News Release

Church Leaders Meet with Media in Nairobi on October 18, 2023

Church presence and impact in Kenya shared with newspaper, television and radio reporters

The Africa Central Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consistently encourages communication councils of the Church to work to bring greater public awareness of the Church in Africa and to dispel misunderstandings about the Church. To advance those purposes a media event was held by the Church’s Kenya Communications Council on October 18, 2023 at Hill Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Twenty-six members of the media from Nairobi, Kenya, attended the media event. The media representatives were from print, television and radio organizations. 

Four Church Leaders spoke and responded to questions from the media. President Frederick Shamola of the Nairobi South Stake spoke about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kenya including its history, number of members and number of and general locations of congregations. He explained the organizational structure of the church beginning with families, branches and wards, and districts and stakes.  He explained that a stake is a collection of wards or congregations and that a stake is similar to a Catholic Diocese. The presiding officer of a stake is a President and the presiding officer of a ward is a Bishop. Both, as are all organizational positions, are lay positions, meaning the office holders are not paid. There are 3 stakes in Nairobi comprised of 17 wards and the several districts dispersed throughout Kenya are made up of 52 branches. In total, there are currently 18,845 members of the Church in Kenya, and that number is growing by 1,290 converts per year plus 200 new births. There are currently 190 full time missionaries – young men and young women between the ages of 18 and 27 serving in Kenya who take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the doorsteps of people. The branches and wards of the Church in Kenya meet in church buildings that are owned or leased by the Church.

Denis Mukasa, President of the Nairobi East Stake, then addressed the topic of humanitarian projects of the Church in Kenya. President Mukasa shared that 578 life changing Humanitarian projects have been sponsored by the Church, and over US$45.7 million dollars have been spent on these projects throughout Kenya. Many projects are currently underway ranging from clean water projects, to bathroom or latrine construction, to school facility building or upgrades. He outlined the priorities of Church Humanitarian efforts as being to:

Alleviate Food Insecurity

Improve Education through facility upgrades and learning tools.

Enhance health and safety particularly through the provision of clean drinking water

Be good stewards of the earth.

As a result of the Church’s humanitarian efforts the lives of 43 million Kenyans have been positively affected.  The impact of the Church’s humanitarian activities will increase in the coming years. To highlight one of many planned projects, on November 2, Trees for Food will be launched. In the Trees for Food project, 200,000 fruit trees will be planted in six counties in Kenya. The purchase, distribution and planting of 200,000 fruit tree seedlings is made possible by a gift of $250,000 from the Church, and through volunteers and partners the trees will be planted. The desired end is that the fruit seedlings will reduce food insecurity for recipients, will provide a source of income and will combat climate change through the millions of kilograms of carbon that will be eliminated from our atmosphere by these new trees. The principle that inspires the Church’s humanitarian activities is the Christ made declaration that the two great commandments are to love God and to love our fellow men and women.

The final speaker was Prince Omondi who was called six months ago as President of the Nairobi West Stake. President Omondi gave a brief overview of what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe and how participating in the Church results in an abundant, joyful life.  He spoke of the blessing of having prophets today who not only lead the Church, but also teach us what Jesus Christ would have us know to prosper spiritually in these challenging times. He cited the construction of a new temple in the Mountain View area of Nairobi. This temple, the first in East Africa, will be a great blessing to East Africans and especially to Kenyans. He talked about the vital role temples play in binding husband and wife and children together as a family – forever.  He talked of church standards such as our respect for chastity and about our health code which is known as the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom instructs that church members should avoid coffee and tea, harmful drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Abiding by this direction results in a healthier, happier, wiser life. He closed by mentioning the young men and young women who answer the call to serve as full time missionaries and he shared his own experience as a young missionary nearly 30 years ago. President Omondi’s family was poor. As a missionary he learned to love the gospel and he learned to fly – figuratively speaking. What he has achieved in family, in work, and in the community he attributes to having served a mission as a young man. He sees the same future ahead for the young men and young women from his stake who leave home for 24 or 18 months to serve somewhere in the world. Right now, the Kenya West Stake has missionaries serving in Great Britain, in the Philippines, and throughout Africa.

Following President Omondi’s remarks, the floor was opened to questions. Elder Johnny Baddoo, an Area Seventy and the presiding officer of the Church in Kenya, replied to many questions posited by the assembled media representatives.  These questions ranged from what the Church is doing to fight climate change, to the leadership structure of the church with no professional ministry, and the role of women in leadership, to the purpose of the Book of Mormon - wondering whether it was similar to or different than the Bible and why it was necessary for the Church to have this additional book of scripture, to what scholarships are available for college or trade school for post primary educated members of the church, to whether our full time missionaries are paid, to how much tithing the Church collected from its members last year, and to several other topics.

This event with the media was a productive evening where fundamental elements of the Church were explained to an interested audience of TV, newspaper or radio professionals and where myths and misunderstandings were dispelled.

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