Midland saints: the Mormon mission in the West Midlands, 1837 - 77
Ten years before the pioneer party of the Mormon Church first sighted the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, and determined that this was the place where "the Saints would find protection and safety," missionaries Of Lhe sect were active in England, preaching in the streets, halls and private accommodation to those persons, largely of the working-classes, who were prepared to give them a hearing. As the pioneer Saints planted the first seeds in the soil of Utah, the Church alreadv claimed 14,000 adherents in Britain. Four years later, at the height of its membership for the nineteenth century, the British Mission numbered just short of 33,000.
The narrative of the Mormon Church establishing its settlement in the desert has been penned on numerous occasions and romanticized on film; this thesis also chronicles heroism, although its protagonists, the British converts who responded to the teachings of the Mormon missionaries during the early years of Queen Victoria's reign, who faced opposition and persecution for their belief, heeded the doctrine of the gathering and emigrated, to traverse ocean, plain, desert and mountain, ultimately to dwell in 'Lion with their fellow Saints with whom they shared religion, cuiture and myth, with whom they were one people, remain largely unrecorded.
To achieve an intimacy with the British Saints, this thesis adopts a regional perspective, concentrating upon the Mission of the Church to the West Midlands, from its inception in 1837 to the death of the Church's second Prophet, Brigham Young, himself at one time a missionary to the area. The West Midlands, the most fertile of the English regions in the provision of Church members, was the British Mission in microcosm; to experience the endeavour of the Saints of this region is to appreciate the achievements of the Church nationally and the interdependent advances of the Mormon Church on both sides of the Atlantic.
|Jan 1, 1985