Unofficially, church work began in 1850 by British sailors who visited Calcutta, India. They were followed in 1851 by Elder Joseph Richards, who had baptized several people in Calcutta and then set them apart as missionaries. A small branch (a small congregation) was established, but was depleted by emigration. However, additional missionaries arrived and baptized a few more people, and a small meetinghouse was built.

In 1853, additional missionaries took the gospel message to Madras, Bombay, Rangoon, Karachi, Poona, and other areas, and several small branches were established. However, when these missionaries returned to Utah in 1858, some of the new members also emigrated. Although other missionaries and baptisms followed, the missionaries were not successful in learning the native languages and the India Mission was not considered a successful one. At least one branch existed through 1903.

Other missionary efforts were initiated in subsequent years with some success. In 1981, government regulations allowed a missionary couple to establish a branch. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated into Telugu in 1981.

In 1993, a mission was created in Bangalore with Gucharan Singh Gill, a native of India, presiding over it. At that time there were 1,150 members in 13 branches, which increased to 2,000 members in 18 branches five years later.

The first meetinghouse in India was dedicated on 2 February 2002, housing the Rajahmundry Branch.