United Brethren has retired.

The beginning of the Church in Eastern Europe

As someone who served his mission on the fringes of Eastern Europe, I was delighted that Brock pointed out this article from the 1991 Ensign by Russell M. Nelson, entitled "Drama on the European Stage."

In it, Elder Nelson sets out to outline the events that occurred after the collapse of Communism from the point of view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For anyone interested in modern LDS history in Europe, it is, dare I say it, essential reading.

Here's a snippet about Yugoslavia, which in 1991 was just slipping into anarchy:

President Monson dedicated this land on 31 October 1985, just prior to his call to the First Presidency. My first visit to that country as a Church leader was in April 1987. Elder Ringger and I met with governmental directors of religious affairs for Serbia and Croatia, as well as for Yugoslavia. Our interpreter was Kresmir Cosic, once a star basketball player for Brigham Young University. Brother Cosic had become a national sports hero in Yugoslavia. Governmental officials confessed that they weren’t particularly eager to meet with leaders of the “Mormon” Church, but they were excited to meet Brother Cosic, whom they admired and watched regularly on television.

We now have a legally recognized chapel in Zagreb, and congregations in other major cities. Elders and couple missionaries serving in Yugoslavia are currently assigned from the Austria Vienna Mission. Earnestly we pray for peaceful resolution of the civil discord that besets this nation at the present time. So many choice souls reside in this beautiful land.

I love the Cosic angle and can vouch for it: I remember that the missionaries in my mission (Austria Vienna) who served in Croatia claimed that Cosic-at-the-door was a sure fire way of getting in someone's home.

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (August 23, 2005 12:13 PM) 

There's a book about E. European LDS history:

"Mormon Missionaries Enter Eastern Europe" by Kahlile B. Mehr. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (August 23, 2005 1:18 PM) 

My brother was one of the first 8(?) to be sent in to Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution. He had been learning Czech in the evenings to teach the refugees, then bam. Off to the home land.

His experiences are the stuff of legends. I was fortunate to travel and pick him up in 1991. A truely miraculous time. 

Posted by J. Stapley


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (August 25, 2005 3:15 PM) 

I remember preparing for my mission in the early 90s. There were all these stories going 'round that missionaries called to Russia would serve 3 years because of the language. I had a girlfriend and 3 years sounded really long. Please, not Russia!! 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (August 30, 2005 5:30 PM) 

I never heard those stories about staying in Russia for three years, but I was glad not to be sent there nevertheless. Many of the missionaries going out from Hungary were sent to Russia (made sense since they all had to learn Russian in school...). Their folks back in Hungary would get letters describing Moscow in December--minus 20C and utilities like gas and hot water were spotty at best. 

Posted by Brock


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