Mormonism and Pacific Islanders

Three of the major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Relations between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the natives of the Pacific Island groups of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and surrounding island groups are quite complex.

History [ edit ]

The Pacific islands were one of the first areas to be evangelised after Europe and North America, notably Hawaii, which fell under American influence and was annexed by the USA quite early on.

On November 27, 1919, the Laie Hawaii Temple was the first temple outside the continental United States and also the first in Polynesia.

In 1955, the church began ordaining Melanesians to the priesthood, and on September 26, the Church College of Hawaii was established.

The church had always allowed Pacific Islanders to hold the priesthood, and church president David O. McKay clarified that native Fijians and Australian Aboriginals could also be ordained to the priesthood.

Hagoth [ edit ]

In addition to the LDS Church's stories about people sailing to the New World, there is also the story of Hagoth, who it is said to have sailed from the Americas to Polynesia. But while the stories of Lehi and Jared are generally accepted, that of Hagoth is more ambiguous and not universally supported by practising church members, and not at all by non-members of the church. Differentiating between scriptural and apocryphal accounts of Hagoth and his ships, one Latter-day Saint writer makes the following observations:

The Book of Mormon does not equate the "west sea" with the Pacific Ocean. The Book of Mormon does not tell us that Hagoth was on board any of the ships that were lost. Scripture does not say that he captained a vessel or that he was an explorer or an adventurer, or that he led people. For all we can tell, the skilled Hagoth's main objective was to profit from the shipping industry. It is possible for peoples in various places to be related to Hagoth's people (the Nephites) without Hagoth personally making an ocean voyage. Coastal and Island hopping colonies, once associated with Nephite shipping, could have built more vessels and traveled very far. It is also important to realize that the peoples of the Pacific islands may have come from more than one direction.[1]

Non-scriptural sources suggest that Hagoth led an expedition, sailing into the Pacific Ocean from the Americas. Leaders of the LDS Church[2][3] and scholars have stated that the peoples of the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii, Polynesia, and New Zealand, are descendants of the Nephite Hagoth and his supposed followers.[4] According to the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were descendants of Israel. Many members of the LDS Church in Polynesia have come to believe that Hagoth is their ancestor.[5]

Folklore [ edit ]

Some of the folklore that exits in the relationship of the LDS Church and Pacific Islanders include:

Temples [ edit ]

Although there is a sparse population, and great distances to travel, the Oceania region has a number of church temples due to the significant numbers of members in many countries.

There are also temples in the Philippines, and Australia.

Map Image Temple Location Status / Dedication Date Floor Area
Fiji Suva Fiji Temple by bhaskarroo cropped.jpg Suva Fiji Temple Suva, Fiji June 18, 2000 10,700 sq ft (990 m2)
French Polynesia Temple mormon Tahiti.jpg Papeete Tahiti Temple Papeete, Tahiti October 27, 1983 12,150 sq ft (1,129 m2)
New Zealand LDSTempleHamiltonNewZealand.JPG Hamilton New Zealand Temple Hamilton, New Zealand Closed for Renovations 44,212 sq ft (4,107 m2)
Samoa Apia Samoa Temple-pre fire-crop.jpg Apia Samoa Temple original Apia, Samoa Destroyed 14,560 sq ft (1,353 m2)
Apia Samoa Temple-new.jpg Apia Samoa Temple Apia, Samoa August 5, 1983 18,691 sq ft (1,736 m2)
Tonga Nuku alofa Tonga Temple 2007-11-17.jpg Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple Near Matangiake, commonly known as Liahona August 9, 1983 14,572 sq ft (1,354 m2)
Hawaii Kona Hawaii Temple.jpg Kona Hawaii Temple Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States January 23, 2000 10,700 sq ft (990 m2)
LDS Laie Hawaii Temple front view.jpg Laie Hawaii Temple Laie, Hawaii, United States November 27, 1919 42,100 sq ft (3,910 m2)

Demographics [ edit ]

Book of Mormon translations [ edit ]

The branches of the Oceanic languages. Orange is the Admiralties languages and Yapese, yellow-orange is St. Matthias, green is Western Oceanic, violet is Temotu, and the rest are Central-Eastern: dark red Southeast Solomons, blue Southern Oceanic, pink Micronesian, and ocher Fijian-Polynesian.

Portrayals in media [ edit ]

Notable Pacific Islander Latter-day Saints [ edit ]

LDS Church members from indigenous groups:

Personalities [ edit ]

Arts [ edit ]

  • Naomi Kahoilua Wilson
  • The Jets 1980s popular Pop,RnB and dance music band a family of 17 children from USA they are Tongan
  • Dinah Jane USA gracious member of pop sensation teen group 5th Harmony Polynesian and Danish mixed mostly Tongan

Sports [ edit ]

Valerie Adams(right) in 2017, after her investiture as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the governor-general, Dame Patsy Reddy

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ Coon, W. Vincent, Q & A, “Hagoth’s Lost Ships!”; additionally, Coon notes that the scriptural use of the term "curious" may mean "accomplished with skill and ingenuity" and does not necessarily imply an inclination for adventure.
  2. ^ R. Lanier Britsch stated in the New Era, "Since the days of George Q. Cannon in Hawaii (1851–54), the Church leaders had more and more frequently alluded to the idea that the Polynesians were descendants of Lehi, the early Book Of Mormon prophet. Although the relationship between the Polynesian peoples and the alleged "adventurer" Hagoth (see Alma 63:5–8) is not clear—he being a Nephite and the Polynesians appearing to be Lamanites—Church leaders have time and time again referred to the Polynesians as children of Lehi." - R. Lanier Britsch, "Maori Traditions and the Mormon Church", New Era, June 1981.
  3. ^ "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Book of Mormon Seminary Student Study Guide".
  4. ^ "The website is temporarily down".
  5. ^ For one Mormon artist's portrayal of Polynesian people as the "Children of Hagoth", see "A Worldwide Look at the Book of Mormon, Liahona, December 2000. For an example of Hagoth being regarded as a "hero" by Polynesian Mormon youth, see Kathleen C. Perrin, “Tahitian Pearls,”, Liahona, June 1994.
  6. ^ LDS Church (1958), The Mormon Temple, Temple View, Hamilton, New Zealand: Bureau of Information, Zealand Temple, LDS Church, p. 13, OCLC 367545393, alt. OCLC 156001909
  7. ^ Kezerian, Sandra L. (March 31, 2012), "Visiting our Family History Missionaries at the Archives",
  8. ^ Matthew Cowley, ""Maori Chief Predicts Coming of L.D.S. Missionaries", Improvement Era53:696–698, 754–756 (Sep. 1950), reprinted in Matthew Cowley (1954, Glen L. Rudd ed.). Matthew Cowley Speaks: Discourses of Elder Matthew Cowley of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book) p. 200–205.
  9. ^ Grant Underwood, "Mormonism and the Shaping of Maori Religious Identity", in Grant Underwood (ed.) (2000). Voyages of Faith: Explorations in Mormon Pacific History (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University) pp. 107–126.
  10. ^ R. Lanier Britsch, “Maori Traditions and the Mormon Church,”New Era, June 1981, p. 38.
  11. ^ a b Kenneth W. Baldridge and Lance D. Chase, "The Purported December 7, 1941, Attack on the Hawai'i Temple", in Grant Underwood (ed.) (2000). Voyages of Faith: Explorations in Mormon Pacific History (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press) ISBN 0-8425-2480-0, pp. 165–190.
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