Latest News
July 22, 2011 - Chaengwattana Building in Nonthaburi to be dedicated. Thailand's largest chapel constructed in Nonthaburi on Chaengwattana Road will be dedicated on Sunday August 21, 2011. The dedication will follow the Bangkok North District Conference. Construction photographs can be seen in the entry for September 17, 2010. Ground was broken on January 23, 2010. The building will become the District Center, and home to the following branches Pakkret, DonMuang and Chaengwattana. The Chaengwattan branch will be English speaking. Wisan Wisanbannawit provided the photographs of the newly completed facility.

Front View
Rear View
Chapel
Cultural Hall
Entry
Breezeway (Between Chapel and Classroom Wings)

July 4, 2011 - First Laotian Couple Called to service in Laos - Elder  Chanta & Sister Sounthara Luangrath of California have been called to return to their homeland as senior missionaries.  Their period of service starts this month. So far no proselyting missionaries have been able to serve in Laos.  Those who are interested in learning more about the church area sent accross the river to Nong Khai, Thailand, where missionaries from the Thailand Bangkok mission perform the instruction.
June 12, 2011 - Steps toward a Second Stake in Thailand

Stake / District Conference - June 12, 2011 at the Landmark Hotel, Bangkok
Photos Coutesy of Wisan Wisanbannawit

Elder Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy and member of the Asia area presidency presided at the Bangkok Stake and Pakkret District Conference where the Bangkok North District was created from the existing Pakkret District and the northern parts of the Bangkok Stake. The meeting was held at the church's favorite place for large gatherings "The Landmark Hotel". The new district will include:

1) Lopburi
2) Ayuthaya
3) Banbuathong
4) Pakkret
from the former Pakkret District and

1) Rangsit
2) Don Muang
3) Bangken (demoted from ward to branch)

from the Bangkok Thailand Stake

Also created was a new English speaking branch named Chengwattana as part of the district.

The new building under construction on Chaengwattana Road will remain a district center, just as it was called when ground was broken in 2010.  When this district gets strong enough one can see the Bangkok North District becoming the Nonthaburi Thailand Stake.  Unfortunately the overall sacrament meeting attendance in Thailand has not increased much over the last six years. There are some outstanding church leaders in Thailand; however, we need many more of them to move the church forward in the "Land of Smiles".  This June marks the 16th Anniversary of the creation of the Bangkok Thailand Stake.

May 1-5, 2011 - BYU Ballroom Dance team performs in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

March 24, 2011 - Earthquake in Northeastern Burma Impacts Northern Thailand - A magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered in northeastern Burma caused some minor damage in northern Thailand particularly in and near Chiang Rai. Few people as far south a Bangkok felt the quake. The chapel in Chiang Mai was said to be undamaged by this earthquake.

December 7, 2010 - The new Thai Triple Combination is available now. [See the entry for November 8, 2010 for ordering from within the United States].

Congratulations to the Translation Team in Bangkok for making the Thai Triple Combination a reality.  The first edition of the Thai Book of Mormon was printed in 1976. The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was printed in 1979.  Both of these predate the revised 1979 LDS Edition of the Bible in English and the 1981 Edition of the Triple Combination in English.  While some will grumble and moan about the changes in this 2nd Edition of the Latter-day scriptures in Thai, that follow present mandated translation guidelines from church headquarters, there is no doubt that having some of the content from the LDS Bible, and the expanded cross references and index (from 1981) will be a blessing to the Thai Saints and will strengthen the church in Thailand.

Thai Pearl of Great Price Title Page
The "Large Print" English Edition (left), Thai (2010) Edition (right).

Spine of the Thai Triple Combination
3 Nephi 11 Heading

From the photo above you can see that the Thai triple combination is somewhat smaller than the large print edition in English. What you cannot see from the photograph is that is it somewhat thicker than the English version. You can click on all of the images above to see enlarged version.

While no conclusions can be drawn from the page counts of the first and second editions due to format and font differences, content differences etc. (not to mention footnote differences) that detail is provided here.

Volume
English
(1981)
Thai 1st Edition
(1976-79)
Thai 2nd Edition
(2010)
Book of Mormon
531
620
707
D&C
294
257
395
Pearl of Great Price
59
67
86
Book of Mormon Index
N/A
52
N/A
D&C Index
N/A
8
N/A
Triple Index
416
N/A
220

The Thai Triple Combination also has the Bible Maps and Photographs and selections from the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible as found in the LDS English Bible (1979).

November 8, 2010 - New Thai Scriptures are in the Warehouse in Salt Lake City.
A call to the LDS Church distribution center in Salt Lake City revealed that the Thai Triple combination is in the distribution center warehouse, but no purchases are allowed until a certain number have been shipped to Thailand. There are two formats. The ordering information for the central distribution center in Salt Lake City Utah is:

Format
Item #
Cost USD
Economy (Paperback)
34744425
$   5.00
Leather bound (Not Indexed)
34404425
$ 18.50

November 3, 2010 - New Triple Combination now available in the Thai Language - Name of the Church in the Thai language has now officially changed.

 The new translation - 2nd edition of the LDS scriptures in the Thai language are now available on-line at this address
http://scriptures.lds.org/tha/

It also means that the official name of the church has now changed to this:
In the standard name plate format it looks like this:


The sacrament prayers in Thailand will change Sunday November 14, 2010 to follow the new translation. Printed versions should be available in coming weeks in Thailand and from the distribution center in Salt Lake. The new Thai scriptures were printed in Salt Lake City, Utah.

October 23, 2010 - Isan hit by remnants of Typhoon Megi, Church provides relief to displaced families

A typhoon (hurricanes in the western pacific are known as typhoons) named Megi inflicted damage along with pain and suffering to the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand during the past week. After hitting the northern island of Luzon in the Philippines, the storm regained strength as it crossed the South China sea and hit Vietnam. As it weakened over Laos and Thailand it dropped copious amounts of rainfall. Ten people died in the Philippines from the storm. Flooding in Vietnam and Thailand caused thousands to leave their homes. In central Vietnam over 100,000 people were homeless. The hardest hit area in Thailand was the province of Nakorn Ratchasima (gateway city to the country's northeast (Isan)). In Thailand thousands are homeless including nine LDS families.

On Saturday October 23, many members from the Bangkok Thailand Stake and the Pakkret district gathered at the New Petchaburi building to organize, pack and ship supplies to those in Isan suffering from the large scale flooding of the past week.

Sister Missionaries in the Thailand Bangkok mission
distribute supplies near Nakorn Ratchasima (Korat)
Member of the Korat Branch distribute supplies to victims of the flood.
Bangkok Stake and Pakkret District Members pack arrange and pack supplies to be sent to Nakorn Ratchasima (Korat) Thailand
Working at the New Petchaburi building  Members form lines to load a truck bound to help those displaced by the flooding in Northeast Thailand.

Read the article in the Church News
Wisan Wisanbannawit produced a video of those who helped at the New Petchaburi building on October 23rd. Facebook: video:
To get some idea of the flooding in Korat see this YouTube video

September 26, 2010 - New Petchaburi Property Adjacent to the new City Airline Terminal - Makasan

The church property on New Petchaburi Road (not far from Soi Asoke) became more valuable in August 2010 when the new "City Airline Terminal" Makasan was completed. The terminal is located literally over the back fence from the church property. In the photo below you can see the west end of the existing building on this property (where the Din Daeng branch currently meets). In back of the building you can see a small part of the new Makasan terminal on the new Airport Rail Line. From that terminal you can travel to the Suwanaphumi Airport in just 15 minutes on the "express train" (nonstop).  The terminal is just a 10 minute walk from the New Petchaburi property. Patterned after the "City Airline Terminal" in Tokyo, the new facility will allow passengers to check their bags at the Makasan station and "check-in" for their flights prior to boarding the train to the airport. This new train is the fastest and smoothest in Thailand. It was a great ride.

Not shown in this photo is a new condominium complex being constructed next door to the west. That new building is about 15 stories tall. New at the intersection of Asoke and New Petchaburi roads is an overpass for traffic on New Petchaburi Road that allows through traffic to cross Asoke without stopping.  The new overpass does obscure the existing building from westbound traffic on New Petchaburi Road.

Makasan Terminal sits just behind the New Petchaburi property.
Statue of Christ - Lobby New Petchaburi Building
Chapel on the first floor.
Grounds in front are well kept. The New Petchaburi road overpass can be seen in the background. This photo was taken from the building looking south.

The long term plan for this property is to tear down the existing building and construct a new multi-use building on the site. One day, at sometime in the future, this site will become the new "center of the church" in Thailand.

September 19, 2010 - Asoke Chapel following remodeling. The international ward moved back to the building in November 2009. The Asoke ward recently returned to meeting at Thailand's first chapel.

The Asoke chapel was remodeled in 2009. Most of the changes were to the interior. New lighting in the chapel has eliminated the darkness that existed before. All new carpet and doors were installed throughout the interior. The floor in the cultural hall is now tile. The main entry in front was extended forward almost to the end of the existing roof. The entry commonly used now is the side entry near the front of the building which also features a ramp to the new side door. Note that the name of the church in Thai is no longer on the front of the building. This is probably due to the fact that when being remodeled it was well know that the name of the church in the Thai language was going to change.

Asoke Chapel - Exterior
Chapel Interior - Featuring the new lighting

September 17, 2010 - Progress on the Pakkret Meetinghouse

In just 6 months the roof for the new (largest in Thailand) meeting house in Pakkret is on the classroom wing.  The design is similar to other chapels in Thailand (like Srinakarin) in that there is a chapel wing connected to a classroom wing.  This building however is much larger than Srinakarin (or any other chapel in Thailand).  The construction is reinforced cider blocks that are plastered over. The roof is steel joist covered with ceramic tiles. The spire is placed at the near end of the chapel wing (still incomplete). This building is not now inside the boundary of the Thailand Bangkok stake, but I suspect a boundary change will accommodate that before the building is dedicated. Here are some photographs from the site taken on September 17, 2010.

To the left is the chapel wing. Centered is the classroom wing.
Similar in layout to other chapels in Thailand, but much larger.
Construction is reinforced cinderblock walls which are plastered over (left).
The chapel and cultural hall looking toward the stand
The classroom wing

August 22, 2010 - New Meeting house Dedicated.  President Sarawut dedicated the new meeting house for the SaphanSung branch in the Bangkok Thailand Stake.



June 18, 2010 - Peter W. Basker passes

Peter W. Basker who was one of the first six missionaries to serve in Thailand passed away in St. George Utah on June 18, 2010.  During his mission Peter also served in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan where he was serving when assigned to be one of the first six to serve in Thailand. That group arrived on February 2, 1968.  Following his mission he was asked to set up the first language training for missionaries called to serve in Thailand. At this time language training for the South Pacific and Asian languages was at the Church College of Hawaii (BYU-Hawaii today).

Alan Hess another member of that group wrote the following:

I was his companion for the first 4 ½ months we were in Thailand and shared many remarkable times with him.  He was a goodhearted man and a good friend.  I think that we exchanged Christmas cards for each of the 42 or so years since our missions, and we stayed in touch to some degree in other ways.  I will truly miss the thought that he is with us on this earth.

Gene Platt who succeeded Peter as the leader of Thai Language training in Hawaii wrote:

Peter was the language training leader for my group of six in June, 1969.  When I returned from my mission, I worked with Elder Basker for a few months before I took over the program. Then, my new bride and I moved into the Baskers' apartment on Laie Point as our "honeymoon" pad. He was a good man and well used by the Lord!

Hathaikiat Sukbaan (one of the very early members of the church in Thailand) wrote:

I was very sad to learn that Peter is no longer with us. I knew Peter Basker well because he and Alan Hess often met with me to teach me the discussions. He was very sincere. I thought of him as a good friend. Even though 42 years have passed I can still remember his smile. I went and found a photograph of Peter and there was his smile that always impressed me. I shall never forget it. I pray that I might meet him again in God's kingdom.

Dale Patterson wrote:

I truly appreciated both Elder Basker and Elder Winegar as language teachers. They encouraged us despite some of us seeming to be tone deaf.  I still laugh at the first memorized testimony Elder Basker taught us.  It sounded so "sing-songy" with a pause after each few words.  I'm sure my "romanization" is not accurate, but this was our first memorized testimony:  

"Phom saab waa, sing thi phuan,  khong phom phuud, ben kwaam jing.  Let, Phom glow sing low nii, nay phra nam, khong phra Yesu Krit, Amen"

Still, it was the beginning and once we got in country - we realized how little we understood, but so grateful for the 5 weeks we had with them to help get us started.

May 22, 2010 - Elders Oaks, Hallstrom and Bishop Burton visit Bangkok and Pakkret.  "We are the White Shirts"
On Saturday evening a special leadership meeting was held in Bangkok. The meeting was transmitted to Malaysia, Mongolia and other countries in Asia. Elder Oaks pronounced an Apostolic blessing on Thailand, similar to what Elder Maxwell had done in 1992 during a period of political strife in Thailand.

On Sunday May 22, Elder Donald Hallstrom of the presidency of the Seventy and Bishop H. David Burton Presiding Bishop visited Bangkok and Pakkret for a special stake and district meeting. Elder Oaks visited Cambodia on that day.

Read the article from the church news.

May 15, 2010 - Brother Chin Ngam-Aksorn a long time faithful member of the Asoke ward passed away.  He was an older brother in the ward and his death had nothing to do with the current political strife in Bangkok.

April 25, 2010 - New Presidency - Bangkok Thailand Stake

 
Left to Right - President Kittiphon Tovakanon -1st Counselor,
President Sarawut Kanyaphan - Stake President ,
President Pattara Chaithip -2nd Counselor

A new Stake Presidency was called by Elder Carl B. Platt, second counselor in the Asia area presidency.

The new Stake President is Sarawut Kanyaphan. President Sarawut was serving as bishop of the Asoke Ward. His counselors are Kitiphon Tovakanon, first counselor and Pattara Chaitip second counselor.

Many thanks go to the previous presidency, President Wisit Khanakham (stake president) and President Wisan Wisanbannawit (1st counselor). They served just 2 months short of 9 years.  During that period there were at least 3 different men who served with them as second counselor.

President Sarawut is the third president of the Bangkok Thailand Stake. The stake was created on June 18, 1995.

Thanks to Wisan Wisanbannawit provided the information and the photograph.
March 24, 2010 - A new book "Monk to Missionary" was published by HTown Publishing.  The book is the true life story of Mani Seangsuwan.  He was born and raised in the south of Thailand. He later spent three years as a Buddhist Monk.  He found the Bible and started to investigate it while still in the monastery.  After he left he started school to become a teacher. That was his mother's dream for him.  Later he became the fifth native Thai to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See Monk to Missionary for more information.

March 15, 2010 - President Samart Kaivalvatana and his family were involved in a serious automobile accident on the way to Bangkok for brother Samart's mother's funeral. The accident took place just south of Nakhorn Ratchasema (Korat) Thailand. The family is one of few three generation families in the church in Thailand. Samart's mother was a member of the Pakkret branch. She passed away on March 14, 2010. Samart and his daughter later died from injuries suffered in the accident. Samart and his family lived in Khon Kaen, Thailand, President Samart had been a counselor in the Thailand Bangkok mission presidency under presidents Hanson, Dodge and Smith.  Brother Samart's wife and two children survived the accident.

A memorial service was later held in Murray Utah on March 27, 2010. Speakers at the service included Suchart Chaichana (former country director of Church Education in Thailand), and  former mission presidents Larry White, Michael Goodman, Scott Hansen and Karl Dodge. See the memorial service program.

At the Utah memorial service, some speakers compared this tragic accident to the one in 1971 when Elders Huntington and Willis were killed on the highway just south of Khon Kaen Thailand.  Samart's brother Sathid was injured in an auto accident several years ago. He has used a wheelchair since that accident.

January 23, 2010 - Ground was broken today in Pakkret (north of Bangkok, outside the Bangkok Thailand stake) for a new meeting house. This chapel will serve as the district center for central Thailand north of Bangkok. Read the Church News article.

December 29, 2009 - President Smith, Representatives from LDS Charities and other Church Leaders in Thailand meet with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in Tak Province. The meeting was to recognize efforts in providing clean water to the area. There are no LDS congregations in Tak province. Read the complete Church News article published January 9, 2010.

President Smith Speaking
A view of the Audience
Group Picture at the Ceremony in Tak Province
President Smith (left) and the Crown Princess (right)



December 12, 2009 - Bangkok Thailand Stake Celebrates Christmas
The Thailand Bangkok Stake celebrated Christmas on December 12, 2009. The event took place for the second year at the New Petchaburi building. Below are a few photographs from the event: Thanks to President Wisan Wisanbannawit who provided the photographs. Additional photos can be found in his photo gallery on facebook.
The Bangkok Stake Presidency with Brother and Sister Gygi who were the masters of ceremony for the evening.
A missionary choir made up of missionaries serving in the Bangkok Thailand Stake.
A group of Children perform
An Angelic Choir sings
November, 2009 - Asoke Chapel Reopens - The first chapel in Thailand on Chulindr Lane, just east of Soi Asoke has reopened following remodeling. The International Ward has moved back into the building from their temporary home at Srinakarin. The building is expected to be home to the International Ward for the foreseeable future.

October 23, 2009 - Church Policy On Scripture Translation
The head of the Church Translation department Jeffrey C. Bateson confirmed today that church policy states the following with regard to scripture translation:
"Terms from the approved Bible in the target language MUST be used UNLESS
(a) the word is offensive
(b) the word is clearly inappropriate OR clearly inaccurate"
The approved Bible for the speakers of the Thai language is:

"The 1971 edition produced by the Thai Bible Society" [approved May 11, 1995]

Editors view:
While the policy may work well for many countries, I feel it is inappropriate with respect to countries where a very small percentage of the population is Christian and where a solid translation of such terms is already in place. Some policies simply don't fit when applied worldwide. Proper consideration of the people who speak the target language and their culture and history must also be considered.

Thus we now understand why terms from the Thai Bible will replace terms already in use in Thailand. They were not necessarily the choice of the translators, but rather used to conform with the policy stated above.

August 31, 2009 - The Asia Area Presidency announces new translations for several religious terms in the Thai language. See their letter.

Many of the changes seem to bring terminology used in Latter-day Saint scriptures closer to alignment with the Thai Bible. This brings a lot of transliteration from the German language into Latter-day Saint scripture and terminology (the Thai Bible was translated from the German language). For instance the new transliterations for Messiah and Jehovah now follow the German pronunciation rather than the English pronunciation of these words. Following the Thai Bible is of questionable value since less that 1/2 of 1% of speakers of the Thai language have ever seen a copy of the Bible, let alone read it.

Other changes are for words that were formerly translated, but are now transliterated such as Celestial and Telestial. Other changes have more significance such as the words for seer, charity, excommunication etc. The letter also confirms that the name of the church will change (See entry for May 14, 2009)..

Who knew that "O" means "We ask"? That change seems to be a bold leap indeed. While most terms are approved for use immediately, the new sacrament prayers are on hold until further notice.

The letter states that publication of the 2nd edition of the Latter-day Saint scriptures has been "delayed", but did not explain why.

July 1, 2009 - New leadership for the Thailand Bangkok Mission and the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission
Michael S. Smith took charge as the new president of the Thailand Bangkok mission succeeding Karl L. Dodge who completed three years of service. President Smith served as a missionary in Thailand from 1969-1971. He is #16 on the list of missionaries who served in Thailand.
.
Information on President Smith: Michael Sherrod Smith, 58, and Janis Johnson Smith, five children, Mesa 46th Ward, Mesa Arizona East Stake. Brother Smith is a former missionary in the Asia Area Office, high councilor, bishop, elders quorum president, temple ordinance worker and missionary in the Southeast Asia Mission. Retired territory sales manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb Virology. Born in Nampa, Idaho, to Sherrod Smith Jr. and Marian James Smith. Sister Smith served with her husband in the Asia Area Office and is a former stake and ward Young Women president, counselor in a stake Primary presidency, ward Relief Society president and gospel doctrine teacher. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to James Leroy and Belva Johnson. [LDS Church News - January 24, 2009]

July 1, 2009 - Former Thailand Missionary takes charge as mission president in Cambodia
Scott B. Smedley took charge in Cambodia as president of the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission succeeding Robert W. Winegar who completed three years of service. President Smedley who served as a missionary in Singapore was transferred to Thailand in 1970 when Singapore expelled the all the missionaries who were serving there at that time. President Smedley replaced President Robert W. Winegar who completed three years of service. President Winegar was among the first six missionaries to server in Thailand.

Information on President Smedley: Scott Brunson Smedley, 58, and Juliet Chlarson Smedley, six children, Park Ward, Layton Utah Creekside Stake. Brother Smedley is a Scoutmaster and a former bishop and counselor, counselor in a stake presidency, high councilor, Varsity Scout coach and missionary in the Southeast Asia Mission. Insurance agent, Beneficial Life. Born in Ogden, Utah, to Dale Thurgood and Helen Delell Brunson Smedley. Sister Smedley is the ward activity committee chairman and is a former stake and ward Relief Society president, counselor in a ward Young Women presidency, ward Primary president and missionary in the Uruguay/Paraguay Mission. Born in Brigham City, Utah, to Varsel Lyman and Ruth Hunsaker Chlarson. [LDS Church News - February 27, 2009]

June 13-14 - Bangkok Stake Conference. Meetings on June 14th were held at the Landmark Hotel in Bangkok. President Grant Anderson (who is returning home) was released as 2nd counselor. Craig Mackley was called as the new counselor in the Bangkok Stake Presidency. Pictured (L-R) Wisan Wisanbannawit, Wisit Khanakham, Craig Mackley.

May 14, 2009 - The name of the church in the Thai Language is Changing. The name since 1970 has been
The new name is
.

January 18, 2009 - Mongkol Tungmala passes
Mongkol Tungmala passed away on January 18, 2009 at his home in Mountain Green, Utah. He was the 4th native Thai to serve a full time mission (1973-1975). He taught many Thai missionaries the Thai language at the Language Training Mission in Laie, Hawaii, before becoming a missionary himself. For a career he selected teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and Educational Administration. He worked in the Jordan and Granite School districts in the Salt Lake Valley. He developed programs for ESL and also taught others these skills at Weber State University (Ogden, Utah) and for a brief period at Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona).