The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a world religion, not only because its members are found throughout the world, but also because it seeks to share God’s message of truth with the entire world.
The diversity of the Church’s worldwide membership is a notable characteristic of Latter-day Saints because the gospel of Jesus Christ transcends every culture, race, nationality, and language. Cultures and peoples throughout the world gather together by geographical location to form local congregations that worship together. Because of the Savior’s invitation that all God’s children come unto Him (see Matthew 11:28; D&C 10:67), no two congregations in the Church are the same.
Regardless of ethnicity or outward appearance, all Church members are united in the knowledge that they are children of a Heavenly Father. They know He loves each of His children equally. This knowledge builds a feeling of unity in every building and worship service around the world and ties all members of the Church together.
Unity is also built in each congregation as individuals teach and worship from similar hymns, scriptures, lessons, and sacramental prayers each Sunday. Organizations for the children, youth, and adults unite individuals around the world each year in a common area of focus. Similarly, the Church’s semiannual conference, which is broadcast around the world, allows members the opportunity to learn simultaneously from the prophet, apostles, and other Church leaders.
The composition of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has changed over time and continues to change every day. Since the 1900s the Church has grown from congregations comprised mainly of northern European immigrants to the United States to a global Church whose members live in 190 countries and speak over 120 languages.
In 1996, the number of members living outside the United States surpassed those residing within it, and by the year 2000 the majority of the membership was non-English speaking. In December of 2014 the Church exceeded 15 million members, bringing the total wards and branches (congregations) to just over 29,000 around the globe.
Just as Paul in the New Testament taught that the Church is a body with each part adding beauty and purpose to the whole, so too does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experience strength from its diversity.