In the Summer of 2013, the New York Times came out with a front-page article with Hans Mattsson discussing his loss of belief. Hans will take us behind the scenes to talk about how it was set up, and how Church leaders reacted to the article.
Hans: Birgitta was employed by the Church at the store, where they sell books, because it’s the Distribution Center and she was called up by her boss and [he] wondered, what are you doing? I would call it an exciting moment. People were waiting and wondered, and they called us, and she was not supposed to come back to her work, to her job. We were also on the way to move to Spain the same year, but we were on our way to leave anyway.
GT: So she basically got fired because of that interview, would you say?
Hans: Yes. But that said, you can have what they call a garden leave. So they paid her anyway during the time before we left, so they handled it very nicely, actually. But they didn’t want us to be in contact with any members. Birgitta and I were called to the Stake president for interviews, twice, and the second time I took Birgitta with me and they were going to excommunicate me. They said, “We’ll let you know.” After two weeks, I had a phone call, and they said, “We won’t do anything.”
GT: They wanted to excommunicate both you and her? Or…
Hans: Yes, but they said, “We won’t do anything”. That happened twice, really.
Find out why Hans believes the Church chose not to act.
As we mentioned previously with our interview with Dr. Matt Harris, the Swedish Rescue was instrumental in leading Church leaders to release the Gospel Topics essays. Hans Mattsson was a key figure in the Swedish Rescue, and we’ll talk about his involvement in the Swedish Rescue and what he thinks about the Gospel Topics essays now.
GT: So, let me ask you this question. So the [Gospel Topics] Essays started coming out, I think it was November of 2013. If those had come out 10 years earlier? Would you still be a member of the Church?
Hans: It’s hard to answer that question, but I also know that if those papers come out that early, maybe I would have left earlier.
GT: Oh, really?
Hans: Yeah, because that would tell me that they have not been honest for so many years. They have hidden things that are now published.
Find out what else he said. Do you know people who have been shaken by the Gospel Topics Essays? How many people in your ward are even aware of them?