This two-part episode features a fascinating, dynamic, and soaring discussion that takes us into the experiences, cultures, and elements of the worldviews of Latter-day Saints from Pacific Island nations. We learn pieces of the history of two of these nations as it relates to the LDS Church taking hold there, what elements resonate with those who are from the “islands of the sea” (D&C 1:1; 2 Nephi 29:11), and the ways that Mormonism integrates into the daily lives of, especially, Maori and Tongan Saints–including places where Polynesian culture does not allow white Mormon practices and ways of seeing to penetrate, such as with the ceremonial use of kava, notions of family and various power dynamics within families, and funeral practices. In letting us into their lives and perspectives, the panelists also take us deep into the experience of forming identities shaped by both Polynesian and white cultures, which also allows us to see very clearly how there truly are no “neutral” spaces–how “whiteness” carries values and perspectives that are often invisible if not explored through the comparative process. In this Mormon Matters episode, we are privileged to have powerful and open yet charitable guides into these (often wonderfully evocative) tensions.
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