By James Thornock
The creator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith
The narrative of the church of Latter-day Saints at Texas started with the founders of the faith as well as the nation of Texas. Before his death in 1844, church secretary Joseph Smith sent a representative to Sam Houston to negotiate for a tract of land where the Latter-day Saints would set a settlement. The suggestion for all church members to repay in Houston is known as the “Texas Plan.” Though Sam Houston was on board, it never came to fruition since the Prophet Joseph was martyred by an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois, before completing the deal. The church struggled to keep its identity below the absence of its newly lost prophet. The church might have gone through with the deal, had the ancient leaders acted more quickly, but it chose rather to finish the temple at Nauvoo, Illinois, where the church had been established at the moment. This temple was crucial to since it was the members’ only method of providing salvation for their ancestors. In this period of crisis, church leaders concentrated their efforts on keeping the church together, thereby preventing the immediate move. The next time Latter-day Saints came in touch with the city of Houston was much later around 1918.
The Houston Texas Temple at Spring, Texas. Photo courtesy of Uriah 923, wikicommons.
In the company of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1830, members were invited to immigrate to the positioning of the church’s Primary body, which started in Palmyra, New York, however, afterwards included Kirtland, Ohio; Nauvoo, Illinois; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Independence, Missouri; and eventually Salt Lake City, Utah. In this period of transition, both Joseph Smith and his counselors encouraged recently converted members to visit Utah. As more and more people converted, however, it became sensible to send them to Utah and created more sense to allow them to stay where they were and create their own colonies. The saints who came to Houston weren’t typically members that transferred out of the primary body of the church at Utah but rather the natives of both Mississippi and Alabama who had converted to the faith and relocated to Houston to get employment. Although missionary efforts began in Mississippi and Alabama, soon missionaries were called to preach in Texas.
The Katy Stake Center
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