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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 many articles and a number of books. The past decade he has produced several documentaries and some of his most recent works are 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. 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 of), 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. This past year, Dr. Woods has been a professor at the BYU Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem. During 2015, he will be out of state doing research, but will return to the classroom on BYU campus in Fall 2015.  

Forthcoming Publications:


Fred E. Woods, The Soul of Kalaupapa: A look at the religiosity and spirituality of the Mormons and their neighbors in the Kalaupapa community.

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


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

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

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," forthcoming in a Belgian journal, FVG, June 2015. 

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,” submitted to the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion in December 2014.

Fred E. Woods and Jean Huysmans, John Volker (Dutch Liahona magazine), forthcoming in April 2015 issue. 

Courses Currently Being Taught: The Latter-day Saint History of the International Church (Religion C 344), 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 LDS global/international church, Interfaith dialogue  

Areas of Research (2014): 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. (An Icelandic International Conference will be hosted September 9-13, 2015 at BYU). I am also researching and writing a book on the leprosy settlement known as Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Further, I am living in Laie, Hawaii Jan. 1 to April 30, 2015 to work on the Kalaupapa book and to produce a documentary on the 150th anniversary of Laie being designated as a gathering place in the Pacific. This will serve as a companion to the book, Gathering to Laie, I co-authored with Riley Moffat and Jeff Walker. I am involved with articles dealing with the first Icelandic settlers to Utah, the first missionaries to Alaska and a bio-sketch of the LDS Swiss convert, Frederick Zaugg. In addition, I also am actively involved with interfaith dialogue and will spending most of the month of May giving lectures in Australia and New Zealand on the topic of Religious Tolerance in an age of Religious Extremism, under the direction of Australia/ New Zealand LDS Public Affairs.

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