President and Sister Thomas S. Monson reminisced and reflected on family roots July 11, as they toured an exhibit documenting 350 years of contributions to American culture by Swedes, Swedish immigrants and Swedish Americans.
The exhibit is on display through Aug. 6 on Level B1 (just below the main level) at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The library is located at 35 N. West Temple.The traveling exhibit is part of the national Sweden '88 celebration that marks the 350th anniversary of the New Sweden colony at what today is Wilmington, Del.
Produced and distributed by the Swedish Council of America and the New Sweden '88 Swedish National Committee, the exhibit consists of 12 panels of information on the New Sweden colony, the immigration period and the present-day relationship between Sweden and America.
President Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances, attended a dinner with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm on March 24. (See April 2 Church News.) The dinner was hosted by U.S. Ambassador Gregory J. Newell, a Church member.
The dinner was a send-off for the exhibit's tour of America, President Monson said, adding that it was to go to large cities, such as Minneapolis, Minn.; New York City, N.Y.; and San Francisco, Calif. He expressed pleasure that Salt Lake City would be one of the stopping places for the exhibit.
Portions of the display triggered memories for the Monsons. A picture of a Dalarna horse reminded them that Sister Monson's father, Franz E. Johnson, came from Dalarna, Sweden. Her mother, Hildur B. Johnson, was from Eskilstuna.
"I'm not a pure-blooded Swede like my wife is," President Monson commented. "She's 100 percent."
Ironically, President Monson's grandfather, Nels Monson, a convert to the Church from Torham, Sweden, was hosted as a missionary in the home of Sister Monson's grandfather in Dalarna in 1897. President Monson said he had not known that until recently when he read an account of it in his grandfather's journal.
On one trip to Sweden, the Monsons visited that family home in Dalarna.
A picture on display of Swedish folk dancers reminded President Monson that Sister Monson and her friends used to perform Swedish dances at Lagoon, an amusement park near Salt Lake City, on Midsummer's Eve, a national holiday in Sweden.
As a General Authority, President Monson has been to Sweden many times. He recalled that he presided over the creation of Sweden's first stakes, in Stockholm and Goteborg. He also rededicated Sweden for the preaching of the gospel, broke ground for the Stockholm Sweden Temple and participated in the cornerstone ceremony and dedication of the temple.