The First Presidency announced this week a temple for the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area.
This announcement brings to 90 the number of temples in operation, under construction or announced. A total of 53 are in operation, 12 are under construction, two have had groundbreakings and are nearing construction, and another 23 are awaiting starts. Eleven of the temples were announced by the First Presidency during August.The first missionary work done in North Carolina was initiated by Jedediah M. Grant in 1838, who worked the counties of Stokes, Surry, Patrick and Rockingham, mostly along the north-central state border. He baptized several people. Another early missionary, John Eldridge, traveled to Raleigh in 1844, and reported that his few meetings "caused one of the greatest stirs imaginable. . . . I never thought that one poor, weak, mortal soul could make such a stir."
Despite the short time between the beginning of missionary work and the exodus of the Saints to the West, seven congregations were organized in North Carolina. The work resumed in 1868 when missionaries again reported great public interest in their activities.
After the Southern States Mission was created in 1875, additional branches were created. As more elders served, the work was generally done in an orderly, systematic way from west to east across the state. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Carolina, by Wallace R. Draughon.)
Toward the end of the century, a number of local meetinghouses had been erected. By 1930, membership in the state was 2,725.
The first branch in Raleigh was created in 1942, and a meetinghouse was erected and dedicated there in 1956.
Membership in more recent times has increased at a faster pace. In 1980, the total of members was 22,000. That total increased to 53,000 by year-end 1997.