Restoration and Church History
The Finnish Mission

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The Finnish Mission

Following World War II, Church leaders in Sweden sought to renew missionary efforts in Finland. In May 1946, Karl Lagerborg and C. Fritz Johansson, who had ministered to Saints in Finland during the war, began preaching in Helsinki. In July, Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Finland and held a small dedicatory service in Larsmo, on land that belonged to one of the local Saints, Lena Sofia Renlund. There, Benson offered a prayer to rededicate the country for the preaching of the gospel. More missionaries arrived later that year, and the Church made plans to open a mission.

European Mission photograph albums 1946

Elder Ezra Taft Benson with members in Finland following the dedication of the country, 1946

In the fall of 1947, Church President George Albert Smith called Henry A. Matis, a Finnish-American Latter-day Saint, and his wife, Mae, to preside over the Finnish Mission. Henry and Mae Matis served for seven years in the Finnish Mission. Working closely with members, they established new Church programs, a mission periodical, and many additional branches of the Church. President Matis also worked with government authorities in 1948 to obtain official recognition for the Church, and he later obtained permission for the Church to microfilm genealogical records. As his service concluded in 1954, President Matis reported, “We have rejoiced that the Restored Gospel is so firmly rooted in the expression and lives of so many of our Heavenly Father’s children here.”