Belonging to Heaven (Hardcover)

by Gale Sears

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Product Description

Hawaii. A land of deep tradition and rich culture. A people of family and faith. A paradise on earth.

Jonathan Napela is a descendant of the Hawaiian royal line, and his future is bright with a new wife and a position of influence in the community. As a devout man, he believes in God, but he feels there is something more—something he is missing. When he meets Elder George Q. Cannon and is introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jonathan feels as though he has finally found where he belongs.

Jonathan's friendship with George provides remarkable opportunities for the young Hawaiian to grow in his new faith. His joy in the gospel is tested though, when he is challenged by those he once called friends, and later when he struggles to gather Saints to Laie. And when leprosy threatens to take his beautiful wife, Kitty, from him, Jonathan faces an impossible choice: send his wife to the leper colony of Moloka'i alone, or risk how own life to accompany her. Drawing on his deep reservoirs of faith, Jonathan comes to understand that opening his heart to sacrifice is the purest expression of love.

This novel, based on a true story, is an extraordinary example of a man who chooses to serve God and family when others might have given up.

Product Details

  • Size:  6 x 9
  • Pages:  448
  • Year Published:  2013
  • Book on CD:  Unabridged, 10 discs
  • Run Time:  Approx. 12½ hours
  • Read By:  Diane Dabczynski

About the Author

Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The Silence of God, Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Chapter 1

Slap Jack Bar, California

September 1850

The fever for gold that infected the schoolteacher from Virginia and the farmer from Ohio did not beguile the young George Q. Cannon. He had longed to be called on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, imagining that he might be sent to his home country of England, or the Eastern States, or even to the cold climes of Scandinavia. Indeed, the twenty-three-year-old Cannon had vowed to serve the Lord and build the kingdom of God wherever he was called. He had made that commitment six years earlier as he’d stood with a thousand other Saints of the Church, watching the wagons as they brought the bodies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his faithful brother Hyrum from Carthage. The two were murdered in cold blood by a mob. His uncle, John Taylor, was severely wounded in the same atrocious act of butchery.

For a time it felt as though the fledgling church would not survive such a severe blow, but the twelve Apostles, holding priesthood power, restored order and declared that the Church would roll forth in mighty assurance.

George had vowed to be part of that great work, but he was not sure that this was the right place. Here on the muddy banks of California’s American River, he neither felt the joy of service nor commitment to the work. After nearly a year of working the gold claim, he could not figure if he and the other twenty brothers called to this land of lawlessness and avarice had actually accomplished any of what the prophet Brigham had planned.

“Brother Cannon, I wish to call you on a mission to the goldfields of California.”

“To where, President Young?”

“California. I am calling a contingent of able and clear-minded men to dig gold for the support of the Church.”

“But, haven’t you spoken against the Saints rushing off from the Salt Lake Valley to join the gold seekers?”

“Indeed! I do not want the feeble of faith to scatter like chaff to the wind of greed, but you are not of that character, are you, Brother Cannon?”

“No, President, but I thought . . .”

“Yes, son?”

“I thought my mission would be—elsewhere.”

“Well, just like the calling of the Mormon Battalion, we often do not know what greater plans the Lord has in mind. So, what say you, Brother Cannon?”

“I made a promise during the hard times in Nauvoo, President, that I would go wherever the Lord called me.”

“Well said, Brother Cannon! Well said!”

“Cannon! Mind your footing!”

George came out of his musing just in time to catch himself from stumbling into a sinkhole. He regained his balance, nodded thanks to Brother Henry Bigler for the warning, and continued on with his task. He hefted the large boulder he was carrying higher in his arms and moved slowly into the river. The clear water rushed down the hillside and pushed against his knees. It then swirled around his thighs and waist as he went deeper. George sucked in his breath as the cold made his legs ache. With the early rains and sleet in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the river was running high and cold. Just the day prior, a violent storm had pounded the western side of the mountains with rain, sending a deluge of water down the river; the force of it had undermined the streambed and washed away hundreds of miners’ dams strung out along the river’s edge. The Mormon claim had not been spared.

George and his companions had been shoring up their dam all morning and were tired of the work. The dam diverted the water’s course into a long wooden trough whose greedy maw swallowed down buckets of dirt and always asked for more. George had lost count of the number of buckets of dirt he’d carried to the sluice—two hundred, sometimes three hundred a day. Dump the dirt in the top of the trough and let the fast-running water wash it down the course, separating the gold from the dirt and pebbles. With all the backbreaking toil expended, one would think the payoff would be substantial, but the take ended up to be only about twenty-five cents per bucket. George scoffed at his own naïve figuring when he’d first arrived at the goldfields. Fifty to seventy dollars a day sounded like a mighty sum, but when that was divided among the five men working each box, and haircuts cost five dollars, a loaf of bread ten, and a new pair of socks fifteen, there wasn’t much left at the end of the month to send back to the Church. And, often the daily take was much less than fifty dollars. George grunted. He actually made more money working part-time at a branch store of the Salt Lake Trade Company. The makeshift store was set up on the bar to accommodate the miners, and it wasn’t much more than a few sacks of flour, a couple tins of molasses, and some pork thrown on a pile under an arbor.

The water inched past George’s waist and he gave heed to the task at hand. The stack of boulders rose a foot above the waterline, and George added his rock to the pile, wedging it in firmly. The diverted water ran true into the sluice box, strong enough to satisfy even the careful eye of Brother Bigler.

George looked over to the bank and saw Brother Bigler shaking hands with Apostle Charles Rich.

“Cannon!” Brother Bigler yelled. “That’ll do! Come on out now.”

George made his way gladly to shore, greeting Elder Rich heartily, but refusing to shake his hand. “I’m all mud and water, Elder Rich, please excuse me. It’s very good to see you though. Truly it is.”

“It’s been awhile,” Elder Rich said. “I’ve been supervising work at the other claims and preparing for my trip back to Salt Lake.”

George nodded and sneezed at the same time.

“Go on to the tent now and put on dry clothes,” Brother Bigler ordered. “We’ll meet you at the place as soon as we’ve gathered the others.”

“Yes, sir.” George picked up his boots and coat from the shore and headed shivering to the canvas tent that served as both sleeping quarters and general living space for five men. George shook water from his hair and chuckled to himself. General living space meant just enough room to put on your boots. He pulled back the tent flap and entered, anticipating the warmth inside. He was not disappointed. The sun, though watery and weak after the autumn storm, had beat steadily on the white canvas all day, drying the fabric and heating the inside temperature to welcoming. George peeled off his wet clothing, dried himself with a grimy cloth, and put on his only other pair of pants and shirt. The pants were patched and the shirt threadbare. He pulled on a dry pair of socks and noted holes in the heels and toes. If his mother were alive, she’d have a fit. He missed his mother—and his father. The death of Joseph and Hyrum in 1844 had been sorrow enough to pain a young man’s heart, but to lose his father two months later was a shattering occurrence. George grabbed a boot and shoved it on. He often dreamt of his father’s cabinet shop—the smell of wood shavings and the sight of his father sanding a chair leg. He missed his sister Mary’s lard biscuits and the noise created by his younger brothers and sisters. He was well aware that earthly circumstances could change in an instant, but that awareness brought him little solace.

George sat down on his cot, ran his fingers through his drying hair, and reached for his leather satchel. So much of life had to be trusted to the Lord, and at times it caused a testing of faith. He undid the leather strap that secured the satchel and threw back the flap. He rummaged inside, drawing out several letters. He found the one he wanted, and placed the others back in the bag.

Though solace sometimes eluded him, faith never did. When the testing came, George had always felt the deliverance of Divine Providence. Such had been the day of November 28, 1844, when he stood in the Taylor home and watched his Uncle John perform the marriage of his sister Mary to twenty-eight-year-old Charles Lambert. Charles was a stonecutter and builder from Yorkshire, England, who had arrived in Nauvoo only months before the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Charles was a hard-working young man who had caught the eye of his sixteen-year-old sister, and, though Mary was young, she’d had a dream that Charles was to be her husband. She also knew that he would be the guardian for her brothers and sisters—a father figure for Ann, David Henry, Angus, and Leonora. Divine Providence.

George looked down at his name scrawled in a rough penmanship on the outside of the envelope with the return name of Charles Lambert, Salt Lake Valley, Territory of Deseret. As there was no sound of men approaching the tent, George took the pages out of the envelope, and availed himself of the quiet moment to read.

My esteemed brother-in-law,

My esteemed brother-in-law,

I write to tell you of our safe arrival in the Salt Lake basin. It was discovered by us that we arrived one day after your departure for California. We were sad we missed you, but know you are on an errand for the Lord. Brother Taylor and some of his folks, your sister Annie, and others met us on the bench. It was a happy meeting. Angus, David Henry, and Leonora all came across with Mary and me and made it fine, though Mary had an accident that we thought would take her from us. We were just out of Soap Creek Hill, when Mary got out to walk. She soon fell under the front wheel and both wheels went over her.

I write to tell you of our safe arrival in the Salt Lake basin. It was discovered by us that we arrived one day after your departure for California. We were sad we missed you, but know you are on an errand for the Lord. Brother Taylor and some of his folks, your sister Annie, and others met us on the bench. It was a happy meeting. Angus, David Henry, and Leonora all came across with Mary and me and made it fine, though Mary had an accident that we thought would take her from us. We were just out of Soap Creek Hill, when Mary got out to walk. She soon fell under the front wheel and both wheels went over her.

George shut his eyes and took a deep breath. Even though he’d read this letter many times, and knew the eventual outcome, it made his heart ache to know the pain his sweet Mary must have suffered. He looked back to the letter and found his place.

One wheel went over her hip and back. The company pronounced her dead, but a halt was called and she was lifted into the wagon and administered to. Then she spoke, and in three days was walking alone, though she said the spirit left the body. This was to all a miracle indeed. She still lives and is a blessing to her family.

One wheel went over her hip and back. The company pronounced her dead, but a halt was called and she was lifted into the wagon and administered to. Then she spoke, and in three days was walking alone, though she said the spirit left the body. This was to all a miracle indeed. She still lives and is a blessing to her family.

We have settled on the lot you bought from John Warner. This property is suitable for a garden. I have planted corn, potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Many of the emigrants passing through here are glad to exchange for food and give us such things as we were not able to bring with us. We left our house, garden, and forty acres in Nauvoo and received not a cent for it.

We have settled on the lot you bought from John Warner. This property is suitable for a garden. I have planted corn, potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Many of the emigrants passing through here are glad to exchange for food and give us such things as we were not able to bring with us. We left our house, garden, and forty acres in Nauvoo and received not a cent for it.

I am halfway through with building a room that will keep off the cold of winter. I am using the adobe bricks you made before leaving for California. They are well made, and I hope you will see improvement when you return. Food is scarce and many times we have had not one grain of barley, but then there is a miracle and we know the Lord is mindful of us. He is mindful of you too, Brother Cannon. Be well, and know that we pray for you.

I am halfway through with building a room that will keep off the cold of winter. I am using the adobe bricks you made before leaving for California. They are well made, and I hope you will see improvement when you return. Food is scarce and many times we have had not one grain of barley, but then there is a miracle and we know the Lord is mindful of us. He is mindful of you too, Brother Cannon. Be well, and know that we pray for you.

Your brother in the Lord,

Your brother in the Lord,

Charles Lambert


Charles Lambert



Sounds of approaching voices pulled George from his thoughts. He folded the pages, quickly placing them back into the envelope and the satchel. He stood, put on his coat, and went out to meet the group of men assembling in the open area in front of the tent. George looked at their faces, faces he had come to know well over the last year and a half, and he saw, mixed with the marks of fatigue, a genuine mien of appreciation. The men were glad to have Charles Rich among them. George was glad too. Brother Rich seemed like a father among his sons, advising them what to do for the best.

Brother Bigler looked around at the assembled men. “Sit down, men. Elder Rich has something of consequence to discuss with us and we might as well be comfortable.” He sat down and the men followed suit, sitting on rocks, stumps, or logs. The few precious stools were reserved for the eldest members of the group. George sat on a log next to his friend, William Farrer, while Brother Rich remained standing.

“How goes the mining, brethren?” Groans and a few muttered words peppered the group. “Brother Bigler, what do you say?”

George could see that Brother Bigler was choosing his words carefully. “Well, Elder, I am thankful that I am well, and that the Lord has preserved my life thus far.” George heard soft echoes of amen. Brother Bigler cleared his throat and continued. “It is a harsh life. We buried Brother Flake the other day. He was thrown from his mule and broke his neck. Many of the men have been sick, having to live and work out in storms of snow and rain, and working in water up to their necks to rebuild our dams. I think we’re mostly tired of the wicked ways of the mining camps and long to be at home among the Saints.” Many heads nodded in agreement, George’s being one of them.

Brother Rich caught George’s eye. He gave him a half-smile before returning to address the group. “I have been in correspondence with President Young, and have reported these hardships, but I have also reported that you men have kept with you a good spirit and have acted as a pattern for those who have lost the spirit and strayed from the paths of righteousness. For this, the prophet thanks you.” He turned back to George. “Brother Cannon, you are the youngest of the group at twenty-four, is it?”

Brother Keeler called out. “Ah, he’s twenty-three, Elder Rich, and looking like he might be eighteen.” The company laughed and George laughed with them. His young look had been a reason for teasing since the journey began.

“Twenty-three, it is then,” Brother Rich said, looking steadfastly at him. “So, I have a question for you, Brother Cannon. What do you say of missionary work?”

George swallowed. He did not like to be singled out, and to speak his thoughts in a group was terrifying. His mind went blank until he thought of the times he had sat in his uncle’s home in Nauvoo and listened to the elders relate their experiences as missionaries. He stood. “In my Uncle John’s home I heard many missionaries talk of their journeys, and this made a deep impression on me. They went out in poverty, without purse and scrip, among strange people who were ignorant of our principles. They stood alone against mobs and persecution.” The men sat mesmerized. Prior to this, none of them had heard a dozen words together come from George’s mouth. “They traveled by faith, and the Lord was with them and worked miracles on their behalf. What I heard strengthened my faith, and it increased my desire to be a missionary.” His voice faltered and his legs lost their strength, as he became aware of the faces staring at him. “I . . . I think there’s no calling so noble.” He sat down, and silence surrounded him. Finally Elder Rich spoke.

“Well said, Brother Cannon. Well said.” He reached inside his coat pocket and drew out a leather pouch. He opened it and removed several pieces of paper. “Brother Bigler, you were here when gold was discovered and know the most about mining and the weather. What do you think the winter will bring to our mining operation?”

“If the winters are mild, the work can continue on with little break. But, most of the time, the mining shuts down for a month or two and then there’s nothing but debauchery and drunkenness in the surrounding camps and boom towns.” He looked over at the swollen river. “And it seems like this year the storms will shut us down for longer than two months.”

Elder Rich nodded. “That is my impression also. I do not think it prudent to leave you men idle here in the midst of worldliness, using up what little resources you have on the expensive usury of California.” He opened the papers. “I think your time would be better served seeking spiritual rather than temporal treasure.” George felt warmth move through his body and he sat straighter. “Therefore, I am calling the following brethren to winter in the Sandwich Islands and do a bit of missionary work for the Lord. Henry Bigler, Hiram H. Blackwell, John Dixon, William Farrer—”

William jumped to his feet. “The Lord be praised!”

The company laughed and clapped.

Elder Rich smiled, but waited for William to sit down and the men to quiet before he continued. “John Berry, James Keeler, George Q. Cannon, Thomas L. Whittle, Thomas Morris, and James Hawkins. Brother Hiram Clark will serve as your mission president.”

There was silence for a few seconds, and then a cheer went up sufficient to make other miners up and down the river surmise that the Mormon claim had just struck a mother lode vein. George was elated, and he and William Farrer rushed to Elder Rich and Elder Clark, giving each in turn a mighty handshake and a fervent oath of commitment.

Elder Rich stood up on a stump and motioned for the men to gather around. When they were assembled he spoke to them in an earnest voice. “Over the next few days I wish you to pray about this call and receive your own revelation concerning it. If it is not for you, come and tell me, and you may accompany me back to the Salt Lake Valley. If it is for you, you will be set apart for the work.”

George watched as the man scanned the faces of the Mormon miners. Did he think to discern their faithfulness or commitment? When the leader looked at him, George hoped he saw uncompromising willingness.

Elder Rich nodded and continued. “I know that many of you have been separated from loved ones for a long time and that this call demands much. Put it to the Lord and He will guide you.” He turned to look at Brother Bigler. “I know that this call does not come at an ideal time, Brother Bigler; the weather is bad and the mining season is at an end, but I wish you to carry on with the work for a time to see if you can accumulate enough money to outfit yourselves for the mission.”

Brother Bigler gave him a crooked smile. “Not an undoable task, right?”

The men laughed.

Brother Bigler chuckled too. “I suppose if the Lord can send manna to the Israelites, He can find us a little gold.”

Elder Rich smiled at him. “Well said, Brother Bigler. And what do the rest of you say?”

“Hurrah for Israel!” William Farrer shouted.

Soon the jubilant call, shouted by many voices, was heard by miners up and down the river. They stopped digging and turned their heads in the direction of the sound, wondering at the meaning of the strange words.


*


*

During the night, George’s sleep was fitful, and a strange dream kept repeating itself. He was back in Salt Lake, building a house with the good adobe bricks he had made before leaving for California. Several of the rows were well laid and strong. Then, when he reached the third row, each time he placed a brick it would stay solid for a few seconds, and then crumble into rubble. Over and over he laid the bricks, and over and over they fell to pieces. He felt a hand on his shoulder and a shaking.

“Cannon, wake up!”

It was William Farrer’s voice, but he couldn’t tell where it was coming from. The shaking began again.

“Cannon.”

George opened his eyes and tried to focus on the grey blur in front of him. “What? What’s the matter?”

“Nothing’s the matter, other than your muttering,” a voice whispered.

George sat partway up. “William? Sorry. I . . . I guess I was dreaming.”

“I figured that.” William returned quickly to his cot, climbing gratefully into his blankets. “It is cold this morning!”

“And bound to get colder,” George whispered back.

“It’s not going to be cold where they’re sending us,” William whispered excitedly. “I hear it’s warm morning, noon, and night.”

“So, you’ve decided to go?”

“Of course, wasn’t any question. You, Blackwell, and I are the youngest, and we’ve got no wives to get back to. It’ll be quite an adventure, sailing into paradise.” He hesitated. “You’re not thinking of staying behind, are you?”

A wind gently shook the tent, and George lay back down and closed his eyes. “I’m going.” With those words, a calmness entered into him, and he thought he understood the meaning of the dream. “I want to build something that will last.”

“That’s proper thinking, Brother Cannon! Won’t it be grand—us two boys from England taking the gospel to the Sandwich Islands?”

“You boys won’t live to see the day if you don’t hush up,” a voice growled.

“Sorry, Brother Bigler,” William whispered. “It’s just that George and I are caught up in the spirit of the work.”

Brother Bigler grunted. “I’ll catch you up in the spirit of the work when you’re hauling buckets tomorrow.”

George chuckled to himself and brought the blankets over his head. Sailing into paradise. He liked the sound of that.

Sailing into paradise.

Notes


  • Henry Bigler was born August 28, 1815, and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of nineteen. After traveling to San Diego as a member of the Mormon Battalion, he made his way north to Sutter’s Fort in northern California. He was working there constructing the sawmill at Sutter Creek when James Marshall discovered gold.

  • Gold was discovered in March 1848 in California’s American River by James Marshall.

  • Expulsion from Nauvoo: After the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, continued mob violence forced the Saints to leave the city and travel west under the direction of Brigham Young.

  • The call “Hurrah for Israel!” is synonymous with Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. When they were called by the Prophet Joseph Smith to serve a mission in England, both men were sick and destitute and so were their families. In order to cheer their loved ones upon their departure, they stood in the back of the wagon, waved their hats, and shouted, “Hurrah for Israel!”

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I was fascinated by the history

by  Courtney  -   reviewed on  May 30, 2013

Belonging to Heavennofollow is the true story of George Q. Cannon’s mission to the Hawaiian Islands. Elder Cannon and a small group of elders are called to preach the Gospel to the European immigrants in Hawaii, but George feels the Spirit call him to teach the native population. George dedicates himself to learning the language and culture so that he can better preach the Gospel to the Hawaiians. Along the way he meets and teaches Jonathan Napela, whose royal blood and position of influence make for an unstoppable force for the Lord. We follow these two men through Elder Cannon’s four year mission, Jonathan’s conversion and tremendous work as a missionary in Hawaii, and their decades of friendship. The stories in Belonging to Heavennofollow are taken directly from George Q. Cannon’s journal entries and other historical documents of the time. Jonathan himself had a hand in translating the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian (the first non-European translation) and helped shape the model of language immersion that we still practice in the MTC today. His life was full of unbelievable trials, but his faith was unparalleled and he lived a dedicated life of service until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It took no time to reach a point where I couldn’t put it down. Gale Searsfollow has a wonderful talent for helping you feel like you are part of the story. Her historical novels are full of emotion, and she does such a good job of painting the picture for you that you get a true sense of the context of the time period. I was fascinated by the history. for a more thorough review, visit http://ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com/blog/2013/05/belonging-to-heaven-review/

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Fabulous!

by  Lisa  -   reviewed on  April 25, 2013

George Q. Cannon didn't know what to expect when sent to the Sandwich Islands, he didn't know what to expect. He found himself on the island of Maui as a young leader over other missionaries. Through guidance and revelation he decides the best way to teach the people is to learn the Hawaiian language. This takes him around the island of Maui, where he meets Jonathan Hawaii Napela. They form a quick bond, and Jonathan Napela joins the church and does great things. They translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian, and soon Jonathan is leading the Mormon settlement in Laie, Oahu. Jonathan will face one of his biggest trials yet though, one that will force him to choose between the life and the people he loves most. I used to live in Honolulu, so I was very excited to read his book. I was not let down. The author does a fabulous job of letting you into the world of George Q. Cannon and Jonathan Napela. I find the descriptions of how the early LDS missionaries traveled and taught fascinating. They had to ask for donations to live, and they worked very hard to survive. I would think this would distract from the work, but they managed to get a lot done. I had a passing knowledge of church history in Hawaii, but mostly on Oahu as that's where I lived. I've traveled to Laie many times, so I had fun reading about the sugar cane settlement there and all the work that went into gathering the LDS member on the North Shore. I thought what this book did best was capture the spirit of the Hawaiian people. The respect shown to their heritage and beliefs was admirable. The Hawaiians have such a rich culture and history, and you get a good sense of that in this book. The sacrifice of the early Hawaiian Saints is echoed and represented by the huge sacrifice Jonathan Napela must eventually make. I greatly enjoyed this book. The historical aspects really came alive, and I could almost feel like I was back in Hawaii (although unlike George Q. Cannon I don't think I'll ever learn to like poi). If you are interested in church history or the Hawaiian people, definitely check out this book. Galley provided for review.

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AMAZING!!! Beautiful

by  teri  -   reviewed on  April 05, 2013

Sister Sears does it again!!! This might be my favorite. I could not put it down and I was in tears more then once. A beautiful story and well written by a true author. Love, friendship, great church history, wonderful Hawaiian saints, and the story of courage!!! Can't wait to share this with all those I love!! Thank you Gale for your talent!!

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Love the glimpse of early Hawaiian Latter-Day Saints

by  Cathy  -   reviewed on  April 17, 2013

I was so excited to read this book about Jonathan Napela, he was mentioned in a show about the early LDS Church in Hawaii that I love and I'd been wanting to learn more about him ever since. This novel is well researched and just an amazing story about the life of Jonathon, his wife Kitty, and George Q Cannon, the man who is responsible for Jonathon being baptized. I loved the glimpse of early Hawaiian Latter Day Saints this book gave. I really loved the way it portrayed Jonathon and his wife, and especially Jonathon's faith. I also really loved the way that it portrayed the love that George Q Cannon had for these amazing people. This is a book that you won't want to miss!

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WOW!

by  Shauna  -   reviewed on  April 19, 2013

What amazing people walk this earth! This story is based largely on George Q. Cannon's journals. He was first called on a mission to work the gold claim on the California's American River...to dig gold for the support of the Church. After that he was called to serve as a missionary in the Sandwich Islands (the Hawaiian islands). He and his companions were a little discouraged with the small amount of "white man" on the islands...(wait until you find out what Elder Cannon does about it :) Here is a hint: One of his first converts was Jonathan Hawaii Napela, a descendant of Hawaiian royal blood. (His full name is Napelakapuonamahanaonaleleonalani) Jonathan and George develop a friendship that will last their entire lifetimes. Together they translate the Book of Mormon into the Hawaiian language and Jonathan takes each new missionary for 2 months and immerses them into the language...the pattern that the Missionary Training Center would later use. As in all ages of the gospel, persecutions take place and both George and Johnathan suffer from it, but they both rise to the callings from the Lord and they focus on the blessings that the gospel does bring... Elder Cannon later became an apostle and served as first counselor to prophet Lorenzo Snow. Jonathan becomes a great leader in the church and became the head of the sugar plantation at Laie, but when his wife is stricken with leprosy he goes with her into the leper colony at Kalawao, Moloka'i and becomes the assistant superintendent of the colony...where he lives out his life helping his wife and others who are afflicted with this terrible disease. This is their story.... A story of courage. A story of love. A story of gospel truths. A story of belonging to Heaven.

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Heart Touching and Emotional

by  Monica  -   reviewed on  August 13, 2013

Belonging to Heaven is based on the first missionaries and coverts in the Hawaiian Islands. Historically researched using journals, Hawaiian, and LDS church records and histories, an accurate and chronological base is established. Gale Sears then adds her gift of storytelling creating a memorable and thought provoking narrative. Touching and emotional I would highly recommend this to everyone.

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amazingly keeps you reading more and can't put it down!

by  David  -   reviewed on  May 15, 2013

2 days ago i stopped by Deseret Book in Sandy, Utah as I was there for a day trip from Idaho. I don't ever read novels, only non fiction/doctrine books. I havent read a novel since highschool some 7 years ago. Well as I passed by this book on the shelf and i had a feelign to check it out and had a urge to look more into it The back cover alone made me want to read the book. It was incredible and I finished it last night. Definately a record for me for book reading. I didn't want to put it down, and truly shows the sacrifice, trials, miracles and faith that can happen on a mission and that The Lords work will not stop but continue to be preaced throughout all the world. It also shows how one man can change the lives of so many people. I couldn't put the book down. so i would suggest you go buy this right now and read it! Mahalo!

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