Defending the Faith: The first missions to England were daring and inspired

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

And the female converts from England were every bit as impressive, among them such remarkably strong women as Mary Goble Pay, Bathsheba Smith and Mary Fielding Smith.

Joseph Smith’s dispatch of many of his strongest, closest and most loyal associates to a different continent during a time when he desperately needed their help at home was, as philosophers sometimes say, “counterintuitive.” To put it another way, it seemed an obviously bad management decision. But it may well have saved the church.

Certainly, it enriched Mormon life and culture. It was the daring act of an inspired Prophet.

Daniel Peterson, professor of Islamic studies and Arabic, edits BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, directs, chairs "Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture," blogs daily at Patheos, and speaks only for himself.

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