Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Mission History, 1949: First Mission to the Society Islands

Mission History, 1949: First Mission to the Society Islands

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 16, 2012

What follows is another in a series of the short lessons on the history of the early Church missions,  presented to the children of the Church in 1949.  This is a prelude to a story to appear on Keepa next week — after several years of hunting, I have finally learned why the missionaries were banished in 1853.





Research by Edith S. Patrick
Artwork by Jerry Sain



  1. What a tease! Now I really want to know why they were kicked out.

    Comment by HokieKate — March 16, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  2. Ardis, any chance that Steve Evans had any part in the banishment of the missionaries?

    Comment by kevinf — March 16, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  3. “…our first foreign missionary to die at sea”?

    I wonder how many there have been.

    Comment by Researcher — March 16, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  4. I’m so sneaky, HokieKate! I could probably build up even more anticipation by agreeing to your suggestion, kevinf, that Steve was behind it!

    Amy, I know that Sarah Granger Kimball (the originator of the proto-Relief Society idea) was widowed when her husband and his companion died when the boiler exploded on the small ship that was taking them out of the harbor to catch the steamer to their mission to Hawaii. And there’s the elder who drowned when the Vestris sank. Given the numbers of missionaries and the numbers of miles traveled, I think missionary travel has been remarkably safe, but I don’t know how many others may have lost their lives.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 16, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  5. My ancestor was Noah Rogers. He returned home after he had heard of Joseph Smith’s death. He arrived in Nauvoo just in time to have his endowments and sealing in the Nauvoo Temple, leave with the early groups and die at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — March 16, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  6. Jeff, then we’re related – Noah Rogers is my ggg grandfather!

    Comment by soleil — March 17, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  7. Nice to know, soleil. I think he is my ggg grandfather, also. His son Theodore was my grandmother’s grandfather.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — March 18, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  8. These are just fantastic. I wish I could buy a bound volume with all of them.

    Comment by MC — April 4, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  9. Ardis,

    Frequent lurker, first time commenter, here. I very much appreciate the work you go to post some many treasures.

    But what happened to the follow-up story to this post on the Society Islands (French Polynesia) Mission?

    BTW, trying to search for the second part of the article, I found the January 21, 2009 post about Tahauri a Hutihuti. I served in Tahiti from 1971-73, and vividly remember this humble, faithful brother who came to work on grounds of the chapel and mission home at Fariipiti in Papeete. Thank you for the story and bringing back so many fond memories. (Now I have to find time to go back and read all the other related posts.)

    P.S. I assume that you are aware of the book, “Seasons of Faith and Courage” (a sesquicentennial history of the Church in French Polynesia published in 1994), authored by George Ellsworth (editor of Addison Pratt’s journals) and Kathleen C. Perrin.

    Comment by CarlH — April 4, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  10. Thanks, Carl (and MC, who is, I think, also a first-time commenter). I should never put a date on follow-up posts, ’cause real life always intervenes. I haven’t written it yet — it’s one that will take some time and care, because it’s a new story (at least as far as I know — the only references to it I’ve ever seen in Mormon sources are incomplete and don’t address what interests me most). I will get to it, though.

    You might also want to search the archives for the Tuamotu Islands — there are a couple of posts. If you can’t find them, whistle and I’ll dredge up some links for you.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 4, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  11. Are we still waiting for the follow up?

    Comment by Julia — September 3, 2012 @ 7:31 am

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