It was a tremendous privilege to work on this project. I entered my freshman year of college with a naïveté concerning the missionary efforts in Scandinavia. I was completely unaware of these extraordinary men that sacrificed so much to take part in a cause greater than their individual pursuits. As I commenced research on these notable Scandinavian missionaries, I began to sense the emotional and spiritual reality of each man’s story. The monotonous wisps of statistics and narratives evolved into concrete stories of ordinary, hardworking people who gave their all to build the kingdom. I am thankful for the opportunity these extraordinary authors have given me to take part in piecing together the lives of these devoted Latter-day Saints. The hours spent in journals, personal histories, and newspaper archives were well worth the final product. I hope these stories will touch the lives of readers as poignantly as they have touched mine.
—Christina Joy Smith
With all the hours spent on researching the LDS Scandinavian missionaries has come a familiarity that makes them real to me. I have felt their presence as I have struggled to clarify and even correct their accounts. It is hard to ignore the feeling that many have become disconnected from their family members. I marvel that so many hundreds were needed to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. There were a few born before 1830, but most were born after the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They seem divinely placed where they could speed the work along. Some of them were born in less than ideal condition—poor, fatherless, even some motherless. I strongly witness that they were special volunteers who took up bodies in these extreme conditions to further the spread of the gospel, to be where, when, and who they were. They were needed regardless of the extra trials this placed upon them personally. I wonder if being a bit of an outcast from Scandinavian society, fatherless and such, made it easier to embrace a new order of religious observance.
I want to share some of the feelings I experienced searching the vital records verifying information on the missionaries covered in Legacy of Sacrifice.
From the very start of this project, the spirit was very strong, and I could feel the missionaries close to me. That was especially true when the information at hand was incorrect or incomplete. There was such a feeling of joy when the correct or additional information was found. It was as if they were saying, “Yes, that’s me!”
When reading some of the trials they had or challenges they faced, I could sense their strong testimonies and their deep devotion to the work. There was no doubt they were men who truly loved the gospel, and who wanted to share that with the people they had left behind, and loved.
I truly felt that not only were they aware of what has been done but that they were very happy about it. There was a great feeling of joy, as if this would be yet another way they could share their testimonies. There were times I could feel their individual personalities, some with very forceful characters, others very gentle. Some felt so close that I could have reached out and touched them. There always was a wonderful spirit and energy about this work.
I came to believe that these men were very special men, men of unwavering faith. I guess it meant a lot to me to participate in a very small way because of my ties to Scandinavia. I can understand their love of their homeland and the wish to spread the gospel to the people they love so much.
It surely strengthened my testimony of the importance of missionary work and deepened my sense of gratitude and love for the men that served so valiantly and sacrificed so much for their faith.
—Ann-Cathrin (Anka) Haslam
What a treat it has been to come to know more about the lives of these special people. They were people who proved their faith by leaving their homes and beloved lands to travel to an unknown country, to answer the call of a religion of which they had just become members. The words sacrifice, obedience, faith, perseverance, love, priority, ingenuity, sadness, and courage are but a few of the words that describe the attributes of these Saints. The examples they set are to be upheld, admired, and emulated. I will always treasure the effect they have had on my life.