Transcript for Andrew Jenson, "South African Mission," Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Co., 1941), 808-10
SOUTH AFRICAN MISSION (The) comprises the extreme south part of the continent of Africa, or the political division of that continent known as the Union of South Africa, which is a self-governing Dominion of Great Britain, containing about 8,000,000 inhabitants. The mission fs divided into seven conferences, or districts, namely, Cape Transvaal, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, East London and Durban. On Dec. 31, 1930, these districts had a total Church membership of 769, including 9 Elders, 30 Priests, 11 Teachers, 20 Deacons, 535 lay members, and 154 children. Twenty Elders from Zion were laboring in the mission; also two missionary sisters. Five of the local Elders also were devoting their entire time to missionary work.
At a conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 28, 1852, Elders Jesse Haven, Leonard I. Smith and William H. Walker were called to open up a mission in South Africa. Traveling via Liverpool and London, England, they arrived at Cape Town April 19, 1853. Bro. Haven presided over the mission. Immediately upon their arrival they made application for the use of the town hall, which was granted upon condition that they pay for the lighting. They made arrangements to hold meetings in the hall for six consecutive nights and commenced to advertise these meetings. On the first evening, April 25, 1853, the hall was nearly filled, but when testimony was borne to the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith the audience became so excited that it was impossible to continue the meeting on account of the confusion. The following evening the brethren found the hall closed against them. They, however, obtained the use of other halls, but mobbers caused so much confusion that it was impossible to speak. Some converts, however, were made, but they were afraid to take a decided stand on account of persecution. Finally, a Mr. Nicholas Paul of Mowbray (a suburb of Cape Town), a man of influence, permitted the Elders to hold meetings in his home, informing the audience at the commencement of the meeting that if they did not wish to listen they could leave, but the first man who offered an insult on his premises would be in danger of "having more holes made through him than a skimmer," and as long as the Elders remained in the vicinity Mr. Panl was their friend, and soon afterwards he and members of his family were baptized.
On June 15, 1853, Elder Leonard I. Smith baptized Henry Stringer at Mowbray, as the first fruit of the labors of the Elders in South Africa. Soon afterwards a number of other converts were baptized and on Aug. 16, 1853, the first branch of the Church in South Africa was organized at Mowbray, four miles from Cape Town, and on Sept. 7, 1853, another branch was organized at Newlands, six miles from Cape Town. Up to that time about fifty persons had been added to the Church by baptism. A third branch of the Church was organized Feb. 23, 1854, at Beaufort, Cape Colony. These branches were later organized as the Cape Conference. The Elders also sent to England for copies of the Church works and a number of tracts for distribution. At a conference held at Port Elizabeth Aug. 13, 1855, the "Church in the Cape of Good Hope" (South African Mission) was reported to consist of three conferences, six branches and a total membership of 126.
On Nov. 27, 1855, Elders Wm. H. Walker and Leonard I. Smith sailed from Port Elizabeth on the ship "Unity," accompanied by 15 emigrating saints en route for Utah. This ship had been purchased by two members of the Church, namely, Charles Roper and John Stock, for the benefit of the saints, on account of the difficulty in securing passage by steerage for the company. The ship was chartered to London, England, with a cargo. On Dec. 15, 1855, Pres. Jesse Haven left Cape Town en route for America. Up to that time 176 persons had been baptized in the whole mission. Some had emigrated and some had been excommunicated, leaving in all 121 saints in the colony after Elder Haven left. Elder Edward Slaughter (a local Elder) was left in charge of the saints in the Port Elizabeth Conference, and Richard Provia (another local Elder) in charge of the Cape Colony Conference.
In 1857 Elder Ebenezer C. Richardson was sent from the British Mission to preside over the Cape of Good Hope Mission. He was accompanied by Elder James Brooks. When these Elders left for America in the spring of 1858, the Church in South Africa had a membership of 243.
On March 9, 1859, about 30 Latter-day Saints, emigrating to Zion from the South African Mission, sailed from Port Elizabeth on the barque "Alacrity," in charge of Elder Joseph R. Humphreys, a local Elder.
In December, 1861, Elders Wm. Fotheringham, Henry A. Dixon and John Talbot arrived in Cape Town as missionaries, and on March 14, 1863, a company of 15 emigrating saints left Port Elizabeth, bound for Zion, in charge of Robert Grant and John Stock, local Elders.
Elders Fotheringham, Dixon and Talbot remained in the mission until 1864 and Elder Miner G. Atwood succeeded Elder Fotheringham in the presidency of the mission. On April 12, 1865, a company of saints sailed from Port Elizabeth per ship "Mexicano," bound for Utah, in charge of Elder Miner G. Atwood, who left the mission in charge of local Elders.
Forty years elapsed before the South African Mission was reopened. In 1903 Elders Warren H. Lyon, Wm. R. Smith, Thomas L. Griffiths and George A, Simpkins were called to reopen the mission. In spite of the long lapse of years, they found, on their arrival, a few scattered members of the Church, showing that the seed sown by the former missionaries still bore fruit, and that at no time since the mission was opened in 1853 had the Cape of Good Hope and the surrounding districts been without at least a few members of the Church. Since 1903 work has progressed in the mission which, at the close of 1930, had a membership of nearly 800.
A monthly periodical of 12 pages mimeographed, and entitled "Cumorah Monthly Bulletin," was commenced at the mission headquarters at Mowbray in 1927. It was continued in this form until 1929, when the name of the periodical was changed to "Cumorah Southern Cross" and printed as a small quarto-sized magazine as the official organ of the South African Mission.
Following is a list of the Elders who have presided over the South African Mission since its reorganization: Warren H. Lyon, 1903-1906; Ralph A. Badger, 1906-1908; Henry S. Steed, 1908-1909; Brigham A. Hendricks, 1909-1912; Frank J. Hewlett, 1912-1914; Nicholas G. Smith, 1914-1921; J. Wylie Sessions, 1921-1926; Samuel Martin, 1926-1929, and Don Mack Dalton, 1929-1930.