by Elisa Eastwood Pulido

The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico spans approximately 150 years, depending on what one considers the beginnings of Mormonism in Mexico. When the Mormons entered Salt Lake Valley in 1846, they entered Mexico, and thus escaped both persecution and the oversight of the United States federal government. The Mormons residency in Mexican territory was short-lived. On February 2 of 1848, at the conclusion of the Mexican American War, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded Mexican territory south of the 42nd parallel north and west of the Rocky Mountains to the United States, including what became the Utah territory.[1] In 1875, Brigham Young sent the first LDS missionaries to Mexico, though no converts were baptized at that time. It was during Moses Thatcher and James Z. Stewart’s 1879 journey to Mexico that the first converts were baptized in Mexico City. Two years later, Moses Thatcher returned to Mexico and offered a dedicatory prayer, consecrating Mexico for the future evangelization of the Latter-day Saint gospel.
The growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the first few converts to the nearly one and a half million members residing in Mexico today, was not achieved in a steady stream of proselyting successes. Rather, efforts to establish a Mormon presence in Mexico were interrupted repeatedly by many factors, including tensions between the U.S. Federal government and Mormon polygamists, a revolution, anti-clerical laws, and war. While these interruptions to mission activity in Mexico frustrated Euro-American missionaries and Mexican converts alike, over time the challenges faced by Mexican Mormons created a seedbed for indigenous leadership, which has benefitted both Mexico and the Church at large. This brief essay takes a brief look at both the difficulties and the extraordinary successes encountered from 1875 to the present day by Latter-day Saints in Mexico.

First Missionaries in Mexico


In 1875, Brigham Young, then president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), asked Daniel W. Jones and Melitón Trejo to translate selected passages from the Book of Mormon into Spanish. These selections were to be published in pamphlet form and used as missionary tracts by the first missionaries to enter Mexico. The missionaries were instructed to preach to indigenous Americans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and to search for Mormon settlement sites along the way. Young foresaw the need to establish escape routes for polygamists fleeing prosecution and envisioned a string of Mormon colonies from Utah to Brazil.[2] On January 7, 1876, missionaries Dan Jones, Helaman Pratt, Anthony W. Ivins, Robert H. Smith, Ammon Tenney, and James Z. Stewart crossed the Rio Grande and entered Mexico, just south of El Paso. They then traveled west through Mexico’s northern wilderness. Upon their return to Utah, the missionaries recommended that future colonies be built in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.[3] No action would be taken on this recommendation, however, until 1887.
In 1879, the Church appointed Moses Thatcher to be the president of the Mexican Mission. That year he travelled to Central Mexico in the company of James Z. Stewart in answer to correspondence received from Plotino Rhodakanaty. Rhodakanaty, a Greek immigrant, political activist, and the father of Mexican anarchism, thought he had found the answer to Mexico’s woes in Mormonism’s communal colony building. Within a few weeks, Thatcher had baptized Rhodakanaty, along with a small circle of socialist agitators, all colleagues of Rhodakanty’s.[4] Though ordained an elder and made a branch president, Rhodakanaty and his group of activist associates soon left the Mormon fold, as Moses Thatcher was not willing to allow him lead out in pursuit his own communalist dreams while establishing colonies in the name of the Church.[5] Other converts, however, were made about forty miles southeast of Mexico City in agrarian communities, such as Ozumba, near the volcano Popocatépetl.[6]

The Mormon Colonies in Mexico


In 1881, Thatcher returned to Mexico, where he offered a dedicatory prayer on the slopes of Popo, thus consecrating Mexico for future missionary activity.[7]  Early evangelizing efforts in Central Mexico were thwarted within six years, however, when, the U.S. government’s pursuit of polygamists in 1887 forced the Mormon Church to abandon its missionary efforts in Mexico and focus on colony building in Northern Mexico instead. Located in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora on lands purchased from the Mexican government during the tenure of Mexican President Porfirio Díaz, the colonies successfully provided a refuge for Mormon polygamists fleeing federal prosecution.[8]

The Díaz regime’s agreement with the Mormons stipulated that to secure land and water rights, settlers from the U.S. must include native Mexicans as residents in their colonies.[9] To help the Latter-day Saints comply with this requirement, the Mexican government paid train fares to help converts in Central Mexico relocate to the nascent colonies. Due to mismanaged expectation, and cultural clashes, the biracial experiment in the colony failed, resulting in the return of the native converts to Central Mexico, with some traveling the 1,000 miles to their original homes on foot.[10]

Though the Church abandoned polygamy in the U.S. just three years later (1890), the practice of polygamy in the Mormon colonies in Mexico continued.[11] Over a period of thirteen years, Mormon settlers in Mexico, many of them polygamists, established well-run, crime-free, and prosperous communities. By the turn of the century, orchards and mills thrived, brick homes lined the streets of settlements, and a fine school had been established in Colonia Juárez—the Academía Juárez.[12]

LDS Missionary Presence Re-established in Central Mexico


In 1901, newly appointed Mexican Mission president, Ammon Tenney, returned to Central Mexico, where he attempted to gather scattered converts and to proselytize new members in the villages surrounding Popo.[13] Branches of the church were also established in Mexico City (Ermita) and San Marcos Tula de Allende in the state of Hidalgo.[14]
In ­­­­­­­1907, Rey Lucero Pratt became simultaneously the mission president in Mexico and a General Authority of the Church, positions he held for twenty-four years.[15] In Mexico, the Church continued to grow through proselytization until the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. By July of 1912, Mormon missionaries from the U.S., approximately 4500 Euro-American Mormons living in the Mormon Colonies, and some Mexican converts in the northern wilderness had fled to the U.S.[16]

Mexican Mormons in the Mexican Revolution


A thousand miles from the northern border, Mexican converts from the agrarian villages around Popo found shelter from revolutionary violence by joining the Zapatista cause under the banner of General Gregorio Rivero.[17] Conversely, members in San Marcos Tula de Allende in the state of Hidalgo suffered greatly under Zapatistas. Rafael Monroy, branch president of the Mormon congregation in San Marcos and his first counselor, Vicente Morales, were executed by a Zapatista firing squad on July 17, 1915.[18] The Zapatistas’ harsh treatment of Mormon converts in San Marcos can be attributed to the fact that the Monroy family was wealthy and had large land holdings. A major goal of Zapatista rebels was the redistribution of communal farmland, much of which had been confiscated and given over to large haciendas during the tenure of Mexican president Porfirio Díaz, prior to the Revolution.[19]
During the Revolution, native Mexican converts to many denominations assumed leadership of local congregations in the absence of missionaries from the U.S. When the violence began to subside (1917-1920), Euro-American missionaries of many denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, returned to Mexico.[20] In 1917, Mexican Mission president Rey L. Pratt received permission from Church headquarters in Salt Lak City to return to Mexico, where the Mormon Church had been kept alive by the leadership of native converts, foremost among them Isáias Juárez, the district president.[21] At the conclusion of the Revolution, only about a quarter of the Mormon colonists in Northern Mexico returned to their homes in Mexico.[22]A few budding fundamentalists such as Alma Dayer LeBaron, for instance, returned to Mexico in order to establish colonies where they could practice polygamy uninhibited, though the practice was discouraged by the mainstream Church, and eventually resulted in the excommunication of those continuing to enter into plural marriages.[23]

Mexican and Mexican American Converts in Salt Lake City


In 1920, Mexican immigrants in Salt Lake City began to gather and to proselytize other Mexicans in Salt Lake City. They were formally recognized as a unit of the Church named the “Temporary Lamanite Branch” in January of 1921. Four months later, the name of this small Spanish-speaking congregation changed to the “Local Mexican Mission,” and finally to the “Lucero Ward” in 1960.[24] The first branch president, Margarito Bautista, an indigenous convert from Central Mexico, presided over the congregation only briefly, as he returned to Mexico from 1922 to 1924 as a missionary specifically assigned to introduce Mexican converts to family history and temple work.[25]

The Third Convention


By 1926, another violent conflagration known as the Cristero War (1926­–1929) erupted in Mexico. The conflict arose out of arguments between the Catholic Church and the liberal Mexican government over the enforcement of anticlerical laws written into the Mexican Constitution of 1917; these laws were intended to reduce the power of the Catholic Church.[26] Prior to the Revolution, the Catholic Church had enjoyed the support of conservative Mexican regimes and wealthy elites. Additionally, most of Mexico’s Catholic priests had been born in either Spain or France, while indigenous men had been largely excluded for nearly four centuries. After the revolution, native Mexicans desired to democratize not only their government, but also their ecclesiastical institutions. Indigenous Mexicans from a variety of denominations hoped to recover ecclesiastical, political, and social leadership lost to them long ago, at the time of the Spanish Conquest.[27] Not surprisingly, aspirations for self-empowerment were also held by many Mexican Mormons, who, due to the absence of missionaries during the revolution and to the enforcement of anti-clerical laws, had become accustomed to leading themselves.

After the death of mission president Rey Lucero Pratt in 1931, Antoine Ivins replaced him as the Mexican Mission president. Ivins responsibilities including not only the leadership of the Mexican mission, but also the leadership of Spanish-speaking missionary activity north of the U.S.-Mexico border. He directed missionary work in Mexico from the US through letters written to district president Isáias Juárez. Juárez, with very little support, continued to lead the branches of the Church in Central Mexico. It was at this same time that native LDS Church leaders on Mexico’s Central Plateau began holding meetings known as “conventions,” at which the needs of the Mexicans members were discussed and then sent to the First Presidency of the LDS Church by letter.[28] After the second such meeting, in 1932, Mission President Antoine Ivins and Apostle Melvin J. Ballard visited members on the Central Plateau and informed them that their method of effecting change was outside the order of the Church.

In 1934, Rey Pratt’s half-brother, Harold Wilcken Pratt, replaced Ivins as the president of the Mormon mission in Mexico. Harold Pratt soon asked the leadership in Salt Lake City to split the territory Ivins had been over-seeing into two missions, one north of the border and one in Mexico, which Pratt would oversee. Many Mexican members had hoped that Pratt would oversee the Spanish-speaking mission in the U.S. and that a Mexican would be appointed mission president in Mexico. On April 21, 1936, against the advice of mission president Harold Pratt and District President Isáias Juárez, the third of the aforementioned native conventions (The Third Convention) met and nominated one of their own, Abel Páez (a member of the district presidency), to be the mission president in Mexico, replacing Pratt.[29] In addition to having an indigenous mission president in Mexico, Conventionists sought the construction of chapels in Mexico, the translation and publication of Church literature in Spanish, and the opportunity for native youth to develop leadership skills by going on full-time missions.[30]

A report of the April 21 convention was sent to Salt Lake City in the form of a petition. In response to this petition, leaders of the Third Convention were in excommunicated in 1937 for “rebellion, apostacy and insubordination.[31] At this juncture, Conventionists split from the mainstream church, renaming themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Third Convention and taking a third of the Church membership in Mexico with them.[32] Despite their separation from the mainstream church, Third Conventionists continued to preach orthodox Mormonism to each other and to their neighbors, baptizing many over a period of ten years.[33]

In 1942, Arwell L. Pierce, was appointed president of the Mexican Mission. Pierce approached the split between the Conventionists and the mainstream Church with diplomacy and a spirit of cooperation. As far as Pierce was concerned, the separation of the Third Conventionists had been the result of misunderstandings.[34] His efforts at reunification were aided by an influx of young missionaries from the United States, who had recently returned from military service at the conclusion of World War II.  Pierce instructed all missionaries to focus their efforts on healing the schism and preventing further rifts by offering service and showing respect.[35] His tactics were successful; in 1946, Pierce facilitated the reunification of Third Convention with the mainstream Church at conferences held in Mexico City and Tecalco, which were presided over by President of the Church, George Albert Smith. At the Mexico City Conference, nearly 1200 Conventionists returned to the Latter-day Saint fold.

In the short term, Pierce sought to accommodate the desire for indigenous leadership in Mexico by appointing a Comité de Consejo y Bienestar (a Counsel and Welfare Committee), which included former Conventionists Abel Páez and Apolonio Arzate alongside non-Conventionists Isaías Juárez, Guadalupe Zárraga, and Bernabé Parra.[36] Post Third Convention, missionary work flourished in Mexico; the mission expanded to include Guatemala from 1947 to 1952, and, four new missions within Mexico were created between 1954 and 1960.[37]

Splinter Groups in Mexico


From the mid-twentieth century onward, Mormon splinter groups established themselves in Mexico, many of them continuing Mormonism’s early practice of polygamy. A few “Mormon fundamentalist” communities were led by indigenous religious entrepreneurs. In 1947, former Conventionist leader Margarito Bautista, barred from fellowship in the Third Convention due to his promotion of plural marriage, founded a polygamist utopia in Ozumba, on the slopes of Popocatéptl.[38] Though he died in 1961, his indigenously-led colony, Colonia Industrial/Nueva Jerusalén, still survives with over a thousand members.[39]  Over time, members of the community have weakened their practice of the communal ownership of property and have made the practice of polygamy optional.[40] Lorenzo Cuautli, a contemporary of Bautista’s, established a similar colony in San Gabriel Ometoxtla in Puebla, which still survives.[41] Daniel Mejía, yet another contemporary of Bautista’s, founded a colony in Cuautla de Morelos, though the colony dissolved in 1946.[42]

The mid-twentieth century, also saw the formation of fundamentalist splinter groups founded by Euro-Americans from the U.S. in Mexico. These groups sought to evade both federal prosecution and disciplinary action by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their continuing practice of polygamy. Members of polygamist clans founded by the Musser, LeBaron, and Allred families associated with fundamentalists in Mexico, and some established their own colonies in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. Dayer LeBaron established Colonia LeBaron in the mid 1920s; his sons established a settlement in Las Parcelas in the 1940s.[43]  In 1964, Dayer’s son Joel founded a fundamentalist colony he named Los Molinos in Baja California. Members of the LeBaron family laid claim to potent priesthood offices, coveted by competing LeBaron brothers. Joel was shot in 1972 by his brother Ervil, who also ordered the murder of Rulon C. Allred in a power struggle over control of the fundamentalist movement.[44]

Today, Colonia LeBaron is more religiously diverse, less polygamist, and more integrated into the surrounding community. Unfortunately, altercations with drug cartels and arguments over water rights with farmers in Chihuahua have led to further violence for the descendants of early LDS fundamentalists living in Mexico. One such example was the November 2019 murder of three women and six children traveling in a caravan of SUVs near the Mormon fundamentalist colony La Mora, in Sonora. Several of the victims belonged to the LeBaron clan.[45]

Growth of Mainstream Mormonism in Mexico: Schools, Temples, Missions and Membership


In March of 1944, two years prior to the reunification of the Third Convention, members of the mainstream Church in San Marcos, Tula de Allende, began teaching a small group of students in a home school they named Los Héroes de Chapúltepec. In 1957, the Church funded the building of a larger school on donated land adjacent to the home where these students had been taught. By this date the school had 171 elementary school students.[46] After the construction of the new school, the Church formed the Sociedad Educativa y Cultural, S.A., which subsequently built and operated thirty-seven elementary schools for Latter-day Saint children and interested students of other denominations from 1960 to 1974.[47] In 1963, Albert Kenyon Wagner along with his wife, Leona Farnsworth Romney, founded the Centro Escolar Benemérito de las Américas in Mexico City. Though the school initially offered both primary and secondary education to boarding and non-boarding students alike, it gradually evolved into a preparatory school, which operated until 2013, when it was closed and converted into a Missionary Training Center.[48]

Mexico’s first stake (diocese) was established in the Mormon Colonies in 1895, however, in 1961, the Church, with a total Mexican membership of 25,000 members, began concentrating on the further development of Spanish-speaking stakes (dioceses) within Mexico.[49] That year, the first stake outside of the Mormon Colonies was established in Mexico City, and Harold Brown was appointed stake president. Brown had been raised in the Mormon Colonies and was a former counselor in the Mexican Mission to Arwell L. Pierce.[50] While imminently qualified, Brown’s appointment continued Euro-American leadership within Mexico’s Mormon hierarchy. Brown did, however, appoint two indigenous counselors: Julio García as first counselor, and former Conventionist Gonzalo Zaragoza as his second counselor.[51]

In 1968, the Church’s central hierarchy appointed Agrícol Lozano the president of the Mexico City North Stake, making Lozano the first Latino stake president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico.[52] At this period of time, membership grew rapidly, reaching 100,000 members by 1972.[53] On December 2, 1983, a temple was dedicated in Mexico City, and six years later, the 100th stake in Mexico stake was created in Tecalco.[54] That same year, the Church appointed Horacio A. Tenorio, the first general authority of indigenous Mexican ancestry, to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.[55]  Tenorio had risen through the ranks of the Mormon hierarchy in Mexico, acting as a branch president, bishop, stake president, president of the Mexico Torreon Mission, and twice as a Regional Representative.[56]

In 1997, Church president Gordon B. Hinckley announced the building of smaller temples throughout the global Church; one of the first of these was built in Colonia Juárez, Mexico and dedicated in 1999. This smaller design sped the growth of temple building in Mexico. By 2000, nine temples had been built, and in 2020 there were thirteen temples in Mexico with one under construction.[57] In 2001, Hinckley established the Perpetual Education Fund, a program designed to provide loans to help Latter-day Saints outside the U.S. pay tuition for education leading to the acquisition of employable skills. The first three countries to benefit from this program were Chile, Mexico, and Peru.[58] In addition to increased educational opportunities for members in Mexico, the Church experienced exponential growth in membership in Mexico in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Church leadership from Mexico


Since 1941, eight General Authorities of the Church have been born in Mexico. Marion G. Romney (1897-1988) began his forty-seven years as a general authority in 1941 when he was appointed one of the first Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Romney was born to Euro-American parents in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, where he attended English-speaking schools. He spent his first fifteen years in Mexico but did not learn to speak Spanish until later in life. In 1951, he became an apostle; in 1961, he was asked to supervise the LDS Church in Mexico. In that capacity, he oversaw proselyting activities, the construction of church buildings, and the establishment of Spanish-speaking stakes in Mexico for eleven years. Romney also was a second counselor to two Church Presidents, Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball.[59]

All seven of the other General Authorities born in Mexico have been of native Mexican heritage. In addition to Horacio A. Tenorio, Jorge A. Rojas, a native of Chihuahua who had been a mission president in Guadalajara, was appointed to the Second Quorum of the Seventy; Rojas’ term lasted from 1991 to 1996. An educator and businessman, Rojas taught for a period at the Benemérito School. Rojas is one of several leaders from Mexico, who have held international positions in Latter-day Saint leadership. At the conclusion of his service as a Seventy, Rojas became president of the Guayaquil Ecuador temple.[60]

In 2005, Benjamin de Hoyos, a native of Monterrey, who presided over the México Tuxtla Gutiérrez Mission from 1996 to 1999, became a General Authority Seventy and is currently the South American area president.[61] In 2007, Octavio Tenorio Domínguez, a native of Veracruz, became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, acting in this capacity as a counselor in the Mexico Area Presidency until 2012.[62] In 2012, José L. Alonso was made a General Authority Seventy and is currently an area president over the LDS Church in the Caribbean.[63] Arnulfo Valenzuela, born in Chihuahua, Mexico, became a General Authority Seventy in 2013 and now is a member of the Mexico area presidency.[64] Most recently (April 2020), Moisés Villanueva was appointed a General Authority Seventy.[65]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico in 2020-2022


The LDS Church in Mexico reached one million members in 2004.[66] By 2022, there were 1,481,530 Latter-day Saints living in Mexico, a number equal to 1.16% of Mexico’s total population. These church members meet in 1,843 congregations overseen by 222 stakes. Plans have been announced for four more temples in Mexico, one currently under construction.[67] Of the 13 operating temples in Mexico, twelve are led by temple presidents of Latino heritage.  [68]There are currently 32 missions, 47 districts, and 13 temples in Mexico. Seventeen of the missions (53%) in Mexico are led by mission presidents of Latino heritage.[69] Of the authorities governing the entire Church, there are currently two Latino members of the Presidency of the Seventy; additionally, approximately 20% of the General Authority Seventies over the Church are Spanish-surnamed members.[70]
Historically, national and international chaos has produced instability in Mexico’s Mormon leadership, proselytizing activities, and communication with general Church leadership in Salt Lake City, Utah. Another interruption to missionary service occurred in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. That year, missionaries from the U.S. were recalled from many missions around the globe, including Mexico.[71] Like Church members worldwide, Mexican Latter-day Saints saw interruptions and adjustments to their Church meetings and temple worship, due to measures designed to safeguard the health of the membership and the communities in which they live. Today, a century and a half after its founding, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico provides most of its own leaders and much of its own missionary force. Due to the current strength of the LDS Church in Mexico, Church leadership and programs have continued uninterrupted throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Elisa Eastwood Pulido is a historian of religion, with a PhD in Religious Studies from Claremont Graduate University. She taught World Religions at Brigham Young University, Salt Lake Center until 2019. She researches religion at the margins: race, gender, and religion; religion in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands; and Mormon studies. Her first book, The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista: Mexican Mormon Evangelizer, Polygamist Dissident, and Utopian Founder, 1878-1961, was published in March 2020 by Oxford University Press.

Back to top


[1] Matthew Bowman, The Mormon People: The Making of a Faith (New York: Random House, 2012), 115; William H. Gonzalez and Orlando Rivera, “Hispanics of Utah,” Utah History Encyclopedia, accessed January 9, 2022, h/HISPANICS_OF_UTAH.shtml.

[2] F. LaMond Tullis, Mormons in Mexico: The Dynamics of Faith and Culture (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1997), 13; Barney T. Burns and Thomas H. Naylor, “Colonia Morelos: A Short History of a Mormon Colony in Sonora, Mexico,” Smoke Signals 27 (Spring 1973): 142.

[3] Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 18, 20, 30–31.

[4] Bill Smith and Jared M. Tamez, “Plotino Rhodakanaty: Mormonism’s Greek Austrian Mexican Socialist,” in Just South of Zion: The Mormons in Mexico and Its Borderlands, ed. Jason H. Dormady and Jared Tamez (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2015), 55–56, 58–59, 62, 64–66.

[5] Smith and Tamez, 64–65.

[6] Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 401.

[7] Tullis, 41.

[8] Ibid, 55.

[9] Ibid, 62.

[10] Simón Zúñiga, From the House of Joseph to the Land of Restoration (Denver: Bilingual Publications, 2010), 8.

[11] Barbara Brown Jones, “The 1910 Mexican Revolution and the Rise and Demise of Mormon Polygamy in Mexico,” in Just South of Zion, 26. The Reed Smoot hearings in the Senate in 1907 over the continued practice of polygamy by Mormons (Mormons in Mexico included), posed a challenge to Mormon polygamists in Mexico, but did not discontinue the practice there. The largest factor in the discontinuance of most polygamy in Mexico was the forced exodus of Mormons in 1912 during the Mexican Revolution. Mormons who returned to the U.S. had to integrate with Mormons who had abandoned the practice for over twenty years, resulting in changing views and practices. See Brown, 27, 33.

[12] LeVon Brown Whetton, Colonia Juarez: Commemorating 125 Years of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico (Bloomington, AuthorHouse, 2010), 33-34.

[13] Elisa Eastwood Pulido, The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista: Mexica Mormon Evangelizer, Polygamist Dissident and Utopian Founder (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 74.

[14] Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 75, 77-78.

[15] “Rey Lucero Pratt,” Missionary Database,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[16] Barbara Jones Brown, 29, “The 1910 Revolution and the Rise and Demise of Polygamy in Mexico,” in Just South of Zion: The Mormons in Mexico and Its Borderlands, edited by Jason H. Dormady and Jared M. Tamez (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2015). 29-30.

[17] Moroni Spencer de Olarte, “’Ya llegaron los de Tierra Fría . . .’: Los colores del Zapatismo en la Región de los Volcanes, Estado de México” (Unpublished master’s thesis, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, August 2013), 68.

[18] F. Lamond Tullis, Martyrs in Mexico: A Mormon Story of Revolution and Redemption, (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2018), 67-68.

[19] Ignacio García, “Book Review” review of Martyrs in Mexico: A Mormon Story of Revolution and Redemption, by F. Lamond Tullis, BYU Studies Quarterly, accessed January 9, 2022,

[20] Kathleen McIntyre, Contested Spaces: Protestantism in Oaxaca, 1920-1965. Dissertation, University of New Mexico, January 31, 2013,

[21] Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 103-104.

[22] Thomas Cottam Romney, The Mormon Colonies in Mexico, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1938), 250.

[23] Jason H. Dormady, “Introduction: The Mormons in Mexico,” in Just South of Zion: 11-12; Timothy Miller, “The Historical Communal Roots of Ultraconservative Groups: Earlier American Communes That Have Helped Shape Today’s Far Right,” in The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization, ed. Jeffrey Kaplan and Heléne Lööw (Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2002), 87.

[24] Pulido, The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista, 77; Betty Gibbs Ventura, The History of the Salt Lake Mexican Branch (Salt Lake City, 1998), 178-181; Turley and Christensen, 197. By 2017, 780 Latter-day Saint Spanish-speaking congregations existed in forty-one U.S. states. These church units are populated largely by Latin Americans in general, not only Mexicans.; Jason Swenson, “Humble Beginnings for Beloved Branch,” Church News, August 25, 2000, accessed January 9, 2022,

[25] Pulido81; Lamanite Genealogical Society, “History of the Origin of the Lamanite Genealogical Society, organized in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 13th, 1919.” Available at the Church History Library; Guadalupe Monroy, “Como Llego El Evangelio Restaurado al Pueblo de San Marcos, Tule de Allende, Estado de Hidalgo: He aqui la Historia escrito por I.,” 117. Available at the Church History Library.

[26] Matthew Butler, Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion, (New York; Oxford University Press, 2004), 146.

[27] Deborah J. Baldwin, Protestants and the Mexican Revolution: Missionaries, Ministers, and Social Change, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press), 124; Pulido 24-25; Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 119, 125-127.

[28] Pulido, The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista, 161-163; Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 117-118.

[29] Enrique Gonzalez, “Acta de la Convención,” Informe General de la Tercera Convención de los Miembros de la Iglesia de Jesu-Cristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Días Celebrada en Tecalco, México, el 21 de abril de 1936 y que fué enviado a la Primera Presidencia para su resolución, (Mexico, D.F.: Comite Directivo, August 1936), 18-19.

[30] “Informe de la Mesa Directiva de la 3a. Convención, a la Primera Presidencia,” Informe General de la Tercera Convención, (Mexico, D.F.: Comite Directivo, August 1936), 19; Tullis, Mormonism in Mexico, 148-149.

[31] Mexican Mission Records, May 6, 1937. Mexican Mission, Manuscript History and Historical Reports, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, LR 5506 2 v. 5 Box 2 folder 2 of 2, May 6-8, 1937.

[32] Elisa Eastwood Pulido, “Solving Schism in Nepantla: The Third Convention returns to the LDS Fold,” in Just South of Zion: The Mormons in Mexico and Its Borderlands,” edited by Jason H. Dormady and Jared M. Tamez. 281.

[33] Fernando R. Gómez, From Darkness to Light: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Lamanite Conventions (Mexico City: El Museo de Mormonismo en Mexico, A. C., 2004), 39.

[34] Pulido,” Solving Schism in Nepantla,” 95-96.

[35] Charles W. Eastwood, Interview, interviewed by Elisa Eastwood Pulido, Redlands, California, August 10, 2014.

[36] Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 157-158.

[37] Turley and Christensen, 184; Boanerges Rubalcava, “The Church in Mexico and Central America,” in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992, accessed January 9, 2022,,_the_Church_in

[38] Pulido, The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista, 186; Alma de Olarte, “Historia de la Colonia de la Nueva Jerusalén,” Written in Colonia Industrial/Nueva Jerusalén. Available in Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library.

[39] Jason Dormady, “Colonia Industrial Mexicana Nueva Jerusalén,” Secret History: Reflections on Latin America, accessed January 9, 2022,

[40] Moroni Spencer de Olarte, Interview, April 29, 2015.

[41] Dormady, “Introduction: The Mormons in Mexico,” 11.

[42] Pulido, 101.

[43] Esther L. Spencer, “History of Dayer LeBaron,” 71, Kirk Allen Watson Papers, University of Utah, Special Collections.

[44] D. Michael Quinn, “Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism,” in Fundamentalism and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education, ed. Martin E. Marty and Scott Appleby (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 247.

[45] Dormady, “Introduction: The Mormons in Mexico,” 11-12; “Tightknit Mormon Community Mourns Women and Children Killed in Horrific Attack in Mexico,” The Washington Post, November 6, 2019, accessed January 9, 2022,

[46] Tullis, Martyrs in Mexico, 134, 137.

[47] Rubalcava,,_the_Church_in

[48] “Se celebra el último Aniversario del Centro Escolar Benemérito de las Américas,” Noticias, 20 Febrero 2013,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[49] “Mexico,” Facts and Statistics, Newsroom,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[50] Agrícol Lozano Herrera, Historia del Mormonism en Mexico, (Mexico, D.F., Editorial Zarahemla, 1983), 96; Rubalcava,,_the_Church_in

[51] Lozano, 96; Tullis, Mormons in Mexico, 159.

[52] Rubalcava,,_the_Church_in

[54] “Country Information: Mexico,” Church News, January 29, 2010, accessed January 10, 2022,

[56] “Elder Horacio A. Tenorio of the Second Quorum of the Seventy,” Church of Jesus, accessed January 9, 2022,

[57] Ibid, 196; “Temple List,”, accessed January 9, 2022,; The Church Newsroom, Facts and Statistics, Mexico, “Country information: Mexico,” Deseret News Church Almanac (multiple almanacs from various years), Deseret News, accessed January 9, 2022,

[58] President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Perpetual Education Fund,” Report of the 171st annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 2001, accessed January 9, 2022,; Turley and Christensen, 208.

[59] Marvin K. Gardner, “President Marion G. Romney, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,”, accessed January 9, 2022,

[60] “Elder Jorge A. Rojas of the Seventy,”, accessed January 12, 2022,

[61] “Elder Benjamín de Hoyos,” General Authorities and General Officers,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[62] “Elder Octavio Tenorio,” General Authorities and General Officers,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[63] “Elder José L. Alonso,” General Authorities and General Officers,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[64] “Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela,” General Authorities and General Officers,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[65] “Elder Moisés Villanueva,” Leader Biographies,, accessed January 9, 2022,

[66] Turley and Christensen, 196.

[67] “Facts and Statistics, Mexico, Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accessed January 9, 2022,

[68] “Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” accessed January 9, 2022,

[69] “Missions LDS Mexico,” Lifey, accessed January 9, 2022,

[70] “General Authorities and General Officers of the Church,” Church of Jesus, accessed January 9, 2022,

[71] Scott Taylor, “All 10 MTCs are Closing, Nonnative Missionaries to Return from Mexico, Vietnam, and India,” Church News, March 23, 2020, accessed January 9, 2022,

Back to top