Transcript for Andrew Jenson, "Malta Mission," Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Co., 1941), 465-66

MALTA MISSION. Malta and two small adjacent islands rise amid the blue waters of the Mediterranean south of Sicily, further distant from the mainland than any other island upon the bosom of this inland sea. The British forces took Malta from the French in 1800 and great additions have since been made to their fortifications. The population of Malta numbered about 124,000 in 1852, embracing English, French, Italians, Greeks, Germans, Turks, Moors and Spaniards.

While Apostle Lorenzo Snow was engaged in opening the gospel door to the inhabitants of Italy and Switzerland, he also desired to extend his missionary labors to the island of Malta, which according to ecclesiastical history is the island Melite where Paul the Apostle preached the gospel 1,800 years before. Accompanied by Jabez Woodard, Elder Snow arrived on Malta Feb. 26, 1852, as the first L. D. S. missionaries to that island. Almost immediately after their arrival they commenced to preach the gospel to the inhabitants.

Elder Snow sent for Elder Thomas Obray to come to Malta immediately and bring with him a good supply of pamphlets and books. On Sept. 16, 1852, Elder Snow left Malta for Gibraltar, leaving Elder Jabez Woodard in charge until Thomas Obray should arrive from Sheerness, England. During the short sojourn of Elders Snow and Woodard on this mission, they published one edition of Elder Snow's "Voice of Joseph," revised from the Italian; also one edition of "The Only Way to be Saved" in French and Italian.

Elder Snow and companion were frequently visited by people of different nationalities, of whom some had received the restored gospel in other lands. On one occasion, at his private lodging, Brother Snow was called upon by gentlemen of eight different nations, including some from Poland and Greece. The first fruits of the restored gospel by the Elders on the island of Malta were two young Italians, namely, Ferdiananda Sciapati and Jean Allais Frouche. These first converts on the island of Malta were ordained Elders.

Elder Thomas Obray, who had been ordained a High Priest by Lorenzo Snow in England in 1852, and had labored successfully in the London Conference for about eight years, arrived in Malta May 30, 1852. He immediately became associated with Jabez Woodard and commenced an active campaign on the island of Malta, preaching the gospel and visiting the people. On June 6, 1852, Elder Woodard baptized John King, a schoolmaster and a sergeant of the Bengals, at Malta. His wife was baptized June 13, 1852, by Thomas Obray. Opposition and some persecution followed in the wake of the Elders on Malta, and Brother King was threatened with his rank as sergeant being taken from him on account of his having embraced Mormonism. Subsequently others were baptized, while some of the first converts afterwards left the Church. On June 20, 1852, the newly converted saints of the Church in Malta were organized by Elders Thomas Obray and Jabez Woodard into a branch of the Church called the Valetta Branch. Samuel Walker of the Royal Bengal regiment was baptized by Elder Woodard June 23, 1852. The next day Frederick Collins, one of the converts, was ordained an Elder by Thomas Obray.

In the meantime others were baptized and some of them ordained to the Priesthood. Elder Thomas Obray, under date of Oct. 5, 1852, writes that the branch at Malta consisted of 26 members, including three Elders, two Priests, two Teachers and one Deacon. There was considerable opposition on the part of priests and editors who lectured and published in the usual strain upon the supposed absurdities of the faith and doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. In the meantime Elder Woodard returned to his former field of labor in Switzerland, and the Malta Mission was then conducted by Elder Thomas Obray, assisted by Elder James F. Bell, who landed in Malta Feb. 10, 1853. An important council meeting was held May 17, 1853, at which 21 members of the Church were represented in the Valetta Branch. At that time a war was carried on between the British and the Turks and some of the members of the Church who had been baptized in Malta and elsewhere were engaged in the British service in the fleet which sailed from Malta to the Dardenelles. The first conference of the saints in Malta was held Aug. 19, 1853, at 42 Strada Christofero, Valetta, under the presidency of Thomas Obray and his counselors, James F. Bell and George Burridge. On this occasion the branches of the Church, namely, Valetta in Malta and the Fleet Branch, were represented, Valetta with 21 members and the Fleet Branch with seven. In October, 1853, Thomas Obray left Malta for Zion, leaving James F. Bell in charge of the Malta Mission, with George Burridge and Frederick Collins as counselors. On Nov. 2, 1853, the second conference of the Malta Mission was held at 42 Strada Christofero, Valetta. On this occasion the Valetta and Fleet branches were represented. The Expeditionary Force Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constituted in 1854 an important part of the Malta Mission. Under date of Aug. 20, 1854, Elder James F. Bell writes: "This mission has given rise to four branches, one here at Malta, a second consisting of seven members, from the 76th regiment, went to Nova Scotia, and is now broken up owing to some going to Zion, and others leaving the Church; a third, the Floating Branch in the Mediterranean, and a fourth, the Expeditionary Force Branch in Turkey. The mother branch, formerly in Valetta, but now in Floriania, numbers at the present very few members, owing to the detachment of the above three branches, and the removal of six members to England (some of them bound for Zion), and the excommunication of some others. Our total is 13." Alexander Downs acted as president of the Floating Branch in April, 1855.

Elder James F. Bell, under date of Oct. 15, 1854, wrote that the two branches of the Church in the east, namely, the Floating Branch and the Expeditionary Force Branch, were still in existence; that some new members had been baptized; that some of the brethren had been engaged in battles between the British and the Turks, and that a frightful mortality from cholera, both in the army and navy, had raged. It is not stated that any of the members of the Church died from its effects.

It seems that the Malta Mission ceased to function in 1856.