Many of the terms and expressions used in the community histories in this section will be confusing to those who haven’t grown up here. Some explanation is needed.
Franklin County was settled primarily by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Terminology used in the histories is well-known to members of the faith, but are not explained for those outside the faith. Below are some terms and their definitions that might be useful to the non-Mormon reading them:
Ward – Large congregations (approximately 300 or more members) in a specified area are called “wards.” Smaller congregations are called “branches.” A ward is led by a bishop and two counselors, who constitute a bishopric. Branches are led by a branch president and two counselors.
Stake - usually consists of five to twelve congregations (wards or branches) in a specified area. Stakes are led by a stake president and two counselors, in addition to twelve High Councilors.
Presiding Elder – in the early days of settlement, congregations were led by a “presiding elder.” Today the term is “bishop.” Back then, there was little separation between church and state. The “presiding elder” also served as mayor. Until incorporation, decisions were usually made by vote of the people. If they wanted a park in their community, they made it happen.
Although the land was homesteaded through legal channels for their farms, it was members of the LDS Church who built the roads and canals they needed, provided buildings and teachers for the community schools, which also served as their early church houses, and provided stores, post offices, and other needed services, usually out of their homes. Later that all changed, and services were provided by an incorporated city organization, separate from the church leadership. But it was not that way in the beginning. So when the history says the ward was organized and named “the Glendale ward,” it was the name of the church unit. Eventually, it became the name of the town, or the area. It’s what everyone has called it for over a century.