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Pacific Island Guide > Latter-day Saint Pacific Island Heritage
Traditionally, Pacific Island people hold genealogical information to be sacred. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also regard family history research and associated temple ordinances as a sacred duty. As we become involved in family history work, we realize that our ancestors have a strong spiritual connection with us as their descendants, and our ancestors’ hearts are turned to us just as much as our hearts are turned to them.
They can help us in many ways that are unseen by us. The Lord’s help is especially needed in doing Island research, and we can receive that help by praying for it.
Many Pacific Island people have contributed to the information in this manual, and all have attributed their success to starting out, keeping trying, and praying for help.
Whether you are a new member, a friend of the Church, or have been in the LDS Church for a long time, it is not too late to gather and record four generations of family information. It is an on-going work, and we can start doing it at any time.
We can work on our spouse’s 4 generations, too, if we want to, but we are only really responsible for our own family history work.
As we gather the information for four generations, we learn more about our family members. This almost always brings us more information that can lead us to further generations of ancestors.
Latter-day Saint Island heritage
Members of our family, especially the young people, will be blessed and made stronger by knowing more about our noble ancestral heritage.
The Book of Mormon tells of Lehi and his group coming from Jerusalem to the Americas 600 years before Christ. It tells of Hagoth and his people sailing away from America on at least two voyages about 55 B.C. (Alma 63: 5-9). At that same time, Corianton, the son of Alma, sailed northward on a ship (Alma 63:10). Other voyages from the Americas to the Islands are also apparent.
Similarities between Israelites and Polynesians are found in language (Aloha and Shalom sounding the same and meaning the same), naming customs (Simon Bar Jona meaning Simon son of Jona and Mahi a Loli meaning Mahi son of Loli) as well as in foods such as the sweet potato, which is native to the Americas and a staple food in the Islands. This shows a strong relationship between Israel, South America, and the Pacific Islands. The Norwegian university professor, Thor Heyerdahl sailed on a balsa raft from Callao, Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago in1947, demonstrating that
it is possible to reach Polynesia from South America.
Traditions of Maoris, Hawaiians, and other islanders refer to the Sacred land of Hawaiki as their ancestral place of origin. In his book, Lehi, Father of the Polynesians, Dr. Bruce S. Sutton says: “To the Maori, Hawaiki is Rarotonga, Aitutaki of the Cook Islands, and Tahiti. To the Tongans, Samoans, and Rarotongans, Hawaiki was Tahiti, Raiatea (Society Islands), or other islands of French Polynesia. For Tahiti, the Marquesas and the Tuamotus, Hawaiki was Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Hawaiki of the Hawaiian Islands was Ka Aina Kai Melemele a Kane (mesoamerica) on the continent of North America, called Kahiki Moe or Tawhiti roa, by the Maori. The Hawaiki of Rapa Nui was called Uru or Land of Uru. The Land of Uru was and still is at the southwestern end of Lake Titicaca (bordering Peru, Bolivia, and Chile). Today, this region is still call Uru. The Hawaiki of the people of Uru was Kapakapa-ua (Mesopotamia). The Hawaiki of Ka Aina Kai Melemele a Kane (Mesoamerica) was Kahiki-ku, the Land of Israel. Kahiki-ku had its Hawaiki, as Kapakapa-ua (Mesopotamia), and Kapakapu-ua’s Hawaiki was Kalana-i-Houlua (the Garden of Eden on Kahiki-moe).
Polynesian oral traditions agree with the words of the modern prophets, such as Joseph F. Smith and David O. McKay, who give a spiritual confirmation that the blood of Lehi flows in the veins of the Pacific Islanders and they are heirs to the promises and blessings of Lehi and of the House of Israel.1