Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ancestors: Alexander Neibaur

Alexander Neibaur

Alexander Neibaur (January 8, 1808 – December 15, 1883) was the first dentist to practice in Utah and first Jewish person to join the Mormon Church. He was educated for the profession at the University of Berlin and was a skilled dentist before the establishment of dental schools in America. He was fluent in 7 languages and as many dialects.

 It was in England where Neibaur learned about the Mormon faith.  Prior to meeting preachers from the Church, he had had dreams of a book being given him, but he did not know what they meant.  When he heard of Mormon elders in the area, he approached them and asked if they had a book, which they did and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Neibaur recognized this book as the one from his dreams, and he read it in three days.  He wanted to be baptized immediately, but was convinced to wait until he had a chance to fully investigate the Church.  Neibaur was baptized on April 9, 1838, becoming one of the first Jews to join the Church.  Three years later he and his wife migrated to the United States and joined the Saints in Nauvoo in April 1841.  

Neibaur arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois on 18 April 1841. There he established his dental practice, using a room in Brigham Young's house for his practice, and developed a close friendship with Joseph Smith, Jr., whom he helped study German and Hebrew.  (Neibaur made gold dentures for Brigham.)

Neibaur described in his journal what Joseph told him during a dinner conversation. Brother Neibaur wrote that the Prophet said he had been “struck” by a passage on prayer in the Bible and so went into the woods to pray. After his tongue cleaved temporarily to the roof of his mouth, he saw a fire which gradually drew nearer to him. He “saw a personage in the fire, light complexion, blue eyes. … [Another] person came to the side of the first. Mr. Smith then asked, must I join the Methodist Church. No, they are not my People, [they] have gone astray. There is none that Doeth good, not one, but this is my Beloved Son harken ye him.”

After the Mormons were driven from Nauvoo, Neibaur went to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, rejoining with the main body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1848. In Utah Territory he continued the practice of dentistry and was a manufacturer of matches.

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