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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 a dozen 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), each of which were both combined with a book and sold together with a DVD under one cover. His most recent documentary film is titled, “Laie: Refuge from the Storm” (2015). His current film is titled “Melting the Ice: The Early History of the Latter-day Saints in Alaska.” 
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. He just completed a work titled, COMMUNITY: The Mormon Experience at Kalaupapa which is currently being reviewed by the BYU Religious Studies Center. 

Recent Articles Published

Fred E. Woods, "With All Diligence of Mind," Religious Educator, 16, no. 2 (2015):77-89.

Fred E. Woods, “The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann,” LDS Living Magazine, spring 2015.

Fred E. Woods, “The Soul of Kalaupapa,” LDS Living Magazine, summer 2015.

Fred E. Woods, “BYU Hawaii: A Conversation with Steven C. Wheelwright in the Religious Educator 16, no. 3 (2015):27-39. 

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 XXVI FVG, Belgian journal, (2015). 

Fred E. Woods, “Early Beginnings of Icelandic Latter-day Saints,” LDS Living Magazine, winter 2016. 

Forthcoming Books:

Fred E. Woods, COMMUNITY: The Mormon Experience at Kalaupapa, forthcoming as a publication for the BYU Religious Studies Center.

Mary Jane Woodger, Riley Moffat, Fred E. Woods, SACRED AND HISTORICAL PLACES Hawai‘i; A Guide to LDS Historic Sites in Hawai‘i forthcoming  as a publication  for The Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Island Studies , BYU Hawaii. 

Fred E. Woods, Have We Missed The Boat? Mormon Immigration by Sail to Zion  

Forthcoming Articles

Fred E. Woods and Jean Huysmans, John Volker (Dutch Liahona magazine), 2016.

Fred E. Woods, “Mormon Missionaries and basketball in Australia during the mid-20th century: A case study in sport as a vehicle to reach secular society,” has been accepted and will be published soon (2016) in the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion which is a top tier journal representing the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion.    

Fred E. Woods, “A Vow Remembered: Lawrence Judd and His Pledge to Kalaupapa,” article submitted to the Journal of Hawaiian History. This article has already been accepted and will be published in 2016.

Article Submitted for consideration of publication

Fred E. Woods, “More Precious Than Gold: Mormonism Comes to Nome (1900–1913), first article of a two part series, submitted to the Alaska Journal of History, submitted November 2, 2015.

Fred E. Woods, “Launching Mormonism into Alaska (1913­‒1940),” second  article of a two part series submitted to the Alaska Journal of History, November 2, 2015.  


Co-producer of documentary film titled, “Laie: A Refuge from the Storm.” (Premiere showing at the Polynesian Cultural Center, October 25, 2015). This documentary will probably be shown during General Conference weekend, April 2-3, 2016.

Consultant in 2015 for the motion picture, “The Spirit of the Game,” (based on my research of the Mormon Yankees) forthcoming in winter 2016.  

Current production: “Launching Mormon missionaries into Alaska,” documentary film approved by BYU Religious Studies for support. Filming  commenced in 2015.


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 to Icelandic history the past year (2015) and beyond.


"The Soul of Kalaupapa: Voices in Exile," Concordia University (Portland Oregon), February 25, 2016.

I gave several lectures in Hawaii during the winter semester 2015 on the history of  Kalaupapa. 

Courses Currently Being Taught: Doctrine & Covenants (Religion C 324 and 325) and the Old Testament (Religion A 301 and 302)

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 (2016): 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. I am also researching and writing a book on the leprosy settlement known as Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.I am involved with articles dealing with the first Icelandic settlers to Utah, the first missionaries to Alaska, Mormon History in Maine. Further, I am involved with documentary films on the early Mormon History of Alaska and New England. Finally, I am actively involved with interfaith dialogue.

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