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 Mor Becomes a Mormon


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Borghild Bergstedt Paulsen

My close association with the Church began early in the year 1910. My sister, Ingeborg, had come home from American in the summer of 1909 for a visit and then stayed home after my mother's death. One day she said to my father, "Oh, I wish I knew where I could go to church." My father said, "Well, I can tell you where to go." She asked where, and he said, "The Mormons." She said, "To the Mormon!' You can't mean that. If you knew what l have heard about the Mormons in America, you would never mention such a thing to one of your own children." He said, "I know every word you have heard and lots more, but I can tell you it's all lies, so if you'll go to the Mormon Church I will go with you." But no, she wasn't going to go. She couldn't find any other place to go, so finally she consented to go, and he went with her. She took her Bible along, although she knew practically the whole Bible, and when they quoted a scripture she looked it up to see if it was there and quoted right. One of the Elders talked about authority, and right then she knew what was lacking in the Lutheran church and in the one she had joined. So she talked with the Elders until one o'clock in the morning, and by this time she was converted. Then she asked me to go with her to the meetings. She didn't tell us when she was baptized (23rd March, 1910, her birthday).

Every Sunday she wanted me to go with her to church, and I promised I would, but each time I had too many friends who wanted me to do something else, and I didn't go. One day she pinned me right down, and I promised on my honor that I would go with her. Quite awhile before the meeting, my friends came and wanted me to go skiing. I told them I had promised my sister that I would go to church with her, but they said, "Go and ask her." I pleaded with her to let me go skiing, but she said, "No, you promised me that you would go with me, and now you are going." I finally persuaded her to let me go, and promised I would come home in time for the meeting. So we skied on some good hills for awhile. Then everyone decided we were going over to some other hills. We came to the fork in the road, and I had to make up my mind to either disappoint my sister or disappoint them, to go to the right with them or to go home. And all of a sudden I decided I am going to keep my promise to my sister, and I shot right by them and shouted, "I'm going home, I promised my sister." I went home and I went to the meeting.

At the meeting the people were so friendly and so nice -- I just loved it. Their preaching was just wonderful. It was all from the Bible (I was 14) the way we had learned it in school, and I thought everything was so nice and that I would want to come back. When the last Elder spoke, he mentioned Joseph Smith before he was through, and it made me just sick. I was so sick. I thought, "Oh why did he have to spoil it ... why did he have to mention that name." Can you imagine now, just a young girl and that was the feeling I had. I felt that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. If he just hadn't mentioned his name, I would have come back. But now I would never go back. But I just couldn't keep away. The next Sunday I went again.

At that time I had a job over in the city working in a store ... a bakery or pastry store. In the late summer of 1910, the lady who owned the store was going over to Germany on a vacation, so the three girls working there were asked to stay over night in the home which was connected with the store, in order that we could open in the morning when the delivery men came with the cream and supplies we needed. It was my turn to stay this particular Saturday night. In the meantime, my father had asked me, "Aren't you ready for baptism?" I said, "No, I guess not. I feel it is the true church, but I can't see baptism for the dead." He said, "That's something you don't have to worry about. All you have to worry about is baptism for yourself. If you do this, the other will come, and you will understand it." That Saturday night as I was staying alone up in the room on the third floor above the store, I knelt down and really prayed to my Heavenly Father and asked Him if it was the right Church, and if it was the right step for me to take to be baptized. Then I went to bed and went to sleep. After I had slept awhile, I dreamed that I heard steps out in a long hall, there wasn't any carpeting in the hall and I heard those steps and wondered who it could be. I knew I was alone in the house. As I listened I could tell by the steps they were my two younger sisters Dagne and Selma (nine and seven years old). There was a knock on the door, and I said, "Come in." Sure enough it was them. I said, "What in the world are you doing here -- out at this time of the night?" They said, "We just came to tell you to be baptized, because that is the only way to heaven." I said, "Why in the world did you come and tell me? Why didn't you tell Emma (a sister two years older than I)?" They said, "You don't have to worry about Emma. You have to worry about yourself, and the Lord will take care of her when her time comes. Just yourself." Then they left. When I woke up I knew my prayer had been answered. But even then I put it off for another month.

There were two other girls from the city of Kristiansand, about 50 miles south of us, who came to be baptized too. Two of the Elders came with them. I was baptized on September 4, 1910 by Elder James C. Johnson of Logan, Utah in a cove at the other end of the island by the North Sea. Elder Johnson later married my sister Ingeborg. Then we walked back to Cecilie Nielsen's home. She was the Relief Society President of the branch. There we were confirmed members of the Church. Hands were laid on our heads for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. When they were laid on me I have never felt anything like it. It can't be described. I felt like I wasn't even sitting on the chair but was way above the chair, as if I were sitting among angels. After that all fear and worry left me. I had been worrying about what would happen since I knew I would have to give up all my girl friends. I knew they wouldn't have anything to do with me when I had joined the Mormon Church. It had worried me some because they were such good friends, which are so important to a young girl. After my baptism I didn't worry for a second. I found my friends in the Church, and the activity there was all I needed.  I was 15 at 
this time. Although my old friends didn't look down on me, some of them were leaving the country for schooling. My two best friends left, Ingeborg Jensen went to Switzerland and Margaret Anderson went to Germany. I didn't miss them at all because my interest was now in the Church. We went to Relief Society, Sunday School, Sacrament meeting, and other outings which I enjoyed.After I joined the Church and was living over in the city, the branch was having an outing, and I asked to get off early to go withMor, her sister Ingeborg, and missionaries, Thanksgiving day, 1910

Mor (on right), her sister Ingeborg, and
 Missionaries - Thanksgiving Day, 1910
Click for larger view

 

them. It was decided they would leave the place where we lived at 4:00 o'clock and row around on the other side of the island. I got off on time, and the ferry boat came into the cove where I was to meet them. It was ten minutes to four and there wasn't any one there. I asked around where they were, and someone said they had left some time ago. I was disappointed. There was only one way for me to get there and that was to walk. There was a country road part way and then a walk through a forest to reach the other end of the island. As I entered the forest, there were some cows and a great big bull. I had on a large blue hat which I felt must have attracted the bull's attention. The bull looked at me and I looked at the bull. I've heard since that if I hadn't looked at him, he never would have chased me. I started to run, and the bull ran after me. There was only one house after I started to run, and I should have run in there (they were the ones who owned the bull) but I didn't. I thought I could out run the bull. I had to run over several rock fences. They had a step on both sides that you could step on, but I just jumped over them. If I had taken time to use the steps, he would have caught me. I ran, and he ran after me. I got to the end of the island. All the time I had thought that if I can just get to the end of the island, I'll jump in the ocean and I'll be safe. Just before I got there I suddenly thought, "Golly, I can't jump in the ocean. He can swim better than I can. He'll come out and get me." So when I got to the water I decided that if I ran to my left, there was a cliff on the other side of the cove which I could climb to safety. I was afraid I couldn't make it because I was out of breath ... but then I knew there was a little crevice about one-fourth of the way over. I though that if I could jump that crevice (I think it was about 6 feet wide) he will either fall down trying to jump it and break his neck, or by the time he runs around it I would be out of his reach up on the cliff. So I jumped across the crevice and ran the rest of the way until I got to the cliff. There I started to climb. There were little bushes I could get hold of and places I could put my feet in. By the time I turned around he was standing at the bottom and of course couldn't get me. I walked out along the cliff edge until it gradually went down to the ocean. There I sat, red-faced and exhausted when the group from the branch came. They asked me, "How did you get here?" This is the bull story that my grandson, Matthew, liked so much. I told it to him 13 times when I was staying there with the family when he was about 10 years old.

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