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    History

    In 1843, Joseph Toronto (born Giuseppe Taranto) became the first known Italian convert to the Church when he was baptized in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1849, Toronto was among the first missionaries to his homeland when he accompanied Apostle Lorenzo Snow and others in opening the mission. This first mission was short-lived; it was closed in 1867.

    In 1910, Vincenzo di Francesca gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon while living in New York City; he continued to live by its precepts after he returned to Italy in 1914, though he did not learn for years where the book came from. The Church was not reestablished in Italy until the 1950s, when a number of Italians learned of the gospel in other countries and returned home to share the message with friends and family. The first Italian-speaking branches were formed in Brescia and Palermo.

    In 1966, the Italian Mission was reestablished with headquarters in Rome. Over the last 50 years, the Church has made steady progress. The Italian Saints, like their counterparts in former days, are a people who “live by faith” (Romans 1:17) and are “full of goodness” (Romans 15:14). In 2008, when the Church announced a temple would be built in Rome, there were more than 20,000 members in Italy.

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    Raimondo Castellani

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    The nightly preachings of George J. Adams brought an audience of some 1,200 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1843. At that time, there were some 14 branches (small congregations) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Boston area. Eleven years prior, the first missionaries for the Church arrived in Boston to organize congregations. Church President Joseph Smith passed through Boston on his way to Washington, D.C., in 1839. After President Smith was martyred in 1844, several members in Massachusetts joined the mass exodus west, and missionary work in the state slowed.

    In 1894, one year after the area was reopened to missionaries, Church membership was 96. A decade later, missionaries encountered hostilities toward the Church during the highly-publicized United States Senate hearings on Church leader and Senator-elect Reed Smoot, and police disallowed missionaries to hold open-air meetings. By 1930, membership was nearly 360, some of whom were recently-returned missionaries studying at Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the headquarters for the New England States Mission. A Church building was dedicated in the area in 1956.

    The Church completed and dedicated the Boston Massachusetts Temple in 2000, marking the 100th operating temple in the Church.

    In the early 1900s, a few Croatian converts who had joined the Church abroad returned to share the gospel in their country. John Stosich (also known as Janko Stošić), who was baptized in the United States, preached as a missionary in Zagreb in 1911. Eviza Arbić Vujičić, who was baptized in Hungary, returned to Yugoslavia when it became a country in 1918, and she kept the faith in relative isolation until her death in 1937.

    In 1971 another Croatian joined the Church abroad: basketball player Krešimir Ćosić embraced the restored gospel while a student at Brigham Young University. Later, over the course of his professional basketball career in Croatia, he followed Christ’s call to “let your light … shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Ćosić helped translate the Book of Mormon into Serbo-Croatian, and he also helped secure permission for missionaries to enter the country.
     

    The first branch in Croatia was organized in 1974 in Ćosić’s hometown of Zadar. The Church continued to spread to other cities, and a district was formed in 1980, with headquarters in Zagreb. In 2012 nearly 400 people from Croatia and its neighboring countries gathered near Zadar to commemorate the local history of the Church and to train leaders for its future.

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    Telephone : +385 145 77 783

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    In September 2010, Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and a small group of members assembled in the Roman ruins of Doclea and dedicated the land of Montenegro. Following the dedication, the first group of members was organized.

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    Adriatic North Mission

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    Telephone : +385 145 77 783

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    Possibly the first missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Florida was Phineas Young, who served a two-month mission in 1845. The first missionaries were not well-received. From 1869 to 1929 law officers met each train arriving in Tallahassee and prevented Latter-day Saint elders from getting off. As late as 1895, history notes that two elders were arrested and given the choice to leave or pay a $200 fine. In 1898, one Church congregational leader was murdered. In spite of such persecution, missionaries continued to preach in Florida. The state's first official Church congregation was created in Jefferson County in 1897. By 1904 there were 1,230 Church members in Florida.

    Church growth in Florida was slow until Latter-day Saints from the West moved to Florida, drawn by a strong commerce and the aerospace industry.

    In 1854, four missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in California were sent to labor in the Washington and Oregon territories. Enough converts joined to form a congregation along the Lewis River. During those early years, animosity against the Church members was so strong in Washington that when one convert died in 1911, her grave was dedicated secretly at night.

    Many Church members helped with Washington's railroad construction for the Northern Pacific Oregon Short Line in the 1880s. In 1930, Church membership in Washington was 1,900 in eight congregations, with chapels in Everett, Spokane, Seattle, and Olympia. Many members flocked to the state with the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in the early 1940s. A temple was completed in Seattle in 1980.

    The Spokane and Columbia River Washington Temples were completed and dedicated in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

    Latter-day Saint immigrants first arrived in San Francisco in 1846. They built communities in the area as they progressed toward the Great Basin. In January 1847, the Mormon Battalion, a group of Latter-day Saints preparing to fight in the Mexican-American War, arrived in San Diego. Six Battalion members were at Sutter's Mill in January 1848, when gold was discovered.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints colony of New Hope was founded in 1850. The first Church building was completed that same year. In 1851, Church leaders encouraged colonization in San Bernardino to augment a travel route from the coast for Utah-bound Saints. The land boom of the 1920s also attracted many members to California. Today, along with several temples, California has more missions than any other state. Additionally, members have cooperated to provide relief for communities after earthquakes, fires, and floods.

    In 1847, early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took their westward trek through Wyoming from Fort Laramie, following the Oregon Trail along the Platte River, to Fort Bridger. As pioneers repaired wagons at Fort Laramie, Church President Brigham Young celebrated his 46th birthday. The pioneers used rafts and a boat to ferry themselves and their belongings across the Platte River near present-day Casper. Nine men stayed behind to continue the profitable ferry, which found business from Oregon-bound travelers.

    In Wyoming, the pioneers met Jim Bridger, who gave an optimistic opinion of the Great Basin area. Most pioneer companies traveled through Wyoming without incident; however, the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies of 1857 started later in the year and became trapped in the winter snows. Approximately 200 of the 1,075 in the companies died. Others were saved by Utah rescue parties. In 1877, Church members settled the Star Valley area, and the following year, Church President Brigham Young dedicated the spot as a gathering place for members.

    In 1992, Wyoming Latter-day Saints erected three monuments in memory of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. Later, the Church purchased land at the mouth of Sweetwater Canyon where 21 pioneers died in one night. These sites were dedicated by Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

    Elder Orson Hyde visited Jewish communities in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and The Hague in 1841, but it was not until 1861 that Elders Anne W. van der Woude and Paul A. Schettler baptized the first converts in the Netherlands. A few branches were established, but many early converts immigrated to the western United States to build up Latter-day Saint communities there and to escape persecution. Some Dutch Saints returned to the Netherlands to preach the restored gospel. In 1890 the Book of Mormon was published in Dutch, leading to unprecedented growth for the Church in the country.

    In a 1907 Christmas greeting to the Saints in the Netherlands, the First Presidency encouraged members and converts to stay and build up the Church in the Netherlands. During both world wars, members continued to preach the gospel to their friends and neighbors, despite limited contact with the Church headquarters. Dutch Saints worked to turn wartime tribulation to “the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12), and several future Church leaders were converted in a German prisoner-of-war camp.


    After the war, Saints in the Netherlands modeled Christlike love and forgiveness when they sent their welfare crops to starving members in Germany. In 1961 the Holland Stake, the first in continental Europe, was organized in Rotterdam. Over the years, Dutch Saints have served their communities and neighboring countries. In 2002 The Hague Netherlands Temple was dedicated.

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    In 1996 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Sarajevo to offer an apostolic blessing of peace for the area. By that time, Church members had been involved in the country for several years. During the early 1990s, members across Europe helped gather and deliver aid to those affected by conflict. In the late 1990s, many members from other countries worshipped in temporary groups while living in Bosnia, and many Bosnians living abroad joined the Church. It was not until 2010, however, that Elder Russell M. Nelson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, organized a permanent branch in Sarajevo and dedicated the country for the preaching of the gospel. The Church received official government recognition in 2012, and a year later, a second branch was organized in Banja Luka.

    Pioneering members of the Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina have built bonds of fellowship with Saints in neighboring countries and worked to prepare themselves for the future. Together, they are striving to make the Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina “a refuge from the storm” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:6) and a safe and welcoming place for those who come to join them in worship.

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    Adriatic North Mission

    Address: Trg Petra Svacica 3/1 10000 Zagreb  CROATIA

    Telephone : +385 145 77 783

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    Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught Shawnee and Delaware Indians in the Kansas area in 1831. In 1846, Church joined the Mormon Battalion. These members volunteered for the United States' war against Mexico and were trained and equipped in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For those Church members emigrating from Europe, the Atchison, Kansas area became a layover site on the journey up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in 1855. A camp called Mormon Grove was established and more than 100 acres were cultivated and crops planted for future immigrants. The camp only lasted one summer, but fulfilled its purpose. In 1882, missionaries arrived in Kansas and organized the Meridian Branch (a small congregation) on the border between Dickinson and Saline counties. Missionaries left Kansas temporarily after mob threats. Missionaries again preached in Kansas in 1887.

    By 1930, Church membership in Kansas was 2,060 with congregations established in Blau, Kansas City, Leavenworth, St. John, Topeka, and Wichita. The first stake (diocese) in Kansas was organized in June 1962.

    In 1850, when the first Latter-day Saint missionaries reached Hawai‘i, the islands were still an independent kingdom with a mostly native Hawaiian population. George Q. Cannon, one of the early missionaries to the islands, was particularly eager to learn the Hawaiian language. In the early 1850s he and an early Hawaiian convert, Jonathan Nāpela, worked together to translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian, which was the first time the book was translated into a non-European language.

    Many Hawaiians embraced the gospel. By the 1870s, more than 4,000 Hawaiians were Latter-day Saints. Because the death of many Hawaiians due to disease had led to laws restricting emigration, instead of gathering to Utah the Hawaiian Saints established gathering places on the islands—first in Lāna‘i, then in Lā‘ie, where the first temple outside North America was dedicated in 1919. The first stake outside North America was organized on O‘ahu in 1935.

    As Hawai‘i’s population became more diverse, so did general Church membership. In the early 20th century, for example, a Japanese mission was established in Hawai‘i, and work among Japanese Hawaiians flourished. In the 1950s the Church established a college—now Brigham Young University–Hawaii—in Lā‘ie with a mission to bring together students from around the world. A second temple, in Kona, was dedicated in 2000. By 2018 there were nearly 75,000 Latter-day Saints in Hawai‘i, organized into 16 stakes.

    In the 1980s Latter-day Saints who had been baptized abroad began returning to the Republic of the Congo. In 1991 those in Brazzaville gathered together and, under the direction of the mission president across the Congo River in Kinshasa, began organizing the Church in the Republic of the Congo. The first baptisms took place in June 1991, and the government recognized the Church in October. By the time Elders Russell M. Nelson and Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited in 1992 to dedicate the country for the preaching of the gospel, the first district had already been organized.

    Although civil unrest later in the 1990s often disrupted the work of full-time missionaries, Latter-day Saints in the Republic of the Congo heeded the scriptures’ call to do the Lord’s work and share the gospel with their neighbors (see Doctrine and Covenants 38:40–41). Even in times of violence, members helped and strengthened each other, often sharing what little they had. In 2003 the first stake in the country was organized in Brazzaville.


    Saints in the Congo have worked to serve each other and their communities, offering self-reliance workshops for the economic advancement of members as well as offering training in other health and welfare causes. As members have gained experience, the Church has become more firmly established: by 2019 there were nearly 8,000 members living in two stakes.

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    When the first company of Latter-day Saint pioneers began to journey westward, they did not know their end destination. But on 24 July 1847, when the wagons rolled out of the canyon into the Salt Lake Valley, their destination became apparent. "It is enough," Church President Brigham Young said as he viewed the valley below. "This is the right place. Drive on." Young named the area "Deseret," meaning honeybee, signifying the hive of activity that would soon inhabit the area. The President stayed only 33 days before returning to Winter Quarters in Nebraska to assist other families on their trek. At least 236 pioneer companies of approximately 60,000 pioneers crossed the plains for Utah. With time, they transformed the desert valley into the bustling and prosperous Salt Lake City.

    Several historic sites exist in the state today, including Temple Square, visited by nearly 5 million people annually. The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs a weekly broadcast from one of the largest timber-roofed buildings in the world. The broadcast is the longest continuous broadcast program in the United States. In addition to the Salt Lake Temple, which took early members more than 40 years to complete, 16 other temples dot the state. Seven more temples are announced or under construction.

     

    Africa

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    666,508

    Members

    2,327

    Congregations

    Missions

    35Missions

    Family History Centers

    343

    Temples

    4Temples

    Asia

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    1,230,515

    Members

    2,130

    Congregations

    Missions

    44Missions

    Family History Centers

    354

    Temples

    8Temples

    Europe

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    497,436

    Members

    1,374

    Congregations

    Missions

    34Missions

    Family History Centers

    654

    Temples

    14Temples

    North America

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    9,419,307

    Members

    18,256

    Congregations

    Missions

    173Missions

    Family History Centers

    2,543

    Temples

    110Temples

    Oceania (Pacific)

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    572,895

    Members

    1,283

    Congregations

    Missions

    17Missions

    Family History Centers

    304

    Temples

    10Temples

    South America

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    4,178,375

    Members

    5,570

    Congregations

    Missions

    95Missions

    Family History Centers

    1,000

    Temples

    21Temples