UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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, 2,600,000; Members, 173,639; Stakes, 35; Wards, 288; Branches, 29; Missions, 2; Temples, 2; Percent LDS, 6.7, or one in 15.
Two years after the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley, Church leaders petitioned the U.S. government for recognition as a state or for territorial status. The State of Deseret, as envisioned by Church leaders, took in most of Nevada. On 9 September 1850, U.S. President Millard Fillmore signed an act creating the Utah Territory, much smaller than the state of Deseret, but still encompassing most of present-day Nevada. Nevada was part of the Utah Territory until it became its own territory in 1861.
Samuel Brannan and two traveling companions became the first Latter-day Saints to set foot in what is now Nevada as they left Yerba Buena, now San Francisco, Calif., to intercept Brigham Young's party on its way to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
The early history of the Church in Nevada is one of colonization efforts, some of which were abandoned, while others flourished and exist today. In 1850, there were 13 Church members, mostly Mormon Battalion veterans who had been in California, joined 65 non-LDS overlanders and crossed Nevada from Utah on their way to California. Seven men dropped out of the party near what is now Genoa in the Carson Valley and founded a trading post. The men traded profitably with those coming to the California gold fields during the summer of 1850, but sold out and returned to Utah. A year later, John Reese, a Salt Lake City merchant, came with a group that had provisions in 13 wagons and established a trading post that became known as Mormon Station, located two miles south of the original trading post. The station also became a profitable trading post and the site of Nevada's first permanent settlement.
Sensing that the Carson Valley could become an important outpost in the Utah Territory, Brigham Young organized the Carson Valley Mission and sent Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve to Genoa to act as probate judge for Carson County, Utah Territory, in May 1855. Elder Hyde was to organize the territory, establish a mission among the local Indians, provide a way station for Mormon emigrants, and conduct court business. Over the next two years many Mormon colonists were called to settle there. The Carson Valley Stake was organized in 1856, the first in Nevada, with branches in Carson Valley, Eagle Valley and Washoe Valley. However, the following year, with the approach of Johnston's Army to Salt Lake City, the colony was abandoned and the stake dissolved.
Also in 1855, a group of 30 men was sent to establish an Indian mission at the Meadows in southern Nevada at what is now Las Vegas. The party, under the direction of William Bringhurst, arrived on 15 June 1855 and soon built a fort. It was an important way station on the route between Salt Lake City and San Bernardino, Calif., another Mormon settlement. These missionaries discovered lead nearby and made friendships with the many Indians who lived on the Muddy River, a fertile area in a valley to the northwest.
In 1856, Brigham Young sent another group of missionaries to the Las Vegas area to mine the lead discovered the year before. Both missions were closed because of the advance of Johnston's Army. The abandoned fort was then named Fort Baker, placed on U.S. Army maps, and served strategic purposes during the Civil War, helping to secure the Southwest for the Union.
Today, the Old Fort is the oldest surviving Anglo-American building in Nevada and is a designated historic site located in what is now called the Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park.
The oldest permanent Mormon settlement in Nevada is Panaca. On 6 May 1864, Mormon settlers, under the direction of Francis C. Lee, arrived at the site, which at that time was still in Utah Territory, and established a colony. The Lee party made a settlement that included a schoolhouse and a branch of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution. The Panaca Ward was organized on 12 August 1865 and was made part of the St. George Stake. The Panaca Nevada Stake was created on 29 January 1995.
The Muddy River area north of Las Vegas was settled in May 1865 under the direction of Joseph Warren Foote. Brigham Young wanted to have the gospel preached to the local Indians and also hoped cotton would grow there for the mills built near St. George. The colonists surveyed a town site, naming it St. Thomas (a town now covered by Lake Mead), after Thomas S. Smith, who had also been called by Young to the Muddy Mission. By 1869, there were additional settlements in St. Joseph, Overton, West Point and Junction City. The mission was abandoned in 1871 when this western part of the Utah Territory was made part of Nevada, and Nevada officials demanded back taxes. However, some Latter-day Saints returned to the Moapa Valley in the 1880s. A branch was organized at Overton in 1883, and it became headquarters of Nevada's first permanent stake, the Moapa Stake, in June 1912.
In the early 20th century, particularly following the post-World War I economic crisis in the United States, Church members in Utah migrated to areas where they could find work. Many settled in Nevada.
Completion of the railroad from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles in 1905 began steady growth in Nevada. The first Sunday School in Las Vegas was organized by Newell Leavitt in 1914. It became a ward in 1925. Construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s brought another influx of people seeking to better themselves economically. The Las Vegas Stake was created in 1954.
Church members also moved to the counties in northern Nevada, particularly in the areas around Elko and Ely. The short-lived community of Metropolis was founded in 1911 and had a ward until 1949. It was populated mostly by Church members from Ogden, Utah, and southern Alberta, Canada, who came to the township as farmers. The Nevada Stake, headquartered in Ely, was organized in 1926, and by 1930, it had a membership of over 2,000. The Nevada Stake was divided and the Humbolt Stake was organized in 1942.
Nevada was made part of the California Mission in 1898. It was transferred to the Arizona Mission in 1969. On 1 July 1975 the Nevada Las Vegas Mission was organized. Twenty-two years later, in 1997, the mission was divided and the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission was created.
The steady growth of the Church in southern Nevada led to the creation of many stakes in the Las Vegas area. A temple was dedicated there on 16 December 1989 by President Gordon B. Hinckley as "an oasis of peace and life and light, in contrast with the clamor and evil and darkness of the world." A second temple in Nevada was built in Reno and dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Easter Sunday, 23 April 2000.
Membership was 163,187 in 2003.
Nearly 3,000 people gathered at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park in Las Vagas, Nev., June 11, 2005, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the historic fort and to dedicate a new visitors center.
The Old Mormon Fort was created June 15, 1855, at the request of President Brigham Young as a way station between Salt Lake City and the Mormon settlement of San Bernardino, Calif., and as a mission to the Native Americans in the Las Vegas Valley. It was the first non-native settlement in the Las Vegas area.
In 2005, membership reached 167,822.
Sources: Jeffery O. Johnson, "Deseret, State of," Encyclopedia of Mormonism, v. 1, 1992; James R. Hinds, One Hundred and Twenty-five Years at Las Vegas' Old Fort, [ca. 1992]; Panaca Ward, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Panaca Nevada Stake, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; Leonard J. Arrington, The Mormons in Nevada, 1979; Marjorie H. Holbrook, History of Metropolis, Nevada, 1986; John L. Hart, "Las Vegas Temple 'A Crowning Jewel,'" Church News, 23 December 1989; Julie A. Dockstader, "Easter Day Dedication Brings Hope," Church News, 29 April 2000; "Old Las Vegas fort attracts 3,000 for celebration," Church News, 18 June 2005.
Stakes — 36
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
North America Southwest Area
906 / Carson City Nevada / 9 Apr 1978 / Edgar Gilbert Carlson
143 / *Elko Nevada East / 19 Mar 1995
Humboldt / 31 May 1942 / Rodney S. Williams
2038 / Elko Nevada West / 19 Mar 1995 / Kurt Glenn Alleman
96 / *Ely Nevada
Nevada / 19 Sep 1926 / Carl K. Conrad
500 / *Fallon Nevada
Fallon / 18 Jan 1970 / G. Verl Hendrix
1650 / Fallon Nevada South / 30 Aug 1987 / Robert Floyd Weed
2613 / Henderson Nevada Anthem / 21 Apr 2002 / Ivan M. Holland
605 / *Henderson Nevada Black
Mountain / 10 Mar 1992 / *Henderson Nevada West
Lake Mead West / 11 Mar 1973 / Joseph Dee Reese
2801 / Henderson Nevada Eldorado / 26 Apr 2008 / Russell Timothy Peterson
228 / Henderson Nevada Lake Mead / 2 Mar 1993 / *Henderson Nevada
(Nevada, Arizona, Calif.) / 19 Aug 1956 / James I. Gibson
216 / *Las Vegas Nevada
Las Vegas / 10 Oct 1954 / Thomas Gay Myers
451 / *Las Vegas Nevada Central
Las Vegas Central / 18 Feb 1968 / Samuel M. Davis
915 / Las Vegas Nevada East / 30 Apr 1978 / Kendall E. Jones
2818 / Las Vegas Nevada Elkhorn Springs / 7 Dec 2008 / Mark E. Waite
1519 / Las Vegas Nevada Green Valley / 3 Mar 1985 / Roger Lee Hunt
2609c / Las Vegas Nevada Highland Hills / 9 Dec 2001 / Todd L. Moody
1542 / Las Vegas Nevada Lakes / 23 Jun 1985 / Dennis E. Simmons
1775 / Las Vegas Nevada
Lone Mountain / 4 Nov 1990 / Scott Keith Higginson
1406 / *Las Vegas Meadows / 4 Nov 1990
Las Vegas Nevada West / 20 Mar 1983 / Terry Dale Rogers
401 / *Las Vegas Nevada Paradise / 30 Apr 1978 / *Las Vegas Nevada East
Las Vegas East / 24 Jan 1965 / Rulon A. Earl
855 / Las Vegas Nevada Redrock / 14 Aug 1977 / E. LeGrande Bindrup
1776 / Las Vegas Nevada Sandstone / 4 Nov 1990 / Keith R. Edwards
509 / *Las Vegas Nevada South
Las Vegas South / 29 Mar 1970 / Erval L. Bindrup
2726 / Las Vegas Nevada Spring Mountain / 25 June 2006 / Robert L. Christiansen
1576 / Las Vegas Nevada Sunrise / 17 Nov 1985 / Norman Wellington Gates
2137 / Las Vegas Nevada Tule Springs / 3 Dec 1995 / Scott Keith Higginson
1777 / Las Vegas Nevada Warm Springs / 4 Nov 1990 / Roger Lee Hunt
64 / *Logandale Nevada
Moapa / 9 Jun 1912 / Willard L. Jones
1974 / Mesquite Nevada / 13 Feb 1994 / Elwin J. Whipple
308 / *North Las Vegas Nevada
Las Vegas North / 6 Nov 1960 / William L. Taylor
2019 / Panaca Nevada / 29 Jan 1995 / Robert Jay Matthews
135 / *Reno Nevada
Reno (Nevada, California) / 9 Feb 1941 / Nathan T. Hurst
635 / Reno Nevada North / 24 Mar 1974 / Wilford Darrell Foote
339 / *Sparks Nevada
(Nevada, California) / 22 Oct 1961 / Vern Waldo
1296 / Winnemucca Nevada / 11 Oct 1981 / Kenneth H. Lords
7a / Carson Valley / 4 Oct 1856 / Orson Hyde
Mission — 2
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(127) NEVADA LAS VEGAS MISSION
3127 E Warm Springs, Ste 200
Las Vegas, NV 89120-3134
(314) NEVADA LAS VEGAS WEST
7656 W Sahara Ave., Ste. 140
Las Vegas, NV 89117