One of the first Stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a major metropolitan area and one of the first outside the Intermountain area. On 19 January 1923, a meeting was held at the Los Angeles Branch Chapel. In attendance was local and General Church leaders. Including Heber J. Grant, Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency, and Elder George Albert Smith.
During the first session on Sunday morning during a priesthood meeting. President Grant and Penrose both reminded their audience of the momentous importance of the step they were about to take for both the Church and the Saints in Southern California. President Penrose also stressed the authority by which the work was done and recommended that everyone study D&C Section 107, to better understand the Priesthood. He closed by reminding those present that they were helping to “Lay the foundation for the Kingdom of God broad and deep for that which would come” and encouraged them to follow the Savior’s command to “let every man learn his duty and do it”.
President Grant commended on the growth of the Church in the area “No City in the history of the world has had the phenomenal growth of the city of Los Angeles.” He said, “and to start out at this time with a great stake of Zion. I firmly believe, will lead to great development for the Church and its people in this district.” He then submitted to the Priesthood for approval the General Authorities of the Church, the Stake Officers, and the name of the stake: the “Los Angeles Stake of Zion.” The vote for approval was unanimous.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, 19 January 1923, a meeting was held at the Los Angeles Branch chapel as part of the quarterly conference of the Los Angeles California Mission. In attendance were local and general Church leaders. Its purpose was to discuss the creation of the Los Angeles Stake on the following Sunday. During this meeting, George W. McCune’s appointment as Stake President (portrait shown above) was confirmed, as were those of Leo J. Muir and George F. Harding as counselors in the stake presidency. An important new era was dawning for the Church and its membership in Southern California.
In addition to the Stake Presidency, other officers were sustained, James Thomas, Stake Patriarch, Katherine R. Stewart, Stake Relief Society President, Alexander Nibley, Stake Sunday School superintendent, Vern O. Knudsen, YMMIA, Verda Savage, YWMIA. Also, eight members of the High Council, sufficient for a quorum. With the close of the first Los Angeles Stake conference, a new era of Church history was inaugurated.
(Excerpts from The Los Angeles Story, “More Faith Than Fear”, Chad M. Orton)
Image: George W. McCune, Stake President, 1923-1931
Loui Keeney Los Angeles Stake history specialist
Ralph Boswell Los Angeles Stake history specialist