John E. Forsgren was converted to the gospel in America and returned to preach in his native land of Sweden in 1850. The first baptism in Scandinavia was that of Peter Forsgren, John’s brother, on 26 July 1850. On 24 April 1853, a branch was organized in Skonaback, and other groups were soon established despite legal and extralegal persecution. In 1878 a Swedish translation of the Book of Mormon was published, and convert baptisms swelled noticeably in the late 1800s as restrictions relaxed. Nearly half of the Swedish converts emigrated to the Great Basin between 1852 and 1905, and significant numbers again left for America after World War II.
In 1905 the Swedish Mission was created from the Scandinavian Mission. Local Saints led the Church during both world wars and endured waves of official opposition before and after World War I. The missionary force increased noticeably after World War II, and building missionaries finished a meetinghouse in Gubbangen in 1961. The first stake was organized in Stockholm on 20 April 1975, eight months after the city hosted a Nordic area conference. On 2 July 1985, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated a temple outside Stockholm in Vasterhaninge, which served Scandinavia as well as much of Russia and the Baltic republics. As of the year 2000, Sweden was home to 4 stakes, 50 wards and branches, and 8,587 members of the Church.
[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 9,001,000; Members, 8,862; Stakes, 4; Wards, 24; Branches, 20; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, .1, or one in 1,021; Source: 2007 Church Almanac.]
Jenson, Andrew. History of the Scandinavian Mission. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1927.
Johansson, Carl-Erik. “History of the Swedish Mission 1905-1973.” Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1973.
Van Orden, Bruce. Building Zion: The Latter-day Saints in Europe. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996.
From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 1204-5. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.