Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 16 February – 18 March 1918

Venus in Tahiti: 16 February – 18 March 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 02, 2014

(Previous installment)

Sat. Feb 16, 1918

Cleaned house and held priesthood meeting. Ern & I walked out in the evening. Hunted through stacks of old magazines for an article we wished to refer to in our mission paper.

Sun. Feb. 17, 1918

Three years ago to-day we left dear old “Salt Lake.” Held regular Sunday meetings. Wrote the following for my mother on my 27th birthday, Feb. 10, 1918

“As once more the year rolls round
My heart is filled with thoughts profound.
Most sacred is the thought of thee
Who caused in me this life to be.
So to thee now dear Mother mine,
I wish God’s blessings all be thine.
with all the joys of this old earth
On this, the day you gave me birth.”

Mon. Feb. 18, 1918

Washed clothes & commenced translating The life of Jos. Smith to use as a class exercise in Sunday School.

Papeete, Feb. 19, 1918

Went to dentist and went down to see Mahana & Tevaite. Mahana was just recovering from a severe heart attack. She had been baptized into the Reorganite church since I saw her last. They gave me their photos when I left. Also called to see Mrs. Stewart who had several of her children sick with the dysentery, and I took over a picture of Sophie that we had snapped one day. Ran down to Terai’s for a while in the evening. to day I tried my hand for the first time in giving organ lessons. Teura a Mapuhi was my apt pupil and I think we are going to get along fine judging from our first lesson. She will take a lesson every day but Sat. Sun. & Mon. of each wk.

Wed. Feb. 20, 1918

Visited Stewarts, Henrys, Falcos & Princess Etwater. Took them all a Xmas news & five French tracts to Mr. Falco.

Thurs. Feb. 21, 1918

Set day apart for fasting and prayer in behalf of my health. Wrote letters and I was on the way down to Mrs. Edwards with a Xmas News when I met Miss Edwards half way coming over to our house with a jar of jam, so we came back to our house for a few minutes and then on down to their place where I spent the evening. Mr. Barbarell the new manager for Darnell’s store, who had recently arrived from London, dropped in and Mrs. Edwards insisted on me relating some of my missionary experiences in the upper islands to him. She has heard some of them time and time again and never seems to tire of them. Gave Teura her music lesson.

Friday, Feb. 22, 1918

Went to the dentist, made pictures for the Elders, called on Martha & in the evening on Terai & Pancho.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 1918

Cleaned house, washed hair, cleaned hats for Elders & us with lemon juice & sulphur. Priesthood meeting at 3: pm. Pres & I called on Terai, Haman, Sophie, Tahuhu, & Mahana. Had the organ carried from the house over into the church. Also went to the hospital to call on Daha, who Pres. had taken there yesterday to have her little girls eyes attended to.

Sun. Feb.24, 1918

Held our usual Sunday meetings. The Saints were delighted to have the organ in the church, improved the singing wonderfully. Gave cards to all the children present. Fifine a young half caste girl asked to be baptized the following Sunday. Ern & I called on Stewarts & Falcos.

Mon. Feb. 25, 1918

Wash day. Called on Martha & a Protestant family who live near us & spent the evening in gospel conversation.

Tues. Feb. 26, 1918

Ironed. Went shopping, bought sheets for the mission house & an elegant white silk Chinese embroidered dress pattern to send to Teipo a Maere for her wedding dress. Gave Teura her music lesson.

Wed. Feb. 27, 1918

Visited Fifine the young girl who is to be baptized Sunday. She was busy making a pretty white dress for confirmation. Gave Teura her organ lesson. Called on Terai, had a gospel conversation with a Catholic woman who was visiting her.

Thurs. Feb. 28, 1918

Paloona arrived from New Zealand. Sophie brought me over a lovely bouquett of roses & honey suckle. Fifine took her first organ lesson. Finished letters.

Fri. March 1, 1918

Went out to the hospital to see Dahax child. Gave music lessons to Fifine & Teura. Called on Terai. All went down at night to see the Moana come. Several local soldiers returned home from France on leave of absence. While we were waiting for the boat to come in, Terai & I called on Mrs. Edwards. Boat came in at 10: p.m.

Sat. March 2, 1918

Received our mail about ten o’clock. Received letters from Mother Sadie Gene, Lyda Margaret Mrs. Lovesy & Mrs. Lyman cards from Mother, Dorothy & Mrs. Adams. Magazines from Margaret & Sadie. A box of candy from Sadie for my birthday & pictures of Margaret & Marama, Mrs. Livesy, Katharyn & Audrey. Song from Margaret. Mrs. Amy B. Lyman wrote congratulating us on the 1917 years work for the Relief society. That she had read it & my letter in the General board meeting & that part of it would appear in the March issue of the R.S. Journal.

Also received a letter of appreciation and expression of love from Sister Compton for my kindness to her during her two years stay in the mission. In part she said: “The two years I spent with you will always be a lifes lesson to me & I shall strive to live as near the lessons I learned from you as best I can. And as for the links of love that were formed between us, they will never be fully realized by any one but our two selves. You were more than a sister to me, you were as a mother, kind and consoling & a worthy advisor. I often longed to be as great & good to those dear native people as you were, in other words, as worthy & successful a missionary. I sometimes feel that I could fly back to you & Tahiti. I miss you terribly. It makes me happy at the thought of seeing you again & enjoying your presence, for it is not just plain friendship that has been kindled & lighted, but a love as one has for their own kin that is burning in our hearts. And as for the interest you & Pres. Rossiter took in our babe Marama was also appreciated & may [?] him twice the joy & pride to live for. And I know your efforts will not be in vain, but that you will yet be rewarded with the desire of your hearts – a child. If any two people on earth deserved their hearts desire, you & the Pres. are the ones. No one could be more faithful courageous, uncomplaining God serving people than you two are & I feel that the Lord has thus stayed his hand that you might be able to accomplish a great work in the mission field, and I feel that your efforts & your fasting & prayers will be answered and you will be rewarded with children. I felt blue & sad when I started this letter, but I feel comforted in writing these true heart felt words & (I feel as if I had talked with you & cried with you as we used to do when we used to comfort and confide our innermost thoughts to one another – Well, Siste rDear I hope you will both accept the love and heart felt thanks for your goodness to me. I am sincerely your sister in the gospel. Margaret M. Compton.

Hei came in to spend the afternoon. Elder Monk came down from Hickueru on account of sore eyes.

Sun. March 3, 1918

Held a wonderful priesthood meeting at 8: am. Sunday School at 10:30 am; & Fast meeting at 3: pm. Just after S.S. we all went out to the river at Pirae where Ern baptized Josephine (Fifine) a Tiaina, a lovely young half caste girl 17 yrs old. Elder Monk confirmed her in the afternoon meeting. Her fiance who is away to the front is the son of the old Tahitian King Hinoi Pomare.

Mon. March 4, 1918

Washed, worked in office most of day. Gave two music lessons in afternoon. Called to see Terai for a short time.

Tues. March 5, 1918

Ironed. Office work. Gave two music lessons.

Wed. March 6, 1918

Went to dentist. Gave two lessons. Towards evening Mrs. Falcos & I went for a walk up on the mountains to gather guavas. Called in Lucas’ on the way up. Also at the ship signaling station.

Thurs. March 7, 1918

Mrs. Henry called. Received an invitation to the funeral of Mr & Mrs Nicolas little child. The Elders attended, but I had a music lesson at that hour. Went for a walk towards evening on the hill back of Toaes all alone. Sat until dark on the crest of the hill looking out on the sea watching the sunset. Three years to-day we landed at Tahiti.

Fri. March 8, 1918

Miss Salmon of the Royal family called in the afternoon. Gave lessons & made a music chart for Fifine to study, as she was going out to Mataica to remain a month. Elders within the U.S. war draft age were notified that they would have to register with the American Consul the following week.

Sat. March 9, 1918

Cleaned house. Held priesthood meeting. Called on Terai.

Sun. March 10, 1918

Held regular Sunday meetings. The Stewart children came over in the afternoon. Grazilla, Constance, David, Charles Sophie & their little cousin Madeline.

Mon. March 11, 1918

Washed. dentist. One music lesson.

Tues. March 12, 1918

Ironed. Dentist. One music lesson.

Wed. March 13, 1918

All the Elders at Papeete had to register with the American consul according to the U.S. army draft law. I went to the dentist. Helped in office and cut out a new white dress.

Thurs. March 14, 1918

Dentist. Finished dress. Gave two music lessons. The Stewart children came over and I taught them the French song Mrs. Compton had sent me from U.S.

Sat. March 16

Bought a new panama hat and trimmed it with white ribbon.

Sun. March 17, 1918

Held priesthood meeting at 8: am. S.S. at 10: am & Sacrament meeting at 3: pm. Hei brought me a package of dried banananas [sic] to send to mother. Sold her a Book of Mormon and 1915 year book of mission paper.

Mon. March 18, 1918

Washed. Went to dentist who is also the British Consul at Tahiti. He said he had to admit that he admired the Mormon Church because it was a practical every day life & the most remarkable thing about it was the effect it had on its members. He said it was a most wonderful thing to him to see how the young Mormon boys went out into the world mingling with the masses & still not be one of them. They are the finest set of young fellows I have met anyplace in the world and I take off my hat to the Mormon Church & the Mormon people. (Mr Williams verges on to atheism himself.)

(To be continued)



  1. Ardis, When Venus writes about translating something, she means into French, right?

    Comment by Gary Bergera — February 2, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

  2. So, I’m impatient enough to ask. Did they every have children?

    Comment by Carol — February 2, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

  3. Gary, she means into Tahitian. I’m not sure how much French she picked, but she really worked on getting Tahitian, translating hymns and teaching incoming elders.

    Carol, the Rossiters will soon adopt. They never had children of the body — but of the heart, yes.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 2, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

  4. Thanks. I wasn’t sure, then saw the entry for March 14 and thought I understood.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — February 2, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

  5. What a lovely letter from Sister Compton, and a very nice set of journal entries. Like always, it’s great reading.

    Comment by Amy T — February 4, 2014 @ 6:59 am

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