Bishopton, Renfrewshire, Scotland
The first missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take the gospel to Scotland were Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner. Both men were originally from Scotland, emigrated, and joined the Church in Canada. Elder Mulliner joined in 1837, Elder Wright was baptized in 1836. He soon after moved to Kirtland, Ohio to join with the Saints there. He and Elder Mulliner were called on missions separately. These two brethren met en route to Great Britain and were counseled to go to their native homeland of Scotland. After sailing to Liverpool, England, they soon continued on by ship, arriving in Glasgow, Scotland on December 20, 1839. From there, they traveled by canal boat to Edinburgh. Feeling that his preaching should begin with his own family, Alexander Wright separated from Samuel Mulliner and walked for days to find his family in Marnoch. For a while he had to be sequestered from them because he was suffering from smallpox.
Learning of a Church member in Bishopton, Elder Mulliner journeyed there. That member, James Lea, introduced him to Alexander and Jessie Hay. After less than a week, on January 14, 1840, Samuel baptized Alexander and Jessie in the cold River Clyde near Bishopton. It is believed that those were the first baptisms of the Church in Scotland (James Lea had joined the Church in Preston, England). Moreover, Elder Mulliner conducted the first LDS sacrament service in Scotland, that too, being held in Bishopton. It is estimated that some 9,000 people in Scotland joined the Church during the nineteenth century.
By February 1840 Elders Mulliner and Wright had reunited and labored together in the general area of Bishopton, preaching in neighboring towns and villages as well. By the end of March 1840 they had only baptized ten people. But by the end of April, sixty-one people had joined the Church. Even with some persecution born of their success, on the 3rd of May the missionaries baptized twenty more people. The next day, Elder Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve, arrived and then presided over the work in Scotland.
Map and Directions
Image of Old Greenock Road (seen on the map above).
Since there are no extant sites or structures unique to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bishopton or the surrounding area, there are no concerns with regard to private ownership. All is public and open to everyone.
Articles & Resources
Frederick Buchanan, in V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, Larry C. Porter, eds., Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837-1987, 268-270.
James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, David J. Whittaker, Men With A Mission, 1837-1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 130-131.
Richard L. Evans, A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain, 75-80.