The history of Swedenborgianism begins in England, where Swedenborg had gone to see his works through the press and distribute them to those who could read Latin. Groups who had read his works and were anxious to spread Swedenborg’s theological teachings organized reading societies and translated the original works from the Latin for publication.

Eventually the issue of separatism arose, and in 1787 a group of followers formally established the Church of the New Jerusalem–based on the teachings of Swedenborg–as an independent religious body.

By the following year, the church claimed twelve members in that first London society.