Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 26 March – 24 April 1917

Venus in Tahiti: 26 March – 24 April 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 03, 2013

(Previous installment)

Papeete. March 26, 1917

Felt miserable all day. Wrote letters and held Tahitian class with the Elders at night.

Tues. March 27, 1917

Mrs Falco came in to spend the afternoon. Paui [one] of our saints from Moorea came to the house to tell us he had been baptized into the Protestant church, simply because the native Protestant elder at Moorea had helped him during a recent illness. I was nearly struck dumb & the poor old fellow himself seemed to act & feel like he was a poor lost sheep, which he really was. Held class with the new Elders.

Wed. March 28, 1917

Went to the dentist & shopping. Called to see Mrs Lund on the way home. Mrs Harvey called and invited us to come over to the hotel where they were staying to spend the evening. We went & sat out in the garden listening to the Papeete Orchestra practising on the veranda. The[re] were some French girls sitting near us who were smoking & acting awful. We knew some of them & had supposed they were nice girls, but we ignored them & turned our back to them to-night when we saw them smoking. We were preparing to go to bed, when we heard one of the neighbor’s children crying terribly so we thought it must have had an accident, so we ran over to see what was the matter with it, & found that it was only protesting against having its head cleaned which was simply alive with creepers.

Thurs. March 29, 1917

Had a terrific head ache & Sister put hot clothes on it & rubbed it for about half an hour with mentholatum. Wrote to Pres. Rossiter & towards evening ran across the street to Marthas for a few minutes. Held class with the Elders.

Fri. March 30, 1917.

Washed clothes. Sister and I went to town & called to see Terai. had class with the Elders.

Sat. March 31, 1917

Cleaned house & ironed & printed pictures. Had class in the evening with the Elders.

Sun April 1, 1917

Conducted Sunday School & Sacrament meeting. bros Bulkley & Heslop bore their testimony in the Tahitian language.

Mon. April 2, 1917

Cut a dress out for Rirava & made a bungalow apron for myself. Tepo Meari & Tupuna came over & spent the evening.

Tues. April 3, 1917

Wrote letters & printed pictures. Mrs. Lund called in the afternoon. Held class with the elders in the evening.

Wed. April 4, 1917

Tepifai one of [our] old saints from Hikueru called to see us. Whenever she calls she always sits on the floor, and when she tires of that position, she lies out flat on her stomach. Princess Etwater called to see us in the afternoon. We were very much entertained listening [to] her stories about Turai an old native priest who lives around the island, and of her visits to see the Queen of Hawaii. Held class at night with the elders.

Thurs. April 5, 1917

Finished my letters & took them down to the post office. When I returned Mrs. Harvey, Terai & Rirava were at the house. Spent the rest of the day writing an article for the Des. News.

Fri. April 6, 1917

Wrote all day on my article. Received a letter from Hei, one of our girl friends who had gone out to Punauiaa to have a sore foot doctored by a native doctor. Took a picture over to Tuko of his regiment that I had taken one day when they were passing. Sister and [I] walked down to see the little boats loaded with fruit coming in from around the island. Held class with the elders.

Sat April 7, 1917

Wrote all day on my article for the Des. News. One of the Pitcairn Island men Shelley Warren brought Sister & I each a native panama hat, and I gave a hymn book, magazines & a few other books to him. Spent the evening on board the “Moana” chatting with Mr Evans & Mr & Mrs Harvey who were leaving on it for America. As we passed a finely dressed lady who was sitting on deck talking to the captain, we heard her say “So they are Mormons, those awful Mormons” as though she thought they didn’t look such terrible creatures after all.

Sun. April 8, 1917

I conducted Sunday School & Sacrament meeting at which Elders Heslop & Bulkley spoke in English & I translated as they went into the Tahitian language. One of the Pitcairn Island men came to the meeting and afterwards came over to the house and sang for us.

Mon. April 9, 1917

Got up and started the washing at 5:30 am. Then Sister and I addressed all the wrappers for the mission paper. I went to the dentist in the afternoon & from there Sister & I went down to spend the afternoon with Mahana & Perepere. Held class with the Elders & Terai & Tecopu came up for a while in the evening.

Tues. April 10, 1917

Ironed. Went to the dentist 7 called to see the Princess. Held evening class with the elders.

Wed. April 11, 1917

Did a lot of odd & end jobs during the morning. Pres Rossiter & Elder Orton arrived at noon on the Lutece from Rairoa, reporting a very successful conference there with the Saints from Takaroa & the Josephite friends of Rairoa. We have had some difficulty in getting a piece of land at Rairoa to build our meeting house on. We had arranged to buy two different pieces, but each time the Josephite minister forbade the owners who were members of his church to sell to us, and it began to look as though we were not going to be able to get a piece of land. The[re] was a certain half caste man living on the island, who was a Catholic and one of the very worst enemies to the elders and the church, but one day he was lying sleeping and he awoke suddenly with a loud voice just behind him telling him to give a certain piece of land that belonged to him, to the Mormons to build their meeting house on. He says he didn’t want to do it, & he doesn’t know why he did, but at any rate the finished meeting house is standing on it now & was dedicated at the April conference, & he and his family have since then applied for baptism. Pres. Rossiter brought a letter from Heia & picture of Tane a Mervin & several beautiful heis from the saints.

Thurs. April 12, 1917

Felt miserable all day. The Palvona arrived from America at 7: pm. Received a fine picture of Gene in the mail.

Fri. April 13, 1917

Helped with mission paper. Attended the services for the departing Tahitian soldiers & went down to the boat to see them off. Tuko, one of our boys, left, & president gave him $4.

Sat. April 14, 1917

Helped in the office. Went with Ern to give Terai $40 that the Relief Society of Takaroa had sent down to help her. Also went shopping, bought the material for a printing apron & table cover for Elder Orton & then came home & sewed them. Held class with the elders.

Sun. April 15, 1917

Held S.S. at 10: am, sacrament meeting at 3: pm. Afterwards Sister, Pres. & I took a walk down by the sea.

Papeete Mon. April 16, 1917

Got up early and washed & helped a few hours in the office. When I was having a cold shower in the afternoon, I took a chill & by night I had a good case of la grippe on me. Ern made me some composition, gave me some oil & put my feet in a hot mustard bath before I went to bed. We had all gone to bed & Pres. was taking a bath, when the lamp in the bathroom exploded & scattered bits of glass all over the room. Pres. was standing very close to it in the tub, but strange to say not a single piece struck his body, although the bathtub was just filled with it. I guess his guardian angel must have been close around just at that particular time.

Tues. April 17, 1917

Stayed in bed all day. Sister did my ironing & Ern put my feet in hot mustard water again.

Wed. April 18, 1917

Felt a little better. Wrote letters. Held a short singing class at night.

Thurs. April 19, 1917

Went to the dentist. Called to see Terai & Madam Falco.

Fri. April 20, 1917

Felt miserable again. Walked down to Drolletts with Ern & Sister in the evening.

Papeete April 21, 1917

Cleaned house. Held priesthood meeting at 2: pm & later went down town. Pres. bought a turtle steak & we had a nice fry when we returned home.

Sun. April 22, 1917

Held S.S. & sacrament meeting & had a fairly good attendance. Walked out to Fataua & called to see the Stuart family.

Mon. April 23

Went to the dentist. Called to see Terai & held class with the elders.

Tues. April 24

Washed. Went to the dentist. Called to see Terai & held class with Elders.

(To be continued)



  1. I still don’t understand all this visiting to the dentist. Did I miss something?

    Comment by Jeffery Johnson — November 3, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  2. Jeff, I just did a text search. With the exception of once in February when she reports having two teeth filled, every other reference to the dentist is simply “went to the dentist.” She doesn’t say why, and doesn’t report what he did for her. Just “went to the dentist.”

    I do note that about two weeks before she first “went to the dentist,” she records some strange growths in her throat and nose, one of which broke loose in that memorably gruesome episode from a few weeks ago when she had a reaction to mangoes. I wondered if perhaps the dentist was draining or scraping or otherwise treating those — I know that’s not a normal dental task, but she also doesn’t report her husband the doctor treating her for anything like that. But that’s strictly a guess. Otherwise, I’ve got not the slightest idea.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 4, 2013 @ 7:23 am

  3. I tried to find Rairoa (April 11, 1917) and failed. But I did find a place named Rangiroa, which is near enough to Takaroa that they might have had a conference there.

    There is still an Avatoru Branch, located on one of the islands of the Rangiroa Atoll. A beautiful tropical island, and so utterly isolated that one wonders what connection those saints feel to the rest of the church.

    Comment by Mark B. — November 4, 2013 @ 7:44 am

  4. Wonderful entries. Love the voice commanding the Catholic man to give the Mormons land to build their church on. :-)

    Comment by bfwebster — November 4, 2013 @ 11:18 am

  5. Re: Rangiroa vs. Rairoa. Pure Tahitian language does not recognize the “ng”. Thus Rangiroa becomes Ra’i’roa.

    Comment by David R. — November 4, 2013 @ 11:59 am

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