some areas report that local government refuses to register new congregations.  In North Korea, some religious groups are recognized by the government but these groups maintain close ties with the government and are generally regarded as a government effort to create an illusion of religious freedom.  The government sought to eliminate Christianity from society in the 1960s, replacing preexisting faiths with a personality cult for high-ranking government leaders.  The ownership of religious materials is prohibited.  The government has permitted some faith-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to perform humanitarian work, but these groups are not allow to proselyte, must be accompanied by an escort at all times, and are restricted in their interaction with nationals.  Due to the isolated stance of the regime, little is known about the everyday life of citizens who are religious.  The status of societal abuse of religious freedom is unknown.[18]  In Vietnam, all religious activities, whether by officially recognized or unrecognized religious groups, require some registration by the government.  Registered religious groups and congregations receive greater rights for assembly whereas unregistered congregations can be closed down.  Many Christian congregations have applied for recognition but remain unregistered.  Obtaining land and approval for constructing meetinghouses is challenging.  Missionaries may serve in Vietnam but require approval from the government and a sponsor from a national or local religious group.  Open proselytism is frowned upon.  The printing of religious material is restricted and the shipping of religious materials into the country can be difficult and requires special permissions.  Some registered and unregistered groups report pressure to renounce their beliefs.  In recent years, the government has grown increasingly more accommodating to many religious groups and restrictions of religious freedom have decreased.[19] 

Largest Cities

Urban:  low (20% - Cambodia); high (100% - Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore)

Tokyo, Guangzhou, Seoul, Manila, Shanghai, Jakarta, Osaka, Beijing, Shenzhen, Bangkok, Wuhan, Taipei, Tianjin, Nagoya, Saigon, Hong Kong, Shenyang, Chongqing, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Xi'an, Chengdu, Nanjing, Yangon, Shantou, Harbin, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Busan, Changchun, Dalian, Jinan, Kunming, Taiyuan, Zhengzhou, Fuzhou, Bandung, Surabaya, Changsha, Kaohsiung, Pyongyang, Medan, Wenzhou, Shijiazhuang, Daegu, Hanoi, Suzhou, Zibo, Sapporo, Cebu, Guiyang, Urumqi, Fukuoka, Lanzhou, Anshan, Hefei, Quanzhou, Wuxi, Taichung, Nanchang, Ningbo, Nanning, Tangshan, Xiamen, Jilin, Hiroshima, Changzhou, Huizhou, Baotou, Xuzhou, Semarang, Luoyang, Yantai, Qiqihar, Kitakyushu, Phnom Penh, Sendai, Taizhou, Liuzhou, Gwangju, Weifang, Yangzhou, Daejeon, Huainan, Zhuhai, Palembang, Xiangfan, Davao, Linyi, Okayama, Makassar, George Town, Daqing, Hohhot, Haikou, Tainan, Datong, Cixi, Mudanjiang, Yiwu, Zhanjiang, Hamamatsu, Naha, Ulsan, Tai'an, Yancheng, Himeji, Ulaanbaatar, Kumamoto, Jixi, Baoding, Changwon, Pingdingshan, Xining, Jining, Yichang, Zaozhuang, Mandalay, Zhangjiakou, Yueyang, Guilin, Zhuzhou, Shaoxing, Huai'an, Batam, Yangjiang, Hengyang.

Cities listed in bold have no LDS congregations.

49 of the 127 cities with over one million inhabitants have an LDS congregation.  22% of the regional population resides in 127 most populous cities. 

LDS History

LDS missionaries first arrived to East Asia in the mid-nineteenth century and proselytized in China, Hong Kong, and Thailand but established no long-term presence.  The Church performed missionary work in Japan between 1901 and 1924 until the Japanese Mission was closed.  In World War II, a temporarily LDS presence was established in the Philippines for LDS American servicemen.  LDS American servicemen facilitated the reestablishment of the Church in Japan following the close of World War II and baptized the first Japanese converts in 1946 in Nagoya.  The Japanese Mission was reorganized in 1948 with headquarters in Tokyo.  In 1949, LDS apostle Elder Matthew Cowley dedicated Hong Kong for missionary work on Victoria Peak; the following year full-time missionaries were assigned and began proselytism.  Missionaries first arrived in South Korea in 1954.  The Philippines were dedicated for missionary work in 1955.[20]  The Church was first established in Taiwan in the late 1950s initially among American military personnel.  In 1961, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley visited the Philippines and initiated full-time missionary efforts.  The Chinese translation of the Book of Mormon was first printed in 1965 and remaining LDS scriptures were printed in 1974.  Tagalog became the first Philippine language with a Book of Mormon translation of select passages published in 1988, followed by select passages of the Book of Mormon translated into Ilokano and Cebuano in the early 1990s.[21] 

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated Thailand for missionary work in 1966[22] and full-time missionaries were assigned in 1968.  LDS missionary activity occurred in South Vietnam during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Elder Ezra Taft Benson dedicated Indonesia for missionary work in 1969[23] and the Church organized its first branch in Jakarta, received official recognition, and assigned the first missionaries in 1970.[24]  The first LDS missionaries were assigned to Malaysia in the early 1970s.  The Church established a permanent presence in Macau in the mid-1970s.  Latter-day Saints have lived in Brunei and Burma since the 1980s.  The LDS Church had little contact with the People's Republic of China until the late 1970s.  Since 1989, the Church has sent members to work as English teachers in Chinese universities.  The last LDS Church services in Vietnam were held in 1975[25] until a church reestablishment in the 1990s.  In Vietnam, two senior missionary couples were assigned to Hanoi on humanitarian assignment in 1993.[26]  In May 1996, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited and rededicated Vietnam for missionary work.[27] 

In 1991, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea were assigned to the newly organized Asia North Area with area headquarters in Tokyo.[28]  The LDS Church entered Mongolia in 1992 as the government requested the Church to assist in its transition from communism to a free market economic system with the help of LDS senior missionary couples.[29]  Mongolia was dedicated for missionary work in 1993 and the Church in Mongolia was legally registered in 1994.  The first official LDS meeting in Cambodia was held in 1994 in Phnom Penh and the church was officially recognized by the government.  President Hinckley dedicated Cambodia for missionary work in 1996.  In 1998, the Philippines became its own area.[30]  The Philippines became one the first nations worldwide in which the Perpetual Education Fund was implemented in the early 2000s.[31]  Between 2002 and 2004, the Church assigned Elder Dallin H. Oaks to serve as president of the Philippines Area, marking the first time an apostle was assigned abroad in half a century.[32] 

The first LDS congregation in Laos was organized in 2003 and Laos was dedicated for missionary work in 2006.[33]  In 2005, President Hinckley dedicated a new church administration building in Hong Kong for the Asia Area.[34]  No proselytism has occurred in the People's Republic of China.  In recent years, non-Chinese members have moved to China for employment in greater numbers.  Greater freedom has also been granted to Chinese members who now may meet in segregated congregations from the foreign members and also may join the Church through family connections. 


The first LDS mission organized in East Asia was the Siam Mission which opened and closed in 1854.  The Japanese Mission opened in 1901 but closed in 1924 and was not reopened until 1948.  In 1949, the Church opened the Chinese Mission with headquarters in Hong Kong but it was closed in 1953 due to the Korean War.  The Japanese Mission divided into the Northern Far East and Southern Far East Missions in 1955, with the former headquartered in Japan and also administering South Korea and the latter headquartered in Hong Kong and also administering the Philippines, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.  The Korean Mission [later renamed the Korea Seoul Mission] was organized in 1962.  The Philippine Mission [later renamed the Philippines Manila Mission] was organized in 1967.  In 1968, the Northern Far East Mission divided to create the Japan [renamed Japan Tokyo in 1974 and Japan Tokyo North in 1978] and Japan-Okinawa Missions [renamed Japan Kobe in 1974] in 1968.  The Singapore Mission was organized in 1969.  The Taiwan Mission [later renamed the Taiwan Taipei Mission] was organized in 1971 and Thailand became its own mission in 1973. 

Additional missions were organized in Japan East [renamed Japan Sapporo] (1970), Japan West [renamed Japan Fukuoka] (1970), Japan Nagoya (1973), Japan Sendai (1974), Philippines Cebu City (1974) [relocated to Bacolod in 1988], Indonesia Jakarta (1975), Korea Pusan (1975), Japan Okayama [relocated to Hiroshima in 1998] (1976), Philippines Davao (1977), Tokyo South (1978), Korea Seoul West (1979), Philippines Quezon City (1979) [relocated to Baguio in 1981 and Urdaneta in 2011], Japan Osaka (1980), Korea Taejeon (1986), Philippines Quezon City (1986), Philippines Cebu East (1987) [renamed Cebu in 1988], Philippines Cagayan de Oro (1988), Philippines Quezon City West (1988) [relocated to San Fernando in 1991 and later to Olongapo in 1994), Philippines Naga (1989), Japan Okinawa (1990), Philippines San Pablo (1990), Philippines Tacloban (1990), Philippines Ilagan (1990), Philippines Cabanatuan (1992) [relocated to Angeles], Mongolia Ulaanbaatar (1995), Cambodia Phnom Penh (1998), Philippines Laoag (2004), Philippines Butuan (2006), Philippines Iloilo (2010), and Philippines Quezon City North (2011). 

The Singapore and Indonesia Jakarta Missions periodically closed and reopened between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s.  In 1996, the Japan Okinawa Mission closed and in 2001, the Japan Kobe Mission was closed.[35]  In 2007, the two Tokyo missions were consolidated into a single mission and the Japan Osaka Mission was renamed the Japan Kobe Mission.[36]  In 2010, the Japan Hiroshima Mission was consolidated with missions based in Fukuoka and Kobe[37] and the Korea Seoul West Mission was consolidated with the Korea Seoul Mission and Korea Daegeon Mission.  

Membership Growth

LDS Membership: 998,830 (2010)

There were 50,625 Latter-day Saints in Asia in 1973[38] and approximately 200,000 members in East Asia by 1983.  East Asian LDS membership numbered 314,300 in 1987, 534,200 in 1993, 627,900 in 1997, and 731,900 members in 2000.  There were 861,900 members in 2005 and 998,830 in 2010.  Among countries with an LDS presence in 2000, LDS membership grew most rapidly between 2000 and 2010 in China (567%), Malaysia (459%), Vietnam (400%), and Cambodia (393%) and grew most slowly or declined in Macau (-27%), Japan (12%), South Korea (16%), and Hong Kong (18%).  Overall church membership increased by 36% in East Asia between 2000 and 2010.  LDS membership in the Philippines has accounted for over 50% of LDS membership in East Asia since the late 1980s and in 2010 accounted for 65% of regional church membership.  In 2010, 91% of LDS membership in East Asia in was the Philippines, Japan, South Korean, and Taiwan.  Among countries with a known church presence, the ratio of the general population to LDS membership varies from a high of one member per 450,000 in Burma to a low of one member per 158 in the Philippines.  There are no known LDS members in Timor-Leste and North Korea.  In 2010, one in 2,188 was LDS. 

Congregational Growth

Wards: 896 Branches: 990 Groups: 100+

There were 1,009 LDS congregations in East Asia in 1987.  LDS congregations numbered 1,525 in 1993, 1,642 in 1997, 1,863 in 2000, 1,804 in 2005, and 1,886 in early 2011.  Likely between 100 and 200 groups operate in the region primary in China and the Philippines.

The first LDS stake in East Asia was organized in Tokyo, Japan in 1970.  Other countries which have stakes at present provided with the year the first stake was organized include the Philippines and South Korea (1973), Hong Kong and Taiwan (1976), Singapore and Thailand (1995), Mongolia (2009), and Indonesia (2011).

The number of stakes increased from one in 1970 to 28 in 1980, 76 in 1987, 94 in 1993, 111 in 1997, 139 in 2000, 140 in 2005, and 144 in May 2011.  In May 2011, stakes discontinued since 2000 were located in the Philippines (6), Japan (4), and Hong Kong and new stakes organized were located in the Philippines (17), Taiwan (5), Japan (2), and Mongolia and Indonesia (1).  The number of districts in East Asia numbered 57 in 1987, 123 in 1993, 130 in 1997, 118 in 2000, 133 in 2005, and 139 in May 2011.

Activity and Retention

The number of active members per congregation varies widely by country and region, with some branches and wards in Japan and South Korea with fewer than 50 active members whereas some wards in the Philippines have as many as 200 active members.  Some branches in the region have as few as 30 active members, particularly in Japan and South Korea.  Member activity rates appear 50% or higher in China, Laos, Burma, and Brunei due to government restrictions and societal abuse of religious freedom demanding a high degree of devotion to the Church among converts before baptism and support and fellowshipping from local members thereafter.  Member activity rates are poorest in South Korea (12%), Hong Kong (14%), and Japan (17%) due to low standards for convert baptisms during the years of the most rapid membership growth in these nations.  Member activity rates for other nations in the region range from 20% to 40%.  Today convert retention rates in the region rank from modest to excellent, with the highest retention rates occurring in China, Laos, Burma, and the lowest convert retention rates occurring in the Philippines, Cambodia, and Malaysia.  Active LDS membership in East Asia is estimated to number approximately 200,000, or 20% of total church membership. 

Finding and Public Affairs

Open houses in developing nations are commonly utilized to find investigators.  New investigators are found in nations with government restrictions barring open proselytism primarily by member referral.  Full-time missionaries utilize English classes and street proselytism to find investigators in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan and have generally received few member referrals in the past.  In the mid-2000s, the Church produced a DVD for the Asia North Area and Taiwan which provided a culturally-tailored introduction to LDS beliefs that identified similarities in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese culture with LDS teachings and taught basic church doctrine with a family-focused approach. 

Language Materials

Languages with LDS Scripture: Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Tagalog, Cebuano, Khmer [Cambodian], Mongolian, Laotian, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Bikolano, Waray-Waray, Pampango, Pangasinan, Tamil, English, Dutch, Portuguese

All LDS scriptures and most or a large number of church materials are available in Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Tagalog, Cebuano, Khmer [Cambodian], Mongolian, Ilokano, Pangasinan, Dutch, and Portuguese.  Select passages of the Book of Mormon and limited numbers of church materials are available in Laotian.  The Book of Mormon and limited numbers of church materials are translated into Hiligaynon, Bikolano, Waray-Waray, Pampango, and Tamil.  Burmese translations of Church materials are limited to Gospel Fundamentals and the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  A few General Conference talks have been translated into Burmese starting in the 2000s.  Only Gospel Fundamentals, the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, a pedigree chart, and the Articles of Faith are translated into Malay.  The Articles of Faith are available in Iban.  LDS Church materials in Kazakh are limited to sacrament prayer translations, the Articles of Faith, and selected hymns and children's songs.  The Liahona magazine has monthly issues in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Tagalog, Cebuano, English, Dutch, Portuguese, bimonthly issues in Indonesian, Cambodian, and Mongolian, and four issues a year in Vietnamese.


There are approximately 1,400 LDS meetinghouses in East Asia.  With the exception of some small or newly organized branches, nearly all LDS meetinghouses in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong meet in church-built meetinghouses.  The Church operates several church-built chapels in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Thailand.  LDS meetings in other nations generally occur in rented facilities or in the homes of members.

Health and Safety

Southeast Asia and rural areas of industrializing nations in East Asia experienced poor standards of living and exhibit high risk for the spread of infectious disease.  Waterborne diseases, malnutrition, and low quality medical care are major issues.  Traffic safety is a challenge due to poorly maintained roads and inconsistent observance of traffic laws.  In China, pollution and the negative environmental impact of rapid industrialization over the past few decades have deteriorated the health for many Chinese.  Most of the largest cities have poor air quality.  The leading cause of death is respiratory and health diseases resulting from air pollution.   Approximately 300 million are estimated to drink contaminated water.  Health issues exist in ultra-modernized Hong Kong where the SARS outbreak in 2003 interfered with the functioning of the church and missionary activity as the arrival of new missionaries was delayed and local members held small sacrament meetings in their homes.[39]  Among East Asian nations, the percentage of those infected with HIV/AIDS is the highest in Thailand at 1.4%.  In Thailand, the spread of the disease has been propagated by illicit sexual relations and drug use.  Other methods of infection include contaminated needles and HIV-positive mothers. 

The Church faces potential safety risks in several nations with severe government restrictions or ethnic violence and separatist movements.  In China, strict obedience to government policies pertaining to religious conduct is required for the perpetuation of positive relations between the Church and the government.  Deviation from government approved activities jeopardizes the legitimacy of any Church activity among Chinese citizens and foreigners, is against LDS Church policy, and poses risks to individual members.  Other religious groups that have disregarded local laws or suffer poor relations with the government have had many members arrested and sentenced to labor camps for charges of disrupting public order.  In the Philippines, the LDS missionary department has not sent non-natives to Mindanao for over a decade due to political instability and threats against Americans from Muslim separatist groups. 

Humanitarian and Development Work

The LDS Church has completed at least 192 humanitarian and development projects in East Asia, most of which occurring in Vietnam (33), Indonesia (30), China (26), Cambodia (17), Mongolia (16), and Thailand (14).[40]  There has been no known LDS humanitarian or development work to have occurred in Brunei or North Korea as of early 2011.  Projects have primarily included emergency relief, teaching effective agricultural practices, wheelchair donations, neonatal resuscitation training, clean water projects, and teaching English.  In Burma, the Church provided continued humanitarian and development assistance for several years following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.[41]  Water projects have occurred over the past several years in locations such as in Kayin State.  Senior missionaries donated 200 school bags for children at a local monastery.  LDS charities have donated funds to bring clean water for local hospitals.  In China, the Church donated $15,000 for humanitarian assistance for flood victims in 1998.[42]  In Hong Kong, over 120 members participated in a tree-planting service project in which more than 150 trees were planted in Sai Kung West Park in 1999.[43]  In 2003, local church membership and missionaries assembled 3,000 hygiene kits to distribute to the needy in Hong Kong in wake of the SARS outbreak.[44]  The Church donated 250 wheelchairs to the disabled in 2004.[45]  In Indonesia, the LDS Church purchased rice and hygiene supplies which were assembled into kits by members in Jakarta for refugees on Timor in 2000.[46]  Local church members in Jakarta prepared over 10,000 meals for some of the 30,000 homeless flood victims in 2002.[47]  The Church helped finance a road construction project in Solo in 2003.[48]  Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Latter-day Saints assisted nearly 300,000 and donated over 6,000 hours of service.  Long-term development projects ensued in the following months, such as providing medical equipment and building restoration work on a hospital in Banda Aceh.  Elder Subandriyo was intimately involved in many of the projects.[49]  Immediately following the disaster, the Church donated over 50,000 body bags at the government's request.[50]  In 2005, the Church donated medical equipment needed after a devastating earthquake in Sumatra.[51]  The Church provided mental health assistance in Banda Aceh in 2005 to tsunami victims.[52]  Local LDS youth in Jakarta took part in an anti-drug campaign in 2006.[53]  In 2006, Latter-day Saint charities and the Church helped construct a new medical rehabilitation center in Aceh Province.[54]  Additional projects undertaken in 2006 with other aid agencies in tsunami-stricken areas included building 16 schools, three health clinics, 1,000 permanent houses, many boats for villagers, and water and sanitation systems for 20 villages.[55]  Emergency aid was donated to victims of the 2006 Java Tsunami.[56]  Almost eight tons of food and water were provided for flood victims in Jakarta in 2007.[57]  In 2007, the Church provided humanitarian aid and food to earthquake victims in Bengkulu.[58]  More than a dozen large-scale development projects in areas affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami were completed in early 2008.[59]  In 2008, the Church completed a clean water project in Kaliwungu with assistance from full-time missionaries.[60]  The Church participated in a government effort for citizens to hold a weekly family night in 2008.[61]  In Japan, LDS meetinghouses were utilized as emergency shelters in the Kobe area following a major earthquake in 1995[62] and Latter-day Saints in California donated quilts to earthquake victims.[63]  In 2001, members in Yokohama visited a nursing home, socialized with seniors, and gifted cards and lap quilts.[64]  The Church has also donated wheelchairs to the disabled, food and medicine for the homeless, and furniture and medical items for hospitals in recent years.[65]  The Church provided emergency assistance following the 2011 earthquake.  In Laos, the Church delivered donated rice sent by a three-truck caravan from Thailand to Vientiane in 1994.  The Church also contributed to costs for transporting rice to the needy within Laos.[66]  Humanitarian senior couples have served in Laos teaching English since the early 2000s.[67]  The Church's worldwide clean water programs began from a single clean water project in Laos in 2002.[68]  Neonatal resuscitation training has been sponsored by the Church.[69]  Senior missionaries continue to conduct clean water and sanitation projects and donate school supplies.  Wheelchairs were donated in 2008.[70]  In Malaysia, the Church conducted a major clean water project in East Malaysia which benefited 15 villages in Sarawak in 2007.[71]  In Mongolia, members of the Church in Utah donated food and clothing to Mongolia following a harsh drought followed by a severe winter in 2000.[72]   In 2003, the Church provided relief after flooding in Ulaanbaatar.  Supplies were sent from Salt Lake City and distributed by missionaries in Mongolia.[73]  During the same year the Church News reported that humanitarian and welfare missionaries in the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar Mission were teaching skills such as knitting to help the Mongolian people.[74]  In 2004, the Church provided medical training to Mongolia via video recordings of surgical procedures for surgeons in the country.[75]  The Church News published a lengthy article about humanitarian work done by the Church in Mongolia in 2005.  Examples of service provided included wheelchair donations, clean water projects, vision restoration programs, and neo-natal resuscitation programs.[76]  Humanitarian projects continue in Mongolia today, with many now currently carried out by local Church leaders instead of aid sent from abroad to Mongolia.  Examples of such projects include a local member quilt making activity in Ulaanbaatar for those in need and removing litter from city streets and public places.  In the Philippines, the Philippines Manila Mission organized a health fair providing free medical check-ups and mini-lessons on health related issues in Binan in 1988.[77]  In the 1980s, a group of LDS sister missionaries called the Mormon Christian Services taught English and prepared Filipino refugees for immigration to other countries in Moron, Batan.[78]  In the early 1990s, Church leaders assisted local members become more self reliant through assigning family garden plots on meetinghouse land and teaching employment skills.[79]  In 1992, the Philippines/Micronesia Area Presidency met with Philippines President Fidel Ramos and presented a check for $41,000 to assist those displaced by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.[80]  In 2006, the Church provided humanitarian aid to mudslide victims in Guinsaugon.[81]  Later that year, Latter-day Saints in 19 stakes and districts in the Metro Manila area donated clothing and toys for children to aid typhoon victims in southeast Luzon.  Six members perished from the disaster and the Church also donated humanitarian aid.[82]  Additional humanitarian activities in recent years include clean water projects, vision care, wheelchair donations, and emergency relief for victims of natural disasters.[83]  In Taiwan, missionaries provided service in helping provide accurate English translations of Chinese signs in many of the cities throughout the country in the late 2000s.  In Thailand, 20 missionaries trained English teachers from 429 Bangkok-area schools how to more effectively teach the English language in 1997.[84]   In 2000, youth from the Bangkok Thailand Stake gathered toys, clothing and other needed items for children in a needy neighborhood.[85]  In 2001, humanitarian service missionaries worked on nearly two dozen projects aimed at reducing malnutrition among children.  The missionaries helped schools become self-sufficient in feeding their students by planting gardens with nutritious foods.[86]  Immediately following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the Church donated food, water and body bags to southern Thailand.[87]  Local members in Bangkok assembled aid relief to those affected.[88]  30 missionaries served as translators for stranded tourists following the tsunami.[89]  LDS Charities donated 100 wheelchairs in 2010.[90]  In Timor-Leste, the Church donated clothing, food, and hygiene kits to refugees in West Timor who fled from East Timor in 2000.  A director of humanitarian services for the Church visited refugee camps in West Timor prompted the aid, for which the Church was thanked by the Indonesian government.[91]  Indonesian members packed and sent over 30,000 hygiene kits to Timor in 2000.[92]  New Zealander members also donated bedding, hygiene kits, and clothing.[93]  A single aid package worth over $156,000 was delivered for Christmas 2000 to Dili.[94]  In 2002, the Church provided the transportation for delivering wooden fishing boats from Australia to East Timor which were crafted by the Aussie Boats for East Timor charity.[95]  In Vietnam, the Church donated medical supplies and prostheses in 1992.[96]  Senior missionary couples have taught English for service since 1993.[97]  In 2008, the Church donated wheelchairs.[98]


Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects

Religious Freedom

The LDS Church benefits from full religious freedom and does not face legal restrictions in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.  There are some societal restrictions on missionary activity in some of these nations.  In the Philippines, missionary activity encounters some restrictions in Mindanao among the Muslim population.  Full-time missionaries avoid proselytizing Muslims out of respect for local customs and due to ongoing conflict with Christians in Mindanao.  In Singapore, many Christian churches condemn the LDS Church as un-Christian, intimidate converts and investigators, and send hateful letters to missionaries.  In South Korea, open proselytism on subways and visiting door to door in apartment buildings occurs, but is often discouraged by local administration as it is seen as intrusive and bothersome.  There are no legal barriers for the LDS Church to obtain recognition and operate in Timor-Leste, but there have been past instances of societal abuse of religious freedom targeting non-Catholic Christians.

Restrictions on religious freedom significantly limit or impede LDS activities in Brunei, Burma, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, and Vietnam.  In Brunei, government restrictions on proselyting and increasing intolerance for religious minorities severely limit LDS activities.  Meetings for the Brunei group are not published due to the conservative nature of this Islamic state as the Church does not have official status.  Some members may reside in Brunei who cannot find the Church due to these restrictions.  In Burma, current legislation and government policies prohibit the Church's foreign missionary program and limits missionary work among members.  The LDS Church carefully honors and obeys the law in Burma.  Existing members are generally permitted to meet, but outreach is largely limited to family and personal contacts of members.  In China, the amount of religious freedom and tolerance for both local and foreign members to worship - albeit always separately - is a major opportunity the Church has gained in the past decade which has been essential for current and future church growth.  Chinese officials have permitted local members to share the gospel with family members.  Non-natives do not appear to face proselytism restrictions among foreigners.  Foreign members may receive training and visits from international Church leadership.  Government does not permit international Church leaders to train and meet with local Chinese members.  As a result of widespread religious freedom in Hong Kong, Chinese from mainland China desiring to join the Church sometimes briefly visit Hong Kong, are taught by full-time missionaries, and baptized before returning back to the mainland in matter of several hours.  In Indonesia, LDS missionaries report that the government severely restricts the number of visas granted for foreign full-time missionaries, resulting in high reliance on the local full-time missionary force to staff the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.  Latter-day Saints have no presence in most areas which have local laws that restrict the religious freedom of minorities.  LDS missionaries do not engage in open proselytism and work primarily through casual conversations with strangers and member referrals.  Latter-day Saint Indonesians report few instances of societal abuse or prejudice.  In Laos, the Church faces many restrictions which limit missionary work.  Young full-time missionaries served briefly and had many restrictions regarding who they could speak with and were unable to distribute literature.  Many of the members are picked up by a bus to go to Church.  In 2009, police told the bus driver he was not allowed to transport members from outside the city into Vientiane for Church services.  In Malaysia, missionaries have to leave the country frequently to renew their visas and comply with visa laws.  This results in periodic hiatuses from missionary work and expenses in taking missionaries temporarily out of the country, usually to Singapore.  This is a particularly time consuming and difficult journey for missionaries in East Malaysia who travel by plane to get their visas renewed.  Missionaries in Malaysia avoid the title "Elder" on mail due to potential threats from radical Islamic groups.  In Mongolia, laws which restrict proselytism challenge the scope and freedom which the Church may conduct missionary work, yet have also motivated members to assist in finding investigators for missionaries and increase outreach and Church growth.  In 2009, significant challenges arose with the government regarding foreign missionary visas.  No foreign missionaries were expelled from the country, but the government refused to issue visas to prospective new missionaries.  Some portions of the visa issues were resolved in early 2010 when several senior couple were granted visas.  In early 2010, many American missionaries were temporarily reassigned to missions in the United States while they waited for the Mongolian visas.  Missionaries report that one of the reasons for the government refusing to issue additional visas was that government officials expressed concern about ecclesiastical activities of foreign missionaries in addition to humanitarian work and teaching English.  In North Korea, any Latter-day Saint presence, whether official or unofficial, is currently unattainable due to stringent government regulations and policies restricting religious freedom, especially for Christians.  The Church may be able to perform some humanitarian and development work, but the government severely restricts the activities of NGOs and such service would have no realistic prospects of attaining government recognition and establishing a church presence at present.  In Vietnam,  religious freedom has increased over the past two decades.  The government has given permission for LDS humanitarian missionaries to enter, recognized two congregations, allows baptisms to occur, and permits Vietnamese natives to serve as full-time missionaries.  Open proselytism is restricted, and no Vietnamese missionaries can serve as proselytizing missionaries.  The creation of new congregations is difficult as the Church is not officially recognized and many Christian groups face resistance from multiple levels of government.  In 2009, Church attorneys were working diligently to get the Church official recognition.  Several Protestant groups received official recognition in 2008.

Cultural Issues

Communist, socialist, and military junta governments have significantly reduced the influence and practice of traditional East Asian religions in Burma, China, Laos, Mongolia, North Korea, and Vietnam resulting in a weakening in ethno-religious ties and the disappearance of many religiously-based customs and beliefs.  The high percentage of non-religious individuals in the region does decrease the potential for difficulties with traditions that may interfere with LDS teachings, but the Church will likely face challenges in motivating potential converts to fully embrace the gospel and make necessary changes in lifestyle to not only remain active in the Church but also serve as leaders and teachers for others.  Many religiously active individuals, particularly Christians, are marginalized by societies in many East Asian nations, resulting in challenges attracting and retaining converts and maintaining member activity rates.

Materialism, high cost of living, and secularism are major cultural challenges that frustrate LDS mission outreach in Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, and Singapore.  Full-time missionaries and members struggle to develop mission outreach approaches that are effective in proselytizing the highly irreligious population that exhibits little familiarity with Christianity.  Many converts are not retained as they fail to develop habitual church attendance and personal gospel study habits.  The LDS Church faces major cultural challenges for missionaries and members to live and proselyte in an environment where sexual relations out of marriage, smoking, and abortion are commonplace.  Education is competitive and many youth spend large amounts of time attending school and studying, reducing opportunities for interaction with missionaries.  The development of a Latter-day Saint community over the past half century in these nations has provided a social outlet for members to associate and rely upon to avoid cultural practices and social pressures not in harmony with LDS teachings.  Full-time missionaries in some areas report that local members have demonstrated a disinterest in missionary work as they believe that most prospective converts will ultimately not develop regular church attendance and a self-sustaining testimony of the Church.  LDS congregations have become increasingly tight-knit and entrenched as small numbers of active members limit their social interaction with nonmembers and rarely invite nonmember friends, family, and coworkers to church or to meet with full-time missionaries. 

Traditional Chinese religion is a syncretic mix of Confucian philosophy, Buddhism, Taoism, and folk traditions.  All of these religions are primarily individual and meditative, with little emphasis on organized worship.  Many Christian principles, such as the existence of an all-powerful God instead of a nebulous harmony of the universe, need for a Savior, and  even the existence of sin, are foreign to many Chinese. In particular, the break of Christianity from the tradition of ancestors, the concept of a caring God who can hear and answer prayers, the need for organized worship and service in the church, principles of divine authority, and the idea of one true church as opposed to the development of personal worldview from syncretic elements of competing faiths and philosophies, all pose challenges for many LDS investigators.  Chinese have their own strong sense of ethics and morality, although the need for such behaviors tends to be explained by the need for societal order, achieving harmony, maintaining order, and following the pattern of the heavens, in contrast to Judeo-Christian concepts of obedience, sin, repentance, and judgment, although considerable commonality exists when semantic barriers are bridged.

Religiously active Christians in East Asia have provided some of the greatest strength to the LDS Church in the region as many have established personal habits of church attendance, scripture study, and prayer and have a religious background which is better suited for LDS proselytism and teaching approaches.  This has likely fueled church growth for the LDS Church in the Philippines and among Christian tribes in East Malaysia, but quick-baptism tactics are generally compromised this cultural advantage for the LDS Church.  Receptivity to the LDS has been high in some traditionally-Buddhist nations such as Cambodia and Mongolia, but successes in these nations have been largely attributed to local member-missionary efforts.  Poverty has likely increased receptivity in these areas.  Common in many nations of East Asia, extensive genealogical records handed down for millennia offer excellent opportunities for local members to engage in temple work and use family history research as a segue for member-missionary work and finding.  In 2000, one local member in Hong Kong obtained a 175-volume set of his family's genealogical records containing over 200,000 ancestor names dating back to A.D. 602.[99]

There are several demographic issues which challenge LDS proselytism and church growth ambitious.  In China, the One Child Policy has created many demographic challenges regarding the male-female gender ratio.  In the long term, this may lead some male members unable to marry due to a shortage of Chinese women in some areas.  In Japan, the aging population and low birth rates create assimilation challenges with youth and older adults in many congregations as generation gaps and age-based cultural differences have created significant obstacles toward retaining and fellowshipping individuals from both populations within the same congregations, which oftentimes have few active members.  In Mongolia, many couples face significant challenges getting married and finding a home to live in together. Housing in Mongolia is expensive and usually unaffordable by newly married couples, as so many hesitate to marry until they are able to find a place to live. 

Some cultural practices stand in opposition to LDS teachings.  The drinking of green tea is a cultural practice in East Asia prohibited by LDS Church teachings and can be source of tension as well as a testimony building issue for investigators, new converts, and less active members.  High smoking and alcohol use rates in some nations pose challenges for many to who habitually engaged in these practices prohibited by the Church.  Some cultures proscribe the use of alcohol or particular alcohol beverages for certain ceremonies or special events, such as the death of a loved one in the Iban tribe in Sarawak, East Malaysia.  Mission and local leaders must address these issues with sensitivity in order for members and investigators to comply with LDS teachings while mitigating potential individual, familial, or community conflict for discontinuing customs and practices which are valued by their respective ethnic groups to which they pertain.

The large number of ethnic minorities in some nations is a challenge for proselytism due to the diversity of cultural practices and religious beliefs.  LDS congregations in Malaysia and Singapore are extremely diverse.  Active religious engagement in many areas is a sensitive matter due to governmental and social pressures to limit potential conflict between various ethnic groups such as in Indonesia  where conversion and Christian missionary activity in many areas is frowned upon. 

Unemployment and underemployment have been major challenges for Latter-day Saints in the Philippines and in 1988, as many as half of Latter-day Saints were unemployed and 30% of employed members were underemployed.[100]  Poor economic conditions have prompted many to work abroad and send home money for family members.  In 2005, LDS apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks noted that separation of spouses for extended periods of time for employment purposes should be avoided.[101]  The Church has begun to address these issues in the Philippines and elsewhere in East Asia through the establishment of the Perpetual Education Fund in order for members to gain needed education for future employment. 

Latter-day Saints are socially stigmatized in several nations.  In South Korea, LDS outreach to church-going Christian Koreans has seen some success, but heavy social involvement in their respective churches has made this group largely unreceptive to even brief and basic LDS proselyting approaches.  Misconceptions about the LDS Church are widespread, and lead most Koreans to dismiss the church as a socially unacceptable institution or confuse it with other unaccepted denominations such as Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church.  In Singapore, some Christian groups have performed counter-proselytism efforts targeting Latter-day Saints.

National Outreach

13% of the regional population resides in cities with known LDS congregations but many who live in cities with LDS congregations do not have access to full-time missionaries such as in China, Burma, and Laos.  The percentage of the population reached by the LDS Church in highest in Macau and Singapore (100%), Hong Kong (94%), South Korea (70%), and Japan and Taiwan (60%).  Among countries that receive official LDS missionary activity, the percentage of the population reached by the LDS Church in lowest in Indonesia (11%), Cambodia (13%), Thailand (14%), and Malaysia.  Less than 10% of populations of countries which have no official presence and no proselytizing full-time missionaries are reached by LDS congregations, such as Burma, Vietnam, China, Laos, and Brunei.  Timor-Leste and North Korea are completed unreached by the LDS Church.

LDS outreach efforts in East Asia are concentrated in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as these are the only nations in the region with more than one LDS mission and 28 of the 34 missions (82%) in East Asia are based in these four nations which account for 14% of the regional population.  Past receptivity has been some of the greatest in the region in these four nations, prompting additional missionary resources, but abundant opportunities for expanding outreach exist in other nations which have yet to be better realized by the LDS Church. 

Declining numbers of LDS congregations in the 2000s in the Philippines (-51), South Korea (-32), Japan (-31), and Hong Kong (-7) have not noticeably reduced the percentage of the national population residing in cities with LDS congregations in these nations as most units which were consolidated were located in cities with multiple LDS congregations or in cities and towns with few inhabitants.  There has been no expansion in LDS outreach in these nations for over a decade however, halting progress in expanding national outreach.  

Some populations or ethnic groups are legally unreached by the LDS Church in nations which experience some LDS missionary activity.  Muslim Malays are completed unreached by the LDS Church in Malaysia and Brunei.  Government policies in many nations forbid open proselytism and consequently those with access to LDS outreach are limited to close friends, family, and acquaintances of members or sincere investigators.  Many of these nations lack sufficient local member-missionary resources to effectively provide outreach, such as Burma.

The Church is only accessible by Cambodians living in or around Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, and Kampong Thom.  The remaining large cities lack a Church presence including Kampong Saom on the coast and Sisophon near the Thai border.  About half of the approximate 14.5 million Cambodians live in a province which does not have a congregation.  Even in the provinces with a church presence, most have hundreds of thousands of people in unreached areas.  The majority of Cambodia's population is rural, which presents challenges in proclaiming the gospel more widely. 

The Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission has established branches and opened new proselytizing areas on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.  Branches currently operate in Sen Sok (about five miles northeast of Phnom Penh), Ta Khmau (about five miles south of Phnom Penh) and Kean Svay (about five miles east of Phnom Penh).  These branches belong to one of the two Cambodian speaking districts in Phnom Penh.  As the Church grows in Phnom Penh, cities and villages near the capital may eventually have congregations established.  Areas to the northeast and south of Phnom Penh are some of the most densely populated areas in Cambodia. 

The Vietnamese LDS community in Phnom Penh conducts limited outreach in Vietnam, where non-Vietnamese are barred from serving as missionaries.  In the late 2000s, Vietnam-native missionaries had to be temporarily withdrawn to serve in Vietnamese areas of Phnom Penh and train newly-arrived North American missionaries. 

The Church is only accessible by Cambodians living in or around Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, and Kampong Thom.  The remaining large cities lack a Church presence including Kampong Saom on the coast and Sisophon near the Thai border.  About half of the approximate 14.5 million Cambodians live in a province which does not have a congregation.  Even in the provinces with a church presence, most have hundreds of thousands of people in unreached areas.  The majority of Cambodia's population is rural, which presents challenges in proclaiming the gospel more widely. 

Only one percent of the population would be LDS if the Church's entire membership of 14 million lived in China.  With the exception of personal contacts of members, the entire population of 1.33 billion remains unreached by mission outreach.  If missionary work occurred in cities with an established LDS English-speaking branch, just three percent of the national population would have access to mission outreach.  The Church has made considerable progress among natives in cities with English-speaking branches also have congregations designated for Chinese members.  Some large cities without English-speaking congregations have Chinese-designated congregations, such as Kunming in Yunnan Province.  

The Church will face major mission logistic challenges once full-time missionaries serve in China as China's population exceeds that of North and South America combined by half a billion.  Current international mission resources could not efficiently administer to such as large population even if they were all entirely dedicated to China.  If the average of one LDS mission per four million people in North and South America were applied to China, the Church would need to create 333 missions; just seven shy of the worldwide total in 2010.  Even if there was one LDS mission per 20 million people (the mission-population ratio in Japan), the Church would need to operate 67 Chinese missions. 

Traditional LDS paradigms of missions staffed primarily by full-time proselyting missionaries are unlikely to be implemented in China for two reasons. First, the strong preference given to native Chinese and the heavy restrictions on foreigners, especially as relates to proselytism, will require that outreach efforts be conducted primarily, and likely exclusively, through native leaders and native member-missionaries.  Second, the LDS missionary force has plateaued in recent years due to declining LDS birth rates and slower growth, and the Church has the lacked the free resources and manpower to assign missionaries even to some unreached nations which allow proselyting, like Senegal at present or Kyrgyzstan in the 1990s.  The limited LDS mission resources which could potentially be mobilized are wholly inadequate to the serve China's vast population.  For both legal and practical reasons, future LDS outreach in China will inevitably depend primarily upon the outreach of local members.  Denominations like the Seventh Day Adventists which grow primarily through local member outreach have therefore experienced considerable outreach advantages over Latter-day Saints due to the traditional LDS dependence on full-time foreign missionaries and the lack of comparably well-organized member-missionary programs and resources.

Effective future LDS mission outreach will require wise appropriation of limited native missionary manpower, effective and independent congregational member-missionary programs, and the development of a self-sustaining native Chinese missionary force. 

Although China ranks the fourth largest in geographic size, most regions are sparsely populated.  The western half of China accounts for about 10% of the population as the southwest is mountainous and the northwest is primarily desert. 90% of the population lives in the eastern half of China.  The most densely populated areas include the Sichuan Basin, coastal areas between Beijing and Hong Kong, and interior areas between Shanghai, Beijing, and Zhengzhou.  Half the national population resides in eight of the 22 mainland provinces which include Guangdong (113 million), Henan (99 million), Shandong (92 million), Sichuan (87 million), Jiangsu (75.5 million), Hebei (68 million), Hunan (67 million), and Anhui (65 million).  Mission planners can maximize the scope of potential mission outreach by allocating resources and development work to these most populous provinces. 

Large Chinese communities exist in most nations around the world and currently provide a portal to mission outreach to mainland China within the confines of Chinese law.  Several nations with only a few hundred Latter-day Saints have many Chinese LDS members, such as Greece and Cyprus.  Chinese-speaking congregations have been organized in the United States (12 Chinese, 2 Mandarin), Canada (3 Mandarin, 2 Chinese, 1 Cantonese), Australia (2 Chinese), Malaysia (1 Mandarin), and Singapore (1 Chinese).  One Mandarin-speaking branch operates in Hong Kong.   Missionaries over the past decade have been called in increasing numbers to serve Mandarin-speaking missions in areas throughout the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia.  Chinese-speaking congregations outside of China and Chinese mission outreach worldwide help coordinate efforts for members returning to mainland China and provide outreach among the large Chinese population living abroad. 

Ethnic minority groups with significant LDS memberships outside China may be more receptive to future mission outreach initiatives even if they tend to reside in less-densely populated areas which would ordinarily not receive outreach for decades following the initial start of proselytism.   The Church has well-developed leadership and mission outreach capabilities in South Korea and Mongolia.  Korean and Mongolian Chinese number in the millions and sometimes travel to these two nations.  These individuals may join the Church outside the country and return home and help prepare to establish the Church in rural or isolated locations in Inner Mongolia or along the North Korean border.  In 2009, South Korea alone had over 600,000 Chinese foreign residents. 71% were ethnic Koreans; most of whom resided in the Seoul area.[102]  Some mission outreach among this group has occurred through both member referrals and missionary proselytism. 

Small geographic size, a long-standing Latter-day Saint presence, and consistent numbers of full-time missionaries assigned have resulted in excellent levels of national outreach as approximately 94% of the population resides in cities with an LDS congregation.  All cities with over 85,000 inhabitants have a mission outreach center.  Most unreached or lesser-reached cities have fewer than 24,000 inhabitants.

Congregation consolidations in the 2000s have not eliminated outreach in many communities as full-time missionaries proselyte in many affected communities and many active members continue to reside in these locations, but declining numbers of congregations has resulted in many urban areas becoming lesser reached by LDS congregations and local leaders.  With 82,700 inhabitants, Pok Fu Lam is the most populous city without an LDS congregation and at one time a ward once operated in Pok Fu Lam, but the unit was discontinued in the 2000s.  Assigning local Chinese leaders to head the reestablishment of dependent congregations in some lesser-reached areas many reverse the trend of congregational decline and provide for long-term support and mentoring that does not detract from LDS missionary resources abroad.

Expensive and limited real estate is a challenge for the Church to open additional meetinghouses, resulting in multiple congregations utilizing the same LDS meetinghouses.  Long travel distances to LDS meetinghouses for some can reduce church attendance levels.

Hong Kong ranked 30th among countries with the most visitors to the Church's website in 1997.[103]  The Church operates a country website for Hong Kong available in English at and in traditional Chinese characters at  The Internet site provides local news; meetinghouse locations and times; explanation of LDS doctrines and teachings; and links to LDS scriptures translated into traditional characters.  Use of the website in member-missionary activity can enhance national outreach and provide accurate information on the Internet to the general population. 

11% of the national population resides in cities with an LDS mission outreach center. All but three LDS congregations are on the island of Java.  Manado, Medan, and Denpasar (Bali) are the only mission outreach centers off of Java and reach no more than three percent of the population.  Of these three cities, missionaries appear to have been regularly assigned only to Manado.  Most of the 24 million Indonesians living in cities with full-time missionaries are unaware of a Latter-day Saint presence and church teachings.  Proselytism bans reduce outreach potential in areas with LDS congregations and assigned missionaries. 

The Church has not placed full-time missionaries in additional cities for decades.  Distance from mission headquarters in Jakarta and the limited numbers of foreign full-time missionaries permitted to serve by the government challenge efforts to assign missionaries to additional cities off of Java.  The small number of convert baptisms over the past two decades has given the Church little impetus to expand national outreach.  On Java, many Latter-day Saints travel long distances to attend church meetings.  Members living far from church meetinghouses may help to establish additional mission outreach centers closer to their homes one day.  Prospects for such activity outside Java appear unlikely for the foreseeable future due to the small LDS populations in Manado, Medan, and Bali.  Due to visa restrictions limiting the number of  foreign full-time LDS missionaries and no large increase in the number of native full-time missionaries, other methods must be utilized to revitalize mission outreach initiatives and expand national outreach to areas which may be more receptive to LDS teachings, such as Kalimantan and Papua.  Unexplored tactics which can help expand national outreach include calling a Latter-day Saint family to an unreached area  to plant an LDS congregation and establishing Church-sponsored educational facilities in disadvantaged areas.   

Strong LDS Church growth in East Malaysia among indigenous peoples like the Iban may indicate that the native peoples in Indonesian-controlled Kalimantan will be more receptive to LDS teachings than other ethnic groups in other areas of Indonesia.  Many indigenous peoples in Kalimantan exhibit strong cultural ties and similarities with groups in Sarawak and Sabah in East Malaysia and have Christian communities.  In 2010, there was no known LDS presence in any of the four Kalimantan provinces which are inhabited by nearly 14 million people.  With the exception of Manado, Latter-day Saints have never had a presence in predominantly Christian areas.  Unreached Christian areas which may have responsive populations to LDS mission outreach include East Nasu Tenggara, Papua, and a few areas in central Sulawesi and northern Sumatra.  There are almost four million inhabitants in Irian Jaya which are predominantly Christian and unreached by Latter-day Saints.  There is only one LDS congregation on Sulawesi, populated by over 17 million Indonesians.  Sumatra has just one branch in Medan, yet is inhabited by 50 million.

The Church maintains an Internet site for Indonesia at  The website provides information about church beliefs, meetinghouse locations, and local news.  Local Latter-day Saints referring friends and relatives to the website is a passive proselytism approach which with the proper vision can lead to increased numbers of convert baptisms and expansion of national outreach.  

There are meaningful opportunities for Latter-day Saints to proselyte Indonesians living abroad.  Full-time missionaries report teaching Indonesians in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Hong Kong.  No LDS missions outside Indonesia have specific programs for mission outreach directed toward Indonesians. 

52% of the national population resides in a city over 150,000 inhabitants with an LDS congregation.  123 of the 160 cities with over 150,000 have an LDS congregation.  With only a few exceptions, each of the 37 cities with over 150,000 without an LDS congregation is located within a major metropolitan area and most are within 10 kilometers of the nearest mission outreach center.  As many as 60% of the population resides within 15 kilometers of an LDS meetinghouse.  All 47 administrative prefectures have at least one LDS congregation.  Okinawa is the prefecture that receives the most penetrating LDS mission outreach as evidenced by the lowest ratio of population to congregations of one LDS congregation for 81,513 inhabitants.  Prefectures with fewer than 300,000 inhabitants per congregation are among the most reached by Latter-day Saints and include Wakayama, Tottori, Hokkaido, Shimane, Aomori, and Ehime.  Prefectures with over 800,000 inhabitants per congregation are among the least reached and include Yamaguchi, Tochigi, Yamanashi, Saga, and Fukui.  Six prefectures have only one LDS congregation (Yamaguchi, Yamanashi, Saga, Fukui, Tokushima, and Kochi) and have populations ranging from 770,000 to 1.5 million.  Located on Hokkaido, Urakawa appears to be the least populated city with an LDS congregation, with approximately 15,000 inhabitants.  There are hundreds of additional cities over 20,000 inhabitants without a mission outreach center.

The highly urbanized population provides an excellent opportunity for the Church to reach the majority of Japanese with fewer missionaries and congregations.  An aggressive chapel-building program in the 1960s facilitated the expansion of national outreach[104] and occurred primarily in the largest cities, during a time when the Japanese population appeared was the most receptive to LDS mission outreach.  During the peak of church growth and activity in Japan in the late twentieth century, missions allocated a large number of full-time missionaries to individual congregations.  In 1991, 32 full-time missionaries were assigned to work in one ward and two branches in the Kyoto area.[105]  While taking advantage of a time when the population was at a greater receptivity and providing adequate outreach to a large population were primary motives in allocating large numbers of full-time missionaries to a single congregation, this policy reduced local member involvement in missionary work, reinforced dependence on full-time missionaries for many ecclesiastical and administrative tasks, and contributed to the continuing trend of congregation consolidations that began in the early 2000s.  While over 30 congregations were closed in the 2000s, the percentage of the national population residing in cities with mission outreach centers does not appear to have noticeably decreased as most discontinued units were in the largest cities which continue to be serviced by multiple LDS congregations.  Holding cottage meetings and forming groups and dependent branches in lesser-reached cities and neighborhoods in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas may increase prospects of establishing additional self-sustainable congregations over the medium term.  Congregations in smaller cities or urban areas with few active members are susceptible to closure in the coming years due to stagnant active membership growth, low receptivity, and continued reluctance of many local members to participate in missionary work. 

High cost of living and limited receptivity has increasingly made assigning large numbers of full-time missionaries unfeasible.  The number of missions and missionary complement assigned to Japan have been reduced in recent years, and so the Church has attempted to expand outreach in other ways.  Japan had the third most Internet users in 2007[106] and the Church has maintained Internet outreach to assist in proselytism efforts since the early 2000s.  When the Church launched its first official website in 1997, Japan had the fourth most visitors.[107]  A country website for Japan at provides local church news, meetinghouse locations, explanations on church doctrine and practices tailored for a nonmember audience, youth-directed outreach, and links to Japanese-language LDS websites such as  Online member-missionary activity remains limited, but the Church will likely institute member profiles on in Japanese in the near future as Japanese is spoken by over 100 million speakers the Internet is highly utilized by Japan.

The Church has a tiny presence in Laos as only Vientiane (3% of the national population) has a congregation and no foreign missionaries may proselyte.  The majority the inhabitants in Vientiane are unaware of the Church.  The only opportunity for Laotians to join the Church is through personal contact with a Church member.  Local members will be instrumental in expanding the Church's national presence.  Outreach to northern provinces appears the most difficult as these regions experience greater intolerance toward religious minorities. 

Members who travel to meetings by bus provide opportunity for expanded outreach outside of Vientiane.  If government restricts the movement or logistics of Church members traveling to attend church services, , this may result in the creation of small groups or branches in lesser reached communities with some LDS members.

Nearly the entire population resides within close distance to the mission outreach center.  Missionaries serve throughout Macau.  Most know little about the LDS Church, however.  Creative and insightful mission outreach methods such as Internet outreach and service projects may help bring greater awareness of the Church and its members to the general population.  There are significant opportunities to proselyte mainland Chinese vacationing in Macau. 

Six of Malaysia's 13 states do not have mission outreach (Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perlis, and Terengganu).  7.7 million inhabitants reside in unreached states, or 30% of the national population.  Currently the Church does not have a presence in any cities of less than a 100,000 people in West Malaysia.  In East Malaysia, which has the most liberal proselytism laws and presents the greatest opportunity for church growth, only half the population live in cities larger than 10,000 inhabitants.  Outreach into smaller cities and villages will one day be necessary to reach a larger segment of the population.

Currently about one-third of the population lives in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.  The Church has a strong presence in the city with six wards and five branches.  However, there has been hardly any increase in the number of congregations in Ulaanbaatar since 2001 due to the focus on maturing branches into wards, as well as a general decline in growth rates and growing inactivity problems.  With continued growth, additional congregations may be created within the boundaries of the new stake.  Züünmod, a small town near Ulaanbaatar with about 15,000 inhabitants, might open to missionary work in the coming years.

With the Church most established in the largest city of the country it is able to influence the Mongolian people who visit the city from other outlying areas of Mongolia.  The Church has a congregation in the next four largest cities of the country, which have populations ranging from 30,000 to 75,000.  It is not until cities below 30,000 inhabitants do we see cities which as of yet have no congregations established in them.  Many of these cities are in western or southern Mongolia and are very isolated from the rest of the country.  Most of the 21 provinces have no Church presence and each have about 100,000 people or less.  It is most likely that the Church will grow the most in the larger cities in Mongolia due to their already existing Church presences and bigger populations.  However if the Church is to preach the Gospel to the entire population of Mongolia, greater progress is to be made in establishing branches in the smaller cities throughout the country and among those who reside on the steppes and live nomadic lives.  This will also create challenges in establishing congregations in the future when many of the potential members in a rural area live far apart from each other and periodically move their homes as they tend their livestock.  However since over 90% of the population speaks Mongolian the Church will be able to penetrate many areas of the country without problems with a large number of different local languages.

The city of Khovd has provided missionaries serving in Mongolia with the unique experience of teaching the Gospel to some Muslims.  With a strong branch numbering well over 100 active members, missionaries are able to come into contact with more Turkic peoples than in any other regions with a Church presence.  Just to the west of the city Khovd is the province of Bayan-Olgii, where the majority of the population is Kazakh.  However, no missionaries currently serve in Bayan-Olgii. 

The majority of Mongolians do not reside Mongolia, but in neighboring countries, chiefly in China.  The Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China contains about four million Mongolians.  The Liaoning Province, which is between Inner Mongolia and North Korea, contains over 600,000 Mongolians.  An estimated one million Mongolians live in Russia.  Since the Gospel has taken hold in Ulaanbaatar and larger regional cities in Mongolia, it has a greater chance to spread to these other areas among the Mongolian population as family members share the Gospel with relatives who many reside one of these locations.  Mongolians living in Inner Mongolia may one day join the Church when Mongolian members bring it to them.  This could provide greater strength and opportunity for the Gospel to go forth to neighboring China.

The entire population is unreached by LDS mission outreach.  If government regulations prohibiting foreign missionary activity were lifted, Pyongyang and Kaesong would most likely be the first cities to open for missionary work as Pyongyang has a large population, central location, and state-controlled religious groups in the city whereas Kaesong is near the South Korean border and past dialogue and economic agreements that have bridged the two countries have centered on Kaesong.  LDS mission outreach centers in the two cities would reach 12% of the national population.  Members in South Korea and Korean members in other nations will likely play a pivotal role in the establishment of the Church in North Korea due to greater familiarity with language and culture and close proximity to South Korea.

39% of the national population resides in cities with LDS congregations and at least 20,000 inhabitants.  Many wards, branches, and groups operate in smaller cities or in rural areas.  The percentage of Filipinos residing in areas with a mission outreach center is estimated at 50%, but is difficult to ascertain as the Church does not report the number of groups operating and population estimates for many villages or small cities in less populated areas are only approximate.  47 of the 284 cities with over 20,000 inhabitants do not have mission outreach centers, amounting to two percent of the national population.  Conditions are favorable to open many of these larger unreached cities to missionary work outside of Muslim majority areas in Mindanao.   

68 of 80 provinces (85%) have a mission outreach center and account for 95% of the national population.  12 provinces have no known LDS mission outreach centers and include in order of descending population Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Zamboanga Sibugay, Shariff Kabunsuan, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Romblon, Mountain Province, Dinagat Islands, Apayao, Siquijor, and Batanes.  Areas predominantly populated by Muslims account for the most populous unreached provinces whereas isolated, mountainous areas or small islands account for the majority of the least populated unreached provinces.  Over the past several decades, separatist movements occurred in many of the currently unreached provinces.  Among currently unreached provinces, prospects appear highest for missionary work commencing in Romblon due to its sizeable population over 260,000, relative stability,  and mission outreach centers operating on nearby Mindoro island.  The population on Romblon and other unreached provinces often speak indigenous languages without LDS language materials translated, which may delay the commencement mission outreach in these areas and create language barriers between full-time missionaries and the local population.

Several islands are within the boundaries of provinces with an official Church presence, but have no known LDS congregations.  Most have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.  Islands with comparably small populations still provide meaningful mission outreach prospects.  With 150,000 inhabitants, the small island of Biliran had a district organized in 2001 and in late 2010 had five branches.  Prospects may be favorable for commencing missionary activity on islands like Biliran with smaller populations, such as Lubang, Polillo, Cuyo, Busuanga, Culion, and Siargao. 

Poorly developed transportation infrastructure and the high travel expenses have facilitated the creation of additional congregations in closer proximity to small LDS population centers.  Prospects remain high for accelerated national outreach expansion in villages with multiple Latter-day Saint families which travel inordinate distances to church on Sundays, but requires proper vision from local church leaders and mission presidents.  Groups appear to be readily created in many of these locations, but few have grown into branches in recent years.

Humanitarian service and development work provide valuable opportunities to expand national outreach.  Sister missionaries conducting humanitarian service in refugee camps have brought converts into the church through their efforts.[108]  The Church has the needed resources to instigate development projects greatly needed in many areas, but has not undertaken large-scale clean water projects or other work seen in other areas like Africa.  Opportunities to solidify church membership and attract additional converts through employment workshops, medical care, and roadway improvement projects have yet to be carefully explored. 

Filipino Latter-day Saints living abroad have in the past brought large numbers of converts into the Church through their efforts with friends and relatives.  In 2007, a member visited family in Leyte and 40 convert baptisms followed from her efforts to share the gospel with her relatives.[109]  Reaching out to the Filipino community outside their home country can also experience benefits within the Philippines, but few missions conduct specific outreach to Filipinos in other countries, such as the United States and the Middle East. 

Singapore is one of the only countries where the Church is not restrained by geography, resulting in the opportunity of reaching the entire population with few outreach centers.  Outreach is limited due to the diversity in the culture, language, and religious background of the population.  Although 58.8% of the population speaks a Chinese language, only one of the eight congregations in Singapore is Chinese speaking.  This indicates that Chinese Singaporeans have few Church resources given to them, usually meet in English speaking congregations, or are less responsive to missionary work. 

Mission outreach is primarily limited to cities with over 100,000 inhabitants.  70% of the national population resides in cities with an LDS presence.  Most rural areas and cities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants have no mission outreach centers.  Some cities such as Hanam once had mission outreach centers  but no longer do.  Opportunities for increasing national outreach appear most favorable in currently unreached large to medium-sized cities near Seoul and other large cities.  Examples of cities in the Seoul/Gyeonggi Province area include Pyeongnae/Hopyeong, Gwacheon, Uiwang, and Dongtan

In the recent past, Korean Church leadership has expressed little interest in opening additional cities for missionary work and creating additional congregations in cities where members travel long distances to attend Church meetings.  Southeast of Seoul, Gwangju has 80,000 inhabitants but has LDS congregation or mission presence, although dozens of members live in the city.  Members attend several different congregations nearby, but must travel longer distances and are more prone to becoming less active due to issues of distance, accessibility, and limited fellowshipping opportunities.   Church members often dismiss missionary opportunities in cities like Gwangju due to the availability ofestablished congregations in nearby cities, but this policy has reduced national outreach capabilities and has contributed to the declining number of congregations over the past decade.  Many areas within the city boundaries of Seoul have almost no LDS presence and no nearby congregations, such as the Guro region.  Past efforts to open new branches in these locations which did not come to fruition may have contributed to the lack of interest by local leaders to organize groups or small branches in lesser reached areas.

The declining number of missionaries has further contributed to the declining national outreach of the Church in South Korea.  Missions can barely staff the needs of current congregations.  Missionaries have been called in fewer numbers due to the declining receptivity of the general population and stretched mission resources worldwide.   

The Church has successfully established congregations in nearly all cities over 100,000 inhabitants.  60% of the population lives in a city with a congregation.  Every county on the island of Taiwan has at least one congregation of the Church.  Although the Church has established itself in nearly all the major population centers in Taiwan, some areas have seen greater success than others.  Since 2000 the Church has seen marked progress in establishing itself outside of Taipei by districts maturing into stakes and established stakes greatly growing in the number of congregations.  The number of congregations increased from six wards and one branch in the Taichung Taiwan Stake to 13 wards and two branches within the boundaries of the two stakes in Taichung in 2009.  The number of wards has also grown in the stakes in Kaohsiung and Tainan, increasing from six wards in each stake to 10 wards and two branches in the Kaohsiung Taiwan Stake and nine wards and two branches in the Tainan Taiwan Stake.  Some areas of Taiwan with multiple small or middle-sized cities do not have congregations close by, such as the coastline between Taichung and Tainan and areas along the northeastern and eastern coasts of the country.

One of the reasons for why the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission was discontinued was that two missions could provide nearly the same amount of outreach that the three missions were producing.  The Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission was one of the least productive areas for missionary work in Taiwan during the last decade, as no new stakes were organized within its boundaries.  The other Taiwanese missions saw an increase in stakes during this time, most notably the Taiwan Taichung Mission.  Taiwan had one of the lowest population per mission ratios in Asia of less than eight million people per mission.  Other industrialized Asian countries like Japan and South Korea have much higher population per mission ratios of over 10 million people per mission.  With the mission realignment, each of Taiwan's missions serve 11-12 million people.

The Church has operated inside Thailand continuously since the late 1960s yet membership (both numerical and active) is very small compared to the national population.  With the exception of the Phuket Group, the Church has no presence in any of the cities or 15 provinces south of Bangkok.  Of the 76 administrative provinces, around 25 have a LDS congregation.  Areas with the highest population density unreached by the Church include southern Thailand, coastal areas between Bangkok and Cambodia, and provinces between Bangkok and Phitsanulok. 

Almost all mission outreach occurs in urban areas, which account for a third of the national population, yet slightly more than half of cities with over 100,000 inhabitants have no congregation.  Rural areas and smaller cities and towns are unlikely to be reached by full-time missionaries until additional large cities are assigned missionaries.  Cottage meetings may be instrumental in not only introducing the Church to larger cities without a congregation with only a few members but also to small communities on the outskirts of cities with established congregations. 

Limited mission resources, distance from mission headquarters in Jakarta, the lack of native members, the lack of church material in the dominant language, Timor-Leste's small population, limited infrastructure, irecent independence, and history of instability have likely reduced the priority of commencing missionary work.  Conditions for the initial establishment of the Church appear most accommodating in Dili due to its large population, somewhat central location, and greater tolerance toward non-Catholic groups.  Outreach in rural areas will likely not occur for many years following formal Church establishment in Dili.  Separated from the rest of Timor-Leste, the small Oecussi region may not receive mission outreach. 

The Church's presence is limited to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; at least 94% of the population lives in areas without a LDS congregation.  Government regulations limit proselytism and Church contact to friends of members.  Most ethnic groups do not have a single Church member and have never had contact with the Church.  Greater national outreach is unlikely to occur until full government recognition is achieved, and as for other Christian denominations with government recognition, achieving permissions to organize new congregations may be difficult.  The greatest opportunities for improving national outreach is likely to be through the Church conducting humanitarian service in areas without congregations, as well as the influence of  isolated members who follow church teachings. Such efforts foster positive relations with local and national government and may facilitate approval for additional congregations. 

The lack of a mission in Vietnam limits national outreach.  Vietnamese missionaries also serve in the three Vietnamese-speaking branches in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The limited number of Vietnamese missionaries sometimes results in the removal of some missionaries from Vietnam to provide language training to newly-arrived foreign missionaries serving in the Vietnamese-speaking branches in Cambodia.  Missionaries serving from Vietnamese-speaking branches in Phnom Penh cannot serve in Vietnam currently.  If government one day permits foreign proselyting missionaries, Vietnamese missionaries from Cambodia and the United States will be a valuable asset to humanitarian service and national outreach.

Member Activity and Convert Retention

The Church experiences low member activity rates in East Asian countries which have had a long-term LDS presence due to quick-baptism tactics, inconsistent convert baptismal standards enforced by mission leaders for decades, and often an overstaffing of LDS congregations with full-time missionaries in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  Many active members are highly dedicated to church service and have helped perpetuate growth, but high work ethic and capitalist mind frame has likely contributed to these mission practices.  Losing contact with less-active members that move away from the congregation in which they were baptized, inadequate local leadership to accommodate large numbers of youth converts, past congregation consolidations and confusion on meetinghouse locations and times, negative cultural attitudes and practices regarding organized religion and weekly church participation, and increasing secularism and materialism have further exacerbated member activity rates and frustrate reactivation efforts.  Reactivation efforts by full-time missionaries in these nations demand large amounts of mission resources, delaying the progress of mission outreach in other more receptive nations and areas.  Stake consolidations in the Philippines, Japan, and Hong Kong  and steady declines in the number of congregations between 2000 and 2010 in the Philippines (-51), South Korea (-32), Japan (-31), and Hong Kong (-7) provide further evidence of low member activity rates and reactivation frustrations notwithstanding steady membership growth during this period.  Most of East Asia's districts are located in these countries and many have been unable to become stakes because of chronic member activity challenges.  Transportation challenges and costs has also contributed to lower member activity rates in the Philippines.[110]  In South Korea, there was no noticeable increase in sacrament attendance nationwide between the early 1990s and late 2000s despite steady nominal membership growth.  The closure of missionary training centers in South Korea and Japan in the late 2000s occurred partially due to low activity rates and rates of missionary service.  The LDS Church in Taiwan has experienced poor convert retention for decades, but active membership has increased during this time permitting the organization of additional stakes and congregations. 

In the Philippines, church activity rates among Latter-day Saints appeared to be among the highest in Asia during the first decade of a church establishment,[111] but during the following years missions inconsistently implemented and enforced  the standards for church attendance and other indicators ostensibly necessary for converts to be baptized.  Member activity and convert retention rates plummeted in the 1980s as a result of converts being rushed into  baptism by full-time missionaries without developing habitual church attendance, inadequate pre-baptismal and post-baptismal teaching, and deficient local congregational infrastructure to fellowship and integrate new members.    Conditions became so problematic regarding activity rates and local leadership in the Philippines that LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks was assigned as the Area President from 2002 to 2004.  Standards were raised for prospective converts prior to baptism.  Missions that implemented the standards of attending church regularly and developing other gospel habits before baptism experienced substantial improvements in convert retention, although the standards were not consistently implemented or enforced in all missions.  Reactivation and convert retention efforts have been mixed as mission and local church leaders have been unable to sustain rapid membership growth and local leadership development.  The Philippines continue to lack consistent convert retention and member reactivation programs among its 16 missions.  Past efforts to increase convert retention rates have seen sporadic success, but have not been sustained for more than a few years time.  The benefit of these periods of contemplative and thoughtful leadership emphasizing convert retention has often been offset or undone by a recurrent emphasis on baptismal numbers as the primary focus of missionary work. Encouraging trends toward greater convert retention have repeatedly been wiped out when standards set by previous mission presidents were reversed by new leaders.  The need for consistent, long-term standards for baptism  to be maintained and enforced over time is just as important as the training of local leaders and member fellowshipping to the long-term prospects for improved convert retention and member activity in the Philippines. 

Countries with a more recent LDS Church establishment generally experience poor to modest activity rates.  In Cambodia, LDS membership increased eightfold and the number of congregations increased nearly five times. Problems with recent converts and church activity linked to their dependence on welfare monies is not unusual for Southeast Asia.  In Malaysia, factors hampering convert retention include missionary pressure to quickly baptize converts with limited understanding before meaningful church activity becomes routine, lack of adequate church materials in indigenous languages, church services held in languages that members of diverse backgrounds may not understand, and limited local leadership to nurture converts joining the Church in large numbers.  In Mongolia, single adults and youth comprise the majority of converts.  These groups carry greater needs for fellowshipping and teaching in order to remain active and marry within the Church.  The missionary program has provided a valuable resource in the retention of youth and young adults, but many become inactive after serving their missions.  Inactive and less active members provide finding opportunities for the Church as they likely have more non-member friends and associates which may want to learn about the Church compared to active members who tend to decrease their non-member social interaction over time.  In Thailand, inconsistent mission policies for convert baptismal standards has challenged efforts to organize additional congregations and prevent congregation consolidations. 

LDS member activity and convert retention rates appear highest in nations with the greatest legal restrictions on religious freedom, but government policies and the sensitive nature of the Church in these nations challenges local members who joined the Church abroad to find the Church if they return to their home country.  In China, the source of converts from the relatives of members appears to have produced high convert retention and strong member activity.  Members baptized abroad who return to China are the most likely to go inactive as many live in areas where there is no congregation or only a handful of members to provide fellowshipping.  Furthermore, many are unaware of any Church presence in China and do not have contact information for congregations.  In Laos, moderately high activity and retention appear the result of most converts seriously investigating the Church over a longer period of time and developing a habit of regular Church attendance prior to baptism.  Investigators have often overcome significant cultural pressures and opposition before joining the Church and tend to be strongly committed .  However, more than half the active members rely on Church-provided transportation to travel to Sunday meetings.  If transportation is not provided to members outside Vientiane, many may be unable to actively participate.  In Vietnam, the hiatus in Church activities between 1975 and the 1990s resulted in the Church losing contact with almost all 150-200 members.  Few have been found and are active in the Church in Vietnam today.  Members living substantial distances from congregations likely struggle to actively participate in meetings and are prone to become less active.  The absence of foreign proselyting missionaries and government restrictions on proselytism may facilitate increased member activity and convert retention as local members actively fulfill member-missionary responsibilities and converts usually attend Church meetings for extended periods prior to baptism.  In Indonesia, the Church overall demonstrates moderate levels of member activity as seminary and institute are well attended but some smaller branches are tight-knit and pose challenges for integrating new converts as many have inactive members which stopped attending church regularly because of perceived offense by a fellow member. 

No LDS baptisms appear to have occurred in Brunei, North Korea, or Timor-Leste. 

Ethnic Issues and Integration

Homogenous ethnic populations in Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have eliminated ethnic integration issues for the LDS Church with the exception of foreign workers and residents.  English-language congregations often operate to meet nonnative language needs.  Geography mitigates many ethnic issues in East Asia as many ethnic groups are separated by sea, mountains, rivers, or other topographic features.  The extremely limited LDS presence in many nations with significant ethnic diversity such as Laos, Burma, and Indonesia has also reduced ethnic integration challenges at church but expansion of national outreach in some nations may increase the possibility of ethnic integration challenges at church in areas where multiple ethnic groups reside together.  Many ethnic groups in East Asia have no known Latter-day Saints, including many ethnic minority groups in southern China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Burma.  Ethnic minority groups are marginalized in these nations and pose significant cultural, societal, and linguistic challenges to assimilation with congregations comprised of the most prevalent ethnic group.  Religious and government restrictions render some ethnic groups unreachable by the LDS Church, such as Malays in Malaysia and Muslim peoples in Mindanao, Philippines.  Government policy prohibiting the assembly of citizens and foreigners in the same religious congregations has reduced potential ethnic integration issues in China.  Ethnic issues may be somewhat present in international branches in China as members come from many nations. 

At present ethnic integration issues for the LDS Church have been most manifested in Malaysia, Cambodia, and the Philippines.  A single branch in West Malaysia may have up to 50 different nationalities.  Converts from many different nations meeting in the same congregation pose challenges meeting cultural and language needs.  Converts must often overcome differences in culture and language with other immigrant workers in the Church, but the lack of a clear majority in many congregations fosters unity in the face of diversity.  Immigrant workers in the country often lack sufficient resources to lead congregations due to the transient nature of their employment and living accommodations and generally experience low rates of convert retention.  Future, sustained growth among immigrants and migrant workers in West Malaysia will require careful coordination between differing ethnic groups, new converts, and full-time missionaries meeting unique needs and situations.  Language differences and ethnic tensions between Khmer and Vietnamese in Cambodia contributed to the establishment of language-specific congregations and districts in Phnom Penh.  In the Philippines, high demographic diversity occurs with few ethnically-based conflicts, which promotes the integration of various ethnic groups into the same congregations.  Some ethnic groups have few or no known Latter-day Saints, due to low receptivity and the lack of a Church presence in areas populated by these groups and LDS materials in native languages. 

Language Issues

High literacy rates benefit LDS outreach and have facilitated growth and local self-sufficiency.  Teaching literacy skills appears only merited in Timor-Leste due to mediocre literacy rates.  Approximately 80-85% of the regional population has LDS materials translated in their first or second language notwithstanding minimal LDS outreach in East Asia largely due to the large number of Chinese languages that utilize traditional or simplified characters and LDS materials available in the many of the commonly spoken languages in the region.  Countries and territories in which 95% of the population or higher has LDS materials available in their first or second language include Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. 

There are 28 East Asian languages with over one million speakers without translations of LDS materials, 13 of which are native to Indonesia and eight of which are native to China.  10% of the regional population speaks one of these 28 languages.  Most of these languages are unlikely to have translations of LDS materials in the near future due to few or no known Latter-day Saint speakers or no LDS outreach extended in areas in which these languages are spoken.  Many speakers of these languages also speak a second language with LDS materials, reducing the urgency for translating scriptures and materials into these languages.  Only Karen and Javanese appear likely languages to have translations of LDS materials in the coming years.

Many East Asian languages have an insufficient number of LDS materials available and LDS scriptures.  Thousands of Latter-day Saints appear to speak Iban in Malaysia, yet LDS materials in Iban are limited to only a couple proselytism and instructional materials.  Greater emphasis on translating additional materials in Iban as well as more commonly spoken languages with few LDS materials and no LDS scriptures such as Burmese will be required to extend proper LDS outreach, provide materials which are easily understood by local members in their native languages, and increase the effectiveness of LDS teaching approaches centered on personal gospel study. 

Some East Asian nations struggle to meet language needs in individual congregations due to extreme ethnic diversity in LDS membership often warranting the use of English or another language as an intermediary language.  Use of a second language or a lesser-known or unknown language to conduct church meetings for some members has contributed to convert retention and member activity challenges.  Meeting individual language needs according to the resources available for linguistically-diverse congregations may help ameliorate these difficulties.   

Missionary Service

The LDS Church in all countries in East Asia has had local members serve full-time missions in recent years with the exception of Brunei, North Korea, and Timor-Leste.  The Philippines, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, Cambodia, and China appear to produce the most missionaries for the Church in the region but only Mongolia is self-sufficient in staffing its local missionary force.  In the Philippines, local members constitute the majority of full-time missionaries (80% in 1988),[112] but as few as 10% of Filipino LDS youth serve full-time missions.  A missionary training center opened in Manila in 1983[113] and provides missionary preparation for missionaries from many countries in the region.  In Japan, the Tokyo Missionary Training Center opened in 1979 and trained approximately 300 missionaries annually in the early 1990s.[114]  In 2000, there were approximately 1,000 full-time missionaries serving in Japan, 18% of which were native Japanese.[115]  By early 2011, the number of LDS missionaries in Japan nearly halved to 638 but the percentage of local members in the full-time missionary force increased to 34%.[116]  The sustainability in the small native full-time missionary force is a positive development which has endured an era of congregation consolidations and stagnant membership growth.  The closure of the Japan Missionary Training Center in the late 2000s and is a troubling development that may indicate worsening problems maintaining the past rates of missionary service among Japanese members.  In Mongolia, the unique demographics of local church membership -- coupled with the high missionary enthusiasm of new members -- have contributed significantly to the high rates of missionary service in Mongolia.  Many serve one-month local mini-missions before embarking on full-time missions. The number of Mongolians desiring to serve missions was so great at one time that prospective missionaries were required to serve at least six months in a significant local calling, often as a branch missionary or in a local leadership or teaching position.  In 2001, a visiting General Authority at a fireside in Shanghai, China, announced that 40% of missionaries from the Asia Area come from Mongolia.  Mongolia also has consistently had the highest baptism rate per missionary in the Asia Area. All of this has grown out of one of the smallest missions in the church - growing from 16 young missionaries serving in Mongolia in 1995 to 34 in 1997.   The 100-missionary mark was crossed in late 1999.  As of June 2009 there were 155 Mongolian missionaries who were serving or who had received calls to serve; 115 were currently serving in the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar Mission.[117]  200 missionaries were serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission.  In mid-2009, there were a total of 660 known returned Mongolian missionaries, 402 of which were living in Mongolia.  At the end of 2009 the number of Mongolian missionaries in the mission field reached 226; more than half of which served in Mongolia.  This represents a large increase from two and a half years before when only 40 Mongolians were serving missions.  Only 59% were still active in the Church, an improvement from before senior missionaries were tasked to find and reactive them.  In South Korea, there were likely around 300 full-time missionaries nationwide in mid-2010.   the Church established a missionary training center next to the Seoul Korea Temple in the 1980s.  In the late 2000s, the Korea MTC closed and native missionaries traveled to the United States to receive training.  At its peak in the 1980s and 1990s, the native Korean missionary force may have grown as large as 200-250 just in South Korea.  In November 2009, there were 114 South Koreans serving missions worldwide.  Although South Korea is the top missionary-sending country outside of the United States for Protestant missions, rates of LDS missionary service from Korea have been mediocre, due in large part to low member activity, especially among men.  The national requirement for young men to serve fourteen months in the military and intense university schedules which allow little allowance for an extended hiatus make it difficult for young men to fit in missionary service without compromising education and career.  In Cambodia, the number of missionaries serving in the country had risen to about 100 in 2004, half of whom were Cambodian.  In China, the first full-time missionary to serve from China completed his mission in 2006.  By the end of March 2010, 42 missionaries from mainland China were serving full-time missions, many in the United States and Canada, and the number of local members who had served or were serving missions topped 100.  

Fewer numbers of local members serve missions from Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.  Low activity rates among youth and young adults has contributed to mediocre levels of missionary service among members in these nations.  Large numbers of North Americans have served in these nations over the past half century with the exception of Indonesia where the number of local members serving missions has declined over the past two decades.  In 1992, there were 60 local members serving missions[118] and in March 2010 there were 40.[119]  A reduction in the full-time missionary force is attributed to fewer youth convert baptisms at present compared to the 1970s and 1980s.  Many members who currently serve full-time missions appear to come from full-member families and were raised in the Church.

Only a handful of members have served missions from Burma, Laos, Macau, and Vietnam.  The second Burmese missionary to serve a mission from Burma began his mission in 2007.  The first two missionaries to serve from Laos received their mission calls in early 2006.  In Macau, most missionaries assigned are North Americans.  Senior couples serve regularly in the country and assist with church administration.  Low fertility rates create challenges for long-term growth due to few youth converts and small LDS family sizes.  In Vietnam, consistent numbers local members serving missions despite a tiny membership and government restrictions.  The majority of missionaries serve from Ho Chi Minh City.

Emphasis on seminary and institute attendance in many areas can help increase the number of members who serve missions by providing missionary preparation classes, offering opportunities for social interaction with LDS youth, and strengthening gospel study habits and testimonies.  Paths for non-traditional missionaries, extended youth mini-missions, and a greater emphasis on member-missionary work may help to increase missionary activity throughout East Asia.


LDS leadership manpower is large enough to support stakes only in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.  Overall these countries face significant challenges increasing the number of capable LDS leaders resulting in reduced congregational growth rates but nearly all congregations appear to be staffed by local members.  Each of these nations experiences unique challenges toward strengthening and developing leadership.  In Hong Kong, local church leadership has been developed, but remains limited and strained due to responsibilities fulfilling leadership positions in Hong Kong while simultaneously providing mentoring and support for mainland Chinese Latter-day Saints while in compliance with PRC government regulations.  Church employees regularly serve in church leadership positions, such as stake presidencies likely due to a shortage of capable leaders among ordinary members.  Members from Hong Kong have served as regional representatives, mission presidents, temple presidents, and area seventies.  In Indonesia, local members have served as mission presidents and area seventies.  In Japan, the LDS Church supports the largest and most well-developed priesthood leadership body in non-Christian Asia capable of supporting over two dozen stakes, soon-to-be three temples, nearly all operating wards and branches, and many of Japan's missions.  A lack of active membership appears the primary barrier toward greater increases in the number of Japanese LDS leaders today.  Japanese leaders have regularly served in many regional and international church leadership positions as mission presidents, missionary training center presidents, regional representatives, area authority seventies, temple presidents, and general authorities.  In Mongolia, the large number of young men and women that have served or are serving missions is astounding as proportion of total membership and has significant contributed to the strength and size of local leadership manpower.  Returned missionaries have greatly strengthened the congregations of the Church throughout the country.  In Ulaanbaatar, all but one of the 12 members of the two stake or district presidencies and their wives have served a full-time mission.  Developing local leadership among members who have not served full-time missions has been more challenging.  In the Philippines, the LDS Church has struggled for decades to develop adequate local leadership to administer the needs of the large number of converts and less active members notwithstanding local members having regularly served as mission presidents, regional representatives, area seventies, temple presidents, and general authorities.  Inadequate numbers of local leaders and active members has consistently prevented the organization of congregations and has resulted in congregation consolidations.  In Singapore, the Church benefits from a small but well-trained local leadership that was capable of operating a stake with fewer than 3,000 members in the country until 2010.  In South Korea, local members have served as mission presidents, temple presidents, regional representatives, area authorities, and general authorities.  Korean leadership overall is well-trained and dedicated, but few new converts become leaders and many medium-sized and small cities face ongoing leadership shortages.  In Taiwan, local leadership has served as mission presidents, area seventies, and temple presidents.  Low activity rates and few active male members prevents the organization of additional congregations and additional stakes.  In Thailand, the Bangkok Thailand Stake has faced challenges developing local leadership, especially for those who do not also work for the Church.  The mission president has consistently mentored and support local Thai leadership both within and outside of the stake.  Few Thai members serve missions, resulting in few returned missionaries which the Church can draw upon for future leadership.

Limited priesthood manpower staffs leadership positions for multiple LDS congregations in Cambodia, China, Macau, Malaysia, and Vietnam but only districts in Cambodia, China, and Malaysia.  Local members staff leadership in nearly all congregations in these nations.  In Cambodia, the majority of the population is under the age of 30.  This creates challenges for fellowshipping young converts while limiting those who can lead congregations due to their age.  However, many youth converts who remain active later become pillars of strength as they live the gospel, serve missions, and marry and raise families in the Church.  Most members have access to Church Education System programs designed to strengthen the testimonies and establish a doctrinal foundation.  In China, Elder Chu-Jen Chia became an Area Authority Seventy in the late 1990s and has directed the affairs of the Church in China for most of the past 15 years.  Church leaders in Hong Kong have provided assistance developing local leadership.  Chinese members in leadership positions require high levels in independency and stewardship over their congregations.  International branches benefit from many members who have lived in areas where the Church runs administrative functions smoothly.  Inadequate local leadership for foreign members becomes only an issue in areas where total foreign members is extremely limited.  In Macau, active Chinese priesthood holders appear limited in number and likely contributed to the closure of the Macau Third Branch in 2006.  In Malaysia, very few members have been to the temple or received the Melchizedek Priesthood.  One senior missionary couple in East Malaysia in 2009 reported that only one couple from their branch had been through the temple.  Most branches have only a handful of Melchizedek Priesthood holders and limited numbers of priesthood holders prevent the organization of additional congregations. 

The extremely small LDS leadership force in Brunei, Burma,  and Laos is capable of supporting only one congregation, often relies on foreign senior missionaries for administrative support, and prevents expansion of national outreach due to restrictions of foreign missionary service.  The recent arrival of the Church in these nations has also contributed to a lack of local leadership.  In 2006, a senior missionary served as the president of the Rangoon Branch.  In Laos, the Vientiane Branch had native members serving in the branch presidency in 2006.[120]  Members conducted home teaching visits after Church meetings due to government restrictions in 2009.  At the time the branch had 12 home teaching companionships.  Priesthood advancements appear to occur regularly.  Some mentoring by the mission president and senior couples to Laotian Church leaders occurs.  In Vietnam, both branches have a native branch president.  A counselor in the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission presidency resides in Vietnam and is an American. 

There is no known LDS leadership in North Korea and Timor-Leste.  Without indigenous Church members, foreign missionaries will most likely hold leadership positions for several years following the assignment of the first senior missionary couple. 


There are seven operating temples in East Asia and two temples which are in the planning stages.  The Tokyo Japan Temple was the first LDS temple constructed in Asia and was completed in 1980 to service members throughout the region.  Additional temples were constructed in Taipei Taiwan (1984), Manila Philippines (1984), Seoul South Korea (1985), Hong Kong China (1996), Fukuoka Japan (2000), and Cebu City Philippines (2010).  Temples have been announced for Sapporo Japan (2009) and Urdaneta Philippines (2010) and as of May 2011 were in the planning stages.  The Manila Philippines Temple is among one of the most heavily utilized temples in East Asia as indicated by endowment sessions scheduled hourly on weekdays and every half hour or hour on Saturdays.  The Cebu City Philippines Temple is moderately utilized, with six endowment sessions scheduled on weekdays and five sessions on Saturdays.  The Hong Kong China Temple is well-utilized by active Latter-day Saints as manifest by six endowment sessions scheduled Tuesdays through Fridays and five sessions scheduled on Saturdays.  In 2010, the Church completed a temple patron housing building for the Hong Kong China Temple capable of accommodating up to 50 individuals that travel long distances from mainland China, Southeast Asia, Mongolia, and the Indian subcontinent.  Local members frequently staff the temple to accommodate the needs of temple patrons traveling from outside of Hong Kong.  Three to four endowment sessions are scheduled on weekdays at the Taipei Taiwan Temple and sessions occur on the half hour or as needed on Saturdays.  The Seoul Korea and Tokyo Japan Temples are moderately utilized by members and six to eight endowment sessions generally occur on most days the temples are open.  The Fukuoka Japan Temple is poorly attended on weekdays as the temple is not open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays  and only one sessions occurs on Thursdays and two sessions occur on Fridays.  The temple is moderately utilized on Saturdays as six sessions are scheduled. 

Southeast Asia, China, and Mongolia are assigned to the Hong Kong China Temple.  Temple trips from these nations occur regularly, but distance, travel costs, and visa challenges severely reduce the frequency and number of members who can feasible attend the temple.  Prospects for the construction of small temples in Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia over the medium or long term would drastically reduce travel times and costs for members residing far from operating temples.  In the Philippines, the lack of additional LDS temples reflects low member activity rates and few temple recommend holders in many areas.  Prospects for the construction of additional temples appears high over the medium-term and will depend on the increase of temple recommend holders.  Cities in which the Church may construct additional temples include Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, and Naga.  In Japan, additional temples appear possible over the medium term for small temples on Okinawa or in Osaka or Nagoya, but stagnant active membership and congregational growth may delay the construction of any additional temples for many years.

Comparative Growth

No other world region has as large as a population as East Asia.  The LDS Church has a small presence in East Asia compared to other world regions and over half of the number of stakes, members, and congregations in East Asia are located in the Philippines although the Philippines ranks fourth by population in the region.  Excluding the Philippines, the size of the LDS Church in East Asia far surpasses South Asia and is comparable to Western Europe.  The extent of national outreach for the LDS Church in East Asia is lower than most world regions largely due to the lack of an official church presence and minimal mission outreach performed in the populous nations of China, Vietnam, and Burma and extremely limited LDS outreach in Indonesia.  Together these four constitute 79% of the population of East Asia.  The LDS Church overall appears to experience higher member-missionary activity in East Asia compared to most other world regions largely due to government restrictions limiting proselytism and the desire for members to share LDS teachings with family and friends.  Membership and congregational growth rates have been comparable to South America as slow membership growth and stagnant congregational growth occurred in the 2000s.  Member activity rates are lower than most world regions and the degree of dependency on North American missionaries to staff regional missionary needs is comparable to most world regions.  East Asia includes several of the most populous nations with no LDS missions.   

Missionary-minded Christian groups report smaller numbers of members in East Asia but generally experience moderate to rapid growth.  Unlike Latter-day Saints, these denominations generally report sizeable numbers of members in the region's most populous nations.  In 2010, there were approximately 200,000 Seventh Day Adventists in Indonesia and 400,000 in China whereas Latter-day Saints numbered fewer than 10,000 in each nation.  Government restrictions have limited the scope and consistency of outreach for many Christian groups in the region notwithstanding moderate to high rates of receptivity in many nations.  Christian groups report frustrations working in secularized East Asian nations but generally experiencing increasing numbers of congregations and membership and higher convert retention rates than Latter-day Saints due to greater time vested in preparing converts for baptism and member-missionary-focused programs.  Other Christian groups have been much more effective and precise in outreach directed toward ethnic minority groups in southern China and in Southeast Asia, resulting in some ethnic groups comprising primarily of Christians in northern Burma.  Latter-day Saints and most missionary-minded Christian groups have a comparably-sized presence in East Asian nations with smaller populations such as Mongolia and Cambodia. 

Future Prospects

The outlook for future LDS Church growth in East Asia is mixed due to low member activity rates, decreasing numbers of congregations, stake consolidations, few members serving full-time missions, and declining receptivity in most nations with a long-term LDS presence and sizeable LDS populations.  Local leadership is self sustaining in several nations like South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan but member activity rates are low, convert retention rates are poor, and prospects for expanding national outreach are unlikely.  The development of LDS teaching and outreach approaches tailored to cultural conditions is warranted in these and other East Asian nations in order to improve LDS outreach capabilities.  Maintaining the current degree of outreach in these nations may be challenging in the coming years due to these issues.  Opportunities for LDS outreach in nations with more receptive populations has only been significantly realized in the Philippines, but legal restrictions and government policies in many nations prevent the assignment of proselytizing missionaries and require coordinated efforts between mission or area leadership and local branch or ward missionaries.  Local member-missionary efforts will likely continue to produce good results for convert retention and member activity in nations with government restrictions on foreign missionaries or open proselytism.  Prospects for the strongest church growth appear most favorable in China, the Philippines, Mongolia, Cambodia, and Malaysia due to high receptivity and developing self-sufficiency among local members and leaders.  The first LDS stakes in Cambodia, China, and Malaysia may be organized within the next decade and additional stakes will likely be organized in Mongolia, the Philippines, and Taiwan in the coming years.  Some stakes may be consolidated in South Korea and Japan if stagnant growth continues and additional congregations are closed.  Conditions appear favorable for the construction of additional times in locations with sizeable, self-sufficient LDS populations primarily in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.  Additional missions are likely to be organized in the Philippines in the coming years due to high receptivity, administrative and leadership training needs, and the large size of the Filipino missionary force.  Some nations may have additional missions organized in the coming years, such as Thailand and Malaysia.  National outreach will most likely experience the greatest expansion in China and Malaysia in the coming years.  Additional congregations may be organized in Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam as a result of member families moving to cities without a church presence and full-time missionaries opening cities to missionary work if permitted.  Developing efficient, smart, and legal tactics of employing local members in expanding national outreach in nations with government restrictions limiting the number of full-time missionaries or barring their service altogether will be required to make any significant headway in Burma, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam for the foreseeable future.  Humanitarian and development projects abound in many nations in the region and offer continued opportunities for passive LDS outreach. 

[1]  "Background Note: Indonesia," Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 4 August 2010.

[2]  "Background Note: Philippines," Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 19 April 2010.

[3]  Chene, Marie. "Overview of corruption in Burma (Myanmar)," Transparency International, 23 March 2009.

[4]  "Background Note: Indonesia," Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 4 August 2010.

[5]  "China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau), International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009.

[6]  "Japan," International Religious Freedom Report 2010, 17 November 2010.

[7]  "Philippines," International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009.

[8]  "Timor-Leste," International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009.

[9]  "Japan," International Religious Freedom Report 2010, 17 November 2010.

[10]  "Philippines," International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009.

[11]  "Singapore," International Religious Freedom Report 2005, retrieved 21 May 2011.

[12] "Thailand," International Religious Freedom Report 2009, retrieved 15 March 2010.

[13]  "Timor-Leste," International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009.

[14] "Burma," International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009.

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