|Woodruff and Young|
Why did they have such success?
The missionaries were teaching a message of hope, miracles and the coming Millennium. They taught of angels, Prophets, Apostles and the Gathering of Israel. The missionaries were young, charismatic and taught with clarity and power.
The 1840's in Victorian England was a pretty horrible place to live.
England had suffered several economic disasters and crop failures just prior to the Missionaries arriving. Queen Victoria had just become Queen and Charles Dickens was writing his famous stories including Oliver Twist. The fertility rate was almost six children per adult woman and the average lifespan was less than 40. About 1/4 the babies born died before reaching their first birthday.
|Please, sir, I want some more|
In 1839 there was a serious slump in trade, leading to a steep increase in unemployment, accompanied by a bad harvest. The bad harvests were repeated in the two following years. Source
Toilets would have been nothing more than cesspits. When these were filled they had to be emptied and what was collected was loaded onto a cart before being dumped in a local river. Source
Wilford Woodruff Wrote:
I have seen more beggars here in one day than I saw in all my life in America. I have seen delicate females gathering manure to get a living for their famishing children. Source
My Final Thoughts More than 100,000 British immigrated to the United States each year between 1838 and 1842. About one percent of those were Mormon converts. The beauty and promise of Zion and Nauvoo was taught. Rolling hills, cheap farm land and a gathering of like minded people motivated many.
From my reading of history and through personal experience, I know that greater the poverty, the greater the chances of receiving a spiritual prompting about making a dramatic change.
Victorian Fertility Rates
English Demography - Oxford
1987 Ensign Article on British Mission
"Truth Will Prevail" Pageant held in England
Brigham Young heals Mary Pitt
BYU Article on Wilford Woodruff Mission.
Charles Dickens Timeline
BYU - The British Mission
Mormon Mecca in England
Mormon Migration - Liverpool to Nauvoo
One More Quote
Perhaps no Mormon doctrine spoke more familiarly to some British folk than millennialism. Fundamental to the theology of many groups especially the dissenting sects was not only a belief in the literal Second Coming of Christ but also in the imminence of that event. It took little religious adjustment to accept the Mormon teaching that Christ would come again soon: only the concept that he would establish the Kingdom of God in America was different. The Mormons taught further and with monumental self assurance that they would soon witness a millennial revolution. Source