Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Tennessee Mission Conferences

In 1910 and 1911, the LDS church made a list of the members living in Tennessee. Mission staff probably collected the information since it appears to be mostly written in the same hand writing as some other lists kept by missionary staff. I'd love to know who it was, but I'm not that good.

Lists of this type may have been collected elsewhere too, but Tennessee is what I know. The handwritten list is organized by mission conference and then by county. I have a microfilm copy and someday I will go through page by page and count the number of members named. Wikipedia says there were 841 members in 1906, though it says so without providing a source. That number could be about right. In Lewis County there are 11 members listed in 1910. But I know of at least 5 other members still living in Lewis County not on the list. It would be foolish to assume that the being on the list - or not being on the list - was an indicator anyones committment to the Church. But if it were, that would beat the activity rate in almost any unit today.

Although it is revealing to compare the list to the names of members I already knew about, the list could also be used as a description of which counties belong to the East Tennessee Conference based in Chattanooga, and which belong to the Middle Tennessee Conference based in Memphis. The results are shown above. I took the chance to outline how Tennessee is today divided into three missions: Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville (and a little bit of Birmingham, Alabama).

I couldn't find how many missionaries were assigned to each conference for 1910/1911, but from 1900 to 1905 there were between 12 to 18 in each conference. A far cry from the 200-300 there probably are today.

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