Samoans across the world today are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the nation's independence. Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand on 1 January 1962 but it is celebrated each year on 1 June.
For Samoan members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this year is doubly significant. Not only are they joining their fellow Samoans in celebrating 50 years of independence, they are also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the organization of the first Latter-day Saint stake in Samoa. A stake is a group of congregations in a specific geographical location.
Missionaries and members of the Church have been in Samoa since the 1860's and there are now over 50,000 Mormons living in Samoa. Samoan Latter-day Saints worship in 134 congregations across the country. Samoan members of the Church living overseas, especially in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., number in the tens of thousands.
This Sunday (3 June 2012), the Church will hold a special meeting that will be broadcast via satellite to Mormon meetinghouses across Samoa and American Samoa.