In the News

United States information: Texas


Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 304,060,000; Members, 5,974,041; Stakes, 1,438; Wards, 11,289; Branches, 2,074; Districts, 12; Missions, 106;Temples in use, 62; under construction or announced, 7; Percent LDS, 2, or one in 51.

A few stakes and missions have headquarters in states other than that for which they are named. To simplify this listing, these stakes and missions are listed in the states for which they are named. Numbers preceding stakes and missions are their chronological numbers assigned at the time of creation. Letters are added if number has been used previously.

(* Stake name changed 14 Jan 1974 or as indicated otherwise.)


Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 24,327,000; Members, 278,492; Stakes, 53; Wards, 425; Branches, 117; Districts, 3; Missions, 8; Temples, 4; Percent LDS, 1.1, or one in 87.

In 1844, because of increased persecution in and around Nauvoo, Joseph Smith realized that he would have to relocate the Church outside the borders of the United States. He considered the Republic of Texas, a place where the Church members would be able to practice their religion in peace. The Prophet began to negotiate with Sam Houston, the president of the Texas Republic, for the southern and western portions of Texas as a future Latter-day Saint nation. On 14 March 1844, Joseph Smith sent Lucien Woodworth to Austin, Texas, to meet with Houston.

In May, Woodworth returned to Nauvoo and reported the progress he had made. Not much is known about the exact nature of the negotiations between Houston and Woodworth, but reports indicate that plans were made for the Church to purchase large tracts of land. A three man commission comprised of Woodworth, George Miller and Almon Babbitt was organized to lead the final negotiations. Assuming the negotiations would be successful, Joseph Smith asked that Lyman Wight, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, and George Miller prepare to lead a group of settlers to Texas. The official negotiations ended with the death of Joseph Smith in June 1844.

Though Brigham Young relocated the Church in the Great Basin, he allowed Wight to take a group of 150 to Texas. They arrived north of present-day Dallas on 10 November 1845. Wight and the colonists eventually settled near a German colony called Fredricksburg and founded a town named Zodiac.

In 1848, Brigham Young sent Preston Thomas and William Martindale to invite Wight and the colonists to join the Church in the Salt Lake Valley. However, Wight declined the offer and was excommunicated from the Church. Although he was no longer a member of the Church, Wight and his followers pioneered settlements in five Texas counties and generally left a good reputation for Mormons in the area.

In addition to trying to reclaim the Church members who followed Wight, Brigham Young also sent several missionaries to preach in Texas in the 1850s. Those who joined the Church were encouraged to gather with the Latter-day Saints in the Utah Territory. On 25 December 1855, a conference (district) was established in Texas. Nearly 1,000 converts from Texas immigrated to the Great Basin prior to the Civil War.

Missionary work resumed in Texas in 1875, nearly 10 years after the Civil War. In 1893, another Texas Conference was organized. A.C. Dalley, president of the Texas Conference, reported that there were 64 Latter-day Saints in Texas at the end of 1896.

The Latter-day Saint population in Texas increased dramatically when Church members began to gather in Mormon enclaves within the Lone Star State. Converts living in the South endured ostracism and oc-casional physical violence because of their membership in the Church. In the early 1890s, President James G. Duffin of the Southwestern States Mission sug-gested to Church leaders that they establish a gathering place for Southern Church members. His suggestion was accepted and bran-ches were organized in Missouri, Kansas and Texas. Included in the Texas colonies were Odom Settlement (also known as Odomville) near Spurger, Williamson Settlement near Evadale, Jozye (also known as Little Utah), and Poynor.

One of the most successful and long-lived colonies was located at Kelsey. It was founded by brothers John and James Edgar in December 1898. By the fall of 1901, nine Latter-day Saint families settled the area. The following year Elder Abraham O. Woodruff of the Quorum of the Twelve visited the site and assisted in laying out the town. On 4 August 1901, a Sunday School was organized. By the end of the month, a meetinghouse had been built, and by the end of 1901 a branch had been organized.

Missionaries in the southern states encouraged converts to gather to Kelsey. By 1906, there were approximately 400 Latter-day Saints living in the township. A school had been built and was staffed by missionaries. An article that appeared in the 5 February 1910 Deseret News reported that Kelsey was "one of the largest branches outside the stakes of Zion." Later that year, the colony was divided and the settlement of Enoch was founded and a branch was organized there.

The population of Kelsey reached its peak of about 750 inhabitants in 1923, the same year the local railroad line closed down, isolating the town and causing the settlement to slowly decline. In 1943, the Church-sponsored school was closed. In 1958, the congregations in Kelsey and Enoch were combined with the Gilmer Ward.

Until the first decade of the 20th century, nearly all Church activity in Texas occurred in rural settings. In 1913, Harriett M. Knight, a widow with five children, moved from Kelsey to Dallas, where there was no organized branch. One other Latter-day Saint, Eliza E. Davis, was living in Dallas, having moved there in 1908. Over time, other Latter-day Saints moved to Dallas. Missionaries occasionally visited these urban Church members, but it was not until 1916 that a home Sunday School was organized in Dallas. Sometime between 1918 and 1921 the Dallas Branch was organized.

Church members also began to move to other urban areas. By 1918, Latter-day Saints were living in Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio. However, Dallas was the first urban branch in Texas to have its own meetinghouse. In 1927, the Dallas Latter-day Saints moved into a vacant building formerly used by another denomination. In 1943, the North Central Texas District was organized with 500 members. A new meetinghouse was built in Dallas in the early 1950s and dedicated by President David O. McKay on 26 April 1953. Upon seeing the full chapel and overflow area, he felt Dallas was ready for a stake. On 19 October 1953, Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve organized the Dallas Stake, with Ervin W. Atkerson as president.

The first branch in Houston was organized on 5 December 1921. The first official Church-owned meetinghouse was a home willed to the Church by Mrs. Gussie Farmer. The house was quickly remodeled and dedicated on 19 November 1933. A stake was created in Houston on 11 October 1953 with Jack B. Trunnell as president.

The city of El Paso has played an important role in the establishment of the Church in Mexico and the American Southwest. In 1876, Daniel W. Jones led a company of missionaries there, where they prepared to begin missionary work in Mexico. The missionaries stayed in El Paso for several weeks, where they studied Spanish and conducted missionary work, though no conversions were recorded.

At the end of the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th, a few Latter-day Saint families from the Mormon colonies in Mexico relocated to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, just across the river from El Paso. In 1909, a branch was organized for Church members living in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. In July 1912, nearly 3,000 saints fled their homes in Mexico because of a revolution and made their way to El Paso, where they received assistance from local residents before leaving to settle elsewhere.

A ward was organized in El Paso, the first in Texas, on 11 October 1918. It was originally part of the Juarez (Mexico) Stake, but was later transferred to the St. Joseph (Arizona) Stake. Headquarters of the Mexican Mission was located in El Paso from 1919 to 1929. The first stake in Texas, the El Paso Stake, was organized on 21 September 1952 with Edward V. Turley Sr. as president.

Responsibility for Texas has been shared by several different missions. The state was originally in the Southern States Mission. In 1897, it was transferred to the Indian Territory Mission, which later changed its name to the Southwestern States Mission and, in 1904, to the Central States Mission. Texas remained in the Central States Mission until the Texas Mission was organized in 1931. Texas and Louisiana were combined to form the Texas-Louisiana Mission in 1945. Texas was part of the Gulf States Mission from 1955 to 1960. In 1961, a new Texas Mission was organized, which in 1974 became the Texas Dallas Mission. As the Church grew, other missions in Texas were organized. The Texas Lubbock Mission, the eighth mission with headquarters in Texas and covering western Texas and eastern New Mexico, was announced by the First Presidency on 9 March 2002.

Four temples have been built in Texas in 20 years. The Dallas Texas Temple was dedicated on 19 October 1984. At that time the temple district included 46 stakes and 120,000 members. A temple in Houston was dedicated on 26 August 2000. The Lubbock Texas Temple was dedicated on 21 April 2002.

Membership in 2002 reached 231,173; and 237,931 in 2003.

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the San Antonio Texas Temple May 22, 2005, the fourth temple in the Lone Star State, and the 120th operating temple in the Church. Some 65,000 people visited the 16,800-square-foot edifice during the open house.

Sources: Michael Scott Van Wagenen, The Texas Republic and the Mormon Kingdom of God, 2002; B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, v.2, 1912; Southern States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Bonnie Donetta Means Durning, A History of the Mormon Church in Texas, 1843-1906, thesis, 1964; James Clyde Vandygriff, The Beginnings of Kelsey, Texas: a Southern Gathering Place for the Saints, research paper, 1972, Church History Library; Vera Lavina Winget Richards, Historical Information on the Church in Texas, 1984, Church Archives; The House of the Lord,,11273,1896-1,00.html, 22 July 2004; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; El Paso Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; El Paso Stake, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Clinton A. Hawkins, A Talk on Mormon History of Texas and Houston, 1992, Church Archives; Gary E. Holt, LDS Church History in Texas, 1994, Church Archives; Shaun D. Stahle, "Seven New Missions Created," Church News, 9 March 2002; "A temple on a hill," Church News, 28 May 2005.

Stakes — 53

(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)

No. / Name / Organized / First President

North America Southwest Area

1262 Abilene Texas 3 May 1981 William E. Seegmiller

2772 Allen Texas 25 Aug 2007 Gordon Kurt Wright

1272 Amarillo Texas 31 May 1981 Donald Eugene Pinnell

1594 Arlington Texas 13 Apr 1986 Richard S. Pickering

626 Austin Texas 14 Oct 1973 Amos Luther Wright

1835 Austin Texas Oak Hills 1 Dec 1991 Gary Scott Robinson

1818 Bay City Texas 13 Oct 1991 Joseph Nathanial Cannon Jr.

333 *Beaumont Texas

Beaumont (Texas, Louisiana) 3 Sep 1961 Alden C. Stout

2608c Carrollton Texas 9 Dec 2001 Jonathan C. Roberts

1076 *College Station Texas 10 Oct 1989

Conroe Texas 28 Oct 1979 Nylen Lee Allphin Jr.

2338 Colleyville Texas 13 Apr 1997 Randy J. Vest

398 *Corpus Christi Texas

Corpus Christi 31 May 1964 Clarence Cottam

1451 Cypress Texas 6 Nov 1983 Bruce A. Nelson

210 *Dallas Texas

Dallas 18 Oct 1953 Ervin W. Atkerson

828 Dallas Texas East 15 May 1977 Arthur Eugene Gabriel

1860 Denton Texas 3 May 1992 James Boyd Martino

194 *El Paso Texas

El Paso (Texas, New Mexico) 21 Sep 1952 Edward V. Turley Sr.

1359 El Paso Texas Mount Franklin 29 Aug 1982 Gerald Merrell Pratt

443 *Fort Worth Texas

Fort Worth (Texas) 24 Sep 1967 John Kelly Jr.

843 Friendswood Texas 29 May 1977 Newell Kenneth Hill

2803 Frisco Texas 4 May 2008 Jonathan Clifford Roberts

1394 Gilmer Texas 16 Jan 1983 Von Webber Freeman

1247 Harlingen Texas 22 Mar 1981 Leonard Moore

209 *Houston Texas (Spanish)

Houston (Texas, Louisiana) 11 Oct 1953 Jack Byron Trunnell

456 *Houston Texas East

Houston East (Texas) 5 May 1968 Martell A. Belnap

733 Houston Texas North 16 Nov 1975 Harold Elison DeLaMare

1211 Houston Texas South 30 Nov 1980 Leo C. Smith

2702 Houston Texas West (Spanish) 8 Jan 2006 Sergio Enriquez Perez G.

784 *Hurst Texas 12 Apr 1981

Fort Worth Texas North 14 Nov 1976 Richard W. Ragsdale

1834 Katy Texas 1 Dec 1991 Collins Wise Steward

986 Killeen Texas 26 Nov 1978 Stephen Brian Hutchings

1337 Kingwood Texas 18 Apr 1982 Robert Lee Ezell

2616 Klein Texas 2 Nov 2003 Paul Kent Oscarson

2802 Kyle Texas 4 May 2008 Charles Terry Allen

1253 Lewisville Texas 12 Apr 1981 Richard W. Ragsdale

496 *Longview Texas

Texas East 9 Nov 1969 Gerald C.F. Knackstedt

446 *Lubbock Texas

Texas North 26 Nov 1967 Franklin S. Gonzalez

692 McAllen Texas 4 May 1975 Daniel Birch Larsen

2806c McAllen Texas West 7 Sept 2008 Laren Brice Chandler

1991 McKinney Texas 11 Sep 1994 Robert C. Packard

471 *Odessa Texas

Texas West 15 Dec 1968 Roland Lamar Hamblin

1360 Orange Texas 29 Aug 1982 Bernard E. Packard

616 *Plano Texas 12 Apr 1981 *Dallas Texas North

Dallas North 27 May 1973 Ivan Leslie Hobson Jr.

1396 Richardson Texas 30 Jan 1983 Larry Wayne Gibbons

2719 Richmond Texas 7 May 2005 John David Oldroyd

2531 Round Rock Texas 6 Jun 1999 Howard J. Nicholas

252 *San Antonio Texas

San Antonio 19 Jan 1958 Roland C. Bremer

758 San Antonio Texas East 30 May 1976 Archie M. Brugger

2791 San Anonio Texas Hill Country 27 Jan 2008 Jeffrey Duane Foote

2401 San Antonio Texas North 19 Oct 1997 Frank J. Dittmar

1426 San Antonio Texas West 5 Jun 1983 Jan M. Sterneckert

2668 Tyler Texas 23 Jan 2005 Evan Grover Nielsen

2718 Weatherford Texas 30 Apr 2006 Cary Randal Reeves

Missions — 8

(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number. )


13747 Montfort Drive, Ste.120

Dallas, TX 75240-4454


1331 Airport Freeway, Ste. 305

Euless, TX 76040


16623 Hafer Road

Houston, TX 77090-4401


404 E. Ramsey Rd., Ste. 105

San Antonio, TX 78216-4665


2815 W Lake Houston Pky, Ste. 109

Kingwood, TX 77339


4627 Austin Pky.

Sugar Land, TX 77479-2146


200 W La Vista Ave

McAllen, TX 78501-2131


5214 68th St Ste 202

Lubbock, TX 79424-1523

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