Transcript for Andrew Jenson, "Turkish Mission," Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Co., 1941), 888-90
TURKISH MISSION (The), since 1924 known as the Armenian Mission, was largely confined to eastern Asia Minor, the Armenians (mostly Christians) being more susceptible to L. D. S. teachings than the Turks (mostly Mohammedans). Of late years the headquarters of the mission have been at Aleppo, Asia Minor, where there is still a branch of the Church which, when last reported in 1927, had a membership of 183. There are also a few saints at Haifa, Palestine, and at Beyrut and Damascus, Syria, in charge of native Elders.
In 1884 the president of the European Mission received a letter from a Mr. Vartooguian, an Armenian gentleman residing in Constantinople, asking that some L. D. S. Elders be sent to introduce the gospel into Turkey. Responding to this petition, Elder Jacob Spori on Dec. 30, 1884, arrived in Constantinople. He visited Mr. Vartooguian, who, with his wife and two children, were soon baptized. Shortly afterwards Elders Joseph M. Tanner and Francis M. Lyman, jun., joined Elder Spori in Constantinople. Meetings were conducted in the English and German languages and a number of visits were received from Turks and Armenians desiring information. The Turkish laws, however, were very strict, and the Church represented by the Elders not having received official recognition by the Turkish government, the L. D. S. missionaries were prohibited from holding public meetings. They then went to visit places of interest in Palestine, and learned of the existence of a German community at Haifa, in Palestine, at the foot of Mt. Carmel, the members of which were seeking for further light. So in August, 1886, Elder Spoil went to Haifa, as the first L. D. S. missionary to labor in that country. On August 28, 1886, he baptized Johan Georg Grau, at Haifa, and as this man was well versed in Scriptures, Elder Spori ordained him an Elder on Sept. 3rd following and set him apart as a missionary in his community. A few converts were also made at Jaffa, and on Aug. 4, 1887, Frederick and Elizabeth Raile, Samuel Koff and Daniel Riski, Germans, sailed from Jaffa as the first emigrating saints from Palestine. They afterwards located at Provo, Utah.
In January, 1887, Ferdinand F. Hintze came into the mission and labored with Elder Tanner in Constantinople. There Elder Hintze baptized a Serb named Mischa Markow, who later opened the door of the gospel in several of the Balkan states and in Belgium. On March 23, 1887, Elder Hintze succeeded Elder Spori (released to return home) as president of the mission. About this time, assisted by two native converts, Elder Hintze published the "Articles of Faith" and a tract in the Turkish language, in Constantinople. Accompanied by Elder James Clove, Elder Hintze then visited Sivas in Asia Minor, where he baptized a few converts, among whom were Dekran Shahabian and his family. Soon afterwards Elders Janne M. Sjodahl, Johan Georg Grau, Charles U. Locander, Fred Stauffer, Edgar D. Simmons and Wm. H. Smart came into the mission, and headquarters were established at Aintab, Asia Minor. Elder Sjodahl, on Sept. 22, 1889, baptized Salim Inzil and Pharez Randure at Jaffa, Palestine, probably the first Arabs ever baptized into the Church. These missionaries extended their missionary fields, but the opposition of Protestant clergymen, added to the timidity of the natives to act in opposition to their local religious leaders, almost prohibited progress. Still, branches of the Church were raised up at Aintab and Sivas in Turkey and Aleppo in Syria.
Separate meetings were held for the women, as it was not the custom for the sexes to attend public functions together.
When Pres. Hintze returned home in December, 1889, he was accompanied by Haik Devahirdjian, the first Armenian saint to emigrate to Utah. Elder Hintze was succeeded as president of the mission by Dr. Fred Stauffer, who shortly afterwards made arrangements for the publication in Constantinople of three more tracts in the Turkish and Armenian languages.
Missionary work was continued by Elders from Zion until 1895, when, on account of political disturbances in Turkey, the American Elders were called home: Dr. Armanag Shil Hagopian, a native Elder, was placed in charge of the mission.
In September, 1897, political affairs in Turkey having become more settled, Elders Philip Maycock and Andrew L Larsen were appointed to reopen the mission. They were welcomed at Aleppo by Dr. Hagopian, who had labored faithfully during the absence of the Elders from Zion.
In February, 1898 Apostle Anthon H. Lund and Elder Ferdinand F. Hintze arrived in the mission to investigate the feasibility of establishing a gathering place for the Armenian saints in Palestine or Asia Minor. No definite action on the matter, however, was taken. During his visit Elder Lund held the first conference of the Turkish Mission, which convened at Aintab March 27, 1898. The branches at Aleppo and Aintab and Zara (in the Black Sea region) were represented. The statistical reports showed 185 members, including 5 native Elders. Elder Hintze was sustained as pastor of the mission with special work to do in relation to an effort to secure recognition for the Church by the Turkish government and the publication of literature in the Turkish and Armenian languages. Elder Philip Maycock was sustained as president of the Turkish Mission. There was also at this time a small branch of the Church at Haifa, Palestine. In 1899 a cloth factory was opened by the saints at Aleppo with Zadyk Aposian, a native Elder, as manager. In 1900 the manufacture of Turkish rugs was commenced in the Aintab Branch under the direction of Elder John E. Page, who made a market for the produce through the Z. C. M. I. in Salt Lake City.
Early in 1906 the Book of Mormon in the Turkish language was published in Boston, Mass., U. S. A., under the direction of Elder Hintze.
In 1909, on account of continued political complications, Pres. Joseph Wilford Booth and the missionaries laboring in the mission were recalled, and the branches placed in the hands of competent native Elders. This condition continued until 1921.
In 1921 Elder Booth, who had already spent eleven years in the mission, was again called to preside. At that time the Armenians had recently endured the horrors of war, to which was added persecution by the Turks on account of their religious convictions. Elder Booth did much to alleviate the sufferings of the few saints, who gladly rallied around him on his arrival. He transferred all those in Aintab, Turkey, to Aleppo, Syria.
On Jan. 23, 1924, a conference was commenced at Aleppo, Syria, attended by Apostle David O. McKay, his wife Emma R. McKay, and Mrs. Mary R. Booth, who had come to join her husband. About one hundred persons were present at this conference. At this time the name of the mission was changed from the Turkish to the Armenian Mission. During the conference, addresses were made in five different languages, namely, Armenian, Turkish, Arabic, English and French. In the Aleppo Branch there was a well-attended Sunday school and a Relief Society, with an enrollment of 55 members.
After laboring with great fidelity, in connection with his wife, the only two missionaries of the Church in Armenia for several years, Pres. Booth died suddenly at Aleppo Dec. 5, 1928, of heart failure. Interment took place at Aleppo, after which his wife returned to Utah.
Besides Pres. Booth, four other Elders have died while laboring as missionaries in the Turkish Mission, namely, Edgar D. Simmons, who died Feb. 4, 1890, at Aintab, Syria, of smallpox; Adolph Haag, who died Oct. 3, 1892, at Haifa, Palestine, of typhoid fever; John A. Clark, who died Feb. 8, 1895, at Haifa of smallpox, and Emil J. Huber, who died May 16, 1908, at Aleppo, of smallpox.
Since the demise of Pres. Booth, the Armenian Mission has been in charge of native Elders, under the immediate jurisdiction of Dr. John A. Widtsoe, president of the European Mission.
A number of saints from Armenia, emigrating to Utah at different times, have located at Murray, south of Salt Lake City, and others in Provo, Utah, and other places.
Following are the names of the presidents of the Turkish Mission: Jacob Spori, 1885-1887; Ferdinand F. Hintze, 1887-1889; Frederick Stauffer, 1889-1891; Joseph F. Schoenfeld, 1891-1892; Don C. W. Musser, 1892-1894; Edward W. Robinson, 1894-1895; Armanag S. Hagopian, 1895-1897; Philip S. Maycock, 1897-1899; Ferdinand F. Hintze (2nd term), 1899-1900; Albert Herman, 1900-1904, and J. Wilford Booth, 1904-1909 and 1921-1928.