More about the Mormons.
Letter from Capt. Walter M. Gibson.
We have been furnished, by His Ex. R. C. Wyllie, to whom it was addressed, with the fol-lowing letter from Capt. Gibson, which will be read with interest at this time, as it throws some light on the doings and plans of the Mormons. It is dated
WAILUKU, Oct. 18, 1861.
MY DEAR SIR:—I duly received your note of the 15th instant, and hasten to present you with farther information, as promised.
The meeting of native Mormons held at this place, and commencing the 6th of this month, was a regular semi-annual conference—such as has been regularly held on these islands, at different places, during the past eleven years. During the conference, just pre-ceding this, held on the 6th April last, about 1200 of the Mormon faith were assembled together, and Mr. Havekost, resident of this place, informs me that as many as 3000 Mormons have assembled together at Wailuku, and inasmuch as this occurrence did not at-tract any special public attention, I must attribute the particular attention awakened by this late conference to my participation in it.
In 1850, Mormon Elders from Utah first came to this kingdom. They were poor young men, who mostly worked their passage as sailors to get here. Some had means at home, like Mr. G. Q. Cannon, and others well known here, but they all came "without purse or scrip," to preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ, as they believed. Notwithstanding their utter destitution of all external means of influ-ence, they succeeded in baptizing a large portion of the natives, and of the most intelligent ones, to their faith. According to their records, they had baptized up to 1857 about 7000 adults on these islands. The threatenings of war in Utah in 1857 induced every white Mormon Elder to return home. The native church was left to its own guidance. The Utah Elders invariably told the natives that they did not come to establish themselves here, like the mission-aries, but simply to teach them what they felt to be the truth, and then go their way to teach others. Of course the absence of the white teachers, caused much neglect and falling off in the organization; and when I inquired concerning the Mormons, dur-ing my stay at Honolulu, I was invariably told that such a church had ceased to exist in this kingdom. One official, and generally well informed gentleman, was positive in assuring me that not a single meeting of Mormons was now held anywhere on the Hawaiian Islands. I knew this to be incorrect, but did not suppose that there were any considerable numbers professing this faith until I came to this island. Now I had not formed any intention of getting up any especial meeting of this people; but when I was at Lahaina, numbers of intelligent and influential natives residing at Wailuku, Kula and other places, came to Lahaina to solicit me to attend their regular conference meeting, commencing on the 6th, which I did, and took a more active part in it than I had ever contemplated. I will now present you with some portion of the information obtained during this conference, and in the course of my own investiga-tions, and those of others with me.
The largest number attending this conference at any time was about 1100, of which 800 were Mor-mons.
On Kauai, there are nine branches of the church and 462 adult members.
On Oahu, there are seven branches of the church, and 570 adult members.
On Molokai, there are two branches of the church, and 263 adult members.
On Maui, there are eleven branches of the church, and 1485 adult members.
On Hawaii, there are five branches of the church, and about 800 adult members—but this report is not positive.
On Lanai, there is one branch, and 185 adult members.
This amounts to a total of 3,580 adults; and add to these unbaptized minors, which designation does not include little children, the whole force of the church will amount to 4,500 persons above seven years of age. Within two months just past, about 200 have been baptized on Hawaii, 76 on Kauai, and 46 were baptized during the holding of the conference at this place. The most of these new recruits come out of the missionary churches, and eight or nine out of the Catholic church.
I will mention a few facts in relation to the branch on Lanai. With the 185 adult members, there are 82 children, and all, with three exceptions, born on Lanai since the establishment of the church there in 1855. These children are the offspring of twenty-seven marriages. One native Mormon, called Pelio, has eight children by the wife now living with him; another, Upai, has seven; another, Keawiamahi, has five; and so on, down to a single baby; and they are all hearty, healthy children, such as are not seen else-where on these islands. The church has been clubbing together a little means, and has hoped to buy a body of land on this island, from the Govornment or from the chief Haalelea. The latter agreed to sell them the Palawai district for the moderate sum of $500, order to befriend the poor church. However, this Palawai is mostly untillable lava, and consequently would not be as advantageous as might at first be supposed from its extent. Farthermore, there is not a single stream or spring in this district, and it is with much difficulty that the people manage to get enough of drinking water. Sometimes they have brought water from Lahaina, and lugged it four miles from the beach to their homes in Palawai valley But with all these disadvantages, they have been particularly healthy, and all the church would rejoice if they could be gathered together on Lanai. In that case, with a large force of labor, I think that water could be brought profitably, to irrigate the valley, from a little stream near the N.W. extremity of the island—but I cannot be positive about the practica-bility of this undertaking. At any rate, some water for various purposes, though not very good, can be obtained by blasting out rock in the mountains. The poor Mormons get about six gallons of water from a few hollows in rocks, which are dry during the day, but exude this much during the night, and this is the chief drinking supply for all this people. But they have large numbers of goats and use some milk, and eat fresh goat's meat and mutton, with sweet potatoes, instead of exclusive poi and salt fish.
I design to submit a proposition to the Government in relation to the settlement of a large portion of His Majesty's Mormon subjects upon Lanai, after certain tests have been made for a supply of water. It is my intention to visit Lanai next week. I have been there once before.
Your Excellency makes some remarks relative to a supposed intention of persuading His Majesty's sub-jects to emigrate to other islands of the Pacific or Indian Oceans. The very reverse of this has occu-pied my mind. I have supposed that many thous-ands of Polynesians and Malaysians might be induced to emigrate to this group; and this is a matter which I know could be accomplished, if it was deemed desir-able. My chief exhortations to the natives have been with a view to inspire them with a hope of national life. I tell the most intelligent, again and again, to combat the despair that the dooming voice of the most of foreigners would inspire them with. I am positive that in the Mormon organization there is to be met with the most of this national hope, the strongest attachment to the King, and the most ardent desire for the perpetuation of a native Hawai-ian dynasty. At the request of the Mormons, I fur-nished them with the design for a church emblem or banner, for their festive occasions, and I gave them the simple design of eight stars in a circle, for the group, and the word ola, life, in the center.
I send you a copy of the religious principles that have been substantially taught to His Majesty's sub-jects, now called Mormons. This only differs from the teaching in Utah, in being deficient in the incul-cation of polygamy. I do not believe that this doc-trine has ever been preached to the natives of these islands. It is never taught in Europe, nor in any other country outside of Utah; and farthermore, according to the principles of Mormonism, it never is to be taught or permitted to be practised anywhere outside the precincts of the Zion of the church, and there only by a certain order of the priesthood.
I shall not trespass more on your attention at this time; but I shall be ready to furnish you with any information relative to my movements and observa-tions on these islands. I will venture to say on this occasion, that no other stranger who ever entered His Majesty's dominions could have formed a more lively regard for His person, a stronger sympathy with the maintainance of His sovereignty, or a more ardent hope for the perpetuation and prosperity of His race and dynasty. This I have felt, and this I have uttered, and I am seeking no personal advantage here. My heart is with Oceanican races. I was born on the ocean, and I have felt a sort of brother-hood with islanders, especially with the royal Malay, and his kindred, who reign and live here. I can afford to be misunderstood, condemned or despised, for I have a heart and purpose to bide my time. I care for no creeds, but for humanity, and love to work for those that are despised and have no friends.
My dear daughter, who is determined to share her father's labors and wanderings, joins me in warmest regards for your person; and I am
Yours, very faithfully,
WALTER MURRAY GIBSON.
Faith of the Latter-Day Saints.
[From the "Times and Seasons," Vol. 1, page 709.]
We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
We believe that these ordinances are:—1st, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: 2d, Repentance; 3d, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; 4th, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that a man must be called of God by "prophesy, and by laying on of hands" by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the primi-tive church, viz: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evan-gelists, &c.
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophesy, revelation, vis-ions, healing, interpretation of tongues, &c.
We believe the Bible to be the Word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the resto-ration of the Ten Tribes;—that Zion will be built upon this [American] continent;—that Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiac glory.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to Kings, Presidents, Rulers, and Magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul: "We believe all things, we hope all things;" we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
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