The Mormon Temple is a gather place for the Pacific Islander community; the Temple even has a separate Tongan congregation. Indeed, in Oakland, the polynesian community is the largest non-white group within the Church. This is due to the connection between the Church of the Latter Day Saints and the Pcific Islands. Since it was first published in 1830, the Book of Mormon, the sacred text for the Church of the Latter Day Saints, has been published in numerous languages. It was first translated to European languages, however as early as 1855 the Book was translated for the first time into a non-European language: Hawaiian. This might seem unusual, but when we look at the complex relationship between the Mormon temple and Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders things become more clear. The Book writes its own history, including the history of “western” expansion. This history is central to the worldview of Mormons. Some, but not all, members of the LDS church believe that the story of Hagoth’s journey in the Book is of Hagoth sailing from North America to the Pacific Islands. According to the Church’s main website, many Polynesian youth see Hagoth as a hero.
The Church of the Latter Day Saints has three Tongan congregations in Oakland and many more across the Bay Area and California. There are also specifically Samoan and Fijian congregations.