Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
Merthyr Tydfil – and the area around it – mark the greatest growth area for the Church in Wales, particularly the work there of Elders William Henshaw and Dan Jones in the 1840s and 1850s. About twenty converts joined the Church each month in Wales in 1845, but in 1846 about 40 were baptised each month and in 1847 nearly seventy were converted each month.
This extraordinary Church growth was due in large measure to the spiritual and rhetorical power of Dan Jones, and the numerous pamphlets and newspapers he published in his native Welsh. Among those converted through Dan Jones’ efforts was John Parry, who emigrated to America and began the chorus that eventually became the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Pres. McKay came to this area in search of the birth place of his mother, Jennette Evans McKay. When he finally found the small cottage, he toured the home & stood weeping at being able to be at this beloved place. A memorial plaque was placed at the cottage which made his trip to this area extra special to him.
Prior to coming to Merthyr Tydfil, President McKay was given a dinner in his honor. He was presented with a beautiful organ and plaque in honor of his mother to be placed at the Merthyr Tydfil chapel which was soon to start construction. The chapel went from the footing stage to its completion in less than eight months. On August 25, 1963, the dedication of the new chapel at Merthyr Tydfil, Wales took place. At that time Pres. McKay officially accepted and honored the gift of the organ that was given in memory of his mother.