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Predominant religions in California include Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Mormon, Jewish and Islam. However, a Pew Research Center survey revealed that California is somewhat less religious than the rest of the US.
Several religious groups played an important role in early California history. In the late 18th century Spanish Franciscan priests founded a series of missions along the coastline. In the Mexican-American War, the Mormon Battalion was instrumental in securing California for the US.
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California CatholicsWhile the Roman Catholic Church has by far the largest number of declared adherents (just over 10 million) it actually has just slightly fewer churches and active congregants than either the Mormons or Evangelists. Many of its followers are immigrants.
California MormonsCalifornia has more members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (over 750,000) and Temples than any state except Utah, attending almost 1400 congregations statewide.
Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have played important roles in the settlement of California throughout the state's history. For example, a group of a few hundred Mormon converts from the Northeastern United States and Europe arrived at what would become San Francisco in the 1840s aboard the ship Brooklyn, more than doubling the population of the small town. A group of Mormons also established the city of San Bernardino in Southern California in 1851.
The Mormon Battalion was the only religious unit in American military history, serving from July 1846 to July 1847
during the Mexican-American War. The battalion was a volunteer unit of about 500 Latter-day Saint men led by Mormon
company officers, commanded by regular army officers. The battalion eventually made a grueling march from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California.
While in California they engaged in public works projects, road-building, local security and also help to discover gold at Sutter's Mill.
California Baptistsand the Southern Baptist Convention with 471,119.
California JudaismJewish congregations had 994,000 adherents. With a Jewish population estimated at more than 550,000, Los Angeles has the second-largest Jewish community in North America.
California MuslimsThere are about 1 million Muslims, which has the largest population than any other state, mainly of African American descent and immigrant populations
California BuddhistsAs the twentieth century came to a close, forty percent of all Buddhists in America resided in Southern California. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area has become unique in the Buddhist world for representing every major school of Buddhism can be found in a single urban center. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Northern California and Hsi Lai Temple in Southern California are two of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere.
California MuslimsCalifornia also has a growing Hindu population
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