Mormonism in Norway

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Mormonism in Norway
Classification Mormonism
Region Norway
Origin 1851
Congregations 23
Members 4300 in 2010[1]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norway (Norwegian: Mormonere and Jesu Kristi kirke av siste dagers hellige) is a Restorationist free church with a total membership of 4,300 people in 2010.[2][3]


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Oslo

The first Norwegians who joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were emigrants from Norway, living in a colony on the Fox River in Illinois, America. In 1842 George Parker Dykes came to this Norwegian colony as a missionary sent from Nauvoo. In a short time, he established a Norwegian congregation, and soon thereafter brought the message of the Restoration to other Norwegian settlements in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Knut Pedersen from Stavanger and Erik Hogan from Telemark were some of the many Norwegian members that migrated west to the Utah Territory after the death of Joseph Smith Jr. They were met in the mountains by a group heading east who had been called to open the Scandinavian Mission: Erastus Snow, the Swede John E. Forsgren, and the Dane Peter O. Hansen.[4] George P. Dykes joined the group in England, and was particularly helpful because of his knowledge of Norwegian from his time at Fox River.

In the summer of 1850 they came to Copenhagen, which was a headquarters for the Scandinavian mission until 1950. The Book of Mormon was translated into Danish in 1850 as the first language other than English; this formed a basis for the early missionary work in Norway, as the Bible and the Book of Mormon was used together in preaching.

The first baptism in Norway were in Risør on 26 November 1851,[5] and in 1852 branches were organized in Risør, Brevik and Fredrikstad. Membership grew rapidly after these branches were organized, and new congregations were organized in major cities along the coast over the next 2–3 years. Controversy arose among Norwegian theologians as to whether Mormons should be viewed as Christians; in November 1853, the Supreme Court of Norway ruled that Norway's Dissenter Law of 1845, which protected the rights of Christian groups outside the established Church of Norway, did not apply to Mormons, and eleven Mormon preachers were jailed.[6] The Mormon community repeatedly petitioned for the law to be changed, finally succeeding in 1882.[7][8] The stigma of polygamy was a significant hindrance to proselytizing in Norway, and also meant that those who did convert had an additional incentive to emigrate.[9]

The growth of the church within Norway was historically limited by continuing migration to the United States until after World War II. Today there are over 4,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norway, and membership is again increasing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jesu Kristi Kirke
  2. ^ Kirkens historie i Norge
  3. ^ Jesu Kristi Kirke
  4. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H. (1992). Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, p. 1262
  5. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H. (1992). Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, p. 1262
  6. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H. (1992). Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, p. 1263
  7. ^ Blegen. Theodore Christian (1969). Norwegian Migration to America, New York, Arno Press, pp. 333ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  8. ^ Bloch-Hoell, Nils (1973). "The Impact in Norway of American Religious Dissent", in Arie Nicolaas Jan Den Hollander, ed., Contagious Conflict: The Impact of American Dissent on European Life,Brill Archive, pp. 217-218. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  9. ^ Seljaas, Helge (1977)."Polygamy among the Norwegian Mormons", Norwegian-American Studies 27, 151.

Further reading[edit]

  • Glad, Johnnie (2006). The Mission of Mormonism in Norway 1851—1920: A Study and Analysis of the Reception Process, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, ISBN 3-631-54478-2
  • Gundersen, Dianna (2001). With Scriptures in their Backpack: American LDS Women Missionaries in Norway, PhD Thesis, University of Oslo
  • Haslam, Gerald, M. (1984). Clash of Cultures: The Norwegian Experience with Mormonism, 1842-1920. New York, Peter Lang, ISBN 082040179X
  • Mulder, William (1957/2000). Homeward to Zion. The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

External links[edit]