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International Spatial Diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

La diffusion spatiale et internationale de l’Église de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours
Samuel M. Otterstrom
p. 102-130

Résumés

Cet article traite de la diffusion internationale et de la croissance de l’Église de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours ; Eglise dont les membres sont aussi connus sous le nom de « Mormons ». Un modèle de diffusion spatiale des Mormons hors Etats-Unis est développé, qui incorpore une perspective fonctionnelle et une perspective spatiale. Si la perspective fonctionnelle inclut principalement le taux de croissance des Mormons dans un pays donné, la perspective spatiale - sur laquelle cet article se concentre - cherche à montrer l’existence d’un type spatial lié à l’expansion de l’Église dans les divers pays. Une brève vue d’ensemble de l’histoire de la diffusion internationale de l’Église est proposée ainsi que des analyses plus détaillées concernant le Brésil, le Pérou ou le Mexique. En effet, les recherches menées prouvent que l’Église, depuis la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, s’est diffusée d’une manière clairement hiérarchique hors des États-Unis.

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Introduction

1The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (referred to in this paper as “Church” or “LDS Church” and whose members are commonly known as Mormons or LDS), has grown from its simple beginning in 1830 of six members in New York State to some 14 million followers around the globe in 2010. This significant growth has not been evenly spread over time and place, but today there are Mormon congregations in at least 150 nations and territories. The Church states that it has been given the divine mandate to spread its beliefs "throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people" (Book of Mormon 1983, Mosiah 3 : 20). The organization has therefore made missionary work, both domestic and international, a high priority since the Church's founding in 1830.

2The most substantial worldwide diffusion of the Church has been a recent phenomenon. It was not until the twentieth century, when Church leaders began to encourage converts to stay and support Mormon congregations in their own countries, that the Mormons began to have a lasting international presence. In 1930 approximately 90 percent of all Church members lived in the United States. This figure has dropped dramatically, so that in 1980 only 70 percent of Mormons lived in the U.S.A. By 1991, this proportion was less than 55 percent, and in 2009 that number had dropped further to 44 percent (Otterstrom 1990 : 9 ; Almanac 1992, Almanac 2010).

  • 1 This article is adapted and updated from Otterstrom (1994).

3This research analyzes the rates and patterns of the international growth of the LDS Church as well as focusing specifically on the way spatial diffusion within countries has operated to create the present landscape of followers of Mormonism within foreign nations. I introduce a model of religious diffusion that incorporates both spatial and functional perspectives, and I show that the factors that have led to the numerical growth of worldwide Mormons have also been key to the hierarchical nature of the spatial diffusion of the Church1 ;

Brief Overview of Diffusion Studies

4Spatial diffusion has been the subject of much discussion and research in the world of geographic study. Spatial diffusion studies are indebted to the early work of Torsten Hagerstrand who wrote his dissertation, Innovation Diffusion as a Spatial Process, in 1953 (Morrill et al. 1988 : 23). Hagerstrand’s model helped explain the spatial nature of the spread of a farm implement innovation in Sweden. He argued that because most people's contact networks are localized, the diffusion of an innovation would likewise be a local process where innovations spread outward in a contagious manner (Morrill et al. 1988 : 23-4).

5The research of Hagerstrand has had great influence on the many paths that diffusion research has followed (see Brown 1981 : 15-21). These studies range from the spread of black ghettos to the diffusion of influenza in Iceland to the differential growth of cities in the United States (Morrill 1965, Cliff et al 2000, Pred 1966)

6Brown (1981 : 20-1) explains the three general patterns often associated with the diffusion process :
Over time, a graph of the cumulative level of adoption is expected to approximate an S-shape. In an urban system, the diffusion is expected to proceed from larger to smaller centers, a regularity termed the hierarchy effect. Within the hinterland of a single urban center, diffusion is expected to proceed in a wave-like fashion outward from the urban center, first hitting nearby rather than farther-away locations, and a similar pattern is expected in diffusion among a rural population. This third regularity is termed the neighborhood or contagion effect.

7Later diffusion models have included the elements of relocation migration and the influence of an innovation propagator in the conceptual models studied (Brown 1981 : 28,52).

8Relocation is an important element of the diffusion of the LDS Church because much of the geographic spread of Mormonism can be attributed to the relocation of its members. This type of spatial diffusion has included large migrations in the early history of the Church (e.g. moving to Utah and settling new colonies), and movements of families from Utah in this century for job opportunities, schooling, and other reasons.

9The relocation process has been fundamental to the international diffusion of the LDS Church. Missionaries, the main instruments of Mormonism's spread, are intentionally "relocated" in new countries or regions of countries where the Church has been allowed to proselytize. Other international "relocations" of American members who are in military, government, or business fields have provided the groundwork for the initial diffusion of the Church into a surprising number of countries.

10Although Brown (1981) used business corporations as his examples of propagators of an innovation (e.g. a satellite dish manufacturer, a restaurant franchise corporation, or a department store chain), some aspects of his conceptual model can help explain the way the LDS Church operates as the propagator of the LDS religion. Brown argues that it is important to look at a more complete picture of diffusion than one which just concentrates on what influences the individual or household to adopt an innovation, by considering both supply and demand factors (Brown 1981 : 50)

11Brown further describes the role of the propagator, which is the LDS Church in this study, in the establishment of diffusion agencies in various locations. These agencies, which can be compared with Church missions, become the points from which the innovation (e.g., Mormonism) spread into surrounding areas, and help to structure the future spread of the innovation (Brown 1981 : 51). A mission is a defined geographic area of the world that has a Church-assigned mission president and approximately 50-200 full-time missionaries. There were 340 LDS missions around the world as of July 2010 (LDS Church News Feb 13, 2010). At the end of 2009 there were 51,736 full-time missionaries around the world (Ensign May, 2010, 28).

12One other important aspect of the diffusion process is the actual adoption of the innovation by individuals. Most corporations seek to spread their innovation following these stages of diffusion for the purposes of increasing sales and profits. The LDS Church follows a similar pattern, but its goal is to increase the numbers and quality of converts or adopters of the Mormon faith, rather than multiplying profits. Additionally, the Church is characterized by a centralized organization that is responsible for deciding the locations of missions and the number of missionaries sent to these areas and, according to Brown, there are various methods and patterns of diffusion which typify centralized decision-making structures, meaning that they are not necessarily hierarchical in their spatial spread (1981 : 63).

Geographic Studies of Religious Diffusion

13A number of spatial diffusion studies have been written on religions other than the Mormons (see also Peffers 1980). Crowley (1978) shared a thoughtful historical geography overview of the diffusion of old order Amish settlements. He traced the movement of Amish people to the United States and the establishment of Amish communities in various parts of North America. He compared the number and location of both surviving and defunct settlements. He also outlined the factors which influenced the Amish to settle in particular regions. The spatial diffusion of Amish communities described is more related to the early colonization efforts of the Mormons in the Great Basin than to the modern spread of Mormonism.

14Hemmasi (1992) described the diffusion of Islam as an example of a phenomenon which can help teach students a variety of geographic principles. The Islam faith is an interesting religion to study because of its great growth and its virtual saturation of many countries in the Middle East. Hemmasi describes how different types of diffusion affected the spread of Islam through history. These diffusion categories include expansion diffusion, colonization diffusion, and relocation diffusion. Expansion diffusion contains the sub-types of voluntary, forced, and hierarchic. Colonization diffusion of Islam is similar to that which occurred in the Intermountain West under the direction of LDS Church leaders. Settlers would begin new communities in dispersed areas in regions conquered by Muslim kingdoms, or in the case of Mormonism, away from Salt Lake City. Relocation diffusion occurred when Muslims moved to new regions to live without proselyting. This produced isolated pockets of Muslims in Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere without resulting in many converts among the "host" population.

15Barriers to the diffusion of Islam are also discussed by Hemmasi. These include physical barriers such as mountains, oceans, and dense forests, and cultural barriers like language, economic, political, and religious differences. Barriers alter the diffusion of religions so that different regions of the world experience different rates of adoption of the belief system. In the LDS Church, political barriers particularly delay the establishment of missionary work in a country, while additional impediments such as language, culture and physical remoteness can hinder the rate of conversion to the faith after missionary efforts are initiated. These along with other barriers help explain the spatial conversion rate variability of Mormon proselyting efforts. The barriers which the diffusion of Mormonism faces will be discussed later on.

Studies of LDS Growth

16Previous studies on the diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have concentrated on its spread within the United States. Johnson (1966) and Louder (1972) both wrote analytical studies using Hagerstrand based models to emphasize the American nature of the Church. Louder particularly focused on the concentration of members in the western United States (Louder 1975 ; Louder & Bennion 1978). This United States orientation makes sense for the sixties and early seventies because the Church had a much smaller international presence then, but much has changed in the geography of Church membership since that time.

17Stark (1984) emphasized the rapid growth trends of Mormonism internationally, while other more recent papers have concentrated on the social and spatial processes impacting the growth of the Church, especially in the United States (Bennion, 1995 ; Laing, 2002 ; Johnson and Johnson, 2007 ; Otterstrom 2008). Bennion argued that the Church was still a strongly western United States institution in 1992, with nearly 80 percent of its U.S. members in the thirteen western states. Regardless of the Church’s membership geography within the United States, it has grown at a significant rate outside of the USA, so a study of Mormon international diffusion patterns is justified.

18The magnitude of this ongoing international growth prompted me (Otterstrom 1990) to study its possible financial implications for the Church. The study compared worldwide Church population projections with present gross national product (GNP) per capita figures of nations with large LDS populations. The research showed the magnitude of the church's ongoing shift to a population increasingly made up of members in developing countries, and it emphasized the fact that the most successful diffusion of Mormonism in the 21st century occurred in the less-developed realm.

19Other historical material provided helpful background on the growth of the Church worldwide. Arrington (1987) wrote a short but comprehensive overview of the historical events which led to the international growth of the LDS Church. The paper described international missionary endeavors ranging from the first efforts with American Indian nations in 1830 to the tremendous growth of the Church in Mexico during the 1970's. Moss et al (1982) compiled a description of the worldwide expansion of the Church by region. They divided the world into regions and gave detailed accounts of missionary work and Church expansion in the areas through different time periods. Throughout the various chapters they emphasizes the positive influence that the following factors, among others, have had on numbers of converts to the LDS faith : a high degree of religious freedom, a large Christian sector, and a substantial population of those in lower socioeconomic classes. This paper will fill a substantial gap in the literature by applying spatial diffusion concepts to describe and model the geographic growth of this religious movement at the international level. This will in turn provide a basis for more in-depth diffusion studies of other large worldwide religions.

Religious Diffusion Conceptual Framework

20The growth of the LDS Church in the international setting has great potential as a subject for diffusion research. The spatial patterns are guided by a number of factors which affect both the rate of diffusion and the degree of penetration in a country. To help organize these factors in an understandable manner, I have developed a framework which will guide the remainder of the study.

21Figure 1 outlines the conceptual model of international LDS diffusion. This model stems in part from the comparison of functional and spatial perspectives of diffusion described by Brown (1981 : 41). The functional perspective of this model is the supply, demand, and temporal portions, while the spatial perspective is represented by the spatial box on the bottom of the figure.

22This paper concentrates on the "spatial perspective" by showing the patterns of LDS spatial diffusion within countries, so discussion of the functional portion of the model and how it relates to the international growth of Mormonism is mostly limited to the following paragraphs.

Figure 1 : Preliminary Conceptual Model of the international diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints

Figure 1 : Preliminary Conceptual Model of the international diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints

Functional Perspective

23Supply and demand are both important when looking at the functional manner in which the LDS Church spreads over time. The propagator of the "innovation" of Mormonism is the Church with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Church programs, including missionary efforts, are administered by a central decision-making body known as the “general authorities”. The general authorities direct the affairs of the missionary program and decide when and where new missions will be established.

24The factors which influence the international supply of the Mormon religious innovation are many. They include the number of members who relocate to foreign countries for military, business, or governmental purposes, the supply of missionaries available for service periods ranging from one to two years, the number of members in a country who actively participate in sharing the Mormon religion, the extent of the international transportation network, and the financial resources available for use by the Church to support the missions and desired proselytization strategies (e.g. the radio or television media).

25The greater the number of Mormons who relocate to foreign countries, especially those with small indigenous LDS memberships, the greater the possibility that sustained Church growth will occur in those countries. The foundation of the more seasoned expatriate members can help support these membership increases. Those who join the Church in foreign countries become part of the supply side themselves because all members are strongly encouraged to share their faith with those around them.

26It is obvious that a greater supply of missionaries means a larger number of places in which the Church can place these full time "diffusers" of Mormonism. Although much of the missionaries living expenses are paid by themselves, their families, or their home congregations, the Church still incurs great expenses in supporting missionary headquarters around the globe, paying for missionary travel, translating and printing Church literature in foreign languages, and supporting missionaries from less developed countries. As the amount of money that the Church devotes to its missionary programs increases, the potential supply of Mormonism to more remote locations also grows. This is because increasing distance from Salt Lake City and the United States, where the bulk of Mormons are, increases the cost of diffusing Mormonism.

27The United States still has the largest Mormon membership, so the bulk of missionaries in foreign lands come from that country. Therefore, conditions within the USA can greatly affect the supply of missionaries. The United States government can sometime limit the number of missionaries by military conscription (during wars like the Korean and Vietnam). Periods of economic troubles in this nation may also decrease the number of U.S. Mormons who can afford to serve a full-time mission. Additionally, the Church in 2002 raised the standards required for missionaries, which was probably one factor in the decrease of the total number of missionaries from over 60,000 in 2001 to less than 52,000 in 2009 (Ballard 2002, LDS Church News 17 Apr 2010, 13).

28I posit that the demand for the Mormon religion in a specific country is affected by such factors as the amount of religious freedom, religious orientation (i.e. percent Christian), income characteristics, political stability, cultural attitudes, languages, amount of migration or displacement of a country's people, and population growth rates. One possible view is that more religious freedom, less per capita income, larger proportions of Christians and greater political stability all exert a positive influence on the demand for Mormonism. Higher population growth rates also tend to increase the demand for Mormonism, because there will be more second generation adopters of the LDS religion (i.e., there will be more young children of new converts baptized into the Church when they reach the age of baptism). Thus, the LDS Church has been successful in Latin American countries that are predominantly Catholic, and meet many of these other criteria for higher demand. These places have also experienced significant growth in Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists and members of other evangelizing faiths, some of which have grown faster than the LDS Church in these countries (Clawson 2006, 238-45). The growth among these newly introduced faiths has prompted responses in the Catholic Church to this religious competition. These changes include the emergence of the Catholic Charismatic movement and missionary efforts related to “liberation theology” and creating strength among indigenous populations in other ways (Cleary 2009, 2011).

29Each country receives different levels of supply from the LDS Church and exhibits varying degrees of demand for the religion. An increase in demand usually encourages a growth in supply, while a well-advertised supply can create a measurable amount of demand. For optimal diffusion rates however, high amounts of both supply and demand are required. The variable effect that both supply and demand can have on the diffusion rate in a country is entitled "Innovation Diffusion Rate". A few possible scenarios are represented of how a specific rate of LDS diffusion in a country may result. When there is no supply and a large demand for Mormonism, substitute LDS type churches are sometimes formed as was the case in Nigeria before 1978. Missionaries were first sent there that year and found that a number of successful churches bearing the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" name had been previously organized without official approval from the LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City (Deseret News Church Almanac (1993-1994) 1992 : 251 ; Moss et al 1982, 331-2).

30On the other hand, low demand can result in only a few converts even with a consistent supply over many years. For example, the Germany Munich/Austria and Switzerland Zurich missions were recently combined. The Swiss mission had been operating since 1850, so the change was not because of political difficulties. Instead this shift may be attributed to the low conversion rates that these areas have experienced over the last several decades (Van Orden 1993 : 130). This combining of missions likely means a decrease in the supply of Mormonism (e.g. fewer missionaries in these areas) for the countries, even though there are millions of people in this area who are not LDS (LDS Church News, Feb 13, 2010).

31With changing missionary numbers and varying levels of success and acceptance in different countries, the supply of missionaries continues to be adjusted for each location. Besides the combining of a Swiss and German mission in 2010, the Church also combined missions in Spain, Italy, Scotland/Ireland, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, Germany (Hamburg and Berlin), Australia, Puerto Rico, Korea, and Japan. Many of these areas have experienced relatively slow diffusion or growth rates. On the other hand, new missions were created in DR Congo, Peru (2), Utah, New Mexico, Mexico (2), Nicaragua, Philippines, and Guatemala. These areas have had more rapid LDS growth over the past several decades (see Table 1) (LDS Church News Feb 13, 2010).

32Over time, it is expected that the supply of the Mormon innovation in a country will tend to equalize the corresponding demand for the religion. However, the supply side (of missionaries, media programs, etc.) is sometimes even increased in those regions where there is a low demand for the religion in an attempt to create more interest in the Church. This is an effort to allow as many people as possible to hear about the Church, and to fulfill the first LDS prophet Joseph Smith's statement concerning the Church’s future :

33The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done (History of the Church 1957, 4 : 540).

34This goal, to diffuse its beliefs to all nations, has meant a greater dispersion of the Mormon religion than if the Church only sent missionaries to areas where conversion successes and demand were the greatest.

Table 1 : Nations with more than 20,000 Mormons on Jan 1,2010

MORMONS

STAKES

MISSIONS

LDS

1992-2010

NATION

REGION

2010

2010

2010

2010

Growth*

United States

N. America

6,058,907

1,451

104

2.0 %

40 %

Mexico

Middle Am.

1,197,573

220

21

1.0 %

82 %

Brazil

So. America

1,102,428

230

27

0.5 %

176 %

Philippines

Asia

631,885

79

15

0.6 %

138 %

Chile

So. America

561,904

74

9

3.3 %

78 %

Peru

So. America

480,816

94

7

1.6 %

147 %

Argentina

So. America

380,669

70

10

0.9 %

109 %

Guatemala

Middle Am.

220,296

39

4

1.6 %

71 %

Ecuador

So. America

190,498

34

3

1.3 %

107 %

United Kingdom

Europe

186,082

45

6

0.2 %

19 %

Canada

N. America

179,801

47

8

0.5 %

38 %

Colombia

So. America

168,514

29

3

0.4 %

94 %

Bolivia

So. America

168,396

24

3

1.7 %

137 %

Venezuela

So. America

146,987

26

4

0.5 %

158 %

Honduras

Middle Am.

136,408

20

3

1.7 %

197 %

Australia

South Pacifie

126,767

33

7

0.6 %

63 %

Japan

Asia

124,041

29

7

0.1 %

25 %

Dom. Republic

Middle Am.

114,571

18

3

l.l %

202 %

El Salvador

Middle Am.

105,501

17

2

1.4 %

157 %

New Zealand

South Pacifie

100,962

25

2

2.4 %

31 %

Uruguay

So. America

93,935

16

2

2.6 %

62 %

Nigeria

Africa

93,532

16

4

1.0 %

420 %

South Korea

Asia

82,472

17

4

0.2 %

33 %

Paraguay

So. America

78,220

10

2

1.0 %

502 %

Samoa

South Pacifie

69,244

16

31.0 %

41 %

Nicaragua

Middle Am.

67,275

9

1.0 %

512

Tonga

South Pacifie

55,173

17

45.0

53 %

Taiwan

Asia

51,090

10

2

0.2 %

159 %

South Africa

Africa

51,710

Il

3

0.1 %

169 %

Spain

Europe

45,729

10

4

l.l %

99 %

Panama

Middle Am.

45,343

8

1. %

116 %

Ghana

Africa

40,872

7

2

0.2 %

317 %

Portugal

Europe

38,509

6

2

0.4 %

24 %

Germany

Europe

37,796

14

4

0.1 %

-3 %

Costa Rica

Middle Am.

36,823

5

0.9 %

94 %

France

Europe

35,427

9

2

0.1 %

48 %

China, Hong Kong

Asia

24,114

4

1

0.3 %

34 %

Italy

Europe

23,430

6

3

0.0 %

46 %

Dem. Congo

Africa

23,615

7

0.0 %

595 %

French Polynesia

South Pacifie

20,805

6

7.1 %

73 %

Puerto Rico

Middle Am.

20,386

5

2

0.5 %

20 %

Russia

Europe

20,276

0

8

0.0 %

**

TOTAL - for nations with 20,000+

13,438,782

2,813

TOTAL

- World

13,824,854

2,865

* Dec.31, 1991 – Jan. 1, 2010

** Russian memebership before 1991< 1,000

Spatial Perspective

35Discussion on the effects of supply and demand on the diffusion of Mormonism is related to the second part of the conceptual model : the Spatial Perspective. The interactions of both the supply and demand of Mormon innovations create a specific rate of diffusion within each country (as shown in the Innovation Diffusion Rate box of Figure 1). This rate of growth interfaces (shown as the Functional/Spatial Interface) with the spatial structure of the country's population. The greater the rate, the faster the religion will spread throughout a nation. In the figure, the spatial patterns exhibited by LDS diffusion within a country are shown only as hypothetical stages, and are after Hagerstrand (1952) who placed the three regularities of diffusion, the S-shape curve for diffusion through time, the hierarchy effect and the neighborhood effect, into an interrelated framework (Brown 1981 : 21).

36Hagerstrand's stages of diffusion are used as the background model which guides the development of Mormon-specific phases of diffusion. His framework also parallels the main hypothesis of this thesis : modern (post WW II) Mormon diffusion within international countries involves a distinct pattern of initial introduction of the Church (by North American Mormon expatriates, by citizens converted to Mormonism elsewhere, or by Mormon missionaries), followed by conversions and the eventual establishment of missions in the largest cities, which produce, through organized proselytization, strongly hierarchical patterns of Church unit formation.

37Each country is unique in population size, area and shape, and rural/urban makeup, so the spatial manifestation of the phases of diffusion will vary among nations. Consequently, some countries may not even follow an outlined pattern. However, I demonstrate that most of the countries with large Mormon populations have exhibited similar spatial characteristics in their growth during the modern period. Before exploring these spatial patterns, a look at the data and the methodology which will be employed to guide this process is in order.

Data Requirements

38The study requires both LDS Church data and country data. The Church data include the locations and dates of establishment of Church congregations and missions throughout the world, Church histories of countries, and the rates of Mormon membership growth in various nations. Country data are the populations of the nations, cities, provinces, districts, and/or states which contain LDS stakes and missions. Populations of specific cities, states, and provinces have been obtained from GeoNames.org, which organization has compiled a large database of place names and populations from around the world.

  • 2 The word “stake” comes from a reference in the Bible (Isaiah 54 : 2-3) (Ludlow 1992, 1412).

39The Church keeps very detailed statistics of the numbers of Church members and their location around the globe. The Deseret News Church Almanac contains a brief overview of Church growth in the different countries, nations, and territories. Most of the world is divided geographically into “stakes,” which contain approximately 5 to 14 individual Church units2The larger congregations are called “wards” and have approximately 250 to 700 members, while the smaller ones are known as “branches” and usually have less than about 250 members. Stakes are created by either dividing one or more larger stakes into an additional stake, or by taking multiple large branches that were in a “mission district” and making them into a stake, and by concurrently converting many of the branches into wards. Leadership in stakes, wards, and branches is by a lay clergy of stake presidents, bishops of wards, and branch presidents (Ludlow, 1992).

40The names of stake and missions always have some geographic reference. Usually they indicate the location of the “stake center" or mission headquarters office, and these places are usually the largest city where one or more of the wards is located. The “stake center” is the chapel for stake meetings and where stake leader offices are located. Although stakes and missions are more regional in nature and include greater areas than their component parts of wards and branches, they are easier to locate and their dates of creation are readily available. Additionally, the wards and branches of the world are component parts of stakes and missions so one still gets an accurate feel for the overall Mormon distribution by using the stakes and missions as diffusion locators.

41The names, locations, and dates of creation of wards and branches are not readily available for research purposes. So stakes necessarily must be the unit of analysis. There are some 2,865 stakes around the world, with about half being are outside of the United States. The Almanac (2010) contains the location of stakes and missions in that geographic area and the date each stake or mission was created, and the LDS Church News also publishes the most recent changes. Additionally, various editions of the Almanac have contained total membership numbers and short overviews of the history of the Church in different countries (see also Otterstrom 1990), which will be used throughout the paper. Finally, Moss et al (1982) and Van Orden (1993) also have valuable detailed data on how the Church was introduced and grew in different nations.

Research Organization

42In the remainder of the paper I will consider the functional and spatial aspects of Mormonism’s worldwide spread. I first offer an overview of the international diffusion of the LDS Church from 1830 to the present, including giving 2009 LDS membership figures for countries with over 10,000 Mormons. I give added focus to the Middle and South American regions, with a short overview of the LDS Church geography in those areas along with a chronology of Mormonism's diffusion to the regions’ countries with the initial type of diffusion that helped the Church grow there.

43 Mormons in South and Middle America comprised less than one percent of the total Mormon population in 1930. By 2009, these two regions had almost 40 percent of the world's Mormons, second only to the United States in numbers of LDS members (Almanac 2010). The importance of Middle and South America in LDS Church geography is emphasized in Table 1. Although the United States has the greatest number of Mormons of any nation, its LDS diffusion patterns will not be discussed because the focus of this research is on international areas. Furthermore, I outline detailed accounts of the spatial diffusion patterns of Mormonism within Brazil, Peru, and Mexico to explore how this growth relates to my diffusion model. After the United States, the countries of Mexico and Brazil have the most Church members of any countries in the world, and Peru is sixth in LDS population.

44Along with international summary and country narratives, I use five- and ten-year increments of these three countries from 1969 or 1979 through 2010 to illustrate the concurrent diffusion of stakes and missions over time. The maps illustrate the spatial patterns of growth exhibited within the context of each country's unique geography and will visually complement the discussion on this diffusion in the body of the paper. To aid in the analysis, I have created tables showing the spread of stakes by city population over the same five year increments and in the same countries which were used in the mapping exercise.

45In the conclusion, the results of this exploration of the patterns of international LDS diffusion are incorporated into the conceptual model of Hagerstrand's (1952) stages of spatial diffusion shown in the Figure 1 model are transformed into phases specific to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Overview of International LDS Growth

46It did not take long for Joseph Smith, the first LDS prophet, to send some of the early converts to preach the merits of the new church to citizens in surrounding areas. In June 1830, about two months after the Church was organized, Samuel H. Smith (Joseph Smith's brother) began a missionary journey which signaled the beginning of the diffusion of the Church (Almanac 1992 : 151).

47The first international missionary endeavors occurred in Upper Canada (now Ontario) starting in 1832, and in England beginning in 1837. Work in Canada spread to what is now Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. In England, the missionaries spread their labors from their initial efforts near Preston to other areas in the country as well as in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland (Arrington 1987,10).In the early 1840's, Joseph Smith sent missionaries to Palestine, Australia, India, Germany, Jamaica, and the Society Islands with mixed results. By the end of 1847 LDS Church membership in foreign countries "approximated 10,000 in England, 1,900 in Wales, 2,000 in Scotland, 40 in Ireland, 2,000 in the Society Islands, and an additional 4,160 scattered worldwide" (Arrington 1987,11). By 1850 there were over 30,000 members in Great Britain compared with 27,000 in all of the United States and Canada (Van Orden 1993,14).

48The diffusion efforts were the most successful in England. Many of the converts from the British Isles and elsewhere emigrated to America's Mormon settlements during the next several decades. This pattern continued throughout the century, giving much strength to the Church. The abundance of British converts resulted in the majority of the LDS in the Church being either from Britain or descending from members who had joined the Church in the British Isles (Van Orden 1993 : 14).

49The beginning of the British Mission in 1837 marked the start of organized missions to direct proselytizing efforts in specific geographic areas. Some 20 other international missions were organized during the nineteenth century in widely spread locations such as Samoa, South Africa, the Society Islands, Mexico, and in numerous European nations (Almanac 1992 : 286-289).

50Some of these missions were discontinued after only a few years of existence and a number of the missions found only limited success, but one can see the global effort to preach Mormonism was during the last century. By the end of 1899 there were 271,681 Mormons, 40 stakes, 20 missions (including those in the United States), and over 1000 missionaries serving around the world (Almanac 1992 : 397-400). "Virtually all of these [missionaries] were mature men who left their wives and children at home where they had to support themselves and raise funds to support the missionary as well" (Arrington 1987 : 15). The only stakes which existed outside of the United States by 1900 were the Juarez Mexico and Alberta Canada Stakes, which consisted mainly of Mormon colonizers who relocated there from the Intermountain West.

51The first half of the twentieth century marked a shift of the historical inward gathering of converts to Utah and other Mormon centers to an emphasis on members staying in their respective states and countries to strengthen the Church there (Moss et al 1982 : 270-1). Church membership climbed steadily, but World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II interrupted missionary activity in many areas for long periods of time. By the end of World War II, the bulk of Mormons continued to live in the United States with all but one stake being in North America. The only stake created away from the continent was the Oahu Stake in Hawaii, which was formed in 1935.

52As the clouds of war dispersed in the late 1940's, the Church was poised to make major steps to enlarge and expand its international presence. The Church reached its first million members in 1947. President David O. McKay, the LDS prophet beginning in 1951, reemphasized the importance of missionary activities. He traveled around the world to visit the members in many lands, and to encourage them to further build up the Church so that independent stakes could be established in their nations (Van Orden 1993 : 18).

53Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay were the only countries in South America to have Church branches before 1950. Between those three nations there were just over 2,300 Mormon members in 1950. Almost 60 years later there were over 1.5 million members in those same three countries. Additionally there has been significant growth throughout much of South America. (see Table 1). In all of South America there were approximately 3.278 million Mormons in 2009 (Almanac 2010 : 186).

54The Middle America region as a whole has also experienced much Mormon growth since World War II. Mexico has the most LDS members of any country in the world after the United States, and has the largest population of any country in the region. Mexico received the earliest lasting Mormon missionary efforts in Middle America, beginning in 1876 in some northern areas of the country. Elder Moses Thatcher of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second highest governing body of the Church after the First Presidency) was called to be the first mission president in Mexico City in 1879.

55The diffusion of the LDS Church into the other countries of Middle America came much later than it did to Mexico. Table 2 outlines the methods by which Mormonism first made its way into the more populous nations in the region, as well as the dates the first branches and missions were organized in the country (also see Table 1). This diffusion of Mormonism into Middle America occurred in a variety of ways, not unlike that experienced in South America (compare Tables 2 and 3). It does appear, however, that more of the countries in Middle America were first introduced to the LDS Church by missionaries than in South America, where expatriates from the United States and Germany played a greater role. However, the importance of the likes of Rey L. Pratt (in Mexico), John F. O'Donnal (in Guatemala), and others from the Mormon colonies in northern Mexico in establishing Mormonism in Mexico and Central America cannot be overstated. Rey L. Pratt was the Mexican Mission president from 1907 until 1931, and John F. O'Donnal was the first district president, as well as a mission president in Guatemala (Moss et al 1982, 163-6 ; Almanac 1992, 226).

56The first stake to be created outside of North America and Hawaii was the Auckland Stake in New Zealand in 1958. This development marked the beginning of a rapid increase of foreign stakes and missions worldwide. Over the ensuing 50 years more and more stakes were formed internationally as Church membership grew substantially. In1964 there were 21 stakes outside of the United States, growing to 79 by 1973, 820 in 1995, and by 2009 there were 1380 international stakes out of a total of 2,818 (Almanac 1974, 115 ; Almanac 2010). During 2009 the 51,000 plus missionaries (mostly young men and women under 25 years of age) baptized an average of 23,300 converts into the Church every month(LDS Church News April 17, 2010). If past trends were followed during 2009, the majority of the new converts were citizens of countries other than the United States, and more particularly of nations in the developing world (Otterstrom 1990, 9-10).

Table 2 : Middle America - Early Mormon Diffusion

MIDDLE AMERICA

NATION

1ST BRANCH

INTRODUCERS

1ST

MISSION

Mexico

1879

Missionaries from the U.S.

1879

Panama

1941

U.S. Servicemen

1989

Puerto Rico

1947

U.S. Servicemen

1979

Guatemala

1948

John F. O'Fonnal from Mormon Colonies in Mex

1952

Costa Rica

1950

Missionaries from Mexican Mission & H. Clark Fails

1965

El Salvador

1951

Missionaries from Mexican Mission

1976

Honduras

1953

Missionaries from Central America Mission

1980

Nicaragua

1954

Missionaries from Central America Mission

1989

Jamaica

1970

North American families

1985

Dominican Rep.

1978

The Amparo and Rappleye families (from the U.S. ?)

1981

Barbados

1979

John & Norman Namie families

1983

Belize

1980

Missionaries from Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission

Haiti

1980

Alexandre Mourra- Haitian converted by LDS literat. converted by LDS literat.

1984

Trinidad & Tobago

1980

Missionaries from Venezuela Caracas Mission

1991

Source : Almanac, 1992

Brazil

57South America is the site of some o f the greatest Mormon diffusion successes of the twentieth century. Parley P. Pratt, an early Mormon leader, along with his wife and another missionary made an attempt to proselytize in Chile during the end of 1851 and the beginning of 1852. However, their efforts ended without one single convert (Moss et al 1982 : 170-3). It was not until over seventy years later that the LDS Church started to build an actual foundation in South America.

58Mormonism was first introduced into South America during the 1920's by German LDS immigrants who settled in Argentina and southern Brazil. The South American Mission was organized in 1925 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At first, the majority of converts were German immigrants. In 1928, missionary work spread from Buenos Aires to the city of Joinville in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Joinville was home to many German immigrants (about 90 percent of the population were German at the time). In 1930, missionaries were sent to Rosario, Argentina, and in 1933 to Porto Alegre, Brazil, another dominantly German city (Moss et al 1982 : 177). In 1935, the Brazilian and Argentine missions were created from the South American Mission. Missionary work continued steadily, and by 1950 there were 1135 and 724 Mormons in Argentina and Brazil respectively (Moss et al 1982 : 177-8), and since that time growth in Brazil has overtaken that of Argentina.

59Brazil is larger than the contiguous United States and has about 200 million people. The population is most dense along the coasts, especially near the huge metropolises of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America, was the site for the creation of the first stake in South America in 1966, even though missionary work first started among the Germans in the southern states of Brazil (Figure 2 and Appendix 1). This underscores the hierarchical diffusion of Mormonism that has occurred across the country.

60By the end of 1974 there were nine stakes in Brazil. Three of the new cities with stakes, including the country's second largest city of Rio de Janeiro, have over one million inhabitants. Curitiba and Porto Alegre are the largest cities in southern Brazil in the regions where the earliest missionary labors in Brazil were concentrated, so their role as headquarters for stakes early on is not surprising. The other three stakes were centered in cities with over populations over 350,000. Additionally, all three of these cities, Campinas, Santos, and Sao Bernardo, are within 100 kilometers of Sao Paulo, which may help explain the relatively early formation of stakes there notwithstanding their smaller size.

61 The Church has grown very quickly in ethnically diverse Brazil since the 1978 revelation announced which stated that the priesthood could be conferred on all worthy LDS men regardless of race (before 1978, blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood in the Church). It is especially interesting to note the formation of the Recife Mission in 1979 and the subsequent creation of numerous stakes in the dominantly black northeast. As another indication of LDS growth in that region, the Church built a temple in Recife in 2000 and has announced temples in Manaus and Fortaleza to go along with the existing temples in Sao Paulo, Campinas, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre. A temple is the most sacred edifice for worship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

62Since 1979 the number of stakes in Brazil has increased thirteen-fold. At the end of 2009 there were over 228 stakes and approximately 1.075 million members in the nation (Almanac 2010). Additionally, there are now 27 missions in the country. Twenty-eight stakes are centered in Sao Paulo proper, while a total of 97 stakes are located in cities (including Sao Paulo) with populations over one million. Many of the rest of the stakes are concentrated around Sao Paulo, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Curitiba, manifesting a certain degree of contagious "infilling" which occurs as the Church grows and spreads in and around a metropolitan area (see Figures 3 and 4).

63Only ten of the stakes were headquartered in cities of less than 100,000 people in 2009, showing the strong hierarchical patterns that are related to the growth of the Church in the country. Additionally, distance makes a difference too as the relatively late organization of stakes in large cities such as Belem, Manaus, and Teresina may be partially explained by the fact that they are all faraway from the population centers of the south and are also isolated from the coastal metropolises of Fortaleza and Recife in the northeast. Missionary work success came later in these cities.

64Brazil has shown strong hierarchical diffusion patterns of Mormonism. In the future, the stakes in Brazil will most probably continue to be concentrated in and around the largest cities. However, the trend of an increasing number of stakes being located in more remote and smaller cities will most likely continue.

Figure 2 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 1969/1979

Figure 2 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 1969/1979

Figure 3 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 1989/1999

Figure 3 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 1989/1999

Figure 4 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 2010

Figure 4 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 2010

Peru

65Peru is another large country that has had attracted a great number of LDS converts. It has more area than the states of Texas and California combined, and greater than 29 million people. Lima, as a primate city, is home to a similar proportion (41 percent) of its country's 90 stakes as another dominant city, Santiago, Chile to the south (see Appendix 2 and Figure 5). Peru's stakes are headquartered in only 32 cities, owing to the dominance of Lima and the multiple stakes in several other large communities. However, Trujillo, the second largest city, only has seven stakes compared with the 37 of Lima.

66The pattern of stake creation in Peru has followed a strongly hierarchical trend. Lima was the first city in the country to have a stake center in 1970. Nine years later, Lima had seven stakes of its own, while Trujillo to the north was the only other city to have a stake. By 1984 stakes had begun to spread up the Pacific coast, out to Iquitos in the Amazon, and south to Arequipa and Tacna, as well as increasing in the Lima area. All of these new stakes developed in cities, which now have over 100,000 inhabitants. By 1989 the other large cities of Cuzco and Ica had stakes, while the smaller Huacho and Mantaro stakes made their appearance. The less-populated Huacho gained a stake at the end of the five year interval in 1989, which makes it somewhat less anomalous from a hierarchical standpoint.

67By 1994 the diffusion of Mormonism in Peru began to include more cities of fewer than 100,000 people. Additionally, the largest urban areas (Lima, Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Chimbote, Piura, Iquitos, and Cuzco) all added at least one stake between 1989 and 1994. This seems to indicate the result of contagious diffusion process at work within the realms of the larger cities.

68The spread of missions has also followed a hierarchical pattern in Peru. Lima was the site of the country's first mission in 1959. The five current missions in Lima are indicative of its large size, and its success as a site for Mormon missionary work. The second most populous city of Arequipa became a mission headquarters in 1978, and the next largest urban places, Trujillo and Chiclayo (the Chiclayo mission is now headquartered in Piura), received missions in 1985 and 1993 respectively. In 2010 new missions were opened in Lima and Cusco, for a total of nine missions with over half headquartered in Lima.

69Peru certainly has shown a pattern of hierarchical diffusion similar to the countries of Argentina and Chile which also have primate cities. The dominant role that Lima has played as a center for diffusion and adoption of the LDS faith is very clear. The diffusion of Mormonism in Peru will probably continue to exhibit hierarchical patterns at a quick pace for years to come.

Figure 5 : Peru and Ecuador - Stakes and Missions 1979 -2010

Figure 5 : Peru and Ecuador - Stakes and Missions 1979 -2010

Mexico

70Mexico's proximity to the United States and the early establishment of the Mormon colonies in northern Mexico helped start the first lasting diffusion of Mormonism into a Latin American country. The (Colonia) Juarez Stake, Mexico's first, was created in 1895 in the northern state of Chihuahua. It was comprised of Mormon colonists who had moved there from the United States. The Juarez Stake is an anomaly within normal hierarchical diffusion patterns because it consisted of the wholesale relocation of a Mormon population into a largely rural area. Therefore, a large population base to increase potential converts was not required. The colonies in Chihuahua have remained small Mormon communities to this day.

71Initial advantages of early Mormon migration in the late 1800s coupled with many willing "adopters" in Mexico have resulted in some 1,158,236 Mexican Mormons in 2009. Only the United States, Mexico, and Brazil have more than one million LDS members. Diffusion of Mormonism within Mexico has also followed a mostly hierarchical pattern, which has been dominated by the primate urban center of Mexico City. It was the second city in the country to become headquarters for a stake in 1961 (after Colonia Juarez). Figures 6-8 outline the progressive increase in stakes in the country with the cities ranked according to size (also Appendix 3). There are varying estimates for the population size of Mexico City depending on how the outlying districts are included and counted. This can result in wide-ranging population figures. Whatever its total population, Mexico City's sheer size helps account for the 41 stakes that are currently headquartered there.

72By 1974 there were five stakes in Mexico City and two in Monterrey, the largest city in the north of Mexico. Besides the Colonia Juarez Stake, there were also stakes in Tampico, Monclova, and Valle Hermosa. The early creation of stakes in the smaller cities of Monclova and Valle Hermosa is probably related to the fact that they are close to the Mormon colonies and to the United States. This proximity and the early establishment of missions in the nearby cities of Torreon and Monterrey have helped multiply stakes in the whole region. In comparison, Guadalajara, the second largest city, but more removed from the United States, did not receive its first stake and mission until 1975.

73During the five years between the end of 1974 and 1979 the number of stakes in Mexico increased rapidly to 53. The number of cities with stakes grew to 31, which began to show the continuing pattern of stakes being distributed all over the country. Forty (75.5 percent) of the stakes were located in cities with over 100,000 people. Mexico City, Monterrey, and Puebla (southeast of Mexico City) together accounted for 22 of the 53 stakes. The large cities of Merida, Poza Rica, and Veracruz had two stakes each. All the rest of the communities had just one stake apiece.

74In 1984 there were 77 stakes spread around the country. The Mormon growth in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Puebla continued, while Guadalajara finally received its second stake. Fifty-nine (76.6 percent) of the stakes were in cities of over 100,000. By 1989 there were some 105 stakes in the country with 80 (76.2 percent) of them located in cities with more than 100,000 people. In 1994 the ratio of stakes in large cities over 100,000 to the total number of stakes was 92 of the 126 stakes (73 percent) in the country.

75It is interesting that although the total number of cities with stakes continues to rise, the share of stakes in communities with over 100,000 has remained relatively constant at about 75 percent. It is also noteworthy that although Monterrey is smaller than Guadalajara, it has ten stakes to Guadalajara's seven. This shows the greater success that the diffusion of Mormonism has had in Monterrey over time as well as its advantage of having a mission located there earlier. The late (1989) creation of the first stake in the tourist destination of Acapulco may also be related to the factors which have led to later growth in Guadalajara.

76The three stakes and five missions in existence in Mexico in 1969 were only a precursor to the rapid diffusion of Mormon stakes and missions throughout the country over the ensuing 40 years. In 1994 there were 124 stakes and an estimated 800,000 Mormons in the country. Another 15 years later the numbers of Mormon adherents had increased to over 1.1 million and the stakes had swelled to 220. Additionally, there are twelve Mormon temples spread around the county in most of the important LDS centers, which number is second only to the United States (Figure 8). Still, LDS adherents make up just one percent of Mexico’s population, which leaves a great deal of potential for the diffusion of Mormonism in that country. If the growth of Mormonism in Mexico continues, new stakes will placed around the country in the ongoing hierarchical pattern.

Table 3 : South America - Early Mormon Diffusion

SOUTH AMERICA

NATION

1ST BRANCH

INTRODUCERS

1ST MISSION

Argentina

1925

LDS German immigrants Wilhelm Friedrichs Emil Hoppe

1925

Brazil

1928

LDS German immigrants Roberto Lippelt family

1935

Uruguay

1944

North Americans Frederick S. Williams

1947

Paraguay

1948

North Americans Samuel J. Skousen

1977

Peru

1956

North Americans Frederick S. Williams

1959

Chile

1956

North Americans William Fotheringham

1961

Bolivia

1963

North Americans-Duane Wilcox Dube Thomas Norval Jesperson

1966

Ecuador

1965

Missionaries from Andes Mission in Peru

1970

Colombia

1966 (est)

North Americans

1968

Venezuela

1966

North Americans

1971

Suriname

1988

Missionaries

none

Guyana

1989

Abdulla family converted in Canada & Missionaries

no ne

French Guiana

1989

Missionaries

none

Source : Almanac 1992

Figure 6 : Mexico - Stakes and Missions 1969/1979

Figure 6 : Mexico - Stakes and Missions 1969/1979

Figure 7 : Mexico : Stakes and Missions 1989/1999

Figure 7 : Mexico : Stakes and Missions 1989/1999

Figure 8 : Mexico - Stakes and Missions 2010

Figure 8 : Mexico - Stakes and Missions 2010

Religious Diffusion Summary

77In most countries around the world where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been successful, the patterns of stake (and mission) creation have provided a basis for understanding how the Mormon population has diffused through a country over time. This method of tracking Mormonism's diffusion has shown that the creation of a country's first mission, followed later by a stake, almost always occurs in the largest city. From there, the spread of missions and stakes has generally proceeded outward down the hierarchy of urban places, as well as increasing contagiously within the immediate vicinity of the central city. The specific rate of growth of Mormonism has determined how fast stakes are formed and thereafter spread throughout a country.

78The conceptual model of Figure 9 is the same as that of Figure 1 for the "Functional Perspective" portion, but the "Spatial Perspective" component now includes four Mormon specific diffusion phases, rather than the three stages of Hagerstrand. However, the four Mormon phases are very similar to Hagerstrand's emphasizing that the diffusion of Mormonism within nations has followed a natural pattern often recognized in studies of the spread of other innovations.

79How the workings of supply and demand (in the "Functional Perspective") affect the specific rate of growth within a country has not been studied in this paper. However, the fact that growth rates vary throughout the world has been shown. It follows that the greater the growth rate, the faster the Mormon religion will spread throughout a nation, and the more quickly it will progress through the four general phases of spatial diffusion outlined in the model. The unique population size, area and shape, and rural/urban makeup have caused the spatial manifestation of the phases of diffusion to vary somewhat among nations. However, the countries studied in this research have followed this pattern during the modern era which this paper has concentrated on.

80Phase one is the "Initial Introduction" period. This diffusion of the Church into a new country is begun in at least one of three ways : by expatriate Mormons, usually from North America or Europe, who move into a country, by citizens of the country who join the Church elsewhere and return to their own land, or by LDS missionaries who are assigned to the country from a mission in a neighboring nation.

81Missionaries must be allowed into the country by the government, while expatriates or returning citizens can often begin meeting together before the Church is officially recognized in a country. In either case, under favorable political conditions, the Church eventually obtains recognition, missionaries begin to proselyte, and branches are organized for the local Church members. In most instances, these branches are located in the largest city or cities of the country. As the country nears the end of phase one, a mission is formed in or near the country to increase the supply of missionaries. The mission is headquartered in or near one of the major cities where branches already are established. By this time, most of the members are not expatriate North Americans.

82Diffusion phase two is the "Central Staging" period. Proselyting activity is concentrated around the large city which houses the mission headquarters. The headquarters acts as central point of diffusion in the region. The mission president uses all available information to determine the best locations to place the missionaries. Over time missionaries are sent to "open" other cities, which are often the larger metropolitan areas nearest to the mission headquarters. Diffusion success finally results in the establishment of a stake centered in the largest (or close to the largest) city in the country. These developments mark the end of phase two.

83Phase three entitled "Metropolitan Movement" is marked by the creation of additional stakes in the central or primate city where the first stake was created, and the manifestation of a hierarchical pattern of stake creation in other large cities around the country. These new stakes encourage the establishment of new missions headquartered in other large urban places spread around the country, as well as the division of the existing mission in the central city. The ability to create more missions, however, depends on a growing supply of missionaries from the United States and elsewhere.

84The additional stakes and missions act as new dispersion sources for the diffusion of the Mormon religious innovation. More people in lower order urban areas will be exposed to the religion by the Mormon missionaries because of the more accessible proximity to the religious innovation. This occurrence brings a country to the last phase of the diffusion model.

85The final phase is termed "Contagious Concentration". As the missions and stakes spread out across a country, missionary activities become more localized. Small towns and rural areas can be more easily reached by missionaries, and new Church units are organized in these places. The diffusion of the Church becomes more contagious in its pattern, emanating from the centers of stakes and missions.

86This contagious pattern occurs because the ongoing creation of new Church units results in the missions and stakes covering ever decreasing areas with a constantly increasing membership. Therefore, there are more members and missionaries to spread the Mormon religion within smaller regions, which encourages a larger measure of filling in. This phase continues indefinitely, with increasing numbers of stakes and missions being created in more locations throughout the country, until all those in the population who would adopt Mormonism have. This level of diffusion has not yet occurred in any country, and only the small countries of Samoa and Tonga have significant LDS shares of their total country populations (see Table 1).

87An interesting additional example is the Philippines, which is another country with significant numbers of Mormons. The diffusion of Mormon stakes in the islands of the Philippines was initially hierarchical from Manila outward to other areas of Luzon Island, as well as to the islands of Cebu, Negros, and Mindanao. It appears that after this early diffusion, the insulation of the various islands lessened the influence of Manila in the hierarchic order (except on Luzon Island). The Philippines thus highlights the fact that each country’s distinct geography affects the particular diffusion process of a country and how closely it adheres to the model.

88The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown significantly throughout the world since 1830 and especially since World War II, but it is still a relatively small religion with about 2 members per 1000 people in the world. Although for Mormons there is a long way to go before their message will spread to every nation, kindred tongue and people, the diffusion of the LDS faith has continued around the world in a well-planned and hierarchical way that has allowed it to grow into the widely diffused religious faith that it is.

Figure 9 : Conceptual Model of the international diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Figure 9 : Conceptual Model of the international diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Annexe

Appendix 1 : Brazil – Diffusion of Skates by Cities

Appendix 2 : Peru – Diffusion of Skates by Cities

Appendix 3 : Mexico – Diffusion of Skates by Cities

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Notes

1 This article is adapted and updated from Otterstrom (1994).

2 The word “stake” comes from a reference in the Bible (Isaiah 54 : 2-3) (Ludlow 1992, 1412).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1 : Preliminary Conceptual Model of the international diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,3M
Titre Figure 2 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 1969/1979
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 304k
Titre Figure 3 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 1989/1999
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 332k
Titre Figure 4 : Brazil - Stakes and Missions 2010
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Figure 5 : Peru and Ecuador - Stakes and Missions 1979 -2010
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 348k
Titre Figure 6 : Mexico - Stakes and Missions 1969/1979
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 256k
Titre Figure 7 : Mexico : Stakes and Missions 1989/1999
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 320k
Titre Figure 8 : Mexico - Stakes and Missions 2010
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 204k
Titre Figure 9 : Conceptual Model of the international diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 864k
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 236k
URL http://tem.revues.org/docannexe/image/1630/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,7M
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Référence électronique

Samuel M. Otterstrom, « International Spatial Diffusion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  », Territoire en mouvement Revue de géographie et aménagement [En ligne], 13 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 mai 2014, consulté le 18 novembre 2017. URL : http://tem.revues.org/1630 ; DOI : 10.4000/tem.1630

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Auteur

Samuel M. Otterstrom

Department of Geography
690 SWKT
Brigham Young University
PROVO, UT 84602
USA
otterstrom@byu.edu

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Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Territoire en mouvement est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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