The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada

Since its organization in New York in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a presence in Canada. The first Latter Day Saint missionaries to preach outside of the United States preached in Upper Canada; the first stake to be established outside of the U.S. was the Alberta Stake; and the Cardston Alberta Temple was the first church temple to be built outside of the current boundaries of the United States.

Early missionary contacts

In the winter of 1829–1830, Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page visited Upper Canada while seeking for money to finance the publication of the "Book of Mormon". After the publication of the "Book of Mormon" in March 1830, the unbaptized convert Phineas Young preached in Earnestown.

Joseph Smith, Sr. and Don Carlos Smith — the first official Latter Day Saint missionaries to preach outside of the United States — visited Upper Canada in September 1830 and preached in villages north of the St. Lawrence River.Richard E. Bennett, [ “Canada: From Struggling Seed, the Church Has Risen to Branching Maple,”] "Ensign", Sep. 1988, 30.] In January 1832, converts Brigham and Phineas Young went to Upper Canada to convince their brother Joseph Young to join the church. After Joseph's baptism, the Young brothers taught their family and friends in Canada and baptized over 150 individuals and established four branches of the church, including ones in Kingston and Sydenham.

Joseph Smith, Jr. preached in Upper Canada in September 1833 with Sidney Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson. [Joseph Smith (B.H. Roberts ed., 1902). "History of the Church" 1:416–425.] Also in 1833, apostle Lyman E. Johnson preached in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Later, apostle John E. Page and Parley P. Pratt served successful missions to Upper Canada; Page baptized over 1000 individuals between 1834 and 1836 and Pratt converted a number of individuals who would play a prominent role in the church, including John Taylor, Joseph and Mary Fielding, and William Law. On April 6, 1837, Canadian resident John Gould was made one of the first seven presidents of the Seventy and so became the first non-American general authority of the church.

By 1850, approximately 2500 residents of Canada — most of them from Upper Canada — had joined the LDS Church."Deseret News Church Almanac 1993–1994" (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News) p. 203.] However, most of these members joined the gathering of the Latter Day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, Nauvoo, Illinois, and eventually Salt Lake City, Utah, and by 1861, the census of Ontario listed only 73 Mormons.

Colonization of Alberta

In 1887, Canadian convert John Taylor, who by then had become the president of the church, sent Charles Ora Card, the president of the church's Cache Stake, to Canada's Northwest Territories to establish a Mormon colony that beyond the reach of the United States government's anti-polygamy prosecutions. Card led a group of followers and established a settlement along Lee's Creek; the settlement was eventually renamed Cardston in Card's honour. [Church Educational System (1993, rev. ed.). "Church History in the Fulness of Times" (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church) p. 609.] The Alberta Stake of the church was created in 1895 with Card as its president; it was the first stake of the church established outside of the United States.

Mormon pioneers continued to colonize what would become Alberta in 1905. Before the turn of the century, Latter-day Saints had founded Mountain View, Aetna, Beazer, Leavitt, Kimball, Caldwell, Taylorville, Magrath, and Stirling. After 1900, Mormon colonies were established in Woolford, Welling, Orton, Raymond, Barnwell, Taber, Frankburg, Glenwood, and Hillspring."Deseret News Church Almanac 1993–1994" (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News) p. 199.] Church apostle John W. Taylor — the son of church president John Taylor — played a leadership role in assisting Latter-day Saint immigration from Utah to Alberta.

In 1895, the Alberta Stake was divided in two: the Alberta Stake remained headquartered in Cardston and the new Taylor Stake — named in honour of John W. Taylor — was headquartered in Raymond. By 1910, there were about 10,000 Latter-day Saints in southern Alberta and in 1913 the church began construction of a temple in Cardston. In 1924, Heber J. Grant dedicated the Alberta Temple as the first church temple outside of the United States. [The Laie Hawaii Temple was dedicated in 1919 during the time it was a territory of the United States.] A stake was organized in Lethbridge in 1921.

Expansion outside of southern Alberta


A branch of the church was organized in Edmonton in 1933, with the Edmonton Stake being established in 1960. The Calgary Stake was established in 1953. In 1960, Alberta resident N. Eldon Tanner was called as a general authority of the church; he became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1962 and a member of the First Presidency in 1963.

In 1998, a temple was announced for Edmonton and in December 1999 Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Edmonton Alberta Temple.

tatus today

As of year-end 2006, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 175,383 members, 47 stakes, 320 wards, 5 districts, 159 branches, 8 missions, 6 temples, and 157 Family History Centers, in Canada. [ [] ]


There are 6 operating temples and 1 temple under construction and 1 announced in Canada.

ee also

*Edward J. Wood
*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints membership statistics (Canada)



* Richard E. Bennett, [ “Canada: From Struggling Seed, the Church Has Risen to Branching Maple,”] "Ensign", Sep. 1988, 30.
* B. Y. Card (ed.) (1990). "The Mormon Presence in Canada" (Edmonton, Alta: University of Alberta Press) ISBN 0888642121
* Lethbridge Stake (1968). "A History of the Mormon Church in Canada" (Lethbridge, Alta.: Lethbridge Stake)
* Melvin S. Tagg (1963). A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada, 1830–1963 (Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham Young University)

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