The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Georgia (U.S. State) - History


In 1843, missionary work was briefly opened in Georgia by Elder John U. Eldredge. Other missionaries followed to preach and to campaign for Joseph Smith in his presidential bid. The campaign ceased in 1844 with the death of Joseph Smith, and missionary work halted in 1846.

Missionary work in Georgia resumed in 1878. The Southern States Mission headquarters was established in Rome (60 miles north of Atlanta). One early convert to the Church donated land and built a chapel at Mormon Springs in Haralson County.

Missionaries were initially treated well upon their return to the South, but before long their success led to violent opposition. On July 21 1879, Elder Joseph Standing was killed by a mob near Varnell's Station. His companion escaped serious injury. Unable to secure protection for missionaries, the church pulled out all missionaries in Georgia for the next decade. in 1884, a small group of members left to go west by Train.

Missionaries returned to Georgia in 1899, but slowly and cautiously due to disease and persecution. Ohio was added to the Southern States mission at the request of President Ben E. Rich, so he would have a place where ill missionaries could recover.

In 1930, branches were located in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah. Sunday Schools had been established in Cedar Crossing, Douglas, Empire, Glenwood, Milledgeville, and Thomaston. That year, the state membership was 4,311.

LeGrand Richards, later a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, served as Southern States Mission mission president from 1934-1937, and wrote the outline for A Marvelous Work and a Wonder while in Atlanta.

In 1957, the Atlanta Stake was created, taking the northern two-thirds of the state with 3,000 members with wards in Atlanta (2), Columbus, Macon, and Empire. Branches for the stake was located in Buchanan, Athens, Gibson, Milledgeville, and Palmetto. The remainder of the state was covered by the Georgia-Florida and South Georgia districts.

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