News Release

New Video Chronicles The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind

Community outreach influences perceptions of a Christian faith in the UK

The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind
The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind
The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The documentary film The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind is now freely available online for viewing. The film illustrates how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been perceived by the British public over time. It first aired on the non-commercial U.S. television network BYUtv in November of 2021.

Though fully expecting to declare otherwise, Charles Dickens portrayed a group of over 800 working class Latter-day Saint converts sailing from London to New York in 1863 as “the pick and flower” of England. He continues, “These people are resilient. It would be difficult to find 800 people together anywhere else with so much beauty and strength.”

But not all Brits shared Dickens’ mid-nineteenth century view. The documentary chronicles the change in perception among Brits’ early negative opinions about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often nicknamed “Mormons,” from being a “moral scourge” in the 1800’s through the mid 1900’s, to being viewed in a more positive and favourable light today.

Latter-day Saints are now being described as “outward facing” and the Church as “one that promotes the love of neighbour and even enemy,” according to Canon Sarah Snyder, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor for Reconciliation and Founding Director of the Rose Castle Foundation.

The video highlights some of the individual and community outreach that has helped shift opinions of the general British population towards the Church as they have interacted personally with its members.

Some of these events include the 1955 UK performances of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, called the “Mormon Tabernacle Choir” back then. The documentary also refers to concerts in London’s Hyde Park Chapel and the arrival of The Osmond’s in the 1970’s which gave countless fans the opportunity to appreciate the contributions of Church members to the greater community.

Additionally, nearly 100,000 British citizens attended public open house events of the London and Preston Temples (sacred Church buildings) where those interested could ask questions and learn for themselves about Latter-day Saint core beliefs.

Access to the Church’s family history centres, attendance at The British Pageant, inclusion in interfaith events, the Book of Mormon Musical and acts of service by members in their neighbourhoods and to their communities have all increased awareness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the minds of the British population.

Relationships of trust and respect established over the years with interfaith communities and members of government have led Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, now Speaker of the House of Commons, to describe Latter-day Saints as “normal, everyday guys.” 

Martin Andersen, producer, discovered in his interviews throughout the UK that members of the Church are typically respected wherever they live. “As people increasingly get to know the Latter-day Saints better, they learn that they believe in God - they go out of their way to be good examples of disciples of Christ.”

The documentary is a companion to the forthcoming book “The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind,” by Malcolm Adcock and Fred E. Woods. The foreword is by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal of Pembroke College Oxford.

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