Tonga’s Christian history

“Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto..all the nations of the earth?”

2 Nephi 29:7

Tonga’s Christian history shows that God remembers those “upon the isles of the sea.”  Truly God has and will continue to bring forth His word to “all the nations of the earth.”

Christian history of Tonga

Christianity came to Tonga in 1797

Mainstream Christianity arrived to Tonga in 1797 when ten London missionaries traveled to Tonga’s main island-Tongatapu.  At first the missionaries had little success; however, with time Christianity began to take root in Tonga.

John Thomas and Christianity’s spread in 1826

In 1826, missionary John Thomas arrived to the islands of Tonga.  Throughout his 25-year stay, John Thomas converted many Tongans to Christianity.  After John Thomas’ stay in Tonga, Christianity continued to spread.  In 1882 a group of Wesleyan missionaries arrived in Tonga and helped convert the majority of Tongans to Christianity.

Here are a few reasons Christianity spread so quickly in Tonga:

  • Some Tongans believed old gods prophesied the coming of Christianity.
  • Some Tongans believed old gods prophesied the destruction of the ‘old order.’
  • Many Tongans already valued Christian ideals.  Before Christian missionaries arrived, Tongans supported Sabbath observance, scripture study, honesty, and purity.

King George Tupou I commits Tonga to God in 1831.

In August 1831 Taufa’ahau was baptized by some Wesleyan missionaries.  Taufa’ahu later became King George Tupou Iof Tonga.  According to tradition, King George Tupou I dedicated the Kingdom of Tonga to God by lifting a handful of soil to the skies and praying to God.  Since then, Tonga has been a place were its people seek to be dedicated to God.

Now the vast majority of Tongans are Christian.  On Sundays Tongans close their businesses in order to keep the Sabbath Day holy.  Tonga’s conversion to Christianity truly testifies that God remembers all His children, including those who live on the “isles of the sea.”

“More than anything else we should be concerned about meekness, or our standing in God’s sight. If that standing is as it should be, nothing else matters. If it is not, nothing else counts.”

– John H. Groberg, Former Christian missionary in Tonga

Personal Notes:

I know God is God over all the Earth.  I have heard people express their opinions that the God of the Israelites was unknown to other nations.  I know that God revealed Himself to many nations throughout the Earth beside the nation of Israel.  The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ shows that God revealed His Gospel to many nations outside of Israel, including the ancient Americas.

3 thoughts on “Tonga’s Christian history

  • Hi,

    You gave three reasons why Christianity spread quickly in Tonga and one of them was that the Tongan people had already kept the Sabbath! Is there any evidence for this? Was there an routine weekly practice prior to Christianity that celebrated the Sabbath each week? Appreciate your response.

  • Appreciate your feedback on the history of Pita Vi, the first Convert in Tonga. I understand Pita’s Father was a man by the name of Fauea (a Samoan Chief) who eventually returned to Samoa and pioneered the LMS work in Samoa. Is this true? Who was his wife? Was she Tongan? Appreciate your response.

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