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Hungary Budapest

Information for HunBud Missionaries

Useful Information

for newly called missionaries of the Hungary Budapest mission

written by Jarrod Ribble in December 1996 (however the mission address/phone number at the bottom of the page was updated February 2003)

Quick Reference: Weather Transportation Food Accomodations Language


The weather in Hungary is mildly seasonal. Winters are cold, but not too cold. I don't think I ever saw it get below -6 C (about 15 F) - and that would have been really cold. It does snow, but not so much that it causes a big problem. If you have a good overcoat, hat, gloves, scarf and thermals you can stay outside almost all day. Although I can't imagine why you'd want to.

Summers are fairly humid, and it can get uncomfortable to be in the sun too long. It wouldn't be so bad with shorts and t-shirt, but we don't have that option. Short-sleeve shirts are a real blessing on hot summer days. A couple pairs of machine washable slacks are nice, too. You probably won't be wanting to wear dry-clean only wool suit pants every day. it can get uncomfortable and expensive.

Hungary's very flat, and in spring and fall rain can blow in without much notice and it blows out just as quickly. A nice compact, lightweight umbrella is a real blessing. I suppose a really light waterproof raincoat would be good, too. I always had my umbrella in my bag at that time of the year, which wouldn't have been worth it if it had been unwieldy.


Hungary is a fairly densely populated place. Public transportation is really good, so most missionaries are expected to use it. Bicycles aren't allowed. Many zone leaders have cars, but not those serving in Budapest. Trains are probably the best way to travel between cities. They come often, are usually on time, and don't cost too much. Buses also travel regularly between cities and aren't bad. They do a good job of filling in the gaps. If you're travelling from one side of the country to another, often you'll have to go to Budapest first and then to your destination, even if it's way out of the way.

Travel inside of cities is done mostly by bus. Budapest is a special case, since it's really pretty huge. Budpest's mass transit includes buses, street-cars, subways, and the HÉV, a "suburban railway system." The system you use most will depend on where you are in Budapest. They're all pretty good. Most of the people in Budapest use the public transportation system, so it runs often. You don't even really need to know when things run, because most routes run about every 10 minutes. I've heard you need to watch out for pickpocketers, and I've heard stories about missionaries who have had things stolen, but other than that the transportation is pretty safe. Though you might see some pretty interesting people....

Outside of Budapest the city transportation varies. All of them have bus systems, but the frequency and layout of routes can be quite different. The transportation you'll use will depend on the city, where you live and where you work at the time. Walking's good, too. It keeps you fit.

Your shoes will be your greatest friend. I bought a nice pair of Gore-tex lined shoes in my first city. You can find all sorts of good shoes in the country, and service for any shoes you might have. Bring something comfortable, more comfortable than dressy. Conservative, polishable hiking-style boots are my personal favorite.


Hungarian food is really good. It's spicy, too. The main flavor is paprika, which comes in many varieties, not just the red powder you sprinkle on deviled eggs. Paprikas are peppers, and the legendary Hungarian can eat food that will fry a lesser man's mouth. In reality not every Hungarian likes hot peppers, but a large majority of them do. A proper Hungarian meal starts with soup, has a main course, and ends with sütemény. Some favorites are stuffed cabbage (töltött káposzta - cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and pork), stuffed paprika (töltött paprika - peppers stuffed with rice and pork, served in a tomato sauce), goulash (gulyás - a soup with large pieces of meat and various vegetables), chicken paprika (paprikás csirke - diced chicken in a sauce flavored with paprika and sour cream. Served with noodles or galuska) and potatos paprika (paprikás krumpli - potatos in a paprika sauce, also often served with noodles). They cook with more oil than most Americans, but it certainly tastes good. Pork is king, as historically it was the easiest to keep ahold of. (Hungary was occupied by Turks for a good long time, and Muslims don't eat pork.) A great event to see is a pig killing (diszno vágás), a family affair that starts with killing and butchering a fattened pig and ends with sausage making and a very fresh meal. It's quite an event, especially in the country.

There's no worry about water or special viruses. I believe Hungary is the only mission in the Eastern Bloc that doesn't require the famous "peanut-butter" shot. Mothers can be relieved, because food is plentiful, safe, and actually quite good. There's even more and more opportunities to find "foreign foods" like peanut butter.


Missionaries usually live in apartments as single companionships. The apartments vary in size, usually about two rooms in large apartment complexes. Most of the people in the cities live in apartment complexes. They're usually pretty comfortable. The heating is either a central heating system that serves several buildings or gas heaters installed in most rooms. The hot water is done the same way, either heated centrally or by small inline gas heaters placed above the bathtub. The former is pretty expensive and has the drawback of annual service which means there is no hot water in the apartment for about a week. The latter is cheaper, but it doesn't heat fast enough for you to ever get any decent water pressure. It can also be dangerous for sister missionaries. There have been more than one sister to start her hair on fire by getting too close to gas appliances. The kitchens are usually really small, but adequate for missionaries' needs. More and more apartments have automatic washing machines inside of them, small ones that sit next to your bathtub. It makes laundry much easier.

The Language

Hungarian is considered by many to be one of the most difficult languages in the world for English speakers to learn. It's not really related to any other languages in the area. It's considered a distant relative to Finnish, a member of the Finn-Ugor language family. Other than that it's really quite different. It's a beautiful language, and not impossible to learn. It just takes a lot of practice. Reading in Hungarian is easy, once you know the basic sounds. Each letter in Hungarian writing corresponds to a specific sound, which never really changes. It makes it really easy to read words you've never seen before and pronounce them perfectly.

Hungarians are proud of their language and their history. If you make the effort to learn something of them, the people you meet will be impressed. It's well worth the effort, too, because the history is great and inspiring and the language is really beautiful. Hungarians pride themselves on a rich library of poetry. Unfortunately, it's not really something that can be shared with those not familiar with the language, as the poems really lose their artistic quality in translation.


On being called to the best mission in the world. Work hard, love the people as you serve them and Hungary will become a second home. It truly is a choice land with a choice people, and all those priveleged to serve there can show their thanks by losing themselves in the work.

Note to returned missionaries: Updates are appreciated and wanted! If you have anything to add, or if something has changed, please let us know.
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    Country maps and flags are courtesy of the World Factbook (public domain).
    World Factbook article on Hungary
    Introduction - Geography - People - Government
    Economy - Communications - Transportation - Transnational Issues

    Population: 10.02 million (#74 out of 245 countries)

    People Groups of Hungary
    #GroupPrimary Language Population Percent
    1.Hungarian-Magyar Hungarian 10318000102.9%

    Selected people groups and language data from and other sources.
    Total population of above peoplegroups: 10318000 (102.96% of national total).

    Cities of Hungary
    #CityPopulationLocal Map#CityPopulationLocal Map
    1.Budapest 1962855 Map 2.Debrecen 214245 Map
    3.Miskolc 185877 Map 4.Szeged 173860 Map
    5.Pécs 167772 Map 6.Györ 129089 Map
    7.Nyiregyhaza 114276 Map 8.Székesfehérvár 108868 Map
    9.Kecskemet 105064 Map 10.Dunaujvaros 
    11.Eger  12.Erd 
    13.Papa  14.Szombathely 

    City population data courtesy of GRID-Arendal

    Population living in cities over 100,000: 3161906 (31.55% of national total).

    Weekly average in church (all faiths): 2104410
    Weekly National Church Attendance (all faiths): 21%
    LDS Membership: 3605. (#67 out of 245 countries.)
    Approx. LDS Activity Rate: 28%
    Approx. Active Members:  1009
    LDS, as percentage of churchgoers: 0.047%
    LDS, as percent of population: 0.0359%
    Active LDS, as percent of Population: 0.01%
    Missions: 1 (#36 out of 245 countries.)
    Temples: 0
    Stakes: 0
    Districts: 3 (#38 out of 245 countries.)
    Wards: 0
    Branches: 19
    Total Church Units: 19 (#58 out of 245 countries.)
    Population per ward or branch: 527421
    Average members per unit: 189
    Average active members per unit: 52

    LDS Membership Growth in Hungary

    Membership growth graphs courtesy of Mark Davies' ww-lds. Used with permission.

    Annual LDS Membership Growth
    YearMembersAnnual Growth RateWardsBranchesUnitsUnit Growth RateProportional Index
    1992 600 %10 1066.66%N/A%
    1994 1400 40%18 1828.57%71.4%
    1996 2100 20%20 205.26%26.3%
    1998 2800 14.28%19 19-2.56%-17.9%
    2000 3191 6.52%19 190%0%
    2002 3605 6.28%19 190%0%

    LDS membership and unit data 1976-2000 from Mark Davies' WW-LDS.

    Proportional Index is the ratio of the increase in units to the increase in membership. A proportional index of 100% means that membership and church units are growing at the same rate. A proportional index of greater than 100% indicates that unit growth is greater than membership growth, suggestive of increasing activity or high convert retention rates. Proportional ratios below 100% indicate that fewer new units are formed than expected by membership growth. This may be due to the transition of units from branches to wards, or it may represent low retention or activity rates. There may also be a time lag between membership increase and the creation of new units.

    Current LDS Membership Growth Rate: 6.28% (#60 out of 245 countries).
    Current LDS Unit Growth Rate: 0%
    Hungary Annual Population Growth Rate: -0.33% (#234 out of 245 countries.)
    Relative LDS Population Growth Rate (LDS membership growth rate minus population growth rate): 6.61%
    Relative LDS Unit Growth Rate (LDS unit growth rate minus population growth rate): 0.33%

    Projected LDS Growth
    Projected growth at current growth rate (from last four years' average):
    YearProj. PopulationProj. MembersProj. Units
    20049954970 4072 19
    20079856740 4889 19
    20129695173 6632 19
    2022 9379941 12204 19

    Projections assume a constant growth rate; however, growth rates are rarely constant.

    Major Religious Groups
    # Faith Congregations Active Members Adherents Percent Annual Growth Projected adherents, 2010
    -Population - - 10021000  100%  -0.33% 9695173
    1. Catholic  6764100  67.5%  -0.33% 6544170
    2. Calvinist  2004200  20%  -0.33% 1939034
    3. Lutheran  501000  5%  -0.33% 484710
    4. atheist and other  751500  7.5%  -0.33% 727065
    5. Jehovah's Witnesses  245  21253  41865  0.41%  4.5% 65015
    6. Seventh-day Adventists  110  4426  8852  0.08%  1% 9778
    7. Latter-day Saints 19  1009  3605 0.0359% 6.28%6632

    Country religious adherents data courtesy of the World Factbook. LDS membership and unit data is from the LDS Church Almanac. Seventh-day Adventist active membership and growth rate statistics are from the Adventist yearbook statistical reports. Jehovah's Witness data is from the Jehovah's Witness yearly statistical report. Other data is from a variety of sources available upon request.

    Full-time LDS Missions
    1. Hungary Budapest

    Average baptisms per mission per month: 17.2
    Average new converts retained per mission per year: 57

    Mission Productivity ranking: 49
    Mission productivity ranking, is ranked among all countries with full-time missions. Ranking is per mission rather than per missionary. Countries with small missions are much more productive per missionary than suggested by the mission productivity ranking alone, while countries with larger missions are slightly less productive. A rank of 72 correlates with no net member increase per mission. Rankings above 72 imply positive growth, while rankings below 72 suggest membership loss.

    Quality Adjusted Mission Productivity Ranking: 50
    The Quality Adjusted Mission Productivity Ranking is a measure of growth accounting for member activity and convert retention rates.

    International LDS Atlas: Hungary

    Maps from Marc Schindler's International LDS Atlas. Used with permission.

    Photos of Hungary
    Left: Tihany Ter Chapel in Budapest, Hungary 
    Right: Tihany Ter Chapel view 2 
    Left: Tihany Ter Chapel view 3 
    Right: Tihany Ter Chapel interior 
    Left: Tihany Ter Chapel view 5 
    Right: Kispest chapel in Budapest, Hungary, photo courtesy of Hungary Budapest Mission Alumni Site 
    Left: Closeup of Kispest chapel entrance, photo courtesy of Hungary Budapest Mission Alumni Site 
    Right: Budapest 1 
    Left: Budapest 2 
    Right: Budapest 3 
    Left: Budapest 4 
    Right: Budapest 5 
    Left: Horses in Budapest, Hungary 
    Right: Old Hungary Budapest mission home 
    Left: Heroes' Square (hosokter), Budapest, Hungary 
    Right: Organ in Matthias Church, Budapest, Hungary 
    Left: Table tennis players at a park in Budapest, Hungary 
    Right: Hungarian Parliament, Budapest 

    Hungary Church News and Ensign Articles
    1.7/2/88 Church Granted Legal Recognition in Hungary.  Church News
    2.9/1/88 Hungary Grants LDS Church Legal Recognition.  Ensign (p. 75)
    3.9/24/88 Stake Opens Homes to 50 Hungarians.  Church News
    4.2/1/89 Anna Nadasdi: Preserving Her Pedigree.  Ensign (p. 72-73)
    5.4/1/89 He Beckoned Me.  Ensign (p. 60-61)
    6.8/12/89 Unlike Earlier British Emigrants, This Couple Headed East, Not West.  Church News
    7.10/1/89 Getting Things Started.  New Era (p. 34-37)
    8.11/11/89 Meetinghouse Dedicated in Hungary.  Church News
    9.3/3/90 Eight New Missions Added to Europe.  Church News
    10.6/1/90 Teaching the Gospel with Karlcibaci. (Condie, Spencer J.) Ensign (p. 14)
    11.6/1/90 The Gospel in Hungary--Then and Now.  Ensign (p. 8-14)
    12.7/1/90 Church Creates New Missions in Europe, Asia.  Ensign (p. 79)
    13.6/22/91 Singers Are Celebrities in Hungary's Capital City.  Church News
    14.6/22/91 Choir Wending Way Through Europe.  Church News
    15.7/20/91 Choir's Media Impact.  Church News
    16.10/1/91 An Encore of the Spirit. [tour of middle Europe and Russia]  Ensign (p. 32-53)
    17.12/1/91 Drama on the European Stage. (Nelson, Russell M.) Ensign (p. 6-17)
    18.3/1/92 Hungarian Museum Donates Collection of Dried Plants.  Ensign (p. 77)
    19.5/30/92 Hungarian Gift 'Is Particularly Sweet.'  Church News
    20.6/27/92 Seeking to Enthrone Religious Liberty.  Church News
    21.7/11/92 Faith, Courage Sustain German Couple.  Church News
    22.12/5/92 News Article Sparks Memory of Hungarian.  Church News
    23.3/1/93 Hungary for the Gospel.  New Era (p. 8-10)
    24.4/1/93 Alone With God.  Ensign (p. 50-52)
    25.6/1/95 Joseph, Son of Joseph.  New Era (p. 24-27)
    26.9/1/95 Light Out of Darkness.  New Era (p. 20-25)
    27.5/1/96 Horvath Gergo, Imre, and Peter of Budapest, Hungary.  Friend (p. 16-18)
    28.8/24/96 Elder Holland Visits Hungary, Bosnia.  Church News
    29.9/1/96 Sister Sisters. [Nagy Erika and Palinkas Bernadett]  New Era (p. 28-31)
    30.11/1/96 Elder Holland Visits Bosnia and Hungary.  Ensign (p. 108)
    Country Church News and Ensign Article database courtesy of Mark Davies WW-LDS. Used with permission.

    History, Culture, and Analysis

    They are proud of their heritage. Hungary was still prosperous and open during the Communist Regime. Hugarians value family, education, security, property, and independence.

    Part I: History and Culture


    Population: 10.4 million.
    Worldwide Hungarian population: 15 million.  Over two million ethnic Hungarians live in neighboring Romania, Slovakia, and northern Serbia.  In the United States, many Hungarians live in parts of New York, New Jersey,Pennsylvania, and Ohio.


    Hungarian is not a Slavic language.  In fact, Russian is much closer to English than it is to Hungarian!  Although Hungarian is written with a modified latin script, Hungarian is a member of the Finno-Ugric language family with Finnish and Estonian.  It is related more distantly to Turkish.  Since it is not an Indo-European language, even the way of thinking differs considerably from that of .  Hungarian is a melodious language with many long vowels and rules of vowel harmony, like Finnish and Estonian.  Learning Hungarian correctly requires a whole different way of thinking.  Hungarian has more than twice as many cases as Russian, although there is only one gender (neuter -- everything is an 'it.')  Hungarian has 'post-positions,' rather than prepositions.   I am told that learning the language can be a challenge for missionaries as well.

    Hungarian Identity

    When asked whether he believed in extraterrestrias, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi replied: 'We have extraterrestrials among us.  They are called Hungarians.'  Anyone who has been to Hungary might agree: Hungarians are strangers in a strange land.  Hungary borders the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria.  Yet Hungarians are not related to any of these groups.  Hungarians are transplants from Central Asia who swept across the steppes over 1100 years ago.

    Budapest Photo Tour

    Budapest is definitely my favorite city in Eastern Europe.  The planning, thought, and attention to detail that went into its design is remarkable, and Hungarians generally keep up their city very well.  Many inexpensive cheap and constructive activities for families are available.  Photos of Budapest are posted on the Gathering of Israel photo gallery (, and many new photos will be added shortly.

    Hard Work, Learning, and Ingenuity

    I was instantly impressed with the Hungarian people.  Hungarians value learning and hard work.  As a result, they have experienced the fastest economic growth of any nation in Central or Eastern Europe, recently surpassing the Czech Republic. The Hungarians have a delightful sense of their history and culture. The Hungarian national library, housed in the old Matthias palace, is the finest I have seen anywhere in Europe.  They follow the adage: 'wear the old coat and read the new book.'

    In most other nations, the traveler finds only a brief label on historical monuments.  In Hungary, historical monuments are frequently accompanied by several paragraphs of text explaining the history of the event being commemorated! The Hungarians know and love their history.  Hungarians are great readers.  They believe that understanding the past is the key to the future.

    The Hungarian practical ingenuity in its depth and breadth, as seen both in practice of daily life and in numerous museums around the country, is to me more reminiscent of the Swiss or Scottish character than that of any adjacent nation.  In some other countries, one finds the names of a few prominent individuals recycled repeatedly in the naming of streets.  In Hungary, this is not the case.  The Hungarian thinkers, inventors, scientists, and writers are so numerous that I cannot number them.

    Freedom, Tolerance, and Religion

    Hungarian religious reformers from the sixteenth century fought for freedom of conscience.  While the reformation was brutally suppressed by Catholic Austria, the standard of independence and tolerance continue in modern Hungary.  continues Budapest was the only city in Eastern Europe where a large minority of Jews survived through World War II.  This was due to concerted efforts of many of the Hungarian people, who protected their neighbors of different faiths and would not surrender their integrity for political expedience.

    Hungarians have always been free thinkers rather than collectivists.  Hungary was the first nation to unitedly revolt against Soviet rule (1956).  Even with the use of force, the Soviets were able to maintain communism in Hungary only by allowing a much greater degree of autonomy than in other Soviet states.  'Our communism' became a motto for the locally-administered brand of Hungarian socialism, and Budapest was never one of Moscow's close followers.

    Culture and the Gospel

    Culture can be a two-edged sword.  For those who don't understand ocal culture and mentality, it can be a stumbling block hindering missionary work. With appropriate understanding of the culture and implementation of approaches respecting cultural ideals and local ways of thinking, culture can be a stepping stone to success.  The strong Hungarian will that has preserved culture and national identity for so long provokes independent thought and tolerance of a variety of faiths.  The same spirit of freedom that led early religious reformers to follow freedom of conscience and also leads interested individuals to the Church today.  The Hungarian inquisitiveness and love of learning can spark strong interest in the Book of Mormon.

    Sometimes, however, it is difficult to implement conformity of churchwide policies and standards.  President Toth mentioned that just as 'our ommunism' was a dominant theme in past decades, sometimes members try to implement 'our mormonism' and that directives from church leaders have at times been resisted by some members.  It is important for missionaries to avoid teaching as doctrine or policy items which are simply North American cultural traditions affiliated with the church and to tailor the approach to the local culture.  It is also important for members to recognize that the Lord's directives through inspired leaders are not simply cultural mandates to North Americans, but worldwide standards for the church.

    Remarks from Kossuth Lajos

    One of my favorite statesmen of all time is Kossuth Lajos (Louis Kossuth ), the 'Hungarian George Washington.'  Kossuth made these remarks in various public forums while visiting the United States in 1851 and 1852 after the failed revolution of his country from Austrian and Russian oppression.  He was a brilliant thinker, a great organizer, and a righteous man.

    'As long as the principles of Christian morality are not carried ... into international relations .. the future of no nation [is] sure.  But let a powerful nation like yours raise Christian morality into its public conduct, that nation will have a future.'
    'Woe to the people only for their own present, and not for the future '
    'The people ... if it is really to be free, can not have any master, but God.'
    'Either America will regenerate the condition of the old world, or it will be degenerated by the condition of the old world.'

    Part II: The Church in Hungary

    Membership and Activity
    Current LDS membership  stands at about 3300.  There are fewer than 1000 active members in the country (28% activity, according to the mission office).  Current activity is actually slightly up from last year with reactivation of some members.  Most of the active members are women and there are few active priesthood holders in many branches.

    Home Teaching
    Home teaching is low (5-10% in many areas).

    Missionary Service
    One highlight is that Hungary has the highest rate of young peopleserving missions of any country in Europe.  There are (as of 6/99) about 20 native Hungarians serving missions (down from 28 in 1998), including 6 serving within Hungary.  Over 100 native Hungarians have served missions and are a great strength to the church locally.

    Church Materials in Hungarian: Book of Mormon, Bible, Doctrine & Covenants (1995).  New church materials continue to be translated into Hungarian, including monthly first presidency messages, various guidebooks and manuals, and the Hungarian Liahona (church international magazine).

    Proselyting Efforts
    As of June 1999, there were about 150 baptisms per year in the mission, down from 300-500 in many previous years and a high of 100 baptisms in one month in early 1998.  Many of the baptisms are still of single women, although efforts are being made to proselyte more men and families.  The political and economic situation over this period has been relatively stable.  Contacting is lower missionwide compared to some prior years, and the number of investigators at meetings has

    The church owns 6 buildings in Hungary, including chapels in Budapest (Tihany Ter, Huvosvolgi, Kis Pest), Gyor, Dunaujvaros, and Szekesfehervar).  Until recently, this represented more chapels than in all the remainder of Eastern Europe.  However, the buildings have not correlated with any increase in conversions or retention, and in two different cities large numbers of members left the church after the chapels were constructed.  In one city, apparently there was considerable competition between two wards which deteriorated into widespread contention.  Many people were offended and left the church, and the two branches in the city had to be collapsed into one smaller branch.

    Cities with Branches

    Hungary is one of the few countries in the Europe East Area with missionaries serving in all cities of over 100,000, and many smaller cities as well.  From the UN City Population Database (, the cities in
    Hungary with over 100,000 residents are: Budapest 1962855, Debrecen 214245, Miskolc 185877, Szeged 173860, Pécs 167772, Györ 129089, Nyiregyhaza 114276, Székesfehérvár 108868, Kecskemet 105064.

    There is one branch in each city listed below except for Budapest (6 branches, including an 'international' [i.e.: English-speaking] branch), Miskolc (2 branches), and Pecs (2 branches).  Budapest, Erd, Dunaujvaros (south) and Kecskemet (south-east) form the Budapest district.  In the northwest, Gyor, Szombathely, Szekesfehervar, Veszprem, and Papa form
    the Gyor district.  There were no baptisms in Papa for over two years (until August of 1999).  There are serious problems with inactivity and withdrawal of missionaries from the the city was briefly considered.  However, active members are very strong and dynamic.  In the northeast, missionaries serve in a mission district which includes Debrecen, Nyiregyhaza, Miskolc, and Eger.  Eger was opened on August 1st, 1999.  There are several members living in the city.  Pecs (near the Croatian border) and Szeged (near the Serbian and Romanian borders) in the south are isolated and do not fit into any district.

    Part III: Future Outlook
    Active Members

    Considerable maturation has occurred in the church over the past few years.  Active members in Hungary are very strong, according to members and missionaries alike.  Anyone who attends Hungarian LDS activities can feel this.  The members who I met were very good at fellowshipping and are a great example to investigators and new members.

    Local Returned Missionaries

    One highlight is that many Hungarian returned missionaries provide considerable leadership experience for the church.  Almost 10% of active members are returned missionaries, a higher proportion than in any other Eastern European nation.

    [Editor's note: Local missionaries are extremely valuable for multiple reasons.  In the St. Petersburg mission when I served, I recall one of the general authorities issuing a challenge for missions in Russia to draw a full 25% of their complement from native missionaries.  We never reached that number there or in any of the other Russian-language missions as far as I am aware (except for Kiev Ukraine 1994-96 when many native missionaries had to be transferred from other missions because North Americans rarely could get visas). However, the native elders and sisters who we did have were some of the very finest and most effective missionaries.  Here is a quote by President Benson.  I think that the strength local missionaries impart to the Church in Hungary is a great example of this.

    'When missionaries are called to serve locally, great benefits accrue to the Church in local areas.  First, the missionaries can speak the language fluently so that no language training is necessary.  Second, the acceptance by local people to the missionaries of their own nationality is superior to the reception received by non-nationals. Third, the great benefits which the missionaries themselves receive through their mission experience is not exported from the local area but serves to strengthen and build the kingdom in the  homeland.  Thus, there must be increased emphasis on the preparation of young men and women to step forward and carry the missionary responsibility in their own lands' Ezra Taft Benson, Language Training Mission Groundbreaking, Provo, Utah, July 18, 1974]


    Inactivity continues to consume a considerable portion of missionary time.  There has been a slight increase in activity to the current level of 28% over the past year with an increased focus on member work.  Key focuses of the mission to improve inactivity include:

    (1) Adequate teaching of investigators and new members, with a focus on true conversion and on keeping basic commitments.
    (2) Continued missionary work with members to reinforce baptismal commitments. br>(3) Increased home teaching.

    [Editor's note:  I think that some progress will continue to be made with these focuses, especially with focus on consistent adherence to baptismal commitments and not simply on quotas of missionary visits or hours.  Home teaching is also a crucial part of the fellowshipping and retention program.  While home teaching varies from city to city, average home teaching of 5-10% means that, on average, relatively few inactive individuals are being home taught, and that 15-30% of active members are being home taught.  Home teaching percentages vary from area to area.  The relatively low number of active Melchizedek priesthood holders to total membership (often 1:10-20, and sometimes more) means that every man must home teach a large numbers of individuals, and even with considerable participation, it will be difficult to home teach everyone.  It is also understandably difficult to generate enthusiasm for 100% home teaching when activity is relatively low and many inactive members are hostile to the church.  However, some progress is being made.]

    Missionary Work


    The Church desperately needs more families and priesthood holders. Member referrals provide a significant proportion of baptisms; however, as the ratio of missionaries to members is still extremely high and members face considerable demands between work, family, and church responsibilities, the primary responsibility for finding will continue to fall on the missionaries.  Considerable missionary time is taken up with member issues (particularly inactivity), and elatively fewer fresh contacts have been made.  In most areas, only a fraction of the Hungarian population has had firsthand experience with an LDS missionary.  It is a challenge to continue to fully reach out to the inactive, while still aggressively contacting those who have not yet had an opportunity to hear the gospel message.

    Convert Baptisms

    In June, we attended the baptism of a young lady at the Tihany Ter chapel in Budapest.  12 missionaries, 14 members, and no investigators were present.

    There is an emphasis in the mission on teaching new members adequately before baptism with a focus on commitments to ensure true and lasting conversion.  While the number of baptisms may have declined somewhat, individuals currently coming into the church are generally more prepared and are being retained better than in the early years.

    The Hungary Budapest mission (along with the Ukraine Kyiv and Ukraine Donetsk missions) was one of the top three baptizing missions in Europe for most of the 1990s.  The number of baptisms has declined from previous levels of 300-500/year down to about 150 a year now.  However, everyone I've spoken with about this, both members and missionaries, seems to feel that this is only a temporary dip, and I agree.  Between the example of strong active members and the missionary focus of adequate pre-baptismal teaching, I'm confident that baptisms will increase.  Everyone seems to concur that the Church has immense potential in Hungary, and this potential is easy for anyone who has had contact with Hungarian members and non-members alike to see.

    Opening New Cities

    Approximately one-third of the Hungarian population lives in cities with branches of the Church.  Eger was opened in August 1999.  The opening to missionary work of another city in Eastern Hungary to complete a district has been considered.

    Hungarian Stake

    The formation of a stake in Hungary, which was widely anticipated by many in late 1999, appears unlikely to materialize before the current year is out.  It appears possible that this may happen in 2000.


    Hungary has favorable laws toward meetinghouse construction and it is likely that new chapels will continue to be constructed without serious legal difficulties.


    There has been an increased interest in increasing publicity for the Church in Hungary.  One ongoing challenge is that it is sometimes difficult even for individuals with a prior interest in the church to locate it.  One of the senior couples in Budapest told us of an LDS member who moved to Hungary with her husband.  She looked for the Church for two or three months, but was unable to establish contact. The only LDS number listed in the phone directory listing was for a family history office which was open only 2 evenings a week from 5 to 7 pm, so it rang and rang when she called.  Finally she fortuitously encountered missionaries on the street and was able to get church meeting information from them.  Efforts to increase church exposure and visibility have been considered.

    [Editor's note: I can certainly identify with this story.  I've had similar difficulty finding out when wards meet even in parts of Utah and many US states.   I've also had numerous experiences with other individuals (both investigators and members) who have had a very difficult time in connecting up with the church in Eastern Europe but who finally made the connection under fortuitous circumstances.  I wonder how many others like them there are who weren't as fortunate.  A chapel phone number is of little value unless (1) it is publicly available and (2) there is either (a) a person there to answer it or (b) a message with useful informational content.  When traveling in the US, I always appreciate the wards that have a message with meeting times on their phone, although they are by far the exception.  More than once I have had to call four, five, or more ards to finally get useful information about meeting times.  Unfortunately, in some areas of the world there aren't four or five wards to call, and not everyone is willing to spend an indefinite amount of time trying to find the church. Such important matters cannot be left to chance or circumstance.]

    The mission has considered a website, but this has reportedly been discouraged because of concerns of internet abuse by missionaries. Interest is increasing somewhat due to the success of church internet sites in other areas.  The mission office does have an email address which can be used for referrals.

    In short, there are challenges to the growth of the Church in Hungary, but also many wonderful things happening, and I'm confident that the Church will continue to grow.

    The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Bible are available in Hungarian.

    Religious Broadcasting
    There are no organized LDS outreach radio broadcasts in Hungary.

    Internet Outreach
    Hungarian language translations of recent conference talks are online at the official LDS website, However, no official LDS materials oriented towards non-members or investigators are available online in Hungarian. Private sites hosting quality original Hungarian-language LDS outreach materials include and


    LDS Links
    1. LDS Hungary 

    Religion Links
    Cumorah News Service Articles on the LDS Church in Hungary
    Mormon News articles on Hungary
    Liveconnect LDS Mission Information System Religion Statistics

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    Hungary news

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    Mission Home Address:
    Hungary Budapest Mission
    Budapest H-1122, Hajnoczy J. utca 14

    Mailing Address:
    Hungary Budapest Mission
    Budapest H-1122, Hajnoczy J. utca 14

    General Phone: +36-1-488-0660
    Fax: +36-1-488-0661

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