B'nai Shalom
Jewish Mormons and Interested Friends
Jubilee Year (50 years) 2017

Alexander Neibaur, First Jewish Mormon

The early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is filled with stories of unusual interest. Its converts came from many lands and a wide variety of nationalities. One of the most picturesque of these was Alexander Neibaur, who is said to be the first Jew to embrace the gospel and who became a person of considerable importance in the last days of Nauvoo and the early colonization of the valley of the Great Salt lake.

The first section below is an account written by him, reformed from neibaur.org.
The second section contains extracts from the same source.

By Alexander Neibaur

Alexander Neibaur

"Born of Jewish parents and educated in the Law of Moses to become a Rabbi at 14 years of age, I chose the profession of a dentist. Went to the University of Berlin at 17 years of age. Began to travel on the continent of Europe as a dentist in 1830. Went to England. Established myself in Preston, Lancs. Got married to Ellen Breetiel, an estimable young woman.

"Heard the Latter-Day Saints preach on June 4, 1837. Embraced the truth in opposition to all my friends. Passed in consequence through hardships and trials, yet my trust was in the God of Abraham.

"Emigrated in the first LDS company in the ship Sheffield by New Orleans to Nauvoo, Illinois. left the Liverpool harbor with my wife and three children February 7, 1841.

"In the fall of 1843 had the honor of instructing the Prophet Joseph Smith until he went to Carthage, in German and Hebrew, from which text he preached several times to large congregations.

"Was in the battle of Nauvoo. Was driven out by the mob in September 1846, stayed in Iowa that winter. In the summer of 1847 went to Winter Quarters. In May 1848 started for the Rendezvous of the LDS at the Horn. Joined President Young's Camp to travel to Salt Lake City. Got there September 24. Got a city lot. Myself and my oldest son Joseph made adobes for a house. Lived in a tent until the May following with my wife and 7 small children.

"Passed through all the trials and difficulties with my brethren, thanking the Lord, his spirit has sustained me. On December 14, 1860, my wife fell asleep in the Lord. A faithful servant, leaving myself, 4 sons, and 7 daughters and numerous family of grandchildren.

"I do not pen these lines, but for the gratification of my posterity, bearing to them and to all who may read these few lines my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord. The things spoken on in the Bible and Book of Mormon and sealed with the blood of the martyr at Carthage jail, Illinois, are true. My prayer is that my posterity might work in the way of righteousness. amen.

"Got Elizabeth Kily sealed to me September 1, 1870 at the endowment House by George Cannon."

Note: This narrative was reformed from a portion of the following:

Below are extracts and fragments from the same source mentioned above.

Even though he was educated for the Jewish ministry early in his life, he became converted to Christianity shortly after he was 20 years of age, and the step from there into Mormonism was not great. Throughout his entire life following that conversion he was a zealous proponent of Christianity and Mormonism.

Alexander Neibaur was born January 8, 1808, in Ehrenbriestein in Alsace-Lorraine, which was at that time a part of France. It is located near Coblentyz, Prussia. His father was Nathan Neibaur and his mother was Rebecca Peretz. His parents were of a high class of Hebrews, and his father was well educated as a physician and surgeon. His father, it is said, was a personal physician to the great Napoleon Bonaparte. Not only was Nathan a well trained physician for his day, but he was also said to be an accomplished Linguist. Even after Mr. Neibaur's retirement, the great soldier sought his help and offered him great sums of money to act as a spy, but Nathan was apparently opposed to Napoleon's principles and refused to join him.

The story of Alexander Neibaur's conversion to the LDS Church is told by Mrs. Gates in her account of his life. The first elder which included Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Orson Hyde, and Joseph Fielding arrived at Preston about July 30, 1837. The Neibaurs heard of the message of the new missionaries and Alexander was at once interested, since he claimed to have had a vision in which he saw the Book of Mormon through the spirit of God. According to the account of his conversion, he read the Book of Mormon through, without pause, and was at once convinced of its truthfulness. He wanted to join the new religion immediately, but was urged by the missionaries to wait until he had made a more complete investigation. His baptism finally took place on April 9, 1838, by Elder Isaac Hersell, but he was rebaptized, as was a common procedure in those days, on April 1, 1857, after he had emigrated to the Salt lake Valley.

Alexander's wife Ellen did not embrace the gospel as readily as did her husband. She was, for a long time, unable to accept the Book of Mormon as anything but a beautiful story. Her conversion is said to have come about as a result of a remarkable dream in which she saw the face of Willard Richards in some small clouds, which were to her, symbols of the new faith, and she was baptized soon afterward and remained an enthusiastic member of the Church for the remainder of her life.

From the scanty references in the diary, it is evident that Alexander Neibaur and Joseph Smith were close associates during the period from 1841 to 1844.

Under the general heading "City of Joseph" (Nauvoo), 1845 and 1846, Brother Neibaur refers to several incidents connected with the mob action around Nauvoo, prior to the departure of the Saints. On September 10 to 24, 1845, he acted as a guard and on September 11, 1846, he records that the "mob moved north toward laws field, firing 35 cannon balls, myself being placed in a corn field opposite Hyrum farm to spring a mine. Two forts erected in the night."

On December 3, 1854, he records hearing a sermon by Brigham young of which he says, "Brigham Young preached concerning the Jews. No Jew coming in this church would remain faithful. Brother Neibaur, as a Jew, has changed his Jewish blood. There is not the smallest particle of the blood of a Jew in him."