“The Lord Has Opened Our Way”:

George Q. Cannon and the Beginnings of the Hawaiian Mission

Chad M. Orton


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About the Lecture

This lecture will looks at some of the inspiring, faith-affirming, and life-altering experiences Cannon had as a missionary that set the groundwork for his subsequent life, which included service as a counselor to four Presidents of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Orton emphasizes that while Cannon was a key figure in this Latter-day Saint mission, “he and the others called from the California gold fields to open missionary work in Hawaii in 1850 faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles just to reach their destination. Once there, they grappled with new 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.”

Though faced with challenges, Orton confirms that Cannon’s faith showed throughout these experiences. “The initial process was slow and discouraging, but by the time Cannon left the islands for his home in Utah in 1854, thousands had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”    

Chad M. Orton is a Church history specialist with the Church History Department. He is the editor of The Journals of George Q. Cannon: Hawaiian Mission, 1850–1854, which is available at Deseret Book. Previous publications include Joseph Smith’s America: His Life and Times and 40 Ways to Look at Brigham Young: A New Approach to a Remarkable Man.

This event was part of the 2014 Men and Women of Faith lecture series sponsored by the Church History Library. Lectures are held the second Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, 50 North West Temple. 

For more information, please call 1-801-240-2272. You may also visit history.lds.org to view more information for this lecture as well as past and upcoming lectures. Click the Lecture Highlights option under the “Explore” tab.

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