Soul was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 28, 1943, and is of Norwegian extraction. His mother, June Johnanne (Nelson), was a teacher, and his father, Dr. Richard W. Solberg, was a Lutheran minister, Professor of History and Political Science, and Director of Higher Education for the Lutheran Church in America (now part of the ELCA). Both of Soul's grandfathers were evangelists. Dr. Solberg was also Senior Representative for Lutheran World Relief during the reconstruction of Germany after the Second World War from 1949 until 1956. Because of this, the family moved frequently during Soul's youth.