About the Collection

Gustaf Henry Johnson

by Jeffrey S. Hardy

See Diary

Gustaf Henry Johnson was born on 2 June 1886 in Hyde Park, Cache County, Utah, to Gustaf Johnson and Anna Sofia Christensen, both Swedish immigrants. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) on 4 July 1894. Sometime before 1905 Gustaf and his family moved to Idaho Falls, Bonneville County, Idaho.

Here Gustaf was called to labor as a missionary in the Scandinavian Mission of the LDS Church. He arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 7 June 1905 and was appointed to labor in the Goteborg Conference in Sweden. One week later Sweden was separated from the Scandinavian Mission to become its own mission, headquartered in Stockholm, with Peter Mattson as its first president. After his first day tracting he decided that the general Swedish attitude towards his message was, “The Bible is our guide, no need of a certain religion, and God save us from those lowdown Mormons.”1 Besides tracting Gustaf also spent some time with his relatives, who enjoyed his company, but did not accept his religion. He enjoyed singing on his mission, by himself, at small gatherings of Church members, and during Church meetings.

On 23 October 1905 Gustaf was assigned to preside over a small branch of the Church in Boras, Sweden. After only four months there, however, he was transferred to Stockholm to serve as mission secretary, “which consist[ed] of keeping a history of the mission, booking all the conference reports,…booking all incoming and outgoing missionaries, and also emigrations.” He also conducted some translation work from English into Swedish. Unfortunately there is no record of Gustaf’s mission past September 1906.

After his mission Gustaf engaged in farming around Idaho Falls. On 24 August 1910 he married Esther Maria Lanzen, a Swedish immigrant; they were blessed with four sons and four daughters over the course of their marriage. On 11 February 1928 Gustaf was appointed bishop over the Idaho Falls 1st Ward of the Church, which in 1930 included 730 members. Gustaf Henry Johnson died at home in Idaho Falls on 10 June 1950.


1 Gustaf Henry Johnson, “Diary, 1905–1906,” 27 June 1905. MSS SC 883, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.


Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 1 December 2003 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm

Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Co., 1941.

________. History of the Scandinavian Mission. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927.

________. Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Vol. 4. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901–1936.

Johnson, Gustaf Henry. “Diary, 1905–1906.” MSS SC 883, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

United States Federal Census, 1930. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 22 March 2004 available from http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/census/usfedcen/main.htm