Monday, February 22, 2010

Another installment of Korean Church History

Ross Covington, a chaplain for the U.S. Army, arrived in Korea. English classes were establish and the students were taught from the English Book of Mormon because there was no other text. Dr. 김호직 attended the English classes and was a great help in translating and instructing the classes.

Elder Harlold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve made a tour of Korea and investigated the possibility of opening Korea as an independent, full-time mission.

President Joseph Fielding Smith visited Korea with LTC Robert Slover, who arranged for him the honorary rank of brigadier general. Prior to his visit, he request that Colonol Vernon John Tipton, the Army's entomologist stationed in Japan-Korea, make a study of the living conditions in Korea and make a recommendation to President Smith whether or not Korea was ready for the introduction of missionaries. Brother Tipton made his study and in a 30-minute presentation concluded that Korea was too hazardous for missionaries and that the not be sent to Korea. President Smith thanked Brother Tipton, and the next day, Tuesday, August 2, 1955, he dedicated the land of Korea for the preaching of the gospel.

The first full-time missionaries entered Korea, coming from Japan. Prior to their arrival, missionaries were unable to come to Korea because the Church was not legally recognized by the Korean government. Dr. 김호직 personally sponsored their entrance thereby allowing their entry. At this time there were about 64 members of the Church on record.

The first printing and translation of Church materials began. Missionaries were still coming from the Northern Far East Mission (Japan) to serve in Korea.

During this year all the missionaries, except one, contracted hepatitis. President Paul C. Andrus of the Northern Far East Mission came to Korea, concerned about the elders' health. A meeting was held with the purpose of taking the elders out of Korea back to Japan. During the meeting each of the elders rose and spoke individually, expressing his attitude toward the work in Korea, and his desire to remain in Korea. President Andrus returned to Japan alone.

Dr. 김호직 died of a stroke. Dr. Spencer J. Palmer wrote of Dr. 김호직 "He is probably the most distinguished and influential leader of Oriental ancestry thus converted in East Asia. More than any other single man he was the father and prime moving force in the establishment of the Korea Mission."

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