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A Famous Russian's View on Mormonism

Posted by Cherish Germaine on 5/27/16 12:00 AM


Can you guess which famous Russian said the following: "If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known"?

If you guessed Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy also known as,  Leo Tolstoy, then you're correct! More fully, here is an excerpt from the conversation he had with Dr. Andrew D. White, President of Cornell University, in March of 1894.

" 'I want to know about the American religion. Catholicism originated in Rome; the Episcopal Church originated in England; the Lutheran Church in Germany, but the Church to which I refer originated in America, and is commonly known as the Mormon Church. What can you tell me of the teachings of the Mormons?’

“ 'Well,’ said Dr. White ‘I know very little concerning them. They have an unsavory reputation, they practice polygamy, and are very superstitious.’

“Then Count Leo Tolstoy, in his honest and stern, but lovable manner, rebuked the ambassador. ‘Dr. White, I am greatly surprised and disappointed that a man of your great learning and position should be so ignorant on this important subject. The Mormon people teach the American religion; their principles teach the people not only of Heaven and its attendant glories, but how to live so that their social and economic relations with each other are placed on a sound basis. If the people follow the teachings of this Church, nothing can stop their progress — it will be limitless. There have been great movements started in the past but they have died or been modified before they reached maturity. If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known.’ ” To read the full article from Deseret News click here


Not sure who Leo Tolstoy is? Tolstoy is one of the giants of Russian literature! Some of his most famous works include the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Click here to read more about him and 6 other famous Russians you should know about before traveling to Russia.

When in Moscow make sure you stop at The Leo Tolstoy Library. Where, rumor has it, there is a copy of the Book of Mormon given to Tolstoy by Brigham Young's daughter, Susa Young Gates, in the 1800s.

Address: Каширское шоссе, 16, Москва, 115201, Moscow, Russia, 115201

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am - 8pm, Sat-Sun: 11am- - 6pm


Pretty cool right?! Russia is a pretty amazing country. Click the button below to learn more about travel and service opportunities available in Russia (and many other countries) with International Language Programs (ILP). 

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Topics: Russia, LDS

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