Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Country information: Hungary

Published: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 9,906,000; Members: 4,474; Stakes 1; Wards 5; Branches, 14; Missions, 1; Percent LDS, .045, or one in 2,214; Europe Area.

In east central Europe, Hungary has a population that speaks Hungarian (Magyar), and is Roman Catholic, 67 percent, and Protestant, 25 percent.

The first missionary effort into Hungary was made by Thomas Biesinger in 1885. He was there for only about three months and then left having found little success.

Mischa Markow was likely the first Hungarian convert. He joined the Church near Constantinople, Turkey, in 1887. In December 1898 Markow was called to serve a mission to Europe. He taught in Belgrade until he was banished and sent to Bechkeret, Hungary, in June 1899. There, he was again arrested and banished from the country in July 1899 for preaching. He continued his work in neighboring countries, but having had similar difficulties in Romania and Bulgaria, he went to Temesvar, Hungary, (now in Romania) on 3 September 1900. He and his companion, Elder Hyrum Lau, worked there until 1 April 1901 when they were again banished, leaving a behind a branch of 31 converts.

Missionaries continued to work in Hungary and the Church received legal recognition in 1911. However, missionary work among Hungarian-speaking people was not successful, and the area was closed in March 1913.

Political restrictions limited missionary work between 1913 and the late 1980s, but there were a few contacts and converts made — notably through the work of Otto Neu who visited Hungary in 1928 and performed some baptisms. He also visited and baptized several converts in 1966.

In 1961, Austrian Mission president W. Whitney Smith created a Hungarian district devoted to working among Hungarians living in Austria, and on 12-14 June 1965 Austrian Mission president Peter Loscher and mission secretary Siegfried Szoke visited members in Hungary. Loshcher returned 21-25 May 1966 with Ernst Griell and baptized Louis Gy?k? in the Danube River.

On 18-19 September 1976, President Gustav Salik of the Austria Vienna Mission visited Budapest and established a branch there. Due to government restrictions, however, the branch had to be disbanded. In April 1978, Joseph T. Bentley and his wife, Kathleen began their 18-month service in Hungary, the first missionary couple called to serve there.

The Church received welcome publicity in the 1980s that prompted many Hungarians to seek information about the gospel. In 1982, Hungarian Television broadcast a Tabernacle Choir program and a documentary on Utah and the Church. In 1985, a book titled, "The People of the Golden Plates" was published and in November and December of that year a documentary on the Church ran on Hungarian television.

Hungarian officials were impressed by the temple in Freiberg, East Germany, so late in 1986 they approached the Church to see if missionaries could work in their country. They agreed to allow missionaries so long as they did not proselyte openly.

On 21 April 1987 Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Hans B. Ringger of the First Quorum of the Seventy met with the Secretary of the Office of Religion and Internal Affairs in Budapest. He gave full approval for the building of the Church in Hungary. That same month, the first young elders arrived in Hungary. The next year on 1 June the Church was given full recognition by the government. Missionaries saw so much success in early 1988 that appointments had to be scheduled three weeks in advance. The first meetinghouse was purchased in Budapest in April and dedicated in October of 1989.

The Hungary Budapest Mission was created on 1 June 1990 with James L. Wilde as president. At the time there were about 75 members in one district. The Book of Mormon in Hungarian was published in 1991 and the Doctrine and Covenants in 1995. In 2003, a complex housing the mission office and home, a chapel, CES offices, and classrooms and an activity area was dedicated in Budapest.

In 2003, membership reached 3,829. In 2005, membership reached 4,147.

The first stake in Hungary was created 4 June 2006, in the Tihany Ter meetinghouse by Elder Bruce C. Hafen with Gabor Klinger called as president.

Sources: Kahlile B. Mehr, Mormon Missionaries Enter Eastern Europe, 2002; Austrian Mission (now Austria Vienna Mission), Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; Justus Ernst, Highlights from the German-speaking LDS mission histories, 1836-1960, Church Archives; Albert Riedel, Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Missionen der Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage, 1971; Hungary Budapest Mission annual historical report, Church Archives; Swiss and German Mission (now Switzerland Zurich Mission), Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives.

Stakes — 1

(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)

No. / Name / Organized President

Europe Central Area

2724 / Budapest Hungary / 4 Jun 2006 / Gabor Klinger

Mission — 1

(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)

(243) HUNGARY BUDAPEST MISSION

Hajoczy Jozsef u. 14

1122 Budapest

Hungary