On Friday 10 August 2018, emeritus professor Ronald Dennis of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA, was inducted into the Gorsedd of Bards, the “Bardic Circle” at the National Eisteddfod1 in Cardiff, Wales. Becoming a member of the Gorsedd of Bards is a great honour awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the Welsh language, literature, and culture.
While working on his family history many years ago, Professor Dennis came upon a pamphlet written by his great-great-grandfather Captain Dan Jones in support of his faith. Dan Jones had been born near Halkyn in North Wales. He emigrated to America and, while a steamboat captain on the Mississippi River, became converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843. He returned to his native Wales in 1845 and became a renowned missionary and prolific writer in defence of the faith.
Professor Dennis, a professor of Portuguese, learnt the Welsh language in order to translate the pamphlet and further pursue his research. This has led to the publication of 14 books and the website welshmormon.byu.edu, making him the foremost historian of 19th-century Welsh Latter-day Saints and opening up access to an important part of early Church history, for scholars and family historians alike.