Slideshow: President Uchtdorf’s visit to Laie

On August 29, 2015, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the new Hukilau Marketplace addition to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and then dedicated the new Laie Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which is makai (seaward) of the PCC’s Maori Village. The following slideshow depicts some of the events and people involved that morning — photos by Mike Foley:


Hukilau Marketplace

Hukilau Marketplace
Picture 1 of 38

The Uchtdorfs look on Gerald and Valerie Causse chat with Patricia Wilson, a Tahitian, in French. (Photo by Mike Foley)

President Uchtdorf dedicates addition to Polynesian Cultural Center

Hukilau Marketplace part of effort to upgrade facility



By Mike Foley
For the Church News
of September 6, 2015


President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated a major new addition to the Church-affiliated Polynesian Cultural Center here on Aug. 29, after which he dedicated the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Church-owned property adjacent to the center.

Speaking from the new Hukilau Marketplace at the PCC, President Uchtdorf recalled he and his wife, Harriet, who accompanied him, first visted the attraction in 1976, and have enjoyed it ever since. “Your friendship, your kindness, your openness, your spirit of aloha is really what makes the difference,” he said.

President Uchtdorf was also accompanied to Hawaii by President Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, who is Commissioner of the Church Educational Sysgtem, and his wife, Susan; and Bishop Gérald K. Caussé, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric and his wife, Valérie.

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Rhetoric: Misunderstood, not just words

[Story and photo by Mike Foley, originally published in the BYU–Hawaii “electronic newsroom,” February 2, 2009]


Dr. Greg Clark, a BYU Provo professor and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities on exchange with BYU-Hawaii’s Dr. Ned Williams, said in the Honors colloquium on January 28 that the ancient art of rhetoric is “often terribly misunderstood” and extends beyond talking into many phases of our lives.

Clark, who earned a doctorate in the subject and first became interested in the Pacific islands when he taught at Samoana High School in American Samoa, explained that rhetoric began in ancient Athens in a “first attempt to try to govern a community [of all male property owners] by democracy… They were gathered together in a council of 500 people, selected not by election but by lottery. That assembly legislated the laws of Athens, and they were the courts.”

“They learned that decisions, whether they were judicial or legislative, had to be made by discussion. They had to come to agreement,” he said, “and in order for your side to win, you had to persuade people to see something the way you saw it.” He added this is no different today in trying give others “the opportunity to see things the way you see them, so that they might come to agree with you. Missionaries do it. We do it all the time — in a marriage, in a friendship. We’re always trying to influence other people.”

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Senior missionary explains Book of Mormon “wordprint” analysis

PCC senior missionary Elder Gale Bryce
Elder Bryce

[Story and photo by Mike Foley, originally published to the BYU–Hawaii “electronic newsroom,” April 17, 2007]

Elder Gale Bryce, a volunteer service missionary at the Polynesian Cultural Center, explained in the heavily attended April 17 School of Computing InForm meeting how two former colleagues used “wordprint” statistical analyses to authenticate Book of Mormon authorship.

Elder Bryce — retired BYU Provo Associate Dean of the College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences and former chairman of its Statistics Department who now helps PCC with quality assurance analyses — explained wordprints are analagous to fingerprints: “They are based on the theory that an author develops subconscious habits over time in the way he or she writes.”

He added his colleagues, Wayne Larsen and Alvin Rencher, used statistical analysis software he partially developed to help us understand how the Book of Mormon was translated and who wrote it.

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Samoa Mission Eldares sing again

[Story and video by Mike Foley — whose own LDS mission in Samoa partially overlapped the Eldares, originally published in Kaleo, February 2008]

The Eldares, Mormon missionaries in Samoa in 1963
The Eldares, then (left-right): Elders Richard Nielson, Carl Fonoimoana,Wayne Willis, Randy Broadhead with Samoa Mission President John Phillip Hanks. When Elder Broadhead got sick in mid-tour, Elder George Murdock took over for him.

A quartet of former Latter-day Saint missionaries in Samoa — two with ties to Laie — who created and recorded one of the island chain’s most popular songs for many years, will put on a series of concerts on Oahu.

Signature songs of the group include their own famous Masi Samoa, Usi le Fa’afofoga, Fa’alogo Ia, Samoa Silasila and Koko Samoa, among others.

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MPHS tours small, old cemeteries in Laie


MPHS members at the small cemetery on the
Hau‘ula side of Temple Hill

About three dozen people, including kupuna, gained new appreciation for the aloha of families and volunteers during the Mormon Pacific Historical Society’s (MPHS) November 24, 2007, tour of five small and previously completely overgrown cemeteries in Laie. In fact, many community residents are still not aware of at least three of the five cemeteries, which have all been partially restored.

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Hawaii Diocese recognizes Napela-St. Damien collaboration

[Reprinted from a press release I wrote on May 12, 2010]

LAIE, Hawaii — The Most Reverend Clarence “Larry” Silva, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, presented the Polynesian Cultural Center and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii with a special Certificate of Appreciation on May 7, 2010, “in gratitude for the collaboration” of Jonathan Napela and St. Damien of Molokai, for their service to Hansen’s Disease patients at Kalaupapa in the 1870s.

Bishop Silva explained that though the two men belonged to different churches, they worked closely together at the isolated Kalaupapa leprosy or Hansen’s Disease quarantine settlement, and the Catholic priest once described N?pela as his “yoke-mate.” Largely for his work there from 1873-1889, Pope Benedict XVI enrolled Father Damien in the canon of Roman Catholic Saints on October 11, 2009, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

pcc_catholic_plaque5-2010(Left-right): Von D. Orgill, President & CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center; Elder Scott D. Whiting, Latter-day Saint Area
Authority Hawaii; Most Reverend Clarence “Larry” Silva, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu; and Father Marc
Alexander, Vicar General of the diocese. (Photos by Mike Foley)

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The quintessential American religion

[Originally written by Mike Foley in August 2008]

BYU-Hawaii ICS prof publishes chapter on ‘shifting role’ of Church

Dr. Ethan Yorgason [pictured at right: photo by Mike Foley], an adjunct assistant professor in the history and International Cultural Studies geography professor at BYU-Hawaii, contributed a chapter on the “shifting role of Latter-day Saints as the quintessential American religion” to a recently published scholarly three-volume work entitled Faith in America.

The volumes tackle the expectations of pundits who claim religion would have “ever declining importance in public discourse.” More specifically Volume One, where Yorgason’s chapter is found, focuses on “transformations that have rocked organized religious life in the United States.”

Yorgason explains the word “quintessential,” as in “the quintessential American religion,” refers to Greek and medieval philosophical beliefs in “aether, the fifth element of the universe along with fire, earth, air and water.” He asks: “Could this label, like aether, become more of a reminder how people used to think than a notion that provides insight” and begins to explore if the label will have “staying power” for Mormonism into the twenty-first century.

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Book of Mormon provides anti-Christ antidotes

[By Mike Foley: Originally published online in the BYU-Hawaii Newsroom, April 2, 2009]

In his third and final BYU-Hawaii Joseph Smith Lecture Series presentation on April 1 in the Aloha Center, S. Michael Wilcox [pictured at right; photo by Mike Foley], a visiting instructor from the Salt Lake Institute of Religion at the University of Utah, taught that the modern equivalent of an anti-Christ is anyone who would trouble or shake a person’s faith. In addition, he taught how the Book of Mormon provides lessons on resisting such attempts, and clarified a number of metaphors relating to the faith and testimony required to do so.

Wilcox — who is also an author and frequent BYU Education Week speaker — pointed out that when Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon, “he had in mind challenges that you and I in our world were going to face,” and that these included four incidents of antichrists.

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BYUH professor inspects ancient Egyptian sites

[Story and photos by Mike Foley, originally published online in the BYU-Hawaii Newsroom, March 10, 2005]

Kerry Muhlestein, 2005BYU-Hawaii Religion and history professor Dr. Kerry Muhlestein recently returned from a three-week tour with the prestigious American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) that enhances his ability to teach Old Testament, the Pearl of Great Price, world civilization and ancient Egyptian history.

Muhlestein, who earned his Ph.D. in Egyptology from UCLA and has been teaching at BYU-Hawaii since Fall 2003, explained he had previously been to Egypt, but had never gone south of Cairo to the historically significant sites of Karnak and Luxor.

“We went to all the major sites. They’re doing conservation work on many of them, but since I was with ARCE, we were able to get into these, work with the conservators, and learn about the latest developments, which is great for me because I’m teaching a historiography class on ancient Egypt in the Spring term,” Muhlestein said. “We also met twice with the secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who was a teacher of mine at UCLA.”

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Te Aroha Nui Maori group returns to PCC

[Story and photos by Mike Foley, originally published in PCC’s Imua Polenesia newsletter, August 2005]

In the summer of 1963 the late Wendell B. Mendenhall, president of all LDS labor missionaries in the Pacific, asked 148 New Zealand Maori to help get the Polynesian Cultural Center ready for its opening on October 12th that year. The group, all volunteers who paid their own expenses, stayed for six weeks and not only put the finishing touches on the Center, but also dominated the PCC’s first night show with their lively action songs and beautiful harmony. They also put on concerts in California and Utah before returning home.

On Aug. 5, 2005, 48 surviving members returned to PCC for the first time as a group to participate in the Whakataetae festival. In accordance with Maori custom, PCC villagers and Maori community members welcomed them and the other Whakataetae visitors with chants, a wero challenge, speeches, songs and hongi [nose pressing] greetings.

Members of the Te Aroha Nui group and others enter the marae
at the Polynesian Cultural Center 

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Hawaii-based film cgi veteran encourages BYUH students

Cheryl LaMont[Story and photo by Mike Foley, originally published online in the BYU-Hawaii Newsroom, March 29, 2005]

Cheryl LaMont [pictured at right], President and CEO of Dot C Software — a Kailua, Hawaii business that does photorealistic 3D computer generated imagery (cgi) for Hollywood and other major clients around the world — urged students interested in computerized animation and other film effects in the March 29 School of Business Entrepreneurship Lecture to pursue their dreams.

“It’s always a privilege to speak to students who are interested in film-quality software,” said LaMont, who added her company has developed proprietary software that renders three-dimensional effects for well-known industry giants Dreamworks, Sony and others, and has done work on films such as The Matrix and Jurassic Park.

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BYUH presents service honors to labor missionaries

[Story by Mike Foley, originally published online in the BYU-Hawaii Newsroom, March 17, 2005]

BYU-Hawaii honored 26 labor missionaries during its Koolauloa Community Service Awards Program on March 17. The twenty-six represented several hundred volunteer laborers and supervisors who built the university campus, additions to the Hawaii Temple and Visitors Center, housing, chapels, and the Polynesian Cultural Center in two phases from 1956-58 and 1960-63.

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Sports entrepreneur advises BYUH students

John Korrf[Story and photo by Mike Foley, originally published online in the BYU-Hawaii Newsroom, October 1, 2002]

A prominent sports marketing and event management businessman took time on October 1st from a nearby professional golf tournament to advise BYU-Hawaii School of Business students on practical aspects of entrepreneurship.

John Korff [pictured at right], President of Korff Enterprises, Inc., based in New York City, told the students, “Entrepreneurship is the art of taking a risk. A truly successful entrepreneur is somebody who can identify the risk in a situation, and then minimize it.  You do not get scared of risk, you just figure out a way around it.”

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Scholarly panel shares perspectives with Korean journalists

Map of Korean peninsula[By Mike Foley, originally published online in the BYU-Hawaii Newsroom, May 27, 2003]

A group of South Korean journalists accompanied by two Latter-day Saint authorities from that country recently met with compatriots on campus and heard a scholarly panel discuss the history and status of the Korean Peninsula.

The panel, which met in the McKay Auditorium on May 15, included Dr. Edward J. Schultz, Director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii/Manoa; Dr. Sung Ho Sheen, Research Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu; and Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Dean of BYU-Hawaii’s College of Arts and Sciences, who acted as the moderator.

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