Accounts of the pioneers’ trek across the plains have inspired Latter-day Saints of different lands and cultures for generations. But as the Church becomes more global, there are other histories to tell. Voyages of Faith is a new book that tells one of those histories. The first compilation of its kind, Voyages brings together scholarly research, personal reminiscences and stories of inspiration and faith of Latter-day Saints in the Pacific Islands over the last 150 years. Contributors to the book include native Pacific Islanders, notably Chieko N. Okazaki, the first non-Caucasian called to the Relief Society, Young Women’s and Primary general boards.
While some chapters are scholarly in focus, others give insight into the emotions and experiences of contemporary Polynesian Latter-day Saints. Voyages chronicles early LDS Church life in the pacific, missionary work and pacific temples. There is even an account written by a surviving Church member from the Kalaupapa leper colony. The content is drawn from presentations made during the last 20 years to the Mormon Pacific Historical Society, an organization dedicated to gathering, recording and publishing LDS history of the Pacific area.
Grant Underwood, BYU historian and editor of Voyages, said although the stories within the volume are about Pacific Islanders, they will inspire all who read them. This book relates wonderful accounts of ordinary people receiving extraordinary blessings, said Underwood. It’s inspirational for readers to know that God has been dealing with his children all over the world.
Underwood said the publication of Voyages illustrates the worldwide nature of the Church. Stories of faith and courage can come from any culture and inspire any culture, he said. Polynesians have had many wonderful spiritual experiences that can hearten Saints everywhere.
Voyages of Faith is the second volume in the Studies in Latter-day Saint History series published by the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at Brigham Young University