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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Mormons and Iran
I decided it would be fun to explore the Church and Iran. I looked for mostly current rather than historical materials. Here is what I found:
The Global Mormonism Project provides a short history of the Church and Iran. It states, "The Iranian government granted the Church official legal recognition in 1977, the first Middle Eastern country to do so." Also, "Two apostles, Elders Thomas S. Monson and Howard W. Hunter, visited Iran on separate occasions." There was no apostolic dedicatory prayer given for Iran, though.
If you wish to pursue the subject in more detail, this journal article may be helpful: Embry, Jessie L. "The LDS Church and Iran: The Dilemmas of an American Church."John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 21 (2001): 51-67.
The only article from Church magazines that was helpful was one from 1974 entitled, "We Were the Church—in Iran" by Pamela S. Williams.
The Church no longer has an official presence in Iran. Everything ceased in 1979. Today, Iran is considered part of the Middle East/Africa North Area. It is administered from Church headquarters in Utah.
Humanitarian aid is still sent to Iran when circumstances require it, such as 2004 when it experienced a massive earthquake.
Only a handful of Mormon.org profiles mention Iran. Derrin lived there for two years. Matthew's father is from Iran. Michelle's father was in an orphanage in Iran and Nadia has an Iranian and Pakistani heritage.
The Church does make General Conference and the World Wide Leadership Training available in Persian (Farsi) the language of Iran.
There are five items from the Church's Online Store available in Persian (Farsi). They include The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Article of Faith Cards and the old edition of Gospel Principles. Just access the link for the Online Store and put "Persian" or "Farsi" in the search box.