JERUSALEM (Aug. 7)
The president of the Mormon Brigham Young University, Prof. Jeffrey Holland, in a written pledge handed today to Mayor Teddy Kollek, promised there would be no missionary activity in the educational center it is constructing next to the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus. The center is to be an extension of Brigham Young University.
Kollek expressed his satisfaction regarding the signed commitment, adding that he had never doubted the Mormons’ verbal promises not to engage in proselytizing at the center.
The construction of the Mormon center has come under large-scale attack by Orthodox circles, including the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, who have warned that its real purpose was to try to convert Jews. The charge was vigorously denied by Mormon representatives, among them Dr. Ellis Rasmussen, former Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young, following a press conference last month by eight Christian denominations which also oppose the center.
Holland said today that “it is important for everyone to understand that this is not a missionary center; it is an extension of the University. Mayor Kollek has understood that all along.”
The construction of the center was approved in 1977 by the Likud government of Premier Menachem Begin, and by the Jerusalem municipality. Located on five acres of land, the center will contain housing and catering services for nearly 200 students, as well as classrooms and an auditorium. The purpose of the center, Rasmussen said last month, was to enable Mormon students to get to know Israel.