The Influence of Traditional British Social Patterns on LDS Church Growth in Southwest Britain

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Since the arrival of missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Britain in 1837, there have been three phases of Church growth. First was the period of rapid, even explosive, growth that peaked in 1868. During this time large numbers of British Saints emigrated to the United States. The second phase was characterized by relatively low rates of convert baptisms, which, along with continuing emigrations, kept Church membership in Britain small most of the time. A third phase began after the end of World War II, when significant numbers of the Saints remained to build Zion in Britain rather than emigrating to the United States. Even with this change, however, and even with an expanded missionary force bringing in more new converts each year, the growth of the Church during this third phase has seemed painfully slow. Visiting Church leaders in recent decades have described the work in Britain as being on a “plateau.” My purpose in this essay is to examine some possible reasons for this situation, drawing on my own experience as well as my perception of certain attitudes and practices of British culture and tradition.

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Print ISSN: 2837-0031
Online ISSN: 2837-004X