Between 1855 and 1914, hundreds of people joined the Church in Iceland. In fact, the first Icelanders to leave their beloved homeland and immigrate to the United States of America were these converts, who were eager to join with the Saints in Utah. Using original correspondence and other documentation, Fred Woods will explore the challenges these Icelandic Saints faced, what inspired them to make the long journey, and what difficulties they encountered as they tried to assimilate into a western American culture.
This captivating presentation will also highlight other details of their unique history, such as the struggles and faith of the earliest missionaries in Iceland and the status of the Church’s growth in that area today. The cultural imprint of the transplanted Icelanders in Utah will also be discussed, along with Icelandic history in Utah and modern efforts to commemorate Latter-day Saint history in Iceland.
Dr. Fred E. Woods completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brigham Young University in psychology and international relations, respectively. In 1991, he earned a PhD in Middle East studies from the University of Utah, with an emphasis in the Hebrew Bible. He is a bridge builder among peoples of varied cultures and faiths and held the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding from 2005 to 2010. He is the author of a number of books and scores of articles, the bulk of which deal with Mormon immigration to America in the 19th century. In addition, Dr. Woods is the compiler and editor of the Saints By Sea. His most recent book is Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann, for which he coproduced a film.
This free lecture is part of the 2015 Pioneers in Every Land lecture series sponsored by the Church History Library.