Church History
Norway: Overview

“Norway: Overview,” Global Histories: Norway (2019)

“Norway: Overview,” Global Histories: Norway

map of Norway

A Brief History of the Church in



Norway’s people have played a significant role in Church history since the 1840s. Norwegians who joined the Church in the United States were in the first pioneer companies to reach the Salt Lake Valley. Three years later, in 1850, the Scandinavian Mission became one of the first missions in which missionaries taught the gospel in a language other than English. Hans F. Petersen, a Dane, extended the mission’s work into Norway in 1851. Though the government refused to recognize the Church and the early Saints in Norway faced significant opposition, thousands joined the Church in Norway in the 1800s.

Nearly half of those early members immigrated and helped build up the Church in Utah and the surrounding areas. One immigrant, John A. Widtsoe, later became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and served for three decades. Other members remained in Norway and helped keep a continual Church presence there, though the development of Church organizations was limited.

In August 1946, the government granted the Church permission to preach in Norway; official registration as a religious denomination was granted in 1988. Now, with two stakes and 22 congregations, the Church is firmly established in Norway.

From average members living their religion daily to leaders in the highest councils, Norwegian Latter-day Saints have deeply influenced the Church. Theirs is a story of perseverance, conviction, and continuing in the faith (see Colossians 1:23).

Quick Facts

  • Official Name: Kingdom of Norway/Kongeriket Norge

  • Capital: Oslo

  • Largest City: Oslo

  • Official Languages: Norwegian

  • Land Area: 385,178 km2 (148,718 mi2)

  • Church Area: Europe

  • Missions: 1 (Oslo)

  • Congregations: 22