LDS Tours in Arkansas | LDS Tours Cancun
Arkansas is bounded on the north by Missouri; on the east by the Mississippi River, which separates it from Mississippi and Tennessee; on the south by Louisiana; and on the west by the plains of Oklahoma and Texas.
The term Arkansas means south wind and is derived from a name used by some Native Americans to describe the Quapaws, an early tribe in the area. When the state was admitted to the Union in 1836, it was spelled Arkansas. The legislature of 1881 appointed a committee to ascertain the rightful pronunciation of the last syllable, and the result was a resolution declaring the pronunciation to be Ark-an-saw.
Arkansas reached a high point in population growth during the 70s, adding 19 percent, or 363,000 people, to reach a 1990 census population of 2.4 million. It was during this period that, for the first time in Arkansas’ history, there were more urban dwellers than rural.
Much of the state is still rural, with population centers in Little Rock-North Little Rock (approximately 350,000), Conway Ft. Smith, Pine Bluff, and Jonesboro. The towns of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville form an almost unbroken complex of development in the northwest corner of the state. In the 2000 census, Arkansas ranked 33rd in size with 2.67 million residents.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day was first introduced into Arkansas upon the arrival of missionaries Henry Brown and Wilford Woodruff, who came into Arkansas from Clay County, Missouri, on January 28, 1835. Jonathan Hubble and his wife were the first Arkansas converts. They were baptized on February 22, 1835. Years later, Wilford Woodruff, the first LDS missionary to preach in Arkansas, would become the fourth president of the LDS Church. From that modest 1835 beginning, Latter-day Saints in Arkansas number 27,559 as of 2012.
During the first decade in Arkansas, LDS missionary activity increased steadily until the murder of the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith, in Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844. At that time, missionary work was suspended until after the Civil War. Then, under Brigham Young’s leadership, a large contingent of Latter-day Saints, most living in Nauvoo, Illinois, began the arduous trek from Illinois in February 1846, west across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley, where they began settling in 1847 along with converts from other states and Europe.
Later that same year, a wagon party consisting of California-bound emigrants mostly from Arkansas was attacked in southern Utah, with more than 120 killed. A group of Utahns consisting of Native Americans and Latter-day Saints was blamed for the event, which has become widely known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Although the resulting ill feelings towards Mormons slowed the proselytizing effort in Arkansas, missionary work proved particularly successful in the Des Arc (Prairie County) area. Many Arkansas converts had remained faithful despite missionaries’ withdrawal from the state. During this era, when new converts were encouraged to move “west to Zion,” twenty-seven LDS families, or roughly 125 Latter-day Saints—an entire congregation—left Des Arc in April 1877, traveling across the plains to the Rocky Mountains.
Following the Civil War, LDS missionaries returned to Arkansas, and Church membership began a steady uphill climb. In 1914, the Barney Branch was established in Faulkner County, with more than 100 members. By 1930, the Church had organized two more branches or congregations in El Dorado (Union County), and Little Rock. In 1969, the first stake was formed in Little Rock, with Dean C. Andrew as president. A second stake was organized in Fort Smith in 1978 and was presided over by Arthur D. Browne. Later, the Jacksonville (now North Little Rock) Stake in Pulaski County was organized in 1983, with Robert M. McChesney at the helm. The fourth stake at Rogers was organized in 1991, with David A. Bednar as its first president.
Elder Bednar, a University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville professor, was later named president of the Church’s two-year Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, on July 1, 1997. Elder Bednar now serves in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. By the year 2000, Mormon membership had reached 20,000 in Arkansas. As an apostle, Elder Bednar returned to Arkansas and organized a stake in Springdale (Washington County), the fifth in Arkansas, on June 4, 2006, with Hal Bradford as president. According to results of a national religious census released in May 2012, there were 27,559 Mormons living in Arkansas; the state rated fifth in the nation in the rate of growth for Mormons.
Alma’s LDS Tours invites you to keep learning about the church and its historical places. We have the best LDS Tours in Mexico with official tour guides. Let us share with you and your family an unforgettable experience in Merida, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Uxmal, Chichen Itza and more! We will be pleased to guide you through one of our tours.
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