Saturday, October 3, 2015

Capacity Temples

I was interested in Elder Hugo Montoya's story in the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference about a brother who was turned away from one of our temples because the facility had reached its daily capacity limit. Since most of Elder Montoya's ministry has been in Mexico, I assume he was referring to one of our twelve temples currently operating in that land. It reminded me of remarks I heard from Elder Clate Mask, former President of the Guatemala City Temple. During his three year presidency it was operating at 125% of capacity - the busiest temple in the church by that measure.
Image of the Guatemala City Temple from
There is a nefarious faction within the church that mocks the faithful Saints in Mexico and Guatemala by casting aspersions on their countries. We should celebrate the posterity of Lehi coming to know the covenants of the Lord in large numbers as the Title Page of the Book of Mormon promises they will.

According to the World Bank, the U.S. has a land area of 9,147.420, Canada has 9,093,510, Mexico has 1,943,950, and Guatemala has 107,160 square kilometers. According to,, the U.S. currently has 71 operating temples, Canada has 7, Mexico has 12, and Guatemala has 2. On the basis of operating temple density per square kilometer, this is how the four countries rank:

  1. Guatemala: 1 temple per 53,580 square kilometers
  2. U.S. 1 temple per 128,837 square kilometers
  3. Mexico: 1 temple per 161,996 square kilometers
  4. Canada: 1 temple per 1,299,073 square kilometers
According to the CIA World Fact Book, the U.S. had an estimated population in July, 2014 of 318,892,103; Mexico had 120,286,655; Canada had 34,834,841, and Guatemala had 14,647,083. On the basis of operating temples per capita, this is how the four countries rank:
  1. U.S.: 1 temple per 4,491,438 people
  2. Canada: 1 temple per 4,976,496 people
  3. Guatemala: 1 temple per 7,323,542 people
  4. Mexico: 1 temple per 10,023,888 people
According to, the U.S. at the end of 2014 had 6,466,267 members of the church. Mexico had 1,368,475, Guatemala had 255,505 and Canada had 192,299. The four countries ranked by percentage of their population in the church are:
  1. U.S.: 2.02% belong to the church
  2. Guatemala: 1.74% belong to the church
  3. Mexico: 1.14% belong to the church
  4. Canada: .055% belong to the church
Another interesting way to run the numbers brings in the length of time the church has had missionaries in a country. This is a measure of receptivity to the gospel in that country. Missionary work began in the U.S. in 1830 and has continued for 186 years. Missionary work also began in Canada in 1830 and has continued for the same 186 years. Missionary work began in Mexico in 1875 and has continued for 141 years. Missionary work only began in Guatemala in 1947 and has continued for 69 years. The four countries ranked by percent of population baptized per year are:
  1. Guatemala: 1.74%/69 years = .025% baptized per year
  2. U.S.: 2.02%/186 years = .011% baptized per year
  3. Mexico: 1.14%/141 years = .008% baptized per year
  4. Canada: .055%/186 years = .003% baptized per year