Five years ago, two Latter-day Saint Tongan toddlers stole the hearts of thousands when this adorable photo of them went viral.
The two boys, Teanikumi (Teancum in Tongan) and Mormon, are cousins living in Pleasant Grove, Utah. And while they aren’t toddlers anymore, the photo announcing their upcoming baptisms is sure to steal just as many hearts. Teanikumi's and Mormon's baptisms are a step toward what their parents hope the boys will grow up to be—faithful disciples like the men they are named after.
Choosing Names from the Book of Mormon
Teanikumi’s parents Brett and Kalolaine Beebe struggled for nine years to have a child, and for a time they thought they never would.
“That was very tough on us as my wife is Tongan and their culture is known for having big families,” Brett says.
But on October 11, 2013, Teanikumi was born. His parents wanted his name to have meaning and give him something to look up to.
“We wanted our son to be strong not only physically, but [have strong] faith in God. We wanted him to be brave and not be afraid to set an example and be a leader when needed,” Brett and Kalolaine explain.
Many of Kalolaine’s family members have scriptural names—her father was Hilamani (Helaman in Tongan), and she has brothers named Alma, Aaron, and Helman the II, who named his son Helaman the III. The couple, who now live in Utah, decided on the Tongan pronunciation of Teancum for their son’s name.
“I am white, and my wife is Tongan, and [since our son] already has my last name Beebe, what we wanted most was for him to have a Tongan first name so that others would know that he represents both cultures,” says Brett.
As for Teanikumi’s cousin Mormon, his parents Gina and Toka Lakai surprised the family when they named their son after the Book of Mormon prophet. Gina and Toka were impressed by the faith of the prophet Mormon and how he was an example and leader even at a young age. As Mormon was their first child, they hoped he would set an example for his future younger siblings. The name would also provide their son an opportunity to share the gospel as he meets new people.
Becoming the Best of Friends
Brett and Kalolaine say that Mormon and Teanikumi “do almost everything together.”
“There are times when I feel like we have twins more than we have one child,” Brett says.
The boys love to play video games, and have participated in a variety of sports teams, all of which they insist on doing together. They also love to craft and draw. And perhaps like most boys their age, they aren’t afraid of a bit of mischief.
“They are really into being ninjas right now and can be seen all around the house and the backyard either sneaking up on each other or on everyone else,” says Brett.
Mormon will be baptized in September, followed by Teanikumi a few months later in November.
Images courtesy of the Beebe family and Lisa Fonua.