How the Mormons brought Salt Lake City to East Anglia
London UK Independent 1Jan99
By Emma Cook
The rise of the LDS Church as one of Britain's largest landowners
(14,000 acres) has not escaped notice, with the Independent's Cook
calling the area around Huntingdon, where some of the holdings are
concentrated, a 'second Utah.'
In spite of the relative lack of publicity surrounding the purchases,
the Daily Mail recently claimed that the LDS Church is one of the
biggest beneficiaries of the European Union's farming subsidy, which
caused some controversy in Britain. And the LDS Church has responded
with an advertising campaign in the Daily Mail and the Evening
Standard and a direct information campaign sending literature and
videos to 40,000 homes in Britain.
The general tenor of this article is very similar to the attitude
it seems to find among the Church's neighbor's in East Anglia;
suspicion and unease. The ownership of the farmland is viewed as
an attempt to either capture subsidies or rape the land with
chemicals. Even a local pastor is suspicious when Elder's sit
in the back of his chapel and listen to his sermon.
In spite of interviewing Clive Jolliffe, who manages the Church's
farm operations in Britain and in spite of accompanying two Elders
as they knock on doors in the area, Cook still is suspicious, and
gives the impression of a bias against the LDS Church from before
her interviews started. And Cook concludes that the Church sounds
like a political machine operating with military precision.
Nevertheless, Cook attributes the LDS Church's success in Britain
to the nature of its values, saying that the values are similar
to those of the readers of the Daily Mail, but with less affluent
lifestyles, noting that it is no surprise that the Church's ads
were placed there.