Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Patrick Q. Mason


Patrick Q. Mason


James E. Sanders


Henri J. F. Dengah II


After World War II, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew dramatically throughout Latin America, with much of this growth happening after 1960. My thesis studies how the growing numbers of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala and El Salvador (between 1960 and 1992) developed strong and meaningful religious community and became more and more committed to their new Latter-day Saint identity. Being a Latter-day Saint in these two countries was similar in many ways to the experience of being a Latter-day Saint in the U.S., but there were also some important differences. My thesis considers what made the Salvadoran and Guatemalan Latter-day Saint community and identity of this time unique and also why this community and this identity were so meaningful to these people.

I talk about how church social activities helped make Central American Latter-day Saints more committed to their faith, were fun and educational, and helped local members feel like they belonged in their congregations. I also look at how taking part in group bus trips from Central America to the Latter-day Saint temple in Arizona helped them further strengthen their commitment to their Church and feel a greater sense of belonging in the worldwide Latter-day Saint community. Finally, I talk about how local Central American Latter-day Saints (specifically the Latter-day Saints of San Miguel, El Salvador) worked to preserve their prized religious community and identity when violent civil war broke out.



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