I served in England from October 1960 to 1962. My mission President during the 1st year was T. Bowering Woodbury. The General Authority we saw most often, and heard from was Henry D Moyle.
I have such great respect for these two men. At the time I arrived there were no Wards or Stakes in England. The Church was mostly thought of as that church that had an underground tunnel from Liverpool to Salt Lake City. The British had some odd ideas. Another was that in 1962 their Navy power far surpassed that of the USA. Things changed under the leadership of these two inspired leaders.
I had only been in London a few days when they brought us all in to learn what was about to happen in Britain. A prime piece of property was just put under a 100 year lease. This in a most prominent part of London; the museum district - Princes Gate. It is a short distance from Royal Albert Hall. What a marvelous and historic part of London.
The Church was about yo see some tremendous growth. In the two years I was there only the Northwest US grew faster.
Henry D Moyle was a visionary leader. T Bowering Woodbury the most inspiring, yet demanding man I have worked around. I can think of only a few people who have motivated me to grow as a person as did TBW. He met with our Hyde Park district often. Each time he made each of us teach a lesson to him and Sister Woodbury. That was tough duty, intimidating in that and other ways described his demeanor. He inspired and motivated.
Some don't appreciate his methods. He was goal oriented. In that vein there was a monthly goal. One was mothers month; our mothers were brought into knowing our challenge. We would write about our commitments. She knew how many hours we put in, how many people we taught, etc.
TBW had been a successful owner of a lawn mower and airplane factory in Kansas City. Without him manning the company, our Mr. Kansas City mission President lost his wealth, they went bankrupt. It's a 3 year full time commitment a Mission President makes.
The fact that we had one year to fill the chapel with church members was daunting to us. President Moyle gave us that message. In his mind it was a matter of fact, nothing less. It would happen was his assuming statement. I say daunting because at that time there was a small branch of the church there in The Hyde Park area. More American missionaries attended church than local members. It was a tiny branch in a big city.
These two leaders were the right ones to guide a new era in The British Isles. The announcement of this Chapel brought out what often happens with building a Temple, opposition. Some tabloids took us on with crazy stories. But President Woodbury was connected to present our facts. Lord Beaverbrook, owner of some of London's top newspapers became our advocate, Woodbury's friend. He countered all of the tabloid garbage. My companions and I were privileged to tell our Church message in interesting places; such as to the queens personal Barrister (Attorney) in his office. The office was like a museum and the size of. Gymnasium. We met with the head of Macmillan publishing Company of England. We were able to create a second story to the tabloids in such a way that people were curious.
There was one period of time that my companions and I spent 3 months in one apartment high rise teaching our doctrine. No one turned us away, and many became members.
We found a way to introduce people to us. American baseball, basketball, and bowling were becoming popular. We mostly used baseball to connect with the youth. Our instructions were to teach families, meet them through the youth. Some only went the first half of that directive and brought in the youth. But many of us brought families to Mormonism. There were so many that one year later we had a Stake. I personally saw people we taught, many quality men and women, in that full chapel the day it was dedicated. We all did.
Things were different with in England after that. Sure, not all that joined stayed active. Recently I received an email from the daughter of Paddy Rourke. She had found me online. She's said her mother was still alive and wanted me to know how much their entire family had been blessed by my being one who had found them and introduced them to this wonderful gospel. Paddy and his little family were there that Sunday dedication.
I believe there were 17 chapels under construction when I left in 1962. What a difference inspiration and the right people to carry out a mission that time had arrived to accomplish. I have been blessed to be a part of it.