“First Stake Created in Emerald Isle,” Ensign, May 1995, 111–12
At a historic and inspirational conference, the first stake in the Republic of Ireland has been created. Elder Graham W. Doxey of the Seventy, a counselor in the Europe North Area presidency, presided over the organization of the Dublin Ireland Stake, which will serve seventeen hundred members of the Church in Ireland. (An additional six hundred members reside in the Cork Ireland District.)
The organization of the stake represents “an evidence of faith and faithfulness,” remarked Elder Doxey. He reminded the members in attendance that the creation of the stake was a beginning, not an end, and said the day signaled “the dawning of a new era.”
Elder Doxey urged members to avoid the destructive flood of pornography that destroys faith and happiness, to observe better the Word of Wisdom, to more fully keep the Sabbath Day holy by turning off the television and studying the scriptures, and to pay their tithes and offerings honestly.
Many in attendance were thrilled. “I would not have missed this for anything,” commented Bob Lynn, who joined the Church in 1946 and served as president of the Dublin Branch for more than twenty years. Although Brother Lynn currently lives in the United States, he flew over to Ireland to attend the meeting. “This has to be one of the very best days in my entire life. I have waited for nearly half a century for this great blessing.
“To be here today and to look around and see what has happened and what can now be accomplished, it’s a little miracle!”
Sharing Brother Lynn’s excitement was Rosaleen Slattery, who joined the Church in 1968. Her husband, Bill, served as branch president after Brother Lynn.
“I think it’s very befitting that our stake is being organized in the week of our national holiday [St. Patrick’s Day], which is a time when I particularly enjoy being Irish. The organization of the stake will be wonderful for our people.”
The formation of the stake comes nearly 155 years after the first missionaries came to Ireland. Among the first missionaries to the country was John Taylor, who would later become the third President of the Church. He baptized the first member of the Church in Ireland, Thomas Tate, in Loughbrickland. It was in that same area, in October 1985, that Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pronounced a prayer dedicating the land of Ireland to missionary work.
The first branch in Ireland was organized in 1840, and in 1865 Charles Callis was born in Dublin. He would later serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1933 to 1947.
Through the years the growth of the Church in Ireland has been slow but steady. Nearly a decade ago when Elder Maxwell uttered the dedicatory prayer, he prayed for peace, “and if not total peace, then enough peace for [the Lord’s] cause to move forward as never before.”
Last September, after twenty-five long years, paramilitary organizations involved in the civic unrest in Northern Ireland declared a cease-fire. Many of the causes of conflict still remain unsolved, but the cease-fire is holding. Members of the Church have prayed for this day.
In addition, Elder Maxwell pleaded with the Lord to “look with fresh favor upon all of Ireland to the end that this Emerald Isle will know further greening through the fulness of the restored gospel.” Many feel that the creation of the Dublin Ireland Stake is evidence of the gospel greening Elder Maxwell spoke about.