Loftur Jónsson: A Mormon Icelandic Pillar of Strength


Mormon studies, Loftur Jonsson, Iceland


Loftur Jonsson (Loftur Jónsson) was born in Butra, Teigur in Fljótshlíð, Rangárvallasýsla, on July 20, 1814, from a lineage of devout Lutherans. His parents were Jon Arnason (Jón Árnason) and Thorgerdur Loftsdottir (Þorgerður Loftsdóttir). By 1836, Loftur and his brother Arni (Árni) were employed in Vestmannaeyjar in the fishing trade.1 Loftur prospered in his work and eventually is said to have become the owner of a fishing boat called Goldfalls (Gullfoss).2 During this time, he also hired himself out to take care of the estate of a local widow named Gudrun Hallsdottir (Guðrún Hallsdóttir), whose husband, Jon Oddsson (Jón Oddsson), had drowned in a fishing accident on March 5, 1834.3 Loftur proved to be of great value to Gudrun, but Loftur later decided he wanted to devote himself solely to the fishing industry. According to family tradition, when he informed Gudrun of his plans, she, though two decades his senior, proposed marriage wherein he would receive half of the estate. Loftur found the offer a great temptation due to the daily struggles of making a living, and he subsequently consented to marriage on October 27, 1836.4

Original Publication Citation

Fred E. Woods, “Loftur Jónsson: A Mormon Icelandic Pillar of Strength.” Mormon Historical Studies 13, no. 2 (Fall 2013): 123–40.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Mormon Historical Studies




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor