MIRACULOUS HEALINGS CAUSE INTEREST IN SCANDINAVIA
"Hurrah for the prophet!" was the unexpected response as the men in the street waved their hats.
The indignant officer hurried his prisoner away from the sympathetic waterfront crowd. In the sanctuary of the city offices the young prisoner had ample opportunity to tell his story. He was successively examined by the chief of police, the passport officer, ministers of the state church and by the mayor.
He was, he told them, Swedish by birth, a native of Gefle where his father and family lived still. He had gone to sea while yet a boy and had heard a new religion preached in the American port of Boston. Convinced of its truth, he had joined the Church, forsaken the life of a sailor and had gone to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Ill.
With the Mormon Battalion he had marched across desert and mountain to California. He then joined the saints in Utah just in time to receive a call to carry the Gospel message to his native land.
Elder Forsgren had traveled to Denmark with Elder Erastus Snow of the Council of the Twelve, staying only a few days in Copenhagen before coming to Gefle.
With great power Elder Forsgren bore testimony to the truth of the Restored Gospel before the incredulous officials.
"He claims to heal the sick," cried one of his accusers.
Elder Forsgren readily admitted that he had laid hands upon his brother, Peter, who was known to have been an invalid for years. Peter was sent for in an effort to find grounds up which to prosecute the "Mormon imposter." But instsead of sickly cripple, Peter strode into the room unassisted and quite healthy.
He testified that he had been healed by the power of God. Not only this, he had been the first person in Gefle baptized by his brother. (Peter was, in fact, the first convert baptized in all of Scandinavia.)
Unable to prove any charge of fraud, the elder's opponents accused him of lunacy. He was examined by the doctor and pronounced mentally sound. Failing to find any basis for action against him, the officials sent him to Stockholm.
Once again Elder Forsgren was examined by numerous goverment officers. The process attracted wide notice in the press, and many people sought him out to hear more of his doctrine.
Concluding that the "Mormon" preacher was too dangerous to be allowed further freedom in Sweden, the government paid his passage and placed him on a ship bound for America.
Elder Forsgren, however, refused to be so easily dissuaded from his purpose. When the ship stopped at a Danish port, the captain allowed him to escape. He rejoined his companions in that country, laboring with them until there should arise another opportunity to reopen the work in Sweden.
The opportunity did come, and eventually the work of the Lord in Sweden grew to great proportions. Thousands of her finest people left their homes to build up Zion. Many others have stayed to maintain the branches and to make the Church a strong organization in the homeland.
There are now 2,500 members of the Church in Sweden. Approximately 100 missionaries continue the work begun there in 1850 by the intrepid Elder Forsgren.