Establishing Zion in Sauniatu Village : a historical analysis of a Latter-day Saints gathering in Samoa : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in History at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
A feature of Latter-day Saints consolidation methods in the Pacific has been the establishment of gathering settlements for its members designed as a religious sanctuary for the persecuted and untrained. This approach varied throughout the Pacific depending on the steadiness of the missionary programme and success of retaining its members. Apart from Hawaii, Samoa was one of these unique places in which gathering settlements were established for the Latter-day Saints. The focus of this thesis concerns the in-depth examination of one of these latter-day Saints gathering havens in Samoa, Sauniatu village. The rich unpublished primary sources of this Branch make this a valuable exercise. Within these materials contained valuable insights into the nature of Latter-day Saints community organisation adapted in Samoa as well as understanding the cultural interactions between the Samoan saints and the European missionaries. Because Latter-day Saint origin was in America, this study indeed begins by examining the social and doctrinal bases of the church and in particular this notion of gathering. Chapter One, therefore, shows this relationship of the gathering in America and its modification in the Pacific context. The Latter-day Saints arrival in Samoa and its difficulties is analysed in Chapter Two. The push to establishing gathering settlements in Samoa is discussed in Chapter Three. In Chapter Four, an outline of the Sauniatu administrative system and local Saints' attitudes towards it are examined. Chapter Five presents an in-depth analysis of the nature of the village in its internal and external interactions. In Chapter Six, it explores the village as a functional mechanism for institutional operations. Chapter Seven will attempt to inquire the village's effectiveness and show its effects on the members, and Latter-day Saints development in Samoa. A conclusion assesses the overall success of Sauniatu village and suggests some of the reasons for its succcsscs and failures.