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May 1851

5–10 May 1851 • Monday–Saturday

Engaged all week studying the language nothing of any interest occurred.

11 May 1851 • Sunday 1

Mr. Napela informed me to-day that Mr. Conde had told the whole congregation that if he did not turn me out and refuse to take [in] a certain doctor by the name of Coon who was intending to come and live at Wailuku with Mr. N. he should turn him out of the church; he informed me of this and at the same time told me he did not want to quarrel with the [Congregationalist] missionaries; it was a kind of a round about way of telling me to leave. I made up my mind to leave in the morning.2 In the evening I told him that I had done my duty to him I had set forth the truth plainly to him and he well knew I had told him nothing but what agreed with the scripture, and also that he knew that they (the missionaries) did not agree with the gospel as preached by the Savior & his disciples; he acknowledged that he did; but he was afraid of the people’s opinion &c. I told [him] as [I] was clean from his blood I had told him the truth and he would not obey it. He said nobody but the Almighty knew his heart, he believed it all he said; but was afraid. He was very much affected and as I had told him I had some thought of going to the Kula or the potatoe region as it is called[.]3 he sat down and wrote me a letter to give to a man there who had charge of his land and affairs there. Mr. N. started in the night for Lahaina to attend the court there which commences to sit to-morrow.

12 May 1851 • Monday

I thought this morning of leaving for the Kula but they were washing my clothes I did not succeed in getting away. Mr. Birch the sick gentleman who lived next door, when I told him of my intention to leave, told me that I could live with him as long as I wished he said he had plenty and tried to dissaude me from going to the Kula said I would <very> likely have nothing to live on but potatoes and salt & a good many other inconveniences. I told him I intended to try it at any rate; he said if I could not succeed in living to return there and live with him. I thanked him for his kind offers.

13 May 1851 • Tuesday

Started this morning my bundle I left with a boy to carry by the orders of Mr. N. [Jonathan Napela] on horseback. I walked to Ralepolepo [Kalepolepo] and left there about a quarter of a mile and was overtaken by some carts who were going to the place I intended to go to, they invited me to ride and I accepted. When I arrived they had a singing school and the man I had the note for was there and I a man by the name of Maiola who I had seen at Wailuku and had invited me to gcome up and see him. He was glad to see me I gave my letter to [Akuna] Pake the man it was directed to they invited me to go up to the house of Maiola I went up there and found there a man by the name of [H. K.] Kaleohano from Wailuku a brother of Maiola he was glad to see me. I eat supper there and stayed talking until after nine o’clock. they showed me the Native newspaper [Ka Elele Hawaii] with an article in from a correspondent in Hawaii on False prophets at the last of the list he has Joseph Smith and endeavors to shew him to the people as a false prophet his endeavor is a very weak one and has no argument about it.4

14–18 May 1851 • Wednesday–Sunday

Talking with the folks around at this until Sunday, May 18th/51 I though had partly promised a man who was from Keokea to go down there to-day I learned this morning that Mr. [Rev. Jonathan] Green was to be there; but I thought as I had promised I would be there I would go. They house was nearly full Mr. Green read the 2nd Epistle of John and took his text from Paul’s Epistle to the Galations 1 chap. 8 v. his prayers and whole sermon was directed to us, he spoke upon the gospel of Christ and it was as imbecile attempt to show what the gospel of Jesus was as I ever listened to; after he had got through I got up and spoke a few minutes to the people I told them it was best to examine the thing or the gospel well and see what it was and also to see our errors if we had any and if truth to obey it, I told them I would like to show them what I thought the gospel was &c. When I had got thus far Mr. G. commenced a series of Catechetical questions and some answered him and as there was likely to be confusion if I kept on I stopped there being law against disturbing public meetings. He warned his people not to entertain me nor to salute me; if they did they would be partakers in my evil deeds. I denied the application of this verse to me. There were some of his members that his sermon had the desired effect upon but there were a good many that I could see no difference in.5

19 May 1851 • Monday

There is a young man of the name of [Eli] Ruggles who is keeping store whose father was a missionary in the first party who came here; he himself was born at Honolulu but returned when a boy with his parents <to the States> where he had been living until lately. He had been asked some time ago by Napela what he thought or knew about the Mormons or the Book of Mormon; he did not know anything except by report and by newspaper stories among the rest the Spaulding story6 which he told to N. In conversation with him he expressed a wish to read some of our works I lent him the Voice of Warning, which he read he said he was considerably interested in it. I then loaned him the Book of Mormon by his request; he said he thought that [any who] believed as these books set forth would and acted up to them would be as likely as any other sect to get to heaven; As for himself he could not believe about angels &c. being the instruments to bring it about, although he said he could not object much to it for he did not see why they should not be as likely to visit the earth now as ever; but he said his education had been such as to teach him that such were no longer needed. I thought myself that it was education only that made him belief so for I did not see or know of any evidence in the scriptures to make a man think so.

20 May 1851 • Tuesday

Engaged studying &c. Raining

21 May 1851 • Wednesday

do. do.

22 May 1851 • Thursday

Mr. Napela came up here to-day. He is I understand called a Mormon by many for befriending me and has an influence against <him> among many. I told him I could not reward him for his kindness to me at present, but I could pray to my Heavenly Father to bless him and he should be blessed for his goodness to me. He took me out by myself and interrogated me as to what I thought of his course and best for him to do; if he could not take a half way course between the [Congregationalist] missionaries and me; I told him plainly what I thought about it he had either to receive or reject it there was no half way about it. He said he knew what I told him about the doctrines to be true; but he thought he could take a half way course, he received all my words. I told him that he might beleive, but if he did not obey[,] the light that was in him would become darkness; the conversation was interrupted; what course he will pursue I know not; the struggle is between love of the truth and the love of popularity. I pray that he may be able to cho<o>se salvation.

23–25 May 1851 • Friday–Sunday

Variously engaged. Mr. N. returned I had not an opportunity of conversing again with him. Sunday evening after their meeting was through I requested the privilege of speaking a short time and explaining the reason I had come here as I heard there was considerable prejudice existing against me in the minds of some without any foundation. I commenced and showed from the scriptures the ancient gospel and told them that I had come to tell them this was restored to the earth as it was anciently, and this was the reason that they had and the only reason for railing upon me; there were several in the congregation who seemed to approbate what I said;—but there were several of the deacons in the Church, commenced asking questions in a jeering manner & endeavored to do away with the effect of what I had said; they said why did I not go to the missionaries first and chiefs and turn them and then they would all turn. I told them the missionaries would not receive it and tryed to show them the folly of leaning upon them compared it to the ancient Jews in the days of the Savior leaning upon the judjment of the chief priests & Pharisees; but it was no use they either would not or could not see it. I told them I knew these things to be so, I was a witness to them of the truth of these things and if they did not receive and obey it, the sin be upon them I was clear from their blood; one or two of them shouted out yes, yes, you are clear our blood be upon us, the sin be upon us. There are several believing here, but the fear of the majority and my ignorance of the language I expect, deters them from embracing it;—my knowledge of the language has to increase considerable before I will be able to make much headway I pray that the Lord will look in mercy upon and sustain me and help me to get the language; if I did not know that he would order every thing for the best I should be tempted to be discouraged; I feel like praying continually to him that I may be an instrument in his hands of bringing salvation to this people, they are blind and ignorant and do not estimate the precious gift that is offered to them; and therefore I pray that the Lord will bless me with grace to stand firm and endeavor to bring them to a knowledge of the work he has commenced and its importance to them.

26 May 1851 • Monday

Wrote this morning a long letter to Bro. [James] Hawkins upon Hawaii and also to Bro. [James] Keeler Lahaina.

27 May–2 June 1851 • Tuesday–Monday

Engaged variously until Monday, June 2nd / 51. I have been troubled with nausea at the stomach & have vomited several times, it comes on soon after eating; I think it is in consequence of the food. This day (Monday) a family who were living about half a mile from where I stopped brought some few things to help the people with whom I lived to make me comfortable in the shape of eatables, they are beleivers in the doctrine. I felt to bless them for their goodness to me. The man with whom I was living [Akuna Pake] was the superintendant of Mr. Napela’s affairs here; he told me that N. had requested me to pray for him and his land that the Almighty might bless him, as the insects had eaten his potatoes and he was embarrassed by debts &c. &c. I did feel as though I wanted to see him blessed and prospered for his kindness to me and I beleive that he will be, for he has the promise <of the Lord> that those who administer to the wants of his servants shall in no wise lose their reward.7


  1. [1]Cannon originally wrote Tuesday but crossed it out.

  2. [2]According to Keeler, Kitty Napela also suggested that Cannon should leave: “Received a leter from Brot Cannon . . . Mrs Napela had given him the hint to leave on the acount of the percicution against him Mr Napela and also that Mr Conday had come out on the Mormans and warned the bretheren against them by telling them all the lies that he could think of” (Keeler journal, May 31, 1851).

  3. [3]Cannon later reported that he “was led to go” to Kula by the Spirit (Cannon, My First Mission, 31).

  4. [4]Farrer also wrote about the April 18, 1851, article titled “Na Kaula Wahahee” (“The False Prophets”): “They said that there was a certain recent false prophet Joseph Smith that he was a poor & ignorant man & that some man or angel or Devil perhaps had appeared to him & given him a book to translate; & accused him of having put this book in place of the Bible: and stated that his followers were a lazy Indolent & Drunken people &c &c. And cautioning their hearers to beware of them that they were wolves in sheeps clothing” (Farrer diary, Apr. 25, 1851).

  5. [5]Cannon later provided additional information regarding his encounter with the Reverend Green:

    “Kula . . . was visited about once in three months by the Presbyterian missionary who had it in charge. The Sunday after my arrival there was his day to make his quarterly visit, and I went down to the village where he was to hold his meeting. . . . He took for his text the 8th verse of the 1st chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians:

    “‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’

    “His whole sermon, as well as his prayer previously, was directed against us, warning the natives about us; but the sermon was the poorest and most childish attempt to show what the gospel of Christ was that I ever listened to. After he had finished I arose and told the people it was best to examine the gospel well, and see what its nature and requirements were, and also for each to learn whether it was in his possession or not. I then commenced to show them what the gospel was. Up to this time Mr. Green had sat amazed, as it appeared, at my audacity. Such a thing as a person arising in a meeting and questioning what he had said, or attempting to teach anything different, was new in his experience, and he seemed so astonished that he could not speak. But when he saw that I had the attention of the people and they were listening to what I said, he aroused himself, opened a catechism which he called ‘Ai o ka la’ or ‘Food of the day’ and commenced asking the people questions. He was determined to interrupt me, and to divert the minds of the people from what I said. Some of his deacons helped him; they answered his questions in a loud voice, and confusion began to prevail. I saw that no further good could be done then, so I told the congregation that I intended to hold meetings, and would have opportunities of more fully explaining to them the principles of the gospel. . . .

    “From this time I commenced to labor in a more public manner among the people, speaking in their meeting houses as I could get opportunity, and doing all in my power to give them a knowledge of our principles. My speaking before Mr. Green had a good effect; the people saw that I preached the doctrines of the Bible, and that I was not afraid to meet the preachers” (Cannon, My First Mission, 32–33).

  6. [6]The Spaulding theory argues that Sidney Rigdon, a leader in the early Church, obtained an unpublished story written by Solomon Spaulding in 1812 titled “Manuscript Found” and that Joseph Smith used this work of fiction as the source document for the Book of Mormon. First set forth in 1833, this theory soon became the main anti-Mormon explanation for the Book of Mormon, in spite of the fact that Rigdon did not meet Smith until after the Book of Mormon was published. On January 18, 1851, a month after the Latter-day Saint missionaries arrived in Hawai‘i, the Polynesian ran an article titled “Author of the Morman Bible” that recounted the Spaulding theory. Spaulding’s story follows a group of Romans in the fourth century A.D. who were blown off course while sailing to England and landed in North America. One member of their group kept a record of their experiences among the American Indian tribes, which document was discovered centuries later. Spaulding’s work was lost from 1839 until 1884, when it was discovered in Honolulu among the papers of L. L. Rice. Following the discovery of the manuscript, Mormons eagerly published it in 1886 to show that it could not be the source document for the Book of Mormon. For overviews of the Spaulding theory and “Manuscript Found,” see Bush, “Spalding Theory Then and Now”; Jackson, Manuscript Found; Lance D. Chase, “Spaulding Manuscript,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1402–3.

  7. [7]Mark 9:41 reads, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”