Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 28 September – 26 October 1918

Venus in Tahiti: 28 September – 26 October 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 06, 2014

(Previous installment)

Sat. Sept 28, ’18

Mended, made an embroidered ornament for my new hat & stamped some pillow slips for the native girls. Held priesthood meeting at 2: pm. Three Catholic babies have died this week. Elder Robertson’s complaint.

Sun. Sept. 29 ’18

Elder Hubbard’s anger and repentance.

Mon. Sept. 30, ’18

Held children’s class & stamped pillow slips for sewing class. Studied & sewed.

Tues. Oct 1, 1918

Nothing unusual other than daily routine. Atutu sent us a leg of pork.

Wed. Oct. 2, ’18.

Childrens class & sewing class. Visited 3 families.

Thurs. Oct. 3, ’18.

Childrens class & Relief Society meeting. The Takaroa sisters presented me with a pretty tan & white striped dress, trimmed with lace & pearl buttons, to wear at Oct. conference. I bought the cheapest sort of looking patent leather slippers, which I was oblidged to pay $6.80 for, while they were really worth no more than $2.

Several months ago one of our leading brothern in trying to illustrate the perfect organization of the priesthood of the church, innocently compared it to the organization of the German army, without any intent whatever of pro-Germanism. When some of the enemies of the church, Mr. Herve & Roulx (traders), heard of it, they immediately made a big thing of it and reported him to the Governour General at Papeete who in turn commissioned the Administrator of the Tuamotu group to investigate the case, getting Toaes testimony and also some witnesses. This was done & the written statement sent to Tahiti for the final disposal of the matter. Meanwhile all manner of tales & reports were being circulated rampant by our enemies & all possible means were used by them to work up a feeling against Toae and the church in particular. All during this time we had made it a matter of prayer that their evil intentions would come to naught, the Governor General when he made his final decission about the matter would be softened & moved to release Toae without further trouble & our prayers were not in vain, for to-day the word came & it was publicly announced by the administer that Toae had been released by the authorities at Papeete & the case would be dropped. And we felt and knew that it was in direct answer to our prayers.

Fri Oct. 4, 1918.

Our opening sessions of the October conference were held. Priesthood meeting at 8: general meetings at 10: am & 3: pm. In the evening the Takaroa Saints conducted the programn & singing contest. There are about 1000 people here on the island, and there were almost that number who came to listen to the programn. All along the road on either side were lemonade & watermelon stands selling to the crowds of outsiders who were gathered about on the outside.

Sat. Oct. 5, 1918

Meetings were held at 8 am 10 am 3 pm & 7pm. The Taenga branch gave their programn at the afternoon meeting while the Hao branch had theirs in the evening. A pretty feature of the Taenga programn was that all the ladies were dressed alike

Hickueru Oct 6, 1918

At the morning priesthood meeting the following native Elders & their wives were called & accepted to go on missions: Tarpu & Tematau, Pou & Kanaho to Vaitahai, Toriki & Tuhiata, Vaio & Katupu, Haokare & Hamani to Tubuai, and Punua, Nanai, Tehauia and their wives Kapua, Poroa & Piki to return again to Taaite. The following were baptized by Elder Stewart and confirmed: Atutu a Tahina, Varoa a Tenira, Teoro a Tipohiva, and two babies Tuuia a Terina & Ani Akiau half Chinese blessed. We were greatly impressed ow readily the native elders received their missionary calls. Many of them had not been approached on the subject previous to official call in the priesthood meeting, and each one gladly received it without one moments hesitation, putting their trust entirely in the Lord. We wondered at the time, How many of our white brothern at home rely so entirely on the Lord as these humble simple hearted people.

The Hickueru branch, entirely clothed in white conducted the evening program which was very original and unique. Apparently the entire island population was gathered to hear the exercises.

Mon. Oct 7, 1918

At 9: am we commenced our Relief Society conference, the sisters however began gathering as early as 8: am & a few called for me at 7:30. Karere, President of Marokau Society was released, Reretaoa a Tenisa was set apart as first counselor to Kuataka a Temenava of the Tauere branch, and Luita Johnston & Louisa Johnston as 2nd counselor & secy. I spoke for one hour on Relief society work, emphasizing temple work & genealogical records, after which the sisters expressed their thoughts and bore their testimonies for 2 hours.

Elders Robertson and Steedman left by Vahine Tahiti for Tahiti.

Tues. Oct. 8, 1918

I received a letter and book of views from Mrs & Miss Edwards of Australia also several pamphlets and journals on Christian Science. She stated in her letter that she often thought of Mr. Rossiters remark to her at Papeete “To search all things.” A letter & book of views came for Mahana who had passed away, so I gave them to her parents.

Wed. Oct 9, 1918

Our sewing class to-day was abruptly end[ed] when the cry went out that a drowned diver was being brought into the Lagoon. In just a few seconds every woman on the island was down to the shore & the wailing that rent the skies was ghastly and weird, reminding me of a pack of lost coyotes in the hills at home more than the cries of human beings. We worked with him for more than an hour in the hope of reviving him but our efforts were in vain. He was a Catholic boy and the three popes stood close at hand in case he was revived and could confess but the instant he was pronounced hopeless, they vanished almost like smoke and were undecided whether to bury him or not.

Thurs. Oct 10, 1918

In Relief Society we collected $30 to send to Salt Lake as our portion of the Relief Society Temple Fund.

Fri. Oct 11, 1918

Class as usual. Taught Ruita Johnston to tat. Called on Madame Falco.

Sat. Oct 12. ’18

Held Elders priesthood meeting, which we all enjoyed. Fine spirit manifest.

Sun Oct 13, 18

Fast Sunday, being postponed one week on account of conference. In the evening meeting I conducted the monthly review exercises of my daily class. It rained so hard that we were obliged to stop the exercises several times because of the noise on the tin roof.

Mon. Oct 14 ’18

Class. Visited Kautaka & Atutu. I could not help but notice the great change in the latter since her baptism, since [she] was formerly so curt in her ways.

I made a plum pudding and some fudge for Erns surprise birthday dinner tomorrow.

Tues. Oct 15 ’18

All the Elders came and brought their own dishes & I was oblidged to use bed sheets for a table cloth, since we own no such article. Atutu gave us a chicken, some oranges, pape haares & some soda water. We had a nice dinner of meat pie & gravy, corn, plum pudding, candy, lemonade & pape haare & bread & butter.

It poured rain and was dark & cold but we enjoyed ourselves singing & relating stories until late in the evening.

Wed. Oct. 16, ’18

Terrible rain & wind, remained in our leaky house bundled in our overcoat all day. At night we were drenched to the skin going to meeting as our umbrella was no more than a sieve for the torrents of rain that fell. Elder Hubbards & McCullough’s house leaked so badly that they kept a dishpan and washbasin on their bed all night to prevent them from being washed away.

We received several boxes of fruit form Tahiti but it was entirely spoiled.

Thurs. Fri & Sat, 17, 18, 19

Had a heavy cold and remained in the house. The Takaroa sisters presented me with a beautiful embroidered voile dress trimmed with embroidered silk net. I just wept when they came in a body to present. “To matou tao’a, arofa ia ae no te tomaraa fare piveraa.”

Sun. Oct 20, 1918

My regular fast day. Besides our regular Sunday meetings we conducted funeral services for the new born child of a young couple, one of whom is a Catholic & the other a Protestant. Called to see several sick people on the way home from the funeral. Tara a Hutia gave us a large juicy pineapple.

Mon & Tues. Oct. 21 & 22 ’18

Classes: Asked & received permission of the Governor to hold several days celebration for the “tomaraa fare.” Called to see the young woman who had lost her baby.

Wed. Oct. 23, ’18

Children class, sewing class 7 evening meeting. Called on Tamatoas family in view of getting his wife and several children baptized. Was received well & have prospects of soon having them baptized & the smaller children blessed. They gave me a pearl shell weighing 7 pounds. Also called on [a] young woman who had lost her babe.

The Catholics are daily expecting their Bishop from Tahiti & have been busy all week putting the finishing touches on their new chapel, which is to be dedicated, & also building a bowery where their banquette is to be served.

Thurs. Oct. 24 ’18

Held children class & Relief Society meeting. Mahia presented me with a pretty white embroidered lawn dress, the gift of the sisters from the Taenga & Tauea branches.

In the evening we all attended a picture show for the benefit of the Red Cross, at which a young English officer who is here recuperating, lectured on his experiences at the front.

Fri Oct 25, ’18

Class at 8:30. Visited all morning with Madame Falco.

Sat. Oct 26, 1918

We had just commenced Elders priesthood meeting at our house, when Ipu a young native boy who was cutting young cocoanuts, fell from the top of a tall cocoanut tree, about 40-50 ft. to the stony ground. We rushed out expecting to pick up his dead body. But after working with him for some time he partially regained consciousness and we carried him to his house. He was badly cut about the head & chest and his left arm sprained which seems most remarkable he having fallen so far. he hadn’t yet fully regained consciousness before his father had gone out and chopped the tree down from which he had fallen & gathered up the earth that was spattered with his blood & burned by the side of the house. I couldn’t find out his exact reason for doing so unless it is an ancient custom handed down from their forefathers.

The natives also have a custom after one of them have been drowned while diving for shell to remain ashore until the dead body is buried and then the following day all go to the spot where he was drowned and have prayer and then all dive that day in the same place. apparently to take precautions against having the ghost return and haunt them.

Ipu, the young boy who feel from the cocoanut tree is a Mormon and his parents forbid him to climb the tree & throw down the nuts so close to our house, while we were convened in our priesthood meeting, but he wouldn’t listen and continued climbing tree after tree for the nuts which quite disturbed our meetings. They of course say that his fall is his punishment for not respecting our priesthood meeting.

(To be continued)


1 Comment »

  1. As always, an amazing account, rain, food, funerals, all those new missionaries, and all.

    Comment by Amy T — April 6, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

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