The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a presence in France since 1849, and the first Latter-day Saint convert in the country was Augustus Saint d'Anna, in Le Havre.[1] The church claims a membership of about 39,000 in the country, representing less than 0.1% of the population.[2]

French-language Book of Mormon


2011 35,960—    
2012 36,968+2.8%
2013 37,364+1.1%
2014 37,812+1.2%
2015 37,996+0.5%
2016 38,383+1.0%
2017 39,029+1.7%
2018 39,473+1.1%
2019 39,930+1.2%

The first Mormon missionary to preach in France was John Pack who entered the country in 1849 with John Taylor. William Howells, who entered the country in 1849.[1] Soon afterwards, he was joined in his preaching by his daughter, and later by William C. Dunbar.[3] In April 1850, the first congregation was composed of six members in Boulogne-sur-Mer.[4] Elder John Taylor, who was at the time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided over the first mission in France.[5] In 1853, there were only 337 members for the mission of France.[2] In 1863, Louis A. Bertrand, an early convert to the church involved in its establishment, wrote to Brigham Young that France was not a good field mission for the church. The mission was closed between 1864 and 1912 and between 1914 and 1923. The first place of worship was erected in 1962 in Nantes. There were only 77 people baptized in 1933 and 116 in 1951, but the number of baptisms increased from 1960.[6]

The first edition of the Book of Mormon in French-language was printed on 28 January 1852.[7] A second edition was made in 1907 in Zurich by Serge Ballif, then a third in 1952 in Lyon, then a fourth in 1962 by Marcel Kahne, a young missionary and editor of L'Etoile, who also revised Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, and a sixth one in 1977. From 29 May 1851 to April 1852, L'Etoile du Deseret periodical was printed. In 1861, Jules Rémy published a book entitled Journey to the land of Mormons. As response to this book, Louis Bertrand published several articles in La Revue contemporaine, and the next year, gathered his articles under the title Memoirs of a Mormon.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris in 1955, in Strasbourg in 1991, and in Marseille in 1998.[4]

Several presidents of the church have visited France, including Lorenzo Snow in February 1851, then member of the Quorum of Twelve, David O. McKay in July 1952, and Gordon B. Hinckley on 4 June 1998.

In 2020, the LDS Church canceled services and other public gatherings indefinitely in response to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.[8]


On July 15, 2011 the Paris France Temple was announced by President Thomas S. Monson.[9] The temple was dedicated on 21 May 2017 and was the 156 operating temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[10]


156. Paris France Temple edit


Le Chesnay, France
15 July 2011
21 May 2017 by Henry B. Eyring
44,175 sq ft (4,104 m2)
Thomas S. Monson confirmed on 15 July 2011 that the church "hope[d] to build [a] temple in France" near Paris,[11] and on 1 October 2011 announced that the plans were "moving forward."[12] In 2014, a news story from the church noted that work had commenced on the temple, though no formal groundbreaking had taken place. [13]

Status and membershipEdit

In 1952, the church was registered as a voluntary association (1901 law), and on 4 July 2009, it officially became a religious association, as reported in the Official Journal.

Membership StatisticsEdit

Country, Territory Membership Stakes Districts Wards Branches Total Congregations Missions Temples
Metropolitan France (Includes Corsica) 39,473 10 68 41 109 2 1
French Guiana 453 1 1
French Polynesia (Includes Tahiti) 28,147 10 3 71 23 94 1 1
Guadeloupe 517 1 3 3
Martinique 231 1 1
Reunion 957 1 4 4

Sociological profileEdit

In 2000, a study led by Professor Bernadette Rigal-Cellier did appear that the majority of LDS in France were former Catholics. The church members felt then that the non-conversion of French people to their church came from a lack of interest in spiritual matters and a mistrust towards new beliefs. LDS surveyed thought that the growth of their church would accelerate and that the prejudices against them would disappear in the future years. The author concluded that the church has become well established in France and that French LDS showed the same attachment to their country than other French people.[6]

In 2009, an investigation directed by writer, sociologist of religion and philosopher Christian Euvrard, also member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, revealed that Mormons of France are demographically and politically similar to other French people. 30% were regular churchgoers, and their marriage rate, as well as their birth rate, were higher than the national average. Primarily urban and with foreign origins, they considered the hardest doctrine of their religion is the order of not drinking alcohol, coffee, tea. Only 30% of them participated in an association and 83% believed that all religions have some truth. However, LDS differed from French people in their moral choices: 93% of them are opposed to gay marriage.[14]


The plan of salvation in French

The church was not mentioned in the list of dangerous cults in the reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France in 1995 and 1999.[15][16] As there was no complaints from former members, the MILS deemed in 2000 that the church is "a religious group that does not generate problems in France".[17] In its 2001 report, it stated that "seeing the definition of cultic nature of an association by the exclusive examination of its behavior in the light of human rights and public policy (...) the LDS Church shouldn't be considered as a cult".[18] However, in its 2006 report, the MIVILUDES expressed a concern about the Calvin Thomas society, specialized in organizing linguistic travels, "as children has been placed in LDS families. The file of this society (...) is the subject of an investigation".[19]

In its periodical, anti-cult association ADFI stated that it is "regularly contacted by families or individuals facing conflictual and painful situations because of the membership of a relative into this movement". Criticisms include methods of evangelization, progressive split with family and friends, women status, lack of free thought and children education considered as indoctrination.[20] The ADFI of Lille deemed that "it is unhelpful to try to classify this church as cults or non-cult" and that "the likelihood is high that the genealogy becomes a major means of mormon proselytizing".[17] It also describes the English courses offered by the church as "disguised way to recruit new followers".[21] To ADFI president Catherine Picard, the LDS church was "a movement with cultic deviances".[22] As for Marie Drilhon of Yvelines ADFI, she publicly said that the Mormon religion is "a demanding church for the faithful", described some cases of pressure under former members so that they return into the church, and considered that "people who are more fragile don't do well in this church."[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Country Information: France", Church News, 2010-01-29.
  2. ^ a b "LDS Statistics and Church Facts | Total Church Membership". Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  3. ^ Laurie J. Wilson, "The Saints in France", Ensign, January 1976.
  4. ^ a b "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France". Newsroom. Retrieved 4 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "A history of the first French edition of the Book of Mormon". 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  6. ^ a b Rigal-Cellier, Bernadette (2000). "Être français dans une Église d'origine américaine: les Mormons de France". Les mutations transatlantiques des religions (pdf) (in French). Bordeaux: Les Presses de l'Université de Bordeaux. pp. 279–308. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ McClellan, Richard D. (July 2002). "Traduit de L'Anglais: The First French Book of Mormon". Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. 11: 29–34 – via Scholar's Archive.
  8. ^ Lovett, Ian. "Mormon Church Cancels Services World-Wide Amid Coronavirus Crisis", The Wall Street Journal, 12 March 2020. Retrieved on 31 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Church Statement on Temple in France". 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Bringing Vision to Life Through Architecture and Design of Paris France Temple". 2017-04-07. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  11. ^ "Church Statement on Temple in France" (15 July 2011).
  12. ^ Monson, Thomas S. (1 October 2011. "As We Meet Again" talk given at General Conference.
  13. ^ "Elder Andersen visits construction site of Paris France Temple", Church News and Events,, 19 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  14. ^ Hoffner, Anne-Bénédicte (23 February 2009). "Portrait de la communauté des mormons de France" (in French). La Croix. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Rapport fait au nom de la Commission d'enquête sur les sectes — Les sectes en France" (in French). Assemblée Nationale. 1995. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Rapport fait au nom de la Commission d'enquête sur les sectes - Les sectes et l'argent" (in French). Assemblée Nationale. 1999. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ a b Lagarde, Stéphane (22 August 2000). "La généalogie, outil prosélyte". Libération (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "2001 report" (pdf). MILS. 2001. p. 77. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Rapport au Premier ministre" (pdf) (in French). MILIVUDES. 2006. p. 262. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "Les mormons" (pdf). BULLES (in French). UNADFI. 2002. pp. 6, 7. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "Formés pour recruter dans la rue et à domicile" (in French). esj-lille. Archived from the original on 13 June 2002. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ Beaugrand, Véronique (9 March 2006). "Les Mormons s'offrent le tiers de Villepreux". Le Parisien (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 3 June 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Bryant, Elizabeth (17 January 2012). "French Mormons find a less hospitable 'Mormon moment'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 June 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit