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Fred E. Woods

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Department: Church History

Title: Professor

Office: 365E JSB

Phone number: (801) 422-3366

Contact: Send message

Curriculum Vitae: View Vitae

Bio: Fred E. Woods completed a B.S. degree in Psychology (1981) and a MS degree in International Relations (1985) from Brigham Young University. In 1991 he earned a Ph.D. in Middle East Studies from the University of Utah with an emphasis in Hebrew Bible. He has been a BYU professor in the department of Church History & Doctrine since 1998. From 2005 to 2010 he held a Richard L. Evans Professorship of Religious Understanding. Dr. Woods has lectured at numerous universities in the United States and internationally. He is the author of scores of articles has authored, co-authored or edited fifteen books. The past decade he has also produced several documentaries with LDS film maker, Martin Andersen. Their films include 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), each of which were both combined with a book and sold together with a DVD under one cover. His most recent documentary film will be released this spring is Melting the Ice: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Alaska (2018).

Professor Woods is best known for his work which focuses on the maritime segment of the story of the Latter-day Saint gathering to Zion; the sailing before the trail portion of Mormon immigration to America and he has authored scores of articles on this topic. His website Mormon Migration (of which he is the editor and compiler), is the chief source of information on this topic. His most current book, Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann tells the riveting story of the only ship wreck (out of thousands) which carried Latter-day Saints to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. From 2013-2014, Dr. Woods was a professor at the BYU Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem. In spring 2017 he was a research fellow at the Manchester Harris College at Oxford University and this coming spring he will return back to the Harris Manchester College. 

Recent Articles Published

Fred E. Woods and R. Devan Jensen, “We Rang the Bell”: The Launch of Mormonism in Tonga, Mormon Historical Studies vol. 18, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 43-63.

Fred E. Woods and Jean Huysmans, “John W. F. Volker: vertaler van het Boek van Mormon en Nederlandse zendeling vol met ijver” Liahona, in Dutch language (September 2017): 5-8.

Fred E. Woods and R. Devan Jensen, with Katie Lambert, “The Church in Tonga,” forthcoming in LDS Living magazine (March/April 2017): 59-62, 64. 

Fred E. Woods, “William Mark Waddoups And His Kalaupapa Connection,” forthcoming October 2017 in The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 51 (2017): 143-169. 

Fred E. Woods, “More Precious Than Gold: Mormonism Comes to Nome, (1900–1913), Alaska History vol 31 #2 pages 28-45, Fall 2016. 

Fred E. Woods, “Mormon Missionaries and Mid-twentieth-century Basketball in Australia: Religion through Sport as a Vehicle to Reach Secular Society,” published in the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion (JASR) 29:1 (2016), 77-93. (Note: This is the leading peer-reviewed journal of the Pacific region for religious studies. 

Fred E. Woods, “A Vow Remembered: Lawrence Judd and His Pledge to Kalaupapa,” in the Journal of Hawaiian History, vol. 50 (2016), 1-31.  

Fred E. Woods and Jean Huysmans, “The Consecrated Service of Elder John W. F. Volker: The Netherlands Mission,” forthcoming in the Religious Educator, 17, no. 1 (2016):120-157. (This was the launch article to commence global Mormon studies in every subsequent issue of the Religious Educator

Fred E. Woods, “Is Truth Stranger than Fiction?” A conceptual look at the societies of Zion and Babylon and the search for a promised land," Acta Comparanda FVG vol. XXVI (2016): 65-78, Antwerp, Belgian journal. 

Fred E. Woods and Kári Bjarnason, “The First Three Icelanders to Settle in North America,” Mormon Historical Studies, 17, nos. 1-2 (2016): 291-313. 

Fred E. Woods and Jake Healey, “Early Beginnings of Icelandic Latter-day Saints,” LDS Living Magazine, (Jan./Feb. 2016): 59-64.

Fred E. Woods, “Launching Mormonism into Alaska (1913­‒1940),” submitted to Alaska History, November 2016. 

Fred E. Woods and Jannalee Rosner, “The Church in Alaska,” LDS Living Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2016, 59-65. 

Recently Published Books:

Fred E. Woods, The Mormon Experience in an Exiled Community (Provo: UT, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book), January 2017.

Fred E. Woods, Reflections of Kalaupapa (Laie: Hawaii, Polynesian Cultural Studies and the Jonathan Napela Institute for Hawaiian and Pacific Studies, BYU-Hawaii), January 2017.

Mary Jane Woodger, Riley Moffat, Fred E. Woods, SACRED AND HISTORICAL PLACES Hawai‘i; A Guide to LDS Historic Sites in Hawai‘i (Laie: BYU Hawaii; Mormon Historic Sites Foundation), 2016. 

Forthcoming Books

Fred E. Woods, Melting the Ice, A History of Latter-day Saints in Alaska, spring 2018

Recently Released Films

Co-producer of documentary film titled, “Laie: A Refuge from the Storm.” 

Consultant in 2016 for the motion picture, “The Spirit of the Game,” (based on research of the Mormon Yankees) 

Current production: “Melting the Ice: A History of Latter-day Saints in Alaska” documentary film approved by BYU Religious Studies for support. Film will be released in 2017.

Forthcoming Films

"Melting the Ice, the Mormon Experience in Alaska", release date Spring 2017

Recent Awards/Appointments 2016

Summer Oxford Research fellow (spring 2015). Recent invitation to return to Oxford for an additional term of study in 2017.

Icelandic Heritage award from the Icelandic Association of Utah (2016) for contributions in the preservation of Icelandic history.

Appointed in January 2016, Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, Sydney at The University of Notre Dame Australia 

Icelandic Heritage award from the Icelandic Association of Utah (2016) for contributions to Icelandic history the past year (2015) and beyond.

Courses Being Taught Winter 2018: Doctrine & Covenants (Religion C 325) and Foundations of the Restoration (Rel C 225). 

Areas of Expertise: Mormon migration, Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), 19th century LDS Church History, The Doctrine and Covenants, the LDS global/international church, Interfaith dialogue  

Areas of Research (2018): Mormon Migration - I am the editor/compiler of the Mormon Immigration Index and the website: "Mormon Migration" I am working on an international project about Icelandic Mormon History in Utah and Iceland with Icelandic scholar, Kari Bjarnason. Further, I am involved with research and documentary films on the early Mormon History of Alaska and Tonga. Finally, I am actively involved with interfaith dialogue.

Languages: I have studied a number of biblical languages for reading purposes.