History of the Church

History of the Church in the Pacific Islands
May 29, 2019
History of the Church
History of the Church in the Pacific Islands
Author BYU Studies Staff

This daily feature is an introduction to two full articles by Colleen Whitley and R. Lanier Britsch. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history. To read the full text of these articles, follow the links below.

“Thomas Farrar Whitley’s Mission Photos of Tonga,1935–1938”, by Colleen Whitley, BYU Studies Quarterly Vol 48, no. 1
Thomas Farrar Whitley served an LDS Church mission to Tonga in the late 1930s and documented his experiences there through journaling, correspondence, and photography. The author shares photographs and quotes from Whitley's journal, capturing the Tongan way of life in the 1930s. The article documents the small group of faithful Latter-day Saints and missionaries who established a foothold for the faltering Church in Tonga and created a foundation upon which today's thriving Tongan LDS population could build.

“The Founding of the Samoan Mission”, by R. Lanier Britsch, BYU Studies Quarterly Vol 18, no. 1
The establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Samoan Islands has an interesting and unusual history. Two Mormon missionaries, Kimo Belio and Samuela Manoa, were sent to Samoa from Hawaii and arrived there in 1863. They baptized about fifty people, but the Church struggled, in part because the Samoan Mission was not officially sanctioned by leaders in Salt Lake City. In 1887, Elder Joseph H. Dean sailed to Samoa to revive missionary work. He faced many obstacles, such as tribal warfare and a rumor that it was illegal to join the Mamona (Mormon) Church, but Dean and other missionaries were able to overcome these obstacles and officially establish a mission there in 1888.