French Polynesia: Church Chronology

French Polynesia: Church Chronology

November 3, 1831 • Hiram, Ohio

A revelation received by Joseph Smith called for missionaries to go to the “islands of the sea.”

May 23, 1843 • Nauvoo, Illinois

Addison Pratt, Noah Rogers, Benjamin F. Grouard, and Knowlton F. Hanks were set apart to preach in Hawaii.

April 30, 1844 • Tubuai, Austral Islands

Pratt, Rogers, and Grouard arrived in Tubuai, Hanks having died during the voyage. Asked to stay by King Tamatoa, Pratt remained and preached, while Rogers and Grouard continued to Tahiti.

June 16, 1844 • Tubuai

Ambrose Alexander, the first convert in French Polynesia, was baptized.

July 22, 1844 • Tubuai

Nabota, Telii, Pauma, and Hamoe—the first Polynesian converts to the Church—were baptized.

July 28, 1844 • Tubuai

The Tubuai Branch was organized by Addison Pratt, with eleven members.

May–September 1845 • Anaa, Tuamotu Archipelago

Grouard preached on the island of Anaa. Five branches with 620 total members were soon organized.

February 3, 1846 • Tuamotu Archipelago

Pratt, accompanied by Nabota and Telii, joined Grouard in the Tuamotus Islands, where they eventually baptized more than 850 converts.

September 24, 1846 • Anaa

Members of the Church from 10 branches participated in the first Church conference in the Pacific.

1846 • Tahiti

Raveino became the first Tahitian called as presiding elder of a branch.

March 28, 1847 • Tahiti

Pratt left French Polynesia, leaving Grouard, who had married a Tahitian woman named Tearo, in charge of the branches.

October 1848 • Salt Lake City, Utah

Addison Pratt and 22 others, including his wife, Louisa, and their four daughters, were called to the Society Islands.

April 1851 • Tahiti

Construction of the Ravaii (Fisherman), a schooner to transport members throughout the islands, was completed.

May 16, 1852 • French Polynesia

In response to increasing government pressure, Addison Pratt and his family left Tahiti to return to Utah, and all other missionaries soon followed. No new missionaries were assigned to French Polynesia for 40 years.

November 1852 • Anaa

Five Saints—Tefatina, Reifara, Maru, Mafeuta, and Temutu—were executed and many others imprisoned after French authorities raided a Church meeting.

1860s and 1870s • Tubuai and Tahiti

Saints gathered to communities established on Tubuai and Tahiti called Tiona (Zion).

1867 • French Polynesia

The government of French Polynesia extended religious tolerance, allowing Church members to worship openly.

1881 • Anaa

A Relief Society was organized by Taoto, a local leader.

January 27, 1892 • Papeete, Tahiti

Joseph W. Damron Jr. and William A. Seegmiller, missionaries from the Samoa Mission assigned to preach in French Polynesia, arrived in Papeete. They were the first Latter-day Saint missionaries there since 1852.

April 1892 • Tahiti

The Society Islands Mission was reopened, with James S. Brown as president.

French Polynesia: Conference

January 6, 1893 • French Polynesia

A conference of all Church members in French Polynesia was held on the atoll of Faaite.

1896 • French Polynesia

Sunday Schools were organized in branches throughout French Polynesia.

December 13, 1903 • Papeete

The mission received equipment to establish a printing office to publish Church materials in French, Tahitian, and English.

1904 • Salt Lake City

The Book of Mormon was published in Tahitian.

October 12, 1906 • Papeete

The Papeete Branch was organized with Toae a Maire as president.

April 10, 1907 • Papeete

Te Heheuraa Api (New Revelation), the Tahitian-language periodical of the mission, was first published.

April 1, 1910 • Takaroa

The Takaroa Branch meetinghouse, the first Church-built meetinghouse in French Polynesia, was dedicated.

April 1917 • Tahiti

The Church received official recognition in French Polynesia.

October 1926 • Tuamotus Islands

The Mutual Improvement Association (MIA) was organized in the Tuamotus Islands.

November 19, 1940 • French Polynesia

The Tahitian Mission was closed at the start of World War II. Local members accepted calls as branch presidents and missionaries.

June 3, 1946 • French Polynesia

North American missionaries returned to French Polynesia at the conclusion of World War II.

January 22, 1950 • Papeete

Matthew Cowley of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated a meetinghouse in Fariipiti and a mission home in Papeete.

July 29, 1950 • Papeete

The mission purchased the Paraita, an 82-foot schooner, to transport members, missionaries, and Church leaders from island to island.

January 18–20, 1955 • Papeete

President David O. McKay and his wife, Emma Ray, visited Tahiti. He was the first Church President to visit French Polynesia.

October 7, 1956 • Papeete

The Tahitian Mission began weekly broadcasts on Radio Tahiti.

December 1963 • Hamilton, New Zealand

More than 60 Tahitian Saints traveled 4,200 km (2,600 mi) to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and became the first Saints from French Polynesia to participate in temple ordinances.

September 18, 1964 • Papeete

École Primaire Élémentaire S.D.J. (LDS Elementary School) was dedicated in Papeete.

1965 • Salt Lake City

The Doctrine and Covenants was published in Tahitian.

May 14, 1972 • Papeete

The Tahiti Stake, the first in French Polynesia, was organized with Raituia Theina Tapu as president.

1982 • French Polynesia

Seminary and institute classes were taught for the first time in French Polynesia.

Papeete Tahiti Temple

October 27, 1983 • Papeete

The Papeete Tahiti Temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

May 8, 1994 • Papeete

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Church in French Polynesia, President Russell M. Nelson, then serving in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dedicated the country for the preaching of the gospel.

April 28, 2017 • Papeete

Church leaders delivered digital images of hundreds of years’ worth of genealogical records from all over French Polynesia to the government to help ensure their continued preservation.