• 3rd Oldest Continually Active Stake in Arizona
  • 31st Active Stake of the LDS Church

Stake History

Early Mormon Settlements on the Little Colorado River

  • Little Colorado Stake - was the first stake of the church in Arizona created 27 Jan 1878 amongst church branches on the Little Colorado River with Lot Smith as president. It was dissolved in 1887 with the creations of the St. Johns Arizona Stake and Snowflake Arizona Stake.
  • Eastern Arizona Stake - was the second stake of the church in Arizona created 27 Jun 1879 with Jesse N Smith as President. It too was dissolved in 1887 with the creations of the St. Johns Arizona Stake and Snowflake Arizona Stake.

1880s Polygamy Persecution

  • Saints Vol II - beginning with chapter 32, does an in depth history of Ida Frances Hunt (1858-1915) as she goes enter marriage with Bishop Udall and she goes into hiding so that she does not have to testify against him. A little bit of history of the Eastern Arizona Stake is there too.

Ammon M. Tenney was the bishop of their St. Johns Ward, which extended outside of town. from Meadows, ten miles north of St. Johns to Walnut Grove, twenty miles south. He had been appointed temporarily to that leadership position until the man who had been called to be the bishop, David K Udall, could arrive from Utah. Ammon had successfully negotiated with the owner of the St. Johns property to purchase it for the church. Ammon and his wife and children lived in St. Johns, but he also had a ranch His younger half-brother, Arthur, lived with Ammon except for two years when he attended Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah.

Ida Hunt is a sister-in-law to Ammon Tenney who also appears in the book, (Ch 33 - page 500). Federal officers were persistent in their pursuit of men who had entered into this religious practice. In 1884 Ammon Tenney was eventually arrested, tried, and sentenced to several years in the Detroit House of Correction for his participation in polygamy.

1887 New Stake Creation

While stake president, Udall was a farmer, grist mill operator, mail contactor, hotel manager, merchant and sheepman. After being released in 1927, we was called to serve as the first temple president for the newly completed Mesa Arizona Temple.

First Relief Society Presidency (1880-1893): Lucinda Mangum Richey (1826-1903) - President:

Report about the St. Johns Arizona Relief Society, printed in The Woman's Exponent, 01-Nov-1893.

ST. JOHN.(sic) In reading our interesting little paper the EXPONENT we often see the reports from other rplaces but seldom anything from St. John's Arizona and as our Relief Society was reorganized on the 4th of March, we thought it proper to report the same. Sister Lucinda Richey was our esteemed president for thirteen years but being in poor health and advanced in years felt it too great a responsibility and therefore tendered her resignation. She was loved for her kind and loving manner and motherly counsel. Her life has been of of usefulness having raised a large family living mostly on the frontierr, and passing through many rials incident to such a life. The following were chosen officers Anna D. Kempe President, Claudina Jensen and Elizabeth N. Gibbons, Counselors R.E. Berry Secretary, Christina Johnson Treasurer, Anna L. Anderson Ass't. Our meetings are held regularly and fairly well attended. Wwe hold meetings every other Thursday our testitmony meetings on fast days. We have fifty four members own real estate worth $2,740. also 109.60 in property and $350 cash. The people here are feeling much encouraged this year as we have blessed with rains and the gardens and young orchards look thrifty as does also the fields where crops were planted. Some did not plant as we have suffered greatly from drouth and grasshoppers the past three eyars but we have neither to complain of this year. E.R. BERRY, SEC.

Second Relief Society Presidency (org. 4 Mar 1893): Anna D. Kempe President, Claudina Jensen and Elizabeth N. Gibbons, Counselors R.E. Berry Secretary, Christina Johnson Treasurer, Anna L. Anderson Ass't.

1927 New Stake Presidency

Old St. Johns Stake Center on Cleveland St.

Levi S. Udall (1891-1960) was appointed by the church to succeed his father to become the 2nd stake president of the St. Johns Arizona Stake, serving in that position to 1945. No stake president has it easy, only the nature of the problems change. It was lot to lead the church during the difficult times of the Great Depression and World War II.[1]

1945 New Stake Presidency

Albert F. Anderson (1889-1979) - Described as a both a well-educated man and a man of many talents. At one time he played cello for the Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. He was the first registered pharmacist in Apache County, Arizona, a business he pursued for 66 years there.

1951 New Stake Presidency

C. Bryant Whiting (1904-1997) was the 4th Stake President of St. Johns Arizona Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Whiting was very active in business, community, political, church and humanitarian endeavors throughout his life. When he was called as stake president, St. Johns Stake was on the bottom of the list of active stakes in the church. This listing was reversed through a number of initiatives, eventually becoming one of the most active. Additionally he served as a Regional Representative of the Twelve and as President of the Mesa Arizona Temple.

1967 New Stake President

Wilford J. Shumway (1909-1993) - served a 27 month mission for the church in North Carolina. He achieved success in business by building a number of sawmills, service stations, motels and markets. As Stake president for St. Johns Arizona Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he presided over a geographical area that stretched from Coyote Canyon on the north, to Glenwood, New Mexico on the south to Bluewater Village, New Mexico on the east to the Navajo County line on the west.

1977 New Stake President

Thomas W. Biggs - Graduated from Mesa High School in 1959 and then served a two year mission to Brazil. As stake president he completed an extensive church building program - renovating the Pie Town Building, St John's Downtown building, a new building in Springerville and constructing two new stake centers - St Johns and Eagar.

1987 Centenniel - Stake Division

The St. Johns Arizona Stake was divided on 25 January 1987 with the creation of the new Eagar Arizona Stake.

J. Marlow Day (1930-2015), new president of the St. Johns Stake. Former bishop, stake president's counselor and high counselor. Formerly a school teacher in Phoenix, he now co-manages a business with his brother Francis, in the rock, sand and cement business.

Charles D. Martin, new president of the Eagar Stake. Former bishop, stake clerk and high counselor. Served a mission to Switzerland, He taught for many years in the Round Valley public school system.

2021 New Stake Presidency

ST JOHNS ARIZONA STAKE: (Feb. 7, 2021) President — Steven Max Palmer, 36, Seminaries and Institutes teacher; succeeding Edward R. Burgoyne; wife, Kamberley Kelli Reynolds Palmer. Counselors — Ralph Earl Bushman, 60, Tucson Electric Power generation compliance manager; wife, Janet Lee King Bushman. Larry Travis Heap, 43, Summit Healthcare physician assistant; wife, Elizabeth Merrell Heap.[2]

Apache County Home Centered Church Opportunities

We teach that true religion begins in the home: "Home Centered / Church Supported". To that end families may consider the following local resources and programs to strengthen your core beliefs and values:

1. Come Follow Me: - Daily & Weekly family gospel study
2. Vanguard Scouting: - Featuring age-appropriate Family Activities, Service, Crafts, Field Trips, & Outdoor Adventures. The Benefits of Scouting are many, and there are lots of personal growth ideas to help your family pursue the new Churchwide Children & Youth Program.
3. LIFE School Curriculum: an LDS gospel based homeschool program that is built on the foundation of the scriptures, giving the child a sense of who he is and setting him on the path of discovering his divine mission. It is presented in a four year chronological rotation, integrating all areas of study to create a clear picture of the history of our world.
4. Family History: Resources to help you explore your family tree

    • Mormon Pioneers - 200+ stories of early faithful Latter-day Saint pioneers.
    • Familypedia - Come help build Arizona's largest Family History online Encyclopedia.

5. Local Recreation:

Snowflake Arizona Temple


Snowflake Arizona Temple was the second temple built in Arizona, following the Mesa Arizona Temple (1927) and is a sister building to the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple. The town of Snowflake was named after its founder, William J. Flake, and the apostle with charge over the colonization of Arizona, Erastus Snow, who visited the settlement a few months after Flake arrived.

Prominent Members

  • See also Notable Members of the the early St. Johns Arizona Stake.
  • See above for notable Stake Leaders
  • Udall Family of Arizona - many members of the Udall Family were prominent in Arizona Political and Judicial Affairs.
  • Elder Frances M. Gibbons (1921-2016) - was the secretary to the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1970 to 1986 and a church general authority from 1986 until 1991. Gibbons also served in the church as a bishop, stake president and patriarch. He is the author of 20 books, including a biography of Jack Anderson and the hagiographical Prophets of God series about the presidents of the LDS Church.

See Also


  1. St Johns Arizona Stake Centennial - publ 1987
  2. Church Newsroom March 2021 Stake Presidency Announcements