JONKOPING, Sweden Swedish Latter-day Saints are trying hard to bring the Church "out of obscurity."
Members of wards and branches are giving time and energy trying to find ways to get Swedes interested in the gospel. It is hard work with a lot of disappointment.
In Jonkoping Ward, Goteborg Sweden Stake, Bishop Stellan Edvard Hagman has announced two key words that will bring the people in Jonkoping to come and listen to the gospel message: invite and sacrifice. The members have responded to this request with enthusiasm and started to do their part.
Open houses, firesides, an Easter concert, service projects in the community, advertising in local newspapers, press releases to media and flyers are some of the tools this ward is using and will be doing this year.
At a recent fireside, Stockholm Sweden Temple President Arne Hedberg and his wife, Sister Gunnel Hedberg, were the guest speakers. They talked about the temple and how families can be together forever.
Sture and Erik Nilsson, brothers from Jonkoping Ward and Kungsbacka Ward, have put together a special Power Point presentation about "our religion and church." Every month, the public is invited to an open house at which this presentation will be shown.
More than 100 leaders of other churches, school teachers, community leaders and media representatives were invited to a special open house at the end of February. The purpose was to end false rumors, correct wrong information in school books, tell what the Church has to offer and to show the presentation. A lot of preparation was made, with prayers and fasting, but only five of the 100 invited guests came.
At first, ward members were very disappointed. But one of the five guests that evening was a school teacher, and he came the next month, when the same presentation was held, with his class of 25 students. Another teacher also showed up with his students. The ward members were happy to have 40 visitors that evening, quite a difference from the initial five.
"During the last two years, the students have been more interested in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," one of the teachers said. "There are always a lot of questions when it comes to your church." He invited the missionaries to come visit his class at school.
There is a feeling among Latter-day Saints here that with persistence, hard work and faith, they will eventually be able to share their belief and bring the Church "out of obscurity" in Sweden.