The Soul of Kalaupapa


Mormon Studies, BYU devotional, Kalaupapa, service


In December 2003 I went to Hawaii to do research and invited my wife, JoAnna, to go with me, because I knew we would have a few days at the end of my workweek to also celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. My research focused on the LDS history of Laie, on the island of Oahu, but I asked JoAnna where she would like to go on the Hawaiian Islands for our anniversary celebration. She replied that her priority would be to visit the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement on the north shore of the island of Molokai. We had been reading about this unique place, and I thought her suggestion was perfect. Our trip included a precarious mule ride down the steep 2,000-foot cliffs of the Molokai Range, which eventually spilled us out onto a four-mile peninsula of sacred space, a transforming terra firma known as Kalaupapa.

Original Publication Citation

Fred E. Woods, “The Soul of Kalaupapa,” Speeches 2008—2009 Brigham Young University (Provo: BYU, 2009), 215—30.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Brigham Young University




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor