Elsie May Holgate Rock was born of 'goodly parents' on May 10, 1920 in England. She was the first daughter and second child of Ansell Holgate and Gertrude Ellen Perks. Elsie was brought up in the Baptist church where she received a good groundwork of the Bible, and attended Sunday school, Junior Fellowship, and Sunday Evening services for which she was grateful. She was referred to as the 'religious one' in her family and sang in the church choir. When she was 18 years old, her family moved from East to South West London where she realized that neither the local Baptist church nor the established Church of England had any meaning to her. She quit going to church regularly at that time. She was married in 1941 and thought seriously about religion again in 1950 when her oldest boy was 5 Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½ and her twins were 2 years old. She said, 'I wished I could get a hold of something I could really believe in,' and desired help in raising her family. For a time, she attended the meetings of a spiritualist medium, but was not satisfied. Sometime later, an American missionary and his Canadian companion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stopped at her home. She was interested in their ancient record, the Book of Mormon, merely out of an interest for history and informed them she was 'unconvertible.' They continued to teach her, she read the Book of Mormon, and was eventually baptized as a member of the Church on October 22, 1951. She wrote in great detail about her conversion to the Gospel. She was very interested in the doctrine of genealogy as her mother had died one year previous to the missionaries' visit. As a new member, she was called to teach about the Book of Mormon in Relief Society for several years. She served in the Relief Society, MIA, and as a teacher of many age groups. At the time of this history, Elsie's husband had not joined the church, but was very tolerant of her activity. Elsie bore testimony of the blessings of the Lord in her life as well as His promises to her.
Elsie's personal history was written in 1978 for the Women's History Archives request. As a child, Elsie 'loved the Lord' and enjoyed singing in the church choir where she performed 'Olivet to Calvary' and 'Crucifixion' in Oratorios when she was a youth. Before the war of 1939, she had volunteered to do work of 'National Importance' and was assigned to the fire service. Before Elsie was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the missionaries, she sought out spiritual guidance. She had three spiritual experiences where she recalled being comforted during times of struggle. Of her meetings with the spiritualist medium she said, 'I couldn't accept their belief that man eventually loses his identity and becomes just a source of good in the universe. NO I WANTED SOMETHING BETTER.' The Joseph Smith story made sense to Elsie who, when learning about Moses, had wondered as a youth why God didn't speak to prophets today. She learned by reading the Book of Mormon what she needed to do, and was blessed with great confirmation of the truthfulness of the gospel. She felt that perhaps her mother had accepted the gospel in the Spirit World and helped her to receive such a strong testimony through the Spirit. At one point during her investigation, she was confronted by a woman from the Church of England who angrily told her that Mormon's weren't Christian. She called the missionaries for help who then challenged her to be baptized. Serving as a teacher in the church was particularly important for Elsie. One 'particular privilege' she had was to give the Branch Presidents of the London District a 'refresher course in the Book of Mormon.' Another 'choice experience' was being asked by President Joseph Fielding Smith to give the closing prayer at the first ever Regional Conference in Manchester, England. She participated in the Singing Mother's Tour in 1961. Elsie wrote of the spiritual blessings she had received including healing blessings through the power of the Priesthood. In 1978, Elsie was serving as her Ward Relief Society President and was living in Mitcham, Surrey, England.