Living and Loving the British Mission: Edalinda Victoria Longbone

    by James Perry

    Friendship League

    “I find that the best way to approach friends in order to expound the Gospel is through the various activity channels of our Church: home beautifying, socials, dancing, a study of the many professions which we urge our people to take up”, said Eda.[1]

    The baptism of Edalinda Longbone (more commonly known as Eda) on 25 January 1925 would prove to have a lasting impact on her own and many others’ lives.  In the Brighton Branch, where she resided, Eda made many happy memories and lasting impacts.  She contributed, however, she could, including serving as Branch Genealogical Supervisor.[2]  She participated in a national poem and story contests, in which she was successful and often placed highly.  In 1940, Eda won a contest for her short story entitled The “Millennial Star” – A Home Maker.[3]  This sister, who had been born in Pembroke, Wales, in 1900, and initially raised there, soon moved to London and later to Brighton.

    While living in London during the opening years of World War II, Eda was severely injured in an air raid.[4] “The shuddering explosion seemed to, nay, did bring down the whole building upon us.” For several hours Eda lay buried under the wreckage.  Eventually, a rescue party made its way to her.  The most welcome sight of her life was seeing “a man’s mud-soaked boot”, for she knew she was then going to be rescued.[5]  The force of the explosion caused Eda major injuries; after being dug out she was rushed to a hospital.  “I had been operated upon soon after my entry into the hospital, and for the first day or two, did not, I now presume, think very coherently upon anything.”

    Following an operation and while sedated, Eda was limited in her awareness of what was going on.  When the time came to change the dressings, she realised how badly she had been hurt.  In addition to gashes in her flesh, Eda had cause to be increasingly concerned following a conversation with her doctor: “My good doctor explained to me that some muscles at the back of my leg had been badly torn away.”

    Eda’s patriarchal blessing stated that if she kept certain commandments she would live to “a ripe old age”.  Similarly, Andre Anastasiou, the acting British Mission President, had promised that if she fulfilled her duties as a home missionary, she would be able to emigrate to America after the war.

    The shock of the event and the physical injuries played on the forty-three-year-old’s mind.  With these thoughts, Eda determined that her “dirty and gaping wounds” were not going to be the end of her.  “I resolved there and then that I would do my part – I would recover as soon as possible, and the surest way of doing that was to keep a cheerful spirit – I would not get depressed.”

    The wounds healed quicker than anticipated and Eda was soon able to return to her duties.  Of the experience, she noted: “…the whole incident was faith-promoting, and I feel to thank my Heavenly Father for sparing my life and pray that I may be found at the last day worthy of this tremendous blessing.” 

    During the War, Eda was initially called as a home-missionary to replace the efforts of the many missionaries who had been evacuated, and to support branches with many of their Priesthood away in military service.  In this capacity, Eda proclaimed the gospel and supported the saints.  She “visited, with Brother Mitchell, the Saints at Tunbridge Wells.  We found them well and happy.  They gave us a warm welcome and claimed a testimony of the Gospel.  We had the sacrament at one of the homes.”[6]

    In 1944, the call came to serve as a full-time missionary in the British Mission.  Eda was first assigned to labour in the Birmingham District for three months before being moved to the Mission Office in London for the rest of her mission.[7]  For two and half years Eda was invaluable to the Mission Presidency on account of her faith, handling of the mission books, secretarial skills for the Mission Relief Society, and her impressive stenographical skills.[8]  Travelling throughout the country on assignment, Eda supported and strengthened the Saints.[9]  When Hugh B Brown and his family returned to lead the mission in 1944, Eda went proselyting with his daughter, Margaret, who had been called as a missionary and also served in the Mission Office.[10]  Eda would serve where and when she could.

    Meals and good conversation could always be found when in the company of Eda.  When many Latter-day Saints American and Canadian soldiers began arriving in London, Eda was only too willing to help and serve them.  “The breakfast table that morning was a merry one, the whole ‘family’ were happy together, and as could be expected when British and American LDS meet, good-natured banter and teasing took place; it flew swiftly around and across the table accompanied by happy laughter.  What stranger could have guessed that until the evening before three of our company were unknown to us, and to each other?”  Eda was grateful for the opportunity to serve, particularly those who had endured so much. “For myself, I thank God for them and others like them, who come seeking meetings.  Their faith is steady; it is built on firm foundations.  It is a faith that is prepared to wait.  It shines out of their young eyes and shows in their actions; it stands fast; they hold on tightly to the iron rod.  All the horrors of war, the temptations of camp life, the absence of others of their beliefs – nothing can dislodge it.  Their faith, their steadfastness in the days of trials, their testimonies, have strengthened my own … Thank you, boys, for what you have done for me.”[11]

    Eda Longbone lived her life in a way that enabled her to realise many of the blessings laid out in her patriarchal blessing.  In 1947, Eda emigrated to Utah where she lived for a number of years before returning to her native land, settling in Eastbourne.  At the time of her emigration, she was described as “a very active member of the Church ever since her conversion”.[12]  Immediately after her arrival in Utah, Eda went to the temple and took out her endowments.  She met old friends and quickly acclimatised to the American way of life; she could be found speaking at many events in Utah.

    In 1948, Eda was one of the organisers of a group of returned sister missionaries who had served under Hugh B Brown.  They would meet on Sunday evenings after church services had concluded, to strengthen one another and plan cultural events.[13]

    To the end Eda held on to her testimony and beliefs.  In her final will and testament, she stated: “I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints known as the Mormons and wish my funeral arrangements to be in accordance with their customs.”

    For more church history stories see https://www.lds.org.uk/church-history


    [1] ‘Home Missionaries’ Page’, Millennial Star, Vol. 104, No. 2 (1942), p. 29.

    [2] ‘From the Mission Field’, Millennial Star, Vol. 101, No. 9 (1939), p. 144.

    [3] ‘Poem and Story Contest’, Millennial Star, Vol. 102, No. 22 (1940), p. 413.

    [4] Eda V. Longbone, ‘Faith-Promoting Incidents in the Lives of The British Mission’, Millennial Star, Vol. 105, No. 14 (1943), pp. 304-305.

    [5] ’’America is Wonderful’ Says British Lady’, Provo Sunday Herald, 18 January 1948.

    [6] ‘Home Missionaries’ Page’, Millennial Star, Vol. 103, No. 49 (1941)

    [7] ‘From the Mission Field’, Millennial Star, Vol. 106, No. 5 (1944), p. 748.

    [8] ‘Releases’, Millennial Star, Vol. 108, No. 9 (1946), pp. 274-275.

    [9] ‘British Mission’, Millennial Star, Vol. 107, No. 3 (1945), p. 94.

    [10] Martha Sonntag Bradley and Mary Brown Firmage Woodward, Four Zinas: A Story of Mothers and Daughters on the Mormon Frontier (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2000), pp. 461-462.

    [11] ‘Forces’ Pages’, Millennial Star, Vol. 107, No. 6 (1945), pp. 178-179.

    [12] ‘Emigrations’, Millennial Star, Vol. 109, No. 3 (1948), p. 66.

    [13] ‘Missionaries Organize’, Provo Daily Herald, 4 February 1948.