Tucson Area Demographics
30,579 members in 73 wards (congregations) organized into 8 stakes (dioceses) (Oct 2012): Sahuarita, Tucson, Tucson East, Tucson North, Tucson West, Tucson, Rincon, Sierra Vista and St. David. Included in the wards are Spanish language congregations, a Sign Language congregation, and 5 Single Adult congregations. There are 27 meetinghouses (chapels) and public service buildings. The Tucson Arizona Temple was announced Oct 6, 2012).
Public Service Buildings
The Tucson Institute of Religion
Located in the heart of the University of Arizona. The building was dedicated in 1939 by then church President Heber J. Grant. It provides religious education classes and a location for more than 1,000 young adults to gather and socialize.
More than 1,000 teenagers attend early morning or release time seminary classes held near their high schools for daily religious instruction of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Arizona Tucson Mission
939 W. Chapala Dr – was organized on 1 July 1990. Area covers southern Arizona from Red Rock to Deming, NM. There are more than 220 full-time missionaries.
The Bishop’s Store House
3535 S. Richey Blvd – provides food stuffs for local church members in need of assistance. There is an ongoing partnership with the Tucson Food Bank to repackage beans, rice and pasta into family size portions which are then given back to the Tucson Food Bank. The partnership provides over 840,000 meals a year for Tucson residents in need.
The Deseret Industries
605 East Grant Road – a thrift store for the community receives local member donations of clothing, furniture, and household items. It also provides job training.
Tucson AZ Employment Resource Center
3535 S. Richey Blvd – provides classes, resume assistance and employment services for anyone in the community.
Family History Centers
There are 5 centers in the area: Tucson (500 S. Langley), Tucson West (3530 W Magee Rd), Sahuarita (17699 S Camino De Las Quintas), St David (381 N Pomerene Rd), and Sierra Vista (175 N Hwy 92) available to help the community research their personal family histories and genealogical records. The public is invited to use the free service at www.familysearch.org.
Church History in Southern Arizona
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first arrived in the Tucson area in 1846. A group of soldiers called the Mormon Battalion had been recruited by the United States Government to assist Col. Stephen Kearney, US Army Commander of the West, in the war against Mexico. After traveling nearly 1500 miles, the group approached the Tucson Presidio. Upon hearing of the coming of the battalion, the small Mexican garrison left Tucson. On 16 December 1846 Capt. Jefferson Hunt directed Christopher Layton to post an American flag. The people of Tucson showed the weary soldiers great kindness and generosity. A monument was built to commemorate this event. It was dedicated 150 years later on 16 December 1996 and stands in the Tucson Presidio Plaza.
The Mormon settlers of 1877 played an important role in establishing the subsequent surrounding settlements, such as Fort Huachuca and Tombstone, as they did much of the logging in the Huachuca Mountains to provide lumber for construction.
In the winter of 1899 and spring of 1900, Nephi and Jacob Bingham settled in the Tucson area on the south side of the Rillito River. Soon church members from Mexico joined them forming a small community called Binghampton. In 1901 Nephi Bingham donated a small area for what is now called the Binghampton LDS Cemetery. The Binghampton Branch of the church was organized on 22 May 1910 in the shade east of Nephi Bingham’s house. The Binghampton chapel on Ft. Lowell Road was the first meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constructed in the Tucson area. Construction began in 1927 and the building was dedicated 26 February 1936 at a cost of $40,000. This building has been remodeled over the years but is still in constant use. The first Stake was organized in Tucson on 2 December 1956. The growth has continued with a sixth Stake being organized on 21 June 2009.
Binghampton Chapel on Ft Lowell Road at dedication 1936
Arizona Statistics: (December 2011)
|Total Church Membership in Arizona||395,296|
|Temples in Operation / Temples Announced||3 / 3|
|Family History Centers||60|
|Stakes (similar to a diocese)||90|
|Branches (small congregation)||88|
|Percent LDS in Arizona||5.8% or one in 17|
|Percent LDS in Southern Arizona||3.5% or one in 28|
Additional Resource Material: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/ (topics such as ‘Mormon 101: FAQ’; ‘Mormon Helping Hands’; ‘Humanitarian Services’; ‘Mormon Tabernacle Choir’)
STYLE GUIDE NOTE: When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online style guide. Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church”, “LDS Church” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints”. When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged. When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable. “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.”
(Current 6 October 2012)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Fact Sheet for The Gila Valley Arizona Area
Gila Valley Area Demographics – 10,826 members in 28 wards and branches (congregations) organized into 3 stakes (dioceses) in Pima, Safford, and Thatcher. The Gila Valley extends from the Apache Bylas Indian reservation on the West, to the town of Solomon on the East with a total population of 20,223. Included in the wards are four Single Adult wards. There are 17 meetinghouses (chapels) and public service buildings with four more buildings in Duncan and Clifton.
The Gila Valley Temple – Dedicated May 23, 2010, the temple is located on the main highway between Thatcher and Pima in the small town of Central. President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the beautiful building as the 132nd operating temple. The temple district includes members who live in Duncan, Pima, Safford, Sierra Vista, St. David, Thatcher, and Silver City, New Mexico.
Called the “gem of the valley,” The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is considered to be a “House of the Lord,” the most sacred place on earth. For Church members, visiting a temple is a chance to shut out the world and ponder the things of greatest importance. For more information about The Gila Valley Arizona Temple go to www.lds.org/church/temples/the-gila-valley-arizona .
The Gila Valley Institute of Religion – is located at Eastern Arizona College. It provides religious education classes and a location for more than 500 young adults to gather and socialize. 871 N College Ave., Thatcher, AZ 85552, Phone 928-428-4330
Seminary – More than 300 teenagers attend early morning or release time seminary classes held near their high schools for daily religious instruction of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Family History Centers – There is one Family History Center in the area located at 515 West 11th Street in Safford. The centers are available to help the community research their personal family histories and genealogical records. The public is invited to use the free service with no obligation. Additional information is available at www.familysearch.org .
Church History in The Gila Valley
From an article by C. Robert Pursley, President of the Historical Society
In 1879 two small scouting parties, whose families were up north in Snowflake, rode into the Gila Valley to see if it was a good place to settle. They found a fertile valley beside a small river with abundant game and a long growing season. Upon returning to Snowflake they asked their religious leader, Jessie N Smith, Snowflake’s stake president, for permission to take their families south, leaving an area of bitter cold and ravaging floods each spring and summer. President Smith organized a branch of the Church, called Joseph Knight Rogers to be branch president, put him in charge of the expedition and on the 20th of March the small group of 25 individuals headed south. They arrived in the Valley on April 8, 1879, and began the Mormon settlement of the Gila Valley.
It had been a very difficult trip up and down steep mountain gorges where they had to blast rocky ledges to allow their wagons to pass, across swift rivers. Upon arrival the weary settlers found the town site laid out in lots by the scouts that preceded them. They drew lots for the home sites and began making a new home for themselves. They were accustomed to hard work and rugged living and, as elsewhere, they built and prospered.
This story includes such people as Joseph K. Rogers, a Mormon Battalion veteran and member of the territorial legislature who introduced the bill which created Graham County, carved out of two adjacent counties. For this he is remembered as the “Father of Graham County.” Christopher Layton was the first stake president of the St Joseph Stake, the Church’s 25th stake. It stretched from El Paso, Texas to Globe, Arizona; Snowflake, Arizona south to the Mexican border and beyond. It administered the Church’s activities in three states and two countries. The biggest threats the Saints faced were malaria and Indian raids. Both were basically eliminated before the end of thcentury when the cause of malaria was discovered and the disease controlled and Geronimo surrendered, ending the Indian wars.
The Gila Valley is proud to be the birth place and home town of Spencer W. Kimball, Prophet and 12th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His childhood home still stands on Church Street in Thatcher.
The Church has also taken the lead in educational efforts. In 1888 the Church approved a school called the St Joseph Stake Academy with 17 students. It is now Eastern Arizona Community College.
(Current 1 August 2013)