Thomas Biesinger, the first missionary in what is now the Czech Republic, arrived in Prague in February 1884—and was arrested for unauthorized preaching. After nearly 70 days in prison, Biesinger baptized his only convert, Anthon Just, before leaving the city.
Other Czechs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire joined the Church and returned to Czechoslovakia. After World War I, Františka Brodilová and her two daughters, who had joined the Church in Vienna, petitioned the Church to send missionaries to Prague. In 1928, Thomas Biesinger, now 84, traveled to Prague and obtained legal recognition for the Church. Czechoslovakia was soon dedicated, and the Czechoslovak Mission was organized.
Members kept the faith through the difficult days of World War II and after the rise of the Communist Party in 1948. In 1950, the Church was banned by the government. For nearly 50 years, Church members were not allowed to openly practice their faith. Nevertheless, Church members met as frequently as possible, becoming “knit together in unity” (Mosiah 18:21), and found creative ways to share the gospel. Several members taught “Christian yoga” classes—a combination of gospel principles and yoga exercises—leading to the conversion of 130 people.
Since the reopening of the mission in 1991, membership in the Czech Republic has steadily grown. In 2016, the Prague Czech Republic Stake, the first in the Czech Republic, was created.
Official Name: Czech Republic/Česká republika
Largest City: Prague
Official Languages: Czech
Land Area: 78,866 km2 (30,450 mi2)
Church Area: Europe
Missions: 1 (Czech/Slovak)