Friday, September 7, 2012

History of the LDS Church in California

The California Riverside Mission area includes metropolitan cities expanding into citrus groves, rural landscapes with farms and ranches, high mountainous areas which receive snow in the winters and extensive desert areas with emerald-green oasis and retirement villages.

The first Saints in California arrived on the ship "Brooklyn" which sailed around the tip of South America from the east coast of the United States and landed in Yerba Buena in the summer of 1846.  From this small colony of saints and other immigrants, the city of San Francisco began to develop.

In January 847, members of the Mormon Battalion marched across the lower half of California (through Temecula in the California Carlsbad Mission) on their way to the Pacific Coast.  They helped build the city of San Diego and them marched north to Los Angeles, where they established an official American presence with the first raising of the U.S. flag in what was formerly a Mexican territory.  Later, Battalion members were constructing a mill near Sutter's Fort when gold was discovered in the mill race.  When they returned to their families in Salt Lake City, they pioneered a trail across the Sierra Nevada which would be used by thousands of immigrants streaming into California during the Gold Rush of 1849.

President Brigham Young assigned apostle Parley P. Pratt as the first California Mission president in 1850 to assist in establishing the Church.  President Young later assigned apostles Charles C. Rich and Amasa M. Lyman to carry on the work.  The Saints colonized San Bernadino in 1851.  President Karl G. Maeser presided over the California Mission in 1894.  He was later instrumental in founding Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Missionary work flourished in California.  There are eighteen missions in California, more than any other state with many beautiful chapels and seven temples.

What is the future of the California Riverside Mission?  Dedicated missionaries will continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of the Restoration and help strengthen the branches, wards, and stakes   More chapels will be built, more temples will be dedicated, and more families will receive the promised blessings of the Lord.

(Included in the information packet  from the California Riverside Mission shortly after Elder Tonini received his call.)

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