On November 22, 1850, ten LDS missionaries sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii to open that land to the preaching of their gospel. Among them was twenty-three-year-old George Q. Cannon. Born in Liverpool, England, in 1827, George with his family had been converted to the gospel in 1840 by George’s uncle, Apostle John Taylor. In 1842 the family immigrated to Nauvoo. George’s mother died on the voyage and his father died shortly following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. John Taylor then became his surrogate father. George was ordained a seventy in 1845, at age eighteen, and was endowed the same year. He made the trek to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. In 1849, with a few select individuals, he was sent on a gold mission to California. From there he was sent on his mission to Hawaii.
By the time he left Hawaii almost four years later, over four thousand members remained behind in numerous branches. Even more remarkable, George had learned Hawaiian well enough not only to teach the natives in their own tongue but also to translate the Book of Mormon into their language. In December 1900, fifty years after the opening of the Hawaiian mission, George Q. Cannon returned to Hawaii to participate in the mission’s jubilee celebration. He visited sites of his earlier experiences, preached to the members, instructed the missionaries, and prophesied the eventual building of a Hawaiian temple. Shortly after returning to the mainland in failing health, Cannon died on April 12, 1901.