Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

United States information: Colorado

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

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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.)

Colorado

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 4,939,000; Members, 137,145; Stakes, 30; Wards, 259; Branches, 29; Missions, 3; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 2.8, or one in 36.

The first Latter-day Saints in the area that is now Colorado arrived in 1846. A company of 43 emigrants from Mississippi who were trying to meet Brigham Young's pioneer company along the Platte River discovered that he had been forced to wait at Winter Quarters. The Mississippi saints, already in western Nebraska and needing a place to camp for the winter, consulted a fur trapper who recommended Fort Pueblo near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. In August of 1846, they arrived in the vicinity of the fort and began building cabins and other necessary structures.

The following month, a detachment of Mormon Battalion family members who had accompanied the soldiers was sent to the Pueblo settlement to spend the winter. By year's end, two other groups from the Battalion consisting of the laundresses and men too sick to continue on to California had also arrived at Pueblo.

In June of 1847, a number of the saints who had spent the winter at Pueblo met Brigham Young's company at Fort Laramie and accompanied them into the Salt Lake Valley. Later that year, Elder Amasa Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve was assigned to go to Pueblo to bring the remainder of the saints who had been waiting there to go to the Salt Lake Valley, effectively ending the presence of the Church in Colorado.

The next appearance of Church members in Colorado was in October of 1858. A Latter-day Saint family by the name of Rooker, interested in reports of gold in the area, became the first Anglo family to settle on Cherry Creek in the area that became Denver.

In 1875, Lawrence M. Petersen of Las Tijeras in southern Colorado traveled to Manti, Utah, to visit his brother. The two had been separated when Lawrence had wandered away from a Mormon train near Kansas City, Mo., in 1854 and never returned. The pioneers gave him up for lost and went on without him. He was picked up by some traders, who persuaded him to accompany them to New Mexico. He started a new life there and eventually settled in southern Colorado. When he learned many years later that his family was in Utah, he visited them and accepted the gospel. After returning to his home in Colorado, Petersen preached the gospel to the Spanish settlers and baptized about 40 of them. In April of 1877, Petersen and his group of converts were forced by opposition to move away from Las Tijeras. They subsequently settled in northern New Mexico.

President John Morgan of the Southern States Mission arrived at Pueblo at the head of a company of 70 converts from the south on 24 November 1877, with instructions to establish a permanent colony in southern Colorado. A few weeks later, Church leaders asked Lawrence Petersen for advice concerning a site for the new colony, somewhere on or near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. He suggested the Conejos River in the San Luis Valley and plans were formulated to settle the saints there the following spring.

On 24 March 1878, led by Elder James Z. Stewart, arrived at Pueblo. Stewart and President Morgan then traveled to the Conejos River, where two small ranches were purchased as a site for the new settlement. During May, Petersen and his group moved to the new settlement in New Mexico, along with a portion of those waiting at Pueblo. Later that year, in October, the rest of the Pueblo group moved to the Conejos and a group that had been called from among the Sanpete Valley settlers arrived to help establish the settlement. Upon the arrival of the latter group, the Conejos Branch was organized with Hans Jensen, brother of Lawrence Petersen, as the bishop.

In the spring of 1879, the branch was moved about three miles to the site of present-day Manassa, Colo. As the membership in the area grew, the settlers spread out and established other branches of the Church in the San Luis Valley. On 9 June 1883 the first stake in Colorado, the San Luis Stake, was formed from the Conejos settlements with Silas S. Smith as president.

While the Church was growing steadily in the San Luis Valley, John I. Hart received an assignment to take a company of saints and establish a permanent settlement at Pueblo. He and his group arrived in the summer of 1896 and reintroduced the Church in that community. Also in 1896, Apostle John W. Taylor traveled to Denver and officially established the Colorado Mission, which at the time included only Colorado. By 1907, the mission had grown to include several neighboring states and was consequently renamed the Western States Mission. This brought continued growth for the Church in the Denver area and on 30 June 1940, the Denver Stake was organized. The same day the dependent branch at Fort Collins attained independent status. The branch had been established in 1931 with the arrival of a number of Latter-day Saint faculty members and their families at Colorado State University.

By the last two decades of the 20th century, the Church had begun to mature in Colorado. That period saw the establishment in the early 1980s at Colorado Springs of the first-released time seminary program east of the Rocky Mountains and the dedication of the Denver Colorado Temple on 24 October 1986.

On 23 February 1990, the Denver area public affairs council arranged with the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association for the first "Family Night With the Denver Nuggets" at McNichols Arena. The following month, on 11 March 1990, Colorado Gov. Roy Romer spoke in behalf of strong families at a Church fireside in Willow Springs.

Church members gave hundreds of hours of volunteer service during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Denver in August of 1993. That same year, on 1 July, the mission was divided into the Colorado Denver North Mission, successor to the original Colorado Mission, and the new Colorado Denver South Mission.

President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to thousands of young people in Colorado Springs and Denver on 14 April 1996 and met again with Church members in Denver on 13 September 1997 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first branch of the Church in that city. On 31 July 1999, members of 19 Colorado stakes performed dozens of separate service projects as part of a state-wide "day of service" instituted by Church leaders in Colorado under the direction of Gov. Bill Owens.

As the Church in Colorado moved into the 21st century, the mission alignment was again changed with the creation of the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission on 1 July 2002, making three missions headquartered in the state. The following year, on 22 April 2003, as part of a lecture series on values, President B. Hinckley spoke to more than 6,000 people at the University of Denver about the importance the family.

Growth of membership has been steady since World War II. By 1950, membership was nearly 10,000. It increased to nearly 20,000 in 1960, and nearly 40,000 by 1970. By 1980, it was 69,000.

In 1999, membership was 112,232; and by 2002, membership reached 121,279 members organized in 29 stakes.

Sources: Manassa Colorado Stake, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Denver Colorado Stake, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Fort Collins Ward, Fort Collins Stake manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Pueblo Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Sanford Ward, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Manassa Branch, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Richfield Ward, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Colorado Denver South Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; San Luis Stake, History of the organization of the Relief Society, 1884, Church Archives; Leonard Arrington, "Mississippi Mormons," Ensign, June 1997; "News of the Church," Ensign, November 1997; "News of the Church," Ensign, June 1996; "News of the Church," Ensign, June 2002; Conejos Branch, General minutes, Church Archives; Gail McHardy, A Look at the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Pueblo, Colorado, 1988; Ann Wainstein Bond, Pueblo on the Arkansas River Crossroads of Southern Colorado, 1992; "Mormon Battalion . . . and Mormon Pioneers . . .," Colorado Magazine, Summer 1970; "Denver Saints Claim Spiritual Blessings," Ensign, November 1986; "The Church in South Central Colorado," Church News, 24 August 1986; "Basketball Night Sponsored," Church News, 24 March 1990; "LDS Among Volunteers for Papal Visit," Church News, 21 August 1993; "Strong Families Build Bridges to Future," Church News, 26 April 2003; "Colorado's Governor Calls for Strong Families," Church News, 24 March 1990; "A Grass-roots Day of Service," Church News, 7 August 1999; "Denver Temple Dedicated," Ensign, January 1987.

Stakes — 30

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

No. / Name / Organized / First President

North America Central Area — 29

1425 / Alamosa Colorado / 29 May 1983 / Gary Reese Shawcroft

1655 / Arapahoe Colorado / 27 Sep 1987 / Lawry Evans Doxey

287 / *Arvada Colorado

Denver West / 21 Jun 1959 / Thomas L. Kimball

1318 / Aurora Colorado / 6 Dec 1981 / Lawry Evans Doxey

595 / *Boulder Colorado

Boulder / 28 Jan 1973 / C. Rodney Claridge

2630 / Castle Rock Colorado / 7 Mar 2004 / Douglas L. Polson

301 / *Colorado Springs Colorado

Pikes Peak

(Colorado, New Mexico) 11 Sep 1960 / Ralph M. Gardner

1770 / Colorado Springs Colorado East / 26 Aug 1990 / Jack Harmon Dunn

1134 / Colorado Springs Colorado North / 18 May 1980 / Richard Larry Williams

1214 / Columbine Colorado / 7 Dec 1980 / David M. Brown

132 / *Denver Colorado

Denver / 30 Jun 1940 / Douglas M. Todd Jr.

596 / *Denver Colorado North

Denver North / 28 Jan 1973 / Gus. F. Ranzenberger

470 / *Fort Collins Colorado

Fort Collins / 1 Dec 1968 / Raymond Price

2542 / Fountain Colorado / 12 Dec 1999 / Larry M. Lewis

1452 / Golden Colorado / 6 Nov 1983 / John Marshall Simcox

223 / *Grand Junction Colorado

Grand Junction / 16 Oct 1955 / Loyal B. Cook

1415 / Grand Junction Colorado West / 24 Apr 1983 / Andrew H. Christensen

1528 / Greeley Colorado / 28 Apr 1985 / Gilbert I. Sandberg

1534 / *Highlands Ranch Colorado/ 21 Aug 1998

Willow Creek Colorado / 19 May 1985 / Robert K. Bills

394 / *Lakewood Colorado

Denver South / 19 Apr 1964 / R. Raymond Barnes

625 / *Littleton Colorado

Littleton / 2 Sep 1973 / Clinton L. Cutler

1778 / Longmont Colorado / 11 Nov 1990 / Lynn Snarr Hutchings

2562 / Loveland Colorado / 18 Jun 2000 / Alan J. Baker

26 / *Manassa Colorado / 31 May 1983 / *La Jara Colorado

San Luis (Colorado, New Mexico) / 10 Jun 1883 / Silas S. Smith

320 / Meeker Colorado

Craig / 15 Jan 1961 / Loyal B. Cook

977 / Montrose Colorado / 5 Nov 1978 / Robert M. Esplin

2236 / Parker Colorado / 15 Sep 1996 / William Kenneth Thiess

632 / Pueblo Colorado / 3 Mar 1974 / Louis Edward Butler

2346 / Westminster Colorado / 27 Apr 1997 / David B. Parker

North America Southwest Area — 1

557 / *Durango Colorado

Mesa Verde / 7 Nov 1971 / Del A. Talley Sr.

Stakes discontinued

21 Little Colorado / 27 Jan 1878 / Lot Smith

Discontinued (Colo., Ariz.) / 18 Dec 1887 / Snowflake (31a)

Missions — 3

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

(331a) COLORADO COLORADO SPRINGS MIS.

4090 Center Park Dr.

Colorado Springs, CO 80916

(286) COLORADO DENVER NORTH MISSION

11172 North Huron, Suite 21

Northglenn, CO 80234

(17) COLORADO DENVER SOUTH MISSION

2001 E. Easter Ave. Ste 303

Littleton, CO 80122