A Young Folks' History of the Church
"And me, and me!" exclaimed a dozen voices.
So Elder Kimball went down into the water and baptized twenty-five persons. As the
elders were walking out of the village, the young folks of the place ran to meet them, the
older people stood in their doors to greet and bless them, while the children ran ahead,
hand in hand, singing their songs of gladness.
At a conference held in Preston, April 8, 1838, there were reports from twenty-six
branches of the Church. The total number of souls in the Church was reported to be about
two thousand; and all this was done in the short space of eight months.
The next day Elders Kimball, Hyde, and Russell left for home, leaving Willard Richards
to preside over the mission. Many were the sad partings these brethren had with the
Saints, for a great love grows up between the Saints in the world and the elders who have
brought them the gospel.
January 11, 1840, Elders John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff landed in England. Brother
Woodruff was led by the Spirit to go into a part of England called Herefordshire. Here he
found a religious body of people called United Brethren. They had withdrawn from the
Church of England, and were now praying that the Lord would send them more light.
These people heard Elder Woodruff gladly, and with joy they received the gospel. Within
one month he baptized all their preachers, forty-five in number, and one hundred and
sixty of their members. In eight months time Elder Woodruff brought eighteen hundred
souls into the Church, including all the six hundred United Brethren, save one.
At one time just as Elder Woodruff was about to begin a meeting, a constable came to
arrest him for preaching. The officer was asked to take a seat, and was told that after the
meeting Elder Woodruff would be at his service. The constable was very much interested
in the sermon. At the close of the meeting seven persons asked for baptism, and the
constable was one of the number. After this, two clerks of the Church of England were
sent as spies to find out what the Mormon elders preached. Both of these men believed
and joined the Church.
Now came others of the Apostles to England to roll on the work. Brigham Young, Heber
C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and George A. Smith arrived on April 6, 1840.
At a conference held in Preston on the 14th, Willard Richards was ordained an Apostle,
so that now there were eight of the Twelve together. At this meeting it was decided to
print a paper to be called The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star. This paper has been
published from that day to this, it being the oldest publication in the Church.
The Church now grew rapidly. Branches were organized in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and
in many of the large cities in England. At a conference held in the city of Manchester,
April 6, 1841, it was found that there were about six thousand members of the Church in
Great Britain. Eight hundred Saints had emigrated to America during the year. At this
conference, nine of the Twelve were present, Orson Hyde having arrived on his way to
Palestine, where he was going to dedicate that land for the gathering of the Jews.