Evelyn Nessie Eleanor was born in London in 1881; married John William Rudd in 1904; and died in Skelton, Yorkshire in 1937. She served as a local missionary at the end of World War I. Although many of their children emigrated to the United States, Brother and Sister Rudd stayed at home in Yorkshire strengthening the Church there. She recorded her testimony and the account of her missionary experiences in 1919:
I desire to give my testimony to the truth of the gospel. For I know that ours is the same gospel that our Lord preached, and that the Mormon Church is the Church of Christ, restored in these latter days. The persecutions the saints have suffered in former times bear witness to the truth, as do also the untrue statements that appear from time to time in trashy books and other publications. They prove that the adversary is afraid because he knows that the true and everlasting gospel is on earth again.
I have been a Mormon for nine years, and I have had all manner of evil said against me. We have had our cottage door stoned while we held meetings and had our children blessed. The clergyman of our parish preached against us in the pulpit, because we were Mormons, and because the elders visited us and tracted the village. At one time I fell ill, and was not expected to live. My husband tried, in three villages, to hire a woman to come and look after the children, but not one dared to come, because I was a Mormon. The parson, when it became known that I was not expected to live, came and visited me, with the kind intention of showing me the error of my ways. I do not now recollect all I said to him, for I was very weak at the time, but I remember telling him that I knew that I was going to heaven. My husband said I talked to him, till the tears rolled down his cheeks. I asked him to pray with me, and this he did, although with difficulty.
The same clergyman was a witness to the raising up of my eldest son, Ernest, from a bed of illness, by the power of God, through the administration of the elders. My boy was paralyzed down one side of his body, when six years of age. I wrote to the elders, at Darlington, and they came at once, walking nine miles from the Northallerton station to our home, and ten minutes after the administration, he raised his arm that had been paralyzed, and took a banana from Elder Hixon’s hand, whereupon he sat up in bed and laughed and talked to the elders, and in less than a week he was outdoors, playing.
This is only one instance out of many which I could relate, showing the goodness of God towards us, in restoring us to health and strength, through the administration of His servants.
I have been a missionary for over two years. We are over thirteen miles from the nearest branch – that of Middlesborough. I usually go tracting, on Sunday, and then I often go far afield in the summer-time. I always take one of my children, as I am the only missionary around here. We sometimes have curious experiences. In one village we visited, a woman shouted after us, in her Yorkshire dialect, and asked us if we “’d getten plenty of pennies now,” and, “ave ye gaing yame?” In another place we tracted, a man expressed the opinion that I ought to be “drownded” for giving out such “rubbish.”
In the month of May, 1918, I was called up before the vicar of this parish for distributing Mormon tracts in all the villages. When I came, he began to pull down the Church, or tried to. He hoped to be able to confuse me by reading extracts from old, worn-out anti-Mormon literature. And, no doubt, I would have been confused, if I had not called upon the Lord and asked Him to inspire me and enable me to speak in defense of truth. The Lord heard my prayer, and so a poor, humble working-woman confused the vicar. He did not know that the Scriptures teach us that there are two resurrections. There were several other things of which he was not sure, until I told him where to find them in the Bible. then he would look up the places and read them, and admit that I was right. He then requested me to explain our faith to him, and I was only too glad to comply with this request. I related to him the story of the Prophet Joseph’s first vision, and testified to him of the gifts and blessings that attend the gospel. After he had listened to me, he said our beliefs were very much like those of the Church of England, and he admitted that there was much good in our religion. Then he asked me if I dared to meet the archdeacon at Saltburn, as he had been to Utah and talked to our elders, and would only be too glad to meet me and convince me that Mormonism was wrong. I said I should only be too pleased to meet the archdeacon, and offered to give up a day’s work on purpose to go to Saltburn to meet him. I am still waiting for the appointment.
The interview ended in the vicar accepting the loan of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and What the Mormons Believe, and several letters from friends in Utah and elders that had returned home. I have seen the vicar several times since the interview, but he has never alluded to Mormonism again.
I still keep on tracting and doing the Lord’s work.
I pray the Lord will bless all the saints wherever they may be; that He will strengthen the weak and give grace to the strong, and may love, pure and undefiled, ever abound amongst us.
Skelton in Cleveland.
EVELYN NESSIE RUDD