Dewi Elfed was sent by the Saints as an eloquent and well-known missionary through Glamorgan and Gwent to spread the faith. In Oct. 1852 he was appointed treasurer of the mission ; and in Jan. 1853 he was appointed president of the Llanelli Assembly , with his son Aneurin as secretary . He moved to Swansea in Aug. 1854 on his appointment as president of the West Glamorgan Assembly . This coincided with the decision of Daniel Jones (1811-61, DWB , 449) to move the headquarters of the Welsh Saints from Merthyr to Swansea in Sept. 1854 . Dewi Elfed 's presidency came to an end in July 1855 when he was accused of financial fraud and was excommunicated. Although he was reconciled with this church and its leaders in Apr. 1856 , he was never again given office in the administration of the Welsh Mission. Instead, advantage was taken of his indisputable gifts as a preacher and a keen debater and he was sent throughout south Wales to reinforce the faithful and seek new converts.
He was m. by 1833 and had five children. In May 1860 he emigrated with his wife and their two youngest children on board the William Tapscott from Liverpool to New York , where they stayed for two yrs. before travelling for four months across the prairie with other pioneer Mormons , arriving at Great Salt Lake Valley in Oct. 1862 . He settled in Logan , about a hundred miles north of Salt Lake City , but d. of tuberculosis in May or June 1863 .
He published Eos Dyssul ( 1838 ); Cân newydd yn dangos niweidiau meddwdod (n.d.); and Serch Gerdd (n.d.). His work appeared mainly in the Baptist and Mormon periodicals, ( Seren Gomer and Udgorn Seion in particular); but the zenith of his literary career came undoubtedly with his later polemic prose, promoting the mission of the Saints and satirising Nonconformity in the fiery correspondence between him and Thomas Price in Yr Amserau and Udgorn Seion .
Dewi Elfed had his share of troubles and was one of the most colourful characters of the controversial Mormon mission in Wales in mid-19 c. Through his preaching , writing and debating and his hymns he contributed extensively to their missionary effort. But his chief contribution was his own conversion, since he was the only minister from among the main nonconformist denominations to become a member of the Saints . He was undisciplined, with the capacity to agitate both friend and foe. His life demonstrates the fierce enmity confronting the Saints in Wales at that time; but also the surprising dedication and discipline of the Welsh Mormon Mission in the middle of the 19 c.
David Leslie Davies, Aberdare
Published date: 2001