Gary L. Browning

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Gary L. Browning (born 1940)[1] is an American Russian language academic and was the first mission president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in St. Maries, Idaho, Browning was a missionary for the LDS Church in Finland as a young man.[2] Upon returning from his mission, he earned a bachelor's degree in Russian from Brigham Young University, a master's degree from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.[2] In 1969, Browning lived in Moscow for six months while he worked as a guide for a United States Information Agency exhibit.[2] In 1973, Browning returned to live in Russia for six months as he researched his Ph.D. dissertation.[2]

Academic career[edit]

Browning spent two years as a member of the faculty of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and then joined the faculty of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah as a professor of Russian language and literature.[2] In the 1980s, he founded a Utah County chapter of Utahns Against the Nuclear Arms Race and became a peace activist.[2]

Involvement with LDS Church[edit]

In July 1990, Browning was asked by the LDS Church to become the president of the newly created Finland Helsinki East Mission of the church.[3] This mission was headquartered in Helsinki, but all its assigned missionaries preached in Russia, the Baltic states, and Ukraine.[3] At the time, there were small branches of the LDS Church in Leningrad, Tallinn, Vyborg, and Moscow.[3] The Leningrad Branch was the first LDS Church congregation to receive official recognition within Russia.[3] Browning is recognized by the LDS Church as the first mission president in Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic states.[4]

In February 1992, the Finland Helsinki East Mission was dissolved and divided into the Russia Moscow Mission, the Russia St. Petersburg Mission, and the Ukraine Kiev Mission; Browning became the first president of the Moscow Mission and served in this capacity until July 1993.[3] After his mission service, Browning returned as a faculty member of Brigham Young University.[2] He served two terms as the chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages.[2] He retired and is a professor emeritus of BYU.[5]

Publications and speeches[edit]

  • Gary L. Browning. "American and Russian Perceptions of Freedom and Security." BYU Studies vol. 25, no. 1 (Winter 1985) pp. 115–127
  • —— (1985). Boris Pilniak: Scythian at a Typewriter (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis)
  • —— (1985). Workbook to Russian Root List (Columbus, Ohio: Slavica)
  • ——. "Out of Obscurity: The Emergence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 'That Vast Empire of Russia'", Provo, Utah, 1993-11-02
  • —— (1997). Russia and the Restored Gospel (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book)
  • —— (2010). A "Labyrinth of Linkages" in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (Brighton, Mass.: Academic Studies Press)


  1. ^ "Workbook to Russian root list / Gary L. Browning". Copyright Catalog (1978 to present). United States Copyright Office. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Mary Lynn Johnson, "Making Peace", BYU Magazine, Winter 2000.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kahlile Mehr, “1989–90: The Curtain Opens,” Ensign, December 1993, p. 36.
  4. ^ 2008 Deseret Morning News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Morning News, 2007).
  5. ^ Gary L. Browning, BYU faculty page.