Humanitarian Program Brief

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized with six members in upstate New York in 1830 based on the pattern of the Church Jesus Christ organized in the New Testament of the Bible. Today, the Church represents a worldwide community of believers, bound by strong faith and deep commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, having nearly 14 million members worldwide with more than 88,000 lives in NigeriaThe Church was officially recognized in Nigeria in 1987.

The worldwide growth of the Church is partly due to the service of volunteer lay ministers who serve at their own expense without receiving payment and more than 50,000 full-time, volunteer missionaries, using their own expenses, to teach the gospel, provide humanitarian services, helping those in need of education, providing employment services training, and health services and various relief programs to mention a few. Currently in Nigeria, there are 414 single young missionaries and 10 couples serving as senior missionaries.

Congregations of the Church are grouped into geographical areas known as wards (parishes) to worship in chapels or meetinghouses under the leadership of lay clergy who serve at their own expense. In Nigeria there are 275 congregations. Like all other Christian faiths, we believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and the Bible.

Additionally we believe in doing good to all mankind irrespective of their religious inclination. The Church’s humanitarian efforts, which have reached over 163 countries across the globe, play a significant role in that culture of service. Throughout the world, when communities suffer major disasters and face difficulties beyond their ability to meet, the Church is prepared to help. The aid assists people in need, without regard to race or religious affiliation. In 2008 alone, according to a humanitarian report given in the April 2009 worldwide general conference, the Church responded to major earthquakes in 5 countries, massive fires in 6 countries, hunger and famine in 18 countries, and flooding and severe storms in 34 countries. In total the Church and its members responded to 170 major events — nearly one every two days for the entire year. The church responded to many similar occurrences around the world in like manner.

Here in Nigeria, in 2009, the Church humanitarian efforts run into millions of Nigeria naira covering wheelchairs donations, provision of clean water to communities, capping of wells, drilling of bore holes, schools renovation, building of latrines, medical equipment donation, neonatal resuscitation training; vaccination, sanitation, first aid, HIV/AIDS, and measles campaigns, as well as many other projects. All these efforts are accomplished through the efforts of volunteer missionaries and members of the church.

Yearly, the Church’s humanitarian efforts supported through the donations and volunteerism of its members, donated over 600,000 days of labor, provided hundreds of thousands employment and job training placements in over 185 countries including Nigeria, with a cost of more than 1 billion US Dollars.

The Church’s teachings and programs are designed to fortify the family. The President of the Church Thomas S. Monson recently declared: “Our homes are to be more than sanctuaries; they should also be places where God’s Spirit can dwell, where the storm stops at the door, where love reigns and peace dwells. The world can at times be a frightening place in which to live. The moral fabric of society seems to be unraveling at an alarming speed.” But, he continued, this is a struggle that families and individuals “can and will win.”

Thus, in an increasingly fractional society, the importance of strengthening the family is paramount. The values essential to the prosperity of any civilization are first instilled in the family — the fundamental unit of society — where a husband and wife work together for the betterment of the whole. The time-honored values of charity, sacrifice, patience and forgiveness are the elements that allow society to move forward. They are most effectively learned at home.

The motivation behind the mission and programs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is predicated upon a strong and undeviating faith in Jesus Christ; strong belief in family values, the worth of souls and the simple charge given by Jesus so many years ago to “love thy neighbor as thyself”. The genius of the work is an entire force of Christ centered volunteer members who are serving at their own expenses and are donating their time and talents.


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.