United States information: South Dakota


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.)

South Dakota

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 804,000; Members, 9,525; Stakes, 2; Wards, 9; Branches, 24; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Percent LDS, 1.2, or one in 84.

In 1845, shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, James Emmett, without authorization from Church leaders in Nauvoo, led a group of saints into what is now South Dakota. They stopped at a fur trader fort on the Vermillion River where they settled and began farming. They also attempted to do missionary work among the Sioux and befriended them, but the threat of attack was constant. The colony was nearly attacked when Emmett unwisely interfered in a horse-trading deal between the Indians and traders and an argument ensued. Because of complaints about Emmett's leadership by members of the group, Brigham Young sent representatives to the settlement to investigate. Sometime after these representatives had returned to Nauvoo and reported on their visit to Fort Vermillion, James Emmett also traveled to Nauvoo and became reconciled with Church leaders. The Vermillion saints left the South Dakota area the following spring, in compliance with Brigham Young's request that they join the main westward migration. The Church did not return to the area for nearly 40 years.

In May of 1883, the Dakota Territory was added to the jurisdiction of the Northern States Mission and missionaries were sent into the southeastern part of the territory. On 5 July 1898, the Dakota Conference had progressed enough to divide it into North and South Dakota conferences. Less than two years later, in November 1900, the Dakotas were attached to the Colorado Mission, which was later renamed the Western States Mission.

The first Church unit in South Dakota since the abandonment of the Fort Vermillion Settlement was a Sunday School in Lead, organized on 1 November 1920. Four years later, in October 1924, a branch was established in Rapid City. By this time regular meetings were also being held at nearby Hot Springs and by 1928, at Belle Fourche. In August of 1925, most of South Dakota, with the exception of the Black Hills area, was assigned to the new North Central States Mission. In the new mission, South Dakota was initially included with North Dakota in one district. The work in the area, though slow, resulted by 1930 in the creation of a separate South Dakota District and a Sunday School in Sioux Falls.

Not until 1948 were any further units organized in South Dakota. That year a Sunday School was established in Huron and a branch was organized in Gettysburg. The following year the Sioux Falls saints were organized into a branch. In 1950, a conference was held at Pierre and a Sunday School was organized in Mitchell. At the beginning of 1951, the South Dakota District was divided, creating the Sioux District in the southeastern part of the state. A branch was organized in Mitchell and a new meetinghouse was dedicated in Sioux Falls in 1951. Progress continued during the 1950s, with the dedication of a meetinghouse in Gettysburg in 1952, the establishment of branches in Aberdeen and Pierre in 1953, and the creation of a branch in Lead in 1955.

Meanwhile, on 11 November 1950, the Black Hills District was detached from the Western States Mission and included in the new West Central States Mission. Further fragmentation of the area occurred when the work on the reservations was assigned to the new Northern Indian Mission on 1 May 1964. With this reorganization, the work progressed enough that in 1970 the Standing Rock District was established on the reservation, and in 1972, the first stake in South Dakota was organized at Rapid City. The missionary work in South Dakota, split between three missions for so many years, was consolidated under the Dakota-Manitoba Mission in 1973. This mission was renamed the South Dakota Rapid City Mission a year later. Before the decade was over, South Dakota had its second stake, established in Sioux Falls on 18 November 1979.

The number of new converts to the Church in South Dakota was smaller during the 1990s than it had been, but the saints have become stronger through their support of each other in the scattered stakes, wards, and branches of this sparsely populated area. They have also strengthened each other and their non-LDS friends through participation in humanitarian efforts when called upon, such as the support given to the victims of widespread flooding in the Sioux Falls area in June of 1993.

In 2002, membership reached 8,370.

Sources: Richard Bennett, "Mormon Renegade James Emmett at the Vermillion, 1846," South Dakota History, Fall 1985; Northern States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Western States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; North Central States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "Sioux Falls: A Secret Treasure," Ensign, January 1991; West Central States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Sioux Falls Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Lead Branch, General minutes, Church Archives; Northern Indian Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Fargo Ward, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "Stake Proves a Real Asset to Mission," Church News, 2 February 1974; "New Mission Offers Opportunities," Church News, 2 February 1974; Belle Fourche Branch, General minutes, Church Archives; Belle Fourche Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "Flooding in Midwest Doesn't Let Up," Church News, 31 July 1993; "Midwestern U. S. Saints Rally Against Flood Damage," Ensign, October 1993; "The Church in the Dakotas," Church News, 30 November 1996.

Stakes — 2

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

North America Central Area

592 *Rapid City South Dakota

Rapid City 10 Dec 1972 Briant LeRoy Davis

1085 Sioux Falls South Dakota 18 Nov 1979 Russell Lloyd Harward

Mission — 1

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


2525 W Main, Suite 311

Rapid City, SD 57702

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