The October 2012 general conference  marks a historical shift in the world of missionaries, but what about April 1898?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a video June 30 that  shares the backstory of President George Q. Cannon’s announcement that women could serve as full-time proselytizing missionaries in April 1898.

The video shares the story of Elizabeth McCune, whose influence in England persuaded the mission presidency to write to LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff requesting sister missionaries.

“There have been instances where our sisters cheerfully arose in our meetings and bore testimony to the truth of the gospel,” the video quotes Joseph W. McMurrin of the British Mission Presidency saying. “Their very presence does a great deal toward removing prejudice from the mind’s of people.”

The video includes interviews from historians and some of McCune’s female descendants explaining the work McCune accomplished in a time when anti-Mormon literature in England was common.

“She was the opposite of the Mormon women depicted in these tracks,” historian Brittany Chapman says in the video. “She was respectable, she was well-spoken and she represented the true Mormon woman.”

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