Frederick S. Williams had served as president of the Argentine Mission from 1938 to 1942. After his release, he worked for the U.S. Government in South America and during 1944, lived in Uruguay. On June 25, 1944, the Montevideo Branch was organized for a few North American families in the city. In 1947, Frederick S. Williams was again called to preside over missionary work in South America, this time to open up the Uruguay Mission. His eight-year-old son, Frederick G. Williams, who had been born during the family's Argentine mission, was the first person baptized in Uruguay. By the end of the year there were 24 missionaries serving in Uruguay.
Later, on November 4, 1948, Avelino Juan Rodriguez and his wife, Maria Esther, were the first natives from Uruguay to be baptized. Brother Rodriguez recalled: "It was very hard to be the first one baptized. It was not hard, though, to be spiritual because I lived the gospel." President Williams described this historic event: "The ordinance was performed in the Arroyo Seco at a point not far from the mouth of the stream. It was a beautiful summer day, ideal for the baptisms." (See Church News, July 24, 1993) By the end of the year, there were fourteen branches established.
The Montevideo Stake was organized on November 12, 1967, with Vicente C. Rubio as president There were 14,800 members in Uruguay at that time. By 1970, there were over 15,000 members.
During 1973, a terrible drought struck the country, killing cattle, destroying crops, and causing an energy shortage. A nationwide fast was appointed. The Saints gathered on Sunday in a spirit of fasting and prayer. President Airel O. Fedrigotti, second counselor in the Montevideo Uruguay West Stake related: "On Monday it was cloudy. On Tuesday it began raining. It rained without stopping for four or five days--until we began to think we would have to fast again. The government lifted the electrical restrictions on Saturday. Many members have since expressed to me their strong testimonies of fasting and prayer."
In March of 1975, an area conference was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, presided over by President Spencer W. Kimball. Prior to the conference, President Kimball visited Uruguay.
In 1980 there were over 22,000 members and thirteen stakes. Uruguay became only the third country that had stakes covering its entire borders. Later some stakes were discontinued. In 1990 there were 52,000 members and 64,000 in 1996.
In August, 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Montevideo, Uruguay. He met with 250 missionaries, 1,264 priesthood leaders, and about 11,000 members in a regional conference in Cilindro Municipal Stadium. A 600-voice choir provided the music. At the conclusion of the session, members waved white handkerchiefs and stood in silence as President Hinckley left the stadium. ("Visit is climax to events, greeted with reverence, joy." Church News, Saturday, August 23, 1997)
In August of 1997, Saints in Uruguay celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Uruguay mission. One of the early missionaries, LaMar Williams, participated in this event. He said: "All were impressed with the feeling that in spite of the distance and the years that have passed, the friendships that you make in the gospel are eternal. This was an experience never to be forgotten for all of us who traveled to Uruguay for such a special occasion." (Church News, "Uruguay mission, created in 1947, still flourishing," September 27, 1997)