Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 28 August – 27 September 1918

Venus in Tahiti: 28 August – 27 September 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 30, 2014

(Previous installment)

Wed. Aug 28, ’18

Nothing unusual. Class visited saints & meeting.

Thurs. Aug 29, ’18

Conducted childrens class & Relief Society meetings. Also received an answer to my fast & prayers.

Sat. Aug 31, ’18

Tere ora & Rurutu vessel arrived. Atutu gave us two hand woven Rurutu hats, some oranges, and a package of piero (dried bananas)

Sun. Sept. 1, 1918

Conducted the program for the childrens classes in evening meeting.

Mon. Sept 2, 1918

Was called out to attend on a woman in child labor (Hiriata a Matiti). Her case was entirely different than any other native woman I have seen. The pains sending the child up instead of down. She was becoming hysterical & prostrate in turns, because of the terrible pain and the long duration so we sent for Pres & Elder Buckley who administered to her & the child was born almost instantaneously. the “Zilee” arrived with the mail from America. We received letters from Mother & Margarette (the first in 3 months) Sadie, Dorothy, Father, Ernest J. Strong, Lyda, Anna B. Inez C. Harwood, Ashton Jenkens & Pres. Smith. Also received pictures of Mara[illegible] & Josie & the children, A $25 check from my father and one from Ashton Jenkins. The first was in Dec ‘17.

Tues. & Wed. Sept. 3 & 4, ’18

Ill, and remained at home both days.

Thurs. Sept 5, ’18

It was a cold windy day so the natives [came] in from diving and worked on the meeting house. The Takaroa Relief Society furnished inner for them, which was spread out on the group [ground?] and eaten native fashion, from native mats & with the fingers.

Fri. Sept. 6, ’18

Native men worked on the chapel today also & the Hickueru R.S. sisters furnished the dinner. I called on several sick folks during the afternoon. Hiritata & a young boy from Hao who has consumption.

Sat. Sept. 7, ’18

Today the Taenga sisters furnished the dinner for the workers on the chapel. Heia brought down a lovely white opke hat for Pres. that I had had her weave for him. Piritaki also made him a present of a lovely fine unbleached panama hat that she had woven.

Sun. Sept 8, ’18

Usual meetings all day.

Mon. Sept. 9, ’18

Our dear “Gene’s” 21st birthday & mother writes that he will enlist in the army “today.” Called to see Elder Larsen who was ill with dysentery.

Tues. Sept 19, ’18

Gave some tracts and had a long gospel talk with Marowahii’vahina a Catholic woman who lives next door to us.

Elder Jos. Bulkley asked to be released to return home on account of conditions at home.

Wed. Sept. 11, 1918

Held Elder Bulkleys farewell dinner down at the “B.B.R.” house. Attended evening meeting.

Thurs. Sept 12, ’18

The R.S. sisters of Takaroa presented Elder Bulkley with 2 ‘tifaefaes’ and all sorts of shells chicos, pearls & embroidered pillow slips. The Takaroa branch presented him with $50 and a Taenga woman with $4. The Hickueru sisters gave him a tefoefoe, pearls, heis and two gold rings. Most all of the Elders have a strong desire to return home & enlist in the army and the subject has been their main subject of thought and is talked among them to such an extent that several of them have asked to return home and have apparently lost the spirit of their mission in their desire to enlist. One Elder has even gone so far as to say that he had no testimony of the gospel, that he didn’t know whether Jos. Smith was a prophet or not, that the many cases of healing [he] had seen in the mission were not wrought through the power of the priesthood, but the medicines that had been used. That the Book of Mormon was not from God, etc. etc. as a way and means of getting his release.

Fri. Sept 13, 1918

After making it a matter of fasting & prayer Pres. decided to call each elder in individually and talk with him on the matter, and then if any still insisted he decided the only way thing left to do would be to release them, so as to eliminate the influence of their antagonistic spirit from among the other elders who really in their hearts did not want to return but only through the influence of others. This was done, and as a result Elders T and R received their releases to return home, but when they were informed that their parents, their bishop and the First Presidency would be informed under the true conditions that their releases were received, their hearts were softened and they decided to reconsider their actions and remain in the mission until such a time as they should receive their release under the proper condition and from the proper source.

This morning Piki a Tehouri gave birth to a dead child and it was buried this evening by moonlight.

Sat. Sept 14 ’18

Elder Bulkley left by the “Leane” for Papeete en route for America.

Tukaro gave me a nice ieko hat, & Ruita Johnston gave me a pretty hei.

Sun. Sept. 15, ’18

Fast Sunday. Hekitahai and Hiriata both had their babies blest. Kataka gave us 2 dozen eggs.

Mon. Sept. 16, ’18

I conducted both classes as a new teach[er] hadn’t been appointed to replace Elder Bulkley. Ruita Johnston (half caste) came in to spend the afternoon and I taught her to tat. Madame Nicolas send us a nice turtle steak. Conducted song practice at Takaroa village; native brothern worked on chapel today & the Hao R.S. sisters prepared the meals.

Tues. Sept. 17, ’18

Takaroa R.S. sisters prepared the meals for the builders. Called to see Madame Falco. Elder Hubbard was ill so Pres and I applied hot towels to his stomach until he was relieved of pain.

Wed. & Thurs. Sept. 18 and 18 ’18

Ruita Johnston helped me with children’s class. Conducted Relief Society meeting.

Fri. Sept 20, ’18

My regular day for fasting & prayers.

Sat. Sept 21, ’18

Surprised and happy to receive some American mail by the “Kae”. Received letters from Mother & Elder Davis who was now in the U.S. Army, also a letter from Rita written last May, and had been missent to the Philippine Islands. Pres. Rossiter received a letter from Pres. Lambert of the New Zealand mission saying that the Reorganites were making things pretty lively for them down there. Attended Elders Priesthood meeting.

Sun. Sept. 22, ’18

Nothing unusual. Regular Sunday meetings.

Mon. Sept. 23, 1918

Today is Elder Steedman’s birthday, and he with Elder Touse who[se] birthday was just a few days ago gave a dinner to the missionaries with my help. We had chicken soup, cold tongue & potato salad, fritters, black berry whip, canned grapes & pears and oranges. After class I called to see Tehuihui Johnston who was ill.

Tues. Sept. 24, 1918

Mr. Distell one of the French pearl buyers gave us two wild sea birds, one of which I fried for supper. Conducted song practice at 7: pm. Children’s class 8:30 a.m.

Wed. Sept 25, 1918

Children’s class in the morning & meeting at 7: pm.

Thurs. Sept 26, ’18

Children’s class. Heia brought me the fine new pandamas hat that she & Teaio had made. Conducted Relief Society meeting & wrote letters.

Fri. Sept 27, ’18

Conducted children’s class in the morning and sewing class in the afternoon.

(To be continued)



  1. Of all the names that Sis. Rossiter has mentioned in this journal so far, “Marowahii’vahina” may be my favorite.

    I can’t imagine what the mission experience of the elder mentioned on 12 September must have been like.

    Comment by JB — March 30, 2014 @ 7:01 am

  2. I hadn’t heard before of “war hysteria” (or, more politely, a strong desire to enlist) affecting missionaries this way. Ardis, do you happen to know if this occurred in other missions? (I’d assume this was probably the case.)

    Comment by Gary Bergera — March 30, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  3. I’ve seen quite a bit of “feeling like I ought to go home to do my bit” and even a couple of letters from fathers endorsing their sons’ release, but this is the first time I’ve heard of such extreme desires. I’m not aware (yet) of any elder running away from his mission to enlist, or, until now, a claim of apostasy to provoke release. There is, of course, a lot of material on missionaries and enlistment in other ways: successful efforts of the Church to have missionaries declared clergymen exempt from draft during the time of their active service, instructions and questions about registering for the draft, and the appeals (or ready acquiescence) of missionaries who were drafted despite their exemption.

    Here’s one past Keepa story about a drafted missionary: Jens Leslie Stevenson: Called to Serve.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 30, 2014 @ 10:18 am

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