The growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Mexico may be seen as one example, perhaps somewhat specialized, of the expansion of non-Catholic Christianity that has transpired in Latin America in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Three events that occurred in the closing decades of the nineteenth century may be regarded as the chief formative factors leading to the establishment of the LDS Church in Mexico. First, in 1874, selections from the Book of Mormon (the LDS Church’s foundational scripture) were published in Spanish. This was followed in 1886 by the publication of the complete text. Second, in 1879, the LDS Church established a proselyting mission with headquarters in Mexico City. And third, beginning in 1885, the LDS Church established nine settlements (generally referred to among Latter-day Saints as “the Mormon colonies”) in northern Mexico to which some 4000 Church members subsequently migrated from the United States. These Anglo colonies were extremely instrumental in providing leadership and manpower for LDS Church work among ethnic Mexicans. It is this second group (i.e., ethnic Mexicans) that is the focus of this chapter.
Dr. Cooper (retired Research and Information Division, Correlation Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) authored the sections of this chapter that examine growth and issues connected with the Modern LDS Church in Mexico since World War II. Professor Hernández de Olarte authored the sections of this chapter that treat the early history of the LDS Church in Mexico up until World War II.
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Agrícol Lozano Herrera, Historia del Mormonism en Mexico (Mexico, DF: Editorial Zarahemla, 1983), 8–29; F. LaMond Tulliis, Mormons in Mexico: The Dynamics of Faith and Culture (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1987) 34–84.
When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begins missionary efforts in a new area, the first organizations to emerge are branches (small congregations), each led by a branch president. A grouping of branches forms a district, led by a district presidency. District presidencies serve under the direction of a mission president, who also is in charge of proselyting missionaries serving in the mission over which he presides.
An intellectual and journalist with great influence in Mexico during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Enrique Chavarri, “Sunday Talk,” El Monitor Republicano 30 no. 10 (Mexico City) (11 Jan. 1880), Hemeroteca Nacional de México (HNM).
Enrique Chavarri, “Sunday Talk,” El Monitor Republicano 30 no. 16 (Mexico City) 18 Jan. 1880, HNM.
“The Mormons,” 4 no. 11, 8 Jan. 1880; “Mormonism Again,” 4 no. 12, 1 Mar. 1881, “Religious News,” 5 no. 2, 1 May 1881 among other dates, The Christian Lawyer (Mexico City), HNM.
A region of Mexico where communities such as Ozumba, Amecameca, Tecalco, Atlautla, Tepetlixpa, and Chimal are located, which were of great importance in the history of Mormonism in Mexico.
The residents of this area were generally known as liberal people who supported the various reforms that transformed Mexico into a secular state.
Perfecto Carmona, Private Archive (hereinafter APPC) December 1913.
Gregorio S. Rivero, Private Archive, 1913, loose papers. The documents suggest that from February and March of that year some Mormons already had contact with him.
APPC, Diary, several years.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, United States of America, Deseret Editorial, 1993, [Book of Alma 46: 4–36], pp. 387–388. The Title of Liberty reads, “In remembrance of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children.”
Ibid. [Book of Alma 56: 10–54], pp. 420–423.
CéCeriani Cernadas Sar, “Border of Religious Imagination. Indians and Mormons in Eastern Formosa (Argentina),” in Interacts. Culture and Community (2009) (Brazil: Pontifical Catholic University of Mines) vol. 4, No. 5, p. 129.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, p. 103.
Beginning in the mid-1920s, the Mexican government made concerted efforts to enforce the anti-religious provisions of the 1917 Constitution. One result of these efforts was the ignition of a nationalist movement to make religion an essentially Mexican institution. A near civil war ensued, resulting in the deaths of some 90,000 Mexicans. Peace was not completely reestablished until 1940.
Florencio Galicia Castillo, Private Archives (hereafter APFGC) indela 1926, Memoirs.
APFGC, 1926, Memoirs.
History of the Mexican Mission, April 1931.
Pilar Páez, Private Archive (hereinafter APAP), January 1932, personal notes-loose papers.
APAP, February 1932, minutes, no page number.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, pp. 131–132, note 32.
Brian Connaughton, Ideology and Society in Guadalajara (1788–1853) (1992), (Mexico: National Council for Culture and Arts-UNAM), p. 17.
APAP, April 26, 1936, loose papers.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, p. 142.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, p. 150.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, pp. 154–155.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, p. 157.
Thomas W. Murphy, “Stronger than Ever: Remains of the Third Convention,” The Journal of Latter Day Saint History 10 (1998) 1, 8–11.
Gutmann, Matthew, Being a Man in Mexico City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996); Bron Ingoldsby, “The Latin American Family: Familism vs. Machismo,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 1, no. 1 (1991): 57–62; Paz, Octavio, The Labyrinth of Solitude: Life and Thought in Mexico (New York: Grove Press, 1961): 65–88.
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, pp. 159, 206; http://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/chuchnewsroom (accessed 4/3/2020).
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, pp. 184–186.
Lozano Herrera, Mormonismo, pp. 176–206. http://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/chuchnewsroom (accessed 4/3/2020).
Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, pp. 186–192.
Lozano Herrera, Mormonismo, pp. 113–122.
Lozano Herrera, Mormonismo, pp. 123–124.
Carmona, Perfecto. Private Archive.
Chavarri, Enrique. 1880a. Sunday Talk. The Republican Monitor, 30 no. 10 (Mexico City) (11 Jan. 1880). HNM.
———. 1880b. Sunday Talk. The Republican Monitor, 30 no. 16 (Mexico City) (18 Jan. 1880). HNM.
Connaughton, Brian. 1992. Ideology and Society in Guadalajara (1788–1853). Mexico: National Council for Culture and Arts-UNAM.
Galicia Castillo, Florencio. 1926. Private Archives. Memoirs.
Gutmann, Matthew. 1996. Being a Man in Mexico City. Berkley: University of California Press.
Ingoldsby, Bron. 1991. The Latin American Family: Familism vs. Machismo. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 22 (1): 57–62.
Lozano Herrera, Agícol. 1983. Historia del Mormonismo en Mexico. Mexico, DF: Editorial Zarahemla.
Murphy, Thomas W. 1998. Stronger Than Ever: Remains of the Third Convention. The Journal of Latter Day Saint History 10 (1): 8–11.
Páez, Pilar. 1932. Private Archive, January. Personal notes-loose papers.
Paz, Octavio. 1961. The Labyrinth of Solitude: Life and Thought in Mexico. New York: Grove Press.
Rivero, Gregorio S. 1913. Private Archive. Loose papers.
Sar, Cernadas. 2009. CéCeriani Border of Religious Imagination. Indians and Mormons in Eastern Formosa (Argentina). Interacts, Culture and Community 4 (5): 129. (Brazil: Pontifical Catholic University of Mines).
The Christian Lawyer (Mexico City). Various dates. HNM.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1993. Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. United States of America, Deseret Editorial.
Tullis, F. LaMond. 1987. Mormons in Mexico: The Dynamics of Faith and Culture. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.
Website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church Newsroom. http://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/chuchnewsroom.
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Cooper, R.E., de Olarte, M.S.H. (2020). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico. In: Shepherd, R.G., Shepherd, A.G., Cragun, R.T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mormonism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52616-0_13
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