I didn't know that...the Mormons sent missionaries over to England in the mid-1800's apparently and those who were recruited went away to America where they were persecuted, and sometimes even murdered because of their beliefs.
One of the women I've been tracing, went off to America and died of typhus, poor lady, when she'd only been there for a couple of years...she'd upped sticks when she was over sixty and went with a small group of other recent converts. But they were hounded from everywhere and found themselves in a desperate situation when they were told to leave the town where they'd tried to settle.
Many died on route to their new settlement and those who did survive the trek, succumbed to the various diseases prevalent at the time...mostly typhus and cholera.
It must have taken a huge amount of...guts... I suppose, for a woman who was the widow of a farm labourer and could neither read or write, to travel so far afield because of her new-found beliefs.
She left her many children behind in England, though a couple did follow her route a few years later and made homes and found husbands for themselves among the Mormon community.
I suppose you may not be familiar with the Find-A-Grave website...it's brilliant actually. If your person has been added at some point then you can see their grave and the cemetery...the American ones are totally immaculate...all mown grass and flowers. Heaven only knows what they must think of ours when they come to Ireland to trace their people...falling into ancient crypts and side-stepping the stray skull unearthed by a fox and needing to wear sensible stout boots to avoid the grassy tussocks full of the Irish Green slugs must be a real eye-opener...
We just heaped body upon body you see...and then the soil moves about over time and foxes want a safe place to have their young and before you know the little ancient burial place is positively awash with bones...
But back to the Mormons...I hadn't any idea they actually came calling at the doors of the humble farm workers back in the 1800's...and I certainly didn't have a clue that they managed to convince many to follow them to America.
It must have been so complicated...they'd have had to find out where the ships sailed from...and saved up enough money for the passage. Then they'd have needed to travel to the port...imagine how frightening that journey would have been to someone who had never been further than their village.
Even if they'd travelled with a group of like-minded people, it must surely have been a journey fraught with doubt .Jane was leaving all she knew behind forever...her children and her neighbours, those she'd known all her life...she was a new widow, so was only just adjusting to a life without her husband when she really did take the 'path less travelled'.
But Jane settled into her new life even though that filled with uncertainty and a certain amount of fear from those who loathed the Mormon faith. She wrote loving letters home to her children and friends...dictated to a new friend who was literate probably...those letters still exist, a reminder of the not so distant past.
Whatever personal feelings you may have about the Mormons' or any other break-away sect for that matter, rather loses its power when you consider how people like our Jane were brave, or maybe foolhardy enough, to follow them to remote and desolate regions of America in order to be safe from harm.