Gathering To Zion – Helena

The process of preparing for Zion is through one individual at a time and eventually, like a rocket, momentum builds. Helena Ericksson/Rosbery (1822-1899), my great-great grandmother, had a zeal for God and for Zion. I look forward to meeting her there. Here are some excerpts from her story:
Just four years after I heard the first of Mormonism, I helped to build me a nice house. Then I went ten years before I heard the Gospel. I [had] wished to go to the Priest to find out how to be saved–but I was afraid to go. The first Mormon I heard preach was Brother Wimbery. He was talking about the “thousand years” to a man, but I dared not ask him what it meant. After that, I went to [a] meeting and the police were there writing the names of everyone listening to the Mormons to put them in prison. I thought the two brothers [Elders] looked more like angels than men. I only heard them sing and pray. I then went a half mile home with my hands clasped together and my heart full of prayer to God wishing he would show me if that was for my salvation. If it was, I would receive it [even] if I had to spend all my life in prison. When I got home, I knelt down to pray and behind me I saw a dark shadow shaming me for kneeling down but I kept kneeling and praying every day and going to listen to the Mormons. A short time later one morning at six o’clock, I was wide awake but could not get my eyes open. I saw a man standing behind me dressed in a white robe. I did not know at the time what a robe was but it was white as snow. He read the whole of the 6th verse of the 20th chapter of John the Revelator. I took the book in my hand as soon as I got up and when I opened the book, the first thing I saw was the verse
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
At that time I did not know much about the Bible, so that gave me much faith from that time on. My faith increased every day. I thought I had to go and be baptized but my husband and all my relatives were against me. My husband was the worst of them all. I will not tell much of my trouble but of my joy and happiness in the Lord. Finally, I thought the priest must know about the Mormons, so I went to him. The evil one tempted me to go to him before I was baptized. I was ready to go [to be baptized] and was begging and crying to my husband every day to let me go. Finally he told me I could go but it would be against his will. He thought I would not go against his will but I told him I would first do the Lords will and then do his afterward. So I went to the Priest, but he never saw me. When I got in the middle of the room, the Lord spoke to me and said “Get away from here and wait until you are called and you shall be given the words to answer him”. I can never thank the Lord enough that the priest never saw me. I left the room in a hurry so no one could see me and went home. My husband kept on against me and about that time the angel came to me again at six o’clock in the morning and told me so many high and holy things that I went to the Elders and told them every word and when I had told them it slipped out of my mind. At the same time the angel talked to me, my husband came and knocked at the door so I got up and opened it. He looked very sorrowful. The boat that he had on the sea had sunk loaded with rock. I told him I was thankful for that loss. I thought to myself [that] I could get him to be a Mormon but it took four years and a half after that. The next day he went on the other side of the sea on another boat to get part of his boat. I thought that was the last chance I had to get baptized, so the next night when everybody was asleep I went with Brother Lublow and another brother and sister to the seaside at twelve o’clock at night. Not a star was to be seen in the heavens. One evil spirit whispered on my left side and said “Don’t you get baptized, your husband will not go with you” and the good spirit whispered on my right side and said “You get baptized and your husband will go with you, only it will take a long time.” They kept on whispering to me until I came to the water. I thought of my mothers’ words that the good spirit was on the right side and the evil on the left. The brethren kneeled to pray and I kneeled to pray so no one could hear me. I asked the Lord to give me wisdom that I might never shrink from my duty. Brother Lublow took me under his arm to go out in the sea and as soon as we stepped our feet into the water we were surrounded with a circle of glory from Heaven with sparks like fire moving along with us the half mile out in the sea to where the water was deep enough to baptize me. There the circle stopped until I was baptized, then it followed us out [back] again. Brother Lublow said he had never seen a sign like that before. I can never tell [you] how happy I was. I felt like a new born babe when I put on my dry clothes and kneeled down and thanked the Lord for His goodness to me. When we raised up, we all saw a big half-circle of light close in front of us over the sea. Those with me did not know that I prayed. That light stayed there until we came to my house a mile and a half away. I called my hired girl to come see the big light but when she came it was gone. Later she said “Come and see, there are three bright stars over the kitchen door” but when I got there they were gone. She said that shall be a sign to you and me that we will join the church. There was not another star to be seen that night. The girls name was Matilda [and] we sat together in the dark and talked all night. There was a clear light in every corner of the room and we rejoiced exceedingly all night. … My sister went to the priest that I mentioned before and he said “Hurry and bring her over here before she goes to deep into Mormonism.” So my sister came and asked me to go with her. We went and that feeling of fear and sorrow left me and I felt light as a bird and the word of the Lord to me was fulfilled so I had plenty to answer the priest. He asked me if I was a Mormon and I said “Yes I am. I have not come here to be converted by you for I know it is a true gospel sent to us and I have come to ask you what you think of it. There stands the scriptures that says that the Lord will send out fishers in the last days and afterwards he will send out hunters in the last days to gather his elect [Jeremiah 16:14-16]. I dreamed the other night that you were out hunting so I thought you were one of them. For the Lord commandeth everyone to be baptized and have hands laid on [them] for the gift of the Holy Ghost by one having authority and the signs shall follow those that believe.” He answered me saying “The Lord help me that I may not be so foolish as to be a Mormon.” And he said to my sister, “Oh what shall we do? She has gone to far in it [and] we cannot get her back.” I said that had not come to be turned back. I was afraid to talk to him before [because] I thought he was better than I was but now I know he is not better than I am for I was filled with the spirit and could explain the scriptures to him. I asked him what it meant by the stick of Judah and Ephraim being welded together [Ezekiel 37:15-20]. He said it meant that Israel should plant two grapevines and they should grow together and be one. I told him it was the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The Bible is the record of the Jews and the Book of Mormon is the record of the Ephraimites. Then he took the Bible away from me and said it was to high for me to understand. He told me if I would deny Mormonism and come to him I could be a great help to him in preaching to his congregation for he had a big meeting all the time for the women. He said he had never heard any person who could explain so much of the scriptures as I could. I told him it was the spirit of the Lord that told me what I should say and if I should deny the testimony I had received [that] the Lord would withdraw His spirit and I could not explain and comprehend the scripture. My testimony to the Priest was powerful, so much so that he got another priest and came to my house ten times and tried to turn me from Mormonism. My own husband and all present hoped to see me deny the truth but the spirit of the Lord was with me and they all got a good testimony from me then. The last time the priest was at my house I told him it was a shame for him to bring another priest with him to dispute with me about the scriptures. I said “Come alone if you wish to know whether Mormonism is true and let us kneel down and pray together and ask the Lord to show you how to explain the scriptures.” Then he turned to the other priest and said “That is just what we have to do as Mrs. Rosbery says.” Then he left me for a year. Mormonism was just being introduced in Malma and everyone that joined was hunted like wild beasts to be destroyed. My trouble for four and a half years was more that I can describe with pen. I was the only one in his [my husbands] family and mine that joined the church. I fasted and prayed many times to know what I should do to get my husband saved. Finally, the Elders gave me counsel that I would have to leave him for awhile but promise to come back again if he wanted me. They said they would rather be in prison than be in my place at this time. [Helena and family eventually moved to Denmark where her husband joined the Church. Then they immigrated to America, crossed the plains in handcarts, settled in Utah and then in Arizona. They had 11 children all total including 2 sets of twins and triplets. Helena had many other notable experiences, not recounted here.] … The time is not far distant when Zion will be redeemed and the righteous will then be free. Ever since I joined the church, I have always tried to do right as near as possible and am still trying–through fasting and prayer. I have had my prayers answered a great many times.

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