LDS Missionary “Seals” a Large City to “Damnation” After Preaching Just One Day

Background: Mission of the Twelve to Britain

In July 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation calling the Twelve Apostles to serve a mission together in Britain. (D&C 118) They were to gather and leave from Far West, Missouri on April 26, 1839.

Those who accepted the call included: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Orson Pratt and Parley Pratt.

The impact of the mission of the Twelve to the Britain cannot be overstated. These missionaries became the key leaders of the church for the next 60 years. On their missions they gained valuable leadership experience.  They also became acquainted with the Spirit and personal revelation.  They had countless spiritual promptings, visions, and other spiritual experiences.

Huge Harvest of Converts

Two years after their arrival there were over 8,000 members of the Church in Britain. By 1847 there were 18,000. By 1851 there were 33,000 members, not counting the 11,000 who already emigrated to America. That’s almost 50,000 converts in 10 years! By 1851 there were more members of the Church in the U.K. than there were in America.

Wilford Woodruff Baptizes 600 in Herefordshire

Wilford Woodruff arrived in Britain on January 11, 1840.  In March 1840, the Spirit prompted Wilford Woodruff to go south to Herefordshire.  There, he came to the farm of John Benbow and 600 members of the United Brethren church.  He baptized almost all 600.  The converts included several preachers, including Henry Glover.

Brigham Young Calls Elder Glover to Take the Gospel to Bristol

Bristol Port 1840

Brigham Young arrived in Britain on April 4, 1840. In August, Brigham Young called Elder Glover to leave his home in Herefordshire and take the gospel to Bristol.

Bristol was a large port city with over 140,000 people.  Bristol was 40 miles away, a full day’s journey, a two day round trip.

On the third day Elder Glover returned to Brigham Young in Herefordshire having “completed” his mission to Bristol.

Elder Glover Finishes His Mission and Returns and Reports After One Day

Brigham Young was surprised, to say the least. He explained: “[Elder Glover] traveled a full day to Bristol. The next day, he . . .  cried, ‘Mormonism,’ or the Gospel, and no person would listen to him. On the next morning he was back at Ledbury, and said, ‘I came out of Bristol, washed my feet against them, and sealed them all up to damnation.”

Old Bristol

Brigham Young Sends Elder Glover Back to Bristol with an Apostle Companion

Brigham Young counseled patience. He assigned Elder Glover to accompany one of the Apostles back to Bristol. 
Within a month, a strong branch had been established. Today, Bristol is a large stake.

Post Script

Some years after Elder Glover’s mission, the extended Watkins and Loud families were converted in Bristol.  They served in the leadership of the Bristol Branch until immigrating to Utah.  Those are my ancestors. They were among those who had been “sealed up to damnation.”

“Coincidentally,” I also served my mission in Bristol, and frankly, there were a few frustrating days when I was also tempted to “seal them all up to damnation.”

(August 8, 1852 Sermon, Journal of Discourses 3:91; April 6, 1852 Sermon, Journal of Discourses 4:305).

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