Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Latter-day Saints


  • 08/15/2021 - by Rubén Molina

During the year 1925, several Saints arrived in the southern hemisphere, coming from Germany to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and among them were the families of Kullíek, Biedersdorf, Friedrichs and Hoppe. These families had contacted the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by letter requesting that missionaries be sent to their adopted land.

During the year 1925, several Saints arrived in the southern hemisphere, coming from Germany to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and among them were the families of Kullíek, Biedersdorf, Friedrichs and Hoppe. These families had contacted the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by letter requesting that missionaries be sent to their adopted land.

On September 3, 1925, Church President Heber J. Grant announced that the First Presidency of the Church had considered, for a year and a half, the possibility of opening a mission in South America and that having concluded that it was the right time to do it, one of the Twelve would be commissioned for it. He later announced that Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Council of the Twelve Apostles had been chosen for the task, and that he would be accompanied by German-speaking Presidents Rulen S. Wells and King L Pratt (grandson of Parley P. Pratt and President of the Mexican Mission) who spoke Spanish, both from the Council of Seventy. This announcement was made to members of the Church during the October 1925 Semiannual General Conference.

On December 6 of the same year, Elders Ballard, Wells, and Pratt telegraphed the news of their arrival to the First Presidency from Buenos Aires. After that they appeared before the Mayor of the city and other prominent government officials, to whom they showed their credentials.

Six days later, on December 12, 1925, the brothers baptized in the Río de la Plata six people, all of German descent, who had previously known the gospel in their native land. On the occasion, some ordinations and promotions were also carried out in the Priesthood.

On Christmas Day, December 25, 1925 the brothers got up early to arrive at seven in the morning at the known "Parque Tres de Febrero."

Today as in Palermo, so in Buenos Aires. Elders Ballard, Wells, and Pratt held a meeting there during which they gave their testimonies and the first of those named offered a prayer dedicating the South American land for the preaching of the gospel. After thanking the Lord for the privilege they had to be there, as well as begging Him for His blessings on the work in general, Apostle Melvin J. Ballard continued by saying: “Bless the presidents, governors and leaders of these South American countries, so that they receive us with kindness and grant us permission to open the doors of salvation to the peoples of this earth. May they be blessed in the administration of affairs pertinent to their various offices; may great goodwill be manifested among the people; and may peace cover these nations which You have set free through the blessings You have bestowed upon their brave liberators; and may justice provide complete freedom for the preaching of Your gospel.

"Stop the powers of evil, so that they do not prevail over Your work. May all Your enemies be subdued and Your truth triumph.

“And now, oh Father, by virtue of the blessing and the calling received from the President of the Church, and by the authority of the Holy Apostolate that I possess, I turn the key and open the door for the preaching of the gospel in all these peoples, South Americans. And we bless and dedicate the nations of this earth for the preaching of Your gospel. And we do this so that salvation may come to all men and Your name may be honored and glorified in this part of the land of Zion."

Brother Ballard wrote: “After we sang the hymn ‘Praise the Prophet,’ each of the brothers spoke briefly regarding their mission there and their desire to do everything possible to establish the work of the Lord, of their perfect love for their fellow men, and by the divine plan. The spirit we enjoyed was glorious. We blessed one another and expressed our presentiment that as a consequence of the inauguration of this mission, many Europeans residing in that land would receive the gospel; but that, mainly, the missionary work would have to be for the natives. That was an unforgettable day. All were visibly affected. Our joy was expressed with tears."

Thus began the history of the Church of Jesus Christ in Argentina until on August 14, 1935 the Argentine Mission was organized and W. Ernest Young was called as president of the Argentine Mission with 14 missionaries, 255 members of the church and only one possessor of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The first years were not easy, as the missionaries suffered persecution, imprisonment, expulsions in the different provinces, discrimination, and all kinds of abuses by the new religion established in the country.

However, the work continued: several missions were organized and everything continued until today, August 2021, when the Church has 600,000 members in Argentina and the Book of Mormon continues to be shared among the inhabitants of this beautiful land. The Church has more than 700 chapels, 2 Temples in operation, one in Buenos Aires and one in the city of Córdoba; and two in construction, one in the city of Salta and one in the city of Mendoza, and soon one in Bahía Blanca.

What is expressed to the first pioneers to arrive in the country and organize this great work of the last days is gratitude. This leads the Argentine saints to reflect now that they are affected like the rest of the citizenship in this COVID-19 pandemic, and to offer a prayer of thanks to the Heavenly Father for allowing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to be established in Argentina and all of South America in total freedom.

Rubén Molina,

Interfaith journalist
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Argentina.