Mormon Missionary Diaries
About the Collection
Oscar Keilgaard Hansen
by Brian A. Warburton
Oscar Keilgaard Hansen also known as O.K., was born 26 September 1874 in Fairview, Utah, to Charles Keilgaard Hansen and Caroline Rasmussen. Hansen grew up attending local schools before moving on to Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah.
Hansen was called to serve a mission to the Northern states for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in January 1898. He left his home on 6 February 1898 and traveled to Salt Lake City where he was ordained a Seventy and set apart for his mission. After a short stay in Salt Lake, Hansen left by rail for Chicago, arriving there on 12 February 1898 and was assigned to labor in Wisconsin. Hansen spent his time tracting door to door during the day and visiting members and those investigating the church at night. Missionary life sometimes seemed monotonous and discouraging, “Monday I continued tracting and met some very nice people, but as usual were somewhat indifferent.”1 But at other times he recorded that interesting meetings were held in which he had to defend the doctrines of the LDS church, “We talked on gospel until nearly midnight when we left leaving the people very much wiser on our beliefs than we had found them.”2
O.K. was disappointed that the members and investigators of the church often faced persecution, but he stayed positive and exhibited faith that things would work out for the best. “But where so much opposition is there must be some honest souls and we expect quite a following in this section.”3 Hansen continued to serve in Wisconsin until November 1899, when he received word that he was to be transferred to Iowa to be the conference president there. Again O.K. exhibited his faith in accepting this daunting new call, “Certainly this is a great surprise to me and a calling that I feel very weak in accepting, but I do so with the desire that my labors may be accompanied with the spirit of God.”4 In Iowa, Hansen met many people that were members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), and he was excited to meet several direct descendants of Joseph Smith. He was even given the opportunity to preach a sermon to an RLDS congregation, explaining to them why the LDS church had the proper authority from God.5
Hansen’s journal comes to an end in April 1900, while he was still on his mission, but he probably went home soon after that date. After returning home from his mission O.K. married Helena Anderson in the Manti Temple on 11 June 1902. He attended school at Kansas City Western Dental College and upon graduating he relocated to Mount Pleasant, Utah, for a short time, where he practiced dentistry. In 1906 Hansen moved his family to Provo, Utah, and continued his dental practice and was an active member of the LDS church, serving for many years as the Stake Sunday School Superintendent. He was also very involved with the Boy Scout program, serving as president of the Timpanogos district council several times.6
Hansen served as president of the Utah Public Health Association and served several terms as president of the Utah Municipal League.7 His civic career reached its climax in 1922 when he was elected Mayor of Provo, a job he retained for three successive terms, ending in 1927.8
O.K. and his wife, Helena had seven children, six of whom survived to adulthood. In 1930, at the relatively young age of fifty-five O.K. fell ill and underwent an operation for abdominal pain. The operation was not successful and after ten weeks of suffering O.K. died 1 February 1930.9 His wife Helena followed him nine years later on 23 February 1939.
1 O.K. Hansen, “Diaries, 1898–1900,” MSS 169, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. 9 May 1898.
2 Ibid., 24 October 1898.
3 Hansen, 2 April 1899.
4 Ibid., 27 November 1899.
5 Ibid., 7 January 1900.
6 Deseret News (Salt Lake City) , 3 February 1930.
8 Andrew Jensen, Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Company, 1941) , 684.
9 Deseret News (Salt Lake City) , 3 February 1930.
Deseret News (Salt Lake City) , 3 February 1930.
Hansen, O.K. “Diaries, 1898–1900,” MSS 169, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Jensen, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Company, 1941.