The Dream Seemed Meaningless
One morning my wife said to me, “I dreamed something very strange last night. Two young men told us about a different church, and we joined it. What do you think about that?” she asked hesitantly. We agreed that the dream seemed meaningless because we would never want to leave our own church.
The dream had long been forgotten when, nearly a year later, my wife greeted me after work saying, “Two young men were here today to tell me about their church.” I could see a trace of worry in her face.
“But we are going to stay with our church,” I responded confidently.
“Well,” she said, “they want to come back to talk with you.” I wasn’t happy that I would have to talk with them.
A few days later, I opened the door to see two young men. They introduced themselves as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the conversation that followed, they asked, “Do you believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth today?”
My wife and I had already considered this question while studying the Bible. We concluded that a true church would have to have all the doctrines Jesus taught. The churches we knew, including our own, were not complete. “A true church does not exist,” I said.
The missionaries said that the church they represented was organized the same way as the church at Christ’s time. They added that their church had continuing revelation from Jesus Christ.
I felt that the missionaries had been misled, and I told them, “I’m sure that just as our church has errors in its doctrine, so does yours. Someone has added, changed, or taken something away.” Again they testified that their church was Christ’s own church, organized with his authority and directed by him.
Soon after that, I told my mother about the missionaries. She gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon she had received long ago and said I could have it.
I began reading the Book of Mormon with a curious but negative attitude. As I read the first page, I thought angrily, “This was written by a man with a vivid imagination who knew the Bible well.” I read two more pages, slammed the book shut, threw it on the table, and exclaimed, “What a fake!”
During the missionaries’ next visit, I told them that I thought the Book of Mormon was a hoax. Undeterred, they easily handled the questions my wife and I had—then and in subsequent visits. I could find nothing wrong with what they taught us, but I could not accept the Book of Mormon.
However, the missionaries testified that I could know that the Book of Mormon was true if I followed the admonition of Moroni and sincerely sought for divine guidance. (See Moro. 10:4.) When I followed their counsel, I received a spiritual witness that I have never been able to fully describe. A realization that the Book of Mormon and the Church were true penetrated every part of my body and soul. Happily I exclaimed to my wife, “Margrit, Margrit, I know it is true!”
Margrit continued to seek her own witness, and within a few weeks she also knew the truth. We set our baptismal date.
On the day of our baptism, just as I was about to go into the water, I experienced the power of Satan more strongly than I had ever imagined possible. I wanted to run away and escape. For a moment my breathing stopped, and I thought my heart would also. I was tempted to give in, but I realized that I could never forgive myself if I denied the truth that I now knew. I fought against the evil influence with all my strength, and it left me as quickly as it had come. Knowing my decision was the right one, I entered the water with a calm assurance and a happy feeling in my heart.
A few days later, Margrit said, “Hans, can you still remember my dream?”
“What dream?” I asked.
“The one I had about the two young men who visited us. They told us about their church and we joined it. Remember?”
Memory of the forgotten dream returned. Joyfully we realized that the dream was a revelation of what was to come, and its memory was a confirmation of our testimonies. It was a dream that came true.
There’s Room in My Chart Bag
Delivering airplanes is an unusual job, and I sometimes end up in unusual places. This was the case when I left Recife, Brazil, in a small single-engine airplane bound for Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in Africa. Powerful, unforecast winds pushed my plane off course. Without any navigational aids except a compass, I was grateful when I finally made landfall. To my surprise, I found myself some eight hundred miles off course, near Banjul, Gambia.
Tired after my seventeen-hour-long journey, and since I had to leave early the next morning, I decided to spend the night at the airport in a small tent I carry for emergencies.
As soon as I began to set up the tent in the warm darkness of the African night, the duty electrician came out. “You may rest in my shop,” he said.
“No, I don’t want to interrupt your work,” I answered.
“But I am only on call and will probably sleep, too. Besides, there are the snakes.”
“Snakes don’t bother me,” I said. “They probably couldn’t get inside my tent, anyway.”
“Two nights ago,” he stated matter-of-factly, “a cobra spit in a man’s eyes. Now the man may be blind.”
At that, I rolled up my tent. He was delighted to have me as a guest and showed me a long desk where I could stretch out for the night. Satisfied that I was as comfortable as possible, he went off to attend to some duties, and I turned out the light.
After a few minutes, I realized I had forgotten to read my scriptures for the day. I got up, flipped on the light, and pulled my Book of Mormon out of my chart bag. I began to read from Third Nephi. I was deep in the story of the visitation of the risen Christ to the Nephites when my electrician friend came through the door. He saw me reading and apologized profusely for interrupting my prayers and meditation.
I was about to assure him that it was no interruption, but instead I blurted out, “Have you ever seen a Book of Mormon?” He replied that he had not. I found out that my new friend was part of the Christian minority in the Gambia and that he had studied the Bible fervently. It was a wonderful experience to share the words of the Savior from the Book of Mormon with him. I explained that the Book of Mormon is another sacred testament of Christ.
For over half an hour we talked, and I briefly covered Joseph Smith’s First Vision, a short history of the Church, and the significance of the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. My electrician friend was fascinated but had to return to his duties. Before he left, he urgently requested a copy of the Book of Mormon and some pamphlets. I copied down his address and promised I would send them to him.
I departed for Abidjan early the next morning without seeing him again. As soon as I arrived home I sent the requested material. Perhaps I will hear back from him, perhaps not. Either way, I have the satisfaction of knowing I have done a small part to help spread the gospel in a remote corner of the earth. Now, though my chart bag is chock-full of flight materials, I have reserved a sliver of space for pamphlets and a Book of Mormon. Next time a missionary opportunity arises, I will be ready.
A Thousand Copies of the Book
It was the summer of 1948 and, for the seventh time, my companion and I were visiting a house in Kolding, Denmark. Each time previously, a small lady with a cane had answered the door, accepted our tract, smiled, and slowly closed the door without saying a word.
We decided to try one last time to converse with her. Prepared for the usual rejection, we were surprised when her husband answered the door. His name was Marinus Mogensen. A friendly, inquisitive man, he asked many questions about the Mormons.
My companion, Elder Young, told him about the Book of Mormon, which caught his attention. We showed him a copy of the book and challenged him to read it. “I will be most happy to read your book,” Mr. Mogensen told us. “I read everything, and so why not read your Book of Mormon? Come back and visit me in two weeks, and I shall have the book read.”
Two weeks later Mr. Mogensen reported that he had read the first ninety-six pages and thought it was a wonderful book. “I have read each chapter several times, and that is why it has taken me so long,” he explained. “This book is more than a novel. This is the type of book that takes a lifetime to read.” He assured us that he would continue to read the Book of Mormon and told us to keep in touch with him.
A few weeks later, we saw Mr. Mogensen driving down the street in his car. He waved and indicated that he wanted to talk to us. As we approached the car, he opened the door and said in a loud voice, “Elders, the book is true, I know it is. I have just finished reading it. I want to buy one thousand copies from you.”
Elder Young and I were astonished. Mr. Mogensen explained that he had spent a lot of time studying the Book of Mormon and he knew by the Spirit that it was true. He wanted to share the great messages contained in the book with his fellow countrymen. He asked if we could make contact with the mission president to make the necessary arrangements.
The mission president was delighted, and the two met in order to arrange for the books to be delivered. Mr. Mogensen kept several copies of the Book of Mormon for his friends and family. He gave the rest to the missionaries to loan out to interested investigators. Many lives were blessed as a result.
Mr. Mogensen traveled throughout the mission field with the mission president, bearing his testimony of the Book of Mormon to all who would listen to him. After a few months of study and prayer, he asked to be baptized.
Later, Brother Mogensen told Elder Young and me that he had had a dream many years earlier in which a young man came to him and gave him a book to read. He read it and it gave him much happiness and joy. Looking at Elder Young, he said, “Elder Young, you are the man that I saw in my dream many years ago.”
“Where Are the Prophets?”
In October of 1986, I turned on the television and idly switched from channel to channel. General conference from the Church in Salt Lake City was on one station. I heard the speaker say, “And the gospel will be taken to the Gentiles of the earth.” That really struck me—I was of Jewish origin, and I had never been called a Gentile before. I listened intently as the speaker continued to say things that I not only felt I had heard before but that I had always believed.
When the speaker referred to a living prophet, my eyes filled with tears. All my life I had wondered, “Where are the prophets?” After listening intently to the conference broadcast for twenty-five or thirty minutes, I ran next door to share my excitement with my mother-in-law. She was shocked when I told her I had been watching the Mormon conference. I was shocked when she said, “You don’t want to listen to that.” Back at home, I turned on the television and watched the rest of the broadcast.
Afterwards, I was so excited that I wrote to my mother in Oklahoma to tell her that the Mormons had a prophet. Then I visited my friends, Will and Petrea Powell, who were members of the Church. My first question was, “How could that speaker call me a Gentile?” Luckily for me, Will and Petrea were both returned missionaries; they answered all of my questions. They also gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. By the time I finished reading First and Second Nephi, I knew the Book of Mormon was true. I read it from cover to cover in two weeks.
A few days later, I began the missionary discussions in Will and Petrea’s home with the full-time missionaries. During this time, I felt the Spirit of the Lord bear testimony to me of the truthfulness of the words the missionaries spoke, just as recorded in 2 Nephi 33:1: “For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” [2 Ne. 33:1] The doctrines I learned seemed familiar. I had believed in the principles of genealogy, family tradition, and unity all my life. However, what impressed me the most was that there was a living prophet on the earth today.
When the missionaries asked me if I was ready for baptism, I said, “Yes!” I was baptized on 8 February 1987 by my friend Will Powell. For me, a person with Jewish heritage, the news of a living prophet has made all the difference.