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´╗┐Title: Anthon L. Skanchy - A Brief Autobiographical Sketch of the Missionary Labors - of a Valiant Soldier for Christ
Author: Skanchy, Anthon L.
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Anthon L. Skanchy - A Brief Autobiographical Sketch of the Missionary Labors - of a Valiant Soldier for Christ" ***

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[Image captioned "BISHOP ANTHON L. SKANCHY.
Born, Trondhjem, Norway, Sept. 17, 1839; died Logan, Utah,
April 19, 1914."]

Anthon L. Skanchy

A Brief Autobiographical Sketch of
the Missionary Labors of a
Valiant Soldier for

Translated and Edited


I. Early Years

II. I Accept the Gospel

III. I Go on My First Mission

IV. Missionary Labors in Nordland and Finmarken

V. Again Before the Courts

VI. How I Spent the Winter in Nordland

VII. The Lord Sends Me Money and More Friends

VIII. I Am Released from My First Mission

IX. I Labor in Aalesund

X. I Preside in Christiania

XI. The Land of Zion

XII. My Third Mission

XIII. My Fourth Mission

XIV. Quiet Years of Home Service

XV. My Fifth Mission

XVI. The Last Word

XVII. The Sixth Mission

XVIII. The End of the Journey


The missionary labors of the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints would form a most interesting chapter in the history
of human endeavor. Every experience seems to have fallen to the lot of
"Mormon" missionaries, who have labored under every clime and among
all classes and races of people. Taken, by a sudden call, from the
home, workshop, field, store or office, they have gone out at their own
expense, with no special training in speaking or argument, to teach to
all the world a system of eternal truth, against which mighty forces
have ever been arrayed. The third generation of this volunteer army is
now carrying the gospel over the face of the earth, and the vigor of
the work is unabated.

The plain, unstudied sketch herewith presented of a few of the
missionary experiences of an elder who spent a third of his long,
mature life in foreign missionary service can be duplicated by hundreds
of the missionaries of the Church. Simple and straightforward these
sketches are; yet, between the lines, may be read every human emotion,
from the highest exaltation of spirit to the darkest despair. It would
be well if many such missionary lives could be published for the
encouragement of all who desire to battle fearlessly for righteousness.

Bishop Anthon L. Skanchy died on April 19, 1914, after a lingering
illness of several years. In the midst of the pain of this sickness
he wrote these sketches, chiefly of his early mission when he had the
privilege of opening the gospel door in the beautifully majestic land
of the midnight sun, and of bringing hundreds into the Church. He wrote
in his mother tongue, which he loved so well. The eloquent directness,
as well as the severe repression of feeling, characteristic of the
northern people, are on every page.

A few weeks before his death. Bishop Skanchy entrusted his manuscript
to me, to do with it as I might see fit. He hoped that, somehow, his
experiences might strengthen the testimonies of others. The missionary
instinct was strong within him. I have rendered it freely into English,
and, while in so doing it has lost its peculiarly eloquent flavor, I
hope it has not wholly lost its power for good. I should greatly love
to fulfil the wish of the noble author of these sketches, who was the
instrument in the hands of God of bringing to the family to which I
belong, and to me, the priceless gift of an understanding of the gospel.

That thousands of such strong men as was Anthon L. Skanchy could and
do find a life's satisfaction in the gospel, in spite of the hardships
and contempt they must endure, is a strong testimony of the inherent
vitality of the message of the Prophet Joseph Smith.


Anthon L. Skanchy

A Brief Autobiographical Sketch of the Missionary Labors of a Valiant
Soldier for Christ


If any of my friends should interest themselves in reading parts of
my life's history, of my missions especially in the northern parts of
Norway, they may do so in this short report, and they may depend upon
it that what is here written is the truth.


I, Anthon L. Skanchy was born in Trondhjem, Norway, September 17, 1839,
the seventh child of Elling Lornsen Skanchy and Mina Ansjon. My father
was a sea-faring man, well known, and much sought after as a pilot in
northern Norway. He, as many other sea-faring men of that day, became
addicted to strong drink, and consequently, though he earned well,
there was poverty in the home. My dear mother was compelled to work
both day and night to keep the children, who numbered seven in all.

From the time I was eight years old, I had to work and earn something
for the family. My boyhood was spent by the water, where the great
fjord comes in from the ocean. The shore was low and level, and great
sand-spits ran out into the water. There the water ebbed and flowed
every six and one half hours, through a distance of eight or ten feet.
When the water was low, we could go out to the sand-spits into the
fjord, and there I used to fish with one hundred hooks on my line,
baited with sand worms. The line was left on the sand, with the end
secured, and after fifteen hours, the water again was low and the lines
lay in the dry sand with the fish that had been caught by the hooks.
The fish thus caught furnished some means to the support of the family.
As I grew a little older I was employed by a fisherman, who owned his
own boat, and with him learned how to fish. I also worked between times
in the rope factory, where I later became apprenticed and learned the
trade well.

The school naturally was neglected, and I was there only once in a
while. When I was thirteen years old I began, however, to see the
necessity of taking proper hold of my schooling, and determined to use
my whole time in the attempt to win back what I had lost. My mother
could not earn all the necessaries of life for me and herself, and
during this period I learned to know the gnawings of hunger and the
effects of hunger upon my system. A young school boy as I was could not
grow and develop without proper and sufficient food. Those days I can
never forget. My mother had a little house of three rooms, built on
rented ground. In a little garden around the house she raised potatoes
with which to pay the larger part of the rent on the land. Because of
broken health and the weakness of my aged father, he had been compelled
to quit the sea-faring life, and had journeyed to his oldest son who
lived far up in Nordland. There my father resided until his death.

I gave all my time to schooling during three years. I was determined to
win back what I had lost, and my interest was centered on the school,
and as a result I made good progress. Among other things I was taught
the Lutheran religion, and we had regular lessons in the history of
the Bible, and explanations of the events and doctrines found in both
the Old and the New Testaments. These books on Bible history we were
obliged to learn by heart, and I learned my lessons well. This became
a good foundation for me in the practice and preaching of my dear
religion of the future and, through this knowledge of the Bible, I
learned to understand a little of the Lord's dealings with the children
of men, which became a great blessing and relief to me in the mission
field and at home.

After three years of school work I was confirmed, with a very good
grade, in the Lutheran church. I had worked now and then in the
rope walks and had become greatly interested in this work. I then
apprenticed myself to a rope factory, the owner of which was T. H.
Berg. I was permitted to remain at home with my mother, and received
about $1.12 a week for my support in return for my service. This
was pretty good, and occasionally I earned something extra between
times. As I remained at home it was possible for me to have a little
more liberty than I would have had, had I remained with the other
apprentices in the household of the master.

Since I had now left the school, in which I had been so intensely
interested, I became possessed of a kind of melancholy which led me
to seek the Lord and to study religion more closely. I went for help
to the Lutheran priest who had confirmed me, and he loaned me several
books on religion and other books containing much useful information,
in which I interested myself for some time. Nevertheless, I found no
satisfaction as a result of my reading; in fact, I hardly knew what I
was reading.

One Sunday, in the summer of 1860, I went to the church located a short
distance beyond the city. A little valley lies by the side of the main
road. I went into this valley, under some trees, and bent upon my knees
and prayed to the Lord with a loud voice. Immediately came a moment of
great exaltation, but followed quickly by a voice which spoke to me in
a contemptuous tone:

"What is wrong with you? What do you want? You come here and bend upon
your knees as a child; you, who have learned your profession so well;
you, who have so many friends, and have so much honor and respect! Are
you not ashamed?"

Under the influence of this voice I began to feel almost ashamed of
myself, and of what I was doing. Presently, however, I broke through
the mist, and was given power to rebuke the evil spirits and to compel
them to draw back. Then a great joy rested upon my soul. I prayed for
light. From that time on, I felt as free as a bird in the air.

In the fall of 1860, I finished my apprenticeship. In accordance
with the contract, I received my last year's pay, $14; a suit of new
black clothes; new shoes; a silk velvet hat of the best kind, and, in
the evening, a splendid dinner. It was customary at the end of the
apprenticeship to do a piece of work as a proof that the business had
been thoroughly learned. I was required to make a long rope, used by
ships in measuring the number of knots traveled per hour. I made such a
rope, and it was accepted as very good by the shipping committee. After
my apprenticeship was over I was offered work in the same factory, but
with the difference that I was to receive the pay of a master workman.
In those days there was great traffic in rope, because wire cables had
not yet been introduced, and there was much building and travel of
ships in the city of Trondhjem.


My uncle Cornelius and his wife, who owned a house in the city, a
short time before had been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, by the brothers Dorius, who were the first
missionaries in the northern part of Norway. I visited this aunt and
presented her with a clothes line which I had made. My aunt was a well
spoken lady, very fervent in her faith, and she immediately began to
bombard me with "Mormonism." In fact, she lent me a lot of tracts
and Scandinavian _Stars_ for me to read. These I began to read, and
compared what I read with the Bible.

I had my own room in our home and spent all my spare time in the study
of the Bible and the "Mormon" books. I soon borrowed more gospel
literature and studied it, with the Bible, both day and night, and
prayed to God for aid and guidance in the investigation. The testimony
that I had the truth came to me more strongly, until, as it were, I
became transformed both in body and spirit through the saving message
of the gospel.

In those days, many kinds of spirits made themselves known, but this
had no influence upon me, for I had seen even the evil one in the days
that I attended school. This may sound peculiar, but I have, in truth,
seen with my material, eyes, evil spirits in different appearances, and
under such varying conditions that I am absolutely convinced of their
existence among us. Both good and evil spirits are among us even here
in the valleys of the mountains. I am ever grateful to the Lord that
he has permitted me to see and hear such things, as they have been of
great use to me in my life's journey. When I investigated the gospel
I established an unspeakable faith in the apostle's counsel that the
Saints should seek after spiritual gifts. I have the same faith and
conviction today.

I reflected much upon the message that had come to me, without saying
much to any one. There was a missionary in Trondhjem, Thomasen, by
name, from Christiania, a well informed and talented man; also another
named John Dahle, from Bergen. These missionaries conducted meetings
among the Saints, but I did not visit their meetings, for I was very
retiring in my disposition. Meanwhile my oldest sister, Mrs. Martha
Hagen, had investigated the gospel and was baptized. Shortly afterward
I also became so strongly convinced of the truth of "Mormonism" that
I went to Elder Thomasen and asked to be baptized. In the evening of
the 16th of January, 1861, I was baptized at Trondhjem, under a most
pleasant influence.

After my baptism, I presented myself at one of the meetings of the
Saints. It was the first time that I had attended. Some of the faithful
old sisters doubted my sincerity, since I had not before attended
their meetings; moreover, it was looked upon as a wonder that a young
man, like myself, could face the persecution sure to follow the
acceptance of a religion so despised as was "Mormonism." At that time
there were few young men in the Church. It was soon proposed that I be
ordained an elder. I felt, however, that I was not possessed of the
power and information to receive so high a calling, and I asked that
the ordination be postponed for some time. In a later meeting it was
suggested again that I should be ordained to the priesthood, and I was
then ordained an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. Immediately afterwards I was called to assist the missionaries.

Trondhjem, at that time, was notoriously the headquarters of "Mormon"
persecution. The authorities had gone to the extreme. They had arrested
and severely punished some of our sisters because they had left the
legal church of the land and had accepted "Mormonism," and had been
baptized into this new Church. Among the sisters so punished were Marit
Greslie and Mrs. Olsen, two sisters who later came to Logan and were
married to respectable men; also Lena Christensen who later came to
Salt Lake City. These sisters were imprisoned and sentenced to five
days' imprisonment with a diet of only bread and water. I was also
called to the court house at the trial and had to answer many questions
put to me by the chief of police. Several of the questions were of such
a nature that I did not feel under any obligation to answer them, which
did not bring the chief into the best of humor. As a result, the police
chief promised me that he should not forget me. He was very bitter in
his feelings towards the Saints.

"Mormonism" from that time on, became my guiding star. With great
interest I accepted the call to help in bearing testimony of the
truthfulness of the gospel, and in visiting the Saints in the city
and its surroundings. All this time I continued my work in the rope
factory, owned by Mr. Berg, under whom I served my apprenticeship. He
was a religious man, a dissenter who had some time before left the
Lutheran church and now belonged to a local sect. While my master and
I walked up and down the rope walk together spinning hemp, "Mormonism"
became the theme of the day, during weeks and months. By this time I
had acquired many of the principles of the gospel as taught in the
tracts of Orson Pratt and Parley P. Pratt, and I was enabled thereby to
continue day after day our interesting discussion.

After I had joined the Church, since it was very difficult to rent
a house where meetings could be held, the missionaries secured the
largest room in my mother's house. The missionaries lived there, and
conducted their meetings there for several years. Many times the house
was bombarded by mobs, and my mother had to go and talk to the people
in order to disperse them. After a year or so, the persecution quieted
somewhat and life became more peaceful. The missionaries had, as it
were, a home with my mother, and many enjoyable meetings were held in
my mother's house.

After a time my mother also made herself acquainted with the gospel,
and developed a faith in it, but was not baptized. On many occasions,
during the persecutions, she went out in her garden and preached
"Mormonism" to the restless crowd of people standing in the street and
around the house. She was well acquainted with the Bible, and at once,
when an editor was present in the crowd, he wrote down the principles
that she declared to the crowd, and printed them in his paper as the
remarkable speech of an old woman. She had a good singing voice and
went often to the houses of our neighbors where she sang songs from our
hymn book. The missionaries remained in my mother's house, and loved
her, during many years, even after I returned from my first mission to
Nordland and Finmarken in the northern part of Norway.

Several were baptized at Trondhjem. Several changes occurred among the
missionaries, and at one time we were in charge of a local elder, who
gave us good counsel and guidance. Later we received as our missionary,
Hans A. Hansen from Christiansand, who was sent to Trondhjem to care
for the new branch there. This man later became my counselor in the
bishopric of the sixth ward of Logan.

I secured frequently at this time leave of absence from the factory
for a week or two at a time, in order to accompany the missionaries on
their visits to the surrounding districts, such as Stordalen, Indhered,
Seldo, Borseskogen. In this manner I learned to know something of
the different conditions that a "Mormon" elder has to meet. Often,
though he had money, we could not secure the privilege of buying
food, or a place in which to sleep, simply because we were "Mormons."
Nevertheless, we were of good faith, though we were many times utterly
exhausted by the long distances that we had to cover on foot, without
proper food. These experiences were of a kind to give us greater
preparation for our important work as messengers carrying the glad
tidings of the gospel to the people. We felt much interested in our
labors, especially since we had the joy of seeing some of the fruits of
them. Thus passed the first two years of my membership in the Church.


Early in the spring of 1863 I was called to be present at the
conference to be held in Christiania. I resigned, immediately, my
place in the rope factory. According to law, six weeks' notice had to
be given when a person resigned from steady employment; but if I was
to reach the conference on time, I had to leave at once, for at that
time there was no railroad between Christiania and Trondhjem. I was,
therefore, obliged to tell the owner of the factory that I had to leave
in one week. This was a hard nut for him to crack, especially since he
had the law on his side. I told him that I was going to the conference,
law or no law, and that I was going to be there on time. He finally
gave in to my request, and even offered to meet me in the morning of
my departure to bid me goodbye, and promised to send an apprentice to
carry my satchel to the city limits.

On the morning of my departure, the master came, according to his
agreement, and brought with him an old school teacher, connected with
the church, as I supposed for the purpose of driving "Mormonism" out
of me. Their plan did not materialize; our discussions were carried on
in a friendly way, and at last they bade me goodbye, and gave me their
best wishes for my future. The apprentice came and carried my satchel
through the city. Thus I left my native city, to begin the many years
of missionary service.

A Swedish rope-maker was also on his way to Christiania, and we,
therefore, traveled together. We traveled on foot, along the country
roads, the 350 miles that separate Trondhjem from Christiania. This
was early in the month of March. The roads were difficult to travel
for there was much snow. Moreover, neither of us knew the conditions
and short cuts of the roads. We had snow shoes along with us, which
made our journey more rapid in places where they could be used. On we
traveled, day after day; along the valleys, over the hills, now in
heavy drifted snow, now where the road was bare from the heavy winds.

In the course of our journey, we finally had to climb Dovre mountain,
the highest divide in Norway. The mountain side was covered with
drifted snow, and it was exceedingly difficult to walk there. One
evening we reached the station known as Grievestuen, the first station
north of Dovre mountain, and spent the night there on nearly the
highest point of the mountain. This is far above the tree line, and
no dwelling houses are found so far up on the mountain. The next day
we crossed the mountain, for the first time for me, though it was not
to be my last. That day we undertook, as usual, almost too much of a
day's journey, for we traveled almost fourteen miles through the heavy
drifted snow, to the second station from the one in which we had spent
the night. Darkness overtook us. The road was filled with drifted
snow, and in our worn-out condition we were in danger of giving up and
remaining in the snow throughout the night. I had in my pocket a small
bottle of camphor drops of which we took a drop now and then. This
seemed to help us, and at length, we reached the station.

The next morning we walked ten or twelve miles downward into the
beautiful and well-known Guldbrands Valley. Some days later we reached
the beautiful city of Lillehammer, which lies at the end of the great
lake of Mjosen. Ships here take passengers to Eidsvold; but, when we
arrived, the lake was still covered with ice and we had to continue
our foot journey twenty-eight miles farther. At last we reached the
town of Gjevig, where we journeyed by ship to Eidsvold, the railroad
terminus, where we boarded the train immediately, and found ourselves
in Christiania the same day. The long walk was ended.

On the evening of my arrival, the conference began, in the large hall
in Storgaden. Elder Rasmus Johansen was president, and the brothers
Dorius were also there. I felt like one who has just escaped from a
prison--glad and happy. We had a good time together. Nearly all of the
missionaries and our local elders were there. During this conference I
was called to go to Nordland on a mission, and I received my commission
from President Rasmus Johansen. I suppose few of those present knew
anything about Nordland at that time.

Soon after the conference, I began, alone, my long tramp of 350 miles,
northward, to my native city of Trondhjem. On the return journey,
however, I took a somewhat different route, through Osterdalen. On
this trip, also, I had to walk across a great mountain and as I was
not acquainted with the conditions, it was night before I came down
from the mountain, into the nearest village. The people had all gone to
bed. I knocked on the door of one of the houses. "Who is there?" asked
someone. "A stranger who has come over the mountain," said I. "No, he
can get no entertainment here," said a woman, briskly. "Hold on," said
a man. "A man who has walked over the mountain alone at this time of
night needs rest. I have been out myself and know what it means." He
dressed himself, opened the door, put good food on the table, made my
bed, and said, "Help yourself." This man was one of the many who has
secured, for himself, a reward.

This certificate, issued in 1863, bears the endorsement of different
police officers, under date of Nov. 2, 1863; June 10, 1864; and May 24,

I came finally to the city of Roros, where many of my family lived,
and to whom I bore my testimony. At last I reached Trondhjem where I
secured work again in the rope factory, and where I worked during two
weeks, in order to earn enough to buy a steamer ticket to the place
assigned to me for my missionary labors. At that time, the missionaries
were sent out without purse or scrip, and depended entirely upon the
promises of the Lord.


The 27th of May, 1863, I took passage with the steamship _Prince
Gustaf_, and with God's mercy of eternal salvation before me, I bade
my dear mother goodbye. With joy in my heart I went out to carry the
message of the everlasting covenant, to preach the gospel and to battle
for the cause of truth.

The first island I visited was Degoe. It lies off Helgeland. There
I bore my testimony to the people, and distributed books and tracts
wherever I went. I then traveled to Harstad, from there to Qvarfjorden
where there was a family who belonged to the Church, and then along
Kadsfjorden where there also was a family belonging to the Church.

Then came numerous long visits among the many deep fjords and sounds
of which Nordland mainly consists, and upon the islands, most of which
are thickly peopled. I traveled by boat, sailship or steamship, as
opportunity offered. I tramped from island to island, over mountains
and valleys, visited houses and fishing districts, and had opportunity
to bear my testimony before many people. I visited nearly all of the
inhabited islands, fjords and sounds in Nordland. There I met many
kinds of people,--priests and school teachers, and many people well
versed in the Bible. The people in Nordland seemed to me to be better
posted on the Bible than in any other place in Norway. The few Saints
whom I found scattered on the different islands were visited, but,
soon after I reached there, two families who belonged to the Church
emigrated to Zion, namely Pollov Israelsen, and Peter Hartvigsen. My
greatest interest and joy was my mission work; this I can truthfully

Nordland begins several miles north of Trondhjem, where the Atlantic
ocean crowds in and follows the Norwegian coastline northward and
washes the old steep rocks of the shore, until the famous North Cape is
reached, a few miles from the widely known city of Hammerfest. Hundreds
of tourists from various nations visit this place every summer. Here
they may see the midnight sun circle around the horizon, through two
long months of summer. After we leave North Cape the coast line draws
north-east and east to south, until the great Atlantic ocean surrounds
Norway's northern, barren and fjord-furrowed coast. This part of Norway
is called Finmarken. The country is here very barren. No vegetation,
excepting grass, is found, and the population, chiefly Finns and Lapps,
live on the mountains and care for their great herds of reindeer, or,
they live on the islands and fish from season to season. Fishing, as is
well known, is the life-blood of Norway's industrial existence. I give
these facts because this great mission field is little known, even now,
in our Church history.

I was called to go on a mission to Nordland, which includes many cities
such as Namsos, Bodo, Harstad, and Tromso. The last mentioned city
lies 875 miles north of Trondhjem, and Vardo, the most distant of the
cities lies 1,400 miles north of Trondhjem. This vast territory was,
therefore, my mission field. In this field only ten souls belonged to
the Church at the time I came there. These few had been baptized by
Elder Ola Orstend who was the captain of a trading ship, and who later
became postmaster in Cottonwood, Utah.

The people in that part of the land did not always deem it proper
for me to preach "Mormonism" and to administer the ordinances of
the Church. Consequently, during the time I spent in that country,
I was arrested seven times, carried over land and sea in boats and
steamers as a prisoner, tried in various places, and was sentenced
to imprisonment six times. The first time I was given six days
imprisonment with only bread and water for food. This was in the city
of Tromso. In the prison I had to mingle with thieves and murderers.
I was assigned a little room in the attic with a tiny window in the
east, and a hard bed hanging by hinges on the wall so that it might be
dropped down when it was to be used and lifted again when not in use,
so that there would be some room for me in which to move about. A tiny
table and a tiny bench constituted the furniture. I had a small piece
of sour, coarse bread, and all the water I desired, every twenty-four
hours. The cause of my sentence was illegal religious activity.

When I had earned my freedom, and was let out of the prison, I began
again to bear my testimony among the people and to distribute books and
to hold meetings, and to baptize those who were converted to the saving

The tracts that I distributed found their way to many of the honest in
heart. I heard at one time of a man far away in Finmarken who desired
much to see and speak with an elder. He had read something in some of
our books that had reached him. I had then just come out of the prison
in Tromso. I bought a ticket on a steamer to a station known as Hasvig,
on the east side of the great island of Soro. He who desired to meet
an elder of the Church lived in Ofjorden, west of the island, nearly
thirty-five miles away, over great mountains and morasses. Since I had
never been in this place, I wondered if I could find my way to it. The
only road was that made by the goats as they traveled back and forth
between the watering and feeding places. The steamship was to arrive in
Hasvig at two o'clock in the morning. It was the 16th day of September.
I was the only deck passenger on the ship. As the night went on I
became very anxious about the manner of my reaching my destination,
and when all was quiet on board I went forward on the ship, bowed
before the Lord and prayed to him, in whose service I was traveling,
to guide my footsteps and to care for me on this particular task. I
became surrounded by a great light and a voice said to me, "Be of good
courage. You are not alone. Whatever is necessary will be given you." I
cannot describe how happy I felt.

At two o'clock in the morning the steamboat whistled and we stopped at
the station of Hasvig. There was no landing place there at that time,
so the postmaster came out with a boat to deliver and receive the mail.
I was the only passenger he brought away. He asked me where I came from
and where I was going. I told him and he invited me immediately to go
with him to his office. He said, "My housekeeper has always a cup of
coffee ready for me when I am up at night to get the mail." Afterwards
he went down with me to the shore and took me to a freight boat which
was about to travel up the fjord the way I was going. The postmaster
asked those in the boat to take me with them as far as they went, and
told me it was best for me to begin my foot journey at the place the
boat would stop. I continued with the boat to Sorvar, which we reached
at ten o'clock the next forenoon. Great fishing districts are located
there. I had been up all night, and I was very tired. A fisherman whom
I met asked me to go with him to his place and he would make some
coffee for me, for he understood that I was tired.

As my strength returned to me I began to bear my testimony to them.
After an hour's time, one of the many who had gathered to listen to
me, invited me to go with him to his house for dinner, after which he
took a boat and rowed me across the sound. On this journey our time
was occupied in explaining questions which he directed to me. He was
very much interested. After we crossed the sound he hired a boat and we
rowed up to the head of the fjord. Here we found shelter for the night
with a family of Laps. When they heard where I was going, one of the
Lap women said she knew the road well and offered to go with me and to
show me the road over the mountains, about seven miles.

We reached Ofjorden, my destination, early in the afternoon and was
welcomed by the man who had desired to see a "Mormon" elder. This man,
for some time, had held a position similar to that of probate judge,
but had resigned his position and was now living quietly and was being
cared for by a housekeeper. It was peculiar that the man who had heard
me speak on the island, and who had rowed me across the sound, had
followed me the whole distance. I held a meeting with them and spoke
to them the whole day of my arrival and the day after. My friend the
fisherman returned, at last. The day afterward I baptized the old
probate judge; later his housekeeper was baptized, and at last the Lap
woman who had acted as my guide over the mountain was baptized. When
this had been accomplished the Lap woman guided me back straight over
the mountain, to Hasvig where I had left the steamship early in the
night just a week previously. The vision that I had had on the deck of
the ship that night had been literally fulfilled. Everything that was
necessary had been given me. I felt very grateful to the Lord for his
fatherly care and guidance during the week.

Afterward I visited the huts of the Laps on the shore and slept one
night with them. They received me with much kindness, invited me to eat
with them and desired much to listen to what I had to tell them. I held
a meeting with them and sang for them. They all felt well, as did I


I had a sister five years older than myself who was not in the Church,
but was a private teacher in the family of Mr. Miller, a merchant in
Kovaaen, about one hundred seventy-five miles south of Tromso. Mrs.
Miller was slightly related to the Skanchys. At one time I had been
kept in prison in Tromso during twenty-one days, waiting for a session
of the court at which I could be tried. At last I was sent by steamship
to Kovaaen, where a court was to be held.

We left Tromso about ten o'clock in the evening. There were many
passengers on board, especially on the deck. It was one of the mild,
beautiful summer nights of Nordland. The steward who had my ticket and
was supposed to take care of me desired to have a little fun with the
"Mormon" preacher, but apparently he made a wrong calculation, for when
he attacked me with improper words, I talked back to him so loudly that
the captain on the bridge came running down to the steward and took
him by the coat collar and put him under arrest, saying that he had no
right to make life disagreeable for a prisoner. The steward remained
under deck as a prisoner during the whole day.

At once, as a result of this episode, I was surrounded by all the
passengers on the deck, and as I stood on one side of the deck the
little ship began to tip. The captain very politely asked me to stand
in the middle of the deck. I felt then that I had a good opportunity
to preach and to answer the questions that might be put to me. The
people again gathered about me, and I stood there and defended the
cause of truth from twelve o'clock at night until five o'clock in the
morning. At that time a lady of the first class came to me and offered
me something to eat. This food strengthened my body. Thus, in my life's
experience, I have been occupied a whole night in battling for the
cause of truth. On this occasion I felt that I was not alone, but that
I was powerfully supported by the Lord and his influence.

At seven o'clock in the morning we reached our destination, and two of
the civil authorities came on board. They both greeted me, as I had
long been acquainted with them. At eight o'clock we reached the place
where the court was to be held. The courthouse was on a little hill
rising abruptly from the fjord. Mr. Nordrum, the court clerk, and his
deputy went at once into the house which was occupied as a dwelling
house, and where the family were eating breakfast. Mr. Nordrum was a
liberal-minded man and he said to Mrs. Miller, "Have you a comfortable
room that we can have, as we have a prisoner along with us?"

"What?" said the lady, "a nice room for a prisoner?"

"Yes," he answered. "It is no ordinary prisoner. It is the 'Mormon'
preacher, Skanchy."

My sister, who was standing by the table, heard this and almost
fainted. She left the table and went weeping down to the shore where I
was standing, threw her arms about my neck, kissed me, and cried again.
All this was done to the great surprise of my fellow passenger, the
lady who so kindly gave me a bite to eat earlier in the morning. This
lady soon heard that I was her brother. This also brought tears from
the lady, who said, "I would give a great deal if I had such a brother,
for he has been on the battlefield all night and has won a victory."

All this occurred on Sunday morning. I was given a good breakfast in a
large, well-furnished room in the building. The court clerk came to my
room, greeted me in a friendly way, and told me that my hearing should
be the first one so that I could be released early.

At eight o'clock Monday morning, I was called into the court room
where I was examined concerning my great crime against the Norwegian
law, namely, that I had freely preached the doctrines of the Bible and
performed the ordinances of the gospel which should be done only by
the Lutheran priests who were paid for so doing. The court clerk, Mr.
Nordrum, of whom I have spoken, felt well towards the "Mormons" and
treated them with much respect, but he was obliged, of course, to do
his work in accordance with the laws of the land. The only judges who
were after us were those who wanted to make a reputation for themselves
by persecuting the "Mormons."

This bitter trial was similar to the many others to which I had been
subjected. Upon the request of the court, I bore a long testimony to
the truthfulness of "Mormonism," all of which was written down in the
records of the court. All of it was read to me again, so that I might
correct it, if I so desired, before it became a permanent part of the
court records. I thought this was not so bad, as my testimony had been
written into the official records each time that I had been before the
courts. As a result a great deal of "Mormonism" stands recorded in the
official records of northern Norway, as a testimony against the unjust
persecutions to which the servants of the Lord have been subjected.

My case now went to a superior officer for his consideration, and I was
set free until such time as he might pronounce judgment upon me. The
day after, the clerk of the court, Mr. Nordrum, offered to take me on
my journey with him, in a large row boat which belonged to the city.
It would be at least a week before the steamer arrived. The boat had
four men as rowers. The clerk and I sat at the back of the boat on a
comfortable bench, and during the eight hours of the trip discussed
the gospel. We came during the day to a large island which was densely
populated and there, in accordance with my wishes, I was set on land.
On this island I took up my work with much satisfaction, and continued
it from island to island.

I will say here again that my mission work was of greatest interest
and joy to me. When I saw the fruits of my work, as I took the honest
in heart to the water's edge and there baptized them, I felt that it
was the most glorious work any mortal could perform. No sacrifice
seemed too great, for I felt as if my whole system was swallowed up in

The experiences which I won by my work in Nordland, the long journeys
by land and water, the sacrifices and the suffering I had to endure,
such as hunger and loss of sleep, will always remain in my memory,
and they were no doubt for my good. I learned on this mission great
lessons, and the Lord be praised therefor.


I continued my work until late into the fall and early winter, as
long as I could find the people at home. When winter opened, most of
the able-bodied men voyaged to the fishing districts and worked there
throughout the winter. Especially did the fishermen gather in the
famous fisheries of Lofoten, where thousands of men and boats assembled
each winter while the women, children and the aged remained home on the
islands. At that season so much snow falls that it is almost impossible
to travel from place to place.

I was in considerable distress, for I hardly knew what a poor
missionary could do during the winter to perform his duties and to
measure up to the responsibilities that had been placed upon him and be
true to his call. This great problem filled my thoughts. I presented
the matter to Him in whose service I had been called. The result was
that I obtained the testimony that I should go wherever I could find
people and work with them just as far as I could. Consequently, I
started out for the fisheries where the men gathered for the winter.

First I went to the island of Hatsel, and from there to a place near
Lofoten, in the midst of the wild ocean, and hired out to one of the
fishermen, the owner of a large boat. There were six of us in the boat,
and during the winter we fished with all our strength in the great
Atlantic Ocean. An old house stood on the shore, at a point known as
Qualnes, in which the fishermen lived during the fishing season. Twelve
men, six from our boat and six from another, lived in the large, one
room of the cabin. Here we cooked and slept; but it went pretty well.

As I was quick, strong, and endured the sea without becoming sick, I
felt that I never needed to take a place inferior to any of the other
men. My associates were raw, uncultured seamen. I thought to myself,
"Here is something for me to do." I went out among the great rocks
that littered the coast and had my prayers and communions with the
Lord. Soon I acquired influence over the men and began to teach them to
refrain from their fearful swearing and cursing, which they continued
from morning until evening. They all knew that I was a "Mormon"
preacher. Our captain was the first to stop swearing; then the others,
and finally they developed a very great respect for me. Whatever I
said, they accepted as being right. In the end they developed such a
love for me that when the fishing season was ended, and I bade them
farewell, tears came into their eyes. This was the first winter of my
first mission, and the first winter that I spent as a fisherman on the
wild ocean.

From the fisheries I sailed to the island of Hatsel where my winter's
captain lived, and visited for a short time with him and his family. I
received my $34 for the winter's work, and went joyfully on my way, to
continue my mission over the country.


The second summer of my mission was used chiefly in preaching to the
fishermen. I traveled from island to island, from shore to shore, over
mountains and valleys, and I won numerous friends. Many were baptized
and more were left with a testimony. I was arrested, of course, and on
one occasion was given eight days' solitary confinement with only bread
and water to eat. In the fall my means had all been consumed, and the
snow water ran in and out of my boots. I succeeded in borrowing about
five dollars from a friend, who was not in the Church, and that put me
in tip-top shape again. On my journey I secured many subscribers for
the _Scandinavian Star_, which also helped to spread the gospel.

The second winter came, and I received a letter from Captain Christian
Hansen, with whom I had labored the preceding winter, asking me to
report at his home the first of January, 1865. It was about the middle
of December that one of the brethren who took a boat and rowed me
into Gosfjorden, whence I could walk over a mountain, about fourteen
miles, until I would be opposite the island which was my destination.
The country here was very wild and open, and had great chasms running
through it. It was very easy for a person to become hopelessly lost in
a maze of wonderful natural phenomena. I bade my good brother goodbye
by the ocean side; he gave me explicit instructions for my guidance.
I was to go in a straight line southward, and I would reach my
destination. As much snow lay on the ground, I took a pair of skis and
carried my clothes and books in a satchel on my back.

Within five minutes after starting, the air became filled with snow,
so that I could not discover which was south or north. To go back was
impossible, for no one lived by the fjord; the boat had gone back,
and I stood alone in the solitary, mountainous wilderness. However,
this did not frighten me, for I felt that I was directed by the Lord.
I turned about to get the direction I had taken in the beginning, and
then sighted ahead, as best I could, in the same direction to some bush
or other natural object. This I repeated, over and over again, and in
that fashion I traveled the whole fourteen miles in the midst of a
terrific snow-storm. The snow was so soft that my skis sank down in it
until I was in the snow almost up to my knees, and I could hardly see
the end of my skis, as I brought them out of the snow. Naturally, my
progress was slow.

Night came and darkness overtook me, but for me there was light,
nevertheless. At nine o'clock that night I reached the shore. It was
joy to take the skis from my feet and walk on the sand among the great
rocks. I saw a house on the shore about a mile away. I went in there
and asked for lodging. I was so overcome by weakness from the hard
journey of the day that I could scarcely speak. The man in the house,
however, understood what troubled me, and placed me in a chair by the
warm stove; then he took my boots from off my feet, and brought me from
the cellar a bowl of home-made malt beer. After I had become warmed, he
asked me to sit up to the table and eat. I did this in a great hurry.

This poor fisherman's home was the only house on this side of the
island. After I had eaten, the wife made the beds. She put clean sheets
and pillow slips over a good straw mattress covered with an old boat
sail in the corner of the one room in the house. After prayers, it
seemed that they knew who I was. I was then made to sleep in their own
bed, while they slept on the straw bed made in the corner.

The next morning we had a modest breakfast, and the man rowed me across
the sound to the next island, and would not take the slightest pay
for what he had done. I then walked across this island and found a
man to ferry me across the next sound. For this service the ferryman
demanded twenty-five cents. This was the last money that I had. I gave
him the money and he set me ashore on a sand ridge that jutted out
from the island into the water. He immediately rowed back to his own
island. There I stood, alone, penniless and in a strange place. With
a heavy heart I gathered up my satchel and my coat and looked around
for my directions. There, as I looked, by my side and on the sand, lay
a little pile of money in silver and copper coins, totaling nearly a
dollar. I was so affected by this unexpected relief that I sat down on
a stone and wept for gratitude.

I wondered how this money had been left, and came to the conclusion
that some fishermen had probably been selling fish among the
neighboring islands and had placed the money that they received, as is
very common, in the bailing dipper of the boat; on their way back they
had forgotten that the money was in the bailing dipper, and in bailing
out the boat had thrown the money accidentally on the sand-ridge on
which I had landed. However, it had happened. It was another testimony
to me that there is One high above us, who sees and knows all things.
He knew, no doubt, that I had paid out my last money, and therefore
guided my boat so that I landed where this money had been lost. I was
grateful to the Lord.

I continued my journey from island to island, and at last reached the
island of Hasel, where I was received warmly by Captain Christian
Hansen and his wife. This time he offered me a much better position in
the fishery than I had the previous winter. I was to be with him during
January, February and March. He was to furnish the fishing apparatus
and my provisions, and we were to divide equally the products of my
labor. I agreed to this and we sailed away.

We lived this winter also in the old log house, and all went fairly
well. When the fishing season was ended, and the account was to be
settled, I found that my share was about fifty dollars. I paid my debts
and continued my journeys again.


At last I came to the town Vardo in Finmarken, the most distant city in
my field, where I remained a few weeks. While there I went out on the
ocean and fished. Instead of nets, hooks and lines were used. The whole
ocean was so filled with fish that it seemed as if it were a great pot
in which fish were boiled. It was a common experience that heavily
weighted fish lines could not get past the mass of fish.

On this trip I was arrested for preaching the gospel of Christ and
brought by steamer to the city of Hammerfest, where sentence was
pronounced on me; and from there, in another steamer to Tromso where I
spent ten days in prison on a diet of bread and water. I learned many
things from these seasons of imprisonment. I was a young man, healthy
and strong, accustomed to moving quickly in my work, and I found that
this diet of bread and water did not agree with me; especially as I
was given a tiny piece of sour, heavy, dry, coarse bread, about the
size of half of my hand, every twenty-four hours. As the days went by
in prison, I must confess that I became very hungry and that it caused
sleeplessness. I was able to sleep about two hours each night, and
would awake weak and tired. I dreamed usually that I was feasting on
an abundance of things to eat and drink and then would suddenly awake
hungry and weak, dizziness and headache overmastering me. I lay on my
hard bed hoping for the arrival of day because I could then divert
my thoughts a little better. These seasons of imprisonment tired me
severely. None can fully understand it unless he has experienced it
himself. It brought to my mind the words of the Prophet Isaiah, "It
shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold, he eateth; but
he waketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth,
and behold, he drinketh, but he waketh, and, behold, he is faint, and
his soul has appetite: So shall the multitude of the nations be that
fight against Mount Zion." I thought to myself that he who spoke those
words had undoubtedly had experience in it.

During the month of July, in 1865, the third summer of my labors in
Nordland, I received my release from this mission, from Elder George
M. Brown, who then presided over the Norway conference. I wrote to
all the Saints in Nordland's branch to meet in the historical place
Bjarkoe at a stated time. All of the Saints came to the meeting, as
also strangers. My sister in the flesh, Amelia, came there, also, and
was baptized. We partook of the sacrament together, and for three or
four days we had a most enjoyable time. At last, then, I bade farewell
to my brethren, sisters and friends, and to Nordland with its many
islands, fjords and great and beautiful mountains, forming a landscape
so brilliantly equipped that it does not stand second to any that I
have seen. The impressions which became stamped upon my mind during
my mission up among the people of northern Norway, in the days of my
youth, will never, I believe, leave me, for one might learn more up
there than can be learned in a university.

Before I leave this extensive and valuable mission field, I will add my
modest judgment of this great and beautiful country, with fjords and
sounds, islands and high mountains covered with leafy trees, reaching
down to the shore, with the background of high cliffs and barren
mountains, covered with patches of trees and moss, where the Laps watch
their great herds grazing in the small mountain valleys. All about,
are every kind of feathered life, representing the birds of the ocean,
among which the eider duck is a prominent feature. It seems as if
Nature has here made attempt after attempt to invite wealth and beauty
to the children of men. Three months throughout the year the midnight
sun shines; the great ocean teems with measureless wealth of food for
man. Wherever one turns there is something attractive to behold. Not
only is the eye pleased, but the spiritual intelligence is touched
as well. To me it was as if, in this rugged nature, a new world of
inspiration and introspection came from God, who from the beginning had
organized the whole land. No wonder that thousands visit summer after
summer this land of the midnight sun, this wonderland.

I took passage homeward in a steamer under Capt. J. S. Green, a friend
of mine, and a member of the Church. I was very grateful to the Lord
for his fatherly care and protection over me during my honest labors
both on land and sea; and though I felt myself a very humble and
imperfect messenger of the great and noble work, I also felt that the
Lord was satisfied with my work, and that the honor belonged to him. At
last I reached Trondhjem and had the joy to greet my dear mother again,
together with my brethren, sisters and friends. I remained a few days
with the missionaries, who still roomed in my mother's house, and held
several meetings. Then I bade my mother farewell again, and began my
long walk to Christiania, and again had the opportunity of walking over
the Dovre mountain alone. I reached Christiania in due season, about
two and a half years after I set out on my mission.



I was retained as a missionary, but was now at liberty to go wherever
I wanted. I said goodbye, and journeyed on to Guldbrands valley where
I thought there would be a good field for work, as the whole valley is
thickly populated. From there I went to Roms valley and at last reached
Aalesund. In this city I found a sister whom I had baptized in Nordland
and who was now married to Mr. Myre, a bookkeeper. As I was the first
elder who had visited this town, I was greatly persecuted by the
minister, Mr. Buck, and by the police who were on my track every day.
Nevertheless, I won friends there and after a time baptized Mr. Myre.

Just at this time Elder Christian Folkman, and the Saints who were in
Trondhjem, invited me to spend the Christmas season there, and sent me
traveling money so that I could buy my steamship ticket. I was in my
native city by Christmas and had a most interesting time.

Early in January, I returned by steamer to Aalesund, to continue my
work. When I arrived I had only twelve cents, which was just enough
to pay the man who rowed me from the steamship and placed me on land
in the city. I secured lodgings in the house of a master shoemaker,
Nielsen, who owned a large three-story house. The police chief soon
came and ordered me to leave the city, but when I told him I was paying
for my support, and that I knew something about the Norwegian law and
his authority, and that it did not extend so far as to drive me out
of the city, he left me alone, but commanded his force to keep a very
close watch over me.


Then came the priest of the city, the Mr. Buck formerly mentioned, in
company with one of the local merchants, and gave me considerable more
such information, that if I conducted any meetings, the doors of the
prison were ready to close behind me. A few days afterward I went to
call on the priest, but he saw me come and instructed his housekeeper
to tell me that he was not at home. When I asked if the pastor was at
home, she said, "No, he is away." As I knew that he was at home at
that time, I warned the lady she should not tell an untruth to one of
the Lord's servants. She took my words to heart and told her folks
what had happened. It so happened that this lady was of very prominent
parents, and they immediately took their daughter home. Two days later,
one of the merchants greeted me, and told me that this story of the
pastor's untruthfulness had spread over the city to the shame of the
pastor himself. Sometime after I had left Aalesund, I heard that this
minister, Mr. Buck, had hung himself, for what reason I did not learn.

Then came the superior priest of the district and pressed upon my
landlord that he must drive me out of the house, and not give home or
habitation to false prophets. Mr. Nielsen, who had learned something
of the gospel, bore testimony in my behalf, and then everything went
wrong. I was not present, but the two must have had a serious time

In a few days came a letter from the superior priest to Mr. Nielsen
insisting that as Nielsen was a respected man in the community, in
order to maintain his good name he must not any longer give me lodging.
Mr. Nielsen was now in a tight place, and he presented the matter to
me. He did not want to turn me out, yet he desired to favor the chief
priest of the district. In fact, so overcome was he that he cried. An
evening or two later he received another letter from the pastor which
was even more insistent.

The morning after the receipt of the second letter, I placed the whole
matter before the Lord, and received my inspiration that if I would
call on the priest he would acknowledge the correctness of every
principle that I might present to him. Filled with joy, I walked to
his home some two miles beyond the edge of the city. I was courteously
invited into the office of the great man. We had first a conversation
concerning the Bible: then, concerning the relation of "Mormonism" to
Biblical doctrines. Questions were directed to me, and I replied in the
spirit of truth that was present; and he acknowledged the correctness
of every principle that I advocated. For two hours we were together in
friendly conversation. The battle was won; and from that time on he
was especially kind and helpful to our missionaries who followed me.
The same day Mr. Nielsen was informed by letter from the priest that
he could give me lodging as long as he liked, and the priest further
stated that he had had a conversation with Mr. Skanchy which convinced
him that he had been mistaken in his opposition, but excused himself
by saying that it was the duty of his profession to oppose those who
believed in any other religion than that supported by the state.

Even after this, I had a pretty hard time in Aalesund; but after
several members had been brought into the Church the work became
somewhat easier. Among others who were baptized at this time was Mrs.
Soneva Torgesen, the wife of a friendly ship captain. This woman was a
true daughter of Israel, and did much good. She had two small children
whom I blessed. The boy was instructed by his mother and is a faithful
elder in the Church today.

In the spring of 1867, at a conference held in Christiania, C. C. A.
Christensen, who had arrived from Utah, was assigned to preside in
Norway. I bade farewell to Aalesund and began my journey up the valley
of the Roms, over Dovre mountain again, and then down Guldbrands valley
until I reached the little town of Lillehammer, where we had a sister
in the gospel, Ellen Buckwald, who was employed in the household of
a Mr. Revers, a friend of our people. To this house the elders were
invited whenever they came to the city, and were treated there in the
very best manner. I had many conversations concerning the gospel with
this educated man. The family did not want to part with Ellen, for she
taught the children of the household "Mormonism," and used to pray,
even, for Brigham Young as a leader of Israel.

I finally again came to Christiania, and in the conference then held
was released from my second mission by the outgoing president.


Elder C. C. A. Christensen then took over the guidance of the Saints in
Norway. I was called to act as the president of the Christiania branch
which at that time had about 600 members. Upon the receipt of this
call I felt my unworthiness in a very great degree. There were many in
the congregation who had accepted the gospel long before I had, many
of them older and more intelligent men and women, but I prayed to my
God for wisdom and intelligence to be able to guide this great body
of people. These prayers were heard and the Lord blessed me mightily.
I gained the love and respect of the Saints and with the fatherly
guidance of our respected President, C. C. A. Christensen, I got along
very well. Many persons were converted and baptized into the Church
both in Christiania and throughout the branches in the country as a
result of the visits of President Christensen to the different branches
and the meetings he held everywhere with the people.

As the children of the Saints in Christiania were often persecuted in
school by the other children, because their parents were "Mormons," I
decided to try to stop this unnecessary and improper persecution. I
went to the chief of police, one of our friends, and counseled with
him as to what we would best do. He advised us to petition the school
board, the chairman of which was Bishop Arup, for the privilege of
establishing a school of our own, and he suggested further that we
secure a number of well known names to this petition and offered to be
the first to sign it. We delivered this petition to the bishop who was
a very courteous man. After a couple of weeks the petition was granted,
on the condition that an officer of the school board should inspect
the school once a year to make sure that we were giving the right
training and maintaining proper discipline. Moreover, in our school,
the children should not be obliged to study the state religion or the
history of the Bible. We thought this a very great concession.

I was then appointed to take charge of this school, with Sister
Christina Osterbeck as assistant. The children were each to pay a
little, as they could obtain the means, for the expense of books,
and other supplies. This was a fairly successful experiment. The
officers of the school board also seemed satisfied with our work. I
was permitted occasionally to make mission journeys into the district
surrounding Christiania. Some of these journeys, taken in the winter,
were very difficult.

In the summer of 1867, I was sent to visit the town of Kongsberg and
Numme valley, where I had been before. From the city of Drammen, the
road leads through a great forest, and then over a high mountain.
When I reached the top of the mountain the sun was setting in the
west behind me, and the shadow of the mountain was thrown miles and
miles over the forest below the mountain and covered the whole city of
Kongsberg. The magnificent beauty and vastness of this sunset from the
mountain top worked upon my feelings and I sought a place under a small
hill where, with enthusiasm in my heart, I kneeled before the Lord
and opened my heart to him. I prayed especially that he would lead my
footsteps, guide me on my way, and help me find a place to stay that
night, for I had only a few cents left. At the close of my prayers, it
seemed to me that I was surrounded by a holy influence.

I then began my descent of the mountain. It was already dark when I
crossed the bridge over the river that flows near the city. Where was I
to go? The houses of the city are built very near to each other. When
I reached the first block, I turned to the right and walked around
it. Then I crossed the street and began on the next block. At last,
I thought, "Here is the place where I would better go in and knock."
But the answer of the Spirit was immediately "No." I continued to
walk to the right around the blocks and after a while I thought, "Now
I will knock on the next door." But again the voice whispered, "No."
I continued circling the blocks until I reached the eighth block. As
I approached the middle of this block a voice whispered to me, "Here
you are to enter." I knocked on the door, and a hearty, "Come in" was
the answer. I stepped into the room and saw a man and his wife sitting
by a table, playing dominos. I noticed that they looked at each other
and smiled. "Can I obtain lodging here tonight?" I said. "Yes," said
the man and pointed to a door that led into a little bedroom, in which
were a table, a candlestick ready to be lighted, a bed, a wash bowl and
other furniture. The lady came in and lighted the candle and asked me
if I did not want something to eat. I was very hungry and could have
eaten a good hearty supper, but I told her, if she pleased, a little
bowl of bread and milk would be sufficient.

Next morning at six o'clock, I heard the man move about in the house.
As I learned later, he worked in the national rifle factory, and had
to be at work quite early in the morning. After he had gone, the lady
came into my room, placed a chair in front of the bed, and placed
upon it a tray with food. When she left, I got up and ate this light
breakfast with great appetite. At eight o'clock the man came back for
his breakfast, and I was called in and placed at the table. There was
a little pause. They looked at each other, and I asked if they would
permit me to bless the food. The man said, "That is what we are waiting
for." I blessed the food, and we began to eat. Then a very peculiar
conversation ensued. "You have not been here before?" "No." "Who
brought you here last night?" "No one." "Are you not a 'Mormon' elder?"
"Yes." "Did you notice anything when you came in here last night?"
"Yes." "What was it you noticed?" "I noticed that you looked at your
wife and smiled and she smiled back."

He then told me the story. Just before I knocked on the door, they
both heard distinctly a voice which said, "Here comes a servant of the
Lord, who desires lodging for the night. Take good care of him." He
continued, "The bed in which you slept last night has not been used
during the last six years. The last person before you who slept there
was a 'Mormon' elder to whom the room was rented out for a year. When
he left, most of the people he had baptized sold out and went to Utah.
No 'Mormon' has been here since."

I said to him, "I suppose then you know very well the teachings of

He said, "Yes; I believe that what is called 'Mormonism' is the message
from God above. I am not baptized, and if I should go with you alone
this evening to be baptized it would be known in the factory tomorrow,
for those in charge there call upon their god from morning till
evening, and he can reveal to those who pray to him just as our God
revealed to us who would knock on our door last night. Then I would
receive my 'walking papers' at once. Should I be baptized, and then
lose my position, my savings would possibly take me and my family to
Zion, but I have here at home an old father and mother who cannot help
themselves and I have not means enough to take them with me. Perhaps
my faith is not strong enough, or I should leave them in the hands of
the Lord, for he provides for us all, but I cannot bear the thought of
bidding them farewell and leaving them alone." These were his words.

I had a splendid mission journey through the Numme valley. I met many
good and honest people. As far as I know, no missionary has been there
since that day.



In the spring of 1868, through the help of President C. C. A.
Christensen, I succeeded in borrowing enough means to emigrate to Zion.
I had then been in the Church a little more than seven years, the first
two of which had been devoted in part, and the last five wholly, to
missionary service. I married at this time, Anna Christina Krogero, an
assistant in the mission office, who was a widow with four children.
After bidding farewell to the many Saints in Christiania, we traveled
to Copenhagen and thence to Liverpool, where we boarded the sailship,
_John Bright_, which has carried many of our people across the ocean.
After a voyage of six weeks, mostly in the face of a strong headwind,
we reached New York on the 15th of July, 1868, during a spell of very
warm weather. There were over 700 immigrants in our company.

We spent a few days in New York and were then sent westward by railway.
The terminus of the railway was Laramie, which left about 600 miles to
Salt Lake City. At Laramie there was a company from Utah with horses
and mules to conduct the immigrants onward. We were organized into
companies, with Hector C. Haight as captain, and we began our journey
over the plains along the banks of the Sweetwater.

We reached Salt Lake City the first week in September, 1868, after a
six weeks' march from Laramie over the dry and warm plains, immersed
in a cloud of dust from morning until night. The children and the weak
mothers were allowed to ride in the wagons; while all the men were
obliged to walk the whole distance in dust by day, and keep watch
against the Indians at night. We were pretty well supplied with meat,
flour, fruit and other food for our journey over the plains. When we
camped in the evening, we cooked our food, and made our bread. All went
fairly well.

At last we came to Emigration canyon, and had our first glimpse of
Salt Lake City. We were glad and grateful to our heavenly Father for
his fatherly care of us during our journey. On arriving at the Tithing
yard, in Salt Lake City, our captain was released. I pitched our little
tent and remained there during eleven days awaiting an opportunity to
go to Cache Valley where I had some Norwegian friends of earlier days.

That fall, the grasshoppers visited Cache Valley, and all the crops
were destroyed, so that there was not enough food to supply the needs
of the people. As I was responsible for a family I took my blanket on
my shoulder and walked over the mountains to Salt Lake Valley in search
of work that would bring me a little money with which to buy bread
stuff,--the greatest need of my family at the time. There was just then
a call for "Mormon" boys to go out and do section work on the Union
Pacific Railway. I worked at this until the October Conference at Salt
Lake City, which I felt I must attend. I was given free fare to Salt
Lake City, upon my promise to return, as the railroad company wanted
the "Mormons" to continue the work on the road. When the railroad was
laid to Corinne, Box Elder Co., we were laid off, and I went home to
Logan the following night.

I rented a small log house, in the Logan Fifth ward, and began to work
at once in the canyon, cutting timber. In this work I continued for
five years. I took out logs for the house of Apostle Ezra T. Benson, in
exchange for which I obtained the city lot on which I later built my
residence. I filled a contract to deliver to the Utah Northern Railroad
two thousand ties. Then I contracted to deliver to Brother Micklesen
the timber for the grist mill in Logan, now known as the Central Mills.
For this last contract I received six hundred pounds of flour. I also
contracted with Alexander Allen of Newton and received as pay twenty
gallons of molasses. I was now well off. I could have bread, with
molasses, and this, indeed, was my steady diet while I worked in the
mountains. Nevertheless, this work was very hard. Between times, I
helped in the hay harvest, and thus earned some wheat and, in fact, I
took hold of whatever work offered itself.

In the fall of 1873, we began to build the Logan tabernacle. Brother
Charles O. Card was called to act as the superintendent and he called
me to assist him. It was my special work to keep accounts and to
collect donations with which to pay the workmen. I measured and weighed
rocks, sand, and other materials of construction, brought in for the
building, and paid the workers in beef, vegetables, and the variety of
things donated. Many beeves were brought in as donations, so we tanned
the hides, and began to manufacture shoes. Thus came the Tabernacle
Shoe Shop and Meat Shop in one building, which we called, Our Meat
Market and Our Shoe Shop. I labored nearly six years in this capacity.
In 1879, I was ordained a High Priest and set apart as a member of the
Cache stake High Council.


In 1879, when the Logan tabernacle was completed, and we were at
work on the Logan temple, I was called, at the October conference,
to go on a mission to Scandinavia. I left Logan in November, 1879,
and reached Liverpool, December 12. We had a rough voyage across the
ocean. I was sent to Frederickstad, for a short time, then to my native
city, Trondhjem, in Norway. Elder Ellingsen, of Lehi, was there when
I arrived, but in a couple of months he was released to return to
his home. I then remained there alone to represent the gospel of the
everlasting covenant, but I harbored only gratitude to my heavenly
Father. I organized a choir, held meetings and preached the gospel with
all my might. Many were won to the truth. Those who did not enter the
Church, through baptism, are good friends to our people, and respect
"Mormonism" with its doctrines and principles of salvation. Among many
others, I had the honor to baptize, as a member of the Church, Anna
C. Widtsoe. Her son, John, I had the joy to baptize after the family
arrived in Utah. Our meeting place, at that time, was on what was known
as Mollenberg, in a house belonging to Johnson who later settled in

The branch over which I presided extended far into Northern Norway. I
went frequently to the northern city of Namsos, where I rented a hall
and had large meetings. Many were also brought into the Church in that
place. I made many friends in Namsos, and among the more influential,
a Mr. Salvesen. He belonged to the aristocracy of the city, but became
friendly to me and the cause I represented, until he even offered me
one of his large halls for our gatherings, in case the priest should
attempt to banish me. Mr. Salvesen, with his two sons, came to our
meetings. Once when the hall was crammed full, he stood up before the
congregation and testified to the truth of what I had said. So much to
his honor!

I went from house to house and offered books and writings. I did not
find much to eat, but I was well satisfied and when I sold a few books
I could buy myself a little bread before I returned to my little room.
And a little bread with fresh water tasted really good!

By the early spring, I had baptized, in Namsos, among others, Brother
Hassing and his family, who are yet living in Salt Lake City. Before
I left Namsos, I organized a Relief Society so that the good sisters
could conduct meetings when I left.

In the spring of 1880, I was called to attend the conference in
Christiania. After the conference, I tried to find some of the brethren
and sisters of Christiania whom I knew so well in earlier days. Some
I found, and many had moved away to the distant valleys of Norway. I
decided to find, if I could, the family of Gunder Johnson. To do this,
I was obliged, again, to walk the full length of southern Norway, over
the Dovre mountain and down Guldbrands valley and up and down other
valleys. I found at last Gunder Johnson with his family. I found that
they had had no opportunities for schooling, nor for meetings, for
several years, but they had our books and the _Scandinavian Star_,
which had been read and reread until the books were almost worn out.
They lived as the gospel demanded. I remained with these friends about
two weeks, held meetings, and baptized all who would embrace the
doctrines taught by me.

During this visit, in Guldbrands valley, I had very great success. The
whole community took sides with me, until the priest came and broke up
my crowded meetings, and warned the people against following teachers
of false doctrines! This priest, Mr. Halling, was well respected and
beloved of the people. He edited a magazine called _Rich and Poor_. He
was good to the poor. He lived only four miles from where I held my
meetings, and I stayed with a friend near his home.

One day I called on this minister to discuss things with him, but his
feelings were so bitter that he showed me the door several times, and
at last took my hat and cane and threw them out. As I left the house,
he spoke bitter, hard words to me. Half a year later I came there
again. The priest had then become the chairman of the county court. One
of his duties was to keep the country roads in good condition. This
brought him in quite close contact with the people who all worked on
the roads. I was told that on one occasion when he was supervising a
body of road workers, while they were all at lunch, one of the men,
a friend of mine, curious to know what the priest would say, said,
"I should like to know what became of that tramp 'Mormon' preacher
that we had here a half year ago." The priest immediately took up the
conversation and said, "That man was no tramp. We were both angry when
we left each other, but I would give much now if I could have that man
in conversation again." This was his testimony that day, before a large
gathering of people. I have now performed the endowment ordinances for
him in the temple, and I look upon him as a good man, although he did
all he could to work against me and my beloved religion.

When I had been in the mission field something over three years, I was
released. I reached my home in Logan late in the year, 1881.


Upon my return from my third mission, I was called, in 1882, to take
charge of a district of the Logan First ward, as Presiding priest.
After the Logan temple was dedicated, this district was made a ward,
and I was ordained to be bishop of the Logan Sixth ward, on June 6,
1884. The many duties pertaining to this calling occupied my time very
completely for several years.


On October 11, 1886, I left Logan for another mission to Scandinavia.
Upon my arrival in Copenhagen I was assigned to labor in Norway. I
acted first as a traveling elder, and in that capacity visited nearly
the whole of Norway. Later I presided, again, at Christiania. My
mission was filled with active labors, and I believe much good was

In the year, 1888, while I presided over the Christiania Conference,
many were baptized into the Church. Among them was Brother Koldstad
who afterwards became superintendent of the Christiania Sunday school.
His wife seemed to be against the gospel, but the Lord, who knows the
hearts of the children of men, made manifest to her when she humbled
herself in prayer, that "Mormonism" is a saving message sent by God
from the heavens. It came about in this manner.


My mission was nearly ended. I had been away more than three years, and
had been released to return home. I spent the last days before leaving
Christiania in bidding goodbye to the Saints. One evening I took the
train from the little village of Lien, where I had been visiting. That
evening there was to be an important council meeting in Christiania,
at which I was to transfer the presidency of the conference to Elder
O. H. Berg, of Provo, now bishop of the Provo Fourth ward. While the
cars were rapidly moving towards Christiania, I sat in one of the
compartments thinking of the business of the evening. Suddenly a voice
came to me, telling me to go out to Granlund, where Brother Koldstad
resided, for a woman there had fasted and prayed to the Lord that
Elder Skanchy might visit her, and she desired to accept the gospel in
which she had faith. In my simplicity, I believed the voice to be an
imagination of my soul, and for about five minutes tried to convince
myself that such was the case. I had very little time, because I had
to be in Christiania before our council meeting began, in order to get
things in order to deliver into new hands, and the place the voice
told me to go was in an opposite direction from the meetinghouse. I
felt that the Lord knew that my service was in his cause, and that the
council meeting was in his service. Soon, however, the message came
again, this time in a tremendous voice, that I must go to Koldstad's
home, for a woman there had fasted and prayed to the Lord that I might
come. The voice was so commanding that I arose to my feet, in the
car, and I threw my right arm into the air, and said, "Yes, Lord, I
will go." As soon as I reached the Christiania station, I proceeded
there. With Brother Koldstad I found Sister Koldstad. I told her that
I had received a message to meet there. I felt greatly touched by the
Spirit. She told me that she had fasted and prayed that I would come
to her home before I went away. She told me further that she believed
all that I had taught, and if I thought her worthy, she would like
to be baptized before I left Christiania. She was determined that I
should baptize her the day following. Thus the Lord dictates in his own
way to his children. This revelation from our heavenly Father was a
very great testimony to me, and may be pleasing to all who believe in
spiritual manifestations. Many years after, when we were all in Zion,
I called on Sister Anna C. Widtsoe and her sister Lina Gaarden, and we
visited Sister Koldstad in her home, Salt Lake City, during one of the
annual conferences. Sister Koldstad, then and there, explained to them
the manner of her conversion, and that I had come to her in answer to


From 1889, the time of his return from his fourth mission, to 1901,
when he went on his fifth mission. Bishop Skanchy remained in Logan,
Utah, in pursuit of his duties as Bishop of the Logan Sixth Ward. Under
his direction, the ward prospered; the poor were well cared for; and a
good spirit pervaded all the organizations of the ward.

During this period, also, the longest in his life without foreign
missionary service, Bishop Skanchy built up his material interests.
The lumber business which he had organized, flourished under his
care. Though he had sacrificed many years in spiritual service, they
were fully made up to him in a material way, during the periods that
he could give himself to his business interests. He was always a
good provider for his families,--they had comfortable homes, and the
comforts of the day. His personal gifts and charities to people in Utah
and in the old countries, have not been recorded, but they were large.
Bishop Skanchy loved the poor and afflicted, and to their relief he
gave unstintingly of his time, means and sympathy.


In 1901, I was called by Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, and
Joseph F. Smith to take charge of the Scandinavian Mission, which then
included Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. I was set apart in the Salt Lake
Temple, April 2, by President C. D. Fjeldsted, and I was especially
commissioned to buy and erect for the Church, mission houses in these
three Scandinavian countries. I presented to the First Presidency
the necessity of having C. D. Fjeldsted accompany me as he was well
acquainted with Denmark. This was permitted. We had a pleasant voyage
across the ocean.

In Copenhagen we bought the place where our mission house is now
erected. President Fjeldsted was called home again and I remained to
arrange the matter. I laid the foundation of the Copenhagen mission
house and dedicated the place together with the corner stone the 2nd of
March, 1901. The house itself was dedicated on the fourth of July, 1901.

The next mission house was built the year afterwards on the same ground
that the old mission house had stood on in Christiania. The old house
had been built of poor materials and was in a dangerous condition.
We therefore took it down and sold the material by auction. I then
contracted with architects and builders and the house was erected and
finally dedicated the 24th of July, 1902, after a great celebration.
The dedicatory prayer was offered by President Francis M. Lyman.

When these two countries had obtained their splendid houses, we
turned our attention to Sweden. I went to Stockholm but found great
difficulties confronting me there, since the Swedish law does not
permit strangers to buy building lots. We were obliged, therefore,
to secure agents to act for us. We bought, at last, a building lot
in a very public place, in an excellent district. There we built a
large four-story building, so arranged as to make it a worthy and most
beautiful place for presenting the gospel. Several smaller rooms in
the building can be rented out, thus providing a small income. This
mission house was dedicated the second of October, 1904, President
Heber J. Grant offering the dedicatory prayer. Thus, my mission time
was lengthened out so that I could remain until this house had been

That I had my hands full on this mission, I suppose everyone will
understand. My work appeared to be satisfactory to the Presidency of
the Church, and as for myself, I trusted that I could complete this
responsible work with satisfaction to my own soul. For the success that
was achieved I will continue to give gratitude to my Father in heaven.
I owe to him all the praise and honor.


At the time that we erected our mission houses in these countries,
we contracted with a stone cutter, by the name of Peterson, for an
assembly room and a room for the elders, in a dwelling house which he
was erecting in Frederickshavn, Denmark. We also bought a house in
Borups Street, in the city of Aarhus, Denmark, in which we constructed
a baptismal font. Elder Adam Peterson, who was on a mission at that
time, had great influence among the people of Aarhus, and won many
friends, which all helped.


While I had charge of the Scandinavian Mission, Sister Anna C. Widtsoe
and her sister Lina Gaarden, were called on a mission to Norway and
remained there for about four years. These two sisters traveled over
Norway, from the extreme north to the extreme south, and spared neither
time nor money in order to bring before the people the gospel. They won
honor and friends everywhere for the cause of truth. They bore a great
testimony to the world, which we hope will in time bear fruit.


Brother H. J. Christiansen was also called on a mission again, at this
time, and was chosen president over the conference in Copenhagen. He
was born there, acquainted with the conditions, and had the language
of Copenhagen under complete control. He gathered many friends for the
gospel cause.


I do not care to write more, as most of my friends are acquainted with
the work that has been done in the mission field. What I have done here
at home has gratified me; and the people here know my whole life. Now
I am on the sick list. I have forgotten to take care of myself in my
desire to care for others. The Lord be honored and praised from now
to eternity and forever. Amen. The Lord be merciful with us all and
forgive our weaknesses and imperfections.


After Bishop Skanchy had returned from his labors as President of the
Scandinavian mission, he entered again upon his duties in the bishopric
of the Logan Sixth Ward. He rallied the people to his support, and he
laid the cornerstone of a new ward chapel, one of the handsomest in the
Church. This house is now completed.

On January 23, 1910, after twenty-five years of service, Bishop Skanchy
was honorably released from his position as bishop of the Logan Sixth
ward. A little later he closed out such of his business interests as
required his daily active supervision.

On July 11, 1910, he went again to Norway, with his wife and younger
children, to spend some time in gathering genealogical information for
his temple work. This may be called his sixth mission, for he went with
the authority of a missionary, and did much good while away.

True to his love for the city of his birth, Trondhjem, he took with
him a large and expensive copy of Munkacsy's painting of Christ
before Pilate, executed by Dan Weggeland, of Salt Lake City, which
he presented to the branch, and which now adorns the meeting hall in

He returned to Zion, June 22, 1911; never again to leave it in the


Soon after Bishop Skanchy returned from his last trip to Norway, he
was seized with his last illness. The evil preyed steadily upon him,
but his strong body and iron constitution could not be broken at once.
It took years for the disease to undermine his strength and reach the
vital processes of his system.

During his long illness, he composed the sketch now presented. From
page to page it bears the marks of the physical sufferings which he
endured. Had he been in good health, he would have told more of the
marvelous experiences of his long missionary life. Perhaps, however, in
good health, he would not have undertaken the work at all.

While withdrawn from active life by this lingering illness, he also
reviewed his own poems, his favorite songs, and the word of God that he

Bishop Skanchy, like all who live in close communion with spiritual
things, was much of a poet; a lover of the fine arts, painting and
sculpture, and an ardent worshiper of all natural beauty. In his last
days, though filled with physical pain, he found the leisure for the
contemplation of the things of the spirit he loved so well, which he
had been denied in his active life.

Ever did his thoughts go back to the land of the midnight sun, in which
he was born; where the gospel message found him, and where, in the full
strength of his youth, he fought valiantly for the cause of truth, and
won hundreds, yea, thousands, to the cause of eternal truth.

On Sunday, April 19, 1914, in his 75th year, his spirit returned to
the God he had served so well. On the following Wednesday he was
buried from the beautiful chapel he had built. Many wept at his grave,
especially those who were poor in spirit or worldly goods, and whom
this noble man had loved and helped and raised up, and brought into the
glorious light of truth.


Transcriber's Note

This edition was based off scans available at Archive.org
(see https://archive.org/details/anthonlskanchybr00skan).
The Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University supplied
the scans to Archive.org; the original book was donated to the
library by Sidney Sperry; and it contained a dedication from
John A. Widtsoe, reproduced above. Any minor typographical errors
in the original have been silently corrected.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Anthon L. Skanchy - A Brief Autobiographical Sketch of the Missionary Labors - of a Valiant Soldier for Christ" ***

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