Hans Mattsson first began to question LDS Church history while serving as an area authority in the 3rd Quorum of Seventy. We’ll talk about some of the resources he used. Were they anti-Mormon? Were they Church approved?
Hans: We were on our way to a stake conference in Sweden. There were some questions, though, from some members. I said, “I will have Elder [L. Tom] Perry coming up on this conference. So if we can meet together with the stake president there, and we three, together, can find out.” Of course, that stake president [came] prepared. He had a huge lot of papers and asked questions about the Church’s early days that we didn’t know anything about. Then, Elder Perry said, “Listen. In my briefcase, I have a manuscript that will solve all the problems. [They] will show that they are all false, and we’re not only going to show them false, we’re going to prove them wrong. We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to nail them.” Of course, I didn’t know what that meant, to nail someone, but I was so happy that, “Wow! There is an answer. There is an answer to all those questions.” Of course, we went back to those members and leaders that were asking questions, and said, “Hey, listen, no problem. That will come out [in] the book that will answer all the questions, and we’re going to prove them as false and it’s just an anti-Mormon propaganda.” Well, after a few months, the questions are coming back to me. “Hey, have you seen the book? Have you read the book? Where is the book?”
Hans: So I called Frankfurt where Elder L. Tom Perry then was presiding from. Then I was told that you’re not supposed to ask questions like that to the apostles and that was it. Of course, that tricked me a lot. I wondered why is it that he’s telling things like that, and then he’s not giving us any [answer]? So then I really, really thought myself, “I have to find out myself.” That’s when it started. I started to search on the internet and read lots of books and found out. Then I was released in 2005, after five years. They wanted me to stay for a few more years. But then I had a heart problem and I couldn’t make it physically or psychologically.
GT: I think it was about this time that you started listening to John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories podcast. Is that right?
GT: Was that while you were still an [area] authority, or was that after 2005?
Hans: Afterwards, because I had this open heart surgery. After that, I have to be kind of still for awhile and, my friend, Christina Hanke, that I know as a youth in Gothenburg, also lived in Stockholm. The bishop called me to be a home teacher for her. I didn’t know that she already had found out things that I didn’t know about. So, she opened her heart and we, together, found more things. Christina found out by googling about Mormon Stories and introduced me to it.
GT: So Christina Hanke, she was your author or she’s the one that helped you write your book?
Hans: Yeah, she did.
Hans details how he came to question Church History. Check out our conversation….