This week in Church history

50 years ago

Nazi robot bombs had virtually destroyed the headquarters of the British Mission in London, according to an article in the Aug. 12, 1944, issue of the Church News.

In the report from the mission president, Elder Hugh B. Brown, he told of having prepared a shelter in the mission home's basement with a ceiling reinforced with timbers as bombing raids became more frequent. In this basement area would sleep several of the sister missionaries. Also during raids in daylight, the shelter was used as a precautionary retreat.

Continued the account: "As the visits of the missiles became more frequent and more sinister, it was decided to have . . . the lady missionaries take a leave of absence." They were sent to their homes or to the homes of members.

"On the day of departure of the first group, in fact, while they were still at the railway station," he said, "we had our first near miss' when considerable damage was done to the building." Elder Brown was working in his office at the time of the siren's warning, and being "curious to see one of thedoodle-bugs' in flight," he went through the French doors into the rear garden.

"I heard the ominous roar of the robot and, judging by the direction of the sound and the crescendo, decided that [the mission home] was directly in its line of flight. This was confirmed when the jet engine cut out, seemingly a matter of yards away, and almost immediately I saw what appeared to be a small airplane diving toward me. . . .

"Very few seconds pass between the time one sees a diving bomb and its impact and explosion, and in those few seconds the average person acts without much thought and often without much dignity. On this occasion the green grass in the garden became very alluring, and I got as near to mother earth as possible. The bomb and I were grounded at the same instant, and the explosion was deafening and stunning. It exploded on Nightingale Lane less than one-half block from the mission home.

"The concussion showered glass, plaster and tiles from the roof over the garden. This was a warning of possible falling pieces of the bombs, and as my curiosity was satisfied, I moved with alacrity back into the office."

Damage to the home from that incident and from several subsequent nearby bombs necessitated relocating the mission home to another location, which occurred soon thereafter.

Quote from the past

"While it is a great honor to be God's servants, holding His priesthood, it is not honorable for any man or any set of men to seek for position in the Holy Priesthood." - President John Taylor, in an address given Oct. 10, 1880, in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.

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