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.[4] The Church claims a membership of about 38,000 in the country, representing less than 0.1% of the population.[5]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France
(Logo in French)
AreaEurope Central
Members38,634 (2022)[1]
Total Congregations[2]108
Family History Centers73[3]

History edit

Membership in France
1999 30,541
2009 34,906
2019 39,930
*Membership was published as a rounded number.
Source: Windall J. Ashton; Jim M. Wall, Deseret News, various years, Church Almanac Country Information: France[1]

The first Latter-Day Saint 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,[4] was soon joined in his preaching by his daughter, and later by William C. Dunbar.[6] In April 1850, the first congregation was composed of six members in the city of Boulogne-sur-Mer.[7] Elder John Taylor, a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles member at the time, presided over the first mission in France.[8] In 1853, there were only 337 members of the French mission.[5] 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.[9]

The first French-language edition of the Book of Mormon was printed on January 28, 1852.[10] A second edition was printed in 1907 in Zurich by Serge Ballif, a third in 1952 in Lyon, a fourth in 1962 by Marcel Kahne (a young missionary and L’Étoile du Déséret editor, who also revised Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), and a fifth in 1977. From May 29, 1851 to April 1852, the Étoile 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 following year, gathered his articles under the title Memoirs of a Mormon.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performed in Paris's Palais de Chaillot in 1955, in Strasbourg in 1991, and in Marseille in 1998.[7]

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

Temples edit

On July 15, 2011, plans to build the Paris France Temple were announced by President Thomas S. Monson.[11] The temple, dedicated on May 21, 2017, was then one of the church's 156 operating temples.[12]

Le Chesnay, France
15 July 2011 by Thomas S. Monson
No formal groundbreaking[13]
21 May 2017 by Henry B. Eyring
44,175 sq ft (4,104.0 m2) on a 2.26-acre (0.91 ha) site
Thomas S. Monson confirmed on 15 July 2011 that the church "hope[d] to build [a] temple in France" near Paris,[14] and on 1 October 2011 announced that the plans were "moving forward."[15] 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 membership edit

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

Membership Statistics edit

As of June 2022, branches in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique were located in the Guadeloupe District of the Barbados Bridgetown Mission. The Guadeloupe District office is located in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe. Branches in Réunion are located in the St Denis Reunion District of the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission. Regardless of their size, all congregations which are not part of a stake are called branches.

Country, Territory Membership (2022) Congregations Family History Centers
Metropolitan France (Includes Corsica) 38,634 108 73
French Guiana 500 1 1
French Polynesia (Includes Tahiti) 29,397 97 29
Guadeloupe 550 3 1
Martinique 258 1 1
New Caledonia 2,494 9 3
Reunion 836 4 5

Table and membership information as of December 31, 2022.

Stakes edit

Meeting house of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Saint-Étienne, France
French-language Book of Mormon

As of February 2023, the LDS Church has 10 stakes centered in metropolitan France:

Stake Organized Mission
Bordeaux France 24 May 1992 France Lyon
Brussels Belgiuma 20 Feb 1977 France Paris
Geneva Switzerlandb 20 Jun 1982 France Lyon
Lille France 17 Jan 1988 France Paris
Lausanne Switzerlandb 28 Aug 2005 France Lyon
Lyon France 9 Sep 1990 France Lyon
Nancy France 24 Apr 1983 France Paris
Nice France 11 May 1980 France Lyon
Paris France 16 Nov 1975 France Paris
Paris France East 8 Mar 1992 France Paris
Paris France South 15 Sep 2013 France Paris
Rennes France 14 Dec 2003 France Paris
Toulouse France 22 Sep 2002 France Lyon

a Stake centered outside of France, no congregations in France, but in a French mission
b Stake centered outside of France, but has congregations in France

Missions edit

Mission Organized Areas covered
France Lyon 1 Jul 1991 Southern France and French-speaking areas of Switzerland
France Paris 18 Jun 1850 Northern France, Luxemburg, and parts of Belgium (namely Brussels and Wallonia)

Luxembourg edit

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Luxembourg
AreaEurope Central
Members526 (2022)[16]
Total Congregations[17]2
Family History Centers1[18]

In 2022, there are 526 members in 2 congregations in Luxembourg namely:[16]

  • Luxembourg 1st Ward (English/French speaking)
  • Luxembourg 2nd Branch (Portuguese speaking)

Luxembourg congregations are part of the Nancy France Stake and in the France Paris Mission and Paris France Temple District.

Sociological profile edit

In 2000, a study led by Professor Bernadette Rigal-Cellier indicated that the majority of LDS members in France appeared to be former Catholics. LDS church members felt then that the non-conversion of French people to their church stemmed from a lack of interest in spiritual matters and mistrust in new beliefs. The LDS members surveyed thought that their church's growth would accelerate and that prejudice against them would disappear in the future. The author concluded that the church had become well-established in France and that its French members showed the same attachment to their country as other French people.[9]

In 2009, an investigation directed by writer, religious sociologist and philosopher Christian Euvrard, also an LDS member, concluded that Mormons in France are demographically and politically similar to other French people. 30% were regular churchgoers, and their marriage and birth rates were higher than the national average. Primarily made up of urban dwellers and recent immigrants, LDS members considered the hardest doctrine of their religion to be the proscription on alcohol, coffee and tea. Only 30% of them were involved in an association and 83% believed that all religions hold some truth. However, LDS members differed from other French people in their moral codes: 93% of them were opposed to same-sex marriage.[19]

Reception edit

The LDS church was not mentioned in the list of dangerous cults in reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France in 1995 and 1999.[20][21] As there were no complaints from former members, the MILS deemed in 2000 that the church was "a religious group that does not generate problems in France".[22] In its 2001 report, it stated that "seeing the definition of cultist 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".[23] However, in its 2006 report, the MIVILUDES monitoring agency expressed concerns over the Calvin Thomas society, specialized in organizing linguistic travels, "as children have been placed in LDS families. The file of this society (...) is the subject of an investigation".[24]

In a 2002 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 evangelism, gradual split with family and friends, women's status, lack of free thought, and children's education considered as indoctrination.[25] The Lille chapter of the ADFI felt that "it is unhelpful to try to classify this church as cult or non-cult", and that "the likelihood is high that the genealogy becomes a major means of Mormon proselytizing".[22] It also described English courses offered by the church as a "disguised way of recruiting new followers".[26] To ADFI president Catherine Picard, the LDS church was "a movement with cultist deviancy".[27] And for Marie Drilhon of the Yvelines ADFI chapter, the Mormonism was "a demanding church for the faithful", describing the pressure placed on some former members to return to the church, and considering that "people who are more fragile don't do well in this church."[28]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country: France", Newsroom, LDS Church, retrieved 1 June 2023
  2. ^ Excludes groups meeting separate from wards and branches.
  3. ^ France Family History Centers,, retrieved August 18, 2022
  4. ^ a b "Country Information: France", Church News, 2010-01-29.
  5. ^ a b "LDS Statistics and Church Facts | Total Church Membership". Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  6. ^ Laurie J. Wilson, "The Saints in France", Ensign, January 1976.
  7. ^ a b "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France". Newsroom. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  8. ^ "A history of the first French edition of the Book of Mormon". 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Church Statement on Temple in France". 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Bringing Vision to Life Through Architecture and Design of Paris France Temple". 2017-04-07. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  13. ^ a b "Elder Andersen visits construction site of Paris France Temple", Church News and Events,, 19 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Church Statement on Temple in France" (15 July 2011).
  15. ^ Monson, Thomas S. (1 October 2011. "As We Meet Again" talk given at General Conference.
  16. ^ a b "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country: Luxembourg", Newsroom, LDS Church, retrieved 1 June 2023
  17. ^ Excludes groups meeting separate from wards and branches.
  18. ^ France Family History Centers,, retrieved February 16, 2023
  19. ^ Hoffner, Anne-Bénédicte (23 February 2009). "Portrait de la communauté des mormons de France" (in French). La Croix. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ a b Lagarde, Stéphane (22 August 2000). "La généalogie, outil prosélyte". Libération (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  23. ^ "2001 report" (pdf). MILS. 2001. p. 77. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  24. ^ "Rapport au Premier ministre" (pdf) (in French). MILIVUDES. 2006. p. 262. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  25. ^ "Les mormons" (pdf). BULLES (in French). UNADFI. 2002. pp. 6, 7. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ Beaugrand, Véronique (9 March 2006). "Les Mormons s'offrent le tiers de Villepreux". Le Parisien (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  28. ^ Bryant, Elizabeth (17 January 2012). "French Mormons find a less hospitable 'Mormon moment'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 June 2011.

External links edit