The Day the “Brave Sons of Mohamed” Saved a Group of Mormons

On March 13, 1899, a small number of Latter-day Saints visited the Armenian cemetery of Aintab (modern Gaziantep), a then-provincial town in what is today southern central Turkey. In this group were two American missionaries, Philip S. Maycock and Joseph W. Booth, and several Armenian converts. Many of the area’s Christians were observing Shrove Monday (the first day of Lent), and the cemetery, following Armenian tradition, was crowded with people picnicking and commemorating the loss of loved ones. Recognizing the situation as an opportunity to preach the gospel, the Saints gathered with some friends in a small ravine nearby, where they could discuss matters of faith in an undisturbed setting. Within minutes, however, the little gathering drew the attention of large numbers of curious onlookers. Initial acts of mischief grew more serious, and before long, stones were flying. A group of Muslim soldiers, patrolling the grounds to ensure peace among the festive crowds, intervened and began to defend the Mormons. The battle continued until the Saints were escorted home under the guards’ protection. (See pp. 251-54 for Booth’s March 13th journal entry.)

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