Background on the Mormon Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is the sixth largest church in the United States. Of the world's 11 million Mormons, five million reside in the United States. There are approximately 60,000 Mormon missionaries overseas. Missionaries begin their service at one of the Church's 15 missionary training centers (MTCs) (Between 2,700 and 3,000 missionaries usually reside at the Provo, Utah MTC -- the largest of the 15.)

About 40 percent of all young Mormon men agree go on a mission. Mormon missionaries are not paid for their service. They are expected to pay all expenses incurred during their missions with the assistance from their families and/or members of the church where they live. Mormon men and women are not required to serve a mission. Young men (between the ages of 19 and 27, but mostly 19-21 years old) serve for two years; young women (usually 21-24 years old) serve for a year and a half.

More than half the world's Mormons live outside United States (only 15 percent live in Utah -- the Mormon base). More than 70 percent of Utah's population is Mormon, and the governor, the state congressional delegation, and 90 percent of the legislature are members of the Church.

The Mormons first entered Mexico in 1876, after President Brigham Young called six missionaries to take Spanish language materials about the Church from Salt Lake City to Mexico. There are 1,714 congregations in Mexico, with more than 800,000 members.