Welcome to the first post of “Upon the Isles of the Sea” which aims to inspire, educate and entertain you with all things pertaining to the British LDS experience. The blog title takes its inspiration from this scripture:
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea…” 2 Nephi 29:7
In my youth I heard of the first LDS baptisms in Preston, Wilford Woodruff’s success among the United Brethren, the work of Dan Jones in South Wales and our local Essex hero Charles Penrose. Those are the only British stories I can recall ever being shared. All other church history, it seemed, took place when they emigrated to America. It was not until my mid-twenties that the realisation came that I had heard but a mere fraction of the British story. As I began to search I was amazed at the breadth, the depth and sheer quantity of little known characters or untold events.
Twenty two years ago I started sharing my discoveries through guided tours and have had the pleasure of sharing with thousands of visitors the people, places and events which changed the course of our faith. To me Britain contains the story before the story. Before the emigration, before Nauvoo, before the trek west, before the settling of the wild, wild west. There is barely a British village, town or city without their own LDS tales to tell.
2017 will be the 180th year since the first seven LDS missionaries arrived on these shores with their message of a Restored Gospel. Since that time this country has provided thousands of converts and hosted some quite miraculous events. However, this is not just a focus on Victorian converts. We will reach through the centuries and discover how this nation has produced a fine array of pioneers, translators, pilgrims, authors, leaders, reformers and martyrs.
I do not claim to be the only source of course, and I welcome your contributions – small or large. Maybe you have a photo to share, a story you heard, a quote you like, some research you made, an article you wrote, some research help you might need, etc. etc. Together we can kindle a deeper appreciation for our rich British heritage.