Elam Luddington

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Elam Luddington, Jr. (also spelled Ludington) (November 23, 1806 – March 22, 1893) was a Mormon pioneer and was the first missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to preach in Thailand.

Luddington was born in Harwinton, Connecticut to Elam Luddington, Sr. and Lena Monger. Luddington met Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1840 and was baptized by him into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on May 16, 1840. Shortly thereafter, Smith asked him to preach as a missionary in Quincy, Illinois.

After Smith's death, Luddington followed Brigham Young to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah Territory. During the Mexican-American War in 1846 and 1847, Luddington was a lieutenant in the Mormon Battalion.

In 1853, Young called four Latter-day Saints, Luddington, Chauncey W. West, Franklin Denny and Levi Savage, to serve LDS Church missions in India and Indochina. The four arrived by ship in Kolkata, India on April 26, 1853. Luddington and Savage tried to reach Siam via Yangon, Burma, but the ship sprang a leak and they were forced to return to India. After the ship was repaired, Luddington and Savage arrived in Yangon on August 10, 1853.[citation needed] In late September 1853 Matthew McCune (a member of the British military) and Elder Luddington severed Elder Savage from the church. This forced Elder Savage to depart Rangoon (Yangon) for Maulmain, Burma. While Elder Savage was in Maulmain, Elder Luddington departed Rangoon for Bangkok.[citation needed]

Luddington arrived in Bangkok by ship on June 4, 1854, almost a year after he had left the United States. He tried to learn to speak Thai, but found it difficult and was forced to limit his preaching to Europeans. During his four months in Siam, Luddington baptized James Trail, the captain of the ship he arrived on, and Trail's wife. Luddington reported that he was stoned twice and poisoned once by his opponents in Thailand.

Luddington returned to Utah Territory in 1855. Luddington practiced plural marriage and was married to three wives. He died in Salt Lake City.

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