On 21 April 1842 addressed a letter to JS, whom he called a “Beloved Brother in Christ,” documenting his fourteen-month mission to . Adams apparently wrote the letter for publication in the Times and Seasons, which regularly featured missionary reports. At the time Adams wrote the letter, JS had served as editor of the paper for two months.
On 13 February 1841 accompanied to aboard the packet ship United States. Hyde and Adams arrived in on 3 March 1841. For a month Adams visited cities in northwest England. In April the decided that Adams should relocate southeast “to Bedford & Northampton and labour in that region.” He was appointed to serve as the president of the Bedford . Four days later, at a in , he was a . He departed for Bedford on 9 April, stopping to preach in Birmingham for eight days.
The need for additional support in Bedford was identified in August 1840 by , who was a member of the mission presidency before the Quorum of the Twelve arrived. Bedford was Fielding’s birthplace. He believed the had not given the area “a fair chance” as they had in other places in where more growth was apparent. Bedford received little attention from traveling elders after and John Goodson served as the city’s first missionaries in 1837. In 1841 missionary Joseph Brotherton described the congregation in Bedford as “feeble.” Fielding understood that residents of Bedford felt a “great dissatisfaction about religion,” creating an opportunity for missionaries to share their message. During ’s ministry, the branch membership steadily increased.
In December 1841 boarded the Mersey, which was bound for . After eight weeks at sea, a series of storms forced the vessel to return to . On 16 March 1842 Adams departed again, this time on the Sheridan, and arrived in New York one month later, on 16 April.
Writing to JS five days later, provided a triumphant narrative of his mission, focusing on his many successes in converts. He detailed public debates and sermons before large audiences in and while at sea. Adams also described his difficult journey from Liverpool to New York.
The original letter is not extant. The featured version was published in the 15 June 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons.
Adams reported that the branch had fewer than thirty members when he arrived. A month later he reported “68 members, 8 priests, 1 teacher, and one deacon.” (George J. Adams, Northampton, England, to Parley P. Pratt, 22 June 1841, in Millennial Star, July 1841, 2:33; Lorenzo Snow, London, England, to Parley P. Pratt, 25 May 1841, in Millennial Star, June 1841, 2:32.)
Beloved Brother in Christ—As I have just arrived from , and have a few hours of leisure time, I thought a short history of my labors during the past season would not be altogether uninteresting to the readers of your valuable periodical.
By the advice and counsel of our highly esteemed brother, Elder , on the first of January, 1841, I commenced to set my house in order, to leave my native land and go to the nations of the earth to assist in declaring the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a dark and benighted world. According to arrangements previously made, on the 13th of February, 1841, I left my friends and the companion of my early days to assist in carrying to a land of strangers “glad tidings of great joy.” I left in company with, and under the direction of the above named ; we left in the packet ship United States, bound for , where we arrived after a short passage of eighteen days; we were kindly received by and the brethren in ; we stayed with them two days, and then, in company with brother , we proceeded on to , the principal place of ’s former labors. Nothing could exceed the joy that was manifested by the saints in once more beholding this our brother. Here we were soon joined by our beloved brother, ; this made my joy complete for the then present time, as it was from this that I first heard the fullness of the gospel. By the counsel of these two brethren I stopped and labored a few weeks in , Farington, Southport, and the adjacent country, during which time a number were . Early in April I went to to attend the , and there it was counseled by and others, and agreed by the , that I should go and labor in Bedford and the vicinity thereof. Accordingly, on the 9th of April, I left in company with my highly esteemed brother , the President of the Conference; after traveling together about one hundred miles we arrived in Birmingham, and there I was counseled by to remain and labor a few days. I accordingly remained eight days, preached eleven times, baptized a number and then proceeded on my way to Bedford, in order to enter more fully upon the mission assigned me. I arrived in Bedford on the 20th day of April, and soon found the brethren, who received me with great kindness. In the evening I attended a meeting of the saints at their chapel in Hassett street, and spoke a few minutes to a very small congregation, chiefly saints; at the close of the meeting I gave out preaching for Thursday evening, at which time a few strangers attended to hear the preacher from . At the close I gave out preaching three times for the following Sabbath; at which time we had a large and respectable congregation, who listened with attention to the glorious truths of the fulness of the gospel. The following week a number came forward and were baptized. The next Sabbath I gave notice to the at Honneydon to meet with the saints in Bedford, accordingly, on the following Sabbath a large concourse of people assembled, and we found it wisdom to six to the office of , to assist in preaching the gospel to the surrounding country; this proved to be too strong meat for the people of Bedford, and some of their great men challenged me to discuss our principles. I of course accepted their challenge, and in the discussion I had to contend against all the lying statements that had been published in or Europe; in the midst of the opposition made by our enemies to the truth, and when I was nearly borne down by sectarian lies, filth, and bigotry, Elder came to my rescue; after which our enemies soon retired from the field in confusion and disgrace, without having left a stone to tell where slumbers the ashes of these fallen Heroes. From that time to the present the truth has stood triumphant in Bedford, no man daring to come forth in public to oppose it. Elder remained with us a few days, during which time he gave us much good instruction, and taught us many glorious truths. He then gave us the parting hand to hasten and fill his mission [p. 826]
In June 1841 Adams reported that he baptized three while in Birmingham and that “a number of others were believing.” He continued, “I have no doubt but the time is nigh when a great work will be accomplished in that place.” (George J. Adams, Northampton, England, to Parley P. Pratt, 22 June 1841, in Millennial Star, July 1841, 2:33.)
The congregation in Bedford normally met in a small room, but Adams arranged to hold this meeting at a rented hall, which he identified as “Mr. Mayle’s large room.” (George J. Adams, Northampton, England, to Parley P. Pratt, 22 June 1841, in Millennial Star, July 1841, 2:33.)
For an account of Hyde’s participation in the Bedford debates, see “The Mormons,” Cambridge Independent Press, and Huntingdon, Bedford, and Peterborough Gazette, 5 June 1841, . Hyde visited Bedford intending to finish writing the pamphlet that was later translated into German and published as Ein Ruf aus der Wüste (A cry out of the wilderness). (Lorenzo Snow, London, England, to Brigham Young et al., 26 May 1841, in Times and Seasons, 15 Sept. 1841, 2:544; Orson Hyde, Ein Ruf aus der Wüste, eine Stimme aus dem Schoose der Erde [Frankfurt: Im Selbstverlage des Verfassers, 1842].)
Cambridge Independent Press, and Huntingdon, Bedford, and Peterborough Gazette. Cambridge, England. 1838–1866.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Hyde, Orson. Ein Ruf aus der Wüste, eine Stimme aus dem Schoose der Erde: Kurzer Ueberblick des Ursprungs und der Lehre der Kirche “Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in Amerika, gekannt von Manchen unter der Benennung: “Die Mormonen.” Frankfurt: Im Selbstverlage des Verfassers, 1842. Also available with English translation in Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, vol. 1, Autobiographical and Historical Writings (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989), 402–425.