Church History
Mexico: Church Chronology

Mexico: Church Chronology

February 20, 1844 • Nauvoo, Illinois

Joseph Smith and the Apostles began planning for an expedition to seek a new home for the Saints, possibly in Mexican territory.

February 1846 • Iowa, United States

Brigham Young led the Saints on the start of their journey toward the Salt Lake Valley. Two years later, through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the U.S. government took control of the region where the Saints had settled.

1852–54 • Chile and United States

After an exploratory mission to Chile, Elder Parley P. Pratt organized Spanish language classes in San Bernardino, California, and in Salt Lake City to promote future missionary work in Latin America.

1858–72 • Mexico

Victories in the Reform War and against the French Intervention allowed the government of Benito Juárez to establish religious freedom in Mexico.

1874–75 • Salt Lake City, Utah

Brigham Young asked Daniel W. Jones and Henry Brizzee, later in collaboration with Melitón Trejo, to translate portions of the Book of Mormon into Spanish.

September 1875 • Salt Lake City

A partial translation was published as Trozos Selectos del Libro de Mormon. Missionaries departed for an exploratory trip to Mexico with 1,500 copies.

Melitόn Trejo

May 20, 1877 • Hermosillo, Mexico

Melitón Trejo and Louis Garff baptized José Epifanio Jesús, the first convert in Mexico.

1878 • Mexico City, Mexico

After receiving a copy of Trozos Selectos, Plotino Rhodakanaty shared the gospel with friends and corresponded with Melitón Trejo and President John Taylor, requesting that the Church be established in central Mexico.

November 15, 1879 • Mexico City

Plotino Rhodakanaty and Silviano Arteaga were baptized after missionaries arrived in Mexico City.

January 25, 1880 • Mexico City

In an upper room of the Hotel Iturbide, Elder Moses Thatcher of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered a prayer of dedication over the land of Mexico.

April 6, 1881 • Popocatépetl, Mexico

At a conference held on the slopes of Mount Popocatépetl, Moses Thatcher dedicated Mexico for further missionary work.

1885 • Chihuahua, Mexico

An initial group of approximately 400 Latter-day Saint colonists from the United States arrived in northern Mexico.

1886 • Salt Lake City

The first complete Spanish translation of the Book of Mormon was published.

May–June 1889 • Mexico City

Sylvester D. Collett and David J. Rogers, the only full-time missionaries still serving in central Mexico, grew sick and died.

December 9, 1895 • Colonia Juárez, Mexico

A stake was organized in the colonies in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora.

June 8, 1901 • Mexico City

Saints in central Mexico welcomed back missionaries after a 12-year mission closure.

August 1910 • Colonia Dublán, Mexico

Andrés Carlos González became the first Mexican Latter-day Saint to serve as a full-time missionary.

1912 • Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico

Due to pressure during the revolution, most immigrant Saints evacuated the colonies in northern Mexico.

1912–17 • Mexico and the United States

As the revolution continued, American missionaries were withdrawn from Mexico. While waiting to return, mission president Rey L. Pratt corresponded with members in Mexico and led missionary efforts to teach Spanish speakers living in the United States.

July 17, 1915 • San Marcos, Mexico

After enduring suspicion and threats because of their faith, Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales were executed by revolutionary forces.

1916 • Colonia Dublán

The first Spanish-language branch in northern Mexico was organized, with Toribio Ontiveros as branch president.

November 1917 • Mexico

Rey L. Pratt returned to Mexico to resume mission activities.

1926 • Mexico

During the Cristero Rebellion, all foreign clergy and missionaries were expelled from Mexico. Isaías Juárez, Ábel Páez, and Bernabé Parra were authorized to lead the Church in the missionaries’ absence.

April 14, 1931 • Salt Lake City

After 23 years as president of the Mexican Mission, having ministered to the Saints in times of trial as well as peace, Rey L. Pratt died unexpectedly.

1931–32 • Mexico City

Local leaders in Mexico petitioned the First Presidency to call a Mexican citizen as mission president. The meetings where they drafted these petitions came to be known as the First and Second Conventions.

1936–37 • Mexico City

The First Presidency called Harold Pratt, who was a Mexican citizen but not ethnically Mexican, as president of the Mexican Mission after it and the Spanish–American Mission were divided. A movement called the Third Convention demanded an ethnically Mexican mission president and began holding separate meetings and calling separate leaders.

May 1942 • Salt Lake City

The First Presidency called Arwell L. Pierce as mission president and asked him to find a way to reconcile members of the Third Convention with the Church.

1944 • Salt Lake City

The First Presidency assigned Elder Antoine R. Ivins of the Seventy and Eduardo Balderas to direct the translation of the temple endowment ceremony into Spanish, the first temple ceremony translation.

November 6, 1945 • Mesa, Arizona, United States

Saints from Mexico and the United States convened at the Mesa Arizona Temple to participate in the first temple sessions in a language other than English.

May 1946 • Mexico

President George Albert Smith traveled to Mexico to preside over conferences where Third Convention members were reunified with the Church.

June 19, 1946 • Salt Lake City

The First Presidency authorized the creation of a council for local leaders to play a greater role in administering the Church in Mexico. Guadalupe Zárraga, Ábel Páez, Bernabé Parra, Apolonio Azarte, and Isaías Juárez were called as members.

March 1953 • Mexico

Luis María Martínez, archbishop and first official Primate of Mexico, granted the Church permission to microfilm Catholic genealogical records in Mexico.

December 3, 1961 • Mexico City

The Mexico City Stake, the Church’s first Spanish-speaking stake, was established.

November 4, 1963 • Mexico City

Ground was broken for Benemérito de las Américas, the flagship school in a system of Church schools in Mexico.

August 25–27, 1972 • Mexico City

The first area general conference for Mexico and Central America was held in the National Auditorium.

November 7–9, 1975 • Mexico City

Fifteen stakes were created in Mexico City in one weekend.

October 1978 • Salt Lake City

In general conference, Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church, highlighted the success of welfare projects in the Mexico Torreón Mission, which had led to a significant decrease in child mortality rates.

December 2, 1983 • Mexico City

President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency dedicated the Mexico City Mexico Temple.

June 29, 1993 • Mexico

The government formally registered the Church, which gave the Church the ability to own property in Mexico.

June 1997 • Colonia Juárez

Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of the Church, determined to have the Church build smaller temples after a visit to Colonia Juárez.

Veracruz Temple

2000 • Mexico

Eight temples were dedicated in Mexico in one year: in Ciudad Juárez, Hermosillo Sonora, Mérida, Oaxaca, Tampico, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Veracruz, and Villahermosa.

2001 • Salt Lake City

Mexican Saints helped to pioneer the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund initiative as some of the program’s first participants.

2004 • Mexico

Church membership in Mexico surpassed one million.

February 9, 2014 • Mexico City

The Mexico City Missionary Training Center, on the site of the former Church high school Benemérito de las Américas, was dedicated by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.

October 7, 2018 • Salt Lake City

President Russell M. Nelson announced the construction of a temple in Puebla, Mexico.