Saturday, October 1, 2011

President Svend P. Svendsen

President Svendsen

It must be Conference thoughts get a bit churchy. Today, while looking for a prop for yet another play I'm doing, I came across a set of color slides from my mission (on my mission I was so cheap that I didn't pay to have the film developed to prints--slides were cheaper...). Among the many pictures, I found a couple of my mission president, President Svend Svendsen.

I remember opening my call, sent directly from the tallest building in Salt Lake City. I new almost nothing about Denmark except it was geographically located above Germany (I was taking German at Utah State University at the time...). I remember looking at the name, Svend was like some kind of joke. I came to know one thing, the man was no joke.

I was fortunate enough to work with President Svendsen in the mission office. He chose me as his secretary, a position I held for several months. That was the good news. The bad news is the man had a bad heart, physically, not metaphorically. A few months after I arrived, President Svendsen was sent home due to medical reasons. They operated on his heart, but he did not return. He was replaced. He was a saint of a person.

"Œldste Taylor," he said. "Can you come in here please?" He asked all the time. I remember one occasion in particular. He asked me in and on his desk he had a huge box of chocolates that someone had given him. Anyone familiar with European candy knows how good they can be. He invited me to join him in a treat. Wow! I thought. That one had some kick. I told President Svendsen and when we looked at the ingredients, we found out that they were liquor chocolates. We stopped eating them...

A few months after I was released, I visited Brother Svendsen at his house in Orem. We had a nice chat. Maybe a year later I joined other returned missionaries in singing the Danish Mission song at his funeral. It wasn't his heart, but cancer that took him home. It's been over 20 years since I spoke with him. I would sure love to sit with him, have some laughs and enjoy speaking Danish and hearing that sweet Silkaborg accent again. Tak for alt, Prœsident, tak for alt...


  1. I am so very happy that you wrote this wonderful tribute to my father in law. I love the wonderful photos. I would love you to email them to me if possible. I want to share this post with our family...especially those who were too young to remember or know this great man! Thank you very much!

  2. Wow, thank you for sharing. My mom above sent this to me and it was so fun to read. I didn't know my grandfather that well but after serving a mission I wondered what kind of mission president he was. My grandmother kept the sign all the missionaries signed up at her house for the next 17 years or so until she passed away.

  3. i am so grateful for this post as well. thank you so much! my grandfather passed away when i was just 4 years old and I have little memory of him. so it was so great to read this and see photos and know of your good memories of him. thank you!