Niebaur-First Jew to Join the LDS Church

Alexander Neibaur (8 January 1808 – 15 December 1883) was one of the first Jewish persons to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was an educated man, fluent in 7 languages, and was a skilled dentist in his time, among the first dentists to practice in Utah.

Neibaur was born in 1808 to Nathan and Rebecca Peretz Neibaur in Ehrenbriestein, Alsace-Lorraine (near Coblentyz, Prussia, now Koblenz, Germany), which was at that time a part of France. Neibaur’s father served as a surgeon of the French Army.

Neibaur was educated to be a rabbi but decided to become a surgeon and dentist instead. He received a degree from the University of Berlin. About 1828, Neibaur converted to Christianity. He moved to Preston, England, in 1830. On 15 September 1834 Neibaur married Ellen Breakel. In 1837 he was converted to the Mormon faith after reading the Book of Mormon in three days, but was persuaded to delay his baptism until the following spring that he might be more prepared for the ordinance. He was baptized into the LDS Church on 9 April 1838.[1]

Neibaur arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois on 18 April 1841.[2] There he established his dental practice and developed a close friendship with Joseph Smith, Jr. whom he helped study German[3] and possibly Hebrew.

In 1846, after Smith’s death, Neibaur and his wife remained in Nauvoo later than most of the Mormons because Ellen was pregnant. Neibaur was among the defenders of the city during the Battle of Nauvoo.

Neibaur then went to Winter Quarters, Nebraska and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1848. In Utah Territory he worked as a dentist. He was also the primary person who introduced Mormonism to Morris D. Rosenbaum, a Jew who later became his son-in-law.[4] Neibaur’s daughter Rebecca married LDS Church leader Charles W. Nibley. Thus, Neibaur is a great-grandfather of Hugh Nibley and Richard Nibley.

From Wikipedia. Note: Fascinating account: “A Mormon and Still a Jew”: The Life of Alexander Neibaur by Fred E. Woods, in Mormon Historical Studies.

(Note) Neibaur tutored Joseph Smith in German, and Smith related several interesting incidents which Neibaur reports in his journal.See:


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