Elders Eric Larsen and Darren Olson of the New Hampshire Manchester Mission can be found tracting homes located miles apart in central Vermont. This is not uncommon in this area, but this companionship is unique because the pair is serving in the town where Elder Larsen's third great-grandfather was born.
The town is Sharon, Vt., and the great-great-great-grandfather was the Prophet Joseph Smith.The towns of Sharon and South Royalton share the claim as birthplace of the Prophet because the original Smith home was situated on the line dividing the two towns. The Joseph Smith Memorial is near the home.
Elder Larsen, son of Dan and Lenore Larsen, was born in Ft. Worth, Texas, while his father was attending school. When Eric was six months old, the family moved to Independence, Mo., where Eric was raised. However, in August of 1987, 19-year-old Eric moved to Orem, Utah, and he began investigating the Church.
Missionaries gave Eric the discussions, and while reading the Book of Mormon and praying, he received a witness from the Holy Ghost that he should join the Church. He was baptized two months after arriving in Utah.
Eric was eager to share his newly discovered testimony, and spent the year after his baptism studying and preparing to serve as a full-time missionary. He entered the Missionary Training Center a year ago.
His first assignment was upper Maine and he loved the area, but he was thrilled when he received his next transfer. It was a dream come true. He was assigned to the Sharon area, a place where he had dreamed of serving since first receiving his mission call.
"I'm excited to be here, especially for Joseph Smith's birthday and also during the Christmas season."