News Release

Church Historian Honours First Pacific Mormons

"Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the French Polynesian island of Tubuai are a living legacy of the Pacific's first Mormons," according to Church historian, Elder Marlin K. Jensen.

Elder Jensen visited the Tubuai Latter-day Saints last weekend (10-12 December) as part of a Pacific tour. He was accompanied by Elder James J. Hamula of the Church's Pacific Area Presidency, Richard E. Turley, Assistant Church Historian, and other leaders.

Last Friday Elder Jensen attended a dinner and cultural presentation with Tubuai Latter-day Saints and guests. On Saturday he visited historical sites on the island, including sites where the first Mormon missionary to the island, Addison Pratt, first landed, resided, and baptized and congregated with new members. Pratt arrived in French Polynesia on 30 April 1844 with two other missionaries, all called by the Church's first president, Joseph Smith. Elder Jensen also examined the bible Addison Pratt used to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Tubuai.

On Saturday Elder Jensen rededicated the Church's Mahu Chapel after recent significant additions, which is located on an original Tubuai meetinghouse site.

Over 500 Tubuai Latter-day Saints attended a district conference on Sunday presided over by Elder Hamula and attended by Elder Jensen. Many of these Church members are descendants of the 11 members of the first branch of the Church on the island, which was also the first Mormon congregation in the Pacific Islands.

Today there are three chapels on the island with four branches. Across the South Pacific, there are now close to half a million Mormons.


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