Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Gregory B. Johnson

Second Advisor

Ira Chernus

Third Advisor

Deborah Whitehead

Abstract

La‘ie, Hawai‘i is considered to be a Mormon colony since it is home to the Mormon La‘ie temple, a church college (Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i), and the ever-popular Polynesian Cultural Center. Here Polynesian cultures thrive and are learned, beautified, and shared by Polynesian saints who have a love for both their religious and cultural identities. Hawaiian activists argue that western colonization, in this case Mormon colonization, should not exploit and market their culture and traditions as it cheapens their heritage and interferes with their native identities. I contend that these Polynesian saints are able in varying degrees to sustain and re-assert their cultural identities while concurrently maintaining their Mormon identities. These two dominant lifestyles can be simultaneously cultivated whether on native land, such as La‘ie, or diasporically, such as the case of the former Iosepa, Utah, another Mormon Polynesian colony of faithful saints who immigrated to the Salt Lake Valley.

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Religion Commons

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