This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first vision of Joseph Smith in which he saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ the Savior.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold sacred the events of that morning which ushered in a new dispensation and a restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This being the 200th anniversary of that event; many members of the church may be inspired to visit the sacred grove south of Palmyra New York where the church normally operates a few museums and provides tours.

For those of us in Colorado, even in the best of times a trip to New York may be out of the question; but given the current COVID-19 pandemic even if you drove to Palmyra you would find the site closed to the public until further notice.

So I embarked on a journey to discover more of the church’s history here in Colorado. Without violating any social distancing protocols I invite you to consider taking this journey with me; either virtually via the pictures below or on your own on a Sunday evening to come!

Where it All Started In Colorado

On August 7th, 1846 a settlement of 61 recent converts of the church traveling from Mississippi made camp on the Arkansas River just east of present-day Pueblo.

They had come along the main Overland trail to Fort Laramie but discovered the first groups from Nauvoo had stopped for the winter at Council Bluffs. Rather than turn back to join them; a trapper named John Renshaw led them down to a small adobe trading fort called El Pueblo which was thought to be a more suitable place to spend the winter.

They made their camp about a half-mile south of El Pueblo.

While encamped in Pueblo the settlement was also joined by 3 different groups of the Mormon Battalion arriving between September 1846 and January 27th, 1847. With the arrival in January, the population of the colony reached 289 people.

While encamped this temporary colony was the first branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colorado. The settlement is also widely believed to be the first Anglo settlement in what is now the state of Colorado. The settlement also was the home of the first anglo born child in Colorado; Sarah Emma Kartchner.

In April 1847, the first members of the settlement began their trek north to Fort Laramie where they were waiting when Brigham Young arrives on June 1847. By the fall of 1848, all the members of the church had left the Pueblo settlement.

When You Visit:

Click here for Google Maps. Nestled behind a city baseball diamond on an empty corner of the lot is a marker. The nearest public parking is at the Runyon Field Sports Complex.

Courtesy: KennethMays – Deseret News
Courtesy: Google Maps
Courtesy: KennethMays – Deseret News

“Mormons Are In Denver”

A clipping from the Rocky Mountain News Newspaper Monday, February 8th, 1897

The first official opening of the church in Colorado took place on December, 15th 1896 when John W. Taylor arrived in Denver with three other missionaries. At that time the mission was named the “Colorado Mission” and comprised the State of Colorado.

The first mission home and consequently the first building officially occupied by the church in Colorado is shown below. Its address or where it was located in Denver is not known although I found a home extremely similar near the Governor’s mansion on Pennsylvania st, I’m rather confident that the home shown below at which President Taylor lived is either no longer standing or is still hiding from me.

President Taylor remained the mission president until 1901 when Joseph A McRae was called. He served until 1909.

In 1904 the church built its first building in Colorado. The building would serve as the new mission home and the first chapel until 1917. That building is still standing and is located at the corner of Galapago St and 6th Ave.

Now apartments, this building was the first officially built by the church in Colorado in 1904.

On the end of the building, easiest to read from 6th avenue is a plaque erected June 1, 2000, for the 60th anniversary of the Denver Colorado Stake.

On April 1st, 1907 the mission name was changed to the “Western States Mission and encompassed several other neighboring states.

Bonus Places to Visit

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site sits east of the original Mormon settlement in Pueblo along the Arkansas river.

Although there is no marker about the Mormons at the Fort, they did have a lot of interactions with the site during their stay at Pueblo. Two of the Mississippi Saints from the colony; William Kartchner and James Harmom worked for the U.S. Army setting wagon tires.

Journal entries from members of the first detachment to separate from the Battalion, called the Higgins, or Family Detachment, mentions that after they separated from the main Battalion in present-day Kansas, they stopped for a couple of days before reaching Pueblo to use a forge to make repairs on their iron wagon tires. The only place along the Santa Fe Trail between Kansas and Pueblo with a forge that would enable them to do that was at Bent’s Fort. Therefore, it is safe to speculate that perhaps some of the women in the group may have visited the Fort, making them among the first Angelo women to be there. Finally, because the Battalion members at Pueblo were active members of the U.S. Army, they were authorized to draw rations from the Army’s food and supplies that were stored at the Fort, which they did on at least two occasions.

The Trappers Trail Marker is a marker that sits on the property of Adams County Historical Society located at 9601 Henderson Rd, Brighton, CO 80601.

Donated by members of the church, this marker tells the story of the “Trappers Trail” which was traveled primarily by trappers between Fort Laramie and Bent’s Fort in the 1800s.

Although this image doesn’t show it clearly, the right 3rd of the marker tells the story of the Mormon settlement in Pueblo that traveled this trail

It was along this trail that the members of the church from Mississippi traveled down to the settlement in Pueblo and likely along this same trail that they traveled back north in 1847 to join Brigham Young’s party.

That concludes my church history tour of Colorado!

On Thursday, March 5, 2020 the Longmont Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held their 14th annual Teacher Appreciation  Night.

Thirty-five students expressed their gratitude and awarded certificates of appreciation to 35 different teachers and mentors from around the St. Vrain Valley School District and elsewhere.

The evening began with our keynote speaker Carrie Adams who is the program director for the Silver Creek High School Leadership Academy. She started off the evening with an uplifting speech and by awarding the first certificate to her mentors and teachers.

Bitsy and her husband Ron Carlson had a positive impact in Carrie’s life at a critical time in her life at Boulder high school 40 years ago. This led to her life as an educator and coach.

Our MC’s for the evening were Seniors Austin Robison and Kerrigan Thornock. The crowd shed some tears and laughs as the Seniors each highlighted their special mentors. The evening concluded with a musical number by the Graduating Seniors called “Each Life That Touches ours for Good.”

Twenty-one local High School Seniors from eight area high schools were able to honor the teachers who had the greatest impact on their lives at a Teacher Appreciation Ceremony held Tuesday, March 3 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building on Lowell Boulevard in Broomfield.

Westminster Stake Senior Wyatt Eames and his parents along with his basketball coach Bryce Babcock and Mrs. Babcock

The Seniors, who all belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were able to share tributes to the teachers they nominated and presented them with special certificates. The teachers taught a wide variety of subjects: calculus, physics, chemistry, literature, statistics, English, orchestra, music theory and more.

There were also various coaches and music teachers. Many principals also attended to support and honor the nominated teachers and their students. The tributes the students read were touching and left no doubt in anyone’s mind how hard these educators work to teach and mentor.

Sophie Hendrix said that Mr. James Hinkle, her middle school Spanish teacher, taught her that no one is too small to change the world for the better. Izabella Luna said, “She makes the whole world feel like home,” when speaking of her teacher, Ms. Kathy Zook.

Chase Esplin felt like his baseball team was a family thanks to his coach Mr. Ty Giordano. Amelia Curtis learned many life lessons in addition to how to play the piano from her piano teacher Ms. Yvette Mitchell.

One teacher helped a student through the tragic death of a friend. Another teacher continued to be an excellent teacher and mentor despite being diagnosed with cancer.

Several teachers inspired their students to pursue teaching as an occupation in the future. All of the teachers and coaches touched their students’ lives by listening to them and caring for them. The teachers were great at passing down academic knowledge but even better at letting kids know their worth.

The night ended with light refreshments and a chance for students and teachers to visit with each other. Those who attended the event were uplifted and given hope for the future. Our community is full of great teachers and great students.

Starting March 1, join thousands of individuals and take the #ShareHappiness Challenge!

With daily emails on how you can share happiness with loved ones, friends, co-workers, or even the people you bump into on the street, we’re excited to challenge you to put a smile on their face (and yours too!)

I invite you to participate in the #ShareHappiness Challenge during the month of March.  As we participate, happiness will come into our own lives as well as put a smile on the face of those we serve. 

Elder Thomas Priday

Download the JustServe app or sign up on our website to get started! Complete at least 10 challenges in March and you could win prizes. How?

Follow and tag @JustServe on instagram, and share your experiences by using #ShareHappiness to be entered for a chance to win, but more importantly, give back to those around you!

Visit to take the #ShareHappiness Challenge and get 25 daily acts of kindness emailed straight to you!

After more than a year of planning and anticipation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints finally brought its formal relationship with the Boy Scouts of America to a close on December 31st, 2019.

With more than half of the youth in the church outside of the US the decision to move away from scouting toward a Church designed program that can be implemented universally worldwide meant a 20% decrease in the number of young men in the Boy Scouts nationwide.

On Dec 31st, The Denver Post published a wonderful article which can be found in its entirety by clicking here.

Image Credit: Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

While the two organizations will no longer be formally intertwined, Colorado’s church members made clear that the relationship will remain strong. On Dec. 19, [Elder Thomas] Priday penned a letter to the Scout executive of the Denver-area council, John Cabeza, expressing his appreciation of a century of close ties.

Priday has been involved in the Scouts for more than half that time. His three brothers were Scouts. His son was a Scout. Some of his best friends and mentors to this day he met in the Scouts. On that December day, he watched with pride as his grandson, Ashton, walked across that bridge.

What’s on the other side, however, remains to be seen.

“It’s been hard, it truly has,” Priday said. “It’s the bittersweet end of a really positive relationship. I can’t say enough about what Scouting has meant to me.” – December 31st 2019 – Sam Tabachnik – “They’ve been intertwined for more than 100 years. Now the Boy Scouts and Latter-day Saints prepare for life apart.”

You can click here to read the letter mentioned above sent from Elder Priday to John Cabeza.

The future is uncertain but what is clear is that it is the hope of all of us that The Boy Scouts of America can continue to prosper in spreading the ideas and values articulated in the Scout Law and Scout Oath throughout Colorado!

It was a fun and busy season for the Denver Giving Machines in 2019. The first year in Denver meant extra attention from the local media and press. What follows is a summary of some of the local media coverage given to the machines!

KDVR Fox 31Colorado’s Best

KCNC CBS 4 News Story

KMGH ABC 7 News Story

KUSA NBC 9 News Story


Last Saturday, December 14th , the Colorado Saints Chorale put on a special holiday concert in Brighton, Colorado, titled, Joy to the World. The concert featured soloists Lauren Flauding and Victoria Olson.

There was also beautiful music provided on the strings by Chuck Skinner and Ellen Taylor (violin), Sara McFadden (cello), and Sierra Hicken on the harp.

The concert marks one of the first times the Chorale has partnered with the Brighton Colorado Stake. This was a wonderful opportunity for the group to bring their talents up North and share their message of the Savior across more of Colorado.

This magnified the mixed-voice choir’s mission as an ambassador for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And their impact was certainly felt on Saturday night. The music emanating from the choir and soloists was beautiful, and certainly warmed hearts.

But the concert also contributed to warming individuals another way–with a successful coat drive. Through a partnership with the Salvation Army, 176 coats will be distributed to those in need this Christmas.

The Brighton Stake was honored to work with Major Pease of the Salvation Army. Leslie Aldridge, Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the Stake, coordinated these efforts.

All who attended felt that the whole night was a great way to celebrate the Christmas Season and the Joy the Christ Child brought to the World.