The Gathering of the Australian Saints in the 1850s



The gathering of the Australian Saints in the 1850s offers a fruitful field for comparison with the work of historians on the emigration of the British Saints in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. While the British Mormon emigration to America must be viewed in context as part of a larger population movement, making it difficult to isolate motives, the Australian Mormon emigration was against the larger population movement. The doctrine of the gathering made The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unique in colonial Australia, as the missionaries recruited converts to help build their Zion in North America and led a miniemigration out of the Australian colonies in a period when the tide was flowing into the country. Although the number of Australian converts was extremely small in comparison with those from Britain, detailed examination of the known Australian converts makes possible a “microcosm” approach which helps illumine the larger picture.


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