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Fifth Mormon Stake created in American Samoa

(PRESS RELEASE) — The fifth stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) was created in American Samoa on Sunday, Aug. 26 at a special conference of the Church in Pago Pago.  A Latter-day Saint stake is a group of congregations in a designated geographical location.

Elder James J. Hamula, Pacific Area President of the Church presided at the conference and made the announcement of the new stake.

The new stake is called the Pago Pago Malaeimi Stake and will include six wards. 

In order to organize this new Pago Pago Samoa Malaeimi stake, the Pago Pago Samoa, Pago Pago Samoa Central and Pago Pago Samoa Mapusaga stakes were re-organized with some changes in boundaries. 

President Edward Lotulelei will preside over the Pago Pago Central Stake as the Stake President, with Bro. Sikaleti Maukoloa as first counselor, and Bro. Fa’asega Tanielu as the second counselor in the reorganization of the Pago Pago Central Stake. President Denny Afualo was released as the President of the Pago Pago Central Stake after 10 years of service as president. Also released was Bro. Saili as the first counselor to President Afualo in the stake, Bro. Sikaleti Maukoloa was retained as the first counselor in the newly reorganized stake presidency.

For the newly created Pago Pago Malaeimi Stake, President Sonny Aiono will preside over that newly organized Stake of Zion. Brother Arona Vaoga will serve as the first counselor, and Bro. Ray To’o will serve as the second counselor in this newly organized Pago Pago Malaeimi stake.

“This change is a result of many American Samoans joining the Church, and other formerly less-involved Latter-day Saints coming back to fellowship with us,” said Elder Hamula.

“We welcome all to come unto Christ, to worship with us, and to work with us to strengthen individuals and families through faith in Christ, and by obedience to the commandments of God.”

Elder Micheal  Roberts, an Area Seventy in the Church, travelled from New Zealand with Elder Hamula to assist with the stake creation.

Both Church leaders delivered sermons to conference attendees, focussing on the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Elder James J. Hamula was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 5, 2008, at age 50. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America Southwest Area. He is currently serving as President of the Pacific Area.

Elder Hamula received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and philosophy from Brigham Young University in 1981. He graduated magna cum laude with highest honors. In 1985, he received both a master of arts in political philosophy and a Juris Doctor degree from Brigham Young University. From 1985 until his call to be a General Authority, Elder Hamula practiced law.

Elder Hamula has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Germany Munich Mission, bishop, elders quorum president, high councilor, stake Young Men president, stake president, president of the Washington D.C. South Mission, and Area Seventy.

James Joseph Hamula was born in Long Beach, California, on November 20, 1957. He married Joyce Anderson in April 1984. They are the parents of six children.