Family Group Sheet

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anne Mathea's Conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

This is the final history I have received from M. G., written about Anne Mathea (Matilda). It is the story of her conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was written by her granddaughter, Lula Kendall Williams. Lula and her two siblings--older brother, Theone and younger sister, Bertha, were the children of  Matilda's daughter, Ada. Ada and her husband, Joseph Bradford Kendall, Jr., died in 1917 and 1918 respectively and the children were then raised by their grandmother.
Here is a picture of the 4 of them. It was previously posted here.

Picture provided by and used by permission of D.R.

Here is the account, written by Lula:
     "A beautiful mental picture came to my mind as I tried to write this account of my grandmother's conversion to Mormonism.  Many times I heard her relate this experience, and every time it brought tears to her eyes and a lump in her throat, because she had that burning testimony within her bosom that told her the information and knowledge she received at the time is true; that this is the only true church; that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that he did receive divine revelation from our Heavenly Father.  I, too, feel touched by the account.  It has increased my testimony and made me want to live worthy of it's blessings.  I wish to show appreciation for the trials and hardships she encountered.
    "Way back in 1865, Latter Day Saint Missionaries were scarce in Norway.  Their districts were large, therefore, they could not hold meetings in these smaller branches more than twice a year.  Many weeks before the welcome visit, the news of their coming was broadcast far and near.  Thus it was that great-grandmother Olsen who was living in Nes Sogn Hedenmarkin decided to attend a cottage meeting and find out about this new religion.  A cousin of hers, who was a member, issued the invitation and created the desire for attendance.
     "The cottage meeting was held at Sister Petronella Anderson Briskeby's place. It was necessary for the journey to commence early in the morning in order to reach the appointed place in time for the services, which began at two o'clock in the afternoon.  Yes, walking was the only means of travel they had so we can easily account for the time spent on the road.  Grandmother Millard who was then eleven years old was then taken along as company for great-grandmother.
     "The services were similar to our Sunday evening meetings except for the fact that two elders Brother Jensen and Brother Peterson had charge of it and also were the principal speakers.  Each one in his turn gave wonderful sermons on the first principles of the gospel.  Grandmother sat spellbound throughout the entire meeting.  She said their testimonies thrilled her to the core; and she felt a tingling sensation go over her entire body.  She knew the elders were speaking words of wisdom and the truth.  Grandmother said the feeling she had was the same as when one hears a beautiful musical selection or sees a lovely painting or a gorgeous scene of nature.
     "When the meeting was over great-grandmother tarried some time to talk longer with the missionaries.  During the conversation great-grandmother purchased a Letter Day Saint hymn book from them but was afraid to let her husband know about it so she asked them to present it to grandmother as a gift.  Grandmother prized the book very dearly.  When she arrived home she was anxious to sing the new song she had learned, for her father and show him the lovely book the elders had given her.  Great-grandfather was very pleased with her singing and enjoyed reading the other hymns in the book.  That book did much to persuade great-grandfather to listen to Mormonism.
     "One year and one half elapsed before grandmother was baptised but during that time her testimony never wavered. On the contrary  she became more interested and studied more intensely.   Although she was but a child she could readily see that the Lutheran Church lacked much.  She compared Lutherianism to an unseasoned meal, while Mormonism was like a seasoned meal because it was so satisfying to the soul."

This account helps me understand a little better the deep feelings that members of the family had for this new found religion and the sacrifices they made to have it in their lives. How grateful I am, that they followed the promptings and adopted a whole new way of life!