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Photo of Fred Woods

Fred Woods

Professor
Church History and Doctrine

365E JSB
Provo, UT 84602

Biography

Fred Woods and his wife, JoAnna, standing in front of a lake

Fred E. Woods completed a BS degree in psychology (1981) and a MS degree in international relations (1985) from Brigham Young University. In 1991, he earned a PhD in Middle East studies from the University of Utah with an emphasis in Hebrew Bible. He has been a professor of Religious Education at Brigham Young University since 1998 and feels blessed to instruct great BYU students. From 2005 to 2010, he held a BYU Richard L. Evans Professorship of Religious Understanding and from 2019 to 2021 the BYU endowed Moral Education Professorship. Dr. Woods has lectured at scores of universities in the United States and internationally. He is the author of numerous academic articles treating a variety of topics and has authored many books. His most recent publication is The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind, a coauthored book which has a companion documentary film by the same name.

The past decade he has also produced a number of documentaries with LDS filmmaker Martin Andersen. Their films include, That Promised Day: The coming forth of the LDS Scriptures (2010) Mormon Yankees: Giants on and off the Court (2011), Finding Refuge in El Paso (2012) and Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann (2014), Laie: Refuge from the Storm (2015), and Melting the Ice: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Alaska (2018), The Saints of Tonga: A Century of Island Faith (2019) and most recently "The Latter-Day Saint Image in the British Mind (2021), and "Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas" (2022), both award winning films.

Professor Woods continues to research the globalization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which includes his specialized research on the maritime segment of the story of the Latter-day Saint gathering to an American Zion—the sailing before the trail portion of Mormon immigration to the United States. Dr. Woods has authored scores of articles on this topic and has many publications dealing with international studies on the this website: https://saintsbysea.lib.byu.edu/about/ (of which he is the chief editor and compiler), a major source of information on this topic). In spring 2017 and spring 2018, he was a research fellow at the Harris Manchester College at Oxford University for the Trinity Trimesters, where he studied the topic of the Latter-day Saint image in the British mind.

His recent research has involved the history and impact of Latter-day Saints on Las Vegas and has published, Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas with the University of Nevada Press. Professor Woods is also currently involved with research and co-authoring books on the history of Latter-day Saints in North and South Dakota, titled Dakota Saints and another work titled, Montana Saints. In addition, he is developing a website titled "Saints by State" which includes a collection of all published sources on the Church in America, augmented by Latter-day Saint encyclopedic entries, maps, charts, chronologies, short stories, interviews, documentary films. He is married to JoAnna Merrill, and they have five children and fourteen grandchildren.

Saints by State Documentary Films (More Films Coming)

"Fire & Redemption: The Explosion of the Steamboat Saluda" (Missouri)
"A Swede and a Seed: The Story of Ivar Sandberg" (South Dakota)
"Flood of Memories: The 1976 Teton Flood Disaster and Recovery" (Idaho)
“Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas” (Nevada)
“Melting the Ice: A History of Latter-day Saints in Alaska” (Alaska) 
“Laie: Refuge from the Storm” (Hawaii)
“Finding Refuge In El Paso” (Texas)

Recent Books

Fred E. Woods, Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas, (The University of Nevada Press, 2023).

Malcolm Adcock, Fred E. Woods, The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind – (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2022). See also https://gregkofford.com/products/latter-day-saint-image ). It has a companion documentary film now available now on BYU TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtMZYPfdcFg

Recent Articles and Book Chapters Published

Sean E. Brotherson and Fred E. Woods, “‘Each one was going to put the hand to the plow and sow the precious Gospel seed’: Early Latter-day Saint Missionary Work in North Dakota,” forthcoming in Great Plains Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 4 (Summer 2022), 275-303.

Fred E. Woods and Tiffany Taylor Bowles, “The Nineteenth Century Gathering of Latter-day Saints,” Pioneer vol. 69, no.2 [2023], 3-9.

Fred E. Woods, "A Seed and a Swede: The Ivar Sandberg Story", South Dakota History, vol. 53, no. 2 (Summer 2023): 127-155

Fred E. Woods, “Introduction The Latter-day Saint Gathering,” invited chapter for LIVERPOOL TO GREAT SALT LAKE eds. George D. Watt by Ronald G. Watt and LaJean Carruth, (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2022), xv-xxvi.

Fred E. Woods, “The Pluck and Luck of the Irish Saints,” LDS Living Magazine, March 2022 online issue. https://www.ldsliving.com/the-pluck-and-luck-of-the-irish-saints/s/10502

Fred E. Woods, “St. Johns Saints and their Friendly Neighbors: Early Conflict to Community Cohesion,” Latter-day Saint Historical Studies, vol. 23, no. 1 (Spring 2022):183-204.

Fred E. Woods, “‘Our Mormon Neighbors Gave’: Mancos Colorado Saints Intertwined with Community,” Latter-day Saint Historical Studies, vol. 23, no. 1 (Spring 2022):205-223.

Fred E. Woods, “The Ascension of Abraham: A Mortal Model for the Climb to Exaltation,” Religious Educator, vol. 23, no. 2 (Spring 2022):47-63.

Fred E. Woods, Conversion story of Ivar Sandberg: https://www.ldsliving.com/after-accidentally-causing-his-friends-death-this-swede-found-peace-through-the-gospel-in-the-us/s/10892 (published online August 10, 2022).

Mason J. Cameron and Fred E. Woods, “Ping’s inspired dream: How an unlikely friend helped open the Philippines for missionary work,” LDS Living, online, May 26, 2022, https://www.ldsliving.com/pings-inspired-dream-how-an-unlikely-friend-helped-open-the-philippines-for-missionary-work/s/10706.

Fred E. Woods, "African American Baptists and Latter-day Saints in Las Vegas,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 64, no. 3 (Fall 2021), 259-267.

Fred E. Woods, “The Rise of the Sitka Saints,” Latter-day Saint Historical Studies, 22, no. 1 (Spring 2021), 37-56.

Fred E. Woods, “Beneath the Pages: McClintock’s Mormon Settlement in Arizona,” Latter-day Saint Historicical Studies, 22, no. 1 (Spring 2021), 115-155.

Fred E. Woods, “Orson Pratt’s Publishing of The Seer: A Mission to Washington, DC, for a Season,” BYU Religious Education, Washington DC Regional Studies 2021

Riley M. Moffat and Fred E. Woods, chapter 16 of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Islands of the Pacific” The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mormonism, eds. R. Gordon Shepherd, A. Gary Shepherd, Ryan T. Cragun (London: Palgrave/MacMillan, 2020), 431-454.

Fred E, Woods and RIley M. Moffat, "The Genesis and Rise of the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple," Mormon Historical Studies, vol. 21, no. 1 (Spring 2021): 91-114

Fred E. Woods, “Leavening the Sourdough: A History of Latter-day Saints in Kodiak,” Latter-day Saint Historical Studies, 21, no. 2 (Fall 2020): 55-78.

Fred E. Woods, “The Balance Between Church and State in Tonga: A study in mutual respect between the Latter-day Saints and the Royal Family,” Journal of Mormon History, vol. 46, no. 1 (Winter 2020): 53-84.

Fred E. Woods, “The Story of the Las Vegas Temple,” LDS Living Magazine for Nov./Dec. 2020 issue.

Fred E. Woods and Thomas L. Farmer, “St. Louis: An Unexpected Refuge,” LDS Living Magazine, March/April 2020 issue.

Forthcoming Books

From Ports to Posts: The Gathering of 19th Century Latter-day Saints, (University of Nebraska, 2024).

Fred E. Woods, Jay H. Buckley, and Hunter T. Hallows, eds., The Life and Adventures of Mr. Eli Wiggill , forthcoming 2024, Greg Kofford Books.
 
Forthcoming Articles

Fred E. Woods and Cheryl Jensen, “Picketing Against Porn in Mesquite: Community Values vs. a ‘Vice’ Enterprise,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, forthcoming December 2023.

Charles Vance, Mark Mendenhall, and Fred E. Woods, “Missionary Families: LDS Case Study,” chapter in Research Handbook of Global Families, ed. Yvonne McNulty et al. (2022)

Recently Released Films

"A Swede and a Seed: The Story of Ivar Sandberg." https://www.byutv.org/2cbefc46-58bb-45a9-a25b-f01d29c8c597/a-swede-and-a-seed:-the-ivar-sandberg-story?player-open=true&content-id=2cbefc46-58bb-45a9-a25b-f01d29c8c597

Fred E. Woods, "Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas" (2022). https://www.byutv.org/b1066b59-a9db-469b-bdf8-4db286a612cf/bright-lights-in-the-desert:-the-latter-day-saints-of-las-vegas

"The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind" (2021). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtMZYPfdcFg

Forthcoming Documentary Films

“Flood of Memories: Remembering the 1976 Teton Flood Dam Disaster” (September 2023)

Recent Awards/Appointments

BYU Faculty Award for Distinguished Contributions to Accessibility issued by the University Accessibility Center, March 9, 2022, titled the “Good Samaritan Award”

“Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas” documentary film won third place in the short film/documentary film category at the Utah LDS film festival, March 2022

Historic Preservation Annual Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation by the City of Las Vegas for the preservation of Latter-day Saint History in Las Vegas (May 25, 2022)

John Topham and Susan Redd Butler BYU Faculty Research Award for research on “Saints by State” website (Spring 2022)

“The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind,” documentary film won third place in the short film/documentary film category at the Utah LDS film festival, March 2021

Moral Education endowed professorship, Brigham Young University (2019-2021)

Eadington Research Fellowship, University of Nevada- Las Vegas, 2021

Senior Associate, Pembroke College, Oxford 2021

Best book award for Kalaupapa: The Mormon Experience in an Exiled Community (Provo: UT, BYU Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017). (The 2018 Harvey B. and Susan Easton Black Outstanding Publication Award (Gospel Scholarship for LDS Audiences, Church History and Doctrine)

Summer Oxford research fellow to the Oxford Harris Manchester College for the Trinity trimesters for 2017 and 2018

Areas of Expertise

LDS history of the 19th century, LDS history of the 20th century, LDS emigration (the gathering of Israel), Global LDS history, Regional LDS history as well as the D&C and the Old Testament.

Research Interests

Mormon immigration/emigration/migration
The Global Church
LDS History in the United States
Old Testament Studies

Teaching Interests

International Church
Old Testament
LDS Church History
Doctrine and Covenants

Honors and Awards

  • "Honorary Icelander" lifetime award, Icelandic Association of Utah (2002 - Present)
  • BYU Faculty Award for Distinguished Contributions to Accessibility , BYU Accessibility Center (2022 - 2022)
  • Historic Preservation Annual Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation of LDS Las Vegas History . , City of Las Vegas (2022 - 2022)
  • John Topham and Susan Redd Butler BYU Faculty Research Award for research on my “Saints by State” website. , Charles Redd Center for Western Studies (2022 - 2022)
  • “Bright Lights in the Desert: The Latter-day Saints of Las Vegas” documentary film won third place in the short film/documentary film category , Utah LDS Film Festival (2022 - 2022)
  • Eadington Research Fellowship sponsored by the Center for Gaming Research (2021) , University of Nevada Las Vegas (2021 - 2021)
  • John Topham and Susan Redd Butler BYU Faculty Award, to conduct research on the topic of the “Saints of Las Vegas” , Charles Redd Center BYU (2021 - 2021)
  • Adjunct Professor University of Notre Dame Australia, School of Law Sydney at University of Notre Dame Australia (2016 - 2020)
  • Icelandic Heritage Award, Icelandic Association of Utah (2016 - 2016)

Courses Taught

Publications

Fred Emmett Woods Riley M. Moffat Jeffrey N. Walker Fred E. Woods Fred E. Woods Fred E. Woods Fred Emmett Woods Fred Emmett Woods Fred Emmett Woods Fred Emmett Woods Fred Emmett Woods

Presentations

Fred E. Woods
Fred Woods