Andrew Jenson’s Illustrated Journey to Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice, August 1911



In 1911, Andrew Jenson was serving one of his ten missions,1 this time as mission president of the Danish-Norwegian Mission.2 Headquarters were in Copenhagen, where he had been presiding since February 1909.3 Jenson was familiar with Scandinavia, having been born and raised in Denmark until age sixteen (1866), when he immigrated to Utah.

By the time of his appointment as president of the Danish-Norwegian Mission, Jenson was nearly sixty years old and had a wealth of experience under his belt. “In 1876 he began a career that would span forty-two years as a translator, compiler, editor, and historian,” and by 1897 he had been appointed as a full-time assistant Church historian. During his lifetime (1850–1941), he authored “27 books, edited four historical periodicals, compiled 650 manuscript histories . . . , wrote more than 5,000 published biographical sketches, more than 2,000 newspaper articles, and gave an estimated 6,000 addresses and speeches on Mormon history throughout the world.”4 Scandinavia was merely one chapter in his life, though it was a very prominent chapter.

In the first half of 1911, President Jenson had made an extensive tour of the mission, during which he presented over fifty illustrated lectures in a number of principal cities in both Norway and Denmark.5 As the summer of 1911 dawned, the heat of the season was accompanied by fiery lectures made by “several anti-Mormon agitators [who] delivered lectures in different parts of Denmark.” Striving to generate light instead of heat, President Jenson, a competent and seasoned missionary, aided by his companion Oluf J. Andersen, successfully responded to critics in Copenhagen in late June.6 For the first time in the history of the Scandinavian Mission (established in 1850), the Danish newspapers defended the Mormon position.7

Following this victory, Jenson decided to take his illustrated lectures to Iceland—the Land of Fire and Ice.8 This visit was the first by a president of the Scandinavian Mission.9 On August 6, 1911, Jenson, accompanied by Elder Alma L. Petersen, embarked from Copenhagen on the steamship Sterling bound for Iceland (fig. 1).10 During the voyage, the vessel made stops in both Scotland and the Faroe Islands. The missionaries made good use of their time, delivering sermons and illustrated lectures as they journeyed across the North Atlantic before arriving at the Westmann Islands (Vestmannaeyjar), just off the southern coast of Iceland, on August 13, 1911.11

The document that follows is an extract from the autobiography and journals of Andrew Jenson covering the ten days he spent in Iceland, August 13–22, 1911.12 This account gives us a rare glimpse of Iceland through the lens of an early-twentieth-century Latter-day Saint. Furthermore, it provides a portrait of how Mormonism was viewed in Iceland, just three years before missionary work in Iceland was shut down (1914) largely because of the onslaught of World War I.13 What makes the account extraordinary is that Andrew Jenson and his traveling companions took a number of photographs while on their journey, thus providing illustrations to match Jenson’s journal entries and provide us with an intriguing picture to complement the journal.14 Each photograph is approximately four inches by five inches, including the frame.

Andrew Jenson and his companion Alma L. Petersen landed safely back in Copenhagen on August 29, 1911. On this journey of twenty-four days they had “traveled about 4380 miles, of which 4020 miles were by steamer, 120 miles by rail, 2 miles by automobile, 165 miles on horseback and 5 miles on small boats.”15 After his return, Andrew continued his labors as mission president about six more months before being released by the First Presidency with the compliment that he had performed a “good and faithful mission.”16 Though he never returned to Iceland, he did not forget the Land of Fire and Ice. In fact, fifteen years later he completed his compilation “Manuscript History of the Iceland Mission,” the last of 650 mission histories he compiled.17

When eighty-seven years old, Andrew Jenson was invited to Spanish Fork, Utah, to dedicate a monument in remembrance of the first Icelandic Latter-day Saint converts to gather to Zion, most of whom had made their home in Spanish Fork. On August 1, 1938, three years before his death, Jenson recorded this journal entry: “Left the City [Salt Lake City] by auto at 5 p.m. with Eva and others and traveled to Spanish Fork where we attended the celebration honoring the arrival of the first Icelanders to Spanish Fork. I dedicated the beautiful monument created by the local Saints and also made a speech . . . and there was quite a lengthy program.”18

The fact that he was asked to dedicate the monument seems most appropriate, inasmuch as this gifted, dedicated Scandinavian historian had presided for several years over the Icelandic Mission, visited this unique country, and compiled the early history of the Latter-day Saints in the Land of Fire and Ice.

Andrew Jenson’s Journal, August 13–22, 1911

Aug. 1911 Arrival at Reykjavik Iceland.19

Sun. 13. [August 1911] When we arose this morning the mountains of Iceland were visible on our right and the Westman Islands soon “hove in sight” ahead.20 As we approached them they appeared very picturesque and beautiful. At 2 o’clock p.m. the ship cast anchor off the little town in a little bay sheltered by lofty, almost perpendicular mountains. Boats soon came out from land and we landed [fig. 2] and walked about 4 miles to the top of an extinct crater, [editorial note: Here Jenson drew in his journal a sketch and the caption “The Westman Islands as they appeared as a distance,” followed by another drawing and caption “The main island of the Westmann group nearer.”] known locally as the Helga Fjeld, 800 feet high and then walked through the little town containing nearly 1500 inhabitants. Finally, we hired a motor boat to take us to a curious cave facing the bay [fig. 3]. As we approached it numerous birds which dwelt in the overhanging rocks “swarmed out” and the scenery was indeed grand. We boarded the ship again at 6 o’clock p.m. and now first observed how grand and beautiful the perpendicular rock walls bordering the bay looked. The highest point on the island is 900 feet high The main land was also in plain sight, the nearest [p. 673] shore being distant about 12 miles. Heavy clouds rested upon the main land; hence, we only had imperfect glimpses of the “jökels” or glaciers or ice-covered mountains which abound in this peculiar icy island of the far north. At 9 o’clock p.m. the ship lifted anchor and we swung out of the little bay, sailing thence to the right of the main island of the Westman group, and set out for Reykjavik. The evening was quite cold.

Mon. 14. [August 1911] Having sailed along the coast of the mainland all night we were steering direct for Reykjavik when we got up in the morning and at 8 o’clock a.m. the ship cast anchor off Reykjavik some boats swarmed around the steamer and Elder Jacob B. Johnson,21 one of the two missionaries from Zion laboring on Iceland, came on board and recognized us. We landed about 9 o’clock and on the wharf I we met Elder Halldor Johnson, the other Elders missionary laboring on Iceland.22 Hiring a man to take our baggage, we walked up in town to a private boarding house kept by an old maid (Ingebjorg Jonsdathi Vonastranti) where we soon felt quite at home and we were placed in a nice comfortable room. We had conversation with the two Elders who had not labored in harmony together since their arrival here about a year ago. I took a long walk out with Elder Jacob B. Johnson who had been appointed president of the Icelandic Mission when [they] passed through Liverpool on their way hither. We called on a number of officials and got permission to give illustrated lectures on Saturday and Sunday evening next and to charge a nominal entrance fee to pay the hall rent. Reykjavik [p. 674] is a town with about 18000 inhabitants containing regular streets and many fine buildings, but it has no harbor on account of which it is difficult to land in stormy weather.23 [figs. 4 and 5.] During the afternoon Bro. Petersen and I decided to make a trip inland on horseback to be accompanied by Elder Haldur Johnson; we hired two horses at the rate of Kr. 3oo per day for the journey. Bro. Johnson went out in the country to secure a horse for himself on better terms. Elder Petersen and I enjoyed a good night’s rest, though we slept in the same bed which was rather small for two.

Tues. 15. [August 1911] Accompanied by Elders Alma Petersen and Halldor Johnson I left Reykjavik at 8 o’clock a.m. on horseback. I rode a gentle mouse-colored animal while my companions rode two sorrels. All three were small Icelandic ponies. The first part of our journey was over good roads. We crossed several creeks, passed several lakes and finally a rocky divide into the socalled Thing Valley basin where there is a large lake. [fig. 6.] After traveling nearly 50 kil. or 32 miles we descended from a higher to a lower plateau through a most romantic gorge along which the black volcanic rocks rose to dizzy hights on either side. It was in this region that the leading man <men> of Iceland in ancient days met as genuine democrats and passed laws for the benefit of the island. We arrived at this historical place at 6 o’clock p.m. (having halted several times on the road to bait24 our animals) and put up for the night at the only hotel called Valhöll (Valhalla or heaven); but we found it, as one traveler remarked “a hell of a heaven,” as the accommodations were very poor and the prices [p. 675] very high. Before retiring we visited a beautiful waterfall nearby. A number of travelers or turists who were fellow-passengers with us on the “Sterling” stopped at the same hotel. They were also going to points of interest inland. They generally had two horses each to ride while we only had one; but we got there as easy as they did and nearly as quick. I stood the ride remarkably well though I <had> scarcely been on the back of an animal since I traveled in New Zealand and Palestine in 1895 and 1896.25

Wed. 16. [August 1911] We prepared for an early start; but the Icelandic boy was two hours late in bringing our horses; hence we did not get started till 9 o’clock a.m. This delay gave us a fine opportunity to visit the chasms, gulches filled with water and rents and splits in the black rocks which abounded everywhere in this region. We had prayer in a lovely secluded spot among the hills. Our journey this day was over through a rough, rocky, hilly country and over a road that was merely a trail, but with great care two-wheeled vehicles could be taken over it. This whole section of country abounded with lava beds and the whole island is of volcanic origin. After crossing a number of ridges we at length descended into a beautiful grassy valley called Langarvatnsvellir, then crossed another ridge to Lanrgarvatn when, on the edge of this lake, there are three or more boiling springs. When we nooned together with an Austrian traveler (Otto Volkert, a young merchant from Vienna) and his Icelandic guide, and we sent to a neighboring farm house for eggs which we boiled in one of the hot springs. [figs. 7 and 8.] We also bought milk and [p. 676] thus enjoyed our dinner. Continuing our journey we forded a number of streams, only crossing the largest river (the Brūarā) on a bridge. Crossed over a number of rocky ridges and finally reached the geyser tavern at 8 o’clock p.m. very tired after riding about 33 miles during the day. While we were eating a most scanty meal at the dirty, one-eyed hotel, a the voice of an Englishman was heard saying loudly, “Come and see,” and we all ran at the top of our speed to the great geyser who was sending a mighty column of hot water high up in the air. This we called exceedingly good luck as many people make the long journey to the geyser without seeing it in action. It was a glorious sight never to be forgotten. A number of English and Canadian tourists who like us came to Iceland on the “Sterling” were putting up in the hotel under the care of Thos. Cook & Sons. The accommodations at this place were poor indeed and the charges extortionant—Kr. 2 to lie down on a sofa <ragged> sofa; but we were tired and slept well. I forgot to state that while we camped for noon today at Langarvatn we had a most beautiful and plain view of Hekla and Tindfjallajokel <Tungnafellsjökell> in the distance eastward. We saw at different points other jokuls or ice-covered mountains in the distance, and the whole landscape was truly interesting

Thurs. 17. [August 1911]. At 9 o’clock a.m. we commenced our return journey from Geyser, but not until we had witnessed a second action on the part of the great geyser and a “fine performance” on the part of the so called little geyser. There are a number of other [p. 677] hot springs, mud springs and fissures through which sulphur vapor[s] rise and the water is boiling continuously. The whole region of country which lies adjacent to the world-renowned Hekla is warm underneath and abounds with hot springs On our return journey we called at a couple of farm houses and got cow milk mixed with cream from sheep’s milk to drink. At one place we got so-called clabbard or sour milk to eat, which made Bro Petersen (whose digestive organs were weak), sick and he vomited the whole thing up in the evening. I rather enjoyed the strange diet. About 6 o’clock p.m. we put up for the night at a farm house situated at the top of a hill overlooking the Thing Valley lake. Here was good grazing for our animals and mutton and course bread for us. I slept in the same room as the family while Elders Petersen and Johnson slept in the hay in the barn.

Fri. 18. [August 1911] We continued our journey at 7 o’clock a.m. and continued our ride by way of Tingvellir the same road that we came out on—baiting many places on the road and eating lunch at the “gate house.” I had stood the trip very well until the middle of the day when the small of my back became effected through the constant pacing and trotting of my little horse and the continuous shaking of my body, and I suffered considerable pain during the remainder of the journey. Elder Johnson left us before we reached Reykjavik to take his horse to his country home, and Bro. Petersen and I (after visiting the public washing place by hot springs, where the women of Rey-[p. 678] kjavik do most of their washing) arrived in Reykjavik about 6 p.m., tired, fatigued and hungry. On our inland journey we had traveled upward of 130 miles on horseback and for us who for years had not been used to horseback riding that was quite a distance. We were truly thankful when we had delivered our horses to the owner and could lie down to rest in our temporary home in Reykjavik. We retired early and enjoyed a splendid night’s rest.

Sat. 19. [August 1911] We spent most of the day writing postal cards to friends and in preparing for our lectures. We advertised in three papers and printed 1000 hand bills which the two Elders Johnson distributed in the town.26 We gave our lecture in the evening to about 35 people, though the hall we had hired would hold about 400. This was a great disappointment to us as we had advertised well and had reason to expect full house.27 Even some of those who came and paid their 25– Öu admittance left before the lecture was through, thus showing their incapability of enjoying solid truths. It is, however, possible that some of them could not understand Danish

Sun. 20. [August, 1911] We held a special meeting with the two Elders Johnson who had not labored in harmony together for some time, and after listening to their explanations it was plain that while their troubles were based upon mere trifles and false rumors as well as some untimely utterances the two Elders were improperly yoked together in the ministry and it would be unwise to ask them to travel much together. Bro. Jacob B. Johnson was about 69 and Bro. [p. 679] Haldor Johnson about 53 years old, and both set in their ways; both being also very different in their disposition and actions. I gave them such advice as the spirit dictated to me, and the two Elders shook hands and forgave each other and promised to defend each other and work in unison so far as it became necessary for them to associate together. I gave them liberty to travel separate and report to me separately. The meeting ended with the best of feelings. From 4 to 6 p.m. we held a Sacrament meeting together, we four elders and two sisters who came in response to our invitation, namely Kirstin Jónsdottir and Thorlief Amalia Josephsdóttir, the first named an old maid and the other one a young girl. A few other members of the Church in Reykjavik did not respond to our invitation. The records show that there are 26 members of the church on Iceland, but they live very much scattered and some of them have probably lost the faith. In the evening we gave our second lecture in the Bárubūđ Hall. About 75 people were present and they seemed to appreciate my efforts better than those who attended the previous evening.28 We paid 25 kroner for the use of the hall for the two nights and we paid 10.50 for advertising in the papers and the printing of 1000 hand bills. Charging 25 cts for entrance we received Kr. 6oo the first night and Kr. 16oo the second night. We felt that we had done our duty and hoped that those who were present at the lectures will be led to a further investigation of the principles of the gospel. [p. 680]

Mon. 21. [August 1911] I spent most of the day conversing with the two Elders Johnson and perusing the little contained in the mission record which commences with 1873. I obtained some information from the two Elders in addition thereto and gave them instructions in regard to keeping records in the future. Bro. Haldor Johnson then walked out with me to see the hauling of a ship upon the land for repair. Returning to our temporary home once more we four Elders engaged in solemn prayer and the spirit of God rested upon us so that our hearts were softened and our eyes brimmed with tears. And thus we finished a short, but I trust, profitable association together with our brethren. We then proceeded to the beach, hired a boat to take us to the same steamer that had brought us to Iceland a week before. And at 6 o’clock we gave the parting hand to the two brothers Johnson (who accompanied us to the ship) and at 6:15 p.m. the steamer “Sterling” lifted anchor and stood off to sea. The weather was fine, though a trifle cold and we enjoyed the voyage skirting the shore and looking at the numerous mountain heights as we passed along. About dark we doubled the cape known as Reykjanes, and then changed course in the direction of the Westmann Islands. The steamer was crowded with passengers. After taking my usual evening bath (on board) I retired and slept well.

Tues. 22. [August 1911] About 6 p.m. the “Sterling” anchored off Westman – Islands and stopped there two hours, but none of the passengers landed. Con-[p. 681] tinuing the voyage. Along the coast we had a fine view of the ice covered [blank space] and for a short time of Hekla in the distance. About sundown we saw the last of the mountains of Iceland as the ship steered away toward Scotland. I conversed with fellow passengers till a late hour, and then retired to have a good nights rest. Among the passengers were a number of Icelandic students going to the Copenhagen University to study. I talked morals and Mormonism to them and they seemed to enjoy my principles.29

About the author(s)

Fred E. Woods is Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University and occupies a Richard L. Evans Chair for Religious Understanding, which he has held since 2005. He compiled and edited the Mormon Immigration Index CD and has written several books as well as numerous articles on Mormon migration. These articles have appeared in the Ensign and scholarly journals including BYU Studies, History Scotland, Missouri Historical Review, British Journal of Mormon Studies, Mormon Historical Studies, Kansas Journal, Annals of Iowa, Annals of Wyoming, The Log of Mystic Seaport, and Inland Seas: Quarterly Journal for the Great Lakes Historical Society. This spring Professor Woods will be teaching a new course on Mormonism at the University of Iceland.

The author thanks Darron S. Allred for translating several Icelandic newspaper articles used in this study and for carefully reviewing the article. Appreciation is also extended to Friðrik Rafn Guðmundsson who helped provide the proper Icelandic contextual understanding for this study. Thanks also to William W. Slaughter and April Williamsen of the Church History Library for going the extra mile to provide the images used in this article.


1. Keith W. Perkins, “Andrew Jenson: Zealous Chronologist,” in Supporting Saints: Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons, ed. with an introduction by Donald Q. Cannon and David J. Whittaker (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1985), 86.

2. “From 1850 to 1905 the Scandinavian Mission embraced Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but from 1905 to 1920, it consisted of Denmark and Norway only and . . . [was] called the Danish-Norwegian Mission. With the separation of Denmark and Norway in 1920 this mission ceased to exist, and the three countries, originally included in the Scandinavian Mission then became the Swedish Mission, the Danish Mission, and the Norwegian Mission respectively.” Andrew Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927), 410.

For the full story of the Icelandic Latter-day Saints, see Fred E. Woods, Fire on Ice: The Story of Icelandic Latter-day Saints at Home and Abroad (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005), and the Icelandic translation of this text, Eldur á ís: Saga hinna íslensku Síðari daga heilögu heima og að heiman, trans. Friðrik Rafn Guðmundsson (Reykjavík, Iceland: University of Iceland Press/Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2007). For an overview of the LDS Icelandic history, see Fred E. Woods, “Icelandic Conversion and Emigration: A Sesquicentennial Sketch,” in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Europe, vol. 4, ed. Donald Q. Cannon and Brent L. Top (Provo, Utah: Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, 2003), 1–22. For the story of two young Icelanders influential in the establishment of missionary work, see Fred E. Woods, “Fire on Ice: The Conversion and Life of Guðmundur Guðmundsson,” BYU Studies 39, no. 2 (2000): 56–72.

3. Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 422.

4. Allan Kent Powell, “Andrew Jenson,” in Utah History Encyclopedia, ed. Allan Kent Powell (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994), 284. For more biographical information on the life and accomplishments of Andrew Jenson, see Louis Reinwand, “Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Historian,” BYU Studies 14, no. 1 (1973): 29–46; Keith W. Perkins, “A Study of the Contributions of Andrew Jenson to the Writing and Preservation of LDS Church History” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971); Keith W. Perkins, “Andrew Jenson: Zealous Chronologist” (PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1974). A distillation of his dissertation is found in Perkins, “Andrew Jenson: Zealous Chronologist,” in Supporting Saints, 83–99.

5. Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 431–32.

6. Jenson’s maturity in handling this opposition can be contrasted to his first mission to Denmark in 1873, when he was not quite twenty-three years old. Not long before that mission, in the summer of 1871, Andrew had worked as a cattle driver in Utah. Drawing on a few of Jenson’s own words, Reinwand explains that “Andrew encountered the usual frustrations of the Mormon missionary. At one time, after being insulted at a small meeting in Saeby, he ‘squared up’ to the accuser ‘with clenched fist, the spirit of the cowboy life asserting itself, ready to strike him.’” Reinwand, “Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Historian,” 32–33,

7. Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 432–33.

8. Iceland’s designation as the Land of Fire and Ice derives from the fact that its geographical landscape is largely made up of volcanic materials; the result is occasional hot lava as well as many glaciers. For more information concerning how this unique country has developed, see “Forged By Fire, Honed By Ice,” Insight Guides: Iceland (Maspeth, N.Y.: Langenscheidt Publishers, 1999, 4th ed.), 17–21.

9. Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 433.

10. Andrew Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1938), 482. Alma L. Petersen, from Huntsville, Utah, arrived in the Danish-Norwegian Mission on February 26, 1910. The following two years (1911–1912), Petersen served as the president of the Aarhus Conference in Denmark. Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 429, 499.

11. Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 433.

12. Andrew Jenson, Autobiography and Journals, August 13–22, 1911, Andrew Jenson Papers, January 1909 to December 1912, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. Jenson’s Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 482–85, contains a record of the Iceland visit, though it differs somewhat from the original journal entries that I have used for this article. Keith Perkins notes that at the suggestion of local missionaries in Denmark, Andrew began to keep a journal at age thirteen, which he continued through his entire life. Perkins, “Andrew Jenson: Zealous Chronologist,” in Supporting Saints, 85. In a Deseret News article published in 1936, Jenson recorded, “History has been my major interest since the age of fourteen when a missionary’s journal inspired me to record my personal history. . . . In keeping this journal, which has been uninterrupted since that day, I have learned that a person can’t be a natural historian until he commences with his own life.” “Historian, 86, Needs Century More to End Work,” Deseret News, December 11, 1936, 17.

13. “July 8, 1914 Elder Einar Eriksen . . . was released today, on account of a discontinuance of missionary work in Iceland, and in compliance with instructions received by the First Presidency.” “Historical Record of the Icelandic Mission, 1873–1914,” Church History Library. A week later it was reported that “Elder Einar Ericksen had been released from his missionary activities on Iceland, and the work on that island was now discontinued.” “Danish-Mission Manuscript History,” Church History Library, July 15, 1914. Two weeks later (August 1, 1914), this same manuscript “contained a greeting (culled from the Skandinaviens Stjerne) from Pres. Hans J. Christiansen to all the Elders laboring in the Danish-Norwegian Mission, encouraging them under the now existing regrettable conditions into which all Europe had been thrown (brought on by the war, . . . which caused anxiety) to remain at their posts and labor like brave men for the cause.” Yet the following month, the Danish-Mission Manuscript History (September 27, 1914) cites a telegram for this date stating that “most of the missionaries laboring in the Danish-Norwegian Mission would soon be released to depart from Liverpool on October 14th [1914].” It would be another six decades before missionary work would be reopened in Iceland and a branch of the Church reestablished.

14. Several of these photographs were used in a lecture given by the author at the University of Iceland on March 3, 2007. He will be returning there in Spring 2009 to teach an intensive course on Mormonism at the invitation of Professor Pétur Pétursson.

15. Jenson, Autobiography, 486.

16. Keith W. Perkins, “Andrew Jenson: Zealous Chronologist,” diss., 178, notes, “On March 8, 1912, he [Jenson] was officially released with compliments of the First Presidency.”

17. The “Manuscript History of the Iceland Mission [1851–1914]” is housed at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. The Deseret News noted that this Manuscript History of the Iceland Mission would be Andrew Jenson’s “last of the mission histories to be compiled.” “Will Write History of Iceland Mission,” Deseret News, March 2, 1926; Journal History, Church History Library.

18. Jenson, Autobiography and Journals, August 1, 1938. Eva was the daughter of Andrew Jenson and his wife Emma Howell. Powell, “Andrew Jenson,” 284. See also Perkins, “Andrew Jenson: Zealous Chronologist,” diss., 174.

19. This title is written at the top of the page.

20. It is interesting that Jenson first discusses the Westmann Islands, for here is where Mormonism was first introduced to the native Icelanders in 1851. Of the four hundred Icelandic converts who joined between 1851 and 1914 and gathered to Utah, about half were from the Westmann Islands. Woods, Fire on Ice, 201.

21. Jacob B. Johnson or “(Jakob Baldvin Jonsson) was born 21 May 1843 in Reykjavik, Gullbringu. . . . Jakob left Iceland in early 1876 and arrived in Winnipeg, Canada on 8 August 1876. One year later he made his way to Spanish Fork, Utah, where he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1879 Jakob and Jon Eyvindsson were called to serve as missionaries in Canada and Iceland. . . . In July of 1881 Jakob returned from Iceland with a small group of Icelanders. Sigridur Bjarnadottir and her son Einar Jonsson were among these Icelanders. Jakob and Sigridur were married 20 October 1881 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Einar was adopted by Jakob. Sigridur was born about 1834 and died 25 May 1896. Jakob married again, this time to Petrea Knudsen, and they became the parents of five children. Petrea was born in Denmark 20 October 1864. They were married 8 October 1896. Jakob lived in Spanish Fork until he moved to Cleveland, Utah, where he homesteaded 160 acres in 1885. Jakob went to Iceland on another mission in 1910. . . . Jakob died 22 July 1930 and is buried in the Cleveland Cemetery.” David Alan Ashby, Icelanders Gather to Utah, 1854–1914, From Iceland to Spanish Fork, Utah (Spanish Fork, Utah: Icelandic Association of Utah, 2008), 63.

22. “Halldor Jonsson [Johnson] was born 1 March 1856 at Skurdbaer, Medallandsthing, Vestur Skaftafell.” In 1879, he married Guðrun Jónsdottir, and the following year they were baptized. In 1881, Halldór, Guðrun, and their son Jóhann immigrated to Spanish Fork and soon thereafter moved to Cleveland, Utah. They had seven children. He returned to Iceland to serve a mission (1899–1901) and a second mission (beginning in 1910). “Halldor died 11 January 1936 in Cleveland, Utah and is buried in the Cleveland Cemetery.” Ashby, Icelanders Gather to Utah, 50.

23. Reykjavík means “Smoky Bay,” from the smoke created by geothermal springs. Insight Guides: Iceland, 153. The town of Reykjavík was officially established by royal decree in 1786, and fifteen years later, the 1801 census revealed that the town had a population of only 307. Gunnar Karlsson, The History of Iceland (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 182–85. A century later (1901), Reykjavík had a mere 5,000 inhabitants. Insight Guides: Iceland, 156.

24. Jenson’s word bait is likely derived from beita, an Icelandic word that may be translated “to feed or graze.” Thus they were stopping to feed their horses. G. T. Zoëga, Icelandic-English Dictionary (Reykjavik: Sigurður Kristjánsson, 1922), 47.

25. For an account of Jenson’s travels to New Zealand (1895) and Palestine (1896), see Jenson, Autobiography, 267–306, 321–57.

26. An advertisement was posted in a Reykjavík Icelandic newspaper stating, “A Danish-American Mormon intends to present a message about the Mormons and the situation in Utah in Bárūbuđ [a public hall in Reykjavík] tonight and tomorrow night.” Ísafold, August 1911, 201.

27. One major reason for such low attendance is that the day before Jenson gave his first illustrated lecture, an unidentified woman with the initials Í. Ó. wrote a lengthy anti-Mormon article titled “Mormóna-villan” (Mormon Heresy) with reference to the coming of Andrew Jenson, a Mormon missionary and polygamist from Utah. The article also noted that Joseph [F.] Smith was a polygamist with five wives and forty children and noted that “the Mormon missionaries paint a bright picture of Utah in every detail, so that those who are ignorant think that there is some kind of earthly paradise there, but when they arrive there the many evils amaze them. . . . The missionaries intend to have 5–10 wives each.” See the Icelandic newspaper ÞJÓÐÓLFUR, August 18, 1911, 119. Elder Jacob B. Jonsson responded to this attack in an article by the same name, “Mormónavillan.” See ÞJÓÐÓLFUR, September 8, 1911, 131. Not to be outdone, the crafty Í. Ó. wrote another article with the same name as a rebuttal to Jonsson. See ÞJÓÐÓLFUR, September 23, 1911, 140. However, Halldór Jónsson joined the debate with a rebuttal, and he had the final word. The editor of ÞJÓÐÓLFUR attached a note to this article: “Additional articles on this subject will not be accepted.” “Mormónavillan,” ÞJÓÐÓLFUR, November 17, 1911, 172. In this piece, among other things, Jónsson informed Í. Ó. that polygamy had ceased in 1890 and wrote, “I feel that the 15th stanza of the 11th psalm of the Easter psalms is suitable here: ‘By his speech, often, may a man be known, who preferably he would be, Deceived at first, he himself must be, with freedom censure then employs, Best it is, a temper pure, gentle words do prove, be sure; Abuse from one most evil seen, saved last for lack of purest clean.’ If a picture of the author of this article is not painted in the afore-mentioned stanza, I do not know where a good one could be found.”

28. On June 17, 1911, the centenary of Jón Sigurðsson’s birth and just two months prior to this lecture, the University of Iceland opened its doors in Reykjavík. Sigurðsson, the epitome of Icelandic identity, ignited the spark for Iceland to obtain its independence from Denmark. The commencement of this institution seems to have signaled a renewed thirst for education in general and no doubt fanned the flames of freedom. Thirty-three years later to the day, on June 17, 1944, Iceland claimed independence. See Jón R. Hjálmarsson, History of Iceland: From the Settlement to the Present Day (Reykjavík: Iceland Review, 1993), 129, 159; Karlsson, The History of Iceland, 208.

29. The following day, August 23, 1911, Jenson provides another journal entry that sheds light on the international flavor of this return voyage. He notes, “I spent the day . . . conversing with the passengers. There were representatives of 12 nationalities on board, to wit., Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, English, Scotch, Irish, German, Hollandish, American, Canadian & Australian.”

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