Next month, India is poised to get its first Mormon stake.
The Hyderabad India District will become a stake (which is a group of congregations similar to a diocese) in a special conference May 25-27, according to a report by Matt Martinich on his blog, ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com.
"The creation of the first stake in India marks a significant milestone in LDS growth in India as stakes require large numbers of active members and priesthood holders to operate," Martinich writes. "It is likely that all six branches in the district will become wards in the new stake."
The establishment of an LDS stake in India presents the possibility that one of the faith's temples could soon be built there, Martinich writes, "to serve approximately 13,000 members in India and Pakistan who must travel to the Hong Kong China Temple to participate in temple ordinances. "
Commenters on Martinich's blog were delighted by the development in India.
"I would say that this is nothing less than a temple announcement in India to me," writes Shanth Kumar Katighar, who says he has served in the LDS Church there for 19 years, "and will be proud to be a member of this great historic movement for my future generations."
Earlier this year, the Utah-based faith sent four young Mormon missionaries to Istanbul, Turkey.
For years, only senior couples on LDS humanitarian missions were allowed into that Muslim nation.
The move followed the church's recognition by the government within the past year.
"Reports indicate that missionaries will learn the Turkish language by attending university classes for a portion of the day once transferred to Istanbul," Martinich writes. "It is unclear whether missionaries will be permitted to teach Muslims or be restricted to working with individuals who follow other religious beliefs."
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