The Church Historian's Press

Jonathan (Ionatana) Hawaii Napela

1813– 1879

Husband of Kitty Napela; brother of Kanahunahupu; relative of John Richardson, Kaauwai, David Kaauwai-Kahalekulu, and Ikuanna; member of ali‘i (nobility); graduate of Lahainailuna Seminary; judge living at Wailuku, Maui; heavily in debt when GQC stopped at his home in March 1851; pressured by his wife and their minister not to associate with GQC; lost his position as judge in part because of his association with GQC; baptized and ordained a teacher in January 1852; took active role in establishing the Church in Hawai‘i; assisted with translation of Book of Mormon into Hawaiian; proposed establishing a prototype missionary training center (MTC) to teach Hawaiian to new missionaries in March 1853; ordained an elder in May 1853; testified in September 1853 that he was nearly out of debt despite incurring extra expenses by helping the elders; man of great faith; healed the sick through priesthood blessings and tempered the elements through prayer; accompanied GQC to Big Island in April 1854; called to assist Francis Hammond on Maui in July 1854; while living on Lana‘i in April 1855 again called to assist the missionaries on Maui; Brigham Young encouraged him to gather to Utah in 1855, but he was unable to do so; helped raise money to purchase land in the Palawai Basin in 1858; following excommunication of Walter Murray Gibson in 1864, testified that the Saints had been deceived and encouraged them to support newly arrived missionaries from Utah; gathered to Latter-day Saint settlement at La‘ie, O‘ahu, by 1867; traveled to Utah in 1869 to receive his temple blessings; ran for seat in House of Nobles at the king’s suggestion in 1870; barely lost election; appointed traveling missionary in 1871 to look after Church affairs throughout the islands because of restrictions placed upon the activities of foreign elders by the national government; accompanied his wife, Kitty, to the leper colony at Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i, in 1873; lived there remainder of his life; served as district president over two branches on the peninsula; died from leprosy, which he contracted while at Kalaupapa. (See Woods, “A Most Influential Mormon Islander”; Woods, “Jonathan Napela”; Woods, “An Islander’s View of a Desert Kingdom”; Spurrier, Sandwich Islands Saints, 233–63; MMH, Apr. 6, July 25, 1855; Oct. 8, 1858; Oct. 1, 1864; Apr. 6, 1867; Mar. 14, 1870; Jan. 20, 27, 1878; GQC journal, frequent references, Mar. 1851–July 1854.)