One afternoon in July 1837, Elder Heber C. Kimball leaped from the small boat shuttling him to the port in Liverpool and waded to shore. Anxious to begin preaching in England, Kimball, fellow Apostle Orson Hyde, and their companions—many of them sons of Britain—began declaring the restored gospel in Preston and soon founded the British Mission.
Between 1840 and 1920, more than 50,000 British converts answered the call to gather in North America and “bring forth Zion, that it may rejoice … and flourish” (Doctrine and Covenants 39:13). They brought with them knowledge, talent, and leadership that sustained the early Church as the Saints fled disaffection and persecution to settle the American West.
While migration bolstered the Church in the United States, it decimated branches in England. By 1937 only a few thousand Saints remained to celebrate the mission’s centennial. Since that time, members have been encouraged to stay in their homeland and preach the gospel to their neighbors. A rapid increase in baptisms followed that counsel. When the London England Temple was dedicated in September 1958, Church President David O. McKay declared that a “New Era in the British Mission” was beginning. Since then, membership has grown nearly sixfold, most members attend wards, and, in 1998, a second temple was dedicated in England, this time in Preston.
Official Name: England
Largest City: London
Official Languages: English
Land Area: 130,279 km2 (50,301 mi2)
Church Area: Europe
Missions: 4 (Birmingham, Leeds, London, and Manchester)
Temples: 2 (London and Preston)