First Missionaries in Samoa

The first missionaries in Samoa

Mormonland this week: Without losing time, the missionaries shovelled up the children and ran to the first big tree. Teacher All: Samoans, Fijians and Queensland Melanesic Missionaries in Papua, 1884-1914 - Women's - 2002 - Zeitschrift für Religionsgeschichte

The Pacific Island missions instructors were mighty representatives of cultural transformation in Oceania, and the Christianity they teach is part of the ideology and constitution of several Pacific island states. Its greatest effect was seen between the 1880s and 1914, when long distance was bridged and different groups of the population were contacted by evangelicals from half a dozen Pacific states.

Underneath the shared motives of religion explained by the island educators, there were strong differences in expectation and behavior. The document compared the Samoan, Fiji and Melanese missionaries in Papua, a settlement where the island' s inhabitants were in greater numbers than elsewhere. Samoans get the greater equilibrium of the study in the document because the 187 Samoans have outdone both Fijians (110 men) and Queensland Melanesians (46), and because Samoans' aspirations differ more from those of their European counterparts than their Fijians and Queensland Melanesians.

The Samoainfo - Religious Practices

Religions are and have been a very important part of the Samoan civilization. Before the missionaries arrived, Samoa had a complicated polytheist cult that distinguished between non-human (Atua) and mortal (Aitu) deities and also contained ancestral veneration as well. Most of the people of the Samoa had different views about which religions they worshipped.

Since there were no external indications of worship, as in other Polynesian civilizations, they were often regarded as atheistic. However, the Samoan faith held the seed of its own devastation, because the Nafanua (goddess of war) had predicted that there would be a new faith that would end the reign of the old god.

The prophecy, coupled with the fact that the Samoan faith, which was perfect for an insulated Pauline fellowship, could not come to terms with the new worldview that emerged after the arrival of the Europeans, made it easier for the Samoans to find the first missionaries. John Williams of the London Mission came to Sapapapalii in 1830 on his boat, the Messenger of Peace, with 8 Tahitian and Rarotogan Instructors.

By the time Williams came back to Samoa in 1832, he realized that Malietoa had succeeded in gaining the Tafa'iafa (Four-In-One) rank, the highest in Samoa, and that he had also become a Christian. All eight instructors were also well taken care of and sent out to bring the news all over Samoa.

It did not take long and was published in Samoan and in 1848 the first Samoan New Testament was published, followed by a Samoan Old Testament in 1855. Willams was neither the first one who arrived in Samoa nor the first one who taught Christianity.

Beach robbers and wrecks had lived in Samoa since the end of the 17th century and had taught Christianity in a random way, and some Samoans had already been Christian. Peter Turner, a methodistic misionary, came to Samoa in 1828 and discovered that Methodists already existed on the islands.

There was an establishment of a Methodist ministry in Tonga and because of the close links between Samoa and Tonga, the religious community had become widespread. He did not found a missions, but in 1835 he came back with some Tongan educators and told that there were about 2,000 Samoans who were interested in becoming a Methodist.

But in 1838 it was agreed to retire Turner and hand Samoa over to the London MSO. Only in 1857 was another methodological outreach to Samoa opened. The LMS as well as the Methodists were both Protestant types and share the joint fear that the Roman Catholics would gain a foothold in Samoa.

Catholicsism was the Christianity of France and on other isles it was seen that after the arrival of the Catholics, there would be merchants from France. Then in September 1848 two Catholics came to Samoa with two Samoan men. Adverse publicity about the Roman Catholics was disseminated by both the London Missionary Society and Methodists.

As the missionaries first came, publicly cash was paid to the local community for the use of grain kernels. In the past, Saamania' s family competed with each other to see what could give the most, and although the donation is now more of a financial kind, this trend is continuing. Visiting the cathedral is very high, and if you go around the island on a Sunday, you will meet several hundred of those who go to the cathedral on their Sunday.

Samoa, like other Asian isles, is inundated with many ancient and modern faiths, and it goes without saying that the dominant fabric of every town, whether wealthy or impoverished, is a Christian one. Samoa's major faiths are Congregation, Catholic, Methodist, Assembly of God, Seven-Day Adventist, Bahai, Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witness.

Usually in the morning the family goes to Mass, followed by an extensive to' onai (lunch).

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