Fred Woods

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Fred Emmett Woods IV[1] (born 1956) is a Brigham Young University professor of Latter-day Saint Church History and Mormon Doctrine, an author specializing in Mormon migration and the Globalization of Mormonism.


Early life[edit]

Woods was born and grew up in Southern California. He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 20 and about a year later left on a mission to Australia. After returning from his mission he began studying at Ricks College where he met his wife, JoAnna Merrill. They are now the parents of five children.


After completing his associate degree at Ricks, Woods earned a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, and received a Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of Utah. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Water and Storm Polemics against Baalism in the Deuteronomic History. His Ph.D. was in Mideastern Studies with an emphasis in Hebrew Bible.

Since that time Woods has focused his studies primarily on 19th century Mormon history. He has had research fellowships with both the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia and the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Teaching career[edit]

Woods began as an instructor in the LDS seminaries in Provo and Orem. He later served as an Institute of Religion instructor and director in both Southern California and in Boulder, Colorado. From 1993 to 1998 he was a professor of religion at Ricks College, and since 1998 he has been a professor of religion at Brigham Young University.

While at BYU Woods has taken leaves of absence, once in 2001 to be a visiting professor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and in the summers of 2004, 2005 and 2006 to be a visiting professor at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

From 2005 until 2010 he held the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding in BYU's College of Religion.[2]


Possibly the most widely used publication by Fred Woods is his CD the "Mormon Emigration Index", a compilation of passenger lists and primary source excepts of the Mormon passengers on ships from 1840–1890.

Woods has also written or edited several books:

Woods has been a prolific writer of articles. Among these are "An Islander's View of a Desert Kingdom: Jonathana Napela recounts his 1869 visit to Salt Lake City".[5] He published an article on Scottish Mormon migration to Utah in Scotland History in 2005. He has published books and periodical articles on the exploitation of the Saluda with William G. Hartley. He has published articles on the first Latter-day Saint missionaries to Tahiti, "The Outdoor Life of Wilford Woodruff" with Phil Murdock.

He has also edited for publication letters of historical significance. One example of this is "I Long to Breathe the Mountain Air of Zion's Peaceful Home", a letter written by Agnes O'Neal to Brigham Young from war-torn Virginia. It appeared in BYU Studies in 2007. In May 2014 an article by Woods on the wreck of the Julia Ann carrying Mormons coming from New Zealand bound for Utah, was published by Meridian Magazine.[6]

Public lectures[edit]

Woods has given many public lectures. A few of the most notable include:

  • His 2007 lecture for the "Faith Beyond Walls" interfaith partnership of St. Louis given at the Frontenac LDS meetinghouse.[7]
  • A 200th birthday celebration lecture on Oliver Cowdery in Vermont.[8]
  • He gave a lecture on the place of Liverpool in Mormon migration at the 2007 conference of the European Mormon Studies Association.[9]
  • In May 2012 Woods gave presentations in Australia regarding the Mormon Yankees basketball players of the 1950s.
  • In May 2016 Woods gave a lecture commemorating the 147th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.[10]


Woods received the Richard L. Anderson Distinguished Research Award in 2002.[11]


  1. ^ Middle name from doctoral dissertation entry in Google Books: Water and Storm Polemics Against Baalism in the Deuteronomic History. Google Book Search. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  2. ^ About the Author section with "Finding Refuge in El Paso"
  3. ^ June 21, 2012 Deseret News article on Mormon Yankees
  4. ^ Jan. 13, 2013 Deseret News review
  5. ^ BYU Studies, 2006
  6. ^ Meridian Magazine article by Woods
  7. ^ Church News, April 21, 2007.[full citation needed]
  8. ^ Church News, September 30, 2006.[full citation needed]
  9. ^
  10. ^ Deseret News, May 12, 2016
  11. ^ BYU Studies, vol. 41, no. 4, p. 93


External links[edit]