A new fascination with the life of missionary, publisher and Apostle George Q. Cannon

In April, my wife and I had the opportunity to travel to the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. Here is a little tease of what happened.

The north shore of Oahu, just west of the Turtle Bay resort.

The north shore of Oahu, just west of the Turtle Bay resort.

I will tell more about it in another post, I promise.

Because of that experience and knowing something of LDS Church history in the Hawaiian Islands, a book titled “Belonging To Heaven,” by Gale Sears, caught my eye a few weeks later. I bought this book, a historical fiction, and have really enjoyed it. It describes the origins of the Mormon Church in Hawaii and details some of the critical events that followed in a way that makes you feel like you are there, witnessing it.

One of the great missionaries to take the gospel to Hawaii was George Q. Cannon, who endured a lot to learn the language and help establish the church among the native people. We know a lot about this because Cannon was an amazing journal writer.

A series of George Q. Cannon portraits.

A series of George Q. Cannon portraits.

According to the Church History website, Cannon, next to Brigham Young, was arguably the best-known Latter-day Saint in the last half of the 19th century. His record covers half a century, a period in which he served as an editor and publisher, a businessman, an educator, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a territorial delegate in Congress, and a counselor to church presidents Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow.

The Church Historians Press is going to publish Cannon’s journals. As someone who loves writing and journal-keeping, I’m considering getting at least the Hawaii journals. His experiences were so amazing to read about. The only downside is how expensive the books are.

One of George Q. Cannon's journals.

One of George Q. Cannon’s journals.

This is the link to a Deseret News article about the journals being published, written in April by my esteemed colleague, Tad Walch.

Here are three videos produced by the Church History Library that talk about Cannon and his journals. In this first video, Richard E. Turley Jr. describes how Adrian Cannon helped bring about the publication of his ancestor’s journals.

In this video, church historians Matthew J. Grow and Richard Dilworth Rust discuss the remarkable 52-year journal of Mormon apostle George Q. Cannon.

In the last video, Jed Woodworth explains how the journals of George Q. Cannon give an insider’s view of Mormon history from 1860 to 1900.

If you like history and fascinating characters, you might enjoy learning about George Q. Cannon. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface and there is a lot about this man’s life that I can learn and be inspired by.


Trent Toone

My name is Trent Toone and I’m a journalist for the Deseret News, where I write for a variety of feature sections. I was raised in Northern Utah and graduated from the University of Utah in 2003. Since then I have worked for several newspapers and received various awards over my journalism career. I am the author of “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” the sports biography of San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. I served an LDS mission to Santiago, Chile, and spent a year teaching seminary. Like my father before me, I am a proud Eagle Scout. My wife Lisa and I have four children and live in Northern Utah. Feel free to contact me by emailing to trent.b.toone (at) gmail (dot) com.

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