Mormon proselytizing in Europe started early

The preaching and proselytizing of the Mormon faith in central and eastern Europe has not been an inaugural endeavor in recent decades.

In fact, the presence of leaders and missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dates back nearly 170 years ago, when Orson Hyde of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve was making his 1841 journey to Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

He is credited as being the first LDS member to set eyes on what is present-day Austria, Bulgaria and Romania, as he took a steamer on the Danube River from Vienna to Galatz (now Galasi, Romania) on his way to the Black Sea.

"I am a witness that the gospel has been proclaimed all along the Danube," wrote Elder Hyde of this portion of his trip.

Initial missionary efforts in Europe beginning in the 1830s focused on the British Isles and the northern Scandinavian countries. The first missionaries reached Germany in 1840, and that country's first branch was established in 1843, several years before the America-based Latter-day Saints relocated from Nauvoo, Ill., to the Salt Lake Valley.

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