As the Soviet era ended and Belarus became independent in 1991, Belarusians faced economic and social uncertainty. In the face of those challenges, some sought religious renewal. As these Belarusians searched for faith, a few found information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and wished to learn more.
In 1991 Anatoly Neverov came across a pamphlet in his hometown of Minsk that contained the story of Joseph Smith. A believing Christian, Anatoly was intrigued by what he read and wrote to the Church asking for more literature, explaining that he wanted to “investigate and find the right way to Jesus.” His letter eventually reached Howard Biddulph, the mission president in Ukraine. The two began corresponding and discussing Anatoly’s religious questions. When the Church assigned Karl and Hanna Borcherding to go to Minsk in January 1993, President Biddulph reached out to Anatoly for help. Anatoly used his experience working for a tourist bureau to help the couple become established in Minsk. He also did the same for other young Latter-day Saints whom President Biddulph sent to offer community service and respond to Belarusians inquiring about the Church. Anatoly later was baptized in the fall of 1993.
Among those early contacts was also Yury Ustin, a lawyer with a young family who lived in Minsk. One day in 1992, he read an article in a Russian magazine about Mormons. Impressed by what he read, he determined to learn more, wrote to the Church, and asked for a Book of Mormon. Unlike Anatoly, however, he had to wait for many months before he was contacted in early 1993. Despite the wait, he eagerly began attending Church meetings and studying Church teachings. On May 2, 1993, he was baptized and joined a small but growing congregation. Using his experience as a lawyer, he helped establish relations between the Church and government officials. He also served as one of the first branch presidents in Minsk. Thanks to Yury, Anatoly, and many others, the Church became established in Belarus.