The first missionary arrived in Hungary from the German- Swiss Mission in 1885, but he spent only three months there before returning to Vienna. The first Hungarian to join the Church appears to have been Brother Markow, who was baptized in 1887. In 1888 Ferdinand Hinthze, president of the Turkish Mission, visited Hungary to meet Mischa Markow so they could preach the gospel together. Because they were unsuccessful in their efforts to find investigators, they soon left Hungary, but Markow returned 12 years later. He baptized several people in Timsora and established the first Hungarian branch of the Church.
In 1909 John Ensign Hill from the Swiss- German Mission was assigned to study Hungarian and be the first official missionary to preach the gospel in Hungary. Elder Hill was able to build a good relationship with the local civil authorities, which led to the recognition of the Church in November 1911. Altogether, 106 people had been baptized by 1914, when all the missionaries were taken out of Europe because of World War I. By the time of the evacuation, only 40 members were left. Half of the entire membership emigrated, many of them to Salt Lake City.
A new era for the restored gospel in Hungary began in October 1984, when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir participated in a European tour. A highly favorable reaction to a telecast led to a Hungarian television crew being sent to Utah to make a short documentary about the Latter- day Saints. Soon the Church received requests from Hungarians for more information.
The desire to learn more about the Church on the part of many Hungarians, along with the improving relationship between the United States and Eastern European countries, led to Elder Russell M. Nelson’s visit to Hungary in April 1987. He visited government officials, and in June 1988 the Hungarian government officially recognized the Church. Just a month later, Hungary was attached to the Austria Vienna East Mission, and missionaries again contacted the people of Hungary.
In October 1989 President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency dedicated a meetinghouse in Budapest. In 1990, a separate Hungary Budapest Mission was established, and by the year 2000 there were approximately 3,191 members in the country living in 19 branches.
[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 10,006,000; Members, 4,147; Branches, 19; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Percent LDS, .04, or one in 2,538; Europe Central Area; Source 2007 Church Almanac.]
Cowan, Richard O. “Mischa Markow: Mormon Missionary to the Balkans.” BYU Studies 11 (Winter 1970): 92.
From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 519. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.