The first missionary for the Church came to Jamaica in 1841, but his stay was brief. In 1853, missionaries were again sent to Jamaica. They found a great deal of antagonism and stayed only six weeks.
Between 1976 and 1978, the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Jamaica consisted of three individuals: Victor E. Nugent, his wife, Verna and their son Peter. In 1974 the Nugents became the first native Jamaican LDS converts. Unfortunately, economic and political upheaval forced the small branch’s Priesthood leaders and their families to depart from the Caribbean Island, leaving the Nugents all alone. The Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission was their closest LDS neighbor.
Determined to remain faithful, the Nugents held church meetings in their home. Victor didn’t hold the Priesthood, so Sacrament meeting wasn’t an option, but they could have Sunday School, Relief Society and Primary.
Nearly four decades later, the Nugents contrasted that sweet memory with witnessing the organizing of Jamaica’s first stake. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve presided over the historic event that filled the chapel with more than 800 members on June 8, 2014.