Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bringing the Temple to the Saints

During President Monson's opening remarks of the 179th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he noted that 83% of Church membership lived within 200 miles of a temple. Using membership totals for the end of 2008 would indicate that about 11.2 million people live within 200 miles of a temple whereas the remaining 2.3 million do not live this close to an operating temple.

Where do the majority of these 2.3 million members reside? As of the end of 2008 there were 492,424 members residing in countries in which there was no temple operating, under construction or announced. Members of the Church living in nations where a temple was announced or under construction totaled 266,584 for the same year. This brings the total to 759,008 for members of the Church who live in nations where there is not an operating temple for countries for which the Church publishes membership totals. These members account for a third of those who live further than 200 miles from a temple.

The majority of members of the Church who live more than 200 miles away from a temple live in nations which already have operating temples. Most of these members live in the countries which have the largest Church memberships. This would mainly include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Chile, Peru, and Argentina. As the Church continues to build and announce temples in these nations we will likely see a greater percentage of Church members closer to temple.

Lastly I wanted to include a graph which illustrates the average number of stakes per temple. Notice how that currently temples have never been as accessible to the overall membership of the Church since the 1940s as indicated by the lower number of stakes per temple. Currently there is an average of 22 stakes per temple district. The lower ratio of stakes per temple in the 1940s can be attributed to the vast majority of members of the Church living near temples operating at the time, particularly in Utah, Idaho, Canada, and Arizona.


Pleather Murse said...

Bringing the temples to the saints, yes; but the saints must also be brought to the temple. How many members who are in proximinity to a temple are temple-ready -- either TR holders or in preparation for it? (Rhetorical question). The assumption or hope is that proximity = inspiration, but this must be made real by hard work on the local level.

Kent Larsen said...

Just curious, Matt. Did you take into account countries that are within 200 miles of a Temple but don't themselves have a Temple?

For example, Luxembourg is within 200 miles of two different Temples, but doesn't have one itself. Are members in Luxembourg included in the members in nations who don't have a Temple?

I realize I'm probably pushing your analysis from a back-of-the-envelope type analysis to something more rigorous than necessary, but I'm curious to know what level of analysis went into this. [I don't think that your overall answer would be significantly different if you didn't take into account these situations.]

Matt said...


I actually thought about countries without a temple within 200 miles of a temple in another country after I made the post, but forgot to mention anything about it as a comment. Thanks for bringing it up.

If we take temples in other countries into account that are within 200 miles of where the majority of members live in countries without temples, the number of members who live in nations without a temple would drop by about 20%, or 109,137. A total of 12 out of the 112 countries that the Church publishes its presence in have the majority of their memberships within 200 miles of a temple.

Crossing international boundaries may be difficult and time consuming. For example, it is difficult for Haitians to cross the the border into the Dominican Republic to use the temple in Santo Domingo.

coachodeeps said...

I know this is a post from 2009, but it is interesting to note the number of stakes and temples (according to the Statistical Report of 2010 given at the April 2011 Conference) makes it 17.65 stakes per temple now. That is an incredible outreach!