[Back to Formatted Version]

Thingvalla Lutheran Church Records, 1913-1916

Collection Overview

Title: Thingvalla Lutheran Church Records, 1913-1916


Creator: Thingvalla Lutheran Church

Extent: 0.25 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 08/00/1982

Languages: English [eng], Icelandic [ice]


Located five miles south of Mountain, Pembina County, North Dakota. The church was organized in 1889 and was destroyed by fire in 2003

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Thingvalla Lutheran Church Records consist of a photocopy of a book entitled Tru Og Pekking (Faith and Knowledge).  The book was written by Frederick J. Bergmann in 1916 and dedicated to the members of the Thingvalla Lutheran Church. The book covers four broad areas: Biblical research; Martin Luther's view of the Bible; select readings of the Bible; and North Dakota synods. The original is held by Joe W. Hall, Gardar, North Dakota.

Also included are legal documents related to the case of Gudmundson v. Thingvalla Lutheran Church. On June 5, 1910, the Thingvalla Lutheran Church withdrew from the Icelandic Lutheran Synod. A disagreement between members over the doctrine of plenary inspiration of the Bible was the basis for the separation. A minority of members later withdrew from the congregation and passed a resolution that the majority members had departed from the original faith and violated the constitutions of the church and synod.

The synod held proceedings to resolve the matter and determined that the church had violated the constitutions of both church and synod. The minority members then took the majority members to court for ownership of the church. The Pembina County District Court, based on the proceedings of the synod and testimony from witnesses, ruled that the minority members were the true members of the Thingvalla Church.

The majority members appealed the case, arguing that the trial court had based their decision on insufficient evidence since the synod proceedings had no authority over Thingvalla because of their withdrawal. They also argued that plenary inspiration was not written in either constitution nor was is presupposed in the documents. The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled on December 14, 1914, in favor of the majority members stating that the synod did not have authority over the Thingvalla Church and that plenary inspiration was not a fundamental doctrine of the Lutheran Church or a test for membership.

Materials in the collection include a photocopy of the ruling by the Pembina County District Court, briefs submitted to the North Dakota Supreme Court by the Appellants (defendants) and Respondents (plaintiffs), and a list of exhibits in the Supreme Court. Also included is a photocopy of the final ruling by the Supreme Court as published in North Dakota Reports. 

Administrative Information

Accruals: Additional material donated by Dr. Playford Thorson, Grand Forks, North Dakota, on July 19, 2005 (2005-2781)

Access Restrictions: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.

Acquisition Source: Joe Hall, Gardar, North Dakota

Acquisition Method: Donation; 82-1026

Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Thingvalla Lutheran Church Records. OGLMC 777, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections. Chester Fritz Library. University of North Dakota.

Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid added to Archon in July 2012.

Box and Folder Listing

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Tru Og Peking by Frederick J. Bergmann, 1916Add to your cart.
Section 2: Gudmundson v. Thingvalla Lutheran ChurchAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: District Court of Pembina County ruling, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Appellants' Brief, 1913Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Appellants' Reply Brief, 1913Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Respondents' Amended Abstract, 1913Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Respondents' Brief, 1913Add to your cart.
Folder 7: List of Exhibits in the Supreme Court, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: North Dakota Reports, Vol. 29, 1915Add to your cart.