Deporting "Undesirables"

On April 23, 1914, five Latter-day Saint elders arrived at the port of Table Bay, South Africa, to begin service as missionaries in that country. Before they had actually set foot on the docks, government officials boarded the ship to examine the passengers. Upon learning of their presence, the officials separated the five Mormon men and held them for special questioning.

The elders were subjected to a special “literacy test”: officials, selecting some of the most difficult words they could find in the dictionary, ordered the elders to write the words. None of the elders was able to spell all of the words correctly, and the officials ordered them deported on grounds of their “illiteracy.”

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