The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 15 million members worldwide, the majority of whom live outside the United States. Church congregations exist in over 150 countries and territories. In this Mormonism in Pictures, Mormon Newsroom provides a sampling of the Church's meetinghouses that dot the globe where more than 29,000 congregations meet each week for worship services.
Scroll down or click through the photo carousel to see where members attend church internationally.
Mormon chapels should not be confused with Mormon temples. Chapels are open and busy all day on Sunday, while temples are closed that day. Besides Sunday services, Church meetinghouses can be used for a variety of activities, such as neighborhood dinners, youth activities or service projects, like the community blood drive pictured below in a Brazil meetinghouse.
Temples are used only for sacred ordinances that bless individuals and bind families together for eternity. Before a temple is dedicated, during a temple open house, anyone is welcome to attend a tour and see the temple interior. After temples are dedicated, only faithful Latter-day Saints may enter them. This Church building in Manhattan is home to both a temple and chapels for worship services. The Manhattan New York Temple occupies four of the six levels in the building below; the other levels house a chapel, classrooms and Church offices.
Manhattan New York Temple and Meetinghouse
In chapels, Latter-day Saints gather on Sundays for an approximately hour-long “sacrament” meeting, where men, women and younger members offer prayers and give sermons, sing hymns and partake of the sacrament (similar to receiving communion). In addition, there are doctrinal and scriptural classes for youth and adults as part of the three-hour span of church meetings each week. Read more about what to expect at our services. Below, Church members in Ghana listen to a speaker during sacrament meeting. Members have been in Ghana since 1978. Today, there are over 54,000 members in 148 congregations in Ghana. Click here to visit the Ghana Mormon Newsroom.
The first Albanian meetinghouse built by the Church opened in 2006 in Durrës. The Church sent its first missionaries to the country in June 1992. There are now just over 2,000 members of the Church in Albania among 11 congregations.
Ecuador's Church membership, currently numbering over 200,000, has nearly doubled in the past five years. To accommodate the growing membership, more than 130 Church buildings have been erected in Ecuador. The Church provides both academic and religious education to youth in the country. Click here to visit the Ecuador Mormon Newsroom.
Church buildings often serve as temporary supply centers and shelters during natural disasters. During Typhoon Haiyan, over 200 Church buildings in the Philippines were used as shelters from the storm for more than 14,000 people. Click here to visit the Philippines Mormon Newsroom.
In 2005, the gymnasium in this Louisiana meetinghouse was set up to distribute clothing to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana, United States
Below, a Church courtyard in Haiti is filled with tents sheltering community members displaced by the earthquake in 2010. In a continued effort to help Haitians following the earthquake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and friends are planting 400,000 trees in Haiti, with nearly 25,000 planted on 1 May 2013. Another 75,000 trees are scheduled for planting by year's end. Church members have been in Haiti since 1977.
In 1948, President Arwell L. Pierce of the Mexican Mission assigned the first missionaries to preach in El Salvador. In 1951, the first 12 converts were baptized at Apulo Beach on Lake Ilopango. There are now two missions in the country and over 100,000 Church members. A Church building in San Salvador is pictured below. Click here to visit the El Salvador Mormon Newsroom.
San Salvador, El Salvador
As the Church builds new chapels, consideration is given to sustainable designs that are energy efficient. This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified chapel, built in 2010 in Farmington, Utah, has roof-mounted solar panels that generate enough electricity to completely power the structure. There are two other LEED-certified chapels, in Eagle Mountain, Utah, and Mesa, Arizona, in the United States
Farmington, Utah, United States
Missionaries for the Church began preaching in Polynesia in 1843. In February 1851, the first convert was baptized in Hawaii. By August, there were five congregations with 220 members. The Church later purchased land near the town of Laie and built a number of structures there: the Laie Temple opened in in 1919, the Church College of Hawaii (now BYU-Hawaii) in September 1955 and the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1963. There are now over 72,000 members on the Hawaiian Islands.
Laie, Hawaii, United States
During Church meetings, members divide into different groups for instruction. Click here to learn more about what happens at Church worship services. Below, children in Mexico learn in a Primary class. Click here to visit the Mexico Mormon Newsroom.
The first member in Madagascar was Razanapanala Rameandricso, who was baptized in Bordeaux, France, in 1986. He returned to Madagascar in 1989 and began teaching the gospel to a small group of people in his home. He contacted the president of the Mascarene Islands Mission, who visited near the end of 1990. The first five converts were baptized during this visit. The Church received legal status in Madagascar on 13 July 1993, and there are now over 9,000 members in the country.
The first Spanish member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was Melitón Trejo from Extremadura (in about 1870). Trejo emigrated to Utah, where he aided in the first translation into Spanish of portions of the Book of Mormon.
The next known Spanish conversions occurred in 1966, in association with two American congregations that were meeting for Sunday worship. The Spain Religious Liberty Law, passed in 1967, paved the way for the organization of the Madrid Branch (a small congregation) in February 1968; official recognition for the Church in Spain was formalized in October 1968. A mission was organized in July 1970. There are currently three missions and over 50,000 members in 138 congregations in Spain. Click here to visit the Spain Mormon Newsroom.
Missionaries arrived in Guatemala in 1947. The first official meeting was held in a rented building on 22 August 1948 with 66 people in attendance. By 1956, three small congregations with a membership of about 250 had been established. Today, there are nearly 240,000 members in 416 congregations, and two temples have been built. Click here to visit the Guatemala Mormon Newsroom.
Latter-day Saint servicemen first brought the Church's teachings to Korea in 1951, during the Korean War. The first official missionaries arrived in Korea in 1956, and the Korean Mission was created on 8 July 1962, with seven branches (small congregations) of the Church. The Book of Mormon was printed in Korean in 1967, and the first stake (diocese) was created in Seoul, South Korea, on 8 March 1973. Membership increased to 9,000 in 1975, and by 1983, it had reached almost 29,000. There are now over 85,000 members in South Korea in 128 congregations. Click here to visit the South Korea Mormon Newsroom.
Church meetinghouses or chapels are open to all, and everyone is welcome to attend the Sunday worship services and other activities held there. Click here to locate a meetinghouse near you.