Launching Mormonism in the South Pacific: The Voyage of the Timoleon


Mormon Studies, South Pacific, Timoleon, missionary work


The Timoleon is an excellent seaboat, but not a fast sailor; she makes sure passages, but not quick ones,” wrote Addison Pratt, a Mormon missionary who spent nearly seven months aboard this whaling vessel, which launched Latter-day Saint missionary work in the Pacific.1 Addison, the fourth of twelve children, was born in Winchester, New Hampshire, and commenced a career as a whale man at the age of twenty (1822). His sea journeys, including a six-month stay on the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands), left an insatiable desire to return to Hawaii. In 1838, Addison Pratt joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Three years later, and the same year that the Charles W. Morgan embarked from New Bedford on her maiden voyage, Pratt, with his wife, Louisa, and their four daughters, migrated with other Saints to Nauvoo, Illinois. Here, nestled on the banks of the Mississippi, the Pratt family began a new chapter of their life in what was then the designated gathering place for the Church.2

Original Publication Citation

Fred E. Woods, “Launching Mormonism in the South Pacific: The Voyage of the Timoleon,” chapter in Reid L. Neilson and Fred E. Woods, eds. Go Ye Into All the World: The Growth and Development of Missionary Work (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, BYU/ Deseret Book, 2012), 191-216.

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Book Chapter

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Desert Book




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor