The Church in Great Britain 1837–1987

By Julie Wardell

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    One hundred fifty years ago the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote, “God revealed to me that something new must be done for the salvation of His Church.” After the Prophet received this revelation, he called Heber C. Kimball to preside over a mission in Great Britain. The British converts played a vital part in the growth of the Church. The following dates show when some of the important events concerning the Church in Great Britain took place:

    June 4, 1837 Prophet Joseph Smith said to Heber C. Kimball, “Brother Heber, … the Lord has whispered to me: ‘Let thy servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel.’”

    July 20, 1837 Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, Joseph Fielding, and three other missionaries arrived at Liverpool, England, after twenty days at sea.

    July 22, 1837 Missionaries traveled by coach to Preston. The next day they were invited to speak at Vauxhall Chapel.

    July 30, 1837 George D. Watt and eight other British converts were baptized in River Ribble while thousands of spectators watched.

    September 3, 1837 First Sunday meeting held in Preston auditorium called the Cockpit.

    October 7, 1837 Mary Smithies was first infant blessed in England.

    December 25, 1837 About three hundred Saints attended first conference of British Mission, held at the Cockpit. Branches had been established in over twenty areas. Ten priests and seven teachers were ordained, one hundred children were blessed, and Word of Wisdom was publicly introduced.

    April 8, 1838 Second conference held at the Cockpit; Joseph Fielding was made president of British Mission, and it was announced that Elders Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde would soon return to America.

    December 20, 1839 Elder Alexander Wright and Elder Samuel Mulliner arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, to preach gospel.

    January 14, 1840 Alexander Hay and his wife Jessie were first Scots to be baptized.

    April 6, 1840 Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, and George A. Smith, and Elder Reuben Hedlock arrived in Liverpool, England, fulfilling Prophet Joseph Smith’s revelation that the Twelve Apostles should preach overseas.

    April 14–16, 1840 Majority of Twelve Apostles convened as a quorum at conference in England. Willard Richards was ordained an Apostle, and Peter Melling was ordained first patriarch of Church in Great Britain. It was agreed that Hymn Book, Millennial Star (a monthly), Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants be published in England.

    July 20, 1840 First organized group of Saints from Great Britain to immigrate to America arrived in New York City after forty-four days at sea.

    July 29, 1840 John Taylor preached in Newry, Ireland, courthouse. Two days later Thomas Tate was baptized at Loch Brickland, Ireland.

    Fall 1840 Overton Branch in Flintshire, North Wales, was organized with thirty-two members.

    April 20, 1841 Brigham Young with six other Apostles and one hundred thirty Saints boarded sailing vessel Rochester for America. Parley P. Pratt was left in charge of mission.

    1841 Following Brigham Young’s instructions, Lorenzo Snow presented Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with richly bound copies of Book of Mormon.

    September 7, 1958 London Temple was dedicated by President David O. McKay.

    March 27, 1960 Manchester Stake was first stake organized in Great Britain.

    August 27–29, 1971 First Area Conference of Church was held at Manchester, England.

    Joseph Smith

    Orson Hyde

    Parley P. Pratt

    Heber C. Kimball

    John Taylor

    Brigham Young