|Lyman E Johnson|
The Eastern States Mission was organized on 6 May 1839 as the second mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first missionaries to serve in New Jersey were Elders Orson Pratt and Lyman E Johnson. They began their service in 1832. In 1837, Elders Parley P Pratt, Benjamin Winchester, and Jedediah M Grant followed. Branches were formed in Toms River, Paterson, Lodi Print Works, Wacake, Newark, and Mead’s Basin. The following are excerpts from the journal of Parley P Pratt, written shortly before the mission was organized: “…we preached, advertised, printed, published, testified, visited, talked, and prayed in apparent vain. To all appearance there was no interest or impression on the minds of the people in regard to the fullness of the Gospel. We hired chapels and advertised, but the people would not hear so we felt as though we had spent our money, time, and effort in vain. …The Lord gave unto me a revelation concerning the missionary work…The Lord had many people in this area and through the Holy Spirit he would gather them into his fold…Because of our labors and diligence in serving the Lord, I knew there would be more doors opened to us and more people to teach than we could handle. ..As we continued to preach and teach, branches of the church were formed in New Jersey, Brooklyn, and throughout various parts of Long Island.”
Thus, in 1839, Elder Parley P Pratt had organized a branch in Jersey City where he had invested considerable proselyting efforts.
By 1848, twenty-one branches of the Church existed in New Jersey. When President Joseph Smith Jr called for the Saints to “gather” to Nauvoo, most of the branches moved to Illinois. As late as 1879, there was still a small group of Saints in Perth Amboy. In the 1920’s there was again a branch in Newark.
The name of the mission was changed from Eastern States Mission in 1974 to the New York, New York Mission, New Jersey being a part of that mission. By 1987, the growth of the Church made a further change in boundaries advisable and the New Jersey Morristown Mission was formed. On 1 July 1995, the New Jersey Morristown Mission was split once again, to create the New Jersey Cherry Hill Mission. In the New Jersey Morristown Mission today, there are approximately 35 branches and wards in the Morristown, Caldwell, and Scotch Plains Stakes as well as the Paterson District.
Presently the New Jersey Morristown Mission has 130 missionaries. The languages of these missionaries are English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Diverse language skills are greatly needed in this multi-ethic area. Converts to the Church today come from a wide variety of backgrounds—Europe, Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean Islands, the Middle East, and Asia.
Past Mission Presidents: President Dan J Workman (1987-1990), President Clinton D Davis (1990-1993), President Boyd R Poulton (1993-1996), President Bruce A Schreiner (1996-1999), President Robert L Webb (1999-2002), President Merrill R Norman (2002-2005), President Stephen K Parkinson (2005-2008), President A Lee Bahr (2008-2011), and President Jon Jeppson (1 July 2011-)