The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales

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LDS chapel in Merthyr Tydfil.

As of January 1, 2011, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 9,343 members in three stakes, 24 congregations (18 wards[1] and six branches[1]), no missions, and no temples in Wales.[2][3]

Wales is served by English temples and English missions.


First missionaries in Wales[edit]

First issue of the Prophwyd y Jubili by Dan Jones. Carmarthenshire, Wales. July, 1846.

Royle and Cook[edit]

The first missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to arrive in Wales were Henry Royle and Frederick Cook. Royle was called as a missionary in 1840; He was a convert to the church and a native of Britain. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball had briefly preached in Wales during their mission together. The two missionaries arrived on October 16 and began teaching in Overton. They were met with immediate success and had baptisms in the River Dee only two days after their arrival. By the end of the month, they established a branch of 32 members. The two elders were joined by James Burnham in November of that year.[4]

Dan Jones[edit]

In 1845 Dan Jones was called as a missionary to Wales. He would become one of the most successful Mormon missionaries to work in the United Kingdom. Arriving January 1845,[5] Jones was assigned to work in Wrexham.[6] By December there were 493 baptized members of the LDS church in Wales. The next year in January, he was made mission president and oversaw missionary work in the country by Wilford Woodruff because Jones knew how to speak, read, and write in Welsh.[5] By the time he left Wales in February 1849 there were 4,645 baptized members and seventy-two branches.[5] In terms of population, one out of every 278 people in Wales at that time was baptized into the LDS Church. When Jones returned from his first mission, he helped a group of Welsh Saints to emigrate to the Salt Lake Valley.[7]

Jones was asked to return to Wales in August 1852. He became a counselor to the mission president and was called to be the president in 1854. He also worked as the editor of Udgorn Seion. During his second mission, opposition to the church had increased, but over 2,000 new members were added to the church by his departure 1856.[5] On his passage home, he again assisted a group of Welsh emigrants to Utah.[7]

Translating church publications[edit]

In 1846, Jones had begun to publish a Welsh language periodical for the church entitled Prophwyd y Jubili (Prophet of the Jubilee). It was the first Mormon periodical to be published in a language other than English.[5][8] He had initiated publishing pamphlets and other magazines in the Welsh language that ultimately led to the publication of a Welsh translation of the Book of Mormon in April 1852 by John Davis.[6][9]

In 1850 John Davies, who had been appointed to oversee church publications in Wales, announced that he would translate the Doctrine and Covenants. Davies would publish a 16-page signature in every other issue of Ugdorn Seion (Zion's Trumpet), which was the church publication following Prophet of the Jubillee. By August 1851, the 20 signatures were finished printing and were bound and the Welsh Doctrine and Covenants. Davies began translating and publishing the Book of Mormon into Welsh in the same manner. Church members paid a penny per signature that was printed. Initial printing of the book was delayed due to a lack of subscribers; however, the book received enough funding and was printed, the final signature printing on April 17, 1852. These translations of these two books are still used by the church today.[9]

Opposition and decline in membership[edit]

Although early missionary efforts had been successful, there was a decline in church membership in the late 1850s. This decline was due, in part, by church members emigrating to the United States after their conversion and a decrease in the number of new converts. Other factors that could have contributed to this decline include the introduction of polygamy into church practice in 1853 and social and political reforms in Wales.[10] Opposition to Latter-day Saint missionary efforts in United Kingdom existed from the earliest missions but intensified in South Wales and the West Midlands in the 1850s, leading to some violent incidents.[11]

Another factor that led to decline in membership was the organization of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints now known as Community of Christ on April 6, 1860. This group was led by Joseph Smith's son Joseph Smith III and consisted of previously scattered branches of the church in the Midwestern United States who had rejected Brigham Young and the Council of Twelve Apostles' leadership and not gone West with the majority of the Latter Days Saints (see Succession Crisis). RLDS missionaries began preaching in Wales in 1863 with many LDS members choosing to join with the Reorganization. Because of the decrease in membership, the last issue of Ugdorn Seion was published in April 1962. This gradual decline continued until the mid-20th century.[10]

Welsh members and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir[edit]

Dan Jones and faithful Welsh members greatly influenced the formation of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Jones helped bring a group of 250 Welsh converts to the United States. Among these faithful church members were many singers who would help form the church's choir. John Parry, one of the members in this group, directed 85 Welsh converts in a special musical number at the October 1849 General Conference.[12] Parry was asked by Brigham Young to form and direct a choir, which later became known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.[13]


Table shows LDS membership statistics as of January 1, 2011 for various regions and nations of the UK, along with British Crown Dependencies.[2][not in citation given]

Country Membership Stakes Wards Branches Total Congregations Missions Temples
Wales 9,343 3 18 6 24


The nation of Wales does not have its own mission. Instead it is served by two English missions:


There are no temples in Wales itself. Instead, Welsh members use either of the two English temples. Due to transport, Preston is sometimes used by North Walians, whereas the London temple (actually in Sussex) is more accessible for those in the south.


12. London England Temple edit


Newchapel, Surrey, United Kingdom
17 February 1955
7 September 1958 by David O. McKay
18 October 1992 by Gordon B. Hinckley
42,775 sq ft (3,974 m2) and 190 ft (58 m) high on a 32 acre (12.9 ha) site
Modern contemporary, single spire - designed by Edward O. Anderson

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Preston England Temple.jpg

52. Preston England Temple edit


Chorley, Lancashire, United Kingdom
19 October 1992
7 June 1998 by Gordon B. Hinckley
69,630 sq ft (6,469 m2) and 159 ft (48 m) high on a 15 acre (6.1 ha) site
Modern, single-spire design - designed by Church A&E Services

Notable Welsh Latter-day Saints[edit]

Jessica Garlick, a Welsh Latter-day Saint

Welsh LDS include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b LDS Meetinghouse Locator. Nearby congregations (wards and branches).
  2. ^ a b "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country: United Kingdom", Newsroom, LDS Church, 31 December 2011, retrieved 2012-10-18
  3. ^ "Country information: United Kingdom", Church News Online Almanac, Deseret News, February 1, 2010, retrieved 2012-10-18
  4. ^ Dennis, Ronald D. (2 March 2005), "The Beginnings of Mormonism in North Wales", Welsh Mormon History, Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, retrieved 2014-01-15
  5. ^ a b c d e Christensen, Rex LeRoy (March 1982). "I Have a Question: I've heard that a Dan Jones was one of the most successful missionaries of the early church. Can you tell me more about him?". Ensign: 19.
  6. ^ a b Dennis, Ronald D. (April 1987). "Dan Jones, Welshman: Taking the Gospel Home". Ensign.
  7. ^ a b Hinckley, Gordon B. (September 1993). "The Thing of Most Worth". Ensign: 2.
  8. ^ Rex LeRoy Christensen, “The Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” Master’s thesis, Utah State University, 1977, p. 24.
  9. ^ a b Dennis, Ronald D. (2002). "Llyfr Mormon: The Translation of the Book of Mormon into Welsh" (PDF). Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. 11 (1): 45–49.
  10. ^ a b Ratcliffe, Michael. "The Growth and Distribution of the Latter Saint Church in Wales, 1840–1860". Oxford University. pp. 177–190.
  11. ^ Thorp, Malcolm R. (1998). "SECTARIAN VIOLENCE IN EARLY VICTORIAN BRITAIN: THE MORMON EXPERIENCE, 1837–1860" (PDF). Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. 70 (3): 135–147.
  12. ^ "Dan Jones: Welsh Missionary Responsible for the Foundation of the Choir". Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  13. ^ "Important Photo Discovery of First Choir Conductor Leads to a New Mystery". Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

External links[edit]