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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tennessee: Wikis


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The Memphis Tennessee LDS Temple

As of year-end 2007, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 42,102 members, 10 stakes (with stake center inside the state), 88 Congregations (65 wards[1] and 23 branches[1]), 2 missions, and 2 temples in Tennessee.[2]



David W. Patten and Warren Parish arrived in Tennessee shortly before 11 October 1834 and soon baptized 31 people: organizing a branch by the end of the year. These efforts were in Henry, Benton, and Humphreys counties. In 1835, Parrish worked alone after Patten returned to Kirtland, Ohio.[3]

On March 27, 1835, Wilford Woodruff, then a priest, came to assist Parrish. When Warren Parrish was called as a Seventy in July 1835, he ordained Woodruff as an elder and placed him in charge of the work in Tennessee. Woodruff was assisted by Abraham O. Smoot and Benjamin L. Clapp.

In 1836, there were about 100 members in seven branches. By 1839, 12 branches existed in the state and by 1846, missionaries had preached in 26 counties. Following the exodus to the West, little work was done in Tennessee. Hyrum H. Blackwell and Emmanuel M. Murphy visited the state in 1857 to call the saints to gather in the west.[4]

In 1870, Hayden Church resumed work in Tennessee. The Southern States Mission was formally organized in 1875 with headquarters in Nashville, then moved to Chattanooga in 1882 and remained there until 1919, when Atlanta, GA became mission headquarters.

Henry G. Boyle established a branch at Shady Grove in 1875. Mob activity increased significantly in 1879. Some converts in the South left their homes and migrated to the west in 1883.

In 1884, members were fired upon in separate incidents. Elder James Rosskelley was shot in eastern Tennesee on August 8, 1884. Elder Rosskelley would survive and his attacker was captured and bound over for trial.[5] The worst massacre of Church members in the South, however, occurred on August 10, 1884 when a mob shot to death missionaries William S. Berry and John H. Gibbs and local members W. Martin Conder and John Riley Hutson during LDS Church services at the home of W. James Conder on Cane Creek in Lewis County. Sister Malinda Conder was injured as well in the attack but recovered enough to walk with a cane.[6][7] Mission President Brigham H. Roberts donned a disguise, traveled to the tense area and retrieved the bodies of the slain missionaries. Many of the Church members at Cane Creek left in November 1884 emigrating to [Colorado]. In 1888, another group of 177 Latter-day Saints left Chattanooga for Colorado and Utah.

By the 1890’s, public opinion became more tolerant. The oldest existing meetinghouse in the Southeast was dedicated in Northcutts’ Cove on October 24, 1909 by Charles A. Collis.[8] Ten years later, branches were listed in Chattanooga and Memphis. On November 16, 1925, a chapel in Memphis was dedicated by Elder George F. Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve. By 1930, about 2832 members lived in the Middle and East Tennessee Districts.

On April 18, 1965, the Memphis Stake, Tennessee’s first, was created by Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve. On March 15-16, 1997, more than 6500 people attended a meeting where President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke in the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, several thousand Latter-day Saint volunteers, from a 7 state area (including Tennessee), 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 (Mormon and non-Mormon).[9][10]

Tennessee "Mormons" volunteered relief in their own area on several occasions including the April 2, 2006 Tornado Outbreak,[11] and the April 6-8, 2006 Tornado Outbreak.[12]

In 2007, 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 65 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square performed at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville (June 30), and at the FedEx Forum in Memphis (July 2).[13]

In September 2008, Latter-day Saints from both of the Memphis stakes went to the Baton Rouge area to aid clean up efforts following Hurricane Gustav.

Tennessee LDS membership history

Membership History

Year LDS Membership
1834 31
1890 136
1906 841
1930 2,832
1980 15,839
1990 23,007
1999 31,104
2008 43,179


There are 10 stakes with their stake center located in Tennessee. Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have no paid clergy, stake presidents, bishops, etc. have their own occupation.

Stakes with their stake center in Tennessee and their current stake presidents are as follows:

Stake Organized Stake President Occupation
Chattanooga Tennessee May 21, 1978 Richard G. Youngblood[14] chief operating officer for Blood Assurance
Franklin Tennessee Dec. 2 1979 Alan L. Soderquist][15] president/chief executive officer for Gerassist Inc.
Kingsport Tennessee January 13, 1980 Sean Stewart McMurray[16] chief executive officer at Johnston Hospital
Knoxville Tennessee June 25, 1972 Benjamin Todd Morgenegg[17] district sales coordinator at AFLAC
Knoxville Tennessee Cumberland Nov. 17 1996 Douglas Shane Cruze[18] vice president, global information security at NOVA
Madison Tennessee June 9, 2007 Brent Jay Ostermiller[19] designer services manager at MNPS
McMinnville Tennessee August 18, 1991 Alvin Frazier Meredith III[20] senior director at Asurion
Memphis Tennessee April 18, 1965 Steven Moyle Borius[21] tax attorney at International Paper
Memphis Tennessee North Sept. 14, 1980 C.E. Zobell[22] general counsel for Peabody Hotel Group
Nashville Tennessee Dec. 6 1970 Kevin Mackenzie Tipps[23] manager, gen. liability at Travelers Insurance Co.


The Southern States Mission was formally organized in 1875 with its headquarters in Nashville. Then in 1882, the headquarters moved to Chattanooga, until in 1919, it moved to Atlanta, GA. Tennessee remained in the Southern States Mission until the creation of the East Central States Mission in 1928. In 1975, the Tennessee Nashville Mission was organized. In 1993, the Tennessee Knoxville was organized from the Tennessee Nashville Mission.

Mission Current Mission President
Tennessee Nashville Mission Mark O. Lords
Tennessee Knoxville Mission James E. Griffin


On November 12, 1994, a letter sent to priesthood leaders announced plans to build a temple in Nashville. However, after three unsuccessful years of trying to gain approvals, Church leaders announced on April 25, 1998, they would move ahead with plans to build a temple somewhere else in the Nashville area, and said the temple would be substantially smaller in size. That fall, on September 17, 1998, the first presidency announced it would build a second temple in Tennessee, this one in Memphis. The temple in the suburb of Bartlett was dedicated on April 23, 2000. The Next month, on May 21, 2000, the Nashville Tennessee Temple, in the suburb of Franklin, was dedicated.

Memphis Tennessee Temple 01.JPG

80. Memphis Tennessee edit


Bartlett, Tennessee, USA
17 September 1998
23 April 2000 by James E. Faust
35°14′26.70720″N 89°50′21.60239″W / 35.240752°N 89.8393339972°W / 35.240752; -89.8393339972 (Memphis Tennessee)
10,700 sq ft (990 m2) on a 6.35 acre (2.6 ha) site
Classic modern, single-spire design

Nashville Temple.jpg

84. Nashville Tennessee edit


Franklin, Tennessee, USA
9 November 1994
21 May 2000 by James E. Faust
35°56′55.82039″N 86°51′37.18439″W / 35.9488389972°N 86.8603289972°W / 35.9488389972; -86.8603289972 (Nashville Tennessee)
10,700 sq ft (990 m2) on a 6.86 acre (2.8 ha) site
Classic modern, single-spire design

Prominent members connected with Tennessee

  • D. Todd Christofferson now a member of the first quorum of the seventy was a lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee. He also was the chair of the Middle Tennessee Literacy Coalition and the chair of Affordable Housing of Nashville.[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b LDS Meetinghouse Locator
  2. ^ LDS Newsroom (Statistical Information)
  3. ^ David W Patten's Journal
  4. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 867
  5. ^ James Rosskelley
  6. ^ The Cane Creek Massacre
  7. ^ The Cane Creek Massacre
  8. ^ Northcutts Chapel
  9. ^ Latter-day Saints to Mobilize Another 4,000 Volunteers in Chainsaw Brigade’s Second Wave[1]
  10. ^ Joining Hands as Neighbors and Now Friends[2]
  11. ^ Church members help with clean-up, roof repair (April 29, 2006) LDS Church News
  12. ^ Aid rendered in wake of tornadoes (April 15, 2006) LDS Church News
  13. ^ Mormon Tabernacle Choir Announces 2007 Canada-Midwest U.S. Tour[3]
  14. ^ New stake presidents(June 15, 2002)LDS Church News
  15. ^ New stake presidencies(April 29, 2000)LDS Church News
  16. ^ New stake presidents (November 24, 2007)LDS Church News
  17. ^ New stake presidents(June 3, 2006)LDS Church News
  18. ^ New stake presidents(April 22, 2006)LDS Church News
  19. ^ New stake presidents(August 4, 2007)LDS Church News
  20. ^ New stake presidents(May 13, 2006)LDS Church News
  21. ^ Correction — Memphis Tennessee Stake(July 12, 2008)LDS Church News
  22. ^ New Stake Presidents(Jan. 3, 2009)LDS Church News
  23. ^ [ New stake presidents(July 28, 2007)LDS Church News
  24. ^ LDS Church News, April 19th, 2008

External links



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