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June 1853

1 June 1853 • Wednesday

“[ditto] Received a letter from Bro. Rice, Hawaii, stating his progress and that every thing seemed favorable, and he thought he would be preaching in about four weeks. I received another from Bro. Woodbury, Molokai, stating that things were brightening there and a good prospect at present. Bro. Allred received a letter from Oahu [O‘ahu], stating that the work was still in progress.—This afternoon Bros. R. N. & R. A. Allred, Keeler & Hawkins left for Kula on their way to their different fields. I wrote in Bro Allred’s letter to Bro. Woodbury, Molokai.

2 June 1853 • Thursday

To day was fast day, we held meeting and were blessed with the spirit.

3 June 1853 • Friday

Finished a letter to Charles [Lambert], &c., &c., &c., and wrote one to Elizabeth [Hoagland]. Translating at the Book of Mormon part of this afternoon.

4 June 1853 • Saturday

Translating &c. Held meeting this afternoon not many present but had a very good flow of the spirit.

5 June 1853 • Sunday

Preached morning and and [sic] afternoon. In evening met according to the order in company with Bros. Green & Snider, & was blessed much.1 I wrote two letters one to Bro. Johnson and one to Bro. Farrar.2

6 June 1853 • Monday

Finished and sent a letter to Bro. Johnson and Bro. [William] Farrer, Oahu.

I forgot to mention that we received several letters yesterday from Honolulu; I received one from Bro. Farrer; they contained good news, that the work was still prospering there, that Bro. Hy was also being blessed, he had a native priest laboring with him, <Bro. Paku,> who was doing good business—there were calls for preaching on all hands and Bro. Wm. said he was busy all the time. The small pox is spreading there.3 Bros. [Nathan] Tanner & [Thomas] Karren started last Wednesday in company with Elder Kahumoku, a young native, to Hilo, to preach.4 Translating part of day. Went in company with the brethren to visit some sick.

7 June 1853 • Tuesday

Received a note from Bro. Hammond by Bro. [George] Raymond, stating that they had not been very successful in preaching on West Maui on account of a great many having gone to be vaccinated [against the smallpox] and a great many gone off to see their priest [Rev. Benjamin W. Parker] before he leaves for the Marquesas Islands. Bro. G. R. had baptised two in Lahaina. Bro. H. & family are all well.

8 June 1853 • Wednesday

Bro. John Winchester brought arrived last night from Honolulu and started early this morning to Makawao; he brog brought me a letter from Bro. Farrer and a note from Bro. Hammond. All are well at Honolulu, the small pox is spreading and the city is all excitement; Bro. H. says this is also the case at Lahaina. Translating. Met in afternoon and had a good meeting altho’ there were but few present.

9 June 1853 • Thursday

Fasting to-day that we might have the spirit.5 Received a letter to-day from Chas. Mary Alice [Lambert] and Anne [Cannon] of Mar. 30 and April 13th and mailed the 15th; it had come quick. Anne was married to Bro. Orin Woodbury by Bro. Parley [Pratt] (Uncle having gone on business to Utah [County]) on the 7th of Feb. and <they> have gone to Cottonwood to live. They are all well, and looking anxiously for me this fall. The corner stones of the [Salt Lake] Temple were laid on the 6th [of April], on Wednesday and [conference] lasted until Sunday; they say it was the best conference they ever attended. Angus [Cannon] is still in the Printing office and is well and attends meeting regularly; David, Leonora and Elizabeth [Cannon] attend school, David speaks in meeting occasionally; they are growing tall, Angus is taller than Chas. Geo. C. [George C. Lambert] their second boy, is very fond of books & Mary A. says she hears him spelling very frequently in his sleep.

10 June 18536 • Friday

Wrote a letter to Bro. Farrar [Farrer]. Translating. In afternoon attended meeting at Waihee [Waihe‘e] and confirmed two that had been baptised by Bro. Raymond and also preached.

11 June 1853 • Saturday

Translating &c.

12 June 1853 • Sunday

Bro. Winchester arrived from Makawao. I preached this morning and was blessed with the spirit—there was a good congregation. In afternoon I listened with pleasure to good speaking done by the brethren. I afterwards spoke; this afternoon’s meeting I enjoyed the most of any meeting for some time.

13 June 1853 • Monday

Bro. Woodbury arrived from Lahaina, to day and brought a copy of the “Deseret News” [April 16, 1853], containing a proclamation or ninth General Epistle,7 and the portion of the Conference Minutes containing the proceedings of the morning of the 6th [April] in laying the foundation stones &c., &c. [cornerstones of the Salt Lake Temple]; the news was glorious and filled us with joy and good feelings; I felt small and insignificant when I contemplated the progress of the work, and the great work that lays before me. I feel that I have to be up and doing or I will be left behind, which I pray may never be the case. From my letter that I received from the Valley I learn that Alfred Smith has been cut off from the church and that he has turned a Gladdon Bishopite and that he is zealously engaged in disseminating false doctrine.8—Bro. W. also brought two letters from Oahu, one from Bro. Johnson and one from Bro. Lewis; the work was still prospering—the small pox was still spreading; the brethren had vaccinated themselves.9

14 June 1853 • Tuesday

Wrote a letter to the [First] Presidency informing them of the situation of things here. &c.10

15 June 1853 • Wednesday

Went over to <Waiehu to> administer to a sister who had one of her sides palsied the night before last.11

16 June 1853 • Thursday

Fasted to-day and was blessed. Translating &c. Went and administered to one of the brethren who had fallen from his horse and broken some ribs, and also an old woman who belonged to the other church who covenanted to be baptised. Bro. Woodbury went to Kula.

17 June 1853 • Friday

Correcting & reading manuscript in company with Bro. Napela. This evening heard of the sudden death of Bro. Opunui, a deacon, while in the water fishing—he was a faithful man and he died easy and without a struggle.

18 June 1853 • Saturday

Called upon to go and baptise the woman whom I administered to on Thursday and and [sic] four others—two men and two women; I confirmed them afterwards. The brother who had his ribs broken was considerably better. Attended meeting this afternoon and was blessed very much with the spirit.

19 June 1853 • Sunday

Preached this morning a funeral sermon and was much blessed with the spirit. In afternoon had an excellent meeting also. <cut off 5 delinquents.> This afternoon and evening had a long conversation with Napela’s Kaikuaana, an elder brother, and his wife, and Kitty, N’s wife. I had the spirit very much and they said they knew what I said to be true as the spirit bore testimony of its truth to them and they also <knew> that their church was corrupt; all that kept them they said from being baptised was their fear of the ridicule and contempt of their friends. I told them they must get rid of those feelings, and quoted the savior’s sayings on that subject.12 I baptised a daughter of one of the brethren this evening and confirmed her.

20 June 1853 • Monday

Writing &c.

21 June 1853 • Tuesday

Translating &c. Received a letter from Bro. Farrar [William Farrer] and another from Bro. Hammond; they were all well; the work was prospering on Oahu, Bro. Hy. [Bigler] also being much blessed. Bro. Hammond wrote rather discouragingly about Lahaina, desiring me to come in there and pay them a visit, if I felt like it. This evening Bros. Woodbury & Keeler arrived from Kula; Bro. K. had returned to-day with Bros. Kaleohano & Kekoa from East Maui; they had baptised 38 while they had been gone. They brought a letter from Bro. Karren to Bro. Hammond, dated Kohala, Hawaii, stating that there had been 48 baptised within a few days at that place; Bro. Kahumoku was with them, that is Bros. Tanner & Karren. They intended to have went to Hilo but in consequence of head winds &c. they were compelled to land there. I felt much rejoiced to hear this news and feel to thank my Father in Heaven for all His loving kindness to me and to all His servants, and for having given me enough of His spirit and with the revelations thereof to induce me to stay here.

22 June 1853 • Wednesday

Translating &c. In afternoon held meeting and selected Bros. Kahikiula and Palau, teachers in Waihee and Bros. Kahananui, Nika and Keapu deacons. And Bros. Hopiiaina [Hoopiiaina], Kawaa & Niaupio, teachers and Bro. Kaopukaula, deacon for Wailuku. We all spoke and enjoyed the spirit much.

23 June 1853 • Thursday

Translating &c. Wrote to Bro. Hammond.13

24 June 1853 • Friday

Translating &c. Also settling an <old> scrape that Bro. . . . had got in to before his ordination which had just come to light; it was a case of adultery and after <his> making the necessary acknowledgments and speaking sharply unto him on these things; he was forgiven.14

25 June 1853 • Saturday

Translating part of day, &c. In afternoon held meeting and chose Bros. Kahiki and Kailihune to the Aaronic Priesthood and Bro. Kaihumau, teacher. We had a good meeting[.] Bro. Woodbury spoke in tongues which I felt desirous that he would do when I entered the meeting. This is the first instance of speaking in tongues in a native meeting, that I know about, on the islands. In evening we held a meeting to ordain the brethren priests and to instruct them before leaving, as it was intended that Bro. Kahiki should accompany Bro. Woodbury to Molokai and Bro. Kailihune Bro. Keeler to East Maui. We had a very good flow of the spirit, I felt to rejoice much and was blessed much in teaching. Bro. Woodbury spoke in tongues and no one appeared to get the interpretation, I arose to speak on what had been said and to bear testimony to the correctness of the tongue, and I received the interpretation in part it was in relation to the spread of the gospel on these lands and also in these seas Bro. Napela also received a part of the interpretation and was in vision. And Bro. Woodbury gave also the remainder of the interpretation. I gave the brethren much instruction in regard to their duties and the obligations that were laid upon them.15 Bro. Maiola started in the night to Lahaina to spend the morrow with Bro. Hammond.

26 June 1853 • Sunday

Bible Class in morning. Held public meeting and Bro. Woodbury preached, he was blessed much with the spirit and I sat and listened to him with great pleasure. I afterwards bore testimony to what he had said. In afternoon we had also an excellent meeting, Bros. Woodbury, & Napela spoke well and I also was much blessed. I never heard Bros. W & N. speak as well before as they did this day—and we were all filled. Several of the native priests also bore testimony.16 Confirmed a man that had been baptised at Waihee <& cut off three delinquent members.> I afterwards went and administered to a sick sister. Bro. . . . was at meeting to-day, from Makawao; he has been rebaptised. I feel to pray to the Lord that I may be blessed and have His Holy Spirit at all times to such an extent that I shall always feel humble that I may be enabled to teach & instruct with humility and meekness, for I realise that it is next to useless to preach with any other spirit than this. Bro. Keeler started early this morning to spend the day at Kula.

27 June 1853 • Monday

Writing &c. Bros. Woodbury & Green started to day for Lahaina; I felt sorry and depressed to part with them; Bro. G. also felt bad in leaving. I wrote to Bro. Hammond and also in conjunction with Bro. Keeler to Bro. Hy. W. Bigler.

28 June 1853 • Tuesday

Translating &c.

29 June 1853 • Wednesday

The brethren working at the fence; and I translating and Bro. Egerton [Edgerton Snider] striving at the language. In afternoon held meeting after singing school.

30 June 1853 • Thursday

Translating in morning; in afternoon rode over in company with Bro. Egerton & Bro Napela to Waiehu and preached and ordained Bros. Kalamana, Kaauwaiaina, & Kaui, Teachers; and Bros. Wahine and Kahele deacons. Our meeting was a very good <one> very much of the spirit being enjoyed by us. To day has been a fast day and we have called <on the Lord> to bless us and the people and to forward the work here & throughout the earth. I received a letter from Bro. Hammond & Bro. Lewis; they were both very good letters. Bro. H. says that he has been around visiting the people in Lahaina and has enjoyed the spirit much, and the saints are enjoying the spirit; he and family are well. His letter was dated the 27th inst. Bro. Lewis writes that the work is still on the increase in Honolulu—small <pox> raging a great many deaths—they have been called to administer to several—the white branch had been organized [June 12], Bro. Johnson, Pres. He desires one of the Bro. Allreds to go up to Kauai [Kaua‘i], as there has a been a native elder ordained, who belongs there, & he has been gone some time without anything having been heard from him. He also counsels us to speak about the gathering as we shall feel moved upon.17 All well with the exception of Sis. Lewis, who is complaining of ill health.


  1. [1]During the day Cannon also baptized four individuals, and in the evening the missionaries “administerd to several sick persons” (Green diary, June 5, 1853).

  2. [2]The handwriting in this sentence is smaller and darker than the surrounding text and appears to have been a later addition.

  3. [3]On May 15, Benjamin F. Johnson at Honolulu ominously wrote in his diary, “The small pox is in town & not far from our dwelling.” As the dreaded disease spread through Honolulu, yellow warning flags were raised everywhere the plague had struck, houses of victims of the disease were burned, travel in and out of the city was restricted, portions of the city were quarantined, and public gatherings were prohibited. During the smallpox outbreak, the Latter-day Saint missionaries at Honolulu were regularly called upon to bless the sick. “We made it a point to admin to all that asked it of us wether they belonged to the Church or not,” Lewis wrote in late June (Lewis journal, June 27, 1853). By July the missionaries had turned “their whole attention to visiting the sick” (Reddick Allred journal, July 23, 1853). While the missionaries escaped the effects of the epidemic in spite of their constant exposure to the disease, these administrations were not without incident. On July 1, while administering to a sick woman in Honolulu, Lewis and Farrer were physically attacked by a man named Turner, who repeatedly struck them and took their consecrated oil (sacred oil used when giving blessings to the sick) (Lewis journal, July 1, 1853; Farrer diary, July 1, 1853). Johnson subsequently filed a formal complaint of assault against Turner, only to learn that Turner had acted upon the orders of William Parke, marshal of Honolulu (Farrer diary, July 1, 1853). When the prosecutor failed to appear for court, Johnson petitioned to act “as councel [prosecutor] which was granted with a sneer” (Farrer diary, July 6, 1853). Johnson told the court “that we did not care whether they fined the man or dismissed him, that we had brought up the case only that they might have a chance to magnify the Laws they had made & not out of any spite or illwill to the prisoner, that we knew the secret cause of this persecution which was religious intolerance” (Farrer diary, July 7, 1853). Lewis concluded that Johnson’s “remarks were very spirited & appropriate so much so that the court Lawyer & Constable seem to feel the force of them and appeared to be struck with awe, and well they may for he spoke by the spirit & power of God. The court then fined Turner $12 only for beating two men and tearing their clothes nearly off their backs and here the farce ended” (Lewis journal, July 7, 1853). For overviews of the smallpox epidemic, see Greer, “Oahu’s Ordeal”; Kenney, “Mormons and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1853.”

  4. [4]Tanner described Kahumoku as being “a bout 25 years old, & Wall educated, & can talk all the time, & not tire. . . . he is purfectly fited for the plase he now ocapies, & I believe god has raised him up to gether with Sum others to help revelutionise this nation” (Tanner journal, July 7, 1853).

  5. [5]Cannon also preached during the day (Green diary, June 9, 1853).

  6. [6]Cannon originally wrote the day as Thursday but changed it to Friday.

  7. [7]Between 1849 and 1856 the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued fourteen “general epistles” addressed “to the Saints Scattered Throughout the Earth.” Each of these letters contained information regarding significant happenings in Great Salt Lake City and other areas where Church members were living, explained doctrine, and gave advice on how to deal with challenges the Saints were facing. Several epistles made reference to the Hawaiian Mission, including the ninth general epistle, which specifically mentioned Cannon’s work on the Book of Mormon: “Elder Cannon is translating the Book of Mormon into the Owyhean language” (First Presidency, “Ninth General Epistle,” Apr. 13, 1853, in Deseret News, Apr. 16, 1853). These general epistles were published in both the Deseret News and Millennial Star and have been reprinted in volumes 1 and 2 of Clark, Messages of the First Presidency.

  8. [8]Between 1848 and 1852, Francis Gladden Bishop, who had been excommunicated in 1842 for teaching revelations he had received that were not consistent with Latter-day Saint doctrine, issued several pamphlets and a broadside setting forth his revelations and religious views. He attracted some followers both in and out of Utah. For more information, see Saunders, “Francis Gladden Bishop and Gladdenism.”

  9. [9]Government officials mandated immunizations for the residents of Lahaina. The Latter-day Saints on Maui grudgingly obeyed, although, as Hammond related, “had it not been for the counsel from the brethren at Honolulu I should not I think have paid any attention to it but trusted to the Lord intirely” (Hammond journal, June 13, 1853). Green noted that some Latter-day Saints “say it is a judgment from the Lord and they feel to trust in him. . . . Judge then imposed a fine on all that didnot git vaxenated of five dollars they then ware oblige[d] to go and be vaxinated for they had not the five dollars to pay I have seen them after they ware vaxenated pick thare arm and then suck it with thare mouth to git the mater out” (Green diary, June 13, 1853).

  10. [10]See Appendix 2, Item 16.

  11. [11]Green reported that “when our handes was on hur head it seamd as tho it raind all over hur body the woman was materialy beter instantly” (Green diary, June 15, 1853).

  12. [12]Possibly Matthew 10:37–38.

  13. [13]In his June 22, 1853, journal entry, Hammond made reference to receiving a letter from Cannon: “Bro. Cannon perfectly agreed with me in regard to my views of spreading the truth in Lahaina (this place) his letter was very encourging to me as is always his letters” (Hammond journal, June 22, 1853). Either Cannon, Hammond, or both recorded the date incorrectly.

  14. [14]Upon arriving in the islands in 1820, the Protestant missionaries found that the Hawaiians’ beliefs regarding sexual morality were markedly different from what the missionaries had known in New England. During the following years the Protestant missionaries not only preached against immorality but were also instrumental in getting legislation passed outlawing fornication, adultery, and cohabitation. For a look at the struggles of trying to teach traditional western sexual morality, see Grimshaw, “New England Missionary Wives, Hawaiian Women,” 81–87. Nevertheless, as the Latter-day Saint missionaries discovered during the 1850s, the practices continued. Given the natives’ background, the Mormon elders were more tolerant than they might have been in the United States or Europe. Nearly twenty years after Cannon served in Hawai‘i, Brigham Young advocated a similar degree of forbearance when writing to his son, who was serving a mission in the islands: “The immoral habits of many of the natives will doubtless impress you very unfavorably, still you must bear in mind that their practices are apt to be as they are traditionated, just as the rest of mankind are in theirs, and we have to deal with people as they are, and by giving them the Gospel and showing them a good example, strive to make them better” (Young to B. Morris Young, Oct. 23, 1873, BYOF; also cited in Jessee, Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, 245–48).

    Cannon later observed regarding the native Hawaiians:

    “There is one remarkable feature of the Hawaiian character which I will here note. Among all the races of white men of which I have yet heard where the gospel is preached, the practice of sin, and especially with the other sex, is attended with the loss of the Spirit; and unless there is deep and heartfelt repentance, such sinners are apt to become enemies of the truth, and are frequently bitter in their opposition to the work of God and His servants. Not so with the Hawaiians, so far as my observation extended. It is true that by indulging in sin they would lose the Spirit; that could be plainly seen; but I never saw that bitter apostate feeling among them which is so common among white men who apostatize. They were not given over to the spirit of unbelief as other races are. This difference struck me, and I account for it in two ways; first, because of their ignorance the Lord does not hold them to so strict an accountability as He does us; and second, they are of the seed of Israel, and to them peculiar promises have been made” (Cannon, My First Mission, 45).

  15. [15]Keeler and Woodbury provided additional details of the meeting: “Bro Woodbery got up and spoke a short time in the Native tongue after a short time he spoke in tongues & spoke to a considerable length Bro C got up & gave a part of it after him Bro Woodbery got up him self & gave the remainder of it, he spoke on the progress of the work on these lands & also among all the nations of the earth &c. also Bro Napela spoke on the same subject he had a vission of the work here” (Keeler journal, June 25, 1853). “Br. Cannon gave the priests some good instructions on their duties when they went out with the Elders to assist them in their fields of labours” (Woodbury diary, June 25, 1853).

  16. [16]Woodbury described the afternoon meeting as “first rate. . . . The Saints seemed filled with joy to overflowing” (Woodbury diary, June 26, 1853). Green related that Cannon “preached to a crowded house he had good liberty of speach and the desided attention of the congregation” (Green diary, June 26, 1853).

  17. [17]During the last year of Cannon’s mission, the need to gather the Hawaiian Latter-day Saints together in one location became a dominant theme. Tanner succinctly explained their thinking: “This peopple. . . have to be whear they can see what is going on & learn by example rether then precept” (Tanner journal, June 18, 1853).