The LDS presence along the I-15 Corridor

My family just got back from a vacation trip to Canada.  My sister and brother-in-law live in a beautiful mountain hamlet named Exshaw, very near Canmore in Alberta.

LDS church meeting houses  are visible all along the Interstate 15 Corridor.  You see this in Utah and Idaho.  And when you first enter the Canadian province of Alberta, one of the first churches that you see is an LDS meeting house.

But Montana is a gap.  I can’t remember seeing any visible LDS cultural presence.

That is interesting.

(By the way, it is good to be back home.  Southeastern Idaho is my earthly abode – a choice place for gospel advancement.)

14 comments

  1. Just made the same trip and noticed the meeting house just over the border. (There is a temple in Montana.) There is also a significant presence in Fairbanks (2 or 3 buildings) and Anchorage (temple).

  2. Montana is Catholic country, eh? The clash between Montana culture and Southeastern Idaho culture is noticeable.

    John, I just read your reports on your blog about the time up in Canada. Thanks.

  3. I’ve noticed the lack of LDS presence in Montana, though according to research conducted by the Glenmary Research Institute in 1990, there were 106 LDS congregations in Montana (this of course was prior to the construction of the Billings Temple.

    I know there is a strong presence of Montana students attending BYU-Idaho, though the state itself has Latter-day Saints highly concentrated in Beaverhead, Golden Valley, and Broadwater Counties.

  4. Thanks for the note, Tyler.

    I need to check the latest statistics, but I think that there are around 100 LDS congregations in the greater Idaho Falls area.

  5. The last time I checked, Idaho Falls (including Ucon, Iona and Ammon) had 102, though there may be more that I’ve overlooked. BYU-Idaho has at least 98, not counting the local family wards. I’d love to make a trip up through Montana sometime, perhaps to Glacier NP. This year however, my wife and I have opted to go to the Mountain Meadows in Southern Utah (time and finances permitting).

  6. Thanks for the link John. Looks like Idaho’s LDS population has grown from 2 temples and 662 congregations (268,060 people) in 1990 to having 4 temples, 1,067 congregations (410,767 people) in just twenty-years, rounding growth to just over 53% in Idaho.

    Montana membership has gone from 106 congregations (28,620 people) in 1990 with no temple to 120 congregations (45,893 people) and 1 temple in the same twenty-year period, with membership growing by about 60% in Montana.

  7. I’ve been deeply moved by the Mountain Meadows story, enough that I feel it is a necessary issue to address in any comprehensive history of the LDS Church. Several descendants of the massacre participants eventually settled in Eastern Idaho. Though I’m sure all of us have ancestors who we’d frown upon, the faith-based connection with the massacre makes it deeply enlightening for me. Thank you for a very fair-minded Evangelical approach to the Massacre.

  8. There is an LDS chapel on I-90 west, towards Missoula. It’s been a while, so I forget the town its in.

    I went to college in Missoula. It’s size is comparable to that of IF, if you ignore the University population which is in perpetual flux. When I was there, 03-06, there was only one stake and 4-6 wards, including the singles branch. At the time, I was attempting to embrace my mormon roots and thought it would be a good experience, meaning, I thought that because the LDS would be a minority in Missoula, surely they would be more accepting of maintstream Christianity and whatnot which was something I was very curious about at the time… Needless to say, I found the opposite to be true, and only attended LDS church there maybe four times.

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