United States information: Montana


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, 968,000; Members, 45,517; Stakes, 11; Wards, 77; Branches, 42; Missions, 1; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 4.7, or one in 21.

The first members of the Church visited the area in November of 1855 when a delegation from Fort Lemhi in Idaho traveled to the Bitteroot Valley to negotiate with a Mr. McArthur for possible purchase of Fort Hall (also in Idaho) by the Church.

In 1856, Utah Church member E. W. VanEtten began hauling freight between Salt Lake City and mining and logging camps in Montana. That same year, Minnie Miller, another Latter-day Saint, moved to Jocko, Mont., with her husband to help manage the Indian Agency there.

After gold was discovered in Montana in 1862, increasing demand for food and supplies in the mining towns drew other Latter-day Saints into the freighting business along the "Montana Trail" between that territory and Utah. During the last few decades of the 19th century, small numbers of Church members moved into Montana, seeking work in the mines and on the ranches.

Other ties with Utah included a Western Union telegraph line between Salt Lake City and Virginia City, Mont., and the Utah and Northern Railroad line from northern Utah through southeastern Idaho and western Montana. This narrow-gauge railroad was built by the Church as far as Franklin, Idaho, then extended into Montana by Jay Gould and the Union Pacific.

During the 1880s, Montana political leaders outlawed plural marriage in the territory and attempted to keep the few members of the Church there from voting. By the 1890s, relations were better and in 1895 the first branch of the Church was established at Lima by President Thomas E. Ricks of the Bannock Stake, headquartered in Rexburg, Idaho. The following year, Elder Edward Stevenson of the Seventy and Matthias F. Cowley of the Oneida Stake presidency, headquartered in Preston, Idaho, visited LDS families and congregations in Montana and, under the direction of the First Presidency, organized the Montana Mission, as well as several branches of the Church. During that trip they also had a cordial meeting with Montana Gov. John E. Rickards, who proved to be friendly to the Church.

In April 1898, the Montana Mission was absorbed into the Northwestern States Mission, which had been established the previous year. In 1925, Montana was shifted to the North Central States Mission. Then in 1950, it was included in the West Central States Mission.

By the end of the 1920s, the Church had grown to 10 branches and a membership of 1,181, with meetinghouses in Anaconda, Butte, Allendale, Dillon, Great Falls and Sun River. Membership increased to 5,210 in 1940, and 6,416 in 1950.

On 28 June 1953, the first stake in Montana was created in Butte. Additional stakes were organized in Great Falls and Missoula on June 16, 1957. By 1960, membership increased to 23,890. The Montana-Wyoming Mission was established in June of 1970 to oversee the work in those two states. Its name was changed to the Billings Montana Mission four years later and, with some modification of boundaries, continues as such to the present.

In 1980, membership was 30,784, and in 1990, 34,401.

On 28 March 1998, ground was broken at Billings for a temple. A little less than two years later, on 20 November 1999, the Billings Montana Temple was dedicated. Montana's LDS population was 39,842 that year, and 41,259 in 2002. In 2005, membership reached 43,878.

Sources: "Montana History," website ( Cornelius, Don, Mormonism in Montana, 1847-1898, 1962. "Montana's Gold West Country," website ( Montana Mission, Manuscript history, Church Archives. Jenson, Andrew, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1941. "Utah Railroads," Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, v. 10. Lima Branch, Butte Stake, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives. Cook, Tom, "Thumbnail History of Montana Governors," website ( Local Unit History File, Church Archives. Lima Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives. "News of the Church," Ensign, May 1998, p. 119. "News of the Church," Ensign, February 2000, p. 74; Brian Q. Cannon. "Mormonism in Montana." Montana: The Magazine of Western History, 56 (Spring 2006): 2.19.

Stakes — 11

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

North America Central Area

369 / *Billings Montana

Billings (Montana, Wyoming) / 10 Feb 1963 / Howard C. Anderson

849 / Billings Montana East / 12 Jun 1977 / Wynn J. Ferrell

1066 / Bozeman Montana / 16 Sep 1979 / Frank Wilbert Coil

208 / *Butte Montana

Butte / 28 Jun 1953 / Edgar T. Henderson

2349 / Glendive Montana / 4 May 1997 / Larry Norman Wolf

244 / *Great Falls Montana

Great Falls / 16 Jun 1957 / Victor Bowen

976 / Great Falls Montana East / 5 Nov 1978 / Howard Merle Hennebry

464 / *Helena Montana

Helena / 8 Sep 1968 / Ronald Rex Dalley

535 / *Kalispell Montana

Kalispell / 20 Nov 1970 / Roy K. Deming

243 / *Missoula Montana

Missoula /16 Jun 1957 Grant K. Patten

1074 / Stevensville Montana / 21 Oct 1979 / Robert H. Sangster

Mission — 1

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


1848 Rimrock Road

Billings, MT 59102

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