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As of December 31, 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 37,487 members, seven stakes, 74 Congregations (45 wards,[1] 29 branches[1]), one mission, and one temple in Alabama.[2]

History

1840s Missionary Work: Dixie Saints

Concerted missionary efforts in Alabama started around 1842-1843 in Alabama with the work of Elders James Brown and John U. Eldridge. Before August 24, 1842, branches in Tuscaloosa (the Cybry Branch) and Perry (Bogue-Chitto Branch) counties were organized by Elder Brown. Elder Eldridge baptized his brother, wife, and mother-in-law earlier that year.

Elder John Brown (1820-1896), was among the early missionaries baptized a number a people in Tuscaloosa and Perry Counties including some of the first African-Americans to join the church. Hagar and Jack, two African-American men, joined the Church on October 24, 1843. Many of the early missionaries frequently passed between Alabama and Mississippi in their work.

Most early members immigrated west to join the body of the saint and to avoid persecution. Some of these Alabama members were among the group of "Mississippi Saints" that emigrated under the leadership of John Brown (1820-1896) and William Crosby in 1846.[3]

Alabama Branches 1845

  • CITATION: Alabama Conference Report, circa 1845 = Church History Library, CR 100 589 box 1 folder 7
  • DESCRIPTION: Report of branches in the Alabama Conference; no date given, but under leadership of Abraham O. Smoot, which would have been during 1845, after his journal account ends in April but before he returns to Nauvoo in November.
  1. Bogue Chetto Branch (AKA: Boynechetto Branch) - Southern part of Perry County, Alabama - home of Samuel Turnbow, 1st Alabama convert in 1840. (46 members, 7 priesthood, summer or fall 1845)
  2. Five Mile Branch - 19 members, 4 priesthood, summer or fall 1845 - - Located at Five Mile Creek, Perry (now Hale County).
  3. Sipsey Branch in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama - one of oldest and longest lived church branches in Alabama. (51 members, 9 priesthood, summer or fall 1845)
  4. Marion Branch] (AKA: Moscow/Marion County Branch) - located on the Buttahatchee River passing thru then Marion County, Alabama (now Lamar County, Alabama. (Not to be confused with present day Moscow AL in Marengo County.) (Not to be confused with the Buttahatchie Branch located 20 miles upstream in Noxubee County. (14 members, 1 priesthood, summer or fall 1845)
  5. Little Bear Creek Branch] (26 members, 5 priesthood, summer or fall 1845) - Franklin County, Alabama, northernmost branch in NW Alabama.
  6. Big Sandy Branch] (7 members, 2 priesthood, summer or fall 1845) (Southside of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama)
  7. Indian Camp Creek Branch] (11 members, 4 priesthood, summer or fall 1845) - Located possibly on Indian Camp Creek in Pickens County, Alabama


1876 Missionary Return

In 1876, missionary work resumed with the creation of the Southern States Mission. Opposition was widespread in the 1880s with some even asking Alabama's governor to force the missionaries from the state. This subsided somewhat by 1894.

A new branch was established in Magnolia, Alabama during the late 1890s. Despite the tarring and feathering of some missionaries to the branch and the attempted arson of an early meeting place, a wood-frame Magnolia Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was completed in 1913. Two elders from Utah assisted in the construction, Elder Sellers from Vernal and Elder Joseph E. Ward from Parowan. Although the branch completed a new brick chapel adjacent to the old one in 1972, the historic chapel continues to be used for social occasions. It is the oldest surviving LDS chapel in the state. The Magnolia Branch is currently a member of the Montgomery Alabama Stake.[4][5]

A Sunday School was organized in Montgomery on August 22, 1911. Many of these early converts were baptized in the Alabama River.

By the mid-1930s Sunday School groups existed in Birmingham, Elkmont, Gadsen, McCalla, and Montgomery. In 1937, the Alabama District split in half to create the Alabama and North Alabama Districts. In 1940, the Montgomery Branch staged a pioneer parade that attracted thousands.

1968 Alabama's First Stake Founded

The LDS Church began to grow more rapidly in Alabama following World War II. In the spring of 1968, the Alabama Stake, later renamed the Huntsville Alabama Stake, was assembled by Elder Harold B. Lee (1899-1973), who became the 11th President of the Church four years later.

A historical account of the state’s first stake was compiled into a book, Huntsville Alabama Stake, Building Zion in the South, which can be ordered on Amazon.

21st Century Church

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, several thousand Latter-day Saint volunteers, from a 7 state area (including Alabama), went to Louisiana and Mississippi. Many of them taking time out of their jobs or came down on the weekends to help anyone needing assistance.[6][7][8]

In September 2008, Latter-day Saints across Alabama went to the Baton Rouge area to aid cleanup efforts following Hurricane Gustav, as well as other disaster cleanup efforts in following years.

On March 3, 2018 hundreds of Latter-day Saints gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s first organized stake. In the spring of 1968, the Alabama Stake, later renamed the Huntsville Alabama Stake, was assembled by Elder Harold B. Lee, who became the 11th President of the Church four years later.


Membership History

Year LDS Membership
1844 193
1930 2,516
1974 7,800
1980 14,000
1989 20,000
1999 27,680
2008 33,968
2011 35,167


See also

Template:Portal

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints membership statistics (United States)

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 LDS Meetinghouse Locator.Nearby Congregations (Wards and Branches).
  2. Template:Citation
  3. Leonard J. Arrington, "Mississippi Mormons", Ensign, June 1977.
  4. Marengo County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Marengo County, Alabama, page 34. Clanton, Alabama: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000. Template:ISBN
  5. Template:Cite web
  6. Latter-day Saints to Mobilize Another 4,000 Volunteers in Chainsaw Brigade's Second Wave [1]
  7. Latter-day Saints Mobilize 4000 Volunteers in Chainsaw Brigades First Wave. PR Web. September 17, 2005
  8. Joining Hands as Neighbors and Now Friends
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