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Hans’ View of Swedish Rescue (Part 3 of 5)

High profile church leaders flew to Sweden in 2010 to try to answer difficult church history questions to Swedish Latter-day Saints.  How did the meeting go?  Hans Mattsson gives his impressions of the meeting.

Hans:  First of all, it was a secret meeting. No one should know about it.

GT:  Oh, it wasn’t public.

Hans:  No. We had the New Area Authority Seventy Ingvar Olsson and he was inviting those that the bishops would [recommend] to have at the meeting, to straighten us out. I called him because I know him quite well. I said, “Hey, listen. I can help you. Because I knew all the people that you should have there.”  He said, “No, I’ll go through the bishops and stake president.”  We were there in the evening, a Sunday evening after everything was closed in the church. We were about 20 struggling, seeking-truth people. At the same time, they had also called bishops and stake presidents and some high councilmen and PR people from the Church. We were about 40-45 people, and also the Area President, Elder Kopischke came up from Germany. So there was quite strong leadership there.  Elder Jensen went out and welcomed him and helped him.  I said, “I’m glad to see you again.  I hope you can give us some good answers.”  They said, “Oh, I’m glad you’re here, Elder Mattsson.  I’m glad, and you can help me.”  I said, “Well, I only wanted to know the truth.”  So, we started there. So anyway, we were into the meeting and Elder Jensen says, after we introduce ourselves, and told why we were there and who we are, Elder Jensen started the meeting by [drawing] on the whiteboard, making a line from top to bottom, divided in two sides.  [On one side] was Jesus, God, and the Church. Another [side] was Satan and the world. He gave a lot of scriptures that proved that if you’re not in the Church, you’re in the world and in the hands of Lucifer.  So, it was a very, very tough way to start with them. We felt like we were not here to discuss if we are Satan’s people, or if we are God’s people. We just wanted to know the truth. But it was very black and white then. After that, Elder Turley went up and we were asked what kind of questions we had, and they wrote it down, I think about 12 questions down. [The questions were about] the hat and stone, polygamy, polyandry. Do we believe in polygamy still?  I can’t remember all the questions, but today [these questions] are very common. So, we really tried to ask questions, or discuss them, with them.

Find out what else went on during the meeting, and how it ended.  Check out our conversation….

Hans Mattsson tells about the Swedish Rescue meeting with Elder Marlin Jensen and Richard Turley.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Hans!

497: First Doubts on Church History

496: Becoming First Swedish GA

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Church History Library (Part 5 of 5)

The Church History Library is one of the most state-of-the-art libraries in the world.  Historian Richard Turley shepherded the construction of the new building, where they moved the treasures of the Church.  Barbara Jones Brown interviewed Rick last summer.

Richard:  When I got to the Church History Department in 1986, it was located in the east wing of the Church Office Building, four floors. Those four floors were filling up very quickly. A lot of the materials that were gathered in there were gathered from various areas around the world. Yet, there was more material coming in. In fact, at one point, we did a little statistical analysis of how much material we had brought in over the previous five years, and we concluded that if you laid the material flat, so pieces of paper, not end to end, but flat on top of each other, the total amount of material we had brought in during the previous five-year period would have towered above the 28 story Church Office Building. So it very quickly became apparent to us that the facilities we had were inadequate. But even more importantly, the more I looked at the facilities, the more worried I grew. At the time, not now, they’ve been retrofitted since the Church History Library was opened and the materials were moved out of them. They’ve been retrofitted to have fire suppression equipment and to be in better controlled than they were, but at the time that I was there in the beginning, there was very little by way of fire suppression.

Richard:  Also, even though while I was there, we put film on the windows to try to decrease the amount of ultraviolet light damage on the spines and box ends, there was still damage from light. So, we took all of that information, and we went upline and we proposed the construction of a new library. It took, essentially, 11 years to get the approvals and ultimately, four years to build the new Church History Library, which is state of the art. It’s a wonderful facility, the best facility we’ve ever had for the historical materials. It’s a great office space for those who work there, as well as a spectacular place for researchers who come to Salt Lake City, in addition to those who will do research online.

To check out our conversation, sign up to our free newsletter at and I will send you a secret link!

Richard Turley sheparded the construction of a new Church History Library.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Barbara and Richard.

478: Saints

477: Opening Doors for Female Historians

476: Turley on MMM

475: Hired After Hofmann

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Saints (Part 4 of 5)

It’s been about 100 years since the LDS Church published a history of the Church.  Richard Turley thought it was about time to update it and pitched the idea to the brethren.  Volumes 1 and 2 have been released so far, with two more volumes to be published over the next few years.  Barbara Jones Brown talked to Rick about his role in getting these important volumes published.

Richard:  I thought what we really needed was for members of the Church generally, to have a heightened understanding of Church History, to make all ships rise, if you will. So, what I ultimately proposed to our team was that we create a series of volumes that would fit the intersection of three circles that formed a Venn diagram. I drew a circle on the board.  I put an H in it. I said, “First of all, these books have to be absolutely accurate historically.”  We gathered together a group of historians to help us form the content of the books. Then I drew another circle, and I wrote an L in it. I said, “We want these, also, to be literarily interesting. We want them to engage people from a literary standpoint. We want people to want to read them.” What I said, joking about the fact that you know, many historians write things that are read by only a small audience. What I said to the team was, “We’re going to do something extraordinary. We’re going to write a history that people are actually going to want to read.”

Richard:  Everybody laughed at that, because it’s a story that sometimes we write just to our peers. Then I drew a third circle, and I put a big A in it. I said, “The A stands for audience. We want to aim what we’re writing to a ninth-grade reading level, so that it will fit with members of the Church around the world in various cultures.” Then, in addition to all that, we talked about the need for it to be a global history, not just a history of the Church in Utah, but a history of the Church around the world. So that became the basic vision for the Saints volume. My hat is off to all the members of the team, I should say, teams, who helped to bring this about. I was talking to, after I’d gone to the Public Affairs Department, I was talking to a member of the team and I said to him, “How many people ultimately do you think were involved in the production of the first volume of Saints?” He said, “Well, if you take the various teams that wrote, and edited and consulted and translated and reviewed, we’re probably up over 900 people who contributed to that first volume.” So Church history, particularly during the 30 years that I had the privilege of being there was a team sport. I was just grateful to be a member of the team.

Check out our conversation….

Richard Turley describes his role in the first LDS Church history in 100 years: Saints!

Don’t miss our previous conversations!

477: Opening Doors for Female Historians

476: Turley on MMM

475: Hired After Hofmann