The building where legend has it that unholy spirits attacked the first Mormon missionaries to Britain, Wilfred street loggings at 3 Fox Street, Preston was the scene of a struggle between the devil and elder Heber C Kimball, elder Orson Hyde, elder Willard Richards and three others in the early hours of Saturday July 30, 1837. The fearless Mormons had sailed to Liverpool and then after being guided by god
They were asleep when the forces of evil dramatic attempt to stop their work - the men were to carry out the UK first Mormon baptisms in the River Ribble the following day. All the elders were struck by the forces and subjected to a lengthy attack. Elder Kimball wrote: "I rose and sat up on my bed when a vision was opened to our minds and we could distinctly see evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half." The missionaries overcame the torment and successfully carried the baptisms the following day, watched by a crowd of about 9000. The Mormons are still very active in Lancashire with the impressive temple overlooking the M61 at Chorley Preston is home to the oldest continuous branch of the Mormon Church in the world.
Extract from the LEP September 2001 by Laura Kennerley