Samual Brannan sailed with a group of saints aboard the ship, Brooklyn, from New York around the tip of South America and landed in Yerba Buena, known today as San Francisco. They arrived on July 31, l846, one year before Brigham Young and the pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. This group of saints were the first colony of home-seekers with women and children to sail around Cape Horn, the first group of Anglo settlers to come to California by water, and the first group of colonists to arrive after United States forces took California. (California Saints, pg.39) Thus, California was now open to missionary work.
On July 12, 1966, one hundred and twenty years after the landing of the Brooklyn,, the California Mission was divided. The new mission was called the California South Mission. An office was rented at 710 North Euclid in Anaheim and a home at 1507 Westmont Street, across the street from the Loara Building (Anaheim Stake Center). A building lot was purchased a short distance away at 1427 Janeen Way. The new mission home was completed and dedicated by Elder LeGrand Richards, of the Council of the Twelve, on November 5, 1967. For more than 30 years, no one but a mission president has resided in this home. Thousands and thousands of missionaries have passed through the mission home and each testifying of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lynn Thomsen tells the story of how the mission home was built:
In 1966 when they were getting ready to divide the California Los Angeles
Mission and create the California South Mission, Elder LeGrande Richards
came to Anaheim to locate a mission home and a mission office. After
several days of looking for a mission home and while having lunch at our
home, Elder Richards said "Brother Thomsen your home would make
a great mission home." I told him I owned the lot next door and we arrived
at an agreement
that I would build a home next door with the same floor plan but a
different exterior and the Church could choose which home they wanted for
the mission home. They chose the home next door (1427 West Janeen
Way)which became the California South Mission home , then the Anaheim
California Mission home which it is still today.
The California South Mission began with a missionary force of 134 elders and 9 sisters. Geographically it included central and southern California as well as Arizona. The estimated Church membership was 155,000 residing in 32 stakes. The mission prospered greatly during the late 1960's. Baptisms in 1966-67 were 1800, 1967-68 were 2400; and in 1968-69 were 3900. The mission had grown to 175,000 and 40 stakes by 1969. A total of 8100 converts in three years!
In July of 1969 the mission was once again divided into three missions: the Arizona Mission, the California East Mission, and the original California South Mission.
On August 1, 1974, the California South Mission was once again divided. The California San Diego Mission was created and the California South Mission was renamed the California Anaheim Mission.
Two years later in 1976, the California Arcadia Mission was formed and the California Anaheim Mission became even smaller. In July of 1980, the California San Bernardino Mission was created and the California Anaheim Mission now covered only Orange County. The area boundaries for the California Anaheim Mission remained unchanged for 13 years, but the number of stakes increased from 9 to 16. The Santa Ana South Stake, the second Spanish stake on the North American continent, was one of those stakes.
On July 1, 1993, the California Anaheim Mission was once again divided. The California Carlsbad Mission was created from the Anaheim and San Diego Missions.
Only five years later, on July 1, 1998, the California Anaheim Mission was divided again. Portions of the California Anaheim Mission, California Arcadia Mission, and California Los Angeles Mission were combined to form the California Long Beach Mission.
The California Anaheim Mission is still one of the smallest geographical missions on the North American Continent, excluding the California Long Beach Mission, the MTC, and the Temple Square Mission.