LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley was in Copenhagen, Denmark, last week to participate in a cultural celebration with 3,650 Mormons and to dedicate a temple.
At a meeting in one of Copenhagen’s largest auditoriums, Hinckley held up two roses, saying the exquisite flowers needed roots to flourish and grow. He then praised members in Denmark, Sweden and Iceland who had come to hear him for their devotion and encouraged them to strengthen their roots and “do more missionary work,” said Niels Andersen, a church spokesman in Denmark.
The 94-year-old leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also honored “the great Danes of the past who have influenced the church today,” Andersen said.
Hinckley said, though, that as far as he knew he did not have a “drop of Scandinavian blood — just pure English.”
Mormon missionaries first arrived on the shores of Denmark in June 1850. A few months later, 15 people were baptized in the ocean. A year later, the Book of Mormon was translated into Danish. Many Danish converts decided to join the Mormons in Utah; by 1900, their numbers had reached 20,000. Today, nearly 10 percent of Utahns claim Danish ancestry, said LDS spokesman Dale Bills.
It was Hinckley’s first trip out of the United States since the death of his wife, Marjorie, on April 6.
“He mentioned his wife’s death, but he seemed strong and energetic,” Andersen said. “It touched our hearts when he talked about it.”