Church growth steady under presidents Snow and Smith

Membership in the Church had reached 267,251 by 1898, the year that President Lorenzo Snow became the fifth president of the Church. In the same year, the 38th stake and the 19th and 20th missions were created. A total of 1,059 missionaries were set apart that year, reported the Deseret News 1989-1990 Church Almanac.

By 1901, the year President Snow died, membership had increased to 292,931, and there were 50 stakes and 22 missions in the Church. The number of missionaries set apart dropped to 324 in 1899, climbed to 796 in 1900 and, back down to 522 in 1901.President Joseph F. Smith became the sixth president of the Church in October 1901 and served until 1918.

During those 17 years, Church growth continued. By 1918, membership had reached 495,962, and 25 more stakes and five new missions had been organized. More than 12,000 missionaries were set apart during President Smith's service as president.

In Essentials in Church History, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote about an "important step" in missionary work taken under President Smith's direction.

In 1902, the "Bureau of Information and Church Literature" opened on the Temple block. That year more than 150,000 people visited the city block and received free literature. "Much prejudice was removed," Smith reported.

Through the years, the number of visitors steadily increased. Today, Temple Square is Utah's number one tourist attraction, with more than 4 million visitors in 1988.


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Information compiled by Kellene Ricks.

Sources: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, by Andrew Jenson; Profiles of the Presidents, by Emerson R. West; The Presidents of the Church, by Preston Nibley; Essentials in Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith; and Deseret News 1989-1990 Church Almanac.

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