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TitleMarvelous Works and Wonders
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1974
AuthorsTyler, V. Lynn
Issue Number7
Date PublishedJuly 1974
KeywordsForeign Language Translation; Missionary Work

Tells of the first missionary movement that occurred in Scandinavia. It was there that the first non-English Book of Mormon was printed (Danish).


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Marvelous Works and Wonders

By V. Lynn Tyler

Scandinavia was one of the first European mission areas (entered in 1849), and the first mission opened after pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. Though later divided into missions of Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish Saints, it is the oldest non-English-speaking area of Latter-day Saint missionary work that has been in continuous operation in the world.

The first non-English Book of Mormon printed in this dispensation was in Danish—only a year after the Scandinavian Mission was opened. Two of the first four non-English printings of the Doctrine and Covenants were Scandinavian: the Danish (1852) and Swedish (1888) versions.

Only two Latter-day apostles have come from non-English-speaking homes, and both were Scandinavians: President Anthon H. Lund, first counselor to President Joseph F. Smith, born in Denmark, and Elder John A. Widtsoe, a member of the Council of the Twelve, born in Norway. (President Marion G. Romney was born in an English-speaking home in Mexico.)

By the end of 1974, over 185,000 missionaries will have been set apart for full-time missions in this dispensation.

Elder Erastus Snow was one of the first two men (with Orson Pratt) to enter the Salt Lake Valley as a Latter-day pioneer. He also opened the Scandinavian Mission in 1849.

Danish was the third language into which the Pearl of Great Price was translated (1883) and Swedish was the seventh (1927).

The first temple built in this dispensation for non-English language use was in quadlingual Switzerland, where German, French, Italian, and Romanish are the primary tongues. It serves the major language needs of the Church in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish, as well as English.

V. Lynn Tyler is associate director of the Brigham Young University Language Research Center and serves as first counselor in the Provo Utah Stake presidency.