History of Methodism in Utah

Utah is primarily known as the headquarters and cultural hearth of Mormonism, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, some of Utah’s earliest roots center around its established Methodist community. This tour illustrates the tradition and heritage of Methodism that has played a significant role in the development of the Beehive State through four locations and stories.

First, the tour will highlight the lives of the prominent Methodist couple, J.C. and Berta Penney, and their involvement with the Methodist community of Salt Lake City, specifically the First United Methodist Church building located downtown. Second, the tour will highlight the instrumental role of the legendary frontiersman, Jedediah Smith, as a heroic and faithful figure of Utah Methodist identity. The impact of Jedediah Smith is still felt today as is evident at the tour’s second location at This is the Place Heritage Park and its recent Pioneer Walks of Faith Memorial addition. Third, the tour will tell the story of how First United Methodist Church established a home at the May 1906 dedication of their current church building in downtown Salt Lake City. Finally, the tour will narrow its scope by spotlighting First United Methodist Church’s treasured Wesleyan Heritage Organ located at the downtown building. The story tells of the organ’s dedication, renovation, and continual service to the region. Explore a few select histories of Methodism in Utah to gain a greater appreciation for one of Utah’s many communities and their unique experience in the heart of the Intermountain West.

Utah’s First Methodist Pioneer - Jedediah Strong Smith

Early American Methodism and the exploration of the American West share a common pioneering ancestor in Jedediah Smith. While many of the commonly held beliefs about Jedediah Smith’s religious background and affiliation would require the support of…