Wednesday, December 2, 2009

london church history.

One Friday in November we took a little tour of an area just right out of the city. We began at Burnhill. As we were there we were standing on the bones of all those who died in The Plague. They deposited all the bodies in this area because it was out of the city walls. Because it was unconsecrated ground, it soon became the graveyard for the nonconformists. Most of the nonconformist leaders were buried in the graveyard. These numbers included Isaac Watts, a hymn writer for the LDS church, said to be the greatest English hymn writer; Oliver Cromwell, a “republican’’ who started a new form of government and abolished the monarchy for a time; William Blake, a poet who wrote a very famous song about England, John Milton, John Bunion, Daniel Defoe and many others. All of these people suffered a great deal from persecution before they were buried at Burnhill. As we walked through the graveyard we saw the hundreds of headstones and were able to imagine the harsh times that existed back then.
         Next we carried on to the Wesleyan Chapel down the street. In 1738 John Wesley had a religion experience. He felt he had been “warmed” and all his sins forgiven of him. He began to form a church that he felt was an extension of the Church of England. He never left the Church of England however, they did not think very highly of him. He felt that the world was his parish and even went to the United States at one time to preach. As a result of his ministry you either went to a chapel or a church. Which basically means that if you were Baptist or Methodist you were a chapel. If you were Anglican you were a Church. We also learned that Methodists were to act for themselves and not wait for a minister to do it for them.

         After the chapel we went down to Tabernacle Square. Here lies the third most famous religious site in the UK. Around 1839, Joseph Smith had inspiration to send missionaries to London. As they got there and searched for a place to preach they didn’t have much luck and due to lack of preaching license they were sent out of the city. With the help of Henry Connor they decided to preach in Tabernacle Square. They were able to get away with this without a preaching license because it was outside the city walls. Four hundred people took in the square and listened to the men preach. After about 20 minutes a preacher from another church took over the stage and would not let the missionaries schedule another meeting. Despite his efforts the missionaries made an appointment for later that day and hundreds of people came to witness the event. Henry Connor was baptized three days later and he invited the missionaries to his home on Iron Monger Row. This house soon became the center of the church in London for a few months.
         Iron Monger Road is important for more than just being the center of the church in London; it is also the site of another satanic intervention. In the middle of October that same year Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were visited by spirit from the underworld. The prince of darkness had come to kill them. So Wilford said a prayer and the spirit of Christ overcame the devil. Three white spirits entered the room and prayed with the men and the evil power was broken. This is yet another example of the devil trying with all this might to prevent the succession of the church in England.

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