Myanmar Church History

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Buddhism from India and Taoism from China were introduced in ancient times, and Anamist beliefs were common among the many indigenous peoples of Burma. Anawrahta, the ruler of the first Burmese kingdom promoted Hinayana or Theravada Buddhism which has become the dominant religion, today comprising 89% of the population. Most Burmese (prounounced Bam), Shan, Mon-Talaing, Arakan ethnic groups are Buddhists. Karens and Chins are either Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Animist. Christians comprise about 5% of the population (3% Baptist, 1% Catholic, and 1% others including Anglican, Methodist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, Adventist, etc.), Muslims constitute 4% of the population, Anamists 1%, and Hindus and others 1%.

In 1960 an attempt was made to make Buddhism the state religion. This was met with much resistance from minority groups.

Christianity was brought to Myanmar by missionaries from England and France in the 17th century. It was not until the 19th century however, that large numbers of converts were made in the country. The most successful were the American Baptist societies which opened schools and promoted education, medical care and social welfare. Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists also promoted their schools with success.[1]


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Myanmar,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2001.