Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 24 April – 12 May 1916

Venus in Tahiti: 24 April – 12 May 1916

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 14, 2013

(Previous installment)

Sun. Apr 23. 1916. Takaroa.

Every few hours we went to see Matapo. We were also called in to see several other children who had taken down with a slight fever. Attended the usual Sunday Meetings. Named infant of Teata Hosana. Teariki [?] and wife repented of smoking& were received [illegible].

Mon. Apr. 24, 1916.

The Hinano [?] sailed in the pass about day-break so I hurriedly finished some letters to send to Papeete on it, after which I again spent several hours teaching Ruita to embroider. Called several times to see Matapo, who was now steadily improving.

Tues. Apr. 25.

Yesterday and today the Elders have been helping the native brothren to repair the Titeme [?] on which we were going to Niau & Riaroa. Towards evening Pres Rossiter and I called to see Matapo.

Wed. Apr. 26, 1916.

Went with Pres. Rossiter to see Matapo & the little child of Vaio, who were ill. We also called in to see the families of Mapu and Mafenhi.

Takaroa, Thurs. April 27, 1916.

Attended Relief Society at 3: pm after which I held a short singing practise. We later called to see Vaio’s child & Terava. Mauvahi’s wife called us in when we were passing and gave us a basket filled with shells and two silver mounted shell-buttons. Teniko also gave us two large loaves of bread. During the day I made a childs bib for Sister Compton.

Fri & Sat April 28 & 29 1916.

Didnt feel very good & staid in my room most of today. Visited several families towards evening.

Takaroa, Sun April 30, 1916.

We had made all arrangements and everything was ready for us to leave on the morrow on the Ditema and in the morning priesthood meeting the brothern asked and in fact almost insisted that Pres Rossiter stay and settle the land trouble that existed between almost all of the Saints. He protested on every grounds, but they still insisted that he stay. After Sunday School the priesthood called another meeting in which they still tried to persuade him to stay. Finally a vote was made, in which the majority voted that he leave. At the close of the afternoon Sacrament meeting, President Rossiter unvolintarily stood up before the people and was so overcome with the spirit that he wept & it was sometime before he could get control of himself again. Most every person in the building were in tears too, even the young men & women & children. Speaking to them he said that he felt that if he should leave them in the trouble that something dissasterous would happen to them, but to make ourselves perfectly assured of what he should do, he asked that we all even to the children, fast & pray until the evening of the following day. That evening instead of the usual young peoples meeting we held a special prayer meeting. Upon returning at night Pres. Rossiter prayed that the Lord would make it known unto one of the native brothern, what should be done & also to show unto him what would happen to the people if they wouldnt repent of all the sins & shortcomings, so that they could put themselves into a position to receive the blessings of the Lord.

Shortly after we returned from Sacrament meeting and were sitting in our room together several small boys came & peeked in our door. They apparently wanted to say something but didnt have the courage to start. Finally the largest, a boy about ten years of age started in followed by the others and they all shook hands with us both, then with a choke in his throat he awkwardly held out his little brown hand, which contained ten cents they had collected among themselves and said, “This is to show our love for you.”

Mon. May 1, 1916.

At 8: am Tuhira a Mohi & Kapua Tearo were married at the Governors house. After the ceremony the bride gave me a beautiful white shell wreath. At 10: am we held a special fast meeting in which most of the leading Saints expressed a desire to repent of the sins in order that their land troubles might be settled through the Spirit of the Lord. When the meeting was dismissed, [baptismal] services were held for Kapua Tearo, the young woman who was married in the morning. At 3 pm we held our final fast meeting in which Pres. Rossiter said that he knew it was the Lords will that he should remain among them & help them out of the troubles, but that he must have their support, so that it could be done through the guidance of the Lord. A native brother also got up and told of a dream that he had had the night before. Upon retiring he had prayed that the Lord make known unto him whether the Pres should remain among them and also what would happen to them in case he didnt and they should continue on in their quareling & disputes over their lands. And upon falling asleep he dreamed that the Island was swept with a cyclone.

He awakened and prayed again to the Lord to make known again to him if these things were true, & he dreamed again of the cyclone, but at the end of the second dream he saw Pres Rossiter quite near him with a smile on his face, as though he was pleased with him. And he said he knew that the President should stay and that the people would escape being destroyed in [the] cyclone, as they were in his dream, if they would obey his counsel and let their disputes be peacibly settled.

Then Pres. Rossiter told the people how he knew that the Lord had answered his prayers in manifesting himself to this native brother.

Kapua was confirmed a member of the Church.

After meeting we broke our fast by partaking of a feast that had been prepared by the wedding party. At 7: pm we held a singing meeting and class.

Takaroa Tues. May 2, 1916.

We held an Elders priesthood meeting in which Elder Pierson was appointed to return to Tahiti and from there in company with Elder Alma Burton he was to go to Foaite & Taenga. Elder Compton & wife were to return to Tahiti & Elders Monk & Touse were to remain at Takaroa with Pres Rossiter and me. The rest of the day was spent in preparing for the departure. At 6 pm we gathered at the wharf for prayer and a parting song, as is the custom here.

Tane Mervin a young half caste was leaving also, to go to war and there was a great weeping and wailing over him. Some of the old ladies just lay flat down on their stomachs and dug up the ground with their bare feet and hands while they screamed and chanted their ancient parting prayers. Until after dark & the boat was out of sight they were calling out “Ane Tane e.”

Wed. May 3, 1916.

It was rather lonesome around the house so I went with Ruita & the girls across the pass to catch fish and gather shells. Going over we waded through water up to our waists, but when we returned the tide had come up, so we had a young boy row us over in a canoe. Towards evening the “Commodore” arrived, but there was no mail on it.

Thurs, May 4, 1916.

It poured rain all day. Attended Relief Society meeting at 3 pm.

Fri. May 5, 1916.

Several young girls went gathering shells for me & when they returned I spent an hour or so teaching them songs. In the afternoon I went visiting the Saints with Pres. Rossiter. Marwakis wife gave me three silver buttons fashioned out of two franc pieces & mounted with bright yellow cats eye shells.

Takaroa May 6, 1916.

Studied in the morning and mended, bathed & washed out a few small things in the afternoon. Toriki brought us in six nice sea crabs for supper.

Sun. May 7, 1916

Held meeting at 9: 10: 11: am, 3: pm & 7: pm. At the morning preaching meeting two young men, Tinote & Taramaihunga & the wife of Raka repented and asked to be received into the Church again.

Mon. May 8, 1916.

Elders Touse & Monk with about thirty of the saints left for the Island of Tiku to make copra to begin paying off some of their longstanding debts. Teata a Po & Teholi also left on the same ship to go to Marutea, where they had been called by Tima a Mapuhi, so we held a short meeting in the morning at their house urging them to be earnest & faithful while away, as they had just recently been married& stopped smoking & had been received into the church again. Teata being the only child they felt very badly about parting with her.

Tues. May 9

The remaining natives are more than caring for us since we were left alone, bringing so many fish and loaves that we cant accept them all. They are also keeping us well supplied with fresh bread & canned goods. It seems rather strange to be doing the cooking again after such a long rest. We spent several hours visiting among the saints preaching repentance, and we were greatly encouraged at the number that has stopped the use of tobacco & coffee & are trying to pay off their debts. There has also been a great increase in tithe paying since we began the repentance campai[g]n, many who have never paid tithing before, besides several young men & women & those who have recently been baptized into the church. We also visited several Catholic families among them the Marshal. He was very curt with us a[t] first but before we left we had him agreeing with most everything we talked about & he said that he would like to talk with us again.

Wed. May 10, 191[6].

There have been so many fish this week that the people cannot consume them all. More than there have been for years and the natives are all quite worked up about it, saying that the Lord is already beginning to bless them, since they are trying to forsake their sins. Spent several hours visiting among the Saints & had gospel conversations to two Catholic people. Tara one of the big Catholic men here, who is the exact image of John Burney the moving picture actor, made me a real pretty tatting shuttle of yellow pearl shell, mounted with silver that he had pounded out of a silver coin.

Takaroa, May 11, 1916.

I was awakened by the cry “Sails” long before breakfast, and looking out of window I saw the sight of a ship in the distance so I hurriedly dressed a[nd] wrote a letter to mother in case it was going to Papeete. It anchored about day break, so President Rossiter went down to the wharf and found it to be the Tuamotuan Governors boat. On it came a letter from dear old Terai, our Tahitian mother at Papeete. Later in the ay Pres Rossiter had a conversation with the Governor in which he stated that although he was a Catholic himself he was forced to admit that among all the islands of the Tuamotus the people on the Mormon Islands were very much ahead of the people on other islands in cleanliness, temperance& in paying their taxes & debts.At3 pm we held Relief Society Meeting and at 7: pm Pres. Rossiter, Toriki & Rungivarta, two native missionaries.

Fri. May 12, 1916.

While we were eating breakfast Nami came in and seeing that we had no bread on the table, quickly ran over to the store and brought back two loaves of bread. We spent several hours visiting among the saints and also called at three Catholic investigators. They all received us kindly and listened intentively to our teachings. At 7: pm we held another gospel class.

(To be continued)



  1. “Didnt feel very good”…uh-oh.

    Comment by Alison — July 14, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  2. Any chance that ship headed for Papeete was Japanese? If so, it might have been the Hineno. That’s the name of an old Japanese family, and the name has ended up attached to some place names in southern Osaka Prefecture, as well as on a style of samurai helmet.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 14, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

  3. I looked at the original again, Mark. It does appear to be an “a” in the middle, but there’s no guarantee that Venus spelled it correctly. You may very well be right. Thanks.

    Alison, you’re suspecting something … he, he!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 14, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

  4. There was a local cargo/passenger ship (mostly cargo) named Hinano when I was there 1978-1980. Even though it was decrepit, the one I was on was probably a replacement . Also the local beer was Hinano. So, I suspect the spelling is correct.

    Comment by David R. — July 15, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  5. There … being Tahiti Papeete Mission.

    Comment by David R. — July 15, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

  6. That makes sense. But I would really have liked to hear that you traveled between islands on a ship that had been around for over 70 years!

    Comment by Mark B. — July 15, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

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