Restoration and Church History
A Blessing to His Country

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A Blessing to His Country

When Loftur Jónsson returned to Iceland with his companion Magnús Bjarnasson to reopen missionary work there, Einar Eiriksson, a goldsmith living on the Westman Islands, invited them to his home to prove their teachings false. Einar later wrote, “I failed to do so but to my surprise they proved to me that I did not have true religion.” After meeting with the missionaries for almost a year, he was baptized in 1874. The day he was confirmed, Einar was ordained an elder and made the president of the Westman Islands branch of eight members.

Loftur and Magnús left Iceland the following month. Einar noted that the branch “was [left] in a weak condition, as we had none of the church works excepting the bible. However … the saints were united, and the power of God was made manifest by healings, and we had dreams and visions to strengthen our faith.”

Einar’s contributions to the Church in the Westman Islands were far reaching. He served not only as branch president for six years, but also as a district missionary, eventually baptizing 16 people, even though the local Lutheran minister “tried all he could to prevent the people from going to our Church.” When the minister insisted that the law required him to baptize Einar’s infant and two other children born to Church members, Einar resisted for six hours before the priest prevailed. A short time later, Einar successfully petitioned the government for the right of non-Lutherans to refuse infant baptism and to raise children in their own faith.

Although Einar emigrated in 1880, he returned five years later as a missionary. In 14 months he baptized and confirmed 25 people and helped 57 people immigrate to Utah. At age 65, he again served as a missionary in Iceland but was released early when the mission was closed in 1914 due to the onset of World War I.