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309223.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:10 am Reply with quote

I mentioned this in the pub on Monday, but I didn't see anyone making minutes at that stage:

Question: Where is the oldest Mormon church in the world?

Forfeit: Salt Lake City

Answer: Preston. More specifially, two junctions up the M61 from my house.

More here and around the web. But I've just been summoned; so it'll have to wait.

309252.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:08 pm Reply with quote

The BBC has gotten a little bit confused somewhere there - in fact, it's called the Preston Temple but is in Chorley; the two towns don't have one each.

That which the Mormons call a "temple" is a bit like a cathedral; it's a special big church that does special things. There are 125 of them in the world at the moment, a number which has increased substantially in the last twenty years.

As for which is the oldest of them, depends how you count. The first one they ever built is in Kirtland IL and opened in 1836, but a schism soon developed and it now belongs to a splinter group separate from the main LDS. The second was in Nauvoo IL and opened in 1846, but the Mormons were run out of town within months and the temple burned down soon after. The third, opened in 1877 and still in use, is in St George UT, which is actually nearer Las Vegas than Salt Lake. The first outside the USA was opened in 1923 in Alberta.

(This mostly from Wiki, which is usually fairly reliable on stuff pertaining to American religion.)

But most Mormons attend their regular Sunday service at a smaller establishment, properly called a meetinghouse although often referred to as a chapel. This is perhaps more equivalent to a "church" as understood in C of E or RC tradition.

The oldest extant one of these does in fact seem to be in England, but not in Preston nor yet Chorley. It's in a very rural bit of Worcestershire, in fact:


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