Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 22 November – 31 December 1915

Venus in Tahiti: 22 November – 31 December 1915

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 26, 2013

(Previous installment)

Hao, Mon to Sat Nov 22-26.

The rain fell in torrents all week such as it does rain only in the tropics. At times the house, which is built in rather a low place was surrounded by a lake of water from six inches to one foot deep. We were not able to hold several of our meetings during the week because the deafening roar of the rain on the tin roof of the church made it impossible to be heard. Several days, including Thanksgiving day I stayed in bed most of the day on account of suffocating feelings and severe pains in my heart.

Hao. Sun. Nov 28.

Attended five meetings. Taught the childrens class in Sunday School and coached Hooki in conducting the class, so that she would be able to take charge when I left for Papeete.

Hao. Mon Nov 29.

The natives of the Tuamotu Group are blacker than those of Tahiti, still a few of them have exceptionally light skins, blonde hair and light hazel colored eyes. I natural[l]y thought they were half caste whites, but in asking about them I was told that they were full blooded Tuamutou’s and that on some of the islands a great many of the people were of that complexion. At 7: pm conducted singing practise.

Tues & Wed Nov 30-[Dec] 1

Held two gospel meetings, studied and visited among the people.

Thurs. Dec. 2.

Conducted Relief Society meeting and singing class. I am more than happy at the progress these people have made in singing since our arrival, they sing six new songs splendidly and have brushed up on as many new [old] ones until they sound like entirely different songs.

Hao. Fri. Dec 3.

Visited the people, studied, and conducted gospel class at 7: pm. Bro Stocks left for Amanu, an island about 25 miles away to be gone until Monday. Some of our people were going over to collect copra so Mr. Rossiter thought it would be a good chance to become acquainted with conditions it here and sent Bro Stocks along. We should like to have gone ourselves because we have a small branch there, but the steamer is expected any day now, and if we should miss it it is uncertain when we would get back to Papeete again and we have already been away two months longer than we expected to be. Our teaching against the use of tobac[c]o has began to take root in a few hearts. Huri and Mapu, two of our members have stopped using it, and to-day a young Catholic boy, who was a great smoker when we came here, came to the house and told us that he hadn’t smoked any for two weeks and was already beginning to feel better, also that his eyesight which was becoming dim was clearer than it had been for ever such a longtime.

Sat Dec 4. 1915.

Studied and wrote letters.

Hao. Sun. Dec 5. 1915.

Held our usual Sunday meetings. After Fast Meeting we took a picture of the branch just outside of the meeting house. The Catholic Church is nearby and when they saw us preparing to take the picture most of them got up and came out to have their pictures taken. This made the Priest mad and he told all the reset of them to go out too if they thought more of having their picture taken than staying in church. He said that Mr. Rossiter was a wolf devising plans to steal his flock

Mon. Dec 6. 1915.

The Chinese storekeeper sent us a leg of pork, and Win Kemp a half cast[e], brought Mr. Rossiter a beautiful hat his wife had woven and and [sic]a brown pearl for me. At 11: am we held a meeting to find out how many people would pledge themselves to go to the April conference at Takaroa, before chartering a boat to take them there.

Hao, Tues. Dec 7. 1915.

Mr Rossiter and I with one of the native brothren visited several young couples who were living together and were not married to talk with them on marriage. We were not very successful however, and of all the couples we visited, only one wanted to marry. They had three good sized children, and they promised us before leaving they would marry in a months time. When we arrived back at the house, the bell in the government house was raining [ringing], and as that means for the town people to gather as quickly as possible we ran out to see what the trouble was. Arriving there we found Elder Stocks who had walked six miles from the pass to the village to tell the people that the little boat on which he and some natives were returning from Amanu had run on the rocks and sunk, and that the men were waiting for boats to be sent out to assist them in trying to get the goods out of the boat, for the boat had sunk in just a few minutes after it had struck the rocks and they had to swim to land leaving everything in the boat, to save their own lives, on account of the strong current of the water rushing out of the path. He was nearly ex[h]austed when he arrived for he had made all possible haste making his way around the island over the rough coral stones and swimming several slews [sloughs]. His shoes were entirely worn from his feet which were all bruised and blistered from the hot sharp stones, but he was only thankful to get back safe, for they were in great danger of being carried out to sea by the powerful current, or being eaten by sharks which abound in these south seas. By the time the relief party reached the scene, the boat was completely wrecked and scattered to the four winds. At 7: pm held a gospel class.

Hao. Wed. Dec 8, 1915.

Attended prayer meeting at 7: am. Waited all day for the steamer to arrive.

Thurs. Dec. 9, 1915.

Held Relief Society meeting at 3: pm. And gospel class at 7: pm. Still looking for the steamer.

Hao, Fri & Sat. 10 & 11th.

Waited for the steamer but to no avail. However the Hinano the sailing vessel of a wealthy Jewish trader Mr. Levy was at Hao, and he kindly offered to take us free of charge to Papeete on his boat. That night we slept on the floor in the dining salon, as all of the bunks were filled but next day we made arrangements with the first mate and the cook to occupy their cabins for which we had to pay $15. a piece. Their cabin was at one time painted white, but was now much the worse for dirt, and was simply alive with cock roaches and other creppy [creepy] things. It was located down in the ship hands quarters, next to the kitchen from which we got the full benefit of all the fumes besides the smell from the boxes of chickens, cats, dogs and pigs that were just outside the door.

Sunday. Dec 12.

At three am we passed the steamer on its way to Hao, but i[t] was moving very slowly.

Mon. Dec. 13.

Arrived at Takume, about noon, and were taken to the temporary tin hut of Tahiri, where we stayed that night, sleeping on the bare ground, or rather coral rocks right at the very waters edge. Wrote letter to Elder Davis at Hickueru [illegible][ available.

Tues. Dec. 14.

At about 5 oclock all of the pearl-shell had been loaded on the boat and we set sail for Raroia where we expected to get another smaller boat that belonged to Mr. Levy and tow it to Papeete.

Wed. Dec. 15.

Arrived at Raroia

Thurs. 16

Called at Takaroa at mid-night to get Mr. Levys mail.


Called at Takapoto to load on more pearl shell, here we met Bro Maupuhi of Takaroa who came on board and had breakfast with us.

Sat. 18

Stopped at Ahi where some of the pearl divers from Takume debarked.


At about 3 pm a sudden wind came up, and we were soon in a terrific storm, and for half an hour it seemed that we should surely be lost in the sea. The water was fully three feet deep on deck and the boat was first on one side and then on the other, and again standing right up on its end. All the masts were quickly taken down and the machine to going to keep the boat from turning on its side. The wind went down as quickly as it had come up, and we were certainly grateful for the boat which was much too over loaded was in great danger of sinking in such a heavy sea.

Mon. Dec. 20, 1915.

Sighted Tahiti at day break and landed at Papeete at 9: p.m. where we found everything going along nicely, and were glad to have four new missionaries added to our number, Bro & Sister Geo. A. Compton of Ogden, Bro. Otha Stevens of Ogden and Bro Alma Burton from Salt Lake. Feasted on four months mail & lots of Xmas gifts

Tues. Dec 21.

Tahiti seemed greener and more beautiful than ever, after our stay in the barren Tuamotus. The air was heavy with the perfume of the Fiare. All of the ruins of the German Bombardment had been cleared away and replaced by new buildings, and the Zelie had been raised up out of the bay by an American Steamship Co. Called to see a number of the saints and went for a swim in the ocean during the day. At 12: pm Bro. Albert Shaw left on the Maitai having been transferred to the Californian mission on account of ill health.

Wed. 22.

Held Tahitian class at 9: am with the new elders and spent the day studying, putting things in order and getting a[c]quainted with our new companions. Reading class at 7: pm.

Thurs. Dec 23.

Washed, and aired our clothes. Held grammer and reading classes.

Fri. Dec. 24.

Ironed, and baked cakes for our picnic in Fantana Canyon Christmas day. Held our regular classes, and a splendid priesthood meeting, in which each of us gave a report of our work since the last meeting, and bore our testimonies. In the evening Bro & Sister Compton & Bro Rossiter and I went to town to buy nuts and candy & a few other things for Xmas. Mr. Rossiter gave me two hand woven Chinese fans.

Sat. Dec. 25. 1915.

Christmas Day, and we all arose bright and early not to see whether Santa Claus had come during the night, but to get an early start for our long hot climb up Fantana Canyon where we were going to spend the day. We walked until about 11 o’clock, when we came to a pretty clearing beside the clear st[r]eam of water, where we stopped to eat our lunch which consisted of bread, deviled ham, sardines, jam, cakes, nuts and candy that we had carried up with us in our native baskets, and oranges, bananas, lemons, mummy apples and limes that were growing wild in the canyon. After lunch we took pictures and explored round a little, but we soon noticed the clouds that we were up among were getting thicker and blacker all the time, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves caught in a tropical down pour of rain so heavy that we seemed to be enveloped in a wet white sheet. We sought refuge in a large cave that was covered with beautiful green mosses & vines, and carpeted with many varieties of exquisite ferns. Here we stayed an hour or more singing and eating our nuts and candy, until the rain ceased to fall. Everything was so wet and damp that we decided to hurry down the canyon as quickly as possible, which we did, stopping several times on the way down at little native huts when we were overtaken by occasional squalls and gusts of wind and rain. We arrived back in Papeete about 5 o’clock, tired, and wet and spattered with mud, but not the least bit drooping in spirits, after our days tramp.

Sun. Dec. 26.

Attended Sunday school and took charge of the childrens class. Also Sacrament at 3: pm. Both meetings were well attended. Bros. Rua and Toae and their families having come to Pepeete to live made our congregation somewhat larger. Held our regular reading class at 7: pm.

Mon Dec 27, 1915.

Studied all morning, and sewed in the afternoon.

Tues. Dec. 28.

Bros. Geo. Burbidge and Alma Burton returned from Fautira. We held our Grammer and reading classes in the evening.

Wed. Dec 29.

Studied nearly all day.


Washed & studied.

Fri. Dec. 31.

Ironed and baked cakes and made candy for New Years Day.


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