It’s said that after a church gathering held on Tuesday, June 1, 1915, President Smith asked his companions Elder Reed Smoot and Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley to accompany him on a private stroll nearby to take in the evening air. From the vantage point they would have enjoyed as they left the chapel, the sky would have been dark overhead, with few lights in the country village just down the hill below.
In 1915, Joseph. F. Smith, nephew of the late Prophet and acting President of the Church, was in Laie on church business. It was at least his fourth trip to the remote Pacific islands, located about a week’s journey by steam ship from San Francisco. He had been in Hawaii from 1854–1857 while a teenager as a missionary. A few years later, in 1864, he was sent there again as part of a delegation from the Church to straighten out the debacle being conducted by Walter Murray Gibson at the Palawai settlement. And, finally, he lived in Laie from 1884–1891 while in exile to evade federal prosecution for polygamy (at the time the Hawaiian Islands were a sovereign kingdom, outside of the formal jurisdiction of the United States).
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