Welcome

This is a blog for those of the British Isles that are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as 'Mormons', or those who wish to know more about us and our beliefs.

To contact the Author, please e-mail mattbembridge@hotmail.com.

Monday, 22 June 2009

UK LDS TV


This blog now has its own channel on YouTube. It's a humble start for a concept that others are free to add to; if anyone has suitable content to add please let me know by e-mailing the video's URL (you will require an existing YouTube account but if not it only takes a minute to sign up and start uploading) to mattbembridge@hotmail.com.

The channel can be viewed at the bottom of this blog or you can go to the channel on YouTube.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Slideshow - Send your pictures!


On this blog is a slide show of pictures representing the Church in the British Isles. I would like to include pictures from anyone who has relevant material to share. I look forward to receiving your pictures by e-mail to:

mattbembridge@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Thoughts on a recent visit to the London England Temple


After taking in the sight of the Temple, which I had not laid eyes on in about five years, I went straight to the newly remodelled Visitor's Centre where we were greeted by an Elder Beckstrom who was serving a senior couple's mission with his wife in the England London South Mission. I had wondered about the impact the new Visitor's Centre would have, considering the relative remoteness of the Temple's location; Newchapel is nothing like Temple Square! Elder Beckstrom informed me though that out of the approximately two thousand visitors they have each month, about a hundred are investigators, and the numbers are steadily increasing. I'm sure that they, like myself could not fail to be impressed by quality of the displays on offer, feel the Spirit that dwells within the centre, or be moved by the film on display there in the small theatre, 'Joseph Smith-Prophet of the Restoration'. The film in particular has gotten a very positive reaction from member and investigator alike, despite the immense challenge the producers set themselves to do the whole story justice in a film lasting seventy-five minutes. Being an ardent historian myself I would have liked to have seen a more thorough treatment of Church History, but the overall execution was superb and in some places just how I had always imagined it to be; like the producers had read my mind! There's also the 'Christus' statue, the awe-inspiring sight of which you are greeted by when you first come in through the doors, of which I will come back to later. Overall, the new Visitor's Centre is definitely something to be proud of and an experience to recommend to anyone.

It was good to see the Angel Moroni Statue adorning the spire after so many years. The Temple never seemed quite complete to me without it, although there are still several Temples in the world that still do not have one. They're not mandatory or anything but help to mark the Temple as a unique and special structure, as well as being a powerful symbol of the Church. The original Nauvoo Temple was the first to be adorned with an angel at its peak, but that showed an unidentified angel and acted as a weather-vane. The inspiration for the idea was from the Bible:

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people..." (Revelation 14:6)

It was with later statues, modelled after the one mounted on the Salt Lake Temple that they came to be identified with the angel Moroni, and a handful of temples even have a statue of him blowing his trumpet and holding the Gold Plates.

A lot is sometimes made of the orientation of the Temple, many do face directly east, the Preston Temple certainly does. The London Temple lies about 15 degrees north off east, and although there is significant symbolism in that feature, not every temple does. It is however seemingly very important that the Angel Moroni faces east, if the account of what happened at the building of the Los Angeles Temple just a few years prior to the building of the London Temple is anything to go by. During one of his frequent visits to the temple, President David O. McKay noticed that the angel faced southeast as did the temple. He informed architect Edward O. Anderson "that it was not correct in that position…that the angel must face east". It think it has something to do with the scripture:

"For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be". (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:26)

The Angel Moroni is a powerful reminder of the Church's mission to look to and prepare the world and ourselves for the Second Coming of the Saviour; a significant part of which mission is performed within the walls of the Temple.

I noted that from this angle the two main 'steps' of the body of the Temple are quite pronounced; a feature which is even more exaggerated on some modern temples, which often have more such 'steps'. It made me think of how at times anciently a mountain would act as a Temple, or Holy ground, such as the mount Shelem on which the brother of Jared saw the Lord, the 'exceedingly high mountain' where Moses received great instruction directly from the Lord and later Mount Sinai, amongst other examples. Even the Paradisaical Garden of Eden, the prototype Temple is depicted as being on a hill, on higher ground. These Temples embody in Spirit and often in form a 'Mountain of the Lord', so we may ascend into the presence of the Lord and stand on Holy ground for ourselves.

Again from this perspective one can see how the eye is drawn Heaven-ward. In addition, just as the Israelite must have been in awe of the sight of the Temple of Solomon, so too we can stand in awe of this impressive structure. We are made to feel that we are somewhere special; by its very presence it creates a sense of the grandeur and glory of God, and we approach with humility to the House of the Lord.

Finally we went back to the Visitor's Centre to sit in front of the 'Christus' statue, of which this is the only example in Europe (apart from the original in Denmark which the Church subsequently copied and has used in several locations) and take in the short audio presentation. To be honest I don't remember any of the scriptures that were quoted; I just looked at this life-size representation of the Saviour in front of an appropriate heavenly backdrop and felt, I think, a little of how I would feel at the 'great and dreadful day of the Lord' (Malachi 4:5 - I'm hoping it'll be great for me) to look up at Him from bended knee, and see my Lord and Saviour face to face. It was almost transcendent, and that was just looking at the statue!

As for the visit as a whole, it is interesting how every time you go to the Temple thoughts and impressions come to your mind and the spirit is refreshed; whether you partake in the ordinances there or just take a peaceful stroll around the grounds. It is like a soothing balm for any weary soul.

A complete map of Church congregations in the UK and Ireland for Google Earth!


I have compiled the most comprehensive and accurate map to date of Church congregations in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. This is viewable through the Google Earth application; which is a free download available from Google.

It contains the exact location of almost every congregation, whether they meet in a purpose built chapel or rented building, along with a photo in most cases, addresses, telephone numbers and meeting times. It also indicates Family History Centres.

The file has many other features worth looking at; just click on the folders and many sub-folders in the 'Places' pane on the left-hand side of the browser to see what I mean.

This is a work in progress and updates are being periodically made. Feel free to make any suggestions about how it could be improved.

One extra feature for those who have purchased Google Earth Pro and posess a GPS device such as a Sat Nav can download the file onto the device for directions to any Church meeting place in the UK and Ireland, though as I'm too poor to posses either I've not been able to test that function out.

Try it out before you download (reduced features and functionality):


Download the file. (British Isles - United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland (√Čire).kmz Version 12 - 116KB)

Don't have Google Earth?

'British Latter-day Saints' on Facebook


For all Facebookers! There is a 'British Latter-day Saints' group on Facebook. Please visit if you wish to contribute in any way; we need more people and input. Those not of our faith are especially welcome!

Join us on Facebook!

UK LDS TV