Stability attracts Latin Americans to Mormonism

February 6, 2009

In Argentina and across traditionally Catholic Latin America, Mormon churches are multiplying and the region boasts the largest Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints membership outside the United States. They make up some 5.2 million of the Church’s 13.5 million global membership.

(Photo: Elder Shane Bowen (c) and Belgrano church members, 28 Dec 2008/Marcos Brindicci)

Kylie Stott from our Buenos Aires bureau visited the Belgrano Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints there, one of the 692 Mormon chapels in Argentina. She found that the perceived stability and status of the church is a draw for many Latin Americans who have lived through economic and political turmoil.

Read her feature here.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Blatant PR push by the Mormon church

Sure, the LDS church claims 13.5 million global members, but is that figure accurate?

I grew up Mormon (LDS), served an LDS mission, and I can tell you that the real figure is much less, because people are leaving the Mormon church in droves.


You’ve got to be kidding. It is a provincial, know-nothing, American cult, with more money than either brains or soul, that thinks it can buy acceptance through articles like this when what it deserves is condemnation for its poor treatment of women, blacks, gays and all of us who reject the idea that God only speaks to rich American white men with a penchant for earthly power.

Posted by Chino Blanco | Report as abusive

Mr. Blanco, you are obviously a very bitter man. Someone must’ve really hurt and offended you to cause you to deny the faith you assumedly grew up in and served as a missionary or else you never really had a testimony in the first place. It pains me to see how far people like you will go to any length to defame and destroy something you once believed. My parents and whole family were converts to the church and the notion that it discriminates against blacks, women and homosexuals is a blatant lie that will continue to be preached by the likes of hatemongers like you. The blacks have been discriminated against by mainstream Christians for years in this country and were never allowed to worship together with the whites in their churches so where was the outrage about that? Homosexuals are always loved and accepted and are never turned away from the Mormon church. They are the ones that often choose to leave because they couldn’t stand the fact that the church will never condone their sodomic lifestyle. As for the so called discrimination against women, well you of all people should’ve known, if you really grew up Mormon like you said, that women are always treated equally in every way. Just because women are not allowed to hold the priesthood doesn’t mean they are any less important to the church then men. The order of the priesthood as God established it is patriarchal…he set the rules and that’s the way it is and will be until he change it himself. If you have any problem with that may be you should go to him yourself and voice your complain. I wish you luck with your life and hope you’ll find peace and fulfillment in whatever faith you serve now but please stop fighting against the Lord and his church. Believe me, it’s not worth your time. If it’s false, then you ain’t got a thing to worry about, but if it’s true then I pity your soul when you face our Father before his judgement throne. Besides, NO UNHALLOWED HAND CAN STOP HIS WORK UNTIL ALL HIS PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED AND HE, THE GREAT JEHOVAH SHALL SAY, THE WORK IS DONE.

Posted by Ovala Toiaivao | Report as abusive

Great article, though there is one error: The “Mormon Bible” referred to in the article is actually the “Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Mormons have always used the standard Bible used by the rest of the Christian world, but in addition they have a companionship scripture that they use in conjunction with the Bible.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

Great article! By all accounts The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing steadily. Here and there a few people apostatize. That is well known and prophesied in the vision of the tree of life in the Book of Mormon. Many people taste the fruit of the fullness of the gospel and then fall away because of various reasons. The rock that Daniel saw and likened to a stone “cut out of the mountain without hands,” is rolling forth and gaining momentum until fills the whole earth. My wife’s family are all converts, my brother’s fiance is a convert in Japan, my brother-in-law has help bring many many people in Colorado to the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on his mission. I’d say from my personal experience that the church is slowly and steadily growing, with a few that fall away.

Posted by Dave Crea | Report as abusive

A PR push by the church would not have referred to the Book of Mormon as the “Mormon Bible” – Unfortunately, for some, any positive article “must be a PR push.”

Adherents website found that LDS statistical numbers were some of the most accurate in the country, based on their own statistical research. They further stated that such “was not always the case” referencing other US religions.

Tremendous LDS growth, especially in Latin America, cannot realistically be denied. And as a Mormon, I might say this is a very positive thing.

Posted by blooit | Report as abusive

Mormons are gaining adherants because people realize that the restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church is long-overdue:

Posted by Mormons Are christian | Report as abusive

I suppose that Mormonism is just another sect that wants to create confusion to the Christian faithful. I’m sorry to say that the founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith has strong ties with free masonry, an Anti Christ brotherhood organization whose objective is to topple down Christianity and create a society where people believe in the brotherhood of men and Fatherhood of the Great Architect of the Universe whoever that God that people want to believe, even Lucifer. That is evident in the rubrics of their temple. This is much contrary to what Jesus taught that there is only One God and people must be baptized in their name so that we may become one just as they are one. There are also beliefs which are held as great secrets in Mormonism that is not divulged to its ordinary members, such as Jesus and Satan are brothers.

People must know that the Church of Christ remains on this earth from the time Christ founded it, up to now and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The true Church of Christ is universal in time and in place and it was not lost as the Mormons would like to project. The true Church of Christ has an uninterrupted and unbroken line of Apostolic Succession that can be traced going back to Jesus Christ. Those tests must be met and there is only one Church that was able to do so and that is the Catholic Church. Other churches claiming to be Christian Church who cannot claim Apostolic Succession are therefore false Church and there is a danger that the Christ that they worship is a False Christ. The only hope that their members can have is their good conscience if through no fault of their own, they didn’t know the One True Church of Christ.

Catholics who become Mormon converts should have hold fast to this true Church and should not have fallen away. But since the prophecy is telling otherwise, perhaps, this is the reason why Mormonism’s membership is steadily increasing but not enough to overtake the Catholic Church founded by Christ. Christ said to his apostles that I will be with you, until the end of ages.

Posted by Daniel Rosaupan | Report as abusive

To ChinoBlanco – If you believe the Church has overestimated is membership, provide proof. Your penchant for lobbing rhetorical hand grenades against the LDS on messageboards, combined with the fact that you left the Church under unfavorable circumstances, implies that you have a personal axe to grind against the Church, making your discourse untrustworthy.

Posted by The Jack Mormon | Report as abusive

I was a missionary in Ecuador from 98-00, and there is one glaring fact missing from this report: the activity rate among baptized Mormons in Latin America is atrocious. We worked in 3 different wards, where the official rolls of membership showed nearly 2000 members – but in fact we only had about 20 people show up to church regularly. All of the other missionaries I knew in Ecuador told me that was pretty common. I suspect if you were to conduct a survey of self identifying Mormons in Latin America, that number would be MUCH lower.

Posted by Descartes | Report as abusive

The Bible is very clear in its teachings that there must come a falling away before the second coming. To argue that the church of Christ would stand from his first coming to his last simply does not stand with biblical teachings.

Posted by blooit | Report as abusive

Few of our detractors actually know much about us – ex’d members included. When we tell investigators our story most say they had no idea what we actually believed except a few negative things they picked up here and there. So it is where ever we go. If you want to know about us ask us. If you want to know about Baptists, or Catholics, Presbyterians or anyone else, ask one of them. Ask someone who has the authority to answer. Ask anyone else and you usually get uninformed opinions mixed with rumor and distortions.

Posted by JLFuller | Report as abusive

I became converted to Mormonism 15 years ago and I have been blessed. I have come to know Christ better and become a better person. I see these arguments about the religion, but none of them matter to me – I’ve seen for myself that it is good and have tasted the good fruits. I am grateful to God for bringing me to this faith.

Posted by smrad8 | Report as abusive

Buenisimo, este articulo es un nivel grande en que la iglesia esta creciendo. I am new member here at Panama thank you for share.

Posted by joey | Report as abusive

The mormon church.. I have no comment on the matter. I am a member myself but, I have a lot of options and I am young. I don’t like how they call it Mormonism. It bothers me

Posted by Rebecca | Report as abusive

[…] America, with over 5 million people practicing the religion in Mexico, Brazil, and elsewhere, according to a report by Reuters. The Mission’s Missionaries are riding that trend.¬†They’re not alone either. Mission […]

Posted by On Mission in the Mission: Meet the Mormons | | Report as abusive