The experience of missionary John Brown in Alabama is typical of other early missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Community members assumed the 17-year-old in ragged clothing was a simple cotton picker. They gathered to hear him speak one day in 1843, expecting entertainment by mocking the young preacher. After he began, however, the crowd members silenced and "were as motionless as statues of marble." Brown was well-treated afterward.
In early 1844, there were approximately 120 members of the Church in Alabama in three congregations. Three months later, in areas including Mississippi, there were approximately 190 members in seven congregations. Early converts were often baptized in the Alabama River, and many immigrated West to avoid persecution. In 1930, there were nearly 2,520 members of the Church in Alabama. Several members came to Alabama employed by the military and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.