History of the Church

Anniversary of the British Mission
July 17, 2019
History of the Church
History of the British Mission
Author BYU Studies Staff

The first missionaries to England arrived in Liverpool on 20 July 1837. Their efforts met with remarkable success.

"Cradling Mormonism: The Rise of the Gospel in Early Victorian England," Ronald W. Walker
"The Gospel is spreading," jubilantly wrote the Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball from England in 1840, and "the devils are roaring." Elder Kimball, along with six missionary associates, first landed in England from America in July 1837. Their proselyting efforts produced what seemed to them a remarkable success. In less than a year, they added approximately 1,500 to the handful of members they had found in the British Isles.

Why had Victoria's subjects found this imported religion from America so compelling? The answer lay partly with the cradling social conditions of the time. Too, the reason for Mormon success was the result of the qualities of the religion itself. Mormonism as it was first preached in Great Britain was a youthful and vibrant faith that spoke in the British industrial and preindustrial vernacular. Its message fit perfectly (some would say providentially) with the social and religious upheaval of the time.

"The First Mormon in the Old World," from Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, by Stanley B. Kimball, at archive.org, pp. 44—45
This chapter describes the activities of Elder Kimball and his companions during the 1837-38 mission to England. Kimball preached, taught, gave prophetic blessings, and worked tirelessly to establish the Church in England.

"British Mission, Founded 1837," at churchofjesuschrist.org
This page lists official records of the British Mission, including a list of persons and places found in British Mission manuscript history.

"History of the Church in Great Britain," Richard L. Evans
This article was adapted from Elder Evans’s book A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain, published in 1937. The book in turn was based on a series of articles written for the Millennial Star in 1928–29, while Elder Evans served as a missionary in England. “The story of Mormonism in Great Britain is an intense human drama going back almost to the very beginnings of the restoration of the gospel in this dispensation.”

"The First Mission to Great Britain," from Latter-day Saint History: 1815—1846, Institute Manual