Sparta, Tennessee today has its own branch of the church and recently had a renovated building dedicated as a chapel. But once Sparta was the headquarters of the Middle Tennessee Conference of the Southern States Mission. Elder J. Urban Allred, presided over that conference. He recorded in his journal two newspaper articles written at the time.
February 9, 1900 Editor R. P. Baker
Lots of Mormon Elders are now tramping over the country distributing their literature in an endeavor to make proselites to their faith. Two were calling on Sparta people this week. But Sparta people always were patient and forbearing. The Quebeck correspondent of the American says they have been in that section preaching the persecution of Brigham Roberts, the man kicked out of Congress. These “Saints,” as they delight to style themselves, don't advocate polygamy in every house they enter, but they believe in it, as one of them acknowledged to a citizen of Sparta some time ago. We shall shortly publish a full exposure of their nefarius doctrine and practices in Utah, as made by one of the best men in Tennessee, who spent some time in Utah and investigated for himself. The gentleman referred to stands high both in church and State affairs, and what he says can be relied on. We also see it stated in the papers that they have moved their headquarters from Nashville to this place.
February 9, 1900
J. G. Snodgrass, editor.
We understand that the headquarters of the Mormon church for the Middle Tennessee District have been moved to Sparta from Nashville, with Elder J. W. Allred, of Utah, in charge. There are about forty elders in this district. They are all in good health, and seem to be busily engaged in distributing tracts and collecting provisions. They are evidently paying expenses and getting some encouragement in some sections. Ordinarily, it is not much of a compliment for Mormons to attack a community. It either indicates that ignorance or a tempting supply of provisions exist in a section -- in this case the latter, we presume.