Micronesia is made up of hundreds of islands scattered across more than half the width of the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the four states listed below, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Marianas, Belau, and Guam all make up what Western colonizers have labeled Micronesia. Under the direction of Elder John H. Grogberg, President William W. Cannon of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission expanded his mission into many areas of Micronesia in the 1970s. The Micronesia-Guam Mission was created 1 April 1980 with Ferron C. Losee as president. At the beginning of the year 2000 there were 3,008 members living in all of Micronesia. At that time, the following four states were under the Federated States of Micronesia:
Elders Dan Baldwin and Torlik Tima were sent by President Cannon to open the islands of Chuuk for missionary work on 7 July 1977. Three months later, on 22 October, T. M. Conrad Mailo and his wife, Nisor Cerly David, became the first Trukese converts. The next convert was a friend of Mailo and Nisor called Happiness Ichin. Happiness became the first Micronesian Elder to serve in his own islands. Mailo became the first branch president of the Moen Branch. Membership reached 170 in 1980. President Ferron Losee dedicated the first chapel in Truk on 24 April 1983, and the Chuuk District was created 8 January 1985. In 1990 membership grew to 350, and two chapels were operating.
Primary general president Michaeline P. Grassli and Primary board member Virginia H. Pearce visited Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Kawajalein in June 1991.
The initial attempt to establish missionaries on Kosrae was hindered by a state resolution that was adopted to keep future religions from entering the island. The first missionaries had little success because of opposing churches who continued to warn their members not to listen to the elders’ message. Finally, on 26 April 1986 Isidro Abraham became the first Kosraean to be baptized. Kosrae became a district on 14 March 1990 with only 64 members. The Malem meetinghouse was dedicated 3 December 1992, and an additional meetinghouse in Lelu was dedicated in January 1993.
The capital and largest island of the Federated States of Micronesia is Pohnpei. The first missionaries to arrive on the island were Elders George L. Mortensen and Aldric Porter on 23 October 1976. It was some time before the first baptism occurred on 7 February 1981. A new chapel was completed in January 1982, and the Pohnpei District was organized on 22 November 1985. By 1990 membership was 464; in 1999 it was approximately 1,100.
In the early part of 1977, Charles Keliikipi was chosen to organize an efficient police department on Yap under a two-year contract. President William W. Cannon assigned him to organize the Church on Yap while he worked there. Later that year Elders David S. Ige and Douglas Andrews served as the first missionaries in the island. The first convert came in March 1978, and soon several families joined the Church.
The first meeting place was a Yapese hut. Later a chapel was completed on 13 January 1981, and the first service was held on 18 January 1981. By 1990 there were approximately 150 members living on the island.
[Year-end 2005: Est. population, 108,000; Members, 3,504; Districts, 4; Branches, 19; Percent LDS, 3.17, or one in 31; Pacific Islands Area; Micronesia Guam Mission; Source: 2007 Church Almanac.]
“A Brief History of the Micronesia-Guam Mission, 1980-1990.” Micronesia-Guam Mission, 1990.
Micronesia-Guam Mission Historical Report. LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City.
1999-2000 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998. 358.
W. JAMES JACOB
From Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 745-47. Used with the permission of the Deseret Book Company. Copies prohibited by law.