Soon after his father Eric Smith received an MBA from BYU (where he had met his German bride after both had returned from full-time missionary service), he also received an offer of employment with a subsidiary of General Motors in Germany, where both Martin, our second son and Mitchell, our fourth were born," states Karin Smith.
Because some German is spoken in his home, Mitchell already speaks the language fluently, but even as a native language speaker he will still be required to do two weeks of language training at the MTC in England beginning on Wednesday, March 30.
The first congregation of Latter-day Saints was organized in Germany in 1843, but due to strong persecution from their countrymen, many early members emigrated to Utah.
Despite problems associated with two world wars, the Church continued to grow gradually in Germany. During the 1920s, there were three congregations in Chemnitz with more than 600 members. At the time, this was the highest concentration of members in any city outside of the United States.
Shortly after the conclusion of the most widespread war in history, Ezra Taft Benson, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and later U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, organized a charitable operation – later known as CARE - to help the starving people in Germany.
After WWII, faithful members maintained contact with Church headquarters, where their ongoing efforts eventually made it possible to dedicate the Freiberg Temple (Saxony) in 1985, the first temple on German soil and the first in a (then) Communist country. Two years later, another temple – located in Friedrichsdorf (Hessia) - was dedicated.
Today, Latter-day Saints in Germany total approximately 39,500, many of them second, third, and fourth generation members of the Church. Young men and women – as well as senior couples - serve in three German missions headquartered in Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg.