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

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has had a presence in the France since 1849, and the first Mormon convert in the country was Augustus Saint d'Anna, in Le Havre.[1] The church claims a membership of about 35,000 in the country, representing less than 0.1% of the population.

History[edit]

The first Mormon missionary to preach in France was William Howells, who entered the country in 1849.[1] Soon afterwards, he was joined in his preaching by his daughter, and later by William C. Dunbar.[2] In April 1850, the first congregation was composed of six members in Boulogne-sur-Mer.[3] Louis A. Bertrand presided over the first mission which was gradually installed in Paris. In 1853, there were only 337 members for the mission of France. In 1863, Bertrand 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.[4]

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

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris in 1955, in Strasbourg in 1991, and in Marseille in 1998.[3]

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

Temple[edit]

On July 15, 2011 the Paris France Temple was announced by President Thomas S. Monson.[5]

Paris France Temple map.jpg

157. Paris France (Under construction) edit

Location:
Announcement:
Groundbreaking:
Coordinates:
 Size:
 Notes:

Le Chesnay, France
1 October 2011
No formal groundbreaking[9]
48°49′4.41″N 2°7′23.42″E / 48.8178917°N 2.1231722°E / 48.8178917; 2.1231722 (Paris France Temple)
TBD
Thomas S. Monson confirmed on 15 July 2011 that the Church "hope[d] to build [a] temple in France" near Paris,[6] and on 1 October 2011 announced that the plans were "moving forward."[7] In 2014, a news story from the church noted that work had commenced on the temple, though no formal groundbreaking had taken place.[8]

Status and membership[edit]

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

Membership Statistics[edit]

Country, Territory Membership Stakes Districts Wards Branches Total Congregations Missions Temples
France (Includes Corsica) 36,403 9 2 60 49 109 2
French Guiana 362 1 1
French Polynesia (Tahiti) 21,884 6 3 53 29 82 1 1
Guadeloupe 423 1 3 3
Martinique 195 1 1
Reunion 864 1 5 5

Sociological profile[edit]

In 2000, a study led by Professor Bernadette Rigal-Cellier did appear that the majority of LDS in France were former Catholics. The church members felt then that the non-conversion of French people to their church came from a lack of interest in spiritual matters and a mistrust towards new beliefs. LDS surveyed thought that the growth of their church would accelerate and that the prejudices against them would disappear in the future years. The author concluded that the church has become well established in France and that French LDS showed the same attachment to their country than other French people.[4]

In 2009, an investigation directed by writer, sociologist of religion and philosopher Christian Euvrard, also member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, revealed that Mormons of France are demographically and politically similar to other French people. 30% were regular churchgoers, and their marriage rate, as well as their birth rate, were higher than the national average. Primarily urban and with foreign origins, they considered the hardest doctrine of their religion is the order of not drinking alcohol, coffee, tea. Only 30% of them participated in an association and 83% believed that all religions have some truth. However, LDS differed from French people in their moral choices: 93% of them are opposed to gay marriage.[10]

Reception[edit]

The church was not mentioned in the list of dangerous cults in the reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France in 1995 and 1999.[11][12] As there was no complaints from former members, the MILS deemed in 2000 that the church is "a religious group that does not generate problems in France".[13] In its 2001 report, it stated that "seeing the definition of cultic nature of an association by the exclusive examination of its behavior in the light of human rights and public policy (...) the LDS Church shouldn't be considered as a cult".[14] However, in its 2006 report, the MIVILUDES expressed a concern about the Calvin Thomas society, specialized in organizing linguistic travels, "as children has been placed in LDS families. The file of this society (...) is the subject of an investigation".[15]

In its periodical, anti-cult association ADFI stated that it is "regularly contacted by families or individuals facing conflictual and painful situations because of the membership of a relative into this movement". Criticisms include methods of evangelization, progressive split with family and friends, women status, lack of free thought and children education considered as indoctrination.[16] The ADFI of Lille deemed that "it is unhelpful to try to classify this church as cults or non-cult" and that "the likelihood is high that the genealogy becomes a major means of mormon proselytizing".[13] It also describes the English courses offered by the church as "disguised way to recruit new followers".[17] To ADFI president Catherine Picard, the LDS church was "a movement with cultic deviances".[18] As for Marie Drilhon of Yvelines ADFI, she publicely said that the Mormon religion is "a demanding church for the faithful", described some cases of pressure under former members so that they return into the church, and considered that "people who are more fragile don't do well in this church."[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Country Information: France", Church News, 2010-01-29.
  2. ^ Laurie J. Wilson, "The Saints in France", Ensign, January 1976.
  3. ^ a b "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France". Newsroom. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Rigal-Cellier, Bernadette (2000). "Être français dans une Église d'origine américaine: les Mormons de France" (pdf). Les mutations transatlantiques des religions (in French). Bordeaux: Les Presses de l'Université de Bordeaux. pp. 279–308. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "Church Statement on Temple in France". 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Church Statement on Temple in France (15 July 2011).
  7. ^ Monson, Thomas S. (1 October 2011. As We Meet Again talk given at General Conference.
  8. ^ Elder Andersen visits construction site of Paris France Temple, Church News and Events, lds.org, 19 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014,
  9. ^ Elder Andersen visits construction site of Paris France Temple
  10. ^ Hoffner, Anne-Bénédicte (23 February 2009). "Portrait de la communauté des mormons de France" (in French). La Croix. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ a b Lagarde, Stéphane (22 August 2000). "La généalogie, outil prosélyte". Libération (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "2001 report" (pdf). MILS. 2001. p. 77. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Rapport au Premier ministre" (pdf) (in French). MILIVUDES. 2006. p. 262. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  16. ^ "Les mormons" (pdf). BULLES (in French). UNADFI. 2002. pp. 6, 7. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "Formés pour recruter dans la rue et à domicile" (in French). esj-lille. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  18. ^ Beaugrand, Véronique (9 March 2006). "Les Mormons s'offrent le tiers de Villepreux". Le Parisien (in French). Prevensectes. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Bryant, Elizabeth (17 January 2012). "French Mormons find a less hospitable ‘Mormon moment’". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
This article incorporates information from the revision as of 2010-06-03 of the equivalent article on the French Wikipedia.

External links[edit]