Anthon H. Lund

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Anton H. Lund, former leader of the Mormon Church

Anthon Henrik Lund served as a First Counselor to two presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant.

He was born May 15, 1844, in Aalborg, Denmark. At the young age of three, Anthon’s mother passed away. He vividly remembered both the doctor’s visit prior to her passing, and then the day she was buried. Shortly after, his father was drafted into the Danish Army where he served for four years. Anthon lived with his grandmother for a time and was very happy there. When, as a young boy, he left with his father to live 35 miles away, he was devastated and pleaded to remain with his grandmother.

Anthon attended a private school as a young boy, and then the public school in Aalborg. He was a smart boy and a hard worker, advancing easily through the grades and even skipping the second grade entirely. Anthon was a good reader, and loved reading the Bible. His grandmother often requested that he read her passages in it and encouraged him to study it. At the age of eight, Anthon was frightened one afternoon when his uncle, to whom the Bible belonged, came home early to find him reading. Anthon apologized for taking the book, but his uncle was only delighted to see the boy so immersed in its chapters and impressed with his understanding. This same uncle was the first in the Lund family to join the Mormon Church in Scandinavia. He left soon after, when Anthon was only nine, to emigrate with the Saints in America.

Anthon’s grandmother also joined the Church and Anthon recalls always finding Church literature in her home and having access to the doctrines that were being taught. He stated that there was never a time from the moment the gospel was presented to him when he didn’t believe the gospel was true. However, those in Aalborg who chose to be baptized were not often looked upon with kindness. Many were often ridiculed or beaten. Although Anthon was convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel, he was twelve years old when he decided to be baptized. This was more than three years after having first heard the message of the restored Church. At that time, the boys in his school class often teased or threatened Anthon. Fortunately, Anthon’s uncle, only three years his senior, often protected him. Although his uncle didn’t care for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, he would not allow his nephew to be bullied. Anthon also continued to work hard and help others with their studies, and in this way he continued to be a favorite among both teachers and students alike.

Anthon was only 13 years old when he was first called to labor in the Church. His education and knowledge helped him as he taught emigrating Danish Saints English, translated sermons in Church and assisted the elders in the meetings. He became a favorite among the Danish Saints and although he traveled without purse or scrip, he was assisted wherever he went. Anthon also impressed ministers and officials of other faiths. One offered to pay his college fees and expenses if Anthon would study to become a Lutheran minister. Anthon thanked him but remarked that the minister did not have enough money to buy his allegiance to God.

At the age of 16, Anthon was called as president of the Aalborg branch (a small congregation of Latter-day Saints). This was a large responsibility for anyone, as the branch was quite large, but a very big task for a young boy of only 16. He served in that position faithfully for two years, when in 1863, he boarded a ship to emigrate to Utah. Measles ravaged the passengers on that journey, and Anthon was voted the ship’s doctor. Having no medical training, Anthon studied a small book he was given and worked very hard to attend to all the passengers' needs. He was loved and respected for his hard work and very much in demand, so that he often had to hide in order to get any sleep during the journey overseas. Anthon’s group was very blessed as they traveled overland. They were not plagued with bad weather as many previous traveling companies had been and they enjoyed plenty of good camping ground, enough food and comfortable weather.

In Utah, Anthon was one of those called to learn telegraphy and subsequently was sent to Mt. Pleasant to operate the telegraph office there. While there, he also helped establish the first Sunday School in that area. Anthon remained in Mt. Pleasant until 1870, when he married Sarah Ann Peterson and moved to Ephraim. They had nine children.

In 1883, Anthon was called back to Scandinavia to serve a mission. He was gone for over two years, and during his absence, he was elected to the legislature of the territory of Utah.

Anthon was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1889, and in 1890, he succeeded Franklin Dewey Richards as Church historian. He was called by President Joseph F. Smith in 1901 to serve as Second Counselor in the First Presidency. In 1910, he was called as First Counselor, and then again in 1918, he was called by the new president, Heber J. Grant, as First Counselor. As the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he was President of the Quorum of the Twelve from November 23, 1918, to March 2, 1921. Due to Lund's calling to the First Presidency, Rudger Clawson served as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Anthon passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 2, 1921, at the age of 77.


GA Pages, "Anthon H. (Henrik) Lund"