Abstract and Keywords
Mormon missionary work in the Pacific began when Joseph Smith sent four missionaries in 1843. This chapter traces the subsequent proselytizing missions that made French Polynesia the principle missionary focus of the church in the Pacific. The origins of the Polynesian peoples are examined from the Mormon and the “orthodox” academic viewpoints. The Polynesians are recognized as a people of faith and spirituality, and some long-standing cultural values of Hawaiians, Tongans, and Maori are introduced as being harmonious with Mormon and Christian values. Among Polynesian Latter-day Saints, temple worship is important, as is education, which has been emphasized among Polynesian LDS since the 1850s. Labor missionaries did much during the 1950s and 1960s to further education and enhance the church’s image by constructing many modern chapels and other structures within the island nations. Local church members have contributed much to the overall success of the Mormon Church in the Pacific.
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