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UNITED KINGDOM

Year-end 1997: Est. population, 58,970,000; Members, 170,500; Stakes, 45; Wards, 264; Branches, 105; Missions, 8; Temples, 2; Percent LDS, 0.22, or one LDS in 451.

The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and is located off the northwest coast of Europe. The population speaks English, Welsh, and Gaelic. Most belong to the Church of England or are Roman Catholics.

ENGLAND

Year-end 1997: Est. population, 46,870,000; Members, 133,000; Stakes, 36; Wards, 219; Branches, 71; Missions, 6; Temples, 2; Percent LDS, 0.28, or one LDS in 344.
On July 1, 1837, seven Canadian and American missionaries set sail for England on the packet ship Garrick. The seven, Elders Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve; and Willard Richards, Joseph Fielding, John Goodson, Isaac Russell and John Snider, arrived July 19, 1837. They preached at Preston on Sunday, July 23, and on July 30, a baptismal service was held at nearby River Ribble that was viewed by some 8,000 curious onlookers. Nine converts were baptised by Elder Kimball, the first of whom was George D. Watt. A week later, the number of converts reached 50 . The first conference was held on Christmas. Missionaries began working in Alston and Bedford, where branches were established, but the greatest work was done in the Preston area. Opposition began to mount through ministers and the press, but within nine months, more than a thousand had been baptised.

From 1840-41, seven members of the Quorum of the Twelve laboured in England, finding significant success. Some 800 converts emigrated during the apostles' stay. The flow of British converts was life-sustaining for the struggling Church in America.

By 1850, 42,316 people had been baptised, and 6,832 had emigrated; from 1851-60, 37,215 converts were baptised, and 12,972 had emigrated; from 1861-70, 14,977 had joined and 10,094 emigrated.

The Church faced considerable opposition during the next several decades and the work was slowed. Missionary work increased after the turn of the century. With the onset of World War I, local sisters took over missionary work. The Relief Society was particularly active during the war. After the war, missionary work increased and anti-Mormon activity waned. Membership increased and in the mid-1930s, a large buliding program began and local leadership and missionaries became stronger. Members were urged to stay in England rather than emigrate.

World War II again interrupted missionary work, and British Saints took charge of their affairs. Despite difficulties finding leaders, they persisted in "home missionary work". When American leadership resumed in 1944, the number of branches had increased from 68 to 75, although they were later consolidated into 29. After the war, the missionary force was bolstered and conversions increased. Many members immigrated to America.

The announcement of a temple for London Aug. 1, 1953, along with visits of authorities and Tabernacle Choir during the next few years, lifted members' spirits. Many aspects of the Church were strengthened during this period. More than 12,000 member attended the dedication of the London Temple Sept. 7-9, 1958. On March 27, 1960, the Manchester Stake, under the leadership of Pres. Robert G. Larson, was created and the British Mission was divided. Growth continued, more missions were created, and a large building program started. By 1971, membership was nearly 70,000, increasing in 1980 to 91,000.

The celebration of the Church's 150th anniversary in Great Britain in 1987 underscored the maturity of this Church in this land. President Ezra Taft Benson and President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency joined former Prime Minister Edward Heath at a celebration which viewed a videotaped message from U.S. President Ronald Regan. Eight public markers were dedicated honoring important Church sites in the British Isles. Membership in 1990 was 151,000.

In November 1990, Terry Rooney of the Bradford 2nd Ward, Huddersfield England Stake, became the first LDS member elected to Parliment.

In October 1991 area president Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Seventy presented to the Federation of Family History Societies microfiche containing the 1881 census of the British Isles, which had been placed on microfiche by members.

Natives of England who have been called as General Authorities through the years include John Taylor, president of the Church 1880-87; George Q. Cannon, John R. Winder, George Teasdale, James E. Talmage, John Longden, B.H. Roberts, George Reynolds, Jospeh W. McMurrin, Derek A. Cuthbert. Elder Kenneth Johnson is currently serving in the Seventy.

The London Temple was rededicated Oct. 18, 1992. And another temple for England, to be built in the Preston area, was announced Oct. 19, 1992, by President Hinckley. Ground was broken for the Preston England Temple on June 12, 1994, by President Hinckley, with 10,500 in attendance.

On a trip Aug. 24 - Sept. 2, 1995, to England and the Republic of Ireland, President Gordon B. Hinckley created the Canterbury England Stake, rededicated the Hyde Park Chapel, and met with members, missionaries and news media in Liverpool and elsewhere. He returned to England to dedicate the Preston England Temple June 7, 1998. His visit was followed shortly by the Tabernacle Choir which performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London on June 14, a performance taped by BBC for rebroadcast in September.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Year-end 1997: Est. population, 1,631,000; Members, 5,400; Stakes, 1; Wards, 8; Branches, 6; Percent LDS, 0.33, or one LDS in 302; Ireland Dublin Mission.
Located in the northeast corner of Ireland, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. About 66 percent of the people are Protestant and 33 percent are Roman Catholic.

Northern Ireland remained in the United Kingdom when Ireland became an independant republic in 1949. Most of the Church membership is centered in and around Belfast.

When the London Temple was dedicated in 1958, it marked a "new era" for the Saints in Northern Ireland, who then numbered 540 in 10 branches. The Irish Mission was organized July 7, 1962. Twelve years later, June 9, 1974, the Belfast Ireland Stake was organized with Andrew Renfrew, former president of the Ulster District, as president.

On Sept. 7, 1986 some 1,350 attended a regional conference in Belfast, the largest-ever gathering of Saints in this area. Many members from Northern Ireland, now in the Preston England Temple District, attended the temple dedication June 7-10, 1998.

SCOTLAND

Year-end 1997: Est. population, 5,205,000; Members, 25,000; Stakes, 5; Wards, 24; Branches, 25; Missions, 1; Percent LDS, 0.4, or one LDS in 208.
Native Scots converted in Canada, Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner, were the first missionaries to Scotland, arriving in Glasgow Dec. 20, 1839. Alexander and Jessie Hay were baptized by Elder Mulliner in the River Clyde on Jan. 9, 1940. By May 3, membership had increased to 80. Elder Orson Pratt arrived and organized a branch at Paisley on May 8, and labored in Edinburgh, where he found a number of converts. During this period, he wrote and influential pamphlet, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions. By March 1841, more than 200 had joined the Church in Edinburgh. Another branch had been organized in Glasgow. By 1850, membership had risen to 3,257 in more than 50 branches. By 1855, four conferences had been organized. However, membership began a decline in the 1850s that lasted for many years.

One missionary about the turn of the century was Elder David O. McKay, who experienced little success; membership in the country was 338. Discouraged, he saw engraved in stone the words: "What e'er thou art, act well thy part." The inspiration from this had a great impact on his life, and the future of the Church as well.

Low conversions and frequent emigration reduced Church membership in Scotland. The Scottish-Irish Mission was created in 1961, and re-named Scottish Mission the following year. Scotland's first stake was created in Glasgow Aug. 26, 1962, with Archibald R. Richardson as president.

Members in Scotland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Glasgow Branch as members of five Scotland stakes formed a chorus and took part in Glasgow's prestigious European Year of Culture 1990, receiving a standing ovation for their Oct. 21, 1990, performance.

Membership in Scotland was 12,000 in 1980, and 22,000 in 1990, 10,000 more than ever joined in the 19th Century.

In the 1990's, missionary work continued to progress as membership reached 25,000 by the end of 1993. Many members from Scotland attended the dedication of the Preston England Temple, June 7-10, 1998.

WALES

Year-end 1997: Est. population, 2,812,000; Members, 7,100; Stakes, 2; Wards, 13; Branches, 8; Percent LDS, 0.2, or one LDS in 396; England Bristol Mission.
It is supposed that the first Welshman was converted at the lectures of Wilford Woodruff in Hertfordshire in 1840, but records cannot confirm this. Possibly the first member to preach in Wales was James Morgan. The first known missionary was Elder Henry Royle and his companion, Frederick Cook. They met with immediate success in Flintshire in North Wales. Just three weeks after their arrival, a branch of 32 members was organized on Oct. 30, 1840. In four months, there were two congregations totaling 150 members, but the missionaries experienced active opposition from ministers. Evidently, most of these early converts promptly emigrated.

In South Wales, work proceeded more slowly at first. Elder James Palmer labored there with little success late in 1840. Two years later, 44 Welshmen had been baptized. In 1843, Elder William Henshaw began proselyting in the Merthyr Tydfil area, and a branch of 50 was eventually organised. In 1844, the first Welsh-language materials were printed and work began to progress. A converted Welshman and associate of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Dan Jones, arrived in 1845. After a disappointing year in North Wales, he found success in the south and by 1849, left for America as captain of 300 Saints. He was later called to a second mission in Wales, which he completed in 1856, again leaving with a company, this one of 560 members.

The worked slowed considerably afterwards, but began to build up in the 1900s. By 1950, there were 1,500 members in two districts. The first stake was created Jan. 12, 1975, in Merthyr Tydfil. Membership in 1990 was 6,500. Members in Wales are in the Preston England Temple District. Many members from Wales attended the dedication of the Preston England Temple, June 7-10, 1998.

IRELAND

Year-end 1997: Est. population, 3,619,000; Members, 2,300; Stakes, 1; Wards, 4; Branches, 8; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Europe North Area.
The island of Ireland lies in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain. It is a parlimentary republic where English is the dominant language, but Irish (Gaelic) is also spoken. The population is Roman Catholic, 95 percent, and Anglican, 3 percent. Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, has a population of 1.6 million, of whom about half are Protestant.

The first missionary to Ireland was Reuben Hedlock, who arrived in Belfast in May 1840, but stayed only three days before sailing to Paisley. He was followed on July 28 by Apostle John Taylor, who was accompanied by James McGuffie and William Black, a native Irishman. A non-member Irishman, Thomas Tait (or Tate), was also accompanied them. More than 600 people heard Elder Taylor preach that evening in Newry. On July 31, as the party walked between towns and arrived at a lake called Loughbrickland, Tait was baptized, becoming Ireland's first convert.

Two months later, Elder Theodore Curtis arrived in Ireland and established a branch of 35 in Hillsborough. A second branch, organized in Crawfordsburn, had 22 members by July 21,1841.

In 1842, many of the 71 members in Ireland emigrated. Membership declined over the next few years, despite renewed efforts in 1843. The 1845-47 famine prompted the emigration of most of the remaining 51 members.

Early missionaries remarked that proselyting was slowed by opposition, particularly that of landholders wo threatened sharecroppers with expulsion if they welcomed LDS missionaries. However, historians believe that a good number of the British converts during the 1840s and '50s were expatriated Irish.

In the early 1850s, missionaries established a few branches, but in 1853 most missionaries left for America. Another group arrived in 1854, found new converts and saw membership increase from some 20 to 210 in 1855, and to nearly 300 in 1856. However, the 1857 "Utah War" led to the recall of missionaries and the branches were unsupervised for four years. Missionary work was discontinued in 1867.

In 1884, a few native Irish members were called as missionaries in their homeland. They found some success despite opposition and established a branch in Belfast that by the end of 1884 had 50 members. Political unrest prompted most of the converts to emigrate. By 1900, about 90 had left Ireland for Utah.

However, a branch grew up in Dublin after 1900, made up of Germans. By 1920, there was about 225 members in the Belfast Conference (District) and 60 in and around Dublin.

The Emerald Isle was divided in 1949, amid continued unrest, into an independant Ireland and Northern Ireland, which remained under the British government.

As part of the 150th anniversary of the Church in the British Isles in 1987, markers were dedicated at the site of the first baptism and the birthplace in Dublin of Elder Charles A. Callis of the Council of the Twelve, once president of the Irish Conference while a missionary about 1894. Membership in 1990 was 1,800.

Indicative of the strength of the Church, Pres. Van F. Dunn noted in 1994 that seven missionaries from Ireland were serving at the same time in the England London South Mission.

President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Ireland Sept. 1-2, 1995, the first Church president to do so since Presindet David O. McKay in August 1953. He spoke to members from the newly created Dublin Ireland Stake, Cork Ireland District and Belfast Northern Ireland Stake.


Information from Desert News 1999-2000 Church Almanac .

1998 LDS Church News and Deseret News Publishing Co.

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