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13. Gathering Latter-day Saint History in the Pacific

By Richard E. Turley

Richard E. Turley Jr., “Gathering Latter-day Saint History in the Pacific,” in Pioneers in the Pacific, ed. Grant Underwood (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005) 145–159.

 

Gathering Latter-day Saint History in the Pacific

Richard E. Turley Jr.

Richard E. Turley Jr. was managing director of the Family and Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this was published.

 

On the day the Church was organized, the Lord gave the Prophet Joseph Smith a revelation that became section 21 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The opening verse of this revelation begins with this important commandment: “Behold, there shall be a record kept among you” (D&C 21:1). This commandment has never been revoked, and it applies in all the areas of the Church throughout the world, including the Pacific. In this chapter, I will survey some of the sources of Church history in the Pacific that have been collected by the Church Historical Department and its predecessor institution, the Church Historian’s Office, which have spent over a century and a half in fulfillment of this and subsequent commandments to keep a history and record of the Church and of the “life, . . . faith, and works” of its members (D&C 85:2).

To understand the materials in the Church’s historical collections requires understanding the history of the Historical Department itself. After the Church received a commandment to keep a record, a Church historian, or recorder, was appointed to oversee the history-keeping function. For example, early Church historian John Whitmer’s work is the subject of a March 8, 1831, revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio. In this revelation, now section 47 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord says that Whitmer “should write and keep a regular history” and that he should “keep the church record and history continually” (D&C 47:1, 3). To fulfill this commandment, Whitmer and his successors began creating and collecting historical records and documents. Although the early persecutions of and movements by the Saints prevented the work from going forward at the pace that might have been desired, the Nauvoo period finally saw the establishment of a Church historian’s office under the direction of Willard Richards (see fig. 1), one of the Prophet’s principal clerks and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Richards eventually circulated notices calling for materials of importance to the history of the Church.

In one of his last public speeches, Joseph Smith commented on the effectiveness of his clerks, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for much of what we know about the early history of

INSERT Fig. 1. Willard Richards (circa 1850)

Courtesy of Church Archives

the Church. “For the last three years,” Joseph Smith is reported to have said, “I have a record of all my acts and proceedings <for I have kept several good <faithful> and efficient clerks in constant employ, They have accompanied me everywhere & carefully kept my history, and they have written down what I have done, where I have been & what I have said.>”[1]

When Joseph Smith was martyred in Carthage, Illinois, the dutiful Church historian, Willard Richards, was with him. Elder Richards continued his history-keeping efforts in Nauvoo until the Saints were compelled to leave, beginning in 1846. Then, the Historian’s Office moved westward with the Saints, finding a temporary home in Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Willard Richards and his clerk, Thomas Bullock, packed the records of the Historian’s Office in two containers: a small box weighing 205 pounds and a large box weighing 381 pounds. In these containers, the records were eventually carried by wagon to Salt Lake City.[2]

But it was actually during the Nauvoo period that the history of the Church in the Pacific had its beginnings. In 1843 Addison Pratt (see figure 1 in chapter 3), together with Noah Rogers, Benjamin Grouard, and Knowlton F. Hanks, left the United States for a mission to the Pacific. Hanks died at sea, but the other three missionaries formed the first group to preach the gospel in what became French Polynesia. Consistent with a tradition in earlier Church periodicals of publishing letters from missionaries, the Times and Seasons printed a September 17, 1844, letter from Addison Pratt to his wife, Louisa, written from Tubuai. The Historian’s Office has collected Church periodicals, including the Times and Seasons, as part of its ongoing efforts to record the history of the Church. In so doing, these poignant lines have been preserved: “And now, my dear family, I must bid you adieu: could I get a letter from you, it would do me more good than all the letters I ever had in my life. Often at the dusk of evening when all is still and silent, but the distant roar of the breakers upon the coral reef, do I take a long and lonely walk upon the beautiful sand beach that skirts the island; and as I gaze upon the broad ocean that separates us, my mind is wafted to Nauvoo, to my home and fireside; and as I gaze upon the happy circle, I ask—has grim death made any inroads there? I am led to say there are none gone; for I committed you to the care of my heavenly Father when I left you, and when I have done so, I have never been disappointed.”[3]

Elder Rogers returned to Nauvoo in 1845 and died the following year. As the Saints left Nauvoo that year, crossing Iowa and establishing Winter Quarters, Elders Pratt and Grouard remained in French Polynesia. Sam Brannan, who had traveled from New York to California via the Sandwich Islands with a group of Saints aboard the ship Brooklyn, traveled eastward in the spring of 1847 to find Brigham Young and the Saints. On June 30, 1847, Brannan met Brigham Young and the members of the pioneer company on the Green River en route to the valley of the Great Salt Lake and reported news he had gleaned in his travels about the progress of the work in the South Pacific. Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that Brannan told the pioneers that “Br Pratt was doing well. The inhabitants of one whole Island numbering 3,000 Had embraced the faith.” This report was welcome news from the South Pacific, even if it was not entirely accurate.[4]

Missionary work in French Polynesia continued into the 1850s. The 1850s also saw the beginnings of missionary work in Hawai’i. Although the Brooklyn Saints had been there earlier, the first continuous missionary work of significance began with the arrival of a group of missionaries that included George Q. Cannon (see figure 1 in chapter 15). Future Church President Joseph F. Smith arrived in Hawai’i a few years later, just as George Q. Cannon left.

A systematic submission of records to Salt Lake City was not standard procedure in the nineteenth century. As has been noted, however, letters and reports of missionary conferences from around the world were sent to the Church’s headquarters and published in Church-owned

INSERT Fig. 2. Andrew Jenson, left, and New Zealand Mission president William Gardner, during Jenson’s tour of the Pacific in 1895

Courtesy of Church Archives

periodicals. For instance, writing from Wailuku, Maui, Hawai’i, in 1852, George Q. Cannon penned this optimistic report published in the Deseret News: “Our numbers at present, speaking moderately, are between four and five hundred upon this island. I cannot at present give the exact amount, and there is considerable enquiry both among whites and natives.”[5]

Like missionaries elsewhere, many of those called to serve in the Pacific kept journals that over the course of time would make their way into the Church’s historical collections. George Q. Cannon’s Hawaiian mission diary provides touching details of his 1852 experiences on Maui:

We went down to the morning meeting and met with the brethren of Waiehu, after which started for Wailuku; and met according to appointment at a house up the [Iao] Valley. The Spirit was very powerfully felt by all present and they were melted to tears many of them. Bro. [Jonathan] N[?pela] [see figure 2 in chapter 15] spoke once or twice, I never heard him speak as powerfully before and he bore the most powerful testimony of any native I had before heard. . . . When I compared my present feelings with the feelings experienced by me this time last year in this place, and I looked at the progress of the work and the power of my Father that accompanied it; I felt that the goodness of the Lord was adorable and past describing.[6]

In the first years after the migration to the Great Basin, the staff of the Historian’s Office was occupied compiling the history of Brigham Young and preserving important papers created in Utah. By the end of the century, a great opportunity existed to document and preserve the history of the Church throughout the world. In 1895 the First Presidency called Andrew Jenson (see fig. 2), a Danish immigrant hired in 1891 to work in the Church Historian’s Office, “to a

INSERT Fig. 3. The mission home in Mua, Tonga, in a photograph from the Andrew Jenson collection

Courtesy of Church Archives

mission to the various nations of the earth, where said Church is established, to preach the gospel, . . . and to collect information by the examination of records, etc., essential or desirable for the writing and preservation of the correct history of the various missions of the Church.”[7]

Andrew Jenson commenced his mission on May 11, 1895. He later recorded the experiences from the trip in his autobiography. He went first by train to Vancouver, Canada, and then sailed for Polynesia. On May 29, he landed at Honolulu, where he met Matthew Noall, president of the Hawaiian Mission. For the next two months, Jenson traveled extensively throughout the Hawaiian Islands in the interest of Church history. The secretary to the mission characterized Elder Jenson’s service: “Elder Andrew Jenson, assisted by Pres. Matthew Noall and George H. Fisher, spent much time in culling from the records important data which is wanted for Church history. The records of this mission in past years have been kept in a

INSERT Fig. 4. Latter-day Saints in New Zealand participating in the traditional Maori hongi greeting

Courtesy of Church Archives

negligent manner, but the many good suggestions given by Elder Jenson in regard to proper methods of keeping records will enable the secretaries of the Mission hereafter to record current events and the happenings of the mission in a better way.”[8]

Leaving Hawai’i on July 26, Elder Jenson journeyed to Fiji. He spent a few days at Suva, but this was merely a stopping place as there were no Church members there. Continuing his travels, Elder Jenson sailed to Tonga, landing at Nuku’alofa on August 21. There he met Elders Alfred M. Durham and James R. Welker, who took him to the village of Mua, where the Latter-day Saint missionaries were located (see fig. 3). The intrepid historian remained in Tonga until September 9, extracting information from local records and visiting the missionaries on several of the islands.

On September 11, Elder Jenson landed at Apia, S?moa, where he was greeted by President John W. Beck of the Samoan Mission. In 1895 S?moa and Tonga were in the same mission. Elder Jenson noted in his autobiography that twenty-three elders were laboring in S?moa and ten in Tonga. He wrote that the Church membership consisted of “263 native saints in the mission at the beginning of 1895, namely, 147 males and 116 females. Of this total number of native saints 97 were on this island of Upolu, 84 on Tutuila and Aunuu, 71 on Savaii and 11 in Tonga.”[9]

Andrew Jenson stayed in S?moa until October, visiting many of the islands in the mission with President Beck. On the island of Aunuu, they visited with Samuela Manoa, one of the two Hawaiian missionaries who introduced the restored gospel to S?moa. “From him,” wrote Jenson, “I obtained some valuable and interesting data for the mission history. Elder Manoa kept a journal during his missionary days and could give accurate information about his labors and those of his fellow laborer Kimo Pelio, who now rests beneath the sod of Tutuila, a nearby island.”[10]

New Zealand was the next destination of Jenson’s tour. He arrived there October 10, 1895, for a visit to what was then called the Australasian Mission. Elder Jenson found that over

INSERT Fig. 5. Tahitian women in a photograph from the Andrew Jenson collection Courtesy of Church Archives

sixty missionaries were laboring in New Zealand at the time, over half of them among the Maori. Within a few days of his arrival, he was traveling among the Maori himself, accompanied by the mission president, William Gardner.

In his autobiography, Jenson, who was generally quite adept at adjusting to the variety of cultural customs he encountered, humorously recorded his failed initial attempt at practicing the Maori cultural greeting, the “hongi” (see fig. 4):

I had learned a great number of new departures and native ways during my sojourn among the Hawaiians, Fijians, Tongans and Samoans; but none of these indulged in that particular mode of greeting which the Maori call “hongi” (nose rubbing). Well, I made a failure of the first attempt. Elder Gardner, evidently forgetting that I was a new hand, started out in such good earnest for himself that he was half-way down the line before I had unsaddled my horse and was ready to commence. I was just getting my nose ready to start in when my courage failed me. All at once I seemed to forget the verbal instructions I had received about this same “hongi” business. Was I to press with the tip of the nose, or the left or right side or all around? I had forgotten all. The president of the branch, who was also a chief, stood at the head of the line; and he was the first to be greeted, as a matter of course. There he stood . . . ready for action. No, I could not, I had forgotten how or rather I had not learned yet. I simply gave him a hearty regular ‘Mormon’ hand shaking and passed on to the next, while he gave me a sympathizing look.[11]

Jenson, however, soon learned, and at a large Church conference held several months later in the Wairarapa Valley, he “hongi”-ed a hundred Maori Saints.[12]

On January 23, 1896, Andrew Jenson left New Zealand and sailed for Tahiti, arriving at Papeete on the evening of February 2. The Tahitian Mission at the time had over nine hundred Church members scattered on many different islands. Elder Jenson toured the many islands in the mission and collected photographs. Though we cannot be sure that they are photos of Church members, they do represent the people he found in Tahiti (see fig. 5). On April 1, Andrew Jenson left for Australia. Subsequently, he continued his world travels, sailing the Indian Ocean, visiting Sri Lanka along the way, and eventually the Middle East and Europe. Elder Jenson arrived back in Utah in June of 1897 after a mission of over two years. He was sustained assistant Church historian at the April 1898 general conference of the Church.

The Andrew Jenson tour was an important beginning for the preservation of historical information on the spread of the gospel in the Pacific. One result was the creation of a series of mission histories by the Historian’s Office staff that included the data gleaned by Elder Jenson

INSERT Fig. 6. Missionaries in Tonga in 1894, including Alfred and Margaret Durham, upper right

Courtesy of Church Archives

on his trip. The manuscript histories of missions continue to be an important source of information on the history of the Church in the Pacific. A list of missionaries who have labored in the mission is a typical feature of the histories. The list for S?moa includes Samuela Manoa, whom Jenson visited on his tour of S?moa, and Kimo Pelio.

The role of the mission home at Mua, Tonga, is an interesting feature of the Tongan Mission manuscript history. It gives life to an entry recorded on January 26, 1894. “Sister Margaret R. Durham (see fig. 6) gave birth to a girl baby in the mission house at Mua, but on account of not being able to procure sufficient aid at the proper time the little one died, and the mother was in critical condition when the nurse arrived. By careful nursing and through the faith and prayers of the Elders her life was saved; but she remained weak and sickly for a long time. The remains of the little infant were buried the day after its birth in Jiaamoka [Sia.amoka] graveyard, about a quarter of a mile east of the mission home.”[13]

Death was not an uncommon occurrence for the mission at that time. Jenson’s autobiography reports, “Compared to time and number, the Samoan mission history recorded more deaths among the missionaries than any other mission so far established by the church: one Elder, two missionary sisters and three children in seven years out of eighty missionaries who since 1888 had been sent from Zion to labor on S?moa and Tonga.”[14]

Andrew Jenson mentioned the death of three children in the mission. There actually were more. In addition to the death of the Durhams’ baby girl in Tonga, Thomas H. and Sarah M. Hilton lost three children while serving in S?moa. The Hilton’s three children were buried in the Fagalii Cemetery a few miles from Apia. David O. McKay wrote a tender letter to Sister Hilton

INSERT Fig. 7. First Presidency, 1902: John R. Winder, First Counselor; Joseph F. Smith, President; Anthon H. Lund, Second Counselor

Courtesy of Church Archives

when he visited S?moa in 1921. The letter has been preserved in the Historical Department and includes these touching sentiments: “As I looked at those three little graves, I tried to imagine the scenes through which you passed during your young motherhood here in old S?moa. As I did so, the little headstones became monuments not only to the little babes sleeping beneath them, but also to a mother’s faith and devotion to the eternal principles of Truth and Life!”[15]

The mission histories were a valuable beginning, but the need for updates was apparent. Thus annual historical reports from the missions were sent to the Historian’s Office beginning in 1925. The historical reports from the Pacific include those submitted by Matthew Cowley during his tenure as mission president in New Zealand. Historical reports were also gathered from wards and branches until 1983, though every stake, mission, and district of the Church is still required to prepare an annual historical summary each year and submit it to the Historical Department as part of the ongoing program of keeping the history of the Church.

The underlying records Elder Jenson examined on his trip were kept locally, but facilities and conditions for their storage were not always ideal, and the care given to the records depended largely on the sense and resourcefulness of the individual responsible for their care. In the early twentieth century, the preservation of local Church records was facilitated by the creation of a stake or mission “records day.” A February 1, 1902, message from the First Presidency (see fig. 7) explained:

At a meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles, held in Salt Lake City, January 24, 1901, it was decided to establish in the Church what shall hereafter be known as record day. This means that once a year, in every Stake of Zion and in every Ward of the Church, all the records belonging to the organizations in such Stakes or Wards shall be brought to appointed places to be audited and inspected by such Stake and Ward officers that may be present for that purpose. . . . A special feature of Record Day should be the devising of means and methods for preserving and taking good care of books and records, particularly the older ones, so that none shall be lost or destroyed.[16]

Still, the dispersed nature of the Church’s local records seriously hampered efforts to

INSERT Fig. 8. Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards sent out a circular letter in 1945 asking that all historical records be forwarded to the Church Historian’s Office.

Courtesy of Church Archives

prepare histories of the Church on a broader scale. While the compiled histories that Andrew Jenson prepared were useful, it eventually became apparent that the underlying records themselves needed to be brought together and preserved. In 1917 the Church finished construction of the new Administration Building. An entire floor of this five-story structure was devoted to the storage of the many records coming into the archives from around the world.

While some old records from missions, branches, stakes, and wards did come into the Historian’s Office in the first part of the twentieth century, the record gathering function of the Church historian received a major boost in 1945. In that year, a circular letter was sent out by then Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards concerning “old historical records on hand” (see fig. 8). He wrote:

It is indeed a sad thing when an important record, through neglect or otherwise, is lost or destroyed. We are sure we do not need to emphasize this nor how important it is to safeguard the records of our Church. In some wards and stakes in the Church we have found most valuable records pushed away in some dark corner, without fire protection, and forgotten. . . . A request is made that all old historical records of any kind in the wards and stakes and missions of the Church be forwarded to the Church Historian’s Office. . . . This includes all old historical records, minute books, etc., of the various Church groups including priesthood quorums. . . . Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, Church Historian, clarified this request: “If there is any doubt whether the old record books on hand should be sent into the Historian’s Office, send them anyway.”[17]

Through this and other efforts, many of the Church records that had been stored in local meetinghouses made their way into the Historian’s Office. Early Pacific islands records include minutes from such places as the Nahiku Branch in Maui (see fig. 9) and the Timaru Branch, and the Waikato District in New Zealand.

First edition copies of the scriptures in various languages were also collected. Highly important, though not unique to the Historical Department, are first editions of the Book of Mormon in Maori, Samoan, and Tahitian. Though copies of the first edition of the Book of Mormon in Hawaiian are found in other libraries, the Historical Department’s copies include one donated by translator George Q. Cannon and another marked up by Jacob Gates while preparing the second edition.

The Historian’s Office, and later the Historical Department, has collected periodicals published by the Church in the Pacific, including Te Karere, begun in New Zealand in 1907; Ka Elele Oiaio, published in Honolulu in 1908; and Koe Fakamelomelo, published in S?moa in 1913.

Over the course of many decades, numerous missionaries have served in Polynesia. Many of these missionaries kept journals containing vital information on the activities of the Church.

INSERT Fig. 9. A copy of the Nahiku, Hawai’i, Sunday School minutes

Courtesy of Church Archives

The Historical Department has on file copies of more than a hundred journals and diaries from the Pacific, including the Addison Pratt, Noah Rogers, and Benjamin Grouard journals from the first Church mission to Tahiti, and a significant number from early missionaries to Hawai’i and New Zealand. Elder Grouard wrote this interesting note in his journal, reflecting the conditions under which he wrote it:

 

To whoever may take the troubel to read this journal. You will find both bad spelling & bad composition; & I have two reasons to give for it. The first is, I have writen it while labouring among people of another tongue, sometimes surounded by a dozen or two of men women & children, jabering as fast as they could make their tongues fly. Sometimes my chest was my writing desk, & sometimes my lap, sometimes out doors & sometimes in the house; just as circumstances were, so I had to take them.—The second apology is, I make no pretentions to literary acquirements, & I presume that is the best of the two. The object I have had in writing it is, that I might hereafter, when old age has made it necessary for me to stay at home, ponder over my past labors.[18]

 

Journal writers are so close to events that at times they do not really know the importance of them. One of the critical decisions of the early Hawaiian Mission was George Q. Cannon’s prompting to leave his fellow missionaries at Lahaina and make a trip around Maui to learn the language and work with the Hawaiian people. Without language skills, the early missionaries were limited to preaching to English-speaking audiences. George Q. Cannon’s mastery of the

INSERT Fig. 10. A photograph of a young Joseph F. Smith (circa 1857) after his mission, taken around the time he served as a missionary in Hawai’i

Courtesy of Church Archives

Hawaiian language opened the door to preaching among the native Hawaiians and resulted in hundreds of converts to the Church. James Keeler’s entry for March 4, 1851, records the event, but only later would its importance be manifest. “Brother Cannon left us this Morning to go around the Island,” Brother Keeler observed, adding, “nothing of importance hapened this Week.”[19]

While journals are excellent records of the past, correspondence can give a glimpse into thoughts and feelings that are missing in day by day diary entries. An April 24, 1857, letter from Joseph F. Smith (see fig. 10), written at Lanai, shows the dedication of a young missionary who would later become President of the Church, maintaining through all that time a deep love for the Hawaiian people. Elder Smith writes: “I have been appointed to labor in the Molokai Conference. . . . This by all accounts is a hard field to labor in altho I have no doubts that it could be worse, one thing is certain, I never shall shrink from my duty, as long as I can keep the spirit of mormonism about me, for I know better.”[20]

An August 25, 1851, letter of George Q. Cannon to Parley P. Pratt illustrates Elder Cannon’s optimism: “The manifestations of the spirit to me have been ever since I landed here that there would be a good work done and I should be blessed if I should persever, and I have up to the present time realised it as a truth.—The language has been simplyfied to me and I [have] been able to preach in it for upwards of two months—the Lord has truly blessed me in this respect.”[21]

A more recent letter is a file copy of Matthew Cowley’s response to the First Presidency upon receiving a telegram informing him that no more missionaries would be sent to New Zealand due to the outbreak of World War II. President Cowley’s dedication to the work shines

INSERT Fig. 11. Church plantation in L?’ie

Courtesy of Church Archives

through the letter: “If the time comes that the mission will be without missionaries I hope and pray that these Maori people will never be left without a president to direct them; whether that president be me or my successor. My wife feels the same as I do about this. We do not want to go home until the Lord is through with our services, whether that time be one year or a thousand years from now.”[22]

One way of documenting the history of the Church that does not rely on a written record is the recording of oral history. Over the years a number of interviews regarding the Pacific isles have been conducted with Church members and missionaries and have been transcribed and placed in the Historical Department. Chief among these interviews are the ones conducted by R. Lanier Britsch in preparing his book Unto the Islands of the Sea, a publication that began as a project of the Church Historical Department’s History Division.[23] Brother Britsch has done a number of fine interviews, setting a standard for additional oral history work that could be done to document the growth of the Church in the Pacific.

Documenting the history of the Church involves not only the collection of textual materials, but also visual materials such as photographs. The archives of the Historical Department include a veritable treasure trove of photographs dealing with the history of the Church in Polynesia, a sampling of which has been included in this chapter (see figs. 11–14).

Photographs provide a two-dimensional view of the world, frozen in time. A vivified look is provided by the moving pictures stored in the Church Archives. As an example, one can compare the nose pressing in still photographs (see fig. 4) to a film of Matthew Cowley and his wife greeting a line of well-wishers in New Zealand. “Home movies” in the Church Archives capture other interesting aspects of the Church in the Pacific, including, for instance, scenes of men and women performing traditional dances at the 1940 New Zealand Mission Hui Tau (conference) in Hawkes Bay.

Artifacts of history include three-dimensional objects that sometimes tell us as much as, or more, than the written word. In 1975, a Curator’s Division was created within the Historical Department to care for the many artifacts in the Church’s collections. The division was renamed the Arts and Sites Division in 1978. With the dedication of a building in 1984, the artifacts found

INSERT Fig. 12. Maori Latter-day Saints in 1895. From left to right, top to bottom: Patara Peneamine, Wiremu Neera, Hohepa Wiremu Neera, Ringi Horomona. Next row: Hiraani Peneamine, Harata Peneamine, Wiremu Neera Te Kanae, Haana (Cootes), Ria Te Uira Horomona. Next Row: Hoani Te Okoro, Te Kanawa Peneamine, Paranihia Horomona, Oriwia Horomona.

Courtesy of Church Archives

INSERT Fig. 13. Samoan Mission Jubilee on June 18, 1938. From left to right: Gilbert Tingey, Samoan Mission President; George Albert Smith, Apostle; and Rufus K. Hardy, First Council of the Seventy.

Courtesy of Church Archives

INSERT Fig. 14. President Joseph F. Smith during a visit to Hawai’i in 1909

Courtesy of Church Archives

a home in a museum built for their preservation and display, and subsequently, the Arts and Sites Division was renamed the Museum Division of the Historical Department. The Museum of Church History and Art has preserved many important and beautiful pieces in its collection that relate to the history of the Church in the Pacific. Among the most visually exciting are feathered capes and quilts from Tahiti and Hawai’i, a Maori war club (see fig. 15), a white jacket like the ones worn by early missionaries to S?moa , and such unique pieces as an interesting artistic rendering of Temple Square on tapa cloth from Tonga (see fig. 16). Another work of note is Even to the Isles of the Sea, a tapa painting depicting missionaries, which was a winner of our second international art competition.[24] The visits of the Presidents of the Church have always been important to members of the Church. The Saints gave the visiting authorities a number of floral and shell necklaces to adorn them in their stay, mementos that have come to the Historical Department for safekeeping.

As the Historical Department moves forward into the twenty-first century, our challenge will be to assist local Church members all over the world in fulfilling the scriptural charge to keep a record and also to find ways to make those records available to an increasingly global church. Although the central gathering of Church historical records has helped preserve them

INSERT Fig. 15. An example of a Maori war club

Courtesy of Church Archives

from natural disaster and other destructive forces, thereby making them available to future generations, it has also removed them from the local areas of the Church where they may be of greatest interest. Many, if not most, Church members are unable to afford to travel to the Historical Department’s main facilities in downtown Salt Lake City to do research. For that reason, the Historical Department also invites inquiries by e-mail, mail, telephone, and fax and responds to many thousands of such requests annually from around the world. Yet even with this service, we continue to investigate means to make historical records and information more available at the local level. As the years pass, I am confident that ways will be found to facilitate greater and greater access to these materials by local Church members, which will, in turn, promote better record-keeping practices.

INSERT Fig. 16. Tongan tapa cloth depicting Temple Square

Courtesy of Church Archives

 

The author wishes to thank Grant A. Anderson and M. Scott Bradshaw, who contributed greatly to the research and writing of this chapter, as well as Glenn N. Rowe, Steven R. Sorensen, Chad Orton, and other Historical Department staff members whose ideas helped enhance it.

 



[1] Joseph Smith address, May 26, 1844, Joseph Smith Collection, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. In the handwriting of Leo Hawkins with insertions by Thomas Bullock.

[2] Dean C. Jessee, “The Writing of Joseph Smith’s History,” BYU Studies 11 (Summer 1971): 469.

[3] Addison Pratt, “Extract of a Letter from the Island of Taoboui, Society Group, Dated, September 17th 1844,” Times and Seasons, May 1, 1845, 882–85.

[4] Wilford Woodruff Journal, June 30, 1847, Church Archives. Compare the number of baptisms reported by Brannan with Addison Pratt’s diary entry for November 14, 1846, in S. George Ellsworth, ed., The Journals of Addison Pratt (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990), 300.

[5] Deseret News, July 24, 1852.

[6] George Q. Cannon Journal, May 1, 1852, Church Archives.

[7] Andrew Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1938), 231.

[8] Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 242.

[9] Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 225.

[10] Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 264.

[11] Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 269, B70.

[12] Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 286.

[13] Tongan Mission manuscript history, January 26, 1894, Church Archives.

[14] Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, 254.

[15] David O. McKay to Sarah M. Hilton, June 3, 1921, Church Archives.

[16] First Presidency, Record Keeping (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1902), a four-page pamphlet in the Church History Library.

[17] Presiding Bishopric Letter, April 24, 1945, Church Archives.

[18] Benjamin Grouard Journal, Introduction, Church Archives.

[19] James Keeler Journal, March 4, 1851, Church Archives.

[20] Joseph F. Smith to Elias Smith, April 14, 1857, Church Archives.

[21] George Q. Cannon to Parley P. Pratt, August 25, 1851, Parley P. Pratt Collection, Church Archives.

[22] Letter of June 22, 1940, Matthew Cowley Collection, Church Archives.

[23] R. Lanier Britsch, Unto the Islands of the Sea (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986).

[24] Fanga Tukuafu, 1991, tapa and paint, winner of the second international art competition sponsored by the Museum of Church History and Art.