South Carolina Columbia Mission

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South Carolina was originally part Southern States Mission when it was opened in 1876. In June 1971, the Southern States mission was divided and renamed the Georgia-South Carolina Mission. On June 20, 1974, it was renamed the Georgia Atlanta Mission in accordance to the new church naming policy for missions. On July 1, 1975, the South Carolina Columbia Mission organized.


The Church

As of year-end 2007, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Carolina reported 36,141 members in 6 stakes, 46 wards, 14 branches, 1 mission, and 1 temple located in the state capitol, Columbia.

Dedicated October 16, 1999

Dedicated October 16, 1999

Joseph Smith prophesied in the late 1830s of the destruction soon to hit South Carolina: “the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls … the Southern states will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain…” This warning saw reality in 1861, when the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter, and the Civil War commenced and ended in 1865.

Some of the earliest branches were established at King’s Mountains beginning March 3, 1882, and among the Catawba Indian community beginning July 31, 1885. Conference headquarters were established at the plantation of John Black, a man who remained unbaptized in order to provide refuge for the Church. Many converts, including Indians, moved onto his plantation to escape persecution. The Catawbas also shielded missionaries from persecutions. Most of the Catawbas joined the Church and remained faithful in South Carolina.


South Carolina is a state proud for its southern home cookin’! From seafood to grits, barbecue and sweet tea, you’re sure to find plenty of heaping dishes to fill your belly and your soul. Some traditional favorites found on are listed below:

Benne Wafers  These light little sesame-seed-filled crackers are a traditional South Carolina snack. Find them at shops all across the Lowcountry.

Butter Beans  The Southern version of lima beans, any meat-and-three place worth its salt will have them on the menu, especially in the summertime. And for an upscale version, butter bean “pate” is starting to appear on menus from Charleston to Greenville.

Buttermilk Pie  If you grew up here, your grandmother made this custard-like pie for Sunday dinner. It’s the simplest, most delicious slice you can get.

Crab Cakes  South Carolina’s waters are full of big blue crabs, and crab cakes appear on menus as sandwiches, appetizers, and main courses. Just make sure they’re house-made.

Fried Fish and Shrimp Platter  Whether it’s served on a paper plate or fine china, make sure it’s hot, fresh, and crispy.

Hoppin’ John  This classic side dish is made with black-eyed peas, rice, ham, celery, and spices. It brings you good luck to eat it on New Year’s Day. The rest of the year it’s just yummy.

Okra Soup  If you’re lucky enough to see it on a menu, by all means order it.

Oysters  If the month has an “R” in it, it’s oyster season in South Carolina. Spots all along the coast serve them up roasted, raw, fried or just about any way you’d like. Oyster roasts help Lowcountry natives survive those cold months between Christmas and spring.

Peach Cobbler  It’s hard to go wrong with this summer staple in a state that grows so many peaches. Some of the best versions are served right at the orchards or farmers markets. Now that’s farm-to-table goodness.

Pulled-Pork Barbecue with Mustard-Based Sauce  This spiced-up brownish mustard sauce is a trademark of the area around Columbia, and it’s not anything like the kind you get back home.

Red Rice  A staple in Lowcountry kitchens for generations, this is made from rice, tomato sauce, and bacon.

She-Crab Soup  Very rich, creamy, and topped with sherry.

Shrimp and Grits  There are as many recipes as there are fireflies on a Southern night. With luck your version is served over Anson Mills grits and has ham, local tomatoes and Palmetto Sweet onions.

Sweet Tea  Not from a mix, not unsweetened, not hot. The real thing is brewed on the stove, stirred by hand and served in a tall glass filled with ice. You’ll hear about it, you may be offered a glass, but just thank your host and politely decline! This tea is not approved for missionaries.

Shrimp Burgers  With the abundance of shrimp in South Carolina, you’d think these would be on every menu, but they aren’t. If you can’t find them while you’re here, make them at home to eat while you’re looking at your vacation photos. Recipe here.


Sisters may have a car but more and more are receiving bikes. Regardless of whether you have 2 or 4 wheels, Elders and Sisters will still be doing a lot of walking as that is the best way to talk to most people!

Public transportation is rarely used as in most areas it is not entirely reliable.


As with any mission in the world there are some areas that should not be visited after dark. Stay close to the spirit and you will know. Don’t carry a lot of valuables with you or you will make yourself a target.


Eat all the food! You have to visit a barbecue buffet at least once.
If you serve in Charleston or Myrtle beach you can see the ocean, but you’re not allowed to touch the sand or water so check it out from afar.

Local Lingo

Y’all. 🙂 One of the most common phrases you will use is “Y’all be blessed” which translated means “all of you have a nice day”

Essential Equipment

Definitely need an umbrella & bug spray (both for you and to spray the apartment)

Additional Info

Shipping to South Carolina:

Packages and letters can only be forwarded from the mission home if they are priority mail. Otherwise you’ll get them when the assistants come to your area, or at Zone Conference.

Flag of South Carolina Columbia Mission


United States
President Judd A. Turner

110 Oak Park Dr Ste B
Irmo SC 29063
United States

Columbia Local: 129,272; LDS: 38,043
Christian: Baptist, Methodist
Columbia has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters, early springs, warm autumns, and very hot and humid summers. Annual precipitation, at 44.6 inches, peaks in the summer months and is the least during spring and fall.
Columbia, Charlsteon, North Charleston


Straight from the South Carolina Columbia Mission:

*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Good Mexican Food”

*What did you eat the most of?
“Southern Food”

“From members: lasagna, chicken, grits, southern style Mac and cheese, pulled pork.  At home: Tuna, smoothies, oatmeal, veggies from members gardens, rice & chicken”

*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“I didn’t have to eat anything too crazy!”

“Possum… And vegetables are always seasoned with bacon and butter”

*What was most surprising about the culture?
“I was most shocked about the Racism among some of the members. I came from a place that it wasn’t an issue but it still was in the south”

*What advice would you give to someone going to the South Carolina Columbia Mission?
“Think of everything as a test and an opportunity to learn something that will serve you later in life.”

“Most people don’t know a lot about our church. However some churches give classes that are anti Mormon to their members.  People who live in humble circumstances are often the most humble & willing to hear the gospel. The most important thing people need to understand about the gospel is the priesthood authority. They have almost all been baptized, and have strong faith in Christ but understanding the correct authority is huge!”

*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“I wish I had known more about the gospel. I was a brand new member so there wasn’t the opportunity. I also wish that I knew how short life is! Time flies”

“How to explain the gospel in simple terms.”

*Other comments?

**Did you serve in the South Carolina Columbia Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at or fill out this form**