More than one million missionaries have been called since the organization of the Church, but Dan Jones was more than just one in a million. Of the Welsh missionary, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said, “In terms of the number of converts, Dan Jones must certainly be included in the half dozen or so most productive missionaries in the history of the Church.”1
Before he was a missionary, Dan emigrated from Wales to the United States and worked on the Mississippi River as captain of a steamboat called the Maid of Iowa, which brought many Latter-day Saints to Nauvoo, Illinois. He joined the Church in 1843 and became close friends with the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Dan’s missions fulfilled Joseph Smith’s last recorded prophecy. The night before the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed, he heard gunfire outside the window of Carthage Jail, so he chose to sleep on the floor. Near him was Dan Jones. The Prophet asked Dan if he was afraid to die. He replied, “Has that time come, think you? Engaged in such a cause I do not think that death would have many terrors.” Then Joseph prophesied, “You will yet see Wales, and fulfill the mission appointed you before you die.”2
The Prophet’s promise was fulfilled in 1845, when Dan and his wife, Jane, were called to serve in Wales. Dan used his talent for speaking to teach the gospel with great conviction. He was fluent in Welsh and English, and witnesses recorded that he spoke so captivatingly that he could hold his audience’s attention in either language for hours.
While in Wales, Dan published Latter-day Saint periodicals, tracts, and books in Welsh. Under Dan Jones’s direction, missionaries in Wales established 29 branches and baptized nearly 1,000 people each year of his first mission. He was called on a second mission to Wales in 1852, and despite growing persecution of the Church, some 2,000 people were baptized in four years.
Upon his return to Utah, Dan helped bring many Welsh converts to Utah. When he died at age 51, he had helped bring an estimated 5,000 people to the western United States.