The following, um, “interesting” bit of news was published in more than one respectable English newspaper in the first weeks of May, 1927 – the Sunday News of London on May 1, for instance – and was picked up by English-language newspapers abroad. As far as I know, nobody was ever identified as the prankster who composed it in the first place.
A GREAT OFFENSIVE
Leader of Princely Tastes and Large Salary
From a Special Correspondent
Utah (Received yesterday)
Preparations are being completed in Salt Lake City for the greatest Mormon missionary invasion of Europe that has ever been planned. Within the next few months 10,000 chosen Mormons will take train and Atlantic liner, and will sweep Britain and Europe.
No less than 3,000 of them will make for London, and accommodation is already being arranged for them by Mormon agents already in the metropolis. One thousand Mormons will invade Paris, and 6,000 missionaries will spread themselves over Italy, Spain, Germany and the Middle European States, of whom 2,000 are proceeding to Moscow at the direct invitation of the Soviet government, who are not averse to Mormonism amongst the Bolsheviki.
To lead this great advance of religious soldiers will come one Terahan Moss, a man of 60, with patriarchal appearance and for some years one of the most powerful of the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. He will travel “au prince” to Paris, and accommodation such as a film star would occupy has been reserved for him on one of the largest Atlantic liners.
This patriarch may take up his residence in England and be the spiritual head and adviser of Mormon Europe.
For a long time past the council of Seven, which is the inner power of the Mormon movement, has contemplated ambitiously a Mormon world, in the event of which the Great Elder would be the spiritual king of the universe.
11 Tons of Propaganda
Missionaries Who Will Not return Till Victory
The missionaries are bringing over to Europe 11 tons of literature, and among their number are 300 trained preachers who have been studying European languages for three years in the Utah University to enable them to preach in foreign countries.
A plan to found 130 Mormon churches in England is but one of many objects cherished by the Latter-day Saints, and 30 churches will be built in London, with others in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other big centres. These will be established inside of five years following the invasion, say the Mormon heads.
I understand that the first liner load of Mormons will dock at Cherbourg and Southampton some time in July, and that they will not return to Utah until they have more or less accomplished their purpose.
Or maybe it all really happened and I just never heard of it …