In the article, “Joseph Smith went on Mormon door-knocking trip through Southern Ontario in 1833”, National Post, August 15, 2014 (http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/08/15/joseph-smith-went-on-mormon-door-knocking-trip-through-southern-ontario-in-1833/), Tristin Hopper highlights the intriguing fact that Joseph Smith evangelized in Canada, but yet, Canada still has a small Mormon population. He begins the article by outlining the early history of how Mormonism came into existence with Joseph Smith being led to plates outside of Manchester, New York. From here, Smith decoded the Egyptian text, which led to the Book of Mormon. The article mentions Smith’s observations of differences between Americans and Canadians. Smith viewed Canada as a “very fine country” and noted the lack of assault and physical oppression to visiting Mormons in Canada.
One issue that the author highlights is the major disruptions that Mormons brought towards the community. Those who were surrounded by Mormons thought they were crazy. This came from competing Protestant communities.
The main highlight of the article discusses the fact that Joseph Smith, one of the most influential historical figures, walked the lands in Mount Pleasant, Ont., but was rarely recognized in this Country. He went on a mission trip to Canada and managed to convert 12-16 Canadians during his time in Canada. It also mentions that Canadians were one of the first followers of the Book of Mormon, but has a measly 200,000 followers compared to other countries such as the Philippines (700,000), Brazil (1.3 million), and U.S. with 6.4 million believers.
I find it interesting and not surprising that Canada has significantly fewer Mormons compared to other countries that Hopper mentions. Although Canada’s Mormon numbers are lower, it is not vastly different in percentage-wise versus the other countries, when compared to the total population. One reason for this is because Canada’s population is much smaller compared to the other countries. Canada’s population is approximately 36 million, which means there is a 0.55% Mormon population in Canada, versus Brazil’s Mormon population of 0.65%.
Another personal observation and reason for lower Mormon numbers is that Canadians are more passive and less accepting to religious beliefs. For example, countries such as the U.S. or Korea have a dominant religion, which would be Christianity. India would be labeled as a primarily Hindu country, whereas Canada does not posses heavy religious beliefs (Religions by Country, 2015). This could result and help explain why Canada’s Mormon population is so low, even if Joseph Smith walked the soil of Canada.
With the Canadian education systems teaching more about science and less about religion and the compatibility between the two, there is no surprise that religion, therefore Mormonism as well, is less impactful in Canada. Hexham states in Understanding Cults and New Religions, “To the outsider, the world of a believer is an alien culture.” (14) As a result of this alien culture mentality by secular Canada, it is understandable why there are less religious Mormons in Canada even though Joseph Smith evangelized there.
Religions by Country, Wikipedia 2015 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religions_by_country)