Summarized by Kent Larsen
New book tells story of first LDS missionaries in India
BYU Newsnet 9Dec99 A2
By Latricia Nell: NewsNet Staff Writer
PROVO, UTAH -- BYU Professor R. Lanier Britsch has writted a new
history of the first LDS missionaries in India. In the book, "Nothing
More Heroic: the Compelling Story of the First Latter-day Saint
Missionaries in India," Britsch tells the story of the 17
missionaries that labored in India between 1851 and 1856, baptizing
about 100 people.
"The book tells an accurate story of the early missionaries in India,
but it scratches the surface of all that could've been written --
there is so much history in India," says Britsch. "Sometimes we count
our missionary successes in terms of numbers. We don't know the end
of our work -- the seeds we've planted -- or the ultimate difference
our labors make. . . . I wish to emphasize that what appears to be a
failure is sometimes the greatest success -- only time and eternity
reveal the greater truth."
Most of the LDS converts in India were British military on assignment
there. The missionaries focused on the British because they were more
accessible and spoke English. But the missionaries also learned
native languages and converted about 180 Indian people also, but most
of those converts fell away.
While the Elders suffered during the mission, all 17 returned home
safely, "Our elders suffered miserably with malaria, dysentery and
fevers of diverse kinds, but they were blessed to survive and return
home to their loved ones," Britsch said.
While the missionaries left India in 1856, one branch of the Church
in India survived until the early 1900s.