London Missionaries and the Great Exhibition of 1851
The Great Exhibition of 1851 was a spectacular event held in Hyde Park, London. Prince Albert wanted it to display raw materials, machinery, manufactured goods, and fine art. An underlying motive was to demonstrate Great Britain's prominence as the leader of the industrial world. The Exhibition was a great opportunity for LDS missionaries serving there at the time. It enabled them to 1) proselyte more, 2) strengthen current members, and 3) better their own personal education. No missionaries (LDS or otherwise) were able to secure a fair platform so they resorted to preaching to visitors outside of the Exhibition. Franklin D. Richards was the mission president at the time, and he assigned Eli B. Kelsey as a missionary specifically to the Exhibition. Both Richards and Kelsey realized its potential for bringing people to the LDS Church. Publications of the Millennial Star were essential in alerting Saints throughout Great Britain and Europe to the opportunities and events afforded by the Exhibition. Church leaders were able to hold many meetings with local members, visitors, and investigators.