Article of the Week | BYU Studies

Article of the Week

November 6, 2017
Article of the Week
The Political Climate of Saxony during the Conversion of Karl G. Maeser: With Special Reference to the Franklin D. Richards Letter to Brigham Young, November 1855
A. LeGrand Richards

This daily feature is the introduction to a full article by A. LeGrand Richards that was published in our newest issue, 56:3. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

In July 1855, Daniel Tyler, president of the German, French, and Italian mission in Switzerland, received a suspicious letter from a Mister Karl Maeser in Saxony. Karl Gottfried Maeser was a teacher at the Budich Institut, a private school in Dresden that was also the first Saxon teacher training college for women. Maeser had been teaching there as early as 1852 after teaching at least a year at the 1st District School, where he met Edward Schoenfeld and his future father-in-law, the director, Benjamin Immanuel Mieth. Maeser was preparing a presentation for the Dresden branch of the Saxon Teachers Association regarding the teaching of history when he read an anti-Mormon documentary book by Moritz Busch. This book awakened an unquenchable thirst to learn more about this religion. He could not believe a "people could develop and thrive as the facts showed the Latter-day Saints to have done, and at the same time be of degraded nature and base ideals." He eventually was directed to the address of Daniel Tyler in Switzerland for more information. Knowing that the inquiry itself could bring severe consequences, Maeser ventured forward by writing a letter to Tyler.