Sarah C. Reed


Danish American, ethnic identity, Mormonism


American author Virginia Sorensen (1912–91) grew up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manti, Utah, in Sanpete Valley, a place known as “Little Denmark” because it was a major center for the Danish immigrant community in Utah. In 1956 she described her hometown like this: even now if you go to see the fine white Mormon Temple that dominates the landscape night and day you will likely be shown about the grounds by somebody with a Danish name, perhaps even with a Danish accent. he will tell you about the famous spiral staircases in the towers which were built by skilled Danish craftsmen not long ago.... My first school principal and ward choir-leader was Brother Johnsen. My sister studied piano with Mr. Jensen. We ate bread baked in a Danish bakery with a sign like a pretzel over the door. There was a Danish Pasture, a Danish Wood, a Danish Ditch in our neighborhood. People held Danish meetings and bore testimonies in a Danish-english language that we children found side-splitting. They also subscribed to a Danish magazine called Bikuben and loved the works of a Danish poet C. C. A. Christensen who once studied in the Royal Academy in Copenhagen.1