LDS interest main page

Mainly focused on the members and the middle east

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we are commisioned as the prophet Ezekiel declared:"Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel, and you will hear a word from my mouth, and you will warn them from me. When I say to the wicked, You will surely die! and you have not spoken to warn the wicked from his evil ways, to save him, that wicked man will die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at your hand. But if you have warned the wicked man, but he does not repent from his wickedness, and from his wicked ways, he will die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your soul."(Ezek. 3:17–19.)

We are engaged in adding content that will be of benefit for members of the Church. Hopefully this site will aid all who desire to increase their understanding of the wonderful aspects of the teachings of Jesus Christ, throughout all history.

The LDS Interest pages will contain videos, Tid Bits, and content that focuses upon scripture and the Church involvement and history in the Middle East. In keeping with this we begin with the Ottoman Empire and the earliest involvement of the Church in the Middle East.

"Political turmoil in the Ottoman empire, two world wars, and restrictions imposed by local governments have challenged the efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to establish an official presence in the Middle East. Despite these difficulties, the Church has small congregations in several Middle Eastern countries, mostly because of the influx of expatriate (mainly American) Church members working there. Before 1950, Church activities were limited to the Levant (Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria), but since then some have also occurred, temporarily at least, in Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon, and the Arab countries of the Gulf.

The history of LDS Church activity in the Middle East dates from 1841, when Orson Hyde, an apostle, prayed on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem for the gathering of Abraham's children (especially the Jews) to Palestine, for the building up of Jerusalem, and for the rearing of a temple. LDS missionary work in the Middle East began in 1884, when Jacob Spori opened the Turkish Mission in Constantinople. Branches of the Church, consisting mostly of Armenian and European converts, were eventually established in Aintab, Aleppo, and Haifa, but the mission closed in 1896. It reopened in 1897, but closed again in 1909 because of the increasing political turmoil in the Ottoman empire.

After World War I, the mission was reopened in Aleppo and renamed the Armenian Mission. In 1928 it was headquartered in Haifa, but was closed that December with the sudden death of Joseph Booth, the mission president. It reopened in 1933 as the Palestine-Syrian Mission, but was closed again in 1939 because of World War II. In 1947 the mission was reopened with Badwagan Piranian as president; it was renamed the Near East Mission in 1950 but closed again later that year. From 1950 to 1969, Church activity in the Middle East consisted mostly of small groups scattered in various countries and of a few missionaries from the Swiss Mission assigned to work in Lebanon. In September 1969 a Church group was organized in Jerusalem to accommodate Brigham Young University (BYU) faculty and students involved in a Near Eastern Studies program. Other events there included the organization of the Israel District (1977), the dedication of the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount of Olives (1979), and the dedication of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies on Mount Scopus (1989).

The Church has established a few congregations in other Middle Eastern countries since 1950 as economic expansion, related mostly to the oil industry, has brought an influx of Western workers to the area. A branch of the Church has been operating in Cairo, Egypt, since 1974. The Iran Tehran Mission was organized in July 1975, the first formal mission in the Middle East since 1950, but it was closed in December 1978 with the worsening political situation between Iran and the United States. In 1989, Jordan became the first Arab country to grant formal recognition to the Church, allowing it to establish the Center for Cultural and Educational Affairs in Amman. The governments in these countries have allowed the Church, along with other non-Muslim groups, to hold services and other activities as long as they are unobtrusive and their members respect Islamic laws and traditions, including the restriction against proselytizing among the Muslim populace." Taken from Middle East, the Church in the (Author: Toronto, James A., BYU)