Utah State University Faculty Honor Lectures
The Faculty Association, Utah State University
EVERYONE KNOWS something about the Mormon struggle for a place on the American frontier, and the ultimate settlement in the mountain valleys of Utah in 1847. But on the underside of the world at the same time there was being enacted on volcanic islands and coral reefed atolls of the South Seas another part of the Mormon epic, an epic itself, heroic and enduring, unheralded and unsung, of ardent missionaries dedicated to a prophetic religion's inherent commitment to the idea of universal conversion. From most humble and precarious beginnings the first truly foreign mission of the Mormons spread its influence until today there are Mormon establishments throughout the Pacific world - the bordering states and nations, and the islands of the sea. Mormon temples and church colleges stand on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, and on North Island in New Zealand. Chapels of stone, concrete, and plant fiber are to be found scattered from one end of the Pacific to the other. The Mormon gospel is taught in Tahitian, Rarotongan, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, Maori, Japanese, and Chinese. It would be interesting to essay this entire development in an evening, but I fear it would be more chronology than history. And rather than be charged with saying nothing about everything, I propose to concentrate our attention on Mormon penetration into the islands of the Southeast Pacific - the Society Islands, the Australs, and the Tuamotus, 1844-1852. The expansion of Mormonism is an extension of that world historic movement characteristic of all prophetic religions. It is a segment of the history of the expansion of Christianity in the world, and at the same time is an element in the story of America overseas. Missionaries have ever been ambassadors of much more than their own religious teachin
Ellsworth, S. George, "Zion in Paradise" (1959). USU Faculty Honor Lectures. Paper 24.