In the 1885 publication “All About The Salvation Army,” William Booth answered the question “Who is William Booth?” this way:

General Booth was brought up in the Church of England, converted amongst the Wesleyans, afterwards became a minister of the Methodist New Connexion, and traveled in a great many parts of England, seeing great success in winning souls, until the year 1861, when he resigned his position as a regular minister, and gave himself up, with his wife, to evangelistic work. After this their labours were very largely owned of God, thousands being received into the various churches as the result. In the year 1865, Mr. Booth was led, by the Providence of God, by no plan or idea of his own, to the East of London, where the appalling fact that the enormous bulk of the population were totally ignorant and deficient of real religion, and altogether uninfluenced by the existing religious organizations, so impressed him that he determined to devote his life to making these millions hear and know God, and thus save them from the abyss of misery in which they were plunged, and rescue them from the damnation that was before them. The Salvation Army is the result.… a force of converted men and women, joined together after the fashion of an army, who intend to make all men yield, or, at least, listen to the claims which God has to their love and service.