Grant Underwood, Pioneers in the Pacific (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005) vii–viii.
As many of the chapters in this book are edited versions of presentations first given at the Pioneers in the Pacific Conference held in Lā’ie, Hawai’i, in October 1997, it is fitting that appreciation first be expressed to those who sponsored this remarkable five-day event celebrating the Mormon pioneer sesquicentennial. Eric B. Shumway, president of Brigham Young University–Hawai’i, and Lester Moore, president of the Polynesian Cultural Center, were the sponsors who abundantly invested both vision and resources to make possible a conference that offered nearly a hundred different historical sessions dealing with the Church in the Pacific Islands. Without their generous support, much of what is preserved in this book would likely never have been written. Thanks are also due to the authors of the individual chapters both for the time and energy required to prepare their respective presentations and for the self-disclosure that many contain.
For a season, until university demands made his further involvement impossible, I was ably assisted by my friend and colleague, Phillip McArthur, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at BYU–Hawai’i. Special thanks go to Emily Jensen, who came on board as an editor late in the process and who, almost singlehandedly and in a remarkably short period of time, brought the manuscript to publication readiness. Without her help, this volume simply could not have appeared when it did.
I also wish to thank the directors of the BYU Religious Studies Center for their patience with this project and its various delays. Kent P. Jackson embraced the proposal for this volume enthusiastically when it was first presented to him not long after the 1997 conference. Richard D. Draper carried on with equal enthusiasm and patience during his years at the helm. And Richard Neitzel Holzapfel acted decisively, as the manuscript neared completion, to clear production channels so that the volume received priority consideration in order to come off the press in time for the BYU–Hawai’i fiftieth-anniversary celebration. Thankfully, Richard’s talented and hardworking lieutenant, Devan Jensen, organized the actual editorial and production work that made the book’s timely publication possible. Nathan Richardson, in particular, devoted many extra hours to designing and typesetting the volume.
A debt of gratitude is also owed to Ronald K. Esplin and Jill Mulvay Derr, successive directors of BYU’s now defunct Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History, where I have been employed for the past five years, for valuing this project and for allowing me time to work on it around other Institute priorities.