The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Florida
As of January 1, 2011, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 136,549 members in 28 stakes, 234 Congregations (184 wards and 50 branches,), as well as five missions and two temples in Florida.
Stakes are located in Boynton Beach, Brandon, Cocoa, Coral Springs, DeLand, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville (3), Lake City, Lake Mary, Lakeland, Leesburg, Miami (2), Miami Lakes, Orlando (3), Panama City, Pensacola, Sarasota, Saint Petersburg, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa and Vero Beach.
In April 1843, Joseph Smith called William Brown and Daniel Cathcart to serve a mission to Pensacola, but no record exists of them fulfilling the calling. Between April and June 1854, Phineas Young visited the Indian chiefs in Florida and distributed copies of the Book of Mormon.
Missionaries began preaching in Pensacola in January 1895 and started a number of Sunday Schools soon afterwards. The first was in Coe Mills in May 1895. The first branch, known as the Hassell Branch, was created in Jefferson County on May 9, 1897. In September 1897, the Sanderson branch was organized. George P. Canova, a well-to-do landowner and chairman of the Baker County Commission, became the Sanderson branch president in January 1898. Five months later, following threats of violence, Canova was killed as he returned home from a Church meeting.
In 1909, missionaries began working in Miami during the winter months. Three years later four Mormon pioneer families from Arizona moved to Florahome, Putnam County and established a Sunday School there. In 1914, Julius C. Neubeck of Miami was called on a seven-month mission by Charles A. Callis and became the first missionary from that city. He then became presiding elder of the Church in Miami following his mission.
By 1925, branches or Sunday Schools existed in Florahome, (Putnam County), Jacksonville, Sanderson, Tampa, Miami and in other places throughout the state. In February and March 1925, church president Heber J. Grant visited Jacksonville and held public meetings. Ten years later the Florida District had 22 branches, and the West Florida District had another 13 branches.
The first stake in Florida and in the South was created in Jacksonville on January 19, 1947, by Charles A. Callis of the Quorum of the Twelve. Alvin C. Chace, a grandson of early leader George P. Canova was called as the first president.
In 1950, more than 50,000 acres (200 km2) was purchased by the church which is now known as the Deseret Ranch. The initial purchase grew into a 300,000-acre (1,200 km2) ranch in Central Florida. As of 2003, Deseret Ranch had the largest cow-calf operation in the United States with 44,000 head of cattle. It also includes various cattle enterprises, orchards and other agribusiness projects.
Due to the influx of immigrants Florida received over the past few decades from the Caribbean and other countries, branches and wards were created to accommodate foreign speaking individuals in Florida. The first Spanish-speaking stake in the southeastern United States was organized in Miami. This was followed by the creation of a second Spanish-speaking stake in Hialeah Gardens in 1998.
On October 9, 1994, church president Howard W. Hunter dedicated the Orlando Florida Temple. On January 19, 1997, church president Gordon B. Hinckley addressed more than 5,000 members at a conference Jacksonville commemorating the stake’s 50th anniversary.
The LDS church has assisted in recovery efforts from several natural disasters in Florida, and many Florida church members have responded to additional calls to give aid in surrounding states, such as the cleanup efforts following hurricane Katrina, and major flooding in Georgia a few years later. Increasing membership has enabled the magnitude of the church’s involvement in disaster relief to grow substantially over time.
On March 1, 1894 Florida became part of the Southern States Mission. The Florida Mission was then organized from the Southern States Mission on November 1, 1960. From the Florida Mission the Florida Tallahassee Mission and the Florida South Mission were formed on July 1, 1971. On June 20, 1974 the Florida South Mission changed its name to the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission. Three additional missions has been created in Florida since then.
|Florida Orlando Mission||July 1, 1998|
|Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission||June 20, 1974|
|Florida Jacksonville Mission||July 1, 1987|
|Florida Tallahassee Mission||July 1, 1971|
|Florida Tampa Mission||July 1, 1976|
On October 9, 1994 the Orlando Florida Temple was dedicated by church president Howard W. Hunter. On October 3, 2009 the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple was announced by church president Thomas S. Monson.
|46. Orlando Florida Temple|
Windermere, Florida, US
|143. Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple|
Davie, Florida, United States
- Florida Stakes.LDS Stake & Ward Web Sites
- LDS Meetinghouse Locator
- LDS Newsroom (Statistical Information)
- "The Saints in Florida", Ensign, June 1975, p. 36.
- Thomas R. Canova Family Organization Newspaper Articles Regarding The Assassination of George Paul Canova Father of Thomas R. Canova
- Richard E. Bennett, "Elder Charles A. Callis: Twentieth-Century Missionary", Ensign, April 1981, p. 46.
- "Florida Reaches 100,000 Members", Ensign, December 1996, pp. 66–71.
- 2005 Deseret Morning News Church Almanac. Deseret Morning News. p. 175
- "Members celebrate 50th anniversary of first southern stake", Church News, January 25, 1997.
- "'Incredible day'", Church News, February 10, 2007.
- Taylor, Scott (October 3, 2009), "Brigham City among five new locales for LDS temples", Deseret News, retrieved November 2, 2012
- "Church Leaders Break Ground for Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple", Newsroom (News Release), LDS Church, June 18, 2011, retrieved November 2, 2012
- "Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple Open House and Dedication Dates Announced", Newsroom, LDS Church, January 13, 2014
- "Church Dedicates Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple, 143rd in the World", Newsroom, LDS Church, May 4, 2014