Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Norman L. Jones
July 19, 1837 was not a day to remember for the majority of the residents of Liverpool, England. For one small group of men, however, this was a day they had been anticipating for months. After a record breaking Atlantic crossing, the men hired a small boat to take them ashore rather than wait for the passenger steamer. Just before the boat reached the pier, several of the men jumped out and waded to shore, anxious to reach land and begin their work. These men were the first missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to arrive in England, and each felt he had been given a special mission to preach to the people of that country. While the British Mission of the Latter-day Saints has received a great deal of scholarly attention, the specific locations the missionaries chose to preach from have yet to be fully examined.1 These locations are particularly interesting, as they reflect the larger trends in English religion at the time, and provide insight into how the Latter-day Saints appealed to specific groups of converts. Examining Latter-day Saint concepts of religious space in context with the ideas of similar Nonconformist groups such as the Primitive Methodists reveals significant similarities between these groups. 2 While preaching in unorthodox locations was not something new, holding religious meetings in public halls, private homes, and even outside was contrary to the practices of established religion and reflected the desire of some Nonconformist groups to return to a more primitive, and in their minds purer, form of religious worship. The thesis and purpose of this paper is to explore the tactics of early Latter-day Saint missionaries to England, and compare them to the experiences of other Nonconformists like the Primitive Methodists. Such an exploration will show how the experiences of these small groups and their converts reflect the larger currents of English society and religion in the nineteenth century. In particular, comparing the types of locations in which these missionaries chose to preach and meet with their congregations will show how these choices directly responded to the changing religious needs of the converts they sought. 3
Beazer, Jaclyn Ann, "Religious Space in Transition: A Comparison of Latter-Day Saint and Nonconformist Worship in Victorian England" (2011). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 66.
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