Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 25 March – 11 April 1916

Venus in Tahiti: 25 March – 11 April 1916

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 30, 2013

(Previous installment)

Sat. March 25.

Renovated & reupholstered some pedastels in the fare pureraa; later visited five families.


Attended five meetings. During priesthood meeting the Saints and Elders Stocks & Pierson arrived from Hao, for conference.

Mon. March 27.

Spent the morning making a waist for Punau. Sister Compton had been suffering for about a week with neuralgia in the head, and towards evening today the pain became so intense that she could hardly endure it and lay clinching her hands and tossing her body. The Elders administered to her promising her if she had faith the pain would be taken from her, and before they had taken their hands from her head the pain was gone & she lay quietly and rested. There were several natives in the room at the time, and they were amazed at the sudden and wonderful change that had come over her. Attended gospel class at 7: pm.

Tues. March 28, 1916.

Visited several families, and lay down the rest of the day. My throat, teeth & ears acked severely. I have apparently taken Sister Comptons neuralgia. In the evening Elders Stocks, Pierson & I had a practise with the Hao branch while Pres. Rossiter & Mapuhi held one with the Takaroa branch.

Wed. March 29.

Didn’t feel very well all day. However towards evening I visited two families and attended gospel class.

Thurs. March 30.

Feel much better to-day. Had myself weighed. I tipped the scales at 116 pounds, [blank] pounds less than when I left home. Held Relief Society meeting at 7: pm.

Takaroa Fri. March31, ’16.

Spent the day studying and sewing. At 7: pm we held a class [with] the Hao branch while Mapuhi held one with the Takaroa branch.

Sat.April1, 1916.

The natives had great sport all day playing tricks on us, several times calling out “Sails,” along about [blank] they called out again but this time we didnt pay any attention to it. However this time it proved to be true, and the Marokau people and part of the Hikueru people arrived for Conference. We were expecting Elders Touse, Burbidge, Monk & Davis, but through a misunderstanding with boats they didnt arrive. At 6:39 pm we held a priesthood meeting in which we enjoyed a great outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord. At the suggestion of President Rossiter we decided to set March 2, Fast Sunday apart in behalf of the Elders & Saints at Hikueru that a way may be provided for them to arrive in time for conference.

Late in the evening several the young men from Hikueru came to the house, and in their conversation they mentioned that if Pres Rossiter wanted them to, they would return to Hikueru and bring the remainder of the Saints & the Elders from [there]. After considering it for some time Pres Rossiter felt that that was the means provided for them to get here, so at 1:30 am the little boat set out on its errand.

Sun April 2, 1916.

The meeting house was filled to overflowing at all the meetings, especially at the Fast meeting. Many were in tears the outpouring of the spirit was so manifest.

Mon April 3, 1916.

During the night we heard the call “sails,” and in the morning we found that the saints had arrived from Raiaroa. The Josephite gove[r]nor on that Island had forbid them leaving the island under the pretense of trying to illiminate the spread of a fever that was on the island. He had let the Josephites go to their conference in Papeete, saying that there being a doctor there it was alright for them to go there. There were about ten Josephite investigators coming to our conference, so the Gove[r]nor had to think of some plan to prevent them from doing so. Mohi and his family who is one of our missionaries remained, while Toriki another missionary & his family came even though he knew he would have to serve a short term in jail when he returned for disobeying the Gove[r]nor’s orders. But he said he would rather do that than to disobey the law of God in not coming to conference. Sister and I spent most of the day visiting among the Saints who had come from the other islands. At 7: pm we held gospel meeting.

Tues. Apr. 4 1916.

I went with Sister Compton to see one of our saints who had given birth two days before to a little baby girl. She came to the door herself and let us in. We were very much surprised to see her up & around and she told us that she was all alone when the baby was born, and several hours after she carried and heated water for the baby and herself to bathe in. It was a dear little baby, almost white, as the Maori babys usually are when born, and as they grow they get darker. We also visited the Saints from Hao. As is customary at the Conferences, the local branch feeds all of the visiting branches during their entire stay. Among the things that were collected for that purpose were 33 sacks of flour 33 pigs, 6 boxes of sugar, and fresh fish and cocoanuts every day. Besides this one day is set apart for a large feast. For this 900 loaves of bread 18 roasted pigs & loads of cocoanuts were provided. Formerly the feast was spread out on the ground on palm leaves and the people all ate to-gether, but to avoid trouble that sometimes arises, the feast has been done away with & the food is divided up equally and each person receives his own portion to carry off to his own house. for our portion, the missionaries were given two young pigs, 26 loaves of bread, two boxes of cakes and two burlap sacks of cocoanuts. In the afternoon the young people played basketball, and in the evening all of the branches practised their parts for conference in their respective houses

Wed Apr. 5, 1916.

Today all of the visiting Saints, all of the people of Takaroa, native, white, Chinese, Josephite Catholic & Protestant were dressed in all of the new gowns & hats and came out to the d[ed]ication of the new amusement hall. The visiting people formed two long straight lines on either side at the end of which Takaroa formed in marching lines four abreast and led by the missionaries marched to the steps, singing the new song that I had composed. At the steps a salute was fired & the French flag was hoisted while the entire assembly sang “Le Marseilles” the French national hymn. Then to the strain of a native air Mapuhi unlocked the doors, and we all marched in singing the new song. The cement floor was not sufficiently hardened to put benches on so we all sat on the floor on woven native mats. Pres Rossiter offered the dedication prayer, and after that speeches by the gove[r]nor & the heads of committees interspersed by songs, the meeting was over. I stood at the door with a basket carved out of a cocoanut shell, and bedecked in bright ribbon streamers and as the people went out received money to send to the French soldiers. Altogether we received $35.85.

The remainder of the day the house was thronged with natives. Towards evening we were sitting on the porch and heard several crashing noises but didn’t pay any attention to it. Soon we saw a crowd of natives gathering so we knew there must be trouble and we all ran to see what it was. Punua one of [our] neighbors a great powerful man had had a small amount of money taken from him and had become so enraged, or rather filled with the evil spirit, that he was smashing everything within his reach. By the time we reached there he had all of the doors and windows knocked out & had hurled a trunk through the wall at one end of his house. All of the natives were afraid to go in and stood around on the outside. But president Rossiter ran right in just as he was hurling a trunk around his head. When he saw president Rossiter it calmed him a little and he let the trunk fall to the floor. The natives hearing the thud thought he had attacked the Pres. so several of them and [the] marshal run in a[nd] tusseled with him, that made him furious again, and he threw every one of the[m] out of the house, then Pres Rossiter sent all of the crowd away and led Punua into the house who was now trembling like a leaf. As soon as they were alone he felt sorry for what he had done and sat down & cried like a baby. He is a powerful man and has an unmanagable temper and often flies into a rage and thrashes his wife and children. He told Pres. Rossiter that if he hadn’t come over, he wouldn’t have stopped until he had demolished the whole house & all of the furniture.

At 7: pm the Y.L.M.I.A. gave their programm, which was the Life of the Prophet Joseph given [by] six young girls and appropriate songs between each part. After their parts were over two old men got up and preached until we were nearly dead from sitting on the floor so long. One of the[m] recited the genealogy from Adam down to the Prophet Joseph Smith as fast as he could talk & without one falter.

After meeting Punua [came] over to the house to ask forgiveness for his actions.

Takaroa April 6, 1916.

Conference proper started with Priesthood meeting at 7: am & general meeting at 10: am. Pres Rossiter was the main speaker, dealing chiefly on the subject of repentance after which the young people who had recently been married, including one couple from Hao, asked to be received again into the church. Punua also asked to be forgiven for his actions the day before. Immediately after meeting baptismal services were held with Elder Irvin Pierson officiating. Five children & two men, Teniko & Emil received the ordinance. At 3 pm we held another meeting. Toae & Mapuhi were the speakers. At these services three other people asked to be received again into the church, having thrown away their smoking & land trouble.

At 7: pm we gathered at the “Fare Putuputuraa” to hear the exercises prepared by the young people of Hao. We missionaries also sang two songs in English. We had made this the first day of the conference a special Fast Day for the Elders so that we might have a righ[t] portion of the spirit in our meetings, and we were not dissapointed for it was felt and spoken of by all present. As Pres. Rossiter and I were walking home from Baptismal service, I said to him, “I do wish you’d get a new hat for that one is certainly a disgrace for conference.” I had hardly gotten the words out of my mouth when we heard someone about half a block behind calling for us to wait and Taukaha came running up with a pretty new hat, woven of snow hat straw with a bright yellow bead band on it, and put it on his head. I told him what I just finished saying and we went away laughing, doubly glad to give it.

Fri April 7, 1916.

It is a custom among the island people, when they have visitors among them to set apart one day to present to the visiting people large quantities of food as a token of love & welcome. The food is collected under the bow[e]ry at the governors house. Then he personally leads conducts the leading men of the visiting people to the place, where he makes a flowery presentation speech, which is responded to by the receivers. To the people from Hao, Hikueru, Marokau & Riaroa they gave 8 sacks of flour, 3 strings of fish, 3 large pigs and 10wagon loads of cocoanuts. To our portion weweregiven1 chicken,2 ducks,1bagofrice2vbutter 2bread & cocoanuts & fish. Heldmeetingsat10: am 3 pm & 7: pm. also 1/2 box of sugar.

Takaroa Sat Apr 8, 1916

Held meetingsat10: am, 3 pm & 7: pm. Just as we were dismissing our evening meeting the boat sailed in the pass bringing Elders Davis, Mark [?], Touse & Burbidge & the remaining saints from Hikueru. After morning meeting Pres Rossiter & I were called to go to son of Taukaha house where his wife was in labor. Seeing that she was nearing delivery he sent for the other elders to come & assist him in blessing her. She wasnt sick more than an hour when a little son was born to her while she was sitting on the floor. Several hours later we called to see her again and she was feeling as well again as ever.

Sun. Apr 9, 1916.

Held priesthood meeting at 7: am. At 9: am S.S. Conference 3 pm Sacrament meeting & Mutual conference at 7: pm. Was called during the afternoon to see a sick child from Hikueru.

Mon. Apr 10.

At the Sunday Priesthood meeting there were many who didnt have the opportunity of bearing their testimony, so we held a continued meeting this morning, after which the Relief Society conference was held. It was a glorious meeting lasting three hours, & many of the sisters did not even then get an opportunity to bear their testimony. At 3: pm we had our field sports & the young people had a musical program at night.

Tues. Apr. 11, 1916

Before we were up, in the morning some one threw a beautiful bead hei through our bedroom window. I jumped up in time to see Tuhiva a young native boy going through the front gate. Mr. Rossiter cut a needle from the foot of a little child that had come to conference from Hiau, he also cut a protruding piece of flesh from the leg of Maihunga who was bitten about a month ago by a shark. At 10: am we held priesthood meeting for the white missionaries. Elders Davis & Stevens were appointed to go to Hao. Stocks & Burbidge to Hikueru. Pierson & Touse to remain at Takaroa, and elders Monk & Compton to Niau. Pres Rossiter, Sister Compton and I were to return to Tahiti, stopping off at Riaroa & Niau. At 7: pm the young people from Hikueru furnished the programm.

(To be continued)



  1. This journal is so interesting and her writing makes you feel you are there. I am really enjoying this.

    Comment by Jeffery Johnson — June 30, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

  2. Thanks, Jeff. There seems to be something in every installment that is unique. Venus always manages to have an adventure!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 1, 2013 @ 5:04 am

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