Fidel Castro and the MTC

What does communist leader Fidel Castro have to do with the birth of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah?

Actually a lot, argued Shawn Bennion on Friday afternoon during the Mormon History Association annual conference.

Bennion set the stage by explaining that in the 1950s and '60s two movements were trying to "gain a foothold in the nation Mexico: The first was the communist movement, mostly directed by Fidel Castro; the second was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

And while not connected, these two groups worked concurrently in Mexico on parallel projects albeit with different objectives.

Bennion outlined the similarities:

* In the early 1950s, Castro brought his men to Mexico and wrote and distributed propaganda. In 1952, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints printed the Book of Mormon in Spanish and missionary tracts were printed and distributed around that same time.

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