“Ireland Dedicated for Proselyting,” Ensign, Feb. 1986, 76
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve formally dedicated Ireland for the preaching of the restored gospel this past October—nearly a century and a half after Elder John Taylor of the Quorum of the Twelve performed the first baptism there.
Addressing the prayer in gratitude to “Almighty God, Father of us all,” Elder Maxwell petitioned: “We plead with thee to look with fresh favor upon all of Ireland to the end that this Emerald Isle will know further greening through the fulness of the restored gospel.
“Where there has been strife, may there be peace, and if not full peace, enough peace for thy cause to move forward as never before. May thy soothing Spirit, Father, encourage reconciliation through the Restoration, and may thy Saints be kept from harm’s way,” he said.
He prayed that those “prepared from before the foundation of this world” might be sought out, and he dedicated the land “to the spreading of the gospel of thy Son and to the more complete establishment of His Church here to the end that the elect will heed the call and come home to thy kingdom. …
“May the fiery darts of the adversary be quenched by the shield of faith held aloft by the leaders and members of the Church in Ireland.”
The dedicatory prayer was offered October 23 near Loughbrickland, the lake in which John Taylor performed the first baptism in Ireland in this dispensation, during a brief mid-1840 visit as missionary work there was commencing. Loughbrickland is in Northern Ireland, not far from that country’s border with the republic of Ireland (Eire).
The small group gathered for the dedication included Elder Maxwell; his wife, Colleen; President Vernon J. Tipton of the Ireland Dublin Mission; President Charles Raymond Lowry of the Belfast Ireland Stake; and President John Connolly of the Dublin Ireland District.
“As far as we have been able to tell, no formal dedicatory prayer for Ireland, as such, has been given,” Elder Maxwell said. He told those present, in brief remarks before offering the prayer, that the Emerald Isle may well have been included at some time in a dedicatory prayer for the area including the British Isles. But, he said, it was the feeling of President Tipton and local Church leaders “that we ought to dedicate Ireland, at long last, even though there are one hundred and forty-five years of gospel history on this island.”
The dedication was performed, he explained, “in the spirit of asking the Lord to hasten the work,” as He has done in other areas where dedicatory prayers have been pronounced.
During his October visit, Elder Maxwell spoke to several hundred members and investigators at meetings in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Dublin, Ireland. There are about 3,800 Church members in the two countries.