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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom

As of 31 December 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) reported 188,462 members in 45 stakes, 335 Congregations (286 wards[1] and 49 branches[1]), six missions, and two temples in the United Kingdom.[2]


  • History 1
    • Early missions 1.1
    • Expansion and emigration 1.2
    • World Wars and later developments 1.3
  • Membership statistics 2
  • Missions 3
  • Temples 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early missions

The oldest Mormon Chapel in the world: Gadfield Elm Chapel, near Pendock

The first River Ribble on 30 July 1837.[5]:34[6] On 6 August 1837 the first branch of the church was established in Preston, which remains today the oldest continuously functioning unit of the LDS Church.[7][8]

In September 1837 the group obtained, through the Preston Temperance Society, access to a building in Preston known as The Cockpit where meetings began to be held regularly, including the first general conference of the LDS Church in the UK on Christmas Day 1837.[9][10] On 8 April 1838 a second conference was held at which Joseph Fielding became president of the British mission and Willard Richards and William Clayton became counselors. On 20 April 1838 the other members of this first mission, who were not staying on, left Liverpool to return to the United States aboard, once again, the ship Garrick.[5]

Two native Scots, Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner, became the first missionaries to Scotland after they were converted whilst living in Ontario, Canada. They arrived 20 December 1839 and on 14 January 1840 Mulliner baptised the first converts in Scotland, Alexander Hay and his wife Jessie, in the River Clyde at Bishopton near Paisley.[11]

In 1838 Joseph Smith, the leader of the LDS Church, had announced that the Quorum of the Twelve should travel to the United Kingdom on a mission.[12] They arrived between January and April 1840. Among the first Apostles to arrive was Wilford Woodruff who, in March 1840, was introduced to leaders of the United Brethren and began preaching to their congregation. Ultimately all but one of the congregation converted to Mormonism and their chapel in Gadfield Elm became the first chapel of the Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom. The Gadfield Elm Chapel in Worcestershire is the oldest extant chapel of the LDS Church and was restored between 1994–2000.[13]

As part of this second mission, Orson Pratt headed to Scotland and, on 8 May 1840, he founded a branch of the church in Paisley.[14] Arthur's Seat, a hill in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, has a particular significance to the history of the Latter-day Saints in the UK, because this is where the nation of Scotland was dedicated in 1840 by Pratt "for the preaching of the gospel".[5]

In May 1840 the first issue of The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, a magazine for British Latter-day Saints, was printed.[15] It would be published regularly until 1970 becoming the longest continuously published periodical of the LDS Church.

The first official Mormon missionary activity in Northern Ireland occurred on 28 July 1840 when John Taylor and two Irish men, converted in England, preached in Newry. On 31 July 1840 they baptised the first Mormon convert in Ireland, Thomas Tate, in a lake near Loughbrickland.[7][16]

On 6 October 1840 Henry Royle and Frederick Cook became the first missionaries to enter Wales and reported 32 baptisms within two weeks of their arrival at Overton[17] By the end of 1840 there were 3626 church members in Britain.[18]:19

Expansion and emigration

The Emigrants statue, located in Albert Dock, Liverpool, commemorates Mormon emigration from the port of Liverpool

In 1845 a missionary named Dan Jones arrived in Wales. He would become one of the most successful Mormon missionaries to work in the United Kingdom. In December 1845 there were 493 baptised members of the LDS church in Wales, in January 1846 Dan Jones was placed in charge of the LDS missionary efforts there and by the time he left Wales in February 1849 there were 4,645 baptised members in Wales. He also led at least two emigrant parties from Wales to the Salt Lake Valley.[19][20] He initiated publishing pamphlets and other magazines in the Welsh language that ultimately led to the publication of a Welsh translation of the Book of Mormon in April 1852 by John Davis.[21]

By 1850 British membership had risen to 30,747 members (which was slightly more than the total in the United States at that time)[22] and a further 7,500 had already emigrated to the United States. Following the death of Joseph Smith and the subsequent migration west of the Latter-day Saints from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City, migration from the British Isles to the United States increased greatly.[18]:20 This emigration was aided by the church's Perpetual Emigration Fund.[23]

The Pearl of Great Price, now part of the Standard Works of the LDS Church, was first compiled in Liverpool in 1851 by Franklin D. Richards. Within a year it had been translated into Welsh.[24]

Opposition to Latter-day Saint missionary efforts in United Kingdom existed from the earliest missions but intensified in South Wales and the West Midlands in the 1850s, leading to some violent incidents.[25]

By 1892 the church membership still in the British Isles had fallen to only 2,604, despite around 111,330 baptisms occurring between 1837 and 1900[5][26] In a similar period of time at least 52,000[5] and up to 100,000 members[22] had emigrated to the United States.

In 1877 half of the 140,000 Mormons in Utah were of a British origin.[27] This migration would leave its mark upon Utah, which as of 2000 had the highest percentage of population claiming English descent (29%) of any state in the USA.[28]

World Wars and later developments

When the First World War broke out in 1914 all American LDS missionaries in the United Kingdom were evacuated back to the USA.[5] They would not return in any significant numbers until mid-1920 when the Home Office relaxed immigration controls, which had been in place since the end of the First World War.[29]

View of London, England temple from front gate

Prior to 1922 all Latter-day Saints in

  • LDS Newsroom (United Kingdom & Ireland)
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (UK and Ireland) – Official Site
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Visitors Site

External links

  1. ^ a b LDS Meetinghouse Locator, LDS Church, retrieved 22 August 2013 
  2. ^ "Summary Information Return 2012: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Great Britain)".  
  3. ^ Kimball, Heber C. (1882). President Heber C. Kimball's Journal. Faith Promoting Series, Book 7. Salt Lake City:  
  4. ^ "Media", (LDS British Pageant), retrieved 2014-01-15 
  5. ^ a b c d e f  
  6. ^ Whitney, Orson F. (1992) [1945]. Life of Heber C. Kimball. Bookcraft. p. 135.  
  7. ^ a b c "Country information: United Kingdom", Online Almanac ( 
  8. ^ Rohrer, Finlo (5 February 2008). "Welcome to Mormon heartland... Chorley, Lancs". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  9. ^ Kimball, Heber C. (1882). President Heber C. Kimball's Journal. Faith Promoting Series, Book 7. Salt Lake City:  
  10. ^  
  11. ^  
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Do you know where the oldest Mormon chapel in the world is?". BBC News. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  14. ^ Mays, Kenneth (12 December 2012). "Picturing history: Paisley, Scotland".  
  15. ^  
  16. ^ Whittaker, David J. (2009). "John Taylor and Mormon Imprints in Europe, 1840–52". In Woodger, Mary Jane. Champion of Liberty: John Taylor. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. pp. 111–142.  
  17. ^ Dennis, Ronald D. (2 March 2005), "The Beginnings of Mormonism in North Wales", Welsh Mormon History (Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University), retrieved 2014-01-15 
  18. ^ a b  
  19. ^ Christensen, Rex L. (March 1982). "I Have a Question".  
  20. ^ Dennis, Ronald D. (April 1987). "Dan Jones, Welshman: Taking the Gospel Home". Ensign. 
  21. ^ Dennis, Ronald D. (2002). "Llyfr Mormon: The Translation of the Book of Mormon into Welsh".  
  22. ^ a b "Mormon emigration from Sheffield". BBC. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Information Sheet 29: Mormon Emigration", Maritime Archives & Library Information Sheets, Merseyside Maritime Museum, 19 February 2004 
  24. ^  
  25. ^ Thorp, Malcolm R. (1998). "SECTARIAN VIOLENCE IN EARLY VICTORIAN BRITAIN: THE MORMON EXPERIENCE, 1837-1860". Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 70 (3): 135 – 147. 
  26. ^ Baugh, Alexander L. (2007). "The Church in Twentieth-Century Great Britain: A Historical Overview". In Doxey, Cynthia; Freeman, Robert C.; Holzapfel, Richard Neitzel et al. Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: The British Isles. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. pp. 237–59.  
  27. ^ "Mormon emigration from Sheffield". BBC. 
  28. ^ Brittingham, Angela; Cruz, C. Patricia de la (June 2004), "Ancestry: 2000", Census 2000 Brief, United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce, page 6, table 3 
  29. ^ Parrish, Alan K. "Turning the Media Image of the Church in Great Britain, 1922–33". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  30. ^ Barlow, Brent A. (1968). History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ireland since 1840. Brigham Young University. p. 128. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  31. ^ Boone, David F. The King of Kings Needs a Few Men": British Saints during World War II""". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  32. ^  
  33. ^ "Temples", (Rick Satterfield) 
  34. ^ "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country", Newsroom (LDS Church), 31 December 2011, retrieved 18 October 2012 
  35. ^ "History of the church in the UK". LDS Church. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. 
  36. ^ Quinn, D. Michael (December 1993). "I-Thou vs. I-It Conversions: the Mormon "Baseball Baptism" Era". Sunstone Magazine 16 (7): 30–44. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  37. ^  


See also

12. London England


Lingfield, Surrey, United Kingdom
17 February 1955
7 September 1958 by David O. McKay
18 October 1992 by Gordon B. Hinckley

42,775 sq ft (3,974 m2) and 190 ft (58 m) high on a 32 acre (12.9 ha) site
Modern contemporary, single spire - designed by Edward O. Anderson

52. Preston England


Chorley, Lancashire, United Kingdom
19 October 1992
7 June 1998 by Gordon B. Hinckley

69,630 sq ft (6,469 m2) and 159 ft (48 m) high on a 15 acre (6.1 ha) site
Modern, single-spire design - designed by Church A&E Services


The nation of Wales does not have its own mission.

  • England Birmingham Mission
  • England Leeds Mission
  • England London Mission
  • England London South Mission
  • England Manchester Mission
  • Scotland/Ireland Mission

There are currently 6 missions serving the British Isles:


Country/Dependency/ Territory Membership Stakes Wards Branches Total Congregations Missions Temples
England 145,385 36 230 28 258 5 2
Northern Ireland 5,297 1 8 3 13
Scotland 26,598 5 26 13 39 1
Wales 9,491 3 18 6 24
Bermuda 156 1 1
British Virgin Islands 150 2 2
Cayman Islands 204 1 1
Falkland Islands 10 1 1
Gibraltar 16
Guernsey 46 1 1
Isle of Man 300 1 1
Jersey 307 1 1
Turks and Caicos Islands 92 1 1
[7]Table shows LDS membership statistics as of 31 December 2011 for various regions and nations of the UK, along with British Crown Dependencies.

Membership statistics

During the same period the LDS Church engaged in a massive building program. Prior to the Presidency of David O. McKay most British LDS congregations met in rented rooms and buildings. This was considered a detriment to the LDS Church's proselyting and in the early 1960s a large number of chapels were constructed around the British Isles.[37]

According to D. Michael Quinn, in the late 1950s through to the early 1960s a new focus on growth in convert numbers led to the introduction of "Youth Baptism Program", which became colloquially known as the "Baseball Baptism Program". This used baseball and other team sports as a way to bring young teenage boys into the LDS Church. Introduced by President T. Bowring Woodbury, who led the British mission from October 1958 to January 1962, it dramatically increased the baptism rate for new converts (in 1962 there were 12,000 converts alone) but controversy over the focus on numbers, the pressure on missionaries from the British Mission headquarters and the use of deception to get boys to agree to baptism led to the program being ended by 1965, and excommunications (which was the process of cancelling membership at that time) of most of the inactive new converts followed.[36]

A second LDS Temple was completed in 1998 in Chorley, near Preston and known as the Preston England Temple.[34][35]

The first LDS temple in England was the London Temple, now known as the London England Temple, dedicated in 1958 and located south of London in Newchapel, Surrey.[33]

In the 1950s emigration to the United States began to be discouraged and local congregations proliferated.[32]

After the outbreak of the Second World War all American LDS missionaries were again evacuated. This was completed by early-1940 when the then British Mission President Hugh B. Brown returned to the USA. In his place a local Latter-day Saint, Andre K. Anastasiou, was appointed. Brown returned to the UK on March 29, 1944 and took back the Presidency. American missionaries would begin to return in 1946.[31]


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