Hill Farm Owner Louise Manning | Following Wilford Woodruff's Steps in England

Speaker: Louise Manning

Videographer: James Dalrymple

Producer: Smith Family Foundation



Spiritual places take on a real energy of renewal. Sacred places are sacred for a reason. And coming here is a really important place to be. We are at Benbow Pond, which is in Herefordshire, in a small parish called Castle Frome, and it was here in 1840 that Wilford Woodruff came. As you can see around you, it is the most beautiful place.

I live in the house where John and Jane Benbow lived. They were tenant farmers. There's been a farm here, I am sure, for 7-800 years. Wilford Woodruff spent time in my home and when I found out about the history that was connected to the farm. I really wanted to find out more and find out more about the people who had made such a major decision in their lives.

And that takes real bravery and courage, really, to decide that you are going to go somewhere new. Anyone who's read Wilford Woodruff’s journal, which I've sat and read, when he came to this farming area, he talks about in his journal how he sat up all night talking to John and Jane Benbow. So they must have really connected in those first few days.

He was quite a pioneer and you wonder of the person and what they were like. I’d quite like to have heard him speak. People talking with conviction, it's quite rare to hear that today. And he must have been a great orator. For some people to see where their ancestors have come from is really, really important, to see what their ancestors went through so that they could have a better life. And being able to come here and reflect and meditate is really important for some people.

If you were to go to my parish church, you would stand by a yew tree that's a thousand years old. And when you go into that church, even if I'm cleaning the church, which I do on a fairly regular basis, you walk in through that door and you think of the generations of people that have come there as a community to celebrate their community and what it is that draws them into faith and that has been a spiritual place for multiple generations.

And I think you have to be in the mindset that you allow such places, whether that is going up onto the Herefordshire beacon, spending time just in woodland, spending time here. I think this place is one of those where if you just sit on the bench and you just allow the birdsong and you allow what's around you and you allow yourself to absorb that, really allowing yourself to recharge and renew.

I have been privileged to have got to know a little about the members of the Church of Latter-day Saints and to find out a little bit about what they believe, what and how they find the conversion that happened here so important and as important today for their lives and the meaning in their lives as it was in 1840.