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Book of Mormon 'comes home' after 77 years

Missionary scriptures become part of spiritual synchronicity

EPHRAIM, Utah — Members of the family of the late Glen J. Nielson, a former bishop and stake patriarch here, have experienced a sort of "coming home." Brother Nielson's son Larry calls it "spiritual synchronicity" or a coincidence that makes you aware the Spirit is with you even in small things — the miracles or tender mercies in our daily lives.

The story begins sometime in 1928-29 in upstate New York, a part of the Eastern States Mission. Elder Glen J. Nielson placed a Book of Mormon, some missionary pamphlets, and his calling card with an individual he had met. Whether or not that person joined the Church is unknown. What is known is that through some interesting "synchronicity," Brother Nielson's wife, Virginia, 96, now has that very Book of Mormon, the pamphlets and calling card at home with her in Ephraim.

The story came full circle with Matthew A. Nielson, a counselor in the Ephraim 1st Ward. A few months ago, he received a call from his friend Tim Schwartz, a Church member in San Antonio, Texas, asking him if he knew of a Glen J. Nielson from Ephraim. He told him it was his great-uncle. Brother Schwartz said if that was the case, then he'd better get on the computer quick and look on the Internet at eBay. Sure enough, there was his uncle's calling card, the Book of Mormon and a series of five pamphlets entitled "The Lord Hath Spoken," by Elder B.H. Roberts, all in pristine condition.

Brother Nielson was very close to his great-uncle. "He was one of the most amazing men I have met in my entire life." he said. "When I first saw it on eBay they had a picture of the Book of Mormon and card, it really got to me."

Brother Nielson knew for sure he wanted that book for his Aunt Virginia. He had never bid on eBay before and he needed help.

"I had to call a friend of mine in town to know how to do the bidding. I also found out you could find where the bids were coming from. The last bid was from Australia," he said. "It wasn't much of a (bidding) war at first, it moved a little bit, then I would up my bid — I started at $30."

On the last day of bidding things began to move, and Brother Nielson started getting nervous. He capped the bidding, indicating to other bidders he would be willing to pay up to $1,000 for the book. Ultimately, he won the bid and purchased the book for $88.

Brother Nielson wanted to get the book as soon as possible for his aunt, considering her age and health.

"I e-mailed the man selling it and told him the circumstances and wondered if he could ship it quickly," Brother Nielson said. "He called me back and said, 'This is the neatest story. I'm glad I am involved in this. I usually don't do this, but just send me a check, I'll go ahead and send it now. I trust you, and I want to be a part of this.' "

The generous man is not LDS, but Brother Nielson said he has offered to do some research to find out where the book has traveled over the past 77 years.

"I sent him a thank you letter," Brother Nielson said. "I bore my testimony to him in my letter and told him if he hadn't ever read the Book of Mormon to do so, and I sent him one."

It only seems natural for Brother Nielson to continue in his uncle's footsteps of sharing the Book of Mormon. The whole Nielson family senses a special purpose in all of this.

"During this year when President Hinckley has asked us to read the Book of Mormon," Brother Nielson said, "this story is an inspiration to us all."