The Decline in Convert Baptisms and Member Emigration from the British Mission after 1870



For most of the nineteenth century the British Mission was the largest mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Between 1837, when Joseph Smith authorized Heber C. Kimball to lead the first LDS missionary entourage to Britain, and 1870, more people were baptized in the British Mission than in any other mission of the Church, and more Latter-day Saints emigrated to Utah from the British Isles than from any other place in the world. During the thirty-three years from 1837 through 1869, 95,232 people were baptized in the British Mission, an average of 2,886 per year. After Mormon emigration to America began in 1840, an average of 935 Saints left the British Isles every year in Church-sponsored parties. By 1870, a total of 28,063 people had come to America this way, and numerous others had come on their own in smaller groups. There were by this time 73,747 members of the Church in the nine stakes of Utah and southeast Idaho. Most were British immigrants or their offspring, a group that obviously provided considerable strength to the Church, comprising in most localities a majority of the adult Saints.


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