The Mesquite Nevada Stake Conference was held Sunday, January 15 and a new West Stake was formed and the name of the stake was changed to Mesquite East Stake.

Elder Clark G. Gilbert, a general Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Elder Daren R. Barney, an Area Authority Seventy for the LDS church spoke at the conference.

Elder Barney asked three questions, “What is truth? Is it possible for us to find truth in a world filled with misinformation and distractions? Where can we turn for truth?”  His answer, “Seek truth in sources you can trust” and he listed sources to find pure truth – read the scriptures, seek personal revelation and follow the prophet – the watchman on the tower.  It is good that we are reading the New Testament this year but we need to study the Book of Mormon more than any other.   He remined us that Pres. Nelson said, “the survival handbook for our day is the Book of Mormon.”  The Book of Mormon is not a history but a prologue, sacred scripture written for our day.

In his talk Elder Gilbert spoke about new frontiers. It was a new frontier for the pioneers who came here to this valley and with courage and strength they sacrificed to build up the church. “The creation of this new stake is a new frontier for you to serve and help.  There are also personal frontiers that can help you move forward to learn and develop your own personal testimony.”    He also spoke about truth and urged all to go to trusted resources. Read the Book of Mormon for it testifies of Jesus Christ.  Elder Gilbert pointed out that Alma 36 is a chiasmus and is the longest one in the book – verse 1 echoes v. 30 and in the middle is v.17 which talks about the redemption of Jesus Christ. “Work for your testimony, feed it truth, don’t pollute it with the world’s false truths.”

Pres. Anderson spoke and said, “The Savior gave us a message – look to Him.  We no longer depend on Moapa and Bloomington and quoting Pres. Kelly Jensen at the first stake conference “We are our own people; we can take care of ourselves.’  Continue our desire to do better and redouble our efforts and we can double the size of our stakes.”

Pres. Hollingshead in his remarks said, “I never thought I would follow in my father-in-claw, Pres. Kelly Jensen’s footsteps. I have an overwhelming love for those in my stewardship.  I learned hard work from my father working along side him on the dairy farm milking cows when I was eight. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything – it was a blessing to work with my dad.   I learned hard work and honesty as he dealt others in his business. “

Pres. David J. Anderson will continue as president of the East Stake with Travis L. Wakefield as 1st counselor and Ryan W. Toone as 2nd counselor.  Jared M. Hollingshead was sustained as president of the West Stake with Mark E. Tichenor1st counselor and Vernon W. Pollock as 2nd counselor and Michael G. Waite will be stake patriarch.

The Mesquite East Stake will have the following units: Littlefield, Scenic, Valley View (Mesquite 2nd), Old Mill (Mesquite 4th), Summer Crest (Mesquite 5th), Vistas (Mesquite 7th) and the YSA branch.  The West Stake will be comprised of: Bunkerville 1st, 2nd, Heritage (Mesquite 3rd), Willows (Mesquite 6th) and Anthem (Mesquite 8th) and the Spanish Branch.

The process of dividing the stake started after the conference in June of 2019 taking into account the number of members and the fact that our valley is growing in population.   There are 2,588 members in the West Stake and 2,680 members in the East Stake.  The Young single Adult Branch and the Spanish Branch members can attend the branch they qualify for regardless of which stake has their membership records.  The YSA Branch will be hosted by the Mesquite West Stake and the Spanish Branch will be hosted by the Mesquite East Stake.    Each stake will have six wards and a branch.

Dividing the stake took a lot of planning and it is a hard decision to break up the unity in the Virgin Valley.  However, this will provide service opportunities for more men and women to have leadership callings and help the leaders more effectively minister to the members.  It will transform and improve the members just as it did 30 years ago when Mesquite became its own stake.  Pres. Kelly B Jensen at that first stake conference in 1994 said, “Now we get to be in charge of ourselves.”

Mesquite Nevada Stake was created February 13, 1994 with Elwin Whipple as Stake president, Kelly B.  Jensen and Mike Waite as counselors. There were 2,149 members of the Church at that time even though 3,000 members are usually required to form a new stake. This was 117 years after the first church meeting was held on a quiet Sunday morning on January 7, 1877 on Settler’s Point. About a year after the stake was created, ground breaking for the new stake center took place January 28, 1995 and dedication of the building followed 3 years later on January 10, 1998.

Prior to this the Virgin Valley area was part of the Moapa Stake. When the Moapa stake with a membership of 8,895 members was divided in 1954, Las Vegas Valley became its own stake. The “New” Moapa Stake then had a membership of 1,895.  The stake name was changed to Logandale Stake in 1974 when a stake center building was constructed in Logandale. On July 25, 1976 the Mesquite Ward was divided and became the Mesquite First Ward and Second Ward and with the ward in Bunkerville there were now three wards in the valley.

In 1988 the Mesquite and Bunkerville Wards with a membership of 1,642 were combined with the Bloomington Stake with Pres. Stephen H. Peterson as stake president.  Bloomington was a very small stake and when Mesquite joined Bloomington it was the first stake to include members from 3 states – Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

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