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

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As of January 1, 2009, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 26,536 members in five stakes, 41 congregations (27 wards, 14 branches), one mission, and no temples in Scotland.[1][2] The 2011 government census had 4,651.[3] Since Scottish population tends to be thinly scattered over most of the country, and concentrated in a few small areas, this has caused problems with missionary work and infrastructure, particularly in island areas.


First Missionaries in Scotland[edit]

Wright and Mulliner[edit]

Two native Scots, Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner, became the first missionaries to Scotland after they were converted whilst living in Ontario, Canada, arriving 20 December 1839.[4] The elders began teaching the gospel to their own families, so they traveled to Edinburgh to visit Elder Mulliner's parents. After Wright traveled to Marnock in Banffshire to share the gospel with his family despite suffering from smallpox.[5] The two elders reunited and began preaching systematically in Glasgow.[5] On 14 January 1840 Mulliner baptized the first converts in Scotland, Alexander Hay and his wife Jessie, in the River Clyde at Bishopton near Paisley.[4] Mulliner and Wright reunited and on 2 February 1840 baptized two young men from Leith.[6]They taught in the area until they were forced to leave due to abuse and persecution.[4]

Orson Pratt's missionary efforts[edit]

Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle

Orson Pratt arrived in Scotland on 8 May 1840 to supervise the missionaries. At the time of Pratt's arrival, there were 80 Latter-day Saints in the area.[4] Due to his missionary efforts, a branch of the church in Paisley.[7] Pratt dedicated Scotland "for the preaching of the gospel" at Arthur's Seat, a hill in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.[8][9] Pratt called two more missionaries to the area: Hiram Clark and Reuben Hedlock. They worked alongside Wright in Paisley, while Pratt and Mulliner began proselyting in Edinburgh. Mulliner would return to the United States in 1840.[5]

Pratt and Wright preached in every night in the streets of the city, and were able to baptize 23 new converts by the end of the summer on 1840. Pratt was unsatisfied with their success in the area and decided to try a new approach: writing.[5] While in Edinburgh, Pratt wrote and published the pamphlet An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions. It included the first published account of Joseph Smith’s first vision, and with the scriptures, became a standard Church publication in Scotland.[10] Pratt distributed this pamphlet for 10 months until he returned home in March 1841, leaving the mission under George D. Watt. Pratt would later return to Scotland throughout this life to visit the saints there. Wright remained in Scotland until 1842. Due to the efforts of these early missionaries, there were 70 branches by 1848,[5] and by 1853 the church had grown to over 3,000 members.[4]

Church decline in the late 1800s[edit]

Early church members were usually workers in industrial areas who turned to religion out of a "reflex of despair." Few Highlanders joined the church. With an increase in church membership, there were four conferences held in Scotland in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Edinburgh, and Dunee between 1855 and 1859. This church growth did not go unnoticed. Some of the church members during in the mid-1800s were persecuted. Violent acts occurred in Kirkpatrick when members were stoned, and also in Busby where mobs gathered. In 1850 British law "prohibited the disruption of religious assemblies" to avoid violence in Edinburgh.[11]

Stornoway branch.

Despite these strong early beginnings, the church would face a decline in membership after the 1850s due to a number of factors. The church had encouraged members to join with the Saints in the United States and emigrate to Utah. In the 1850s, 1800 church members emigrated to the U.S. and approximately 1600 members emigrated during the next decade. Missionaries during this time period also reported that fewer people were interested in learning about the church and there was a "spirit of indifference," perhaps attributed to the reformations and revitalization of the Church of Scotland. Large groups of church members were also excommunicated for violations of church standards. Scotland was also in a depression during this time which could have contributed to church decline, along with other potential factors. Mormonism was effectively stagnant until the 1960s when new social and economic conditions were established in the country.[11]

1950s to present[edit]

Beginning in the 1950s emigration to the United States began to be discouraged and local congregations began to proliferate. The members in Scotland were in the British Mission until it was split in 1960; they then became part of the North British Mission. The following year the Scottish-Irish Mission was formed, which was later divided. The first stake was formed in Glasgow in 1962, and 13 years later the second stake was established in Dundee.[4]

Today church members in Scotland participate in all church auxiliary programs including seminary and institute, and many of the young LDS men and women serve missions for the church.[4]


LDS Membership statistics as of January 1, 2011 for Scotland.[1][not in citation given]

Country Membership Stakes Wards Branches Total Congregations Missions Temples
Scotland 26,826 5 27 13 40 1

Scotland has the second highest membership of all the countries in the British Isles after England.


There is currently a single mission serving Scotland, which is shared with Ireland:

  • Scotland/Ireland Mission

Five out of the six British Isles missions are based in England.


There are no LDS temples in Scotland itself.

Both of the UK/British Isles temples are in England. The Preston temple serves Scotland, and the London one did until 1997.

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

52. Preston England edit


Chorley, Lancashire, United Kingdom
19 October 1992
7 June 1998 by Gordon B. Hinckley
53°40′20.91360″N 2°37′52.59″W / 53.6724760000°N 2.6312750°W / 53.6724760000; -2.6312750 (Preston England Temple)
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 Scottish Latter-day Saints[edit]

Eilley Bowers

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country: United Kingdom", Newsroom, LDS Church, 31 December 2011, retrieved 2012-10-18 
  2. ^ "Country information: United Kingdom", Church News Online Almanac, Deseret News, February 1, 2010, retrieved 2012-10-18 
  3. ^ "Religion (detailed)" (PDF). Scotland's Census 2011. National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 12 April 2015.  Note that the choices were None, Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic, Other Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Hindu, and Another religion or body. Those answering Other Christian or Another religion were asked to write which one.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cuthbert, Muriel (October 1978). "The Saints around the World: Strong Saints in Scotland". Ensign. 
  5. ^ a b c d e England, Breck (February 1987). "Gospel Seeds in Scottish Soil". Ensigh. 
  6. ^ Mulliner, Samuel. "Samuel Mulliner History". 
  7. ^ Mays, Kenneth (12 December 2012). "Picturing history: Paisley, Scotland". Deseret News. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  8. ^ Evans, Richard L. (1984) [1937]. A Century of "Mormonism" in Great Britain. Salt Lake City: Publishers Press. ISBN 091609507X. OCLC 866138200. 
  9. ^ Whittaker, David J.; Esplin, Ronald K.; Allen, James B., eds. (1992), "Orson Pratt in Scotland", Men with a mission, 1837-1841: the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, ISBN 978-0-87579-546-1, OCLC 24375869 
  10. ^ Whittaker, David J. (Fall 2004). "Mormon Historic Studies" (PDF). Mormon Historic Studies: 79–100. 
  11. ^ a b Buchanan, Frederick S. "The ebb and Flow of Mormonism in Scotland, 1840-1900": 27–52.