Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


Iceland, police officers, Church history, conversion

Document Type



In 1881 in Reykjavík, Iceland, two Icelandic police officers, Þorsteinn (Thorsteinn) Jónsson and Jón Borgfirðingur, were sent to arrest Latter-day Saint missionaries. These missionaries had baptized the first three converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Reykjavík a year earlier, and one of those converts, Sigríður Jónsdóttir, happened to be the wife of one of the arresting officers. But a remarkable friendship, one that thrived irrespective of time, distance, and religious differences, developed due to the arrests and the events surrounding them. Although the story and historical context of the missionaries’ experience in Reykjavík have been explored before, this article focuses on the thrilling narrative of the friendship of these two Icelandic police officers. It is a story that demands attention by serious readers of Church history. Due to new source material, the article also provides new insights on several questions. How did the first Latter-day Saint baptisms come about in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavík? How did the native Icelanders react to three of their women being immersed by foreign missionaries? Why were the Utah elders arrested? What was the reaction of the police officers who arrested them, knowing the wife of one of the police officers was one of these first converts? What developed from these conversions, and what is the rest of the story?