Anthon Henrik Lund was born May 15, 1844 at Aalborg,
Jutland Amt., Denmark to Henrik Lund and Anne C. Andersen. When he was three years and a half old his mother was taken seriously ill. The visit of the doctor, the subdued talking, and the anxiety he saw on the faces around him impressed him deeply. He even remembered what a dismal, rainy day it was. His next memory was seeing his beloved mother lying in her coffin. These two occasions were indelibly stamped on his memory.
In the fall of 1847 his father was drafted into the Danish army and sent to Schleswig, where an insurrection was threatening. In 1848 Schleswig and Holstein revolted and with the aid of Prussia and Germany waged war for three years. During this struggle, Denmark needed all her patriotic sons, and his father served with distinction through the whole war, and did not return until the boy was seven years old. It was a beautiful day when the victorious army returned; and standing near a triumphal arch, having hold of his grandmother's hand, the boy watched the soldiers marching under it. At last his grandmother pointed out the smiling face of his father, marching with his musket on his shoulder. A few hours later he was folded in his father's arms. This was a happy day for the boy.
Shortly afterward his father moved away about thirty-five miles, and he was left to live with his grandmother, who proved a tender, loving mother to him. He became very much attached to her, and when his father a couple of years later wanted to take the boy with him home, young Anthon pleaded to be left with his grandmother. She bestowed upon him a mother's love and devotion. She was the soul of honor, and though her own children thought her discipline rather strict, Brother Lund only remembered how tenderly she cared for him.
At the early age of four years Anthon was sent to a private school, where he mastered the first elements of reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.,and when seven years old he entered the public school of the city of Aalborg. His industry as a student and his aptitude for learning were shown in the fact that he rapidly advanced from one grade to another, passing entirely over the second grade. While preparing himself for graduation in the course of study given in the school, he also took private lessons in English, and also studied German and French. At the age of eleven years he held the first place in the school.
Already at this early age Brother Lund had an irresistible desire to study the word of God. In his grandmother's house was a Bible belonging to his uncle, which the latter had forbidden him to touch for fear he should soil or otherwise deface the precious volume. But his grandmother often asked him to read some of its chapters to her. This filled him with an ardent desire to read the whole book, and encouraged in this by his grandmother he commenced at the beginning and made himself familiar with the main events narrated in that sacred volume. One day in Lent, when the streets were filled with people looking at the Lent procession, he thought: What a delightful day I can have reading the Bible! He imagined that his uncle would be among the sight-seeing multitude. He had comfortably settled himself in his favorite place with the Bible open, reading the fascinating history of Israel under the kings, when he heard a step on the stairs; the door opened, and there stood his uncle before him. He asked his uncle to excuse his having taken the Bible without permission. His uncle answered: "I am delighted, my boy, to find you thus employed on a day like this. Read it as much as you like." As he was only in his eighth year, his uncle was surprised to find how much he had read, and how well he had grasped the meaning.
Brother Lunt said those early readings were a great help to him, as they fastened the events of Bible narrative securely upon his mind. Not having brothers or sisters he was left to himself much of the time, and books became his company. He read all the books he could get and all his pocket money was spent at the book stores. He was then, as later, fond of visiting such places.
When, in the year 1850, Elder Erastus Snow arrived in Denmark, to open up the mission in the Scandinavian countries, one among the early converts was the uncle of Anthon Lund, Jens Andersen. His grandmother, too, accepted the gospel just before his uncle emigrated, and was baptized in 1853, when Anthon was nine years old. In this way he came in constant contact with "Mormonism." In his grandmother's home he found an abundance of "Mormon" literature. He read this eagerly and the Lord opened his heart and his understanding to believe and to comprehend the truths set forth. He soon became familiar with the history of the Church and its doctrines. Elder Anthon Lund said he can hardly remember a time when he was not convinced of the truth of the gospel. From the first moment it was presented, it appeared to him, in comparison with common orthodoxy, as the clearest daylight compared to the uncertain flare of the northern aurora. It became to him "the pearl of great price," for the possession of which he would gladly sacrifice everything.
Yet there was many a conflict in his young heart, before the step was taken which united him with the Church. Those who at that time identified themselves with the Church were generally ostracized socially, and often subjected to persecution, and some years elapsed before Anthon, though fully convinced of the truth of the gospel, asked for baptism. At that time there was a great deal of persecution of the Saints in Aalborg, and this spirit actuated even the school boys, and to such an extent that none of the Saints could send their children to the public schools. Brother Lund was the only one belonging to the Saints who attended the school. Sometimes the boys threatened to "baptize" him, and at other times they united in beating him, but as a general rule he was a favorite with both teachers and fellow-students. One of his father's younger brothers, about three years older than Anthon, was in the same class, and although he hated "Mormonism," he would not allow anyone to abuse his nephew. Having tact enough never to complain against those who had persecuted him, and always ready to help the boys in their studies, he won them.
Nearly every one in his class was two or three years his senior; still they did not envy him his promotion. To become "Dux," or first in the upper class, was the ambition or all the pupils. When the school met after the summer vacation, when Brother Lund was eleven years old, and all were anxious to know where their places would be, the class was unanimous in giving the first place to him and would not allow him to take his old place. At the examination the bishop of the diocese was present and personally catechized Brother Lund. The answers surprised him, and he said to the whole school: "I have not heard a boy answer so well in any of the two hundred schools in my diocese." All the teachers but one were proud of the praise bestowed on one of their pupils. One, however, a bitter "Mormon-hater," felt much chagrined. On several occasions he would slur the boy because of his belief. One day he said: "It is expected that the 'Dux' of the school shall give a good example to the pupils. What a shame if they should imitate yours and become Mormons!" Brother Lund answered, "They would never regret it."
The young man loved his relatives dearly, and, as they were opposed to "Mormonism" they sought to keep him from joining the Church. They wanted him to take a collegiate course, which especially suited his inclinations; his teachers also urged him to take such a course. They did not know how great a temptation this was to the boy, but the Lord gave him strength to resist it, and His Spirit continually strove with him, reminding him of his duty. He was baptized May 15, 1856, on the twelfth anniversary of his birth, and on the 18th of May he was confirmed a member of the Church.
When Brother Lund joined the Church, Elder Christian D. Fjeldsteal presided over Aalborg conference. Brother Fjeldsted's sermons made a deep impression on the young boy. His original, convincing and entertaining style was much admired. At the same time Elder Christian A. Madsen was pastor over Aalborg and several other conferences. His excellent wife, who was a highly educated lady, rendered the boy much assistance in his studies of English, and he became very much attached to Brother and Sister Madsen. When Brother Lund was thirteen years old he was called to labor in the vineyard. His mission was to teach emigrating Saints English, to distribute tracts and help the Elders hold meetings. When giving his first report at the conference, Brother Fjeldsted lifted him upon a table, and thus he made his debut before an audience. Besides his tracts he always carried copies of the "Millennial Star," which he would read to the Saints, he being able to translate them into Danish nearly as fluently as if he were reading Danish. The Saints were delighted to listen and were strengthened in their faith. Brother Lund became well acquainted in the whole conference. He traveled "without purse and scrip." Friends were raised up to him on every hand, and men outside of the Church told him to let them know what he needed and they would furnish him the money, and they did so.
One day, while he was out tracting, he visited a large mill-owner, whom he found in his library with another gentleman. After spending an hour in answering their questions, the man of the house said: "It is too bad that you are a 'Mormon.' If you will study theology at the university in Copenhagen and become a Lutheran minister, I will pay the expenses and I will make you my heir." Brother Lund answered, "I have no doubt you are a rich man, but you have not money enough to buy my allegiance to the Church of God." The answer seemed to please both the gentlemen. Brother Lund often wondered since whether the man made the offer in good faith. He believed at the time that he did; but it was no temptation to him. He felt he had found "the pearl of great price."
Once he had promised to meet at a certain place to help hold a meeting. To reach this place he walked about ten miles facing a heavy snow storm. When he arrived at the place he found the house full of people, but the Elders had not come. He sat down among the people and heard them say: "The 'Mormons' have fooled us today." When the time for the commencement of the meeting came, and he saw no one else would be there, he arose and asked the people kindly to give him their attention. How astonished the people looked at the boy! But they were so still that you could hear a pin drop. After the meeting, every one present came and shook hands with him and thanked him. Several present later joined the Church and emigrated to Zion. It was not often Brother Lund was molested. Even in places where other Elders had suffered persecution he succeeded in making friends.
Sometimes, however, he also tasted the opposite. On one occasion, when he was out inviting people to a meeting in the evening, he came into a house and informed a woman he met that there would be a meeting that evening, and invited her to attend. "What kind of a meeting?" she asked. "A 'Mormon' meeting," he replied. There came a change over her face instantly and she became a perfect fury. She grabbed her fire-tongs and screamed, "I will give you 'Mormon' meeting!" and flew at him. He thought discretion the better part of valor, and ran out of the house, but the woman followed, and in her highest key called on her husband to shoot the "Mormon." She made such a disturbance that the neighbors came running to see what was the matter.
Years afterwards, when Brother Lund had charge of the Ephraim Coop., a lady came into the store and said to him: "You do not know me, but I have seen you once. Do you remember a woman who ran after you with a pair of fire-tongs?" "Yes," he answered, "but you are not that woman, for her face I have never forgotten." "No," she said, "I was her neighbor, and seeing her running after you, I asked her what you had done. She said that you had invited her to a 'Mormon' meeting. I became curious to learn something about the 'Mormons' and went to the meeting. I heard you speak and was convinced of the truth." The Lord made use of the wrath of an enemy to further His purpose.
At the age of sixteen he was ordained an Elder and appointed president of the Aalborg branch, and traveling Elder in five Other branches. This was quite a responsible position, the branch being large and requiring constant care. Elder Lund continued his missionary labors until the year 1863, when, at the age of eighteen, he emigrated to Utah. He left Hamburg on the "Benjamin Franklin." While lying in that city measles came aboard and made fearful ravages among the children. There was no doctor on board, and the captain would deliver the medicines and wine for the sick only on an order from a physician. Elder Christian A. Madsen laid the matter before the Saints, and they voted to appoint Brother Lund the physician of the company. He received the medicine chest and with it a book treating on common diseases and their cures. This he studied diligently and performed his duties so well that he gained the confidence of both the crew and the passengers. Brother Lund was always in demand. At times he had to hide so as to get the much needed rest and sleep. This was rather remarkable for a doctor that had been given his diploma by popular vote instead of by a medical faculty.
Four ships left Denmark in the beginning of that year with emigrating Saints. These all met at Florence, whence some continued the journey in the conveyances furnished by the Utah Saints. The others were organized into two independent companies, one under the leadership of Bishop Christian A. Madsen, and one under the care of Patriarch Ola N. Liljenquist. Brother Lund traveled over the plains in Elder Madsen's company. The route traveled was via Elkhorn river, Loup Fork, Wood River, Willow Lake, Rattlesnake creek, Fort Laramie, Upper Platte Bridge, Devil's Gate, South Pass and Green river, and the travelers arrived in Salt Lake City Sept. 23, 1862. The overland travel had lasted seventy-one days. It had been an exceptionally pleasant journey. The Saints had found good camping places with an abundance of grass and water. Some had walked the entire distance, and very often the men had carried the women and the children across the rivers, but there were no accidents, and a good spirit prevailed.
In 1864 he was called to go as a Church teamster to the Missouri river, to bring back immigrating Saints. He performed this mission faithfully. When Pres. Brigham Young called a number of young men to come to Salt Lake City to learn telegraphy, Elder Lund was selected as one of them. During his stay in the city at this time he became acquainted with Elder John Henry Smith and others, with whom he later has been intimately associated in the ecclesiastical work. Having learned telegraphy, he returned to Mt. Pleasant and kept the telegraph office there. He also had a photograph gallery. And when the first co-operative institution was started in that city, he was appointed its secretary. He was also elected a member of the city council. But notwithstanding these varied duties, he found time to devote to the Church.
In 1865 he helped to start the first Sunday school in the city where he lived, and achieved great success in this labor of love. He remained in Mt. Pleasant until the fall of 1870, when he moved to Ephraim. In the same year he married Sister Sarah Ann Peterson, a daughter of Stake President Canute Peterson. The issue of this happy union was nine children. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Volume 4, Appendix 1) specifically states that Elder Lund later practiced Plural Marriage. Now, however, comes Sister Kari Work, a second great granddaughter of Elder Lund, who insists that he had only one wife and that all of his nine children are from that marriage. Grampa Bill does not know the truth of the matter and leaves it to the gentle reader to make determination.
In 1874 he was appointed a member of the High Council in Sanpete, and when the Stake was organized, in 1877, he became Stake clerk and a member of the new High Council. In 1878 he became superintendent of the Sunday School in Ephraim, a labor which he much enjoyed.
In 1883 he was called to fill another mission to Scandinavia. He succeeded Elder Chr. D. Fjeldsted as president of the mission, and was absent from home two years and three months. During his absence he was elected a member of the legislature of the Territory of Utah, and he took his seat in that body on his arrival home. In 1888, he was re-elected. The Ogden Reform School and Agricultural College at Logan were lasting monuments of his untiring work in the legislative assembly of Utah, as well as of his wisdom and solicitude for the welfare of the people. In May, 1888, he was appointed vice president of the Manti Temple, assisting Pres. Daniel H. Wells, and in 1891 he succeeded Brother Wells as president.
Among his other callings, he served on the Young
Men general board and as president of the Genealogical
Society of Utah.
He was ordained an Apostle on October 7, 1889 by George
Q. Cannon and sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve at that time.
in August, 1900, he succeeded Pres. Franklin D. Richards in the office of Church Historian.
President Joseph F.Smith called him to serve as Second Counselor in the First Presidency,
which position he held until when on April 7, 1910, he was sustained as First
Counselor. He fulfilled that calling until President Smith's death. November
19, 1918. Heber J. Grant re-called
him as First Counselor on November 23 of the same year and on the same
day he was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Anthon H. Lund died March 2, 1921 at Salt Lake City,
Utah at the age of seventy-seven.