George Q. Cannon was a key figure in one of the great Latter-day Saint missionary stories of the nineteenth century. Beginning in 1850, he went with a few others to preach the gospel in Hawai'i, part of an effort to carry the good news "unto every nation" (Revelation14:6). Because these missionaries had to find their own way to the islands, and because they were essentially destitute, they faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles just to reach their destination. Once there, they grappled with new and unexpected difficulties as strangers in a strange land. Living conditions were often primitive, few natives spoke English, and ministers of other branches of Christianity offered significant opposition to the missionaries' message.
Although their path frequently seemed dark, the Lord lighted the way, and these missionaries to Hawai'i—and others who later joined them—found a people prepared to receive their message. Initial progress was slow and discouraging, but by the time Cannon left the islands for his home in Utah, after having served nearly four years, thousands had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Cannon's memory and legacy continue to be felt in the islands and among a people he came to love. Even today some fondly refer to him by his Hawaiian name: Geogi Q. Pukuniahi.
The publication of George Q. Cannon's Hawaiian mission journal not only provides new insights into the history of that mission but also reveals the inspiring, faith-affirming, and life-altering experiences Cannon had as a missionary. Those experiences helped lay the groundwork for a remarkable life that included service as a book and newspaper publisher, a territorial delegate from Utah to the United States Congress, and long-time member of the top leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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