The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Thailand

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The Ubon Ratchathani Stake Center, the first stake created outside Bangkok. Ubon Ratchathani is located in eastern Thailand. The new stake covers more than half of the area known as "Isan" or northeast Thailand. Traditionally this region has been a poorer part of Thailand since less rainfall is realized here than in other parts of the country. New irrigation techniques developed over the last 20 years has improved the agricultural economy is this region markedly.
Latest News
August 15-16, 2015 - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visits Bangkok

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles visited Bangkok, He led a priesthood leadership meeting, with priesthood leader from Thailand 3 stakes and districts. On Sunday August 16, he spoke to an audience of over 2140 members at the Ramkhamhang University Conference Center. He also met with missionaries serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. According to the Church News (September 5, 2015) Elder Holland made the following comments to those in attendance.

  • "This looks like a session of general conference."
  • Elder Holland asked for a show of hands of members who had served as, or are now supporting, missionaries from Thailand. A large number raised their hands. He spoke of a sister missionary from Thailand whom he met in Palmyra, New York, while visiting there with his grandchildren just a month earlier. He commented on the beautiful and strong testimony she bore.

He challenged church members to:

  1. Help the Church grow by introducing their friends to the missionaries.
  2. Plan and prepare to embrace the temple, to "have that beautiful house of the Lord become a veritable beacon in this land.
During his trip to Southeast Asia he also visited branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, Spoke to a gathering of about 2000 in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and dedicated the country of Timor-Leste (eastern end of the Indonesian Islands) for the preaching of the gospel.

Below are photos from Elder Holland's visit to Bangkok Thailand:

Elder Holland speaking in Bangkok Thailand, August 16, 2015
Elder Garrett Gong - President of the Asia Area
Elder Wisit Khanakham - Thai Area Authority Seventy
Sunday Conference Session - Ramkhamhang University
Priesthood Leaders - Chaengwattana Building, Nonthaburi Province Thailand
July 1, 2015 - New Mission Presidents begin service
On July 1 every year new mission presidents new mission president begin service. On this day new mission presidents began service in Bangkok Thailand, Phnom Penh Cambodia, and New Delhi India and about 110 other missions world-wide. Next year there will be over 160 new mission presidents called, because in July 2013, 59 new missions were created all at the same time. Also on July 1st every year the general authorities of the church begin a month long vacation. This leaves the new mission presidents with no one but the Lord to rely on as they begin there service. That actually could be a good thing. President David Senior and his wide Shelly completed their three years of service in Thailand. President and Sister Johnson arrived in Bangkok to replace them.
President and Sister Johnson (left), President and Sister Senior (right)
Well wishers bid President and Sister Senior farewell at Suwanaphumi Airport in Bangkok
Editor's note: I sent an e-mail to President Senior to congratulate him on what had been accomplished during the last three years, in part it read:

I wanted to congratulate you and your wife on accomplishing a great deal in Thailand over the past three years. Two new stakes, a temple announcement, and more converts in three years than ever before!

President Senior responded:

I wish we were deserving of your most generous comments. The truth is we have been laborers in the vineyard, having a special front row seat watching the Lord do His own work. Furtherance to that truth is we currently drink from the wells dug by those who have gone before. The temple announcement is in a way a validation of all of that work, faith, energy of missionaries and members over the past 50 years. Thank you for being a significant part of that.

June 14, 2015 - If it is June, it is time for a new Stake in Thailand
The Bangkok Thailand stake was created on June 18, 1995. The Thailand Bangkok North stake was created on June 15, 2014. On June 14, 2015, the Ubon Thailand Stake was created by Elder Garrett W. Gong, President of the Church's Asia area. Preparations for this stake was made last year with re-alignment of the districts in Northeast Thailand. Ubon is located in Eastern Thailand, Missionaries have been serving there since August 1974 when Elders John R. Grange and E. Donald Harris Jr. were assigned to open the city.
Members of the new stake vote to sustain their new leaders
Ubon Ratchathani Stake Presidency
L-R President Prawit, 1st Counselor - President Amporn, Stake President, President Lersan, 2nd Counselor
50th Anniversary of Missionary Work in Thailand - A Celebration - November 2016

President Suchat Chaichana of the Bangkok Thailand Stake has confirmed the dates for the 50th Anniversary of Missionary Work in Thailand ** November 11-13, 2016 **

Thailand was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel on November 2, 1966, by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley. The first missionaries did not arrive until February 2, 1968.

Here is what President Chaichana had to say regarding this event:

We plan to have all members from all units gather together in Bangkok on November 12, 2016 to celebrate 50th Anniversary for the whole day. We will rent the national stadium or national convention hall for 4000 people. There will be exhibition booths for all church departments and each ward and branch from all over the country will display their unit's history. We will also have the local Thai food festival that everyone can test the local Thai food from every region. At night we will have culture and art showcase from the representatives of each part in Thailand.

The next day, November 13 we will hold the national conference which will preside by the general authority.

November 14-15 is the annual Loy Kratong Festival A couple days before that we plan to have fundraising activities for charity between members and RMs such as golf tournament, bowling tournament and a marathon.

Suchat Chaichana - President Bangkok Thailand Stake

It is time to get excited and start planning; but, as of now, no one can purchase an airplane ticket for November 2016. Alan Hess, Thailand missionary #1 is working with others in the travel industry to come up with some packages to offer to former missionaries. Details on those will be available perhaps as early as late this year. The Bangkok Thailand Temple cannot be complete by the end of 2016, but perhaps it will have started to rise from the ground if we are lucky and there are no troubles in completing the exterior design and getting required permits.

May 3, 2015 - Asia Area Conference
A conference for the Asia Area will be help Sunday May 3, 2015. The Asia Area, headquartered in Hong Kong, is the larges Area in the Church in terms of both geography and population. Since bringing the area together in one place is simply impossible, the conference will be delivered electronically.
April 29 - May 1 - Bangkok Stake Youth Conference
Some photographs of the nationwide Youth Conference. Photos: Suchart Chaichana - President Bangkok Thailand Stake
April 25, 2015 - Former Thailand Missionary called as Mission President in India
Kirt LaMont Hodges, 56, and Shawna Lyn Porter Hodges, four children, Idaho Falls 19th Ward, Idaho Falls North Stake: India New Delhi Mission, succeeding President Peter E. Sackley and Sister Kelly Sackley.

Brother Hodges is a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, stake Young Men president, Scoutmaster and missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Accountant, federal government. Born in Preston, Idaho, to Thayne K Hodges and Karen Ruth LaMont Hodges.

Sister Hodges is a former stake Young Women president, stake Primary presidency counselor, ward Relief Society and Primary president, stake Young Women camp director, Sunday School teacher and ward Primary chorister. Born in Preston, Idaho, to Lynn Spatig Porter and Arlene L Neuenswander Porter Larsen.

April 2015 Missionary Group
The April 2015 Missionary Group atop the Church Office Building - Future site of the Bangkok Thailand Temple.
April 5, 2015 - A Temple for Thailand
At the Sunday morning session of the 185th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, President Thomas S. Monson announced that a temple would be constructed in Bangkok Thailand. Social media then rang out with expressions of gratefulness from Thai members and former Thai missionaries.

When President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Thailand in June 2000, he promised the Saints that one day a temple would be built in Thailand, the announcement that will fulfill that promise was made by President Monson, just a few months short of 15 years later.

The site for the temple was purchased in 2008. At that time the church purchased property on New Petchaburi Road (not far from the Asoke Chapel - Thailand's first - completed in 1972 and dedicated in 1974 by Elder David B. Haight (at that time an assistant to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles).

Church growth in Thailand over the past 18 months has been nothing less than spectacular, with almost 2000 baptisms in 2014, making Thailand one of the top baptizing missions in the church. The offer of a way to have sins forgiven resonated with the Thai people who had suffered from a divided government and many uncertainties since September of 2006. Retention results so far have also exceed the long term average for the country.

It will be interesting to see what countries make up the temple district for the new temple. Clearly Cambodia with 2 stakes in Phnom Penh will be included; but what countries will be left in the Hong Kong district, so that it still has some of its own? Perhaps Viet Nam, Indonesia and Singapore will be left with Hong Kong? While India, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar are assigned to Thailand.

Since it takes 2-3 years from the time of the groundbreaking to construct a typical new temple, the completion date for the Bangkok Thailand Temple will be 2018 or later, even if ground is broken in the fall of 2015. Groundbreaking cannot be done until the local permits have been obtained, and such permits will require a rendering of the outside of the building, and the specifications for the outside dimensions as well. It is not known if any architectural design work has already been completed.

March 15, 2015 - Former Missionary in Viet Nam called as President of the Cambodia Phnom Phen Mission
James Lowell Christensen, 63, and Charlene Baird Christensen, six children, Draper 11th Ward, Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake: Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission, succeeding President David C. Moon and Sister Kathryn Moon.

Brother Christensen serves as a ward mission leader and is a former bishop, stake presidency counselor, ward Young Men president, Scoutmaster and missionary in the Hong Kong/Vietnam Mission. President/general counsel, Pacific Western Equipment Finance. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Lowell H. Christensen and Catherine Renee Young Christensen.

Sister Christensen serves as a stake Relief Society president and is a former ward Primary, Young Women and Relief Society president, Relief Society teacher, Primary pianist and ward organist. Born in Salt Lake City to Rey Lorenzo Baird and Joanne Pay Baird.

Editors Note: James L Christensen was one of the first missionaries from the Southern Far East Mission [Hong Kong] to serve in Viet Nam. Others who arrived in Saigon on April 6, 1973 included: Colin B. Van Orman, David T. Posey, and Richard C. Holloman Jr. This group returned home prior to the fall of South Viet Nam in April 1975, but they were followed by eleven others. There are Vietnamese who live in Cambodia, many displaced by the War in Vietnam. Vietnamese speaking missionaries have been serving in Cambnodia since 1994, arriving not long after the first Cambodian speaking missionaries. Viet Nam is the responsibility of the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission. Missionaries have been serving in Viet Nam since 2012 under s restricted proselyting program, originally known as "Branch Builders". More recently this concept has been exteded to Laos and Myanmar which are part of the Thailand Bangkok Mission..

March 7, 2015 - Introducing Kelly R. Johnson - 15th President of the Thailand Bangkok Mission

Source: LDS Church News -Kelly Ray Johnson, 52, and Teressa Lynn Bartram Johnson, five children, Kaysville 8th Ward, Kaysville Utah Central Stake: Thailand Bangkok Mission, succeeding President David M. Senior and Sister Shelly A. Senior.

Brother Johnson is a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, high councilor, bishop, ward mission leader and missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Forensic accountant and partner, Norman, Townsend & Johnson. Born in Ogden, Utah, to Harold Raymond Johnson and Helen Cragun Johnson.

Sister Johnson is a former ward Young Women president, ward Young Women and Relief Society presidencies counselor and ward nursery leader. Born in Sumter, South Carolina. Daughter of Thomas Halstead and Darlena Halstead.

March 4, 2015 - The first missionary group of 2015 arrives in Bangkok
Ten Elders and six Sisters arrived in Bangkok in early March. Pictured here with President and Sister Senior on top of the Church Office Building.
Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit - 1st Counselor - Mission Presidency
January 10, 2015 - New Thailand Bangkok Mission President Called
The Church News announced that Kelly R. Johnson has been called as the next President of the Thailand Bangkok Mission. His home is in Kaysville, Utah, just north of Salt Lake City. In the future the Church News will publish a short biography. He will begin service on July 1, 2015, replacing President David Senior.

The next President for the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission was listed as "To Be Announced".

January 10, 2015 - New Missions to be created on July 1, 2015
Source: LDS Church News - The new missions include these eleven (two in Utah): Portugal, Porto; Washington, Yakima; California, Modesto; Bolivia, La Paz, El Alto; Argentina, Buenos Aires East; Argentina, Santa Fe, Orem; Utah, Logan; Costa Rica San Jose West; Peru Trujillo South; Trinidad, Port of Spain. Missions Discontinued (one): Utah, Salt Lake City Central - which was created three years ago as an experiment of a Utah mission without cars for any missionaries. Net increase 10 missions.

December 2014 - Mission Goal - 5000 members at Sacrament Meeting on the same Sunday.
Church growth in Thailand has been strong the past 13 months. The goal is to record 5,000 members at Sacrament Meeting. This would be an increase of over 2000 over the past 30 months.
December 11, 2014 - December 2014 Missionary Group Arrives
Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit
November 30, 2014 - New Stake Presidency for the Bangkok Thailand Stake

At stake conference for the Bangkok Thailand Stake, held November 30, 2014, a new stake presidency was called. President Sarawut Kanyaphan who had served since April 2010, was released owing to his wife's battle with a brain tumor, see The Kanyaphan Family Story. President Suchart Chaichana has been a member of the church since 1976. His conversion story "Underneath the Bookshelf" was printed in an Ensign Article in July 2002. President Rittirong Wongsuwan was 2nd counselor in the prior presidency President Peter Wilden is at least "Half Thai" since he and his Thai wife have lived in Thailand for most of the past 30+ years. Peter Wilden was a missionary in Thailand (1974-1976).

[Photo: Suchat Chaichana ]
October 19, 2014 - Special District Conference in the Northeast (Ubon, Khon Kaen, Udorn)
Elder Gerrit Gong (President Asia Area) presided at a multi-district conference held in Khon Kaen. At the conference, the three districts were consolidated into just two districts, with the Khon Kaen district being eliminated The conference was held at the Charoenthani Hotel.
A portion of the congregation at the Special District Conference held October 19, 2014, in Khon Kaen, Thailand
New district alignment in Northeast Thailand (Isan)
As can be seen from the split in branches, the Udorn district is being primed to become Thailand's thrid stske.
Map shows the branches assigned to each district
Udorn District Presidency. Left to Right: Brother Khamphee Keosouphom (Laos) 1st Counselor, President <>, Ray Brown (Senior Missionary and former missionary in Thailand (1971-1973). Elder and Sister Brown are presently assigned to Udorn
Ubon District Presidency - <> 1st Counselor, <> President, <> 2nd Counselor. Yes the web master will have to get out to that part of Thailand some time.
Missionaries Serving in Northeast Thailand at the time of the Special District Conference
October 2014 - Changes in the Mission Presidency
With the return of Mani and Nadda Seangsuwan to Utah, the Thailand Bangkok Mission presidency was reorganized with Wisan Wisanbannawit as 1st Counselor and Lance Stoker (a senior missionary from Idaho, and former missionary in Thailand (1971-1973)) as second counselor. Elder and Sister Stoker are presently serving in Roi Et, in Northeast Thailand.
Left to Right: Wisan Wisanbannawit 1st Counselor, President Senior, Lance Stoker 2nd Counselor
September 21, 2014 - Chiang Mai District Conference

District Conference for the Chiang Mai district (Northern Thailand) was held September 21, 2014, at the Chiang Mai meetinghouse.

This represents quite a change from the Chiang Mai district conference I attended in February 1975. That conference was held under a tent setup on the front lawn of the Elder's residence. [Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit]

September 18, 2014 - The September Missionary Group - 18 Strong
August 6, 2014 - New Missionary Arrival
The August 2014 group of missionaries arrived in Bangkok. Pictured here with President and Sister Senior. Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit
July 1, 2014 - Since November 2013, the mission has been baptizing in excess of 200 per month
One approach has been to offer tours of Church facilities to people met on the street nearby.  When showing them the baptismal font they ask - would you like to have your sins washed away? If the answer is yes, they establish a time for the first discussion.  The continuing political turmoil in Thailand has also made may wary of how much they can rely on their Buddhist faith or the government to help them find peace in their lives.
June 24, 2014 - New Missionary Arrival
The June 2014 group of missionaries arrived in Bangkok. Pictured here with President and Sister Senior. Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit
June 15, 2014 - A Special Conference in Bangkok
On June 15, 2014 a joint conference of the Bangkok Thailand Stake and the Bangkok North District will be held at the Amari Watergate Hotel. At the meeting, the Bangkok North Stake was created from the Bangkok North District and a new District The Bangkok West District was created from the Bangkok Thailand Stake and the Bangkok North District. As was widely expected former District President Sathit Kaivalvatana was called as the new stake president. Asia Area President Elder Gong presided, assisted by his first counselor Elder Wilson.
New and Continuing Stake and District Leaders
Bangkok Thailand North Stake>
  • Sathit Kaivalvatana President
  • Natthapol Lattisophonkul 1st Counselor
  • Narin Yantaphan 2nd Counselor
Bangkok Thailand West District
  • Arun Tongmee, President
  • Somboon Sukkul, 1st Counselor
  • Chot Jeepimay, 2nd Counselor
Bangkok Thailand Stake
  • Sarawut Kanyaphan President
  • Pattara Chaithip 1st Counselor
  • Rittirong Wongsuwan 2nd Counselor
Photos from the special conference on June 15, 2014 - by Wisan Wisanbannawit
Left to Right: President Senior, Elder Wilson, Natthapol Lattisophonkul 1st Counselor, President Sathit (seated), Narin Yantaphan 2nd Counselor, Elder Gong, Elder Woo (Area Seventy), Elder Khanakham (Area Seventy)

Continuing as the Presidency of the Thailand Bangkok Stake, L-R Pattara Chaithip 1st Counselor, Sarawut Kanyaphan President and Rittirong Wongsuwan 2nd Counselor


Bangkok West District Presidency L-R resident Sombon Sukkul, 1st Counselor. President Arun Thongmee District President and President Chod Jeephimai, second counselor
Elder Gong with Bangkok Thailand Stake Partriarch Brother Ponchai Juntratip
Audience Photo - Meeting at the Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
Audience Photo
The Bangkok Thailand Stake was created on June 18, 1995 by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. It took 19 years less three days to create Thailand's second stake.
June 15, 2014 - Changes in the Mission Presidency
With the call of Elder Wisit Khanakham as an Area Authority Seventy, there has been an open position in the mission presidency. The new counselor is Brother Wisan Wisanbannawit, who was released as 1st Counselor in the Bangkok North District when the Bangkok North Stake was organized. Brother Wisan manages the Bangkok Service Center and is a leading expert on the use of social media.
Left to Right - Mani Seangsuwan 1st Counselor, President David M. Senior and Wisan Wisanbannawit - Second Counselor
May 25, 2014 - Cambodia Celebration
Twenty years ago the first missionaries, Elder and Sister Dobson arrived in Cambodia. On July 1, 1997, the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission was organized from the Thailand Bangkok Mission with Leland D. White as the first mission president. He and Sister White had been serving as senior missionaries in the Thailand Bangkok Mission (serving in Cambodia) prior to their call. Today the Cambodian Saints celebrate 20 years of missionary work in their country with the creation of two stakes - Phnom Penh Cambodia South Stake and the Phnom Penh Cambodia North stake, the second and third stakes in Indochina.
Phnom Penh South Stake Center
Phnom Penh North Stake Center
May 22, 2014 - Here we go AGAIN! -
Yes, another coup d'etat by Thailand's military, about the 19th such event since 1932 when the absolute power of the monarchy was crushed in a bloodless revolution, The Thai's hate bloodshed and while by American standards, there has not been much of it, by Thai standards it was getting out of hand. Yes that's the bad news. The good news is that Thailand is very experienced with military takeovers. The military generally only steps forward when the government in power is so weak that nothing can be accomplished, such as happened this time. A year of political protests on each side was culminated by a court removing the current Prime Minister on political corruption charges. That is not to say that she had not also been accused of monetary corruption as well. In Thailand there is plenty of corruption to go around, and the current prime minister had a part in her share of shady and botched dealings. So if all goes to plan, the military will turn the government over to a set of their hand picked leaders, to run the country, while a new constitution is laid and new elections are set to return Thailand to a "technical democracy."

Marshall law is no big deal. The 40th Anniversary of the Dedication of Thailand for the preaching of the gospel in October 2006, was all held without any incidents, while Marshall law was in effect. So life goes on, the political stalemate replaced by the military and in about 2 years time, new elections. Repeating this process can be avoided if only those who lead the country can significantly reduce the amount of corruption that takes place. It seems with the complexity of today's world, governments everywhere need more bright, energetic, and honest people to make things work for ALL people.

May 3, 2014 - BYU's Young Ambassadors make a visit to Thailand
April 23, 2014 - New Missionary Arrival
The April 2014 group of missionaries arrived in Bangkok. Pictured here with President and Sister Senior. Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit
First Native Thai called as Area Authority Seventy
Wisit Khanakham, former President of the Bangkok Thailand Stake, and 40+ year active member of the Church in Thailand, was called as an Area Authority Seventy. He was sustained at the afternoon session of the 184th Annual General Conference. He will be a member of the 8th Quorum of the Seventy (Asia South).

Here is how Wisit first learned of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1969. This comes from Wisit's oral history. [Wisit Khanakham, Oral History, September 15, 1996, Church History Library, Call Number OH1554]

In 1969, a friend in High School asked Wisit, "Do you believe that a man can speak to God"? I responded, "What, say that again". She said, "Do you believe that a man can speak to God". I said, "No way that is impossible." She said, "I know that it isn't. If you would like to know about that you can go to church." They will teach you. I said, "No, because on Sunday I always go to the Buddhist School." Don't worry you can come and join us in the MIA activity. Every Wednesday night we have that activity. We study English and we show our talents to each other." I said, "We'll I wish I could study English with you." She said, "Come to our English class and to the activity." I then talked to my cousin and she said, "No problem, you can go." So my cousins and I attended MIA. We all had a good time.

Next my friend asked me to come to church on Sunday evening, because you don't go to Buddhist School at that time." So I started to do that. I did not understand what they were talking about, but I had a peaceful feeling when I was there. Then the missionaries were invited to visit us at my cousin's home. It was my cousins home, because my home was outside the city of Chiang Mai. Since I was going to school, I was living in town with my cousins and my Aunt. I continued to study with the missionaries, but the other members of my family stopped.

I studied with the missionaries for two years before I was baptized. Since my parents would not give permission for my baptism I had to wait until I was nineteen. Many missionaries taught me the gospel, among them were Elder Murray and Elder Dunlop. My mother cut me off from the family at that time. She tried to stop me from going to church, but I still went. I rode my bicycle one hour from home to church. I came close to the Lord because of the trials and persecution that my family laid upon me.

Webmaster's note: Brother Wisit has always been very kind to me. In 2002, my first return visit to Thailand since my mission, he invited my wife and I to visit his home for family home evening. It was a highlight of our trip, an evening I will never forget. On later visits to Thailand, he has dropped whatever he was doing to go to dinner with us. He leads by example and love.

March 2014 - Zone Leader Conference at the Mission Office in Bangkok
The huge increase in the number of Sisters serving missions has changed the landscape worldwide. Now Sisters are Zone Leaders and District leaders of Sisters. In some missions they use different terms, but it is the same responsibility. President and Sister Senior are seated front and center. Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit
March 2014 - New Missionary Arrival
The March 2014 group of missionaries arrived in Bangkok. A video was produced of this group's orientation. The video can be viewed at "News for Members and Friends of the LDS Church in Thailand" Photo: Wisan Wisanbannawit