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Theodore Turley: A Biography
Richard E. Turley, Jr.

[This is another in a continuing series of newsletter articles that together will make up the first rough draft of a biography of Theodore Turley. The draft will undergo considerable revision before being published in book form. I invite all family members to read it critically, make suggestions, and offer additional information for possible inclusion. Feel free to e-mail me.]

32 Preparing to Leave England (cont.)

On the morning of July 17, as Theodore prepared to leave England, he expected to go to Chorley. He met with some of the Saints that day and gave them instructions. The next morning, he “took leave of the Saints for to go to Bolton.” He stopped at Chorley on his way “to see Br Greenhalch.” Then he continued on to Bolton, where he arrived at 5:30 p.m. He received a letter from Eliza Bromley, a church member at Lane End who had been particularly kind to him during his imprisonment. That evening, he attended “a council meeting of the officers of the church in Bolton.”1

Sunday morning, he preached in Bolton. In the afternoon meeting, he “Broke Bread with the Saints.” He also “Laid hands on a number of Sick,” confirmed one baptized man a member of the church, and ordained another to be a deacon. “The meeting,” Theodore wrote with satisfaction, ”was a very Profatable one to the Saints.”2

At the afternoon meeting, Theodore also noted, “There was a many Spirits manifest,” affecting mostly “Several of the Sisters.” In his journal entry for the day, Theodore explained what happened:

One Brother gave way to a repetition of expression Forcing the Spirit till he got into a crampt State of Body. His limbs Strecthed out his face distorted his eyes rolling round in their Sockets his fingers as cold as Death and yet when he could speak he said Praise God Praise God pray for me & co. The Spirit seased on all that would give way to it. I Rebuked the Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ. After Strugling a wile we got ride of the Devil. I gave Some instruction on the working of the Spirits & the efects of the Spirit of. Laid hands on a number of the Saints that was sick and they was heeled.

That night, Theodore again preached, this time “to a good congregation though very wet.” The rain did not seem to dampen their spirits.3

Over the next three days, Theodore continued his ministry in the area. On Monday, he “visited the Saints in & about Bolton Laying hands on the sick.” That night, he again preached in the open air to a large body of listeners. Theodore recorded that “numbers believ[e]d” his message. Four investigators followed his to his lodging afterwards “to enquire after the truth.” He spent until midnight preaching to them.4

On Tuesday and Wednesday, July 21 and 22, he worked with Joseph Fielding, another church member who visited Bolton to preach and testify “to the truth.” Theodore preached at a meeting on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, he and Elder Fielding visited the sick and administered to them. He then “Took leave of the Saints in Bolton” and traveled on to Manchester.5

Theodore’s surviving mission journal closes with his arrival at Manchester. He undoubtedly kept a journal detailing the events of his life from the time he left Bolton on July 22 until the day he reached his family in America several months later. Unfortunately, this journal, like others he kept, has been lost, making it impossible to give a daily account of the rest of his mission.

Fortunately, however, some of his mission companions did keep journals, some of which have survived. One such journal is that of Joseph Fielding, who was with him on the day he made his last journal entry. According to Elder Fielding’s journal, he and Theodore toured a factory on July 24 and then went by coach to Macclesfield. Almost the moment they climbed out of the coach, they saw a young man holding up a board. One side of it was a copy of Orson Hyde’s A Timely Warning. The other side had a notice that two men were going to preach in the evening.

Elders Turley and Fielding filled the teaching appointment that night and then left the following day for Burslem. The evening of their arrival, the two men attended a council meeting during which Theodore received an assignment to go to Lane End the following day, which was Sunday. Elder Fielding was appointed to stay in Burslem.

Theodore remained in Lane End on Monday, and on Tuesday, Joseph Fielding joined him there. The two ate a meal together before hurrying to catch a coach for West Bromwich, arriving there at 6:00 p.m. Elder Fielding wrote that “the Saint[s] there were glad to see us, especially Bro Turley as he had brought them into the Gospel.” The next day, the two missionaries traveled to Birmingham, where they visited Theodore’s friends, toured the town hall that had impressed him on an earlier visit, and slept at the home of his parents. Soon Theodore would leave his mother and father, never to see them again in mortality.

[Next issue: “Leading the Emigrating Saints”]

© 2007 by Richard E. Turley, Jr. (Reprinted with permission.)
Originally published in the February 2007 Theodore Turley Family Organization Newsletter

  1. Theodore Turley Mission Journal, July 17-18, 1840.
  2. Theodore Turley Mission Journal, July 19, 1840.
  3. Theodore Turley Mission Journal, July 19, 1840.
  4. Theodore Turley Mission Journal, July 20, 1840.
  5. Theodore Turley Mission Journal, July 21-22, 1840.