Discussions of Nonextant Items

Ronald D. Dennis. Welsh Mormon Writings from 1844 to 1862: A Historical Bibliography (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1988), 221–230.

Reuben Hedlock, then president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Great Britain, reported to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a letter dated 3 September 1844: “The Church in South Wales is progressing rapidly. I have published a small pamphlet in the Welsh language on the first principles” (Journal History of the Church). This is all that is presently known about what appears to be the first Welsh Mormon pamphlet. Ironically, since Hedlock was writing from Liverpool, the first of a long list of publications in Welsh in support of Mormonism was published in England by an American. However, since a Welsh newspaper was then being published in Liverpool for the large contingent of Welshmen who had gone there for jobs, the publication of a pamphlet in Welsh would not have been unusual or difficult.

As early as 1840, missionaries had gone a few miles across the English/Welsh border and proselyted among the Welsh in Flintshire, North Wales, and in Monmouthshire, South Wales. William Henshaw, however, was the first missionary to be assigned to heartland Wales in Merthyr Tydfil, when Apostle Lorenzo Snow sent him there in late 1842 or early 1843.

On 18 February 1843, Henshaw had his first baptisms—the William R. Davis family. By September 1844, when Reuben Hedlock reported that the work in South Wales was “progressing rapidly,” there were nearly two hundred converts in Merthyr Tydfil and its environs. How many of those spoke only Welsh has not and probably cannot be determined. Some no doubt spoke English, inasmuch as Henshaw himself spoke no Welsh. The converts who were bilingual, an ability which would not have been unusual in the burgeoning industrial center of Merthyr Tydfil, played a major role in introducing the gospel to those who spoke only Welsh. There is no indication as to what importance Hedlock’s small pamphlet had in the proselyting effort in Wales. It preceded Dan Jones’s first publication by approximately six months. I have found no extant copy.

B. [Dan Jones]

Y Milflwyddiant.

(The Millennium.)

[Rhydybont, 1846?]

The only mention of this publication ever made in Prophwyd y Jubiliot Udgorn Seion was in the Prophwyd y Jubili for July 1847 (p. 116) and August 1847 (p. 132). It is listed as the sixth of seven items contained in a small collection of Welsh Mormon publications entitled Capt. Jones ar Formoniaeth, yn 1846 (Capt. Jones on Mormonism, in 1846, item 9).

However, neither of the two extant volumes of the collection contains anything entitled “ Y Milflwyddiant.”

In Yr eurgrawn ysgrythyrol (The scriptural treasury, item 20), published in July 1848, there is a 29-page segment entitled YMilflwyddiant (pp. 141–70) which contains scriptures and observations about the Millennium, but there is nothing to indicate a link between these pages and the pamphlet of the same title.

C. [Handbill.]

[Rhydybont? 1847]


No copy of this handbill has been located, but its existence is established in Dan Jones’s 22 August 1847 letter to Orson Spencer:

By these handbills, you will perceive the state of affairs with us somewhat. These regions are like a boiling pot; the priests mad with rage, and their flocks leaving them and embracing the gospel continually. Some of the Welsh brethren will translate this, and show how I met the broadside! (MillennialStar, 1 October 1847, p. 300)

Jones’s use of the plural handbills brings up the question of whether there was more than one or whether multiple samples of the same handbill had been sent. No clarification is offered with the phrase, “Some of the Welsh brethren will translate this.” Either singular or plural meaning could be defended.

There are two clues as to the handbill’s content. The first comes with a comment further on in the 22 August letter:

I commenced my lectures, on this affair, in Dowlais, yesterday, on the Book of Mormon. I am to be there this evening, and will continue until I forestall my short-sighted antagonist, and will have refuted his charges before his lecture comes on.

The second is in Jones’s 29 September 1847 letter to Orson Spencer. Jones had attended the 2 September 1847 lecture of his “short-sighted antagonist,” the Reverend Edward Roberts, in Dowlais:

I had sent one of my placards (publishing that I should reply the following evening, and admission by buying a shilling book for sixpence, and thereby paying them sixpence for coming, which contained the history of the church, Joseph Smith, and refutations to most of those charges, etc.), to the chairman, with a request for him to read it at the close, but he refused to read it. (MillennialStar, 15 October 1847, p. 318)

Roberts had charged a sixpence admission for the privilege of attending his lecture. Jones belittled such a mercenary spirit by offering copies of his recently published, 104-page Hanes Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf(History of the Latter-day Saints, item 16), priced at one shilling, for only sixpence as admission to his lecture. This information on his 3 September 1847 rebuttal and refutation, the half-price offer of his booklet, and an announcement of a series of lectures on the Book of Mormon to begin 21 August 1847 in Dowlais apparently comprised the handbill’s contents.

Exasperated at Jones’s brazenness in requesting that such a placard be read at an anti-Mormon lecture, Roberts announced that he himself would deliver a second lecture on Mormonism the following evening, admission free.

Dan Jones went a step beyond delivering lectures to counter Roberts by publishing two pamphlets (see items 17 and 18) in defense of the Mormon position. The pamphlets survived, but the handbill did not.

D. [Isaac B. Nash.]

We’ll see Joseph and Hyrum. [1849?]

The first mention of this song is in a letter dated 14 April 1850 from Thomas Jeremy. He was a member of the first group of Welsh Mormons to enter Salt Lake City in 1849 and wrote back to his compatriots in Wales: “The Welsh were exhorted by our revered president, Brigham Young, to sing the song ‘Joseph and Hyrum’ (Udgorn Seion, October 1850, p. 285). This group of emigrants had left Wales in February 1849, so the song was most likely composed (and perhaps printed) before that time, although it does not appear in any book lists before 1851.

In mid-1851 John Davis published a collection of his pamphlets which he entitled Ycasgl(The compilement, item 61). At the end he inserted a price list for the various Welsh materials available at that time. Listed among the 8 songs selling for a halfpenny each was (in English) “Verses, ‘We’ll see Joseph’ &c.” Davis’s reason for inserting the word Verses before the abbreviated title is not clear; he did not do so for any of the other 7 songs.

The other 7 songs were bound in his 1851 Y casgl, and since he was advertising We’ll see Joseph and Hyrum for sale, one would suppose that he could have included the title had he been so inclined. If the song had been published by Dan Jones before Davis assumed the role of printer for the Mormons in Wales, that would offer a possible explanation for its omission, inasmuch as the 1851 Y casgl contained only items which Davis himself had printed.

The song’s composer is probably Isaac B. Nash, a member of the first group of Welsh Mormon emigrants. At the end of The life story of Isaac B. Nash (unpublished; compiled by his grandson, Lyn W. Nash) is an assortment of songs Nash had composed. Among these in typescript form is one with the first line “We‘ll see Joseph and Hyrum.” There are 3 verses of 4 lines each, plus a 4-line chorus.

The song apparently continued to be quite popular among the Welsh. It is mentioned as having been sung at a conference held in Merthyr Tydfil in March 1853 (Udgorn Seion, 19 March 1853, p. 190). It is also listed in an 1855 book list as being for sale—the price was two shillings and ninepence per hundred (Udgorn Seion, 12 May 1855, p. 160). One would suppose that with a popular, 1-page (?) item such as We’ll see Joseph and Hyrum there were several different printings. At present, however, I have found no extant copy from even one of these printings.

E. [Trwyddcdi.] (Licenses.)

[Merthyr Tydfil?, 1849?]

British law required ministers of all churches to have licenses for preaching. The first mention in Welsh Mormon publications that these licenses would be available in the Welsh language was in the February 1849 Udgorn Seion (wrapper, p. 2): “ W e inform T. E. that plenty of licenses for preaching and for chapels can be obtained from us in Merthyr, as we shall be printing some soon.” Two months later it was announced that these licenses were available through the various conference presidents (Udgorn Seion, April 1849, wrapper, p. 3). These were no doubt printed in a format and with wording similar to the English licenses printed at Liverpool for the missionaries in the rest of Great Britain. None of the Welsh imprints, however, is extant.

Another category of licenses was that of “Church licenses.” A man who was ordained to one of the various offices in the priesthood (deacon, teacher, priest, or elder) was required to have a license showing his ordination and signed by his conference president and clerk before he could function in any priesthood duties. If any brother were excommunicated from the Church, he was expected to surrender his license to his conference or branch president; and if he refused to do so his name was to be sent to Udgorn Seion. With the appearance of a name in the periodical, the Saints would be warned in case of any attempts to take unfair advantage of members of the Church.

Although none of the “Church licenses” is extant, the wording is given in the May 1850 issue of Udgorn Seion (p. 140), as instructions were given for filling out the forms:

We hereby testify that (A.B.) was ordained an (Elder, Priest, or whatever) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the (Merthyr) Branch, in the (East Glamorganshire Conference), under the hands of (C. D., Elder or Priest, according to the circumstance), approved by the above branch, on the (tenth) day of (May), 1840 [sic]. Given under our hands, in (Merthyr), on the (24th) of (May), 1850.

(E. F.), President,

(G. H.), Clerk.

Certainly a variety of such things was printed on the Church press at Merthyr Tydfil over the years. All of the previously mentioned items are noted in a book list in the 12 May 1855 Udgorn Seion (p. 160). The cost, however, had increased dramatically from the halfpenny charged in 1850—meetinghouse licenses were threepence each, preaching licenses were fourpence each, and Church licenses were twopence each. Also advertised was a “Dangosiad aelodaeth” (membership certificate) for one shilling and tcnpence each.

F. [Cardiau.]


[Merthyr Tydfil: 1849.]

The June 1849 Udgorn Seion carried this announcement:

The cards for the annual Tea Party are ready to be sent out, and Bro. John Jones, Nailer, Merthyr, has been appointed to distribute them. On behalf of the First-Council we beseech all the Presidents and counselors to do their best to sell them and return the remainder of the cards to John Jones a week before the General Conference. (Wrapper, p. 2)

John Davis explained further that the Tea Party was scheduled for 30 July 1849, the second day of the conference in Merthyr Tydfil.

The first of these gatherings had been held three years earlier under the direction of Dan Jones. “About one thousand partook of the feast” at which a Missionary Society was formed to assist the traveling elders with their expenses. The profits amounted to twenty-two pounds ten shillings (MillennialStar, 15 August 1846, p. 41).

I have found no extant copy for the 1849 Tea Party nor any reference about cards being printed for other similar events.

G. [Dan Jones.]

[Taflenau cyfrifiadol.]

(Balance sheets.)

[Swansea?, 1854.]

In the 23 September 1854 Udgorn Seion (p. 513) is an announcement of the availability of these “balance sheets” and some instructions as to how they were to be used.

According to the unsigned article (most likely written by Dan Jones, the editor of Udgorn Seion at the time), the sheets were “to assist in collecting and keeping account of money received for various purposes in a tidy and correct way.” All who needed them were encouraged to send for them promptly before a new supply became necessary, so there would be ample time to print more.

Apparently there were at least three different sheets. The first sheet would last one month for weekly collections, the totals of which were to be entered on another sheet made out for each contributor.

These latter sheets appear to have been for a longer period, perhaps a year. A third sheet is mentioned, which was intended for quarterly reports. Their price per hundred was two shillings ninepence three farthings, or “one penny for each group of twenty people each quarter.”

I have found no extant copies of these sheets.

H. [Handbill.]

[Swansea? 1855]


Thomas Jeremy, a longtime friend and onetime counselor to Dan Jones in the presidency of the Church in Wales, wrote in his journal on 30 March 1855: “President Dan Jones has published a large handbill to defend the truth against the ‘and Mormon lecturer’ who calls himself A. B. Hepburn” (LDS Church Archives).

Before going to Swansea, Hepburn had been in many places throughout Britain waging a campaign against Mormonism. To advertise his lectures he had handbills printed and posted throughout the town. Jeremy reported having seen one on a chapel door as well as in the shop windows.

Jeremy recorded part of the contents of the Hepburn handbill in his journal:

Lecture 1st—The origin and first principles of Mormonism.—How the people are deceived by three Babtisms [sic] for the living and one for the dead.

Lecture 2nd—The Book of Mormon proved unscriptural.—How the people are robbed of their money.—Their miracles proved false, and their unknown tongue a deception.

Lecture 3rd—Their blasphemous account of the origin of God, and His wives in heaven.—The mysteries of the Mormon temple in America, illustrated by a panorama. (Journal entry, 26 March 1855)

Thomas Jeremy lamentably did not record the contents of Dan Jones’s handbill against Hepburn. I have found no extant copy.

1. [Handbill.]

[Swansea? 1855.]


Before the A. B. Hepburn campaign against Mormonism (see item H) had even had a chance to subside, the Reverend C. Short threw down his own gauntlet. According to a 3-page account of the incident in the 28 April 1855 Udgorn Seion (pp. 136–39), Short had challenged Dan Jones to debate whether Mormonism was “deceitful in its origin, blasphemous in its opinions and immoral in its practices.”

Jones was approached on 3 April 1855 but refused the challenge because the conditions were unclear. He promised Short’s representatives that he would meet with them about three weeks hence, after he returned from Liverpool, to discuss a modification of conditions. When the meeting was held, Short was there with his committee, but the two sides could not agree on terms. And according to Jones, Short proceeded to circulate the word that the Mormons were afraid to debate him.

In retaliation Jones printed a handbill as clarification of the entire affair. In the Udgorn Seion article Jones quoted from the handbill:

We proclaimed on our notices (hand-bills): “In the face of one and all the ‘Revered ministers of the gospel’ in Swansea, who back the brandisher of the King James translation of the Holy Scriptures, we would not refuse a challenge to defend one and all our principles with our own authorized books as the only standard, claiming the same right as they to prove the assertions of our opponents according to the same standard.” [“Hand-bills” appears in English in the periodical.] (Udgorn Seion, 3 April 1855, p. 136)

Apparently no debate ever took place; Jones, however, did present a series of lectures in late April and early May of 1855 in Swansea. I have found no extant copy of the handbill printed in response to Short’s accusations.

J. [Dan Jones.]


(Balance sheets.)

[Swansea?, 1855.]

The pleas Dan Jones made in the 28 April 1855 Udgorn Seion (p. 144) for book debts to be paid promptly would suggest that the book distributors were having some difficulty collecting from subscribers and perhaps some difficulty in keeping accurate records. Not all church labor was voluntary, as book distributors were entitled to a small stipend for their efforts. There is evidence also that Jones himself profited to some extent from the sale of his publications, although it is not clear how much profit was involved.

The following notice also appeared in the 28 April 1855 Udgorn Seion (p. 144): “We have just published balance sheets for our book distributors, which will help them to do their accounting at the end of each quarter easily and clearly. One is to be sent back promptly after it is filled out properly. Price sixpence per dozen. “Under the circumstances, the balance sheets were of assistance both to the distributors and to Jones, as well as to subscribers; the benefit to the latter was that with accurate record keeping they could remain current and not have their subscription cut off.”

I have found no extant copies of the balance sheets.