THE TEXAS HOUSTON MISSION
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Texas Houston Mission was created on 1 July 1976, the result of a split from the sprawling Texas San Antonio Mission. It became the third mission in the Lone Star State and the 142nd mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, born 23 years after the Houston Texas Stake was created. President George L. Merrill was called as the first to preside over this new mission. He soon secured a beautiful new mission home on La Creek Drive in Spring, Texas, which has served each succeeding mission president through the present time.
The new mission soon gained an identity with the creation of a mission seal, mission creed, and the mission newsletter, The Refiner's Fire. Elder Paul Carrillo wrote the words and music for The Texas Houston Mission Song in 1978.
The first mission office was located in an office suite in Spring, Texas. With the formation of the Texas Houston North Stake in November 1975, a new stake center and welfare complex on Hafer Road in North Houston underwent construction. As part of the welfare complex, offices for the new mission were incorporated into the design. The new facility, which opened in about 1980, also housed a Bishop's Storehouse, LDS Social Services, and LDS Employment Services. The location of the stake center adjacent to the mission office provided a convenient place for training meetings, transfer/departure meetings, and the required parking to accommodate monthly transfers.
As membership grew, a significant blessing came to those living within the mission boundaries with the dedication of the Dallas Texas Temple on October 19-24, 1984. This significantly reduced the amount of travel required to reach a temple, with members living in Houston being only four hours away. Travel to the Arizona Temple would no longer be required.
THE FIRST SPLIT
After great increases in the area's population and Church membership since the "boom" of the early 1980s, the first split of the mission occurred 1 July 1990, resulting in the formation of the Texas Houston East Mission. The geographically large areas of the original mission to the east and south (extending into Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast) made up the new mission, part of which included the Houston Texas East, Friendswood Texas, and Kingwood Texas Stakes.
Remaining in the Texas Houston Mission (now one of the smallest in land area outside of Southern California) were the Houston Texas, Houston Texas South, Houston Texas North, College Station Texas, and Cypress Texas Stakes. The Katy Texas Stake (created 1 December 1991) also belonged in the mission. In 2003, the Klein Texas Stake was created from a division of the Cypress Texas and Houston Texas North Stakes.
THE SECOND SPLIT
With continued growth of the Church and the ability to provide additional missions and missionaries, it became possible to create a third mission in the metropolitan Houston area. On 1 July 1997, the Texas Houston South Mission was created. This new mission took in the southern Gulf Coastal portions of the Texas Houston East Mission and the south and southwestern portions of the Texas Houston Mission, primarily including the THM's Houston Texas South Stake.
TODAY AND THE FUTURE
The Church in the Houston area continues to grow and has become much more prominent in the last few years. A large percentage of the faculty at Texas A&M University in College Station are members of the church. Former BYU quarterback, Gifford Nielsen, from Sugarland, is the Sports Director/anchor for KHOU-TV Channel 11.
Beautiful meetinghouses are located prominently on major streets in The Bayou City. The prayers of faithful members of the Church have been answered with the reality of a new temple which has become a spiritual monument among the forest of oaks in northwest Houston. President Gordon B. Hinckley announced plans for the new Houston Texas Temple on 4 October 1997. A groundbreaking ceremony for the full-size temple located on the corner of Champion Forest Drive and Cypresswood Drive was held 13 June 1998. President Hinckley dedicated the uniquely designed temple 26 August 2000.
The growth of the population and the Church which is occurring within the boundaries of the Texas Houston Mission make this an exciting time for the members and missionaries who serve there. These reasons, along with the many wonderful experiences that missionaries encounter, make the Texas Houston Mission just one of the great missions of the Church.