United States information: West Virginia


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.)

West Virginia

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 1,815,000; Members, 16,711; Stakes, 4; Wards, 24; Branches, 14; Missions, 1; Percent LDS, 0.9, or one in 109.

Luke S. Johnson and William W. McLellin were sent to what is now West Virginia by Joseph Smith on 25 January 1832. They preached in Cabell County, just over the Ohio River from Ohio on the western tip of West Virginia. The Prophet Joseph Smith visited Wheeling on 4 April 1832 and purchased paper for the Church's press that was then located in Jackson County, Mo. The paper was used to publish the Book of Commandments. That same year, Elder Amasa M. Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve and an Elder Johnson baptized 40 converts in West Virginia. By 17 October 1836, Lorenzo D. Barnes reported that he and Samuel James had baptized enough converts to start a branch in Shinnston. Elder George A. Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve taught in a grammar school at, or near Shinnston, that had 75 members.

One convert was Bathsheba Wilson Bigler, who later became the wife of Apostle George A. Smith. She was baptized 21 August 1837, along with a number of other family members including her parents, brothers and sisters. She migrated to join the main body of saints shortly after baptism. She served as Relief Society general president from 1901-1910. Others immigrated to join with the saints, and the branches were discontinued. Missionary work did not resume until 28 December 1867.

Laboring in Logan County in June 1884, Andrew W. Spence and an Elder Vickers were served with a warrant for suspicion of being part of a band of robbers. The pair opened their satchels and not only convinced the officers that they were innocent, but also distributed tracts that opened the way for the missionaries to teach at the courthouse. From this opening, a branch of 26 members was organized. The West Virginia Conference was organized on 18 September 1886. A year later, missionaries from the Northern States Mission searched out and taught "Bickertonites," (see Pennsylvania history) but failed to make any headway among them.

West Virginia was placed in the Eastern States Mission on 14 March 1897. It became part of the Middle States Mission on 22 May 1902, but was reunited with the Eastern States Mission on 18 June 1903.

By 1906, George D. Ward and companion completed a small chapel for the Franklin Branch. One of the early converts in this branch was William Perry Hartman. Nearly 100 of his descendants joined the Church. Three branches were later organized because of his family's influence.

The West Virginia Conference was divided and the West Virginia North and South Conferences were created on 31 December 1930. The North conference had 888 members and the South conference had 1,397 for a statewide total of 2,285.

On 18 October 1942, Elder George Albert Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve was present at the Huntington Branch Chapel dedication. On 15 October 1949, Elder Harold B. Lee of Quorum of the Twelve visited West Virginia while on a tour of the East Central States Mission.

Membership grew slowly in West Virginia and during the 1950s and 1960s. Numerous branch chapels were built throughout West Virginia as the Church expanded its building program worldwide.

The first stake in West Virginia was created on 23 August 1970 in Charleston with a membership of 3,966. Units in West Virginia included the Asheland, Charleston, Charleston 2nd, Huntington, and Parkersburg Wards and the Beckley, Logan, Portsmouth, Ripley, Point Pleasant, and Webster Spring branches. The West Virginia Charleston Mission was organized on 1 July 1980. Additional stakes were created in Fairmont on 6 May 1979 and Huntington in 1982.

In 2002, membership reached 12,764, and 12,907 in 2003.

Sources: Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 1941; Lorenzo D. Barnes, Reminiscences and diaries, 1834-1839, Church Archives; Bathsheba Wilson Bigler Smith, Autobiography, Church Archives; Southern States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Eastern States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Northern States Mission, Manuscript history and historical report, Church Archives; Lisle G. Brown, "West Virginia and Mormonism's Rarest Book," West Virginia History, January/April 1978; Richard L. Jensen, "'Bell-Snickeled' Builders," Church News, 1 April 1978; Mike Cannon, "West Virginia," Church News, 2 October 1989.

Stakes — 4

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

North America East Area

522 *Charleston West Virginia

West Virginia (W. Va., Ky.) 23 Aug 1970 David L. Atkinson

1025 *Clarksburg West Virginia 7 Mar 2004

Fairmont West Virginia 6 May 1979 David Glenn Williams

1375 *Huntington West Virginia 23 Nov 2003

*Owingsville Kentucky 3 May 1995

Huntington West Virginia 7 Nov 1982 Grant Earl Jenson

2629 Martinsburg West Virginia 29 Feb 2004 Steven Charles Grow

Mission — 1

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


888 Oakwood Rd, Ste. 310

Charleston, WV 25314

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