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AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum

In Response To: THE FAR-FAR WEST ()

Hello Readers,
In paragraph 4 of the article, "The Far-Far West" I discuss a controversy between a man named John Lono Pea of Hawaii and the Mormon Church. The following is an excerpt from that article:
"...I found an ideal article while reading about Utah history that brings African lineage into a family of Mormons via Hawaii. The article presented a controversy over a presumed White descendant at a Hawaiian Mormon Mission in the 1930's who discovered through genealogy research that a grandparent was an offspring of a Negro that migrated to Hawaii in the 1820's. At the time it was forbidden by Mormon law for anyone with Negro blood to hold positions of authority in the church and John Lono Pea was encouraged to give up his position as a Priest."
Since publication I have been contacted by two descendents of John Lono Pea who were perhaps surprised to read of their relative referenced in an article about Black history. I realized that I didn't include the source for that part of the article, so I will include the source and the text in the next excerpt:

Issue 39 - Salt Lake City Messenger
“…Time Magazine for June 30, 1958, p. 47, pointed out Dr. Robert P. Stuckert researched the "conclusion that of 135 million Americans classified as white in 1950, about 28 million (21%) had some African ancestry. The Church's stress on genealogical research placed many members of the Church in a very embarrassing position. Many members of the Church discovered they had black ancestors and attempted to cover it up. Some however, faced the issue and yielded up all rights to the priesthood. The Deseret News Church Section for July 11, 1970, told of an interesting case:
"Mr. and Mrs. John Lono Pea are an amazing couple....he was set apart as genealogy secretary.
"'I found out through my family telling me and in genealogy work that a grandparent was an offspring of one of the Negroes who mirated to Hawaii in 1820, through the slave trade.
"'I have a sure testimony that what the Lord has said regarding the priesthood is true. I sent my genealogy to the First Presidency so there would be no chance of my getting the priesthood through any means except when the Lord wills it.
"'I don't want to offend God by trying to have it because someone through the goodness of their heart, wants me to have it....'"
Unless there is another man in Hawaii with the name "John L. Pea there is reason to believe that Mr. Pea was mistakenly ordained to the priesthood and performed baptisms and other ordinances before his ancestry was discovered.”
Recently I received a communication from a relative that wished to address the genealogy history of John Lono Pea. If the relative wishes to claim responsibilty for the statement, they may do so, otherwise I thought it polite not to identify them until they feel comfortable. However the relative's statement is significant enough from a research point that I think it should be included information with the article, especially relevant is the timeframes of when the information is produced. The next edited excerpt is from the un-identified relative:
"...I was present when my **** found out that he was not from the Negrolineage by a granduncle who had the correct geneology of his ancestors. My **** assumed through heresay that he was black when infact, he was not. He was actually Palauanmof Micronesian blood. He was able to hold the preisthood in July 1975 after the correct geneology was found. I was present at his being given the priesthood in the mormon church."
Un-identified relative of John Lono Pea


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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