The Mormon Mission in Herefordshire and Neighbouring Counties, 1840 to 1841

Davis, Hilary Anne (2019). The Mormon Mission in Herefordshire and Neighbouring Counties, 1840 to 1841. Student dissertation for The Open University module A826 MA History part 2.

This dissertation was produced by a student studying the Open University module A826 MA History part 2. The research showcased here achieved a grade in either the Pass 1 band (equivalent to a 1st) or the Pass 2 band (equivalent to a 2.i).
Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.
Copyright resides with the author and all rights are reserved.

Abstract

This study focusses on the Mormon mission to Britain in the nineteenth century, specifically the time spent in Herefordshire and on the borders of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in 1840 to 1841. This mission was remarkable because of the speed with which an estimated 1800 rural folk were ready to be baptised into a new form of Christianity and because of the subsequent emigration of many of them to America.

This investigation examines the religious, social and economic context in which conversion and emigration were particularly attractive to people in this area. Following an opening chapter that sets the geographical and social scene of Victorian Herefordshire in the national context, the study asks what were the religious affiliations prior to conversion and what were the occupations, social status and educational level of the converts that combined to make them ripe for conversion. Particular reference is made to the United Brethren, a breakaway group of former Primitive Methodists, from which many of the converts were drawn. Journal entries made by the principal missionary and testimonies of the converts themselves describe their experiences of the mission, including the opposition they faced, with tracts and newspaper items of the time evidencing the hostility they encountered.

The study concludes that the converts were already religious, mainly working class people and that conversion was not undertaken in a vacuum but resulted from a combination of societal background and the appeal not only of the Mormon message but also of the powerful way in which it was delivered to a rural community.

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