[Millennial Star, 18:46:731–32; this account also appears in abridged form in Andrew Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1927), 115–16]
20, Rupert-street, Liverpool,
October 22, 1856
President Orson Pratt.
Dear Brother,—Having just returned from our mission to Scandinavia, we take pleasure in handing you a report of our proceedings since our communication of September 13th.
On the 14th [September 1856] we attended meeting in Copenhagen, in a large and commodious hall, and preached to about one thousand people. The Spirit of the Lord was abundantly poured out. We also met with and addressed the Saints on the 15th [September 1856]. On the 17th [September 1856] we left Copenhagen for Gothenburg, in company with Elders Haight and Widerborg, and had a very rough passage. Nearly all the passengers were sea-sick, and the scenes on board, though of a sea-rious nature at the time, afforded matter for amusement afterwards. We arrived at Gothenburg half-past five o’clock a. m., on the 18th [September 1856], and went to the house of Elder Frantz F. Gronberg, the President of the Branch, where we dined. He had all the Saints in the Branch, numbering seven souls, and about five strangers, who were friendly, invited to his house in the afternoon. While we were engaged in prayer together, we heard the noise of persons coming into the room, but paid no attention to it until we had done praying, when we found three large policemen in our company. The first, after talking to brother Gronberg, took a seat at the table, wrote down all our names, and demanded our passports. One brother, from a few miles distance, who had no passport, they took to the police station, and ordered the rest of us to disperse. After they had gone, we stayed a short time, comforting the Saints while we were bidding them farewell, and laying hands on a sick child, by the desire of its mother, who was not in the Church. The newspapers noticed the circumstance of our meeting, and said that the young man who was taken up was so full of “Mormonism,” that he preached it before the police court. Before leaving Gothenburg, we laid hands on brother Gronberg, and blessed him. He had been before the police many times for preaching the Gospel, but he feels more determined than ever.
On the 19th [September 1856] we set sail up the Gotha, across the country for Stockholm. The scenery on the voyage between Gothenburg and Stockholm is extremely grand and beautiful. There are seventy-five locks and seven lakes to pass through. The altitude attained is three hundred and eight and a half feet. There are several interesting sights on the journey, such as cataracts, extensive lakes, splendid mansions, and the magnificent fort of Carlsborg, which is capable of accommodating thirty thousand soldiers. We arrived at Stockholm at midnight, on the 22nd [September 1856].
Stockholm is a beautiful place. It is built on seven islands, and is rendered still more interesting by its splendid buildings, rich groves of timber, and fine bay, intersected with islands. We visited the palace, and saw some splendid suites of rooms, galleries of paintings, and statues. We attended meeting on the 24th [September 1856], and addressed the Saints, who met together numbering thirty, brother Widerborg acting as interpreter. We left next day [25 September 1856] for Ystad, per steamer Ganthiod, and arrived there at half past one a. m., on the 28th [September 1856], after a very rough passage. Women porters were on the landing waiting the arrival of the steamer, and two of them carried our luggage on a “bearing barrow” to the hotel. We proceeded the same day, by carriage, through a farming country, to Malmö. We saw the President of the Conference, and gave him such instructions as we were led to do, and next day we left for Copenhagen. We would here observe, that the work is taking a good start in Sweden. Notwithstanding the stringent laws against religious liberty, and the vigilance of the police, the Gospel is spreading rapidly in that extensive territory. There are already twenty-one Branches, and about four hundred and forty members in the country.
On the evening of the 30th [September 1856], we addressed a large meeting in Copenhagen. There were a great many strangers present. Considerable effort was made to create a disturbance outside, but with little effect. We preached there again on the 1st of October , and on the following day we were highly entertained in visiting, in company with about twenty Saints, the palace of Sorgenpi, which means “free from sorrow,” and grounds adjacent. On the 4th [October 1856] we started from Copenhagen at seven a. m., for Hoursens, going by railway to Karsóer, and from thence per steamer. The railway between Copenhagen and Karsóer is sixty miles long, and, we learned took four years in making. After we had left Karsóer a short time, some part of the engine broke down, so that we had to go on board another steamer, which took us to Aarhus, where we arrived at six p. m. We took a carriage from thence to Hoursens the same night, and arrived early in the morning. We left there on the 5th [October 1856] for Viele, and arrived at eleven and a half a. m. Here we met with two Conferences of the Saints, and preached to them. There were about three hundred present. Two or three persons tried to break up our meeting, but did not succeed.
The 6th [October 1856] was brother Kay’s birthday. He is 39 years of age, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches high, 238 lbs. in weight, and feels first rate.
We left Viele on the 7th [October 1856] for Aalborg, where we arrived on the 8th [October 1856], at eight o’clock p. m., having travelled one hundred miles per post chaise. On the 9th [October 1856] we met with about four hundred Saints. There were two Conferences gathered together here, namely, the Aalborg and Veneyzsel. We met again on the 10th [October 1856], at ten o’clock a. m.; several strangers were present. Meeting was also held in the afternoon, and we spent the evening at the President’s house, instructing the Saints. Next day [October 11, 1856] we left per steamer for Copenhagen, where we arrived on the 12th [October 1856], at eleven o’clock a. m. On the passage the Captain remarked to brother Benson that the “Mormons” were taking the best men and women out of the country. We went to meeting the same night, and addressed the Saints. At half-past twelve o’clock on the 13th [October 1856], we left there in company with brothers Haight, Liljenquist, and Larson, and went to Soro; then we went by carriage to Hungerop, at four o’clock, distance from Copenhagen forty-three miles. We here had a meeting called, and addressed the Saints.
On the 14th [October 1856], at ten o’clock a. m., the Saints and neighbours gathered together in a large house that formerly belonged to brother Nielson. He had sold it, and reserved the right to hold three “Mormon” meetings in it. We preached to the people, and they rejoiced much in what they heard. We here bade farewell to brothers Haight, Widerborg, and the Saints, and returned at three o’clock to Karsóer. At half-past ten o’clock, we left Karsóer to return to England, after taking an affectionate farewell of brother Liljenquist, who accompanied us there. We landed at Viele at half-past five a. m. [October 15, 1856], left there at seven o’clock by railway, and arrived at Hamburg at half-past ten a. m. We visited the Exchange in Hamburg. There were some thousands of merchants and gentemen in the building at once. Their voices sounded in the gallery, like the rushing noise of many waters. We sailed from Hamburg on the 16th [October 1856], at three o’clock a. m. per Brittannia for Hull, and arrived on the 18th [October 1856], at nine o’clock a. m., after an agreeable sail, though somewhat rough. The same day we proceeded to Sheffield to attend Conference there on the 19th [October 1856]. Elder W. G. Young received us kindly. Elder James A. Little and several other American brethren were present, and much of the Spirit was enjoyed. The congregations were large, and a good feeling prevailed. Next day, the 20th [October 1856], we had a Priesthood meeting, and a social party in the evening, which was a time of rejoicing to all present. On the 21st [October 1856] we came to Liverpool, and were glad to meet you and the rest of our brethren, and to find all well in health and spirits.
We cannot close this communication without expressing our many obligations to President H. C. Haight, for his kindness to us during our visit to Scandinavia; and in connexion with him it would be invidious not to name Elders Widerborg, Liljenquist, and all the Presidents of Conferences and Saints with whom it was our happy privilege to associate, all of whom manifested the most intense desire for our welfare while we were among them. The Saints there are a good people, full of faith, and of the Spirit of God. The work is in a prosperous state, and in a very healthy condition. That it may roll on until every honest soul throughout all Scandinavia is gathered out of Babylon, is the prayer of your fellow-labourers in the Gospel,
Ezra T. Benson,