A knowledge of his family history recently placed one missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spotlight. Elder Dalton Bradford is a direct descendent of William Bradford who 394 years ago walked aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom. William Bradford is also credited with helping to organize the first Thanksgiving.
Elder Bradford has lived all over the world, and he could have been called on his mission anywhere in the world, but he was called to serve in the England London South Mission. His first area on his mission is Plymouth, England, where the Mayflower departed for its journey across the Atlantic Ocean before landing in New England.
When Elder Bradford learned of an event celebrating the six-year countdown to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from Plymouth, he simply wanted to attend. When the event coordinators learned of his connection to William Bradford, Elder Bradford suddenly became a large part of the celebration. He was interviewed by BBC Spotlight at the event and was also featured by a local news publication.
According to the Plymouth Herald, “When he was 18 years old, William Bradford was among a group of Separatists who left the U.K. for the Dutch Republic, seeking freedom from religious persecution as a result of their break from the Church of England.” He would eventually end up on the North American continent and become governor. Now, 10 generations later, his 18-year-old descendant is in Plymouth sharing a message of faith.
“I think about how incredible it is that he was freeing victims of religious persecution, and I am here now 10 generations later, as a religious missionary,” Elder Bradford told the Herald. “That really adds to my experience.”