Church History
French Polynesia: Chronology

“French Polynesia: Chronology,” Global Histories: French Polynesia (2018)

“French Polynesia: Chronology,” Global Histories: French Polynesia

French Polynesia: Chronology

November 3, 1831 • Hiram, OhioA revelation received by Joseph Smith called for missionaries to go to the “islands of the sea.”

May 23, 1843 • Nauvoo, IllinoisAddison Pratt, Noah Rogers, Benjamin F. Grouard, and Knowlton F. Hanks were set apart to preach in Hawaii.

April 30, 1844 • Tubuai, Austral IslandsPratt, 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 • TubuaiAmbrose Alexander, the first convert in French Polynesia, was baptized.

July 22, 1844 • TubuaiNabota, Telii, Pauma, and Hamoe—the first Polynesian converts to the Church—were baptized.

July 28, 1844 • TubuaiThe Tubuai Branch was organized by Addison Pratt, with eleven members.

May–September 1845 • Anaa, Tuamotu ArchipelagoGrouard preached on the island of Anaa. Five branches with 620 total members were soon organized.

February 3, 1846 • Tuamotu ArchipelagoPratt, accompanied by Nabota and Telii, joined Grouard in the Tuamotus Islands, where they eventually baptized more than 850 converts.

September 24, 1846 • AnaaMembers of the Church from 10 branches participated in the first Church conference in the Pacific.

1846 • TahitiRaveino became the first Tahitian called as presiding elder of a branch.

March 28, 1847 • TahitiPratt left French Polynesia, leaving Grouard, who had married a Tahitian woman named Tearo, in charge of the branches.

October 1848 • Salt Lake City, UtahAddison Pratt and 22 others, including his wife, Louisa, and their four daughters, were called to the Society Islands.

April 1851 • TahitiConstruction of the Ravaii (Fisherman), a schooner to transport members throughout the islands, was completed.

May 16, 1852 • French PolynesiaIn 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 • AnaaFive 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 TahitiSaints gathered to communities established on Tubuai and Tahiti called Tiona (Zion).

1867 • French PolynesiaThe government of French Polynesia extended religious tolerance, allowing Church members to worship openly.

1881 • AnaaA Relief Society was organized by Taoto, a local leader.

January 27, 1892 • Papeete, TahitiJoseph 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 • TahitiThe Society Islands Mission was reopened, with James S. Brown as president.

Church members

January 6, 1893 • French Polynesia

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

1896 • French PolynesiaSunday Schools were organized in branches throughout French Polynesia.

December 13, 1903 • PapeeteThe mission received equipment to establish a printing office to publish Church materials in French, Tahitian, and English.

1904 • Salt Lake CityThe Book of Mormon was published in Tahitian.

October 12, 1906 • PapeeteThe Papeete Branch was organized with Toae a Maire as president.

April 10, 1907 • PapeeteTe Heheuraa Api (New Revelation), the Tahitian-language periodical of the mission, was first published.

April 1, 1910 • TakaroaThe Takaroa Branch meetinghouse, the first Church-built meetinghouse in French Polynesia, was dedicated.

April 1917 • TahitiThe Church received official recognition in French Polynesia.

October 1926 • Tuamotus IslandsThe Mutual Improvement Association (MIA) was organized in the Tuamotus Islands.

November 19, 1940 • French PolynesiaThe Tahitian Mission was closed at the start of World War II. Local members accepted calls as branch presidents and missionaries.

June 3, 1946 • French PolynesiaNorth American missionaries returned to French Polynesia at the conclusion of World War II.

January 22, 1950 • PapeeteMatthew Cowley of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated a meetinghouse in Fariipiti and a mission home in Papeete.

July 29, 1950 • PapeeteThe mission purchased the Paraita, an 82-foot schooner, to transport members, missionaries, and Church leaders from island to island.

January 18–20, 1955 • PapeetePresident David O. McKay and his wife, Emma Ray, visited Tahiti. He was the first Church President to visit French Polynesia.

October 7, 1956 • PapeeteThe Tahitian Mission began weekly broadcasts on Radio Tahiti.

December 1963 • Hamilton, New ZealandMore 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 • PapeeteÉcole Primaire Élémentaire S.D.J. (LDS Elementary School) was dedicated in Papeete.

1965 • Salt Lake CityThe Doctrine and Covenants was published in Tahitian.

May 14, 1972 • PapeeteThe Tahiti Stake, the first in French Polynesia, was organized with Raituia Theina Tapu as president.

1982 • French PolynesiaSeminary 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 • PapeeteTo 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 • PapeeteChurch 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.