World LDS president dies almost 50 years after he organised first stake in Tonga

The LDS church in Tonga has expressed its condolences over the death of Mormon president Thomas S. Monson.

A senior leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  in Tonga, Elder ‘Aisake Tukuafu, released a heartfelt message in Tongan on behalf of his church community:

“‘Oku lomekina kimautolu ‘e he ongo’i ‘ofa, hounga’ia, faka’apa’apa  mo e fie kaungamamahi mo’oni fakataha mo e kaingalotu ‘o e Siasi ‘i Tonga ni mo e ‘Elia Pasifiki kotoa ‘i he pekia ‘a Palesiteni Tomasi S. Monisoni.”

This translates as: “We have been deluged with feelings of true love, appreciation, respects and condolences together with church members in Tonga and in all the Pacific areas after the death of President Thomas S. Monson.”

Monson, who was 90, died on January 2.

Monson became president in 2008. According to the New York Times he made it possible for more women to become missionaries, but refused to ordain female priests or change church opposition to same-sex marriage.

Tongan mission

Monson came to Tonga with Elder Howard W. Hunter when they were members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostle, the second highest governing body in the Mormon church,  in September 1968 to organise the first stake in the kingdom. The Mormon Church in Tonga has grown to 19 stakes and two districts.

The church claims that 60 percent of Tongans are Mormons,  but the US state Department says the figure is closer to 17 percent.

Elder Tukuafu told Kaniva News President Monson’s funeral services would be held next week and televised live to LDS stakes in Tonga.

He said there was no plan to hold memorial services in Tonga or any other LDS churches in the Pacific because of the live broadcasts.

Funeral service

A public viewing will be open to the public on Thursday, January 11 from 9am until 8pm in the Conference Centre on Temple Square, in Salt Lake City, capital of Utah and headquarters of the Mormon church..

It is believed that about a quarter of all Tongans in the United States live in Utah.

The funeral services for President Monson will start at midday on January 12.

The Salt Lake Tribune said this evening he would be buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery in a private service.

President Monson was the 16th president in the 187-year history of the Church and served as its president since February 3, 2008.

It is believed the church has about 16 million followers around the world.

Church members around the globe can view the services live via,, (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), KSL TV, the KSL TV app, BYUtv, BYUtv Global, KBYUtv Eleven, BYUtv International, Mormon Channel, Canal Mormón (Spanish) and on the Church satellite system. In addition, audio broadcasts will air on KSL Radio and BYU Radio.

The main points

  • The LDS church in Tonga has expressed its condolences over the death of Mormon president Thomas S. Monson.
  • Monson, who was 90, died on January 3.
  • He came to Tonga in 1968 Monson came to help organise the first stake in the kingdom.
  • Monson’s funeral services will be held next week and televised live to LDS stakes in Tonga.

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