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Mexico milestones

Important moments of Church history in Mexico

1874 — Brigham Young assigns Daniel W. Jones to translate the Book of Mormon into Spanish. Brother Jones, who knows little of the language, is assisted by Meliton G. Trejo. Some 1,500 copies containing selected passages from the Book of Mormon are published.

Reunification conference in 1946 with President George Albert Smith, upper left, marked the beginning of a new era for the Church in Mexico.
Reunification conference in 1946 with President George Albert Smith, upper left, marked the beginning of a new era for the Church in Mexico. Photo: Courtesy Mexico Museum of Mormon History

Jan. 6, 1876 — Missionaries enter Mexico for the first time at El Paso de Norte, Chihuahua, led by Daniel W. Jones.

April 16, 1876 — Daniel W. Jones speaks at first public Church meeting in Mexico.

April 23, 1876 — The first Sabbath meeting is held in Mexico in the town of Guerrero, Chihuahua. The gospel message is reportedly well received by local visitors.

May 1877 — Missionary work takes place in Sonora.

May 20, 1877 — Jose Epifanio Jesus and four other Mexicans are baptized in Chihuahua, becoming the country's first native-born members.

Nov. 15, 1879 — The first mission to the capital, Mexico City, is made by Elder Moses Thatcher of the Quorum of the Twelve. That same month, Plotino Rhodakanaty and eight others are baptized and a branch is organized in Mexico City.

May 1880 — Fernando A. Lara and Domingo Mejia become the first Mexicans called to missionary service.

April 6, 1881 — Elder Moses Thatcher dedicates Mexico for missionary work and colonization.

San Pedro martir sunday school, 1920-25
San Pedro martir sunday school, 1920-25 Photo: Courtesy Church Archives

January 1885 — President John Taylor makes the first visit of a Church president to Mexico, arriving in Sonora.

1885 — Meliton G. Trejo and James Z. Stewart complete the Spanish translation of the Book of Mormon. The Church publishes the first edition of Spanish-language copies.

1885 — The first American-born LDS colonists begin arriving in Mexico. They establish eight colonies in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora.

1889 — Missionary work is closed for part of the year. Converts to the Church remain faithful.

1888 — Missionary work is established in Sonora, led by President Ammon M. Tenney. Seventy-one people are baptized in northern Sonora.

Dec. 10, 1895 — The Juarez Stake is organized in the Mormon Colonies of Chihuahua, becoming the first in Mexico. Anthony W. Ivins is called as president.

June 1901 — The Mexican Mission is re-opened by John Henry Smith and Anthony W. Ivins. Ammon M. Tenney is called as president.

1912 exodis
1912 exodis Photo: Courtesy Church Archives

1901 — The first Church choirs are organized in Tecalco and Atlautla. Choir members sing at various conferences.

1903 — Relief Society groups are organized in two areas of Mexico.

Sept. 29, 1907 — Rey Lucero Pratt is called as president of the Mexican Mission, a calling President Pratt would hold until his death in 1931.

1910 — The Mexican Revolution begins, limiting missionary work in the country. The uprising would exact much suffering among Church members. Converts Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales are executed in 1915.

August 1913 — The Mexican Mission is temporarily closed amid the violence of the Mexican Revolution. President Pratt and the American missionaries return to the United States.

1922 — American missionaries return to Mexico and re-establish the work in many regions.

1936 — Disaffected Mexican members gather for what would be called the Third Convention. The convention is emblematic of the divisiveness felt among Mexican members for nearly a decade.

May 22, 1938 — The first Mexican LDS chapel is completed in Mexico City and dedicated by Harold W. Pratt.

May 1945 — President George Albert Smith presides over the Conference of Reunification, and unity is restored to the Church in Mexico.

mexican missionaries c. 1920-25 Rey L. Pratt
mexican missionaries c. 1920-25 Rey L. Pratt Photo: Courtesy Church Archives

1945 — The first Lamanite Conference is held in Mesa, Ariz., allowing many Mexican members to visit and enjoy the blessings of the temple.

1959 — The Church establishes its Mexican Educational System and is comprised of 34 primary schools, three secondary schools and a pair of preparatory schools.

Dec. 3, 1961 — The Mexico City Stake is organized, becoming the first stake organized primarily among Spanish-speaking Mexican members. Harold Brown is called as president.

1963 — Benemerito de las Americas, a Church-owned preparatory boarding school, is established in Mexico City.

1972 — Church membership in Mexico surpasses 100,000.

1975 — Then-Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve creates 15 stakes in Mexico City in one weekend, Nov. 7-9.

Dec. 2, 1983 — Mexico's first temple, the Mexico City Mexico Temple, is dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Agricol Lozano meets with government leaders as Church wins recognition by Mexico in 1993.
Agricol Lozano meets with government leaders as Church wins recognition by Mexico in 1993. Photo: Photo courtesy Elder F. Burton Howard

April 6, 1985 — Waldo Pratt Call, a native of the Mormon Colonies of Chihuahua, is called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

April 1, 1989 — The first Mexican-born Latino General Authority, Horacio Antonio Tenorio, is sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

1989 — With the organization of the Mexico Tecalco Stake, Mexico becomes the first country outside of the United States to reach 100 stakes.

June 29, 1993 — The Mexican government formally recognized the Church, allowing it to own property for the first time.

March 6, 1999 — The Church starts a vigorous period of temple building in Mexico, beginning with the dedication of the Colonia Juarez Chihuahua Mexico Temple. Today, there are 12 temples in operation in Mexico.

July 31, 2004 — The Church passes the million-member mark in Mexico, the first country to reach seven figures outside of the United States.

Source: Museum of Mormon History in Mexico

Members in Tecalco, an area where some of the first branches were established near Mexico City, sustain leaders of Mexico's 100th stake on June 25, 1989. In the 15-year period since, stakes have doubled to 200 by May of 2004.
Members in Tecalco, an area where some of the first branches were established near Mexico City, sustain leaders of Mexico's 100th stake on June 25, 1989. In the 15-year period since, stakes have doubled to 200 by May of 2004. Photo: Photo by John Hart
Handmade sacrament trays from early branches.
Handmade sacrament trays from early branches. Photo: Courtesy Mexico Museum of Mormon History
Letter from Plotino Rhodakanaty, one of the recipients, asking for missionaries. Apostle Moses Thatcher then traveled to Mexico, starting the first branch.
Letter from Plotino Rhodakanaty, one of the recipients, asking for missionaries. Apostle Moses Thatcher then traveled to Mexico, starting the first branch. Photo: Courtesy Mexico Museum of Mormon History
Copy of selections from Book of Mormon that was mailed to influential Mexicans.
Copy of selections from Book of Mormon that was mailed to influential Mexicans. Photo: Courtesy Mexico Museum of Mormon History

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