News Release

The Church in Indonesia holds Cultural Night from the Archipelago to Commemorate its 50th Anniversary

Press conference to launch the book "Arise and Shine Forth: Commemorating 50th Anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Indonesia" was held prior to the celebration in Jakarta

On October 26, 2019, nearly 1200 members and friends from other faiths gathered at Sarbini Hall as a culminating event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Indonesia.

The Cultural Night from the Archipelago program combined the Church’s emphasis on family values with celebrating and preserving Indonesia’s diverse cultural and religious background.


Elder David F. Evans, Asia Area President of the Church, delivered his welcome remarks by extending appreciation to the honorable guests, H.E. Sinta Nuriyah Wahid, first lady of the late 4th President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman ‘Gus Dur’ Wahid; Dr. Alwi Shihab, Indonesia’s Special Envoy to the Middle East and Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, former Ambassador of Indonesia to the United States; and Muchamad Nabil Haroen, Chairman of IPSNU and a Member of the Indonesian Parliament, among other prominent religious and community figures in attendance.


Elder Evans said, “The benefit of this gathering is to remember the sacrifices and acts of faith laid out by pioneers of the Church in Indonesia, and to build upon that foundation to guide and gain inspiration for the Church’s work in the future.”

Endang Prihatini, a member of the production’s choir, was among the pioneers of the Church in Indonesia. She joined the Church when she was a high school student in 1974 and recalled being asked by the mission president in 1975 if she would like to serve a mission.

“Are there female missionaries? Is it even allowed?” she asked. “If so, yes, I will serve!”

She became the first female missionary in Indonesia for the Church, completing her mission in 1977. Upon her return, she was called as a seminary teacher and has continued serving in that role ever since, in addition to serving in many other capacities. She has diligently taught, inspired and endeared countless youth for over 40 years.


The cultural production under the direction of Rocky Silalahi featured a loving family who learns and shares their love for the country’s diverse cultural richness, from Sabang in Aceh to Merauke in Papua, in the spirit of Diversity in Unity, as taught by the Indonesia’s founding fathers. The visualization of this rich heritage was performed through traditional dance, accompanied by a selection of traditional and national songs performed by the choir, orchestra and guest vocalists.

“Members with no prior dance experience put in long hours to learn the dances,” Silalahi said. “The sense of togetherness was strengthened as members from all walks of life showed their enthusiasm to serve in any capacity and learn difficult dance moves. I appreciated the youth’s patience to teach their elders, and the humility of adults to learn from the youth.”


Dr. Alwi Shihab expressed his admiration for the Church’s prominent emphasis on family values and humanitarian assistance. He observed first-hand the friendship forged by the late President Gus Dur and President Gordon B. Hinckley.

 “The presence of the Church in Indonesia for the past 50 years is evidence of a conducive environment for religious diversity to prosper in the country,” he said. “I am proud to be called a good friend of the Church and sincerely welcome President Russell M. Nelson to Indonesia in his upcoming visit later this month.”          

Sujud Ariono, Chairman of Jakarta Stake’s 50th Anniversary Organizing Committee, was initially daunted by the task of how to meaningfully commemorate the Church’s 50th Anniversary in Indonesia. Under the direction of Elder Djarot Subiantoro, a member of the Seventy of the Church’s Asia Area, one element the committee settled on was to set a goal of 5,000 hours of service.

“Approximately 8,300 hours have been accomplished since June 2019, and more activities and service projects are still ongoing and will be implemented for the remaining months of the year,” he said. “The Church is becoming more widely known and members are increasingly motivated to find ways to help others.”


In addition to the broad variety of service projects already underway, Agus Kusumarmanto, National Public Affairs Director for the Church in Indonesia, shared plans for a series of disaster mitigation seminars to be conducted later in November of this year with the aim of assisting national and local government programs to raise awareness for disaster management and relief in Malang, Jakarta, and Palu. The series of seminars will be held in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), universities, and interfaith organizations.

“The Church’s special mission is to love one another,” Kusumarmanto said. “This has become our foundation in establishing partnerships to collaborate with other organizations and government agencies.”

The press conference leading up to the cultural celebration was attended by numerous media representatives where the book Arise and Shine Forth: Commemorating 50th Anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Indonesia was launched.

In the introductory remarks of the book, the Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU), Prof. Dr. Said Aqil Siroj, congratulated the Church for its 50th Anniversary and extended appreciation for the collaboration built through the years.

He wrote, “The importance of family as upheld by the Church is not only reflected in the members’ daily lives but also in the Church’s humanitarian efforts through its LDS Charities’ collaboration with government agencies and other organizations.”


Elder Subiantoro emphasized, “This celebration aimed to further clarify facts about the Church and to strengthen the existing relationship with its partners, especially in providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Indonesia.”

He concluded, “I invite members to reflect on the Church’s progress in the country and ask themselves, ‘Have we done enough or is there any room for improvement?’”

The cultural performance in the Jakarta Stake was the first of a series of celebrations in Indonesia. Surakarta Stake in Central Java and Surabaya District in East Java simultaneously convened their respective celebratory performances on November 9, 2019, in collaboration with local government agencies and interfaith organizations.

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