The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arkansas
|This article is outdated. (January 2014)|
Elders Wilford Woodruff and Henry Brown arrived as missionaries in Bentonville on January 28, 1835. They held their first meeting four days later and preached to an attentive congregation. Later they were confronted by an apostate member, Alexander Akeman. Akeman was a man who earlier endured severe persecution in Missouri, but later turned bitterly against the Church. However, this man died suddenly and Elder Woodruff preached his funeral sermon. This event, along with Woodruff's teachings led to the baptism of a Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Hubbel, the first converts in Arkansas, on 22 February 1835.
In 1838, Elder Abraham O. Smoot was called to a five-month mission to Arkansas where he preached frequently with varied results.
The year 1857 marked a tragic era in Church history in Arkansas. Elder Parley P. Pratt was murdered in on May 13, 1857 near Alma, Arkansas.He had just been acquitted by a court in Van Buren of charges pressed by Hector H. McLean, the former husband of Pratt's wife Eleanor. At the trial she testified that her former husband frequently physically abused her. Disappointed with the verdict, the McLean followed and assassinated the apostle. (On April 2, 2008, Crawford County Circuit Judge Gary Cottrell gave the Pratt family permission to move Parley Pratt's remains to Utah.)
Negative feelings, and later the U.S. Civil War, kept the Church from the area for the next two decades.
After the War, the church again sent missionaries to Arkansas in 1876. In 1877, Elders Henry G. Boyle and J.D.H. McAllister visited a member in Des Arc. By 1877, 27 families totaling 125 converts emigrated west. Through the 1880s, converts continued to join the main body of the saints in Utah.
Permanent presence of the church was established on May 30, 1890 when the fist Latter-day Saint meetinghouse was built in White County. Benjamin Franklin Baker, an early influential convert, helped establish the Barney Branch (about 5 miles north of Enola) in 1914 with over 100 members. By 1930, three branches had been organized in Arkansas (Barney, El Dorado, and Little Rock) with a total membership of 944.
The first Arkansas stake was created on June 1, 1969 in Little Rock. This was known at the time as the Arkansas stake and later renamed to the Little Rock Arkansas Stake.
On July 20–22, 2006, over 1,000 Latter-day Saint teens from all 5 of the Arkansas Stakes gathered for a 3-day multi-stake youth conference. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve and former associate dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas spoke to the youth and encouraged them to live high moral standards.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, several thousand Latter-day Saint volunteers, from a 7 state area (including Arkansas), 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 regardless of faith.
Arkansas "Mormons" volunteered relief in their own area on several occasions including the April 2, 2006 Tornado Outbreak, and the 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak. In September 2008, Arkansas Latter-day Saints went to the Baton Rouge area to aid cleanup efforts following Hurricane Gustav.
Arkansas Membership History
Arkansas is currently part of 13 stakes. 7 of those stakes have their stake center within the state. On October 26th the Bentonville Arkansas Stake was established making it the 7th stake in Arkansas. Two stakes were formed in 2014 . Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have no paid clergy, stake presidents, bishops, etc. have their own occupation.
|Stake||Organized||Wards/ Branches in Arkansas||Stake President||Occupation|
|Fort Smith Arkansas||April 30, 1978||5||Glenn Richard Titsworth||Realtor for American Equity Realty|
|Little Rock Arkansas||June 1, 1969||11||Michael V. Beheshti||Interventional radiologist at UAMS|
|North Little Rock Arkansas||June 19, 1983||8||Carlton V. Wing||Sports Fishing Television Producer|
|Rogers Arkansas||August 11, 1991||12|
|Springdale Arkansas Stake||June 4, 2006||10||Thomas Hal Bradford||Physician|
|Searcy Arkansas||January 26, 2014||Bruce Kevin Berkheimer||Podiatrist|
|Bentonville Arkansas Stake||October 26, 2014||7||Simon F. Keogh||Financial Planner|
- The Arkansas Stake was renamed to the Little Rock Arkansas Stake.
- The Jacksonville Arkansas Stake was renamed the North Little Rock Arkansas stake when the stake center was moved to North Little Rock.
Other Stakes with congregations in Arkansas
|Stake||Organized||Number of Wards/ Branches in Arkansas||Stake President||Occupation|
|Memphis Tennessee||April 18, 1965||1||Steven Moyle Dorius||Tax attorney at International Paper|
|Memphis Tennessee North||Sept. 14, 1980||5||C.E. Zobell||General counsel for Peabody Hotel Group|
|Monroe Louisiana||August 18, 1985||1||Aristotels Pena M.||Physician|
|Shreveport Louisiana||January 26, 1958||1||Henry John Platt||Physician, partner/owner of Urgent Care Center|
|Springfield Missouri South||May 21, 1995||3||Brian Kay Chandler||Clinical psychologist|
|West Plains Missouri||May 21, 1995||1 |
Arkansas formed part of several church missions. Originally a conference of the Southern States Mission, it later became part of the Indian Territory Mission. Southwestern States Mission, Central States Mission, Texas-Louisiana Mission, Gulf States Mission, and ultimately the Arkansas Little Rock Mission formed in 1975 with Richard M. Richards as president.
The northwest part of the state is in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission, renamed in 2015 from the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. The far south and southwest parts of the state are in the Mississippi Jackson Mission and the Texas Dallas Mission respectively.
Significant members that lived in Arkansas
- Elder David A. Bednar is a former associate dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas. While at the University of Arkansas, he served as stake president for the Fort Smith Arkansas Stake and then for the Rogers Stake. He later became the president for Ricks College in Idaho and ultimately was sustained member of the Quorum of the twelve Apostles in 2004.
- H. Wallace Goddard, Ph.D., is a Professor and Family Life Specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. He has created numerous family programs and a PBS television series and has served on national committees for parenting and marriage. He is also a CES Institute faculty member for the Little Rock Institute.
- Amy Daniel of the Benton Ward, Little Rock Arkansas Stake, is a former president of the Arkansas School Boards Association.
- Dottie Zimmerman, then 24, of the Ash Flat Branch, North Little Rock Arkansas Stake, received three bronze medals in powerlifting at the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland, June 16–29, 2003. Dottie had been trained in the bench press, deadlift and combination-bench and deadlift. Her team spent four days in Belfast before traveling to Dublin for the opening of the games. Dottie competed earlier that year in the Arkansas Special Olympics in Searcy, Arkansas, at which she received three gold medals.
- Robert L. Hall, CEC, of the Morrilton Ward, North Little Rock Arkansas Stake, served as chef garde manger at the International Broadcast Center during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, May - August, 2008. Hall, former Executive Chef of the University of Central Arkansas currently serves as Culinary Director for the University of Arkansas System, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain, Morrilton, Arkansas.
- "Facts and Statistics" USA-Arkansas". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- "The Cumorah Project: USA - Arkansas". The International Resources for Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Alexander, Thomas G. Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet. Signature Books, Incorporated. Salt Lake City, Utah, reprint 1993. ISBN 1-56085-045-0 (Excerpts)
- Pratt, Steven (1975). "Eleanor McLean and the Murder of Parley P. Pratt" (PDF). BYU Studies 15 (2): 225–56.
- Smith, Robert J. (4 April 2008). "Relatives get OK to disinter, move Parley P. Pratt". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. (reprint by Church News)
- "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Central Arkansas Library System
- 2008 Deseret News Church Almanac, Salt Lake City: Deseret News.
- Gauldin, C. Alan (13 November 1999). "Arkansas institute building dedicated". Church News.
- Keogh, Rochelle (29 July 2006). "Display integrity, apostle tells youth". Church News.
- "Latter-day Saints to Mobilize Another 4,000 Volunteers in Chainsaw Brigade’s Second Wave" (Press release). LDS Newsroom,. 16 September 2005.
- "Joining Hands as Neighbors and Now Friends" (Press release). LDS Newsroom. 13 September 2005.
- Bendall, Carolyn (29 April 2006). "Church members help with clean-up, roof repair". Church News.
- Helping Hands at angells.com
- "'Dream' relief provided in Louisiana". Church News. 18 October 2008.
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 2 August 2003
- "Wing Media Group". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Schroeder, Jeff. "Q-and-A with FLW host Carlton Wing". FLW Sports. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 24 June 2006
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 28 July 2007
- "New stake presidents", Church News, November 16, 2013
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 22 March 2008
- "New stake presidents". Church News. 3 January 2009.
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 22 October 2005
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 15 March 2008
- "New stake presidents," Church News, 21 January 2006
- "Ash Flat Branch". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Leader Biographies: Elder David A. Bednar". LDS Newsroom.
- About Dr. Wally Goddard, drwally.org
- Little Rock AR Faculty Directory, Church Educational System
- "Leading school board associations". Church News. 3 March 2007.
- "Powerlifter earns 3 Special Olympics medals". Church News. 16 Aug 2003.
- "Mormon non-athletes at the Olympics". Deseret News. 17 Aug 2008.
- LDS Newsroom (Arkansas)
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Official Site
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Visitors Site
- Deseret News 2010 Church Almanac - Arkansas
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Last Updated 1/30/2008.