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A Famous Russian's View on Mormonism

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

ILP Russia

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! Here's an excerpt from the conversation he had with Dr. Andrew D. White, President of Cornell University, in March of 1894.

What Tolstoy Said 

" '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.’ ”

Read the full article from Deseret News here. 


Wait — Who Is Tolstoy? 

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, both of which are books you should read before visiting or volunteering in Russia. 

Tolstoy is also one of the most famous Russians you should know about before your trip! 

Be Sure To Visit This Museum

Now that you'll be traveling to Russia (or maybe even teaching English there with ILP!) you'll need to visit Moscow. When in Moscow make sure you stop at The Leo Tolstoy Library.  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: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 AM - 10 PM (Closed Mondays)
Sunday 10 AM to 8 PM. 

ILP Russia

We weren't joking about the chance to be one of the volunteers living in Moscow. International Language Programs (ILP) sends volunteers abroad to countries like Russia to teach English! There's no experience necessary, plus volunteers are only teaching part time. The rest of your time (plus weekends off and vacation days) can be spend exploring Russia or other countries. 

Plus, our program may be a great option for anyone looking for LDS volunteer opportunities abroad; quite of our volunteers are LDS and even have experience going to church in Russia. 

Sounds like something you'd love? Check out that green button to learn more about travel and service opportunities available in Russia: 

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Topics: Russia, LDS

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