Author: Peterson, Stanley A.
The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star was the official publication of the Church in the british isles from 1840 to 1970. Filled with editorials often written by General Authorities and with expositions of the history, doctrine, and organization of the Church, the Millennial Star became a literary landmark in the Church. Parley P. Pratt, an apostle of the Church and the first editor of the periodical, outlined its purpose in its first issue, May, 1840, "The Millennial Star will stand aloof from the common political and commercial news of the day. Its columns will be devoted to the spread of the fulness of the gospel-the restoration of the ancient principles of Christianity-the gathering of Israel-the rolling forth of the kingdom of God among the nations-the signs of the times- in short, whatever is shown forth indicative of the coming of the "Son of Man,' and the ushering in of his universal reign on the earth."
That first issue also contained an editorial; extracts of revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and published in the United States in the Doctrine and Covenants; challenges to circulars against the Church from other churches; articles on what other religions believe; a report of the conference on the Church in Preston, England; current History of the Church in the United States; letters from missionaries; poetry; and two hymns. Subsequent issues of the Star (as it was popularly known) followed a similar pattern throughout the years. Some of its poems became the lyrics for Church hymns, such as "Israel, Israel, God Is Calling."
The presidents of the British Mission were always listed as the editors, among whom were five future presidents of the church: Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, and David O. McKay.
The Star was nearly discontinued three times: in 1841 and in 1843 due to lack of subscribers, and a century later during World War II, when all the American missionaries were withdrawn from England. Its pages are an excellent source for the history and development of the Church. Its serial "History of Joseph" was a foundation document for the multivolume History of the Church.
The Millennial Star was officially retired in 1970, when it was subsumed into the Ensign, the current English-language magazine for adults in the Church.
Hill, James P. "Story of the Star." Millennial Star 130:12 (1970):10-13.
STANLEY A. PETERSON